Breaking Local News

Putnam County Wreck Highlights Safety Concerns

A stretch of road in Putnam County that has seen a string of accidents recently saw another one yesterday. Emergency dispatchers said a semi truck with a box trailer overturned near the Buffalo Bridge along U.S. 35, and the same area near where a tractor-trailer overturned and spilled a disinfectant chemical in May. The driver of the truck that overturned Tuesday wasn't hurt.

Students Get High Tech

As is happening across the country, students are becoming more high tech in area classrooms. All public school students in Raleigh County will use iPads in the classroom when the new academic year begins. The school system will assign iPad2s to every student in grades two through 12. Kindergarten and first-grade students will share an iPad Mini with one fellow student. Superintendent Jim Brown tells The Register-Herald that school officials plan to phase in electronic editions of textbooks over the next five years. The agreement with Apple will cost the county about $7 million, but the district expects to save money in the long run.

Coal Layoffs In the Works

Independence Coal Company is in the process of shutting down its entire Allegiance, Cook and Justice No. 1 mines in Seth, and the layoffs began this week. The Spartan Mining Company is also closing its Liberty Processing Plant in Madison, after workers were notified in June of the coming cuts. Alpha Natural Resources owns both companies, and has said in the past it will do what it has to do in the current market conditions.

Clay County Sheriff Faces Wiretapping Charges

The Clay County Sheriff is facing charges for putting a monitoring device on his ex-wife's work computer. Federal prosecutors are charging Clay County Sheriff Miles "Mike" J. Slack with illegal wiretapping, and say the device was likely installed in late April. A news release says a keystroke logging device can intercept everything typed on the keyboard, and also says the computer was owned and maintained by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and is connected to a central Supreme Court network. No hearing date has been set.

State Contractor Fined for Environmental Violations

State regulators have fined a Kanawha County school contractor more than $13,000 for environmental violations. A consent order said the violations include failure to control dust, failure to protect groundwater quality and failure to operate and maintain erosion-control devices. The Department of Environmental Protection issued the fine in a settlement with Sissonville-based Carpenter Reclamation Inc. The violations occurred at the site where the company is building a $21 million elementary school for the county school system. Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring told the Charleston Gazette that the fine will be deducted from Carpenter Reclamation's payment.

Teacher's Alleged Battery on Students is Investigated

The state Department of Education is investigating complaints against a Fayette County teacher accused of hitting two kindergarten students. Police charged Kathleen Wade with two battery counts last week. She remains free on $5,000 bond. Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro told The Register-Herald that the department is conducting an internal investigation. The findings will be referred to the state Committee on Professional Teaching Standards. ordeiro said the committee will make a recommendation on whether Wade should keep her teaching license to State Schools Superintendent Jim Phares. The alleged incidents occurred in May.

Suspicious Package is False Alarm

A suspicious package at a gas station in South Charleston brought out the bomb squad Monday evening. The package was found at the 7-11 on Chestnut Street, and the bomb squad was called out as a precaution. It turned out to be a false alarm.

Kanawha County Students Get Vaccines as School Starts Friday

With the start of school just around the corner, kids and parents are rushing to get all the necessary vaccines in order, and that has the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department doing its best to meet the demand. Kanawha-Charleston has been covering all clinical services for the Putnam County Health Department, which folded in June after a financial crisis. School starts in Putnam County August 22nd, but the start date is only 4 days away in Charleston. The August 9th start date is the earliest in county history. There is no vaccine shortage, but there is a rush to make sure the necessary vaccination records and shots are in order.

Demolition of Historic Buildings Questioned at WVSU

Preservation groups want to put a stop to it, but West Virginia State University is moving ahead with campus renovations on some of its oldest buildings. A new residence hall is in the works at WVSU, but in that process, Gore and Prillerman halls would be demolished. The Charleston Gazette reports they're eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia and The Kanawha Valley Historical & Preservation Society have asked the school to stop the demolition.

SNAP Benefits Set to Expire

About 350,000 West Virginians will see a reduction in federal food assistance benefits when a temporary boost expires this fall, according to a nonprofit policy research group. The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy said the increase to federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits expires on Oct. 31. The Charleston Gazette says that increase amounted to about $29 per month for a family of three. In West Virginia, about one-quarter of children live in families with income below the federal poverty level.

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