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West Virginia food banks are looking for some help after the holidays, and the 32nd annual United Food Operation food drive is kicking off this month. Donations have been down for many charitable organizations this year, and food banks are looking for private donations, and for sponsors to make tax deductible donations. UFO collects for food pantries and acts as a distribution center. It is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that collects food and funds to help stock community food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties. Needed donations include nonperishable foods, cleaning supplies, diapers, infant formula, and baby food. For more information go to www.unitedfoodoperation.org or call 304-342-2023.
The speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates says evidence of mismanagement under the state Department of Agriculture's previous administration has been turned over to a federal prosecutor. Democrat Tim Miley of Harrison said Thursday that a preliminary legislative audit of the department's finances before Walt Helmick became commissioner found evidence of "troubling activities and management practices," including questionable accounting methods and expense reimbursements. Helmick requested the audit, which Miley said is standard practice when a new agency head takes over. Miley and Senate President Jeff Kessler ordered the auditor to turn the findings over to the U.S. attorney's office, according to the Charleston Gazette.
A new study says West Virginia has the nation's highest rate of fatal all-terrain vehicle accidents. The Charleston Daily Mail reports that the study released this week by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at rider deaths on public roads from 2007 to 2011. In that time, 1,701 riders died in crashes on public roads throughout the nation. West Virginia ranked third in the number of deaths with 96. However, its death rate of 105 per 10 million people was the country's highest. Wyoming was a distant second with 70. State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous says the popularity of outdoor activities in West Virginia may be a reason for the high rate of ATV fatalities.
A man accused of stuffing clothes under the stairwell of his girlfriend's apartment and setting them on fire pleaded guilty Thursday in Federal Court. Police say in August Antonio Wade set the clothes on fire blocking his girlfriend from being able to get out of her apartment. Sentencing is set for April 2nd. For more Charleston Kanawha Valley news go to www.wsaz.com.
Natalie Tennant has received an endorsement in her campaign for US Senate. Former West Virginia Secretary of State Helen Holt is supporting Tennant. Holt was the first woman to serve as West Virginia Secretary of State after being appointed by the governor in 1957. Holt is a Republican while Tennant is a Democrat, who was elected as West Virginia Secretary of State in 2008 and re-elected to the position in 2012. Now in her campaign for the US Senate, she's looking to fill the seat left vacant by Jay Rockefeller as he retires.
Charleston police are investigating a New Year's Day shooting, and one suspect is in custody. 30-year old Michael Underwood of Beckley turned himself in Wednesday afternoon, after a 2 a.m. shooting in the 600 block of Virginia Street. A 23-year old Charleston man was injured in the shooting between the Ramada Inn in Charleston and Recovery Sports Grill. Underwood has already been arraigned, and was taken to the South Central Regional Jail.
A Fayette County man faces charges after allegedly kidnapping his girlfriend on Christmas Day, binding her hands and feet and dumping her at a mining site. The Register-Herald reports 36-year-old Larry Junior Nelson of Springdale turned himself in and is being held without bond on charges of domestic battery and kidnapping until he can appear in circuit court. Nelson's girlfriend told police that he hit her, tied her up and left her at a strip mine. She said she managed to free her legs and walk more than an hour through the woods on a 13 degree night for help.
A Kanawha County Commissioner has filed a complaint against a bar in Cross Lanes. Kent Carper filed a complaint with the state Fire Marshals Office this week against the Appetizers Restaurant and Lounge saying it's been over-capacity and doesn't have the proper fire exits There was a large brawl outside the bar December 26th involving about fifty people, and one man was shot in the leg. Carper is also renewing a complaint filed with the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration over licenses.
A business owner who was viciously attacked earlier this week in Charleston has been moved out of ICU and into a regular room at CAMC General. Jerry Smith is accused of attacking Betty Whiteley on Monday after she refused to give him money. It happened inside a business along Virginia Street on the city's West Side. Smith has been arrested. For more news, go to www.wsaz.com
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office will have extra patrols on the road tonight and into the early morning hours tomorrow. Captain Sean Crosier tells us each of the 23 Deputies will be looking for impaired drivers as well as answering both emergency and non-emergency calls. If you'll be out, you're urged to utilize a designated driver, free cab service or stay put until becoming sober. The sheriff's office is also reminding party hosts and bars that serve alcoholic beverages to someone else, that there are legal responsibilities associated with serving the alcohol. Deputies will be practicing “Zero Tolerance” for impaired drivers.