Breaking Local News
A Putnam County family law judge is the subject of a youtube video that surfaced this week. Judge William Watkins is seen screaming and yelling at preacher Arthur Hage and threatened him with jail. Hage was in court for a divorce hearing that involved the sale of their home. Watkins accused Hage of leaking a picture of his home to a blogger. Hage denies knowing the blogger. Judge Watkins has recused himself from the case, and Hage says he wants Watkins removed from the bench.
Hiram Lewis can still practice law. The former US Senate and Attorney General candidate is accused of shooting Stephen Bogart earlier this month, and while Lewis works his way through his own court case, the State Supreme Court has withdrawn their petition to suspend Lewis' law license. Lewis says Bogart was breaking into his home at the time of the shooting. Bogart says he lived there. At this point, Lewis can still practice law, but the Office of Disciplinary Counsel continues their investigation.
A member of the Hurricane City Council faces accusations that he solicited a minor. 31-year old Scott Cunningham was arrested Wednesday and charged with two felony counts of soliciting a minor via computer. Reports say sexually explicit text messages were sent to a 13-year old girl whom he was acquanited with. Cunningham resigned from the city council shortly after his arrest, and is free on bond.vvCunningham was elected to Hurricane City Council in June 2011 as a member of the Citizens Party.
The National Weather Service says not to expect any break in the heat this weekend. Kanawha County Emergency Management sends the reminder to avoid strenuous activity in the heat and make sure you drink lots of water. If you start feeling even a little bit bad, get out of the heat right away.
A lawsuit has been filed against Charleston government leaders and two newspapers in Kanawha County over the 2011 city election. The lawsuit was filed in US District court by former mayoral candidate Janet Thompson, claiming the election was unfair. She contends the machine that was supposed to add up and confirm the ballots was not used, which made the outcome unofficial. The suit also says she's suffered humilation and emotional distress, aggravation, inconvenience, and has lost her belief and trust in democray. Numerous local leaders are named in the suit, includig Kanawha County Commissioners Kent Carper, Dave Harper, and Hoppy Shores. It also names the county commission on the whole, plus the county clerk's office and the city of Charleston.
West Virginia was recognized this week for getting more students into the Advanced Placement Program. State education officials received the 2012 AP Beacon Award this week in Charleston. An effort that started two years ago seems to be paying off, getting more students involved in the classes the will give them a boost in college with a targeted focus on low income and minority students. Nine percent of students in West Virginia were part of Advanced Placement classes ten years ago, and last year the rate had surpassed twenty percent.
Water and sewer upgrades are coming to Putnam County with the help of federal money. The USDA Rural Development approved a $600,000 loan for Putnam County Public Service District. A news release from the water supplier says it has more than nine thousand customers, and the funds will be used to give them new service lines and in some cases upgrade to touch read meters. Two water storage tanks will be upgraded and another new one will be built. This in addition to the $1.5 million loan that is coming to Putnam County from the USDA Rural Development.
Prelimary court proceedings are underway for Shawn Lester, who's accused of shooting three people in 2003. Prosecutors argued yesterday that new evidence places Lester at the scene of the crime when three people were gunned down with a rifle at Campbells Creek Speedway. These are the pretrial motions being hear now, with the trial set for July. Lester is accused of shooting sniper-style, and killing Gary Carrier, Jeanie Patton, and Okey Meadows.
A dispute between two hospitals appears to be settled, after Fairmont General Hospital drops the fight to stop Charleston-based Highland Hospital from opening an new mental health center in Clarksburg. Fairmont had been concerned about damage from competition if Highland converted the former United Hospital Center into a large psychiatric facility. But now after coming to an agreement with the state, Fairmont will be designated a primary referral hospital for the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston. That's enough for Fairmont, and they'll drop the court proceedings against Highland.
A triple murder suspect is in custody. The story that covers several West Virginia counties and ended with a police chase in Kanawha County last night along Interstate 79. West Virginia State Police had been looking for a brown 1991 Ford Bronco believed to be traveling toward Charleston. The driver was a suspect in a triple murder in Webster County where two men and a woman were found shot to death. Another suspect had already been taken into custody, and this suspect was arrested near the Roane-Kanawha County line along Interstate 79. Police say the murders are thought to be drug related.