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Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority executive director Joe DeLong is calling for surveillance cameras to be installed in regional jails, not necessarily to keep tabs on prisoners, but rather the jail staff. Delong told an interim legislative committee this week that 15 correctional officers at the Western Regional jail are on suspension after being accused of using excessive force against inmates. Others allegedly brought contraband into the jail. Some of the guards are accused of helping to cover up wrongdoing.
A memorial service is planned today at 2 p.m. for a former teachers union leader in Kanawha County. Iva Jewell Wilburn died last week at the age of 75. She was president of the Kanawha County Education Association for six years and worked as a teacher at Grandview Elementary School in North Charleston for nearly three decades, according to the Charleston Gazette. She retired in 2001. Services are this afternoon at Bartlett-Burdette-Cox Funeral Home on Charleston's West Side.
Some say the Powerball jackpot could reach higher than $425 million with the buzz surrounding the game's largest jackpot. With millions out buying tickets today and tomorrow, the jackpot could continue to sell. There were several winners Saturday night who won $1 million, and ond $2 million winner, but no numbers matched all of the numbers plus the Powerball to claim the grand prize. Forty two states plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands play Powerball.
State lawmakers returned to Charleston Monday for the November Interim Meetings. Legislative committees heard testimony yesterday about the impacts of national economic changes on West Virginia's economy. Severance tax collections from natural gas were also addressed. Today, state Board of Education President Wade Linger speak to an education subcommittee. Last week the state board approved its response to the comprehensive education efficiency audit that came out in January. Linger will go into detail today before the education subcommittee.
State lawmakers returned to Charleston Monday for Interim meetings. This session continues through Wednesday and is for current lawmakers. Before the 2013 Regular Legislative Session begins on Wednesday, February 13th. lawmakers will meet three more times. The scheduled dates for additional interim meetings are December 10-12, January 7-9 and February 10-12.
The ups and downs of the coal industry flatten out and the industry may become more stable in 2013. West Virginia officials hope coal mining layoffs have eased. More than 4,700 mine workers filed initial unemployment claims earlier this year, but that number dropped to 2,500 last month. Program acting Executive Director Russell Fry said that could be due to ex mine workers getting jobs elsewhere. Fry was among several speakers called Monday by a House-Senate committee studying coal's future in the state.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is still investigating a Sunday evening accident on Interstate 77. Captain Sean Crosier tells us 24-year old Angela Sharps of Julian in Boone County was traveling north on Interstate 77 just north of the Eden's Fork Exit when she lost control of her car. The vehicle went into
the median and rolled, ejecting Sharps from the vehicle. Kanawha County Emergency Medics arrived and attempted to resuscitate Sharps, but they were unsuccessful. The accident remains under investigation.
U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito has announced she'll run in 2014 for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Jay Rockefeller. This ends the speculation that she might run for the seat. Capito was first elected to Congress in 2000 and was recently elected to her seventh term. Rockefeller has not publicly announced whether he'll run for re-election in 2014.
Firefighters are investigating a suspicious fire that broke out over the weekend, which could be connected to other fires that have happened in the past six months. Investigators say the most recent suspicious fire destroyed property Saturday evening at a junkyard on Bufflick Road in Clendenin. Six vehicles, including a large wrecker burned, and many tires as well. Firefighters say this is fourth time in the past six months that the property has caught fire. The investigation is ongoing.
The Fewell family of Winfield has donated its 25-foot Blue Spruce as one of three trees that will be used for holiday displays this year at the state Capitol Complex in Charleston. The tree has become too big for their yard, so they called the state and it became a candidate to light up the Capitol at Christmas. State Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said the Fewells' tree would be used around the north fountain at the Capitol. The other two trees came from Crickmer Farms in the Fayette County. Almost half of the farm's 70 acres is dedicated to Christmas trees, and any family can go there to cut down a tree of their own. A lighting ceremony will be held Dec. 6 at hte State Capitol as part of the annual Joyful Night celebration.