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Sen. Joe Manchin has made it clear he will vote against President Barack Obama's nominee for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman. Manchin said this week on a conference call with the media that nominee Ron Binz's track record as head of Colorado Public Utilities shows he would focus too much on renewable resources. Manchin is on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and wants someone as chairman who would have a more comprehensive approach, and include coal and natural gas. Manchin's no-vote will likely be the one that spoils Binz's nomination.
The Kanawha County Adult Drug Court program graduated 7 people on Thursday. Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin attended the 10th graduation ceremony for the drug court, and that makes more than 50 the number of graduates since the program began in May 2009. The drug court is one of 20 in the state. There are also 16 juvenile drug courts. Proponents of drug courts say they are much cheaper than incarcerating offenders and graduates are less likely to offend again.
At today's Kanawha County Commission meeting, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office will honor two employees for recently helping save lives. Sergeant Justin H. Thaxton prevented a woman from attempting suicide, and Tax Division Deputy Christine Shamblin assisted an interstate traveler who had received a life threatening bee sting until an ambulance arrived to take that person to the hospital. Sheriff John Rutherford will make a presentation at the meeting to honor the two.
Federal prosecutors filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Charleston requesting a plea hearing for Dave Baisden. A trial for Baisden had been set for October 21st, after Baisden allegedly demanded that Appalachian Tire sell him tires for his personal vehicle in 2009 at a discounted price that is available only for government vehicles. A plea hearing wasn't immediately set, but there are reports Baisden will plead guilty. Baisden is no longer Mingo County's purchasing agent, but he is still a county commissioner. The plea hearing request was first reported by The Charleston Gazette.
After the pre-trial hearing was cancelled earlier in the week, a new one has been set for Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury. The judge was indicted last month on federal charges of conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of his former secretary's husband. With no pending motions, a pre-trial hearing this week was cancelled, but a new one has been set for next Thursday, September 26th. Federal prosecutors accuse Thornsbury of plotting to plant drugs on the husband of his secretary, after she broke off an affair with him.
Pratt Mayor Gary Fields is facing drug charges. West Virginia State police say Fields has been charged with misdemeanor drug possession after an arrest August 29th. After Fields ran off the edge of Paint Creek Road, troopers say they found four Roxicodone pills on him that didn't belong to him. It happened in a city car, and that's been taken away by a vote of the city council.
Governor Tomblin is scheduled to attend a ribbon cutting today at Southside K-8 School in War for the dedication of a fitness center it won as part of a national s. The National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Council is awarding 12 fitness centers in nine days this month. Three are in West Virginia. The othe recipients of fitness centers worth $100,000 each are Stratton Elementary in Beckley and Wheeling's Bridge Street Middle School. These schools were awarded fitness centers for demonstrating innovative ways in promoting physical activity and wellness to their students. Priority was given to schools with a high percentage of participation in free and reduced-price meal programs; those with a significant proportion of students considered to be overweight or obese compared to the state average; and schools demonstrating a robust plan for using the equipment. The Live Positively Fitness Centers are fully funded through public/private partnerships and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding.
A Wheeling Middle School student who was arrested last week after bringing a gun to school, has been moved to a mental health facility. The 12 year old boy, in custody of the Department of Health and Human Resources, will remain there until the Ohio County Board of Education meets Friday to decide what punishment he may face.The Wheeling Intelligencer reports police found the loaded weapon in his locker, what's more they don't know where he got the gun. Under the Gun Free Schools Act, school receiving federal funds must expel any student who brings a gun to school for at least one year.
The owners of the 40 year old sternwheeler Spirit of West Virginia have announced its final excursion. Dick and Nancy Daugherty say the last commercial boat operating on the Kanawha River will sail off to Louisiana next month...as it has been sold to a retired towboat operator. Built in 1973, the Spirit of West Virginia has been offering public river tours for the past four seasons. The Daugherty's say a number of factors led to the decision to sell, including maintenance and fuel costs.
A conference covering substance abuse problems in West Virginia continues today at the Charleston Civic Center. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin went over the state's progress in front of a large audience Tuesday, including attendees from 25 states and Canada, as part of the Inaugural West Virginia Behavioral Health Conference. Over three days, speakers are covering developmental disorders, mental health and substance abuse. Governor Tomblin says many strides have been made, but there is still more work to be done. The conference ends Thursday.