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Sheriff's deputies had a busy night Sunday, with three gaming parlors robbed in western Kanawha and Putnam counties within a few hours time. Deputies say a white male suspect went into Kelly’s Café on MacCorkle Avenue in Jefferson with a gun and demanded money, and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. That was shortly after midnight Monday morning. Then at 2:20am, Nitro Police found a suspect matching the robber's description at Wal-Mart at Nitro Place. 31-year old Justin Lee Brafford was found with a large sum of money, a semi-automatic pistol and camouflage clothing, according to Captain Sean Crosier. He was arrested and charged with 1st Degree Armed Robbery. Deputies are still working to see if he's connected to the other robberies.
Department of Highway workers ask for patience this month as they work on the Dunbar toll bridge. Drivers who move from South Charleston to Dunbar over the Kanawha River, should know it may not be a quick and easy trip. Through the end of March, one lane of the Dunbar Toll Bridge will be shut down from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from dawn to dusk on Saturday and Sunday for federally mandated inspections. Traffic is already heavier on the Dunbar bridge because of the demolition of the bridge that used to connect Nitro to St. Albans.
A West Virginia Senate committee advanced a bill Monday that would raise the minimum coverage that auto insurers have to provide. Under current law, auto insurance must provide a minimum of $40,000 to cover all bodily injuries and $10,000 to cover property damage. The bill originally wanted to raise those minimums to $100,000 for injuries and $25,000 for property. The version that emerged from the committee Monday raised the minimums to $50,000 for injuries and $25,000 for property. Opponents say the changes would result in higher premiums and more uninsured drivers. Supporters say the current limits are 34 years old and have not been adjusted for inflation.
The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Board of Trustees announced this week it's releasing grant money totalling over $694.000. A news release from the Foundation said is focusing on a "Community Wealth Creation" framework and measuring success. The seven forms of community wealth are: intellectual, individual, social, natural, built, political and financial," and with that in mind grants were awarded to 41 different organizations in Kanawha, Putnam, Clay, Fayette, Lincoln, and Boone counties, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Arts Council of the Kanawha Valley, Charleston Civic Chorus, Charleston Ballet Inc, and Charleston East End Main Street.
An armed robbery in eastern Kanawha County is under investigation. Police say Saturday at 2:15am an armed man held up the Go-Mart on Route 60 in Cedar Grove and got away with cigarettes. So far no arrests, but Cedar Grove Police are searching for the man and following up on leads.
The Boy Scouts will discuss the gay ban this week. Boy Scouts of America leaders, parents and scouts in West Virginia plan to meet Tuesday to talk about the impact of ending the BSA's ban on gay leaders and scouts. The Charleston Gazette reports the meeting will include donors too. This comes after national scouting leaders asked local chapters to discuss the change. A decision is expected in May.
Kanawha County sheriff's deputies are looking for the person who robbed a video lottery parlor at gunpoint last night. Deputies say an armed woman walked in to Ivy's video lottery parlor along Washington Street West near Cross Lanes just after 9 p.m. Sunday, threatened employees and made off with cash. Investigators are working now to see if the woman is connected to a purse-snatching at Amber's in Cross Lanes before the armed robbery. She's described as having sandy, blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, and she was driving a Toyota Corolla.
The miner killed Wednesday night in Boone County had 40 years of experience, and died at the age of 63. State mine safety officials say Asa Fitzpatrick died after rock from the mine roof fell on him as he prepared to install a roof bolt at a Patriot Coal subsidiary. This was the fifth mining-related fatality in West Virginia this year. It's the first since Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin urged a statewide stand down for safety talks in February.
A new report by the National Research Council says miners need better resources and safety training. The report outlines seven recommendations for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the National Occupational Safety and Health Administration. One of those recommendations is to accelerate efforts to develop other technologies that could help miners save themselves by escaping. Things like better communication systems, real-time gas monitors and fail-safe tracking devices. Rather than propose new regulations, the report emphasizes self-escape training and tools for underground miners.
An honor flight is planned for this spring, taking area Veterans from World War II, or the Korea or Vietnam wars to Washington DC to see their memorials. The flight will have room for 149 veterans, their doctors and guardian assistants. Since their inception in 2005, the honor flights have taken 100,000 veterans to Washington DC, paid for by donations. The West Virginia flight will take off from Tri-Sate Airport in Huntington May 11th.