Breaking Local News

Judge Sides with Coal Companies

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that wanted to preserve benefits for bankrupt Patriot Coal's active and retired miners. The United Mine Workers of America filed the lawsuit last year, saying the companies set up spinoff companies to rid themselves of their benefits obligations. The lawsuit argued they were still responsible for those benefits under the federal Employee Retirement and Income Securities Act. But the judge sided with Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, ruling the law doesn't protect a pension fund's financial stability.
UMW President Cecil Roberts told The Charleston Gazette the union plans to appeal.

Grant Money Aimed at Attracting New Airline Flight

A $700,000 federal grant could mean that airline travelers can again move between Charleston and Orlando. There has not been a direct flight out of Yeager Airport since June of 2012 when AirTran stopped its route. Southwest Airlines is the parent company. The Charleston Gazette reports the grant money will be used primarily as bait to attract a low-fare airline, and be used toward its marketing and to ease the airline's startup costs. The grant was recently announced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

Water Rates to Increase

In case you missed it, water rates are going up next month for 171,000 West Virginia American Water customers. The state Public Service Commission approved an agreement late last week to raise rates by 6.7 percent starting Oct. 11. Customers with the Fayetteville water system will see a 14 percent rate increase to help pay for repairs to a sewage treatment plant the company acquired in 2008. The company is spreading the costs of that project among customers throughout the state in order to avoid a much bigger an increase for Fayetteville customers. The agreement also keeps the company from filing for another rate increase until January 2015.

Semi Accident Closes I-64

A traffic issue to watch out for this morning....Eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 in Putnam County are impacted this morning after diesel spill. The accident involving a semi happened around 1:30 this morning, and lanes near the Bills Creek overpass were closed most of the night. The accident caused a spill of nearly 200 gallons of diesel fuel.

Man Wanted in Pennsylvania Arrested in Kanawha County

On Wednesday the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office along with the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Cuffed Task Force were following up on a tip that lead them to 809 ½ Somerset Drive in Charleston looking for 48-year old Darryl Duncan. Cpl. BD Humphreys was wanted in Uniontown PA for 2 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle as well several other charges, and he was arrested and charged as a fugitive from justice.

Man Arrested for Ran Assault

A man is facing charges for a weekend incident in Rand. Cpl BD Humphreys tells us Robert Lee Critchfield was arrested for malicious wounding after Roger Fore was injured and taken to an area hospital for treatment. Fore said a man approached him asking for a cigarette and when he said he had none the suspect beat him with an object which caused blunt force trauma injuries and cuts. The investigation is ongoing, so anyone with tips should contact the Kanawha County Sheriff's office.

State Police to Help Ronald McDonald House

An upcoming walk will support the Ronald McDonald House charities. The West Virginia State Police along with the Ronald McDonald House will team up to host the 1st Annual McTrooper 5K Run/Walk at 9 a.m. Oct. 12. The event will start and finish behind Charleston Area Medical Center, and you can register now for $25. Starting October 5th the price to register will go up five bucks. The McTrooper Run supports and promotes Ronald McDonald House’s mission of providing a home away from home for families of seriously ill kids, and will help fund the construction of a new Ronald McDonald House in Charleston.

WV Capitol is Accepting Ornament Submissions

It's that time of year....West Virginia first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin is inviting artists from around the state to submit ornaments to be displayed on the holiday tree at the governor's mansion. Officials say submitted ornaments will be featured in the 2013 Artistree catalog, and participating artists will be invited to a special celebration. Ornaments must be received no later than Nov. 15. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says the ornaments are a reflection of the state's culture and history, and showcases the talent of artists from across West Virginia. The Artistree will be unveiled in conjunction with Joyful Night, the annual holiday celebration at the State Capitol complex on Dec. 3.

Hearing Set for Former Mingo County Commissioner

Former Mingo County Commissioner Dave Baisden will be in court next week. A federal judge has scheduled a guilty plea hearing for Tuesday as Baisden faces a federal extortion charge. Baisden is accused of demanding that Appalachian Tire sell him tires for his personal vehicle at a discounted price reserved for government vehicles. When the company refused, Baisden took away the county contract. US Attorney Booth Goodwin has said that cost Appalachian Tire "tens of thousands of dollars since 2009." After the hearing Tuesday, Baisden will face trial October 21st.

Lawmaker Calls for Review of Communications Audit

A West Virginia lawmaker wants federal, state and local prosecutors to review an audit of a statewide microwave communications network. A legislative audit released this week says a $38 million expansion of the network ignored state purchasing laws. Delegate Larry Kump wants to know whether a criminal investigation is warranted. The audit said the funding for the network expansion was part of a $126 million stimulus grant to bring the latest broadband and telecommunication gear to the state. The plan includes building 12 towers and refurbishing five others to fill a gap in the microwave communication system for law enforcement and other first responders.

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