Breaking Local News

Trees Almost Clear from Coonskin Park

Crews have been working on cleaning up Coonskin Park after the June 29th windstorms left them blown and damaged. The upper part of the park has been closed since the storms, and back in October the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission hired Elk Well Services of Charleston to cut up and dispose of the downed trees. The Charleston Gazette reports the clearning work in the upper part of the park almost finished last week. After trees are moved away from the roads, crews will move to the Coonskin trail system.

Supreme Court asked to Validate Marple Firing

After the firing of state superintendent Jorea Marple, the West Virginia State Board of Education is asking the state Supreme Court to declare the firing valid. The parents of a special needs child filed documents last week asking that the court block the state board's firing of Marple. The board responded by asking that the firing be upheld and that they be allowed to hire a new superintendent.

New Center Offers Help with Addictions

A new addiction recovery center is open in Charleston. The new center offers free help to those struggling with addictions to drugs and alcohol, depression, and employment issues. The recovery center is located inside the Rimson Memorial Church on 2nd Avenue and it's open from 10am to 3pm Monday through Thursday. No appointment is needed, you can just drop by.

Former Politician Awaits Trial

Former state politician, Hiram Lewis, will go on trial in January. Lewis is charged with malicious wounding, domestic assault and wanton endangerment involving a firearm in connection with a Clay County shooting. Police say Lewis shot Stephen Bogart, and Lewis claims Bogart was breaking into his home at the time. Bogart says he lived there. At a Thursday hearing the judge set a trial date of January 15. Lewis will also be in court on December 6 for a bond revocation hearing.

Kanawha Bureau of Investigation Makes Child Porn Arrest

The Kanawha Bureau of Investigation arrested 51-year old Clay Culhane Counts of Charleston on Wednesday, charging him with fourteen counts of First Degree Sexual Assault, Use of a Minor in Filming Sexually Explicit Conduct, and Sexual Abuse by Parent, Guardian, or Custodian. Captain BC Robbins with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says Counts was initially arrested in September after officers discovered he was downloading and distributing child pornography. The most recent arrest was made after video tapes were located in Counts' home. The investigation is ongoing and more charges could be added.

Program needs more volunteers

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Kanawha Valley is looking for more volunteers, and held a rally Thursday evening to raise awareness. The organization says there are 75 children, mostly boys who are still in need of a Big Brother mentor. Last night's event at Smith Motor Cars in South Charleston also kicked off the Bowl for KIDS Sake Fundraiser set for January.

Teacher's Aid Arrested

A Kanawha County teacher's aid has been arrested after police say she bought prescription pills off the street. Heather Lively was arrested after West Virginia State police say she got into a fight with a cashier at Magic Mart in Quincy. Lively is accused of assaulting the woman and throwing a pair of boots at the cashier. During the arrest, officers found illegal prescription drugs. Lively has been placed on administrative leave from Riverside High School.

Smithers Volunteer Fire Department is Back in Business

The Smithers Volunteer Fire Department is open again after correcting some problems with insurance. After falling behind on it's payments, the department closed November 10th. It reopened Tuesday, and still has some training issues to address before it's in full compliance with the state. Fayette County Fire Coordinator Steve Cruikshank says the department also plans to revise its bylaws to ensure some public oversight. At least three members of its board will be citizens.

Two More Days for Military Members to Voice Opinions

Veterans and current military members in West Virginia who want to share an opinion with lawmakers have until Friday to do it. A survey has been up since September,, and active military members and veterans in the Mountain State, along with members of the National Guard and Reserves are encouraged to take it. The survey results could lead to legislation in the next regular session that begins in mid-February. You can take the survey online at www.wvmilitarysurvey.com. The deadline is November 30th.

Massey Energy Executive Charged with Crime

Longtime Massey Energy Division President David Hughart has been charged with a federal crime. Hughart, of Crab Orchard has been charged with conspiring to impede the Mine Safety and Health Administration and conspiring to violate mine health and safety laws, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's Office. He was charged in federal district court in Beckley on Tuesday. He is the highest-ranking official charged to date in an ongoing federal investigation. The investiation covers the years 2000 to 2010, and looks into whether illegal warnings were given about federal inspections, and whether workers concealed violations.

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