Breaking Local News
The West Virginia Obesity Conference at the Charleston Marriott has wrapped up, and it gave experts a chance to talk about what should be done to fight the obesity rate here. Right now West Virginia has a soft drink tax of 1 penny per 16.9 fluid ounces and the proceeds go to the West Virginia University School of Medicine. Some suggest boosting the tax on sugary beverages to send more money to education, that would help people make smart choices with the overall goal of reducing obesity.
West Virginia officials are moving forward with a bond sale to help expand an auto parts stamping plant in South Charleston. The West Virginia Economic Development Authority has authorized up to $150 million in bonds that will be used to purchase equipment for the Gestamp plant over the next five years. The financing assistance was part of the original incentive package state officials used to entice the company to move into plant. The company announced last year that it would invest a minimum of $100 million in the facility over the next five to seven years, creating up to 700 jobs.
A fire in Belle over the weekend may be arson. There have been reports of several suspicious fires in that area in recent weeks and that has neighbors on edge. The most recent was on Simmons Creek Road, and the blaze destroyed a trailer Friday night after neighbors said they heard a loud pop or explosion. The home was abandoned at the time. The state fire marshal's office is investigating.
A grand jury in Fayette County has indicted the former chief of a volunteer fire department and his wife. Ex-Smithers fire chief Timothy M. Whittington is facing one felony count of embezzlement. His wife, Patricia A. Whittington, was indicted on one count of fraudulent schemes after the two were allegedly involved in taking department funds for personal use. The indictment says Timothy Whittington is accused of taking money from the fire department between July 2010 and September 2012. An audit showed thousands of dollars went missing from the department. Whittington resigned last year. The couple's arraignment is scheduled for May 24 in Fayette County Circuit Court.
Early Thursday morning in the Marmet area, two Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies pulled over an SUV, and a drug sniffing dog could smell something from the exterior. A search turned up more than two pounds of marijuana, along with 291 Oxycodone 30 mg tablets. Together the drugs have an estimated street value of over 20-thousand dollars. More than 6-thousand dollars in cash was found in the vehicle too. 27-year old Eugene J. Lobaugh of Cleveland, Ohio was arrested and charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, both felonies.
West Virginia is getting more than $1 million in federal funding to help with last fall's storm. The response to the snowstorm that Hurricane Sandy spawned last fall was costly, with more than 2 feet of snow in some areas. Seven people died and the storm knocked out electricity to more than a quarter-million customers. Congress passed a final relief package in January. U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin announced the latest award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday. They say it will go to the Office of the Adjutant General for the costs of activating the National Guard and implementing a statewide emergency plan. It also reimburses West Virginia for search-and-rescue efforts, emergency patrols, medical support and debris clearing.
A man convicted in 1989 on sexual abuse charges is now going to prison for child pornography. 54-year old Jonathan Douglas Layne of St. Albans was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison this week, and then he'll be supervised for 20 years after his release, according to a media release from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Layne pleaded guilty in January to having more than 600 inappropriate pictures and videos. Goodwin says since January 2012, twenty-two defendents have been convicted as part of an ongoing initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse:
Kanawha County School Superintendent Ron Duerring recently got a raise of more than $7,000, and last night at a school board meeting, members considered raises for principals too. There was much discussion about the impact that might have on the budget, and also the need to recognize good work of those who haven't had raises in recent years. No final decisions were made.
A routine police patrol led to an arrest Tuesday night. Corporal B. D. Humphreys with the Kanawha County Sheriff's office tells us a deputy spotted a man walking, and that man reached around his shoulder and grabbed a 4-foot samurai sword handle that was in a sheath strapped to his back. The man later identified as 35-year old Chaten Nelson turned toward the deputy in a fighting stance and walked toward the officer, who drew a gun and ordered him to put down the sword. Eventually he did, and was arrested. Corporal Humphreys says Nelson possessed more than a sword:
He was taken to Kanawha County Magistrate Court for arraignment on charges of brandishing a deadly weapon and simple possession.
West Virginia University is in the process of getting bids for media rights, and the school has set a date for bidders. Those who want to bid for multimedia rights to certain athletic events have until June 18 to respond to a new request for proposals. WVU announced last month it would rebid the contract after a review by the state attorney general's office found "significant errors and sloppiness" in how a previous deal was crafted. This time, the process will be led by Chief Procurement Officer Brenda Mowen. Two WVU Board of Governors members shouldn't have participated in reviewing the bids, but Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he found "no evidence of intentional wrongdoing."