Breaking Local News
New information has been released regarding an audit about the West Virginia State Department of Agriculture. Lawmakers say the audit shows evidence of mismanagement of a $5 million loan program administered by the department. Auditors found that 25 of 40 outstanding loans that were given by the department are delinquent. Of half of those delinquent loans, investigators say there was no effort to collect payment. The audit also found the evidence of potential conflicts of interest between former commissioner Gus Douglass and either the loan committee or recipients. For more Charleston / Kanawha Valley news, go to WSAZ.COM
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is planning a listening tour across West Virginia as part of her campaign for U.S. Senate. The 55-county tour will begin later this week in the Northern Panhandle. Other stops are planned over the coming months. The tour will include meetings with seniors, workers, business leaders and students. Tennant said Monday in a news release that she wants to take her campaign directly to West Virginians.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is investigating after a woman's body was found Monday inside a St. Albans apartment. Metro 911 operators received a call of a cardiac arrest on Miracle Drive, near Saint Albans and medics found 26-year old Linda Thornton dead at the scene. Cpl. B-D Humphreys tells us the medical examiner's office is performing an autopsy and toxicology screening to determine a cause of death, and it's possible it was an overdose. Humphrey's also says three children ages 5 years, 3 years, and 5 months were inside the apartment at the time, and Child Protective Services released them to family members.
Senate President Jeff Kessler says he thinks he has the support of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and House Speaker Tim Miley to create a future fund for education and other needs, despite budget woes. Kessler says the plan would set aside a portion of the severance tax on the state's natural gas industry without imposing higher tax rates or affecting current government programs. The plan could infuse more money for future teacher pay raises, infrastructure and other needs. Kessler will push the plan in the upcoming legislative session, which starts tomorrow.
Dunbar police chief Earl Whittington has been police chief for 29 years, and announced his retirement during a City Council meeting Monday night. Meanwhile, Jesse Bailes was sworn in as the new police chief. Bailes is a 27-year veteran of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department. Bailes takes over for Whittington immediately. Whittington has accepted a position with the sheriff's department. For more news to to www.wsaz.com.
Your Christmas tree can continue to serve a useful purpose well after the lights and ornaments are gone. Instead of dragging that dried out pine to the curb for trash pick-up, many are recycling. Saturday, many dropped their trees off at the Capital Market in Charleston, and they'll be placed in lakes across West Virginia to improve fish habitats. Last year, close to 600 trees were collected, but the numbers aren't final yet this year. For more Charleston-Kanawha Valley News go to www.wsaz.com.
A man accused of delivering empty promises to student athletes is being investigated by South Charleston police. Officers say Daniel Hicks is accused of misleading people in a scheme that would have involved a basketball organization known as the West Virginia Angels. The victims are from throughout the United States. It was a similar story in 2011 when students from across the country came to South Charleston -- with the thought that they'd be attending a prep school. The FBI is still taking a closer look into the prep school incident from a few years ago. At that time, Hicks was charged with fraudulent schemes. For more Charleston Kanawha Valley News, go to www.wsaz.com.
A ceremony Friday evening honored a young girl recently killed in a tragic accident. 10-year old Payton Thomas died late last month when a friend accidentally shot her as the two were playing. The community gathered Friday to pay tribute at Ruffner Elementary School where Payton was a third-grader. Payton's parents said they're thankful for the support of the entire community. They also said they have set up a fund to help with expenses. Anyone can donate to the Payton Thomas Memorial Fund at the United Bank along Virginia Street East in Charleston.
Much of the country is in the deep freeze right now, and that record cold is impacting West Virginia. An arctic front is bringing below-zero temperatures and snow to parts of the state, and the National Weather Service says temperatures in northern West Virginia are expected to plunge to 10 to 15 degrees below zero Monday night. For the Charleston area, the National Weather Service says a winter weather advisory is in effect until 3pm today, with up to 3 inches snow accumulation, with the possibility of flash freezing tonight. NWS also issued a wind chill warning starting today at 4PM lasting till 3PM Tuesday. 15-25 MPH winds with gusts to 35 MPH are possible, creating a wind chill of -20 to -30.
Charges have been filed against a second person in connection with a shooting in downtown Charleston on New Year's Day. Police told WSAZ.com, they are charging Jamison Conrad with accessory after a malicious wounding. Police say Conrad was with Michael Underwood Wednesday morning on Virginia Street. Underwood got into a fight with John Scott, and that's when police say Underwood shot Scott. Police say Conrad is an attorney in Fayetteville. Charleston Mayor, Danny Jones is filing ethics charges against him with the West Virginia State Bar. For more, go to www.wsaz.com