Breaking Local News
There's been a pretty significant development after the firing of state superintendent Jorea Marple. Because Marple's firing may have violated the state's open meetings law, State Board of Education members will meet again next week to again consider her firing. The agenda for the meeting, scheduled for Nov. 29, was posted on the state Department of Education's website Tuesday evening and says the meeting will include the "reconsideration of termination of state superintendent of schools including public comment and the consideration of hiring a new state superintendent." Board members voted 5-2 to fire Marple at their Nov. 15 meeting, but the item was not listed on the agenda.
FEMA has extended the deadline for West Virginia residents to sign up for individual assistance. The original deadline was Monday, but those affected by the June 29th wind storms now have until Dec. 19 to make the request for assistance. The extension applies to residents in counties including Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, Nicholas, Roane, Tyler, Webster and Wood counties. If you have yet to register for assistance, you can call the FEMA hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA or log on at www.disasterassistance.gov.
A Charleston woman is facing charges after police say she tried to smuggle drugs into the South Central Regional Jail. Troopers say 21-year old Brittany Mullins reported to jail to serve weekend hours for a previous offense, and correctional officers said they discovered 12 tablets after Mullins attempted to flush them down a toilet. Mullins was charged with possession with intent to deliver and introduction of contraband into a corrections facility, and remained in the South Central Regional Monday.
The Cookskin holiday light display will begin later than usual because of damage from Superstorm Sandy. The light show typically happens the day after Thanksgiving, but the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission voted last week to postpone it until Saturday Dec. 1.
A suspect in an October murder now has a warrant out for his arrest. Police are looking for 24-year old Richard Bernard Hilliard of Kanawha County. He is described as 6 feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. There was a shooting Oct. 11 near Milton and Richards streets in Charleston and 26-year old David Juaboi Booker of Charleston was killed. After an investigation, Charleston police issued the first-degree murder arrest warrant for Hilliard. Anyone with information on where Hilliard is should call Charleston Police.
Investigations are underway into animal cruelty. Point Pleasant police are investigating reports of cats being tortured and killed. The Point Pleasant Register reports there have ben two separate incidents of cats being dumped into the Ohio River after being tortured.
In an unrelated case, more than 70 animals were seized recently in Preston County. The Dominion Post newspaper reports that the malnourished animals included 29 dogs, 14 cats, five guinea pigs, two pot belly pigs, 20 chickens and a goat. Four people were arrested in that case.
A brush fire in the town of Twilight in Boone County spread to a thousand acres Monday, but that fire has been contained. The fire has been burning for three days. The West Virginia Division of Forestry says the fire was caused by a burning coal seam that caught leaves on fire. Forestry crews and their equipment will move to Big Ugly Creek Road in Lincoln County this morning where another brush fire has begun spreading.
Charleston firefighters are investigating another suspicious fire. A vacant West Side home burned Saturday night, and investigators say the fire started in the basement of the home at 2609 7th Avenue. Nobody was hurt, and firefighters were able to knock the flames down before they spread to other nearby houses. Investigators think the fire is arson and somebody has set the home on fire before. This is added to a list of suspicious fires on the West Side in the past few weeks.
Charleston police are still investigating a suspicious package sent to the mayor's home Friday morning. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones received a dead pigeon, gift wrapped at the end of his driveway about 8 a.m. Friday and a threatening note to the mayor was attached. Charleston police say in a news release they are processing the evidence and want anybody with information on the package to call the Charleston Police Department.
A new fire station in Sissonville is open now. It's named after longtime chief Thomas K. Johnson who was with the fire department in some capacity from 1961 to 2011 and then retired. Two years ago, the fire station burned to the ground, and this weekend's ribbon cutting marked a moment of victory for firefighters who not only lost their place of employment with the fire, but also the history of the building. Station 26 is up and running now, rebuilt largely with FEMA assistance and public donations. The fire station had been running out of Charleston Auto.