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The Putnam County Veteran's Court progam has been active for about two years, and Friday Charles Tucker became the first graduate, meaning he finished everything he needed to finish in the court and the charges were cleared. The program is meant to help veterans transition back to civilian life after serving, and after having a run-in with the law. The veterans have to do community service, report to officers daily, and attend councelling for drug or mental issues.
For 55 years, the state has only elected Senate Democrats. Jay Rockefeller and the late Robert Byrd spent about three and five decades each in Washington. Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Natalie Tennant are vying for retiring Rockefeller's seat. And there are national implications, because that and other contests could sway a slim Democratic Senate majority. Either would make history as the state's first female U.S. senator.
A former lawn care worker has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing a 90-year-old Charleston man with a hammer. The Charleston Gazette reports a Kanawha County circuit judge sentenced 40-year-old Anthony David Caldwell this week after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in July. Prosecutors say Caldwell hit George Molle Jr. with a hammer and took money from the victim's house. Police found Molle's body inside the house on Jan. 3. Police say Caldwell had worked for a lawn-care business used by Molle.
Charleston lawyer Joanna Tabit has been appointed to fill a vacant judgeship in Kanawha County. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tabit's appointment as Kanawha County Circuit Court judge, replacing Paul Zakaib, who retired after serving as a Kanawha County circuit judge for nearly 30 years. Tabit has been a member of the Steptoe & Johnson law firm. She previously served as an assistant attorney general and also worked as an adjunct professor at the West Virginia University College of Law.
Hundreds of people have put a lot of hours into their vehicles, and they've shined them up to park them in Charleston this weekend. You might notice the classic cars, muscle cars and antiques lining Kanawha Boulevard as part of the Boulevard Rod Run & Doo Wop. Jack Jarvis, president of the Rod Run and Doo Wop says a large number of West Virginians like to tinker with old cars:
There are about a thousand vehicles expected through Sunday.
Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick says reprinting ballots to include a Republican House of Delegates candidate will cost $37,000. There are 50,800 ballots that will be reprinted after a Supreme Court decision Wednesday that requires adding Marie Sprouse-McDavid's name. In August, election commissioners denied Republicans' request to fill the 35th District ballot after GOP Del. Suzette Raines withdrew. State Democrats sued Raines, alleging she doesn't live where she claims and didn't complete certain paperwork. The ruling says Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and state election commissioners misinterpreted election laws by letting Raines withdraw without filling the ballot opening.
A Do Not Drink The Water order has been issued at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston. Students at BridgeValley campus have been warned with signs up , and a letter has gone out that the WV Regional Technology Park is experiencing low dissolved oxygen rates and low residual chlorine levels in some water samples. They're checking into the possibility of bacteria, but it's not really clear yet what's causing the odor. Testing continues, and until it's complete the Do Not Drink order is in effect.
West Virginia higher education officials are promoting a campaign to get students through college on time. As the campaign's name suggests, the "15 to Finish" initiative encourages students to take 15 credit hours each semester. That puts a student seeking a four-year degree on track to finish his or her studies in four years. Proponents of the campaign say research shows that taking a full course load each semester improves academic performance, reduces student loan debt and increases a student's job prospects. The policy has been promoted by the Higher Education Policy Commission.
A federal judge has upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection's retroactive veto of a permit for a mountaintop removal coal mine in West Virginia. The ruling this week by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., says the EPA's action was reasonable and supported by the record. In 2011, the EPA revoked a water pollution permit that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued four years earlier to Arch Coal for the Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County. The EPA concluded that mining practices at the mine would cause irreparable environmental damage and threaten health. The judge had ruled earlier that the EPA overstepped its authority. A federal appeals court overturned that ruling and sent the case back to Judge Jackson, and she upheld the ruling.
Human remains were found in Clendenin in August, and the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office wants help identifying them. The white male was about 50 years old, and the sheriff's office says he had suffered a traumatic brain injury in recent years which may have been the result of a car or ATV crash. He had broken ribs and was also missing several teeth that probably related to the accident. If you can help identify the man, call 304-357-0169.