Breaking Local News
James Matheny was convicted in May of using a deadly weapon to assault FBI Special Agent Todd Berry and West Virginia secretary of state investigator James Wise in a voting fraud investigation, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The investigators were attempting to question Matheny about an absentee ballot when the crime occurred. Prosecutors now have recommended a 10-year prison sentence. Since Matheny's conviction, Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman, County Commissioner Thomas Ramey and County Clerk Donnie Bowman have all been highlighted in the alleged conspiracy.
Police have noticed an increase of drug overdoses lately. It's a potent new drug that was first thought to be a form of orange crack cocaine, which is the substance called AM 2201, a synthetic cannibinoid that's been used to coat the potpourri that was sold as synthetic marijuana. It's a powdery substance that was apparently smoked by those who have overdosed. It made them sick, and at least eight people were hospitalized because of it last week in Charleston. It's an illegal substance, because recent state and federal synthetic drug laws banned it. Detectives have a lead on who might be supplying the drug, but they welcome tips as the investigation continues.
Putnam County Sheriff's detectives continue to investigate the death of a three year old boy. The boy's mother called police after finding him unresponsive late Thursday or early Friday, and as police were talking to the mother they noticed drug paraphenalia in the apartment, according to the search warrant. The father was arrested 24-year old Cheyenne Cody Roush of Winfield for violating a protective order. Roush was engaged to marry the child's mother, Leslie Lilly, according to their Facebook pages. Autopsy results are pending for the child, and police continue to investigate.
The University of Charleston has put together a complete guide for students at Mountain State. The school loses accreditation December 31, and the University of Charleston has taken over. UC has to provide a teach out plan that shows how current Mountain State students can graduate by either staying at the school or transferring. The new guide is available on UC's website and shows options in four categories: those who can graduate in the fall semester; those planning to graduate in the spring; underclassmen pursuing a degree UC offers; and undergraduates in a program UC will not adopt. Students graduating this fall can stay at Mountain State, but if they want the University of Charleson on their diploma they'll have to transfer.
Former Kanawha County magistrate Carol Fouty was officially removed from the ballot last week, and now Kanawha County republicans have picked her replacement. John Jarman was on the Kanawha County primary ballot as a candidate for assessor, and now he'll be listed candidate for magistrate. Jarman ran for assessor in May, and lost the Republican primary to Forest Carper. Jarman also owns Town and Country Publications in Clendenin. Fouty resigned as part of a settlement with the state Judicial Investigation Commission.
Shawn Lester was back in court Thursday. He's been convicted in one of the three sniper-style shootings in the Kanawha Valley and faced unrelated federal drug charges yesterday. Lester is accused of distributing oxycodone and cocaine between 2005 and 2011 near Sissonville. Lester was indicted on the charges in July and pleaded not guilty yesterday. If he's convicted, Lester faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. In a plea deal, Lester pleaded guilty to the murder of Jeannie Patton, who was one of three people shot to death at a Kanawha County gas station in 2003. Murder charges in the deaths of Gary Carrier Jr. and Okey Meadows Jr. were dropped as part of the deal.
Former Kanawha County magistrate Carol Fouty is officially off the ballot. The State Judicial Investigation Commission charged Fouty in April with five counts of violating the ethics code for alleged conflicts of interest and for granting favors. Under a tentative settlement Fouty pleaded guilty to one of the counts, resigned immediately and promised to remove herself from November's election. The state Election Commission removed Fouty this week. The Kanawha County Republican Party has less than a week to name a replacement.
Layoffs are coming to South Charleston. Company officials with the Clearon plant will temporarily shut down in mid-September and lay off between 45 and 50 workers. The temporary closure is expected to last between two and two-and-a-half months, and is necessary because of the market conditions, according to the company. The company makes chlorinated dry bleach like those used in the swimming pool industry, and a poor housing market affects the swimming pool market. There are also issues with markets overseas. Whether the plant reopens, will depend on market conditions.
An effort is underway to spread broadband internet service to rural areas, and the West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council has started accepting applications for $4 million in grant funding to put toward the effort. The money will go to groups that provide broadband coverage to rural towns, or groups that sponsor initiatives to encourage people to sign up for high-speed Internet. Applications for the grant funds are due September 14.
Kanawha County employees are getting their first pay raise in six years. Although there have been a few raises here and there, County Commissioners approved the raises across the board last night. Each employee gets a $1000 raise effective September 1, which costs the county half a million dollars.