Breaking Local News
The Charleston Work Release Center is moving to a new location on Hansford Street soon, and the Daily Mail reports the facility will have state-of-the-art security upgrades. Extra video cameras will be installed and a fence will separate the inmates from those walking by. Most of the inmates there are non-violent and are on their way out of the system, so security worries aren't usually there. But at the current center, anyone walking through the neighborhood can walk right up and and walk around the grounds. Surveillance cameras wil go up at nearby businesses at the new Hansford Street spot too. Inmates could move in by the end of the year.
Changes are coming to the drive between South Charleston and Dunbar. Work continues on the westbound Interstate 64 bridge, and crews are planning to switch the traffic pattern onto the newly finished lanes so they can work on the current travel lanes. Some relief could be coming by the 4th of July too, with crews anticipating they'll be able open a third lane in time for the busy travel weekend. Transportation officials are optomistic they'll have work completely finished on that stretch of road by the end of this year. The $93 million eastbound bridge has been open since 2010, and crews now are working on $11 million in renovations to the westbound side.
Police are looking for an escaped inmate from the Beckley Correctional Center. 43-year old James Hall Jr. didn't return from work detail on Friday. He is described as a white male, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 155 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. He has multiple tattoos, including "MOM'' on the top left hand and a barbwire wrap on the upper left arm. Hall is serving a sentence for breaking and entering.
John Damron worked for the state Dept of Environmental Protection as a mine inspector for thirty years, and also happened to be a longtime outfielder for the Corporate Cup softball team. Damron was honored during a recent Corporate Cup tournament with special t-shirts. Damron died in April after his state-issued SUV crashed into the Kanawha River at the intersection of U.S. 119 and MacCorkle Avenue. The vehicle was located about three days later. The Kanawha Valley YMCA sponsors Corporate Cup softball, and teams continue to play through the end of the month.
Water main breaks in Beckley have a boil water advisory in effect until further notice. The pipes burst in the Dry Hill Road and Sweeeneysburg areas. Beckley Water Company issued a boil advisory for Sweeneysburg Road, starting at the intersection of Dry Hill Road and Sweeneysburg Road and extending to Pax Road and Clear Fork Road along Spruce Mountain. Also included is the lower section of Maple Fork Road up to Burn Bowyer Road. All side streets are included. The town of Pax has also asked customers of the entire water system to boil their water. That means let the water come to a rolling boil for one minute before using it.
As rural hospitals face funding cuts, some are getting a break. Rural hospitals that have 25 or fewer beds like Roane General in Spencer or Boone Memorial in Madison and 18 others, face cuts that could mean a reduction of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They'll get a reprieve under a new federal plan to pay small rural hospitals for caring for Medicare patients. The rural hospitals are on tight budgets already, and any cuts could make it difficult for them to stay afloat. Meetings that included the Governor, hosptial officials, and lawmakers this month appears to have led to an agreement, the details of which are still being ironed out.
Police are investigating the armed robbery of a South Charleston 7-11 store. Police say a man robbed the store neary the intersection of Kanawha Turnpike and Chestnut Street around 5pm Sunday, then rode away on a bicycle. The suspect is described as a Hispanic man dressed in a t-shirt and shorts and police have few leads. Anyone with information should call South Charleston Police at 304-744-6903.
The Stand Your Ground law in Florida has received much attention lately because of the Trayvon Martin shooting. But West Virginia has the same law. It allows a person to protect their home with reasonable, and sometimes deadly force. Twenty six states have similar laws. Members of the group, the Second Chance Campaign, are writing letters to lawmakers and working to get the law repealed in West Virginia and all states that have the law. So far, the reports are that West Virginia lawmakers have no intention of repealing the law.
The Kanawha County school system is looking into questionable purchases and practices at the Crede Operations Facility and the maintenance department. After an internal investigation that lasted about three months, the Maintenance Department director told the school board last week that more than two thousand dollars in cash was missing, along with air conditioning units valued at around $7800. The investigation also showed at least three thousand dollars was improperly spend on power tools, and a lack of oversight is getting the blame. Measure for more oversight are being put in place, and the information has been turned over to the Kanawha County Sheriff's office.
Mountaineer Gas customers will have the chance to voice their opinions on a proposed rate hike. The Charleston-based company is seeking a rate increase that would send a typical bill up by about $3.40 each month. Large customers would be exempt from the rate increase. The state public service commission will hold the public hearings in Charleston today, in Huntington July 5th, and July 12th in Beckley.