Breaking Local News
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.
A jury lsat month found Ethan Chic-Colbert guilty of child neglect and domestic batter after an attack on his girlfriend sent her 11-year old son out to look for help. Jahlil Clements was killed when he was struck by a vehicle trying to flag down help on the interstate. Chic-Colbert will spend between six and 30 years behind bars for the charges. He will then be on supervised release for 25 years.
The mayor of St. Albans, Dick Callaway, has been picked to be the president of the West Virginia Municipal League. Callaway was vice president of the league for the 2011-2012 year, and will serve as president into 2013. The Municipal League connects several towns as a statewide, nonpartisan association of cities, towns and villages. Through the legislature, research, and education, the league works for the best interest of the members. There are 232 of them in West Virginia right now.
Football season is almost here, and West Virginia Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith has landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The magazine is doing five regional covers, and Smith is featured in this region. Others are Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, University of Southern California’s Matt Barkley, Michigan’s Denard Robinson and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. The issue is out this week.
A mayor has stepped down before his term expires. Wayne County Mayor Dwayne Stiltner stepped down this week due to family reasons. The letter of resignation has already been submitted, and the city council will meet tomorrow (Friday) to nominate someone to take over for the rest of the term. Stiltner's term expires in June 2013. Stiltner's 17-year-old daughter, Kristen Stiltner, was killed in a traffic accident in late May and te has been on a leave of absence since then.
Work was stopped briefly on a 4 1/2-mile section of Interstate 79 between Elkview and Clendenin, but it was scheduled to resume this week. Workers had to backtrack and make a warranty fix once after a bad patch of asphalt left the pavement sloughing off in three places on Interstate 79 two miles south of the Clendenin exit. The latest fix had to be made when asphalt began separating from the roadway in another place the northbound lanes. It's a $10.5 million repaving project that began in May, and the contractor has until the end of October to finish the job of repaving all four lanes.