Breaking Local News
The Division of Corrections has told the McDowell County Commission to address deficiencies at the Stevens Correctional Center or risk losing its contract to house state inmates at the facility. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein sent a letter to the commission regarding the deficiencies earlier this month. The issues include staff members not following Division of Corrections directives and the letter says the county owes the division liquidated damages under the contract. The letter also says the division would cancel the contract if the problems aren't resolved. But the agency is willing to waive damages and assist in transferring the facility's ownership and operations to the state.
Electricity customers may see higher bills in the coming months. American Electric Power wants the state Public Service Commission to approve a 17 percent rate increase to recover costs related to the 2012 Derecho and then Superstorm Sandy. Under the rate hike, the average customer that uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month would see their monthly bill go from $94 to $116. Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper issued a statement saying nobody likes a rate increase, but Appalachian Power has brought in extra resources to restore power quickly after storms. The company's tree trimming program cost millions of dollars to ensure that trees are away from the lines to reduce power outages in future storms. And the power company says it will work with customers on payment arrangements for those who need it.
Sunday morning just before 2am there was a shooting on Fawn Lane in Tornado. The Kanawha County Sheriff's office says a 16 year old male from Charleston was shot in the lower back. He was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center’s General Division for treatment. His injury was described as non-life-threatening. The shooting happened at a large party and bon fire on property on Fawn Lane with about 60-70 vehicles there at one point, according to witnesses. A fight led up to the shooting, and detectives have been interviewing witnesses. Anyone with information about the party or the shooting is asked to call 304-357-0169 or submit information through: www.kanawhasheriff.us.
Miners who died 99 years ago are being remembered with a new memorial, and that was dedicated on Saturday. The community Layland Miners Memorial remembers the 115 miners who died in one of West Virginia's worst mining disasters on March 2 1915. You can still see pieces of the mine in the place where Layland Baptist Church now stands. Investigators never could pinpoint an exact cause for the explosion.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office conducted a DUI checkpoint along Highway 25 near Institute Saturday night, and said the checkpoints are designed to crack down on driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. The sheriff's office made a record number of DUI arrests in May, and will continue the stepped up enforcements this summer.
Frontier Communications and the Communications Workers of America have extended their contract again while negotiations continue on a new labor agreement. Frontier says the existing contract will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 2. The contract was set to expire Saturday night. The company and the union have extended the contract several times since negotiations began in mid-June 2013. Frontier East Region vice president Ken Arndt says in a news release that the two sides have made substantial progress. The contract covers more than 1,500 workers in West Virginia.
The West Virginia Board of Education says its top candidate for the state Superintendent of Schools position is Michael Martirano, and he's expected to take over the position on July 1. He will replace Jim Phares, who will retire June 30. Martirano is serving in his ninth year as superintendent of St. Mary's County Public Schools in Maryland. He's currently is the longest-serving superintendent in Maryland. Charles Heinlein is serving until the position is permanently filled. He will return to his current position as after the schools chief is officially hired. Martirano will be introduced to the public at a July 9 board meeting.
The sentencing is coming up in August for one of the three people accused of robbing the Chase Bank in Charleston. Stephen Spires pleaded guilty Thursday to robbing the bank last October. At a hearing Wednesday, Spires' attorney asked Judge Jennifer Bailey for a suspended sentence, and after research she came back and said she couldn't do it. As part of Thursday's plea deal, the state agreed that it won't seek the "three strikes your out" rule. This is the third felony conviction for Spires so he would have been sentenced to life in prison. Instead he'll face 10-20 years when he's sentenced on August 19.
WorkForce West Virginia is getting more than $191,000 in federal funding to help West Virginians who are out of work find employment opportunities. Sen. Joe Manchin says the funds are through the Re-Employment and Eligibility Assessments program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Officials say the funding will be used to help individuals with re-employment plans, unemployment benefits eligibility, and referrals.
A Jackson County bomb plot has been unraveled, and the criminal complaint says the suspect threatened to blow up a bomb on an elementary school playground. 20-year old Blake Ryan Garnes of Evans is charged with terrorist threats and possession of an incendiary device, according to the complaint. It also details the bomb that he had built from scratch, and includes threats to detonate the bomb at his family's home and at the elementary school playground. Notes were also found outlining a dark obsession with death, misery, and killing others. The Kanawha County bomb squad was part of the raid on Garnes’ home in Evans.