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West Virginia 1st Judicial Circuit Judge Martin Gaughan suffered a stroke seven months ago and had been receiving treatment at Charleston General Hospital. He'll be back on the bench today, and West Virginia Supreme Court justices will be there to welcome him back. He'll preside over Hancock, Brooke, and Ohio counties.
A documentary on the Kanawha River will air this Sunday on public television. The river covers about a hundred miles and has one of the busiest inland waterways in the country. It's grown into that after serving as a trade route for American Indians in the history books. The Great Kanawha: An American Story, premieres at 8:30 p.m. June 24, and covers pre-historic times through the research of an archaeologist, all the way up to present day....in a one hour documentary.
It was a warm day Saturday, but the FestivALL crowds came out to Capitol Street and Kanawha Boulevard anyway. The food, the five mile race, and the weiner dog races were all a big hit. FestivALL 2012 kicked off Friday and continues until June 24.
Crews continue to make progress on the new Sissonville fire station. The heavy work of pouring concrete began Friday, and if the weather cooperates and all goes as planned, the new volunteer fire station could open in November. It's at 383 Call Road in Sissonville, and will be called the Thomas K Johnson Fire Station. Meanwhile, members of the Sissonville volunteer fire department recently met with Kanawha County commissioners about increasing funding. The volunteer firefighters say costs have gone up which puts pressure on revenue streams. If any levies are proposed or taxes are raised, the public would have its say.
Sen. Joe Manchin brought two other senators to West Virginia to showcase the state's energy industries. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were part of the two-day tour aimed a highlighting West Virginia as a diverse energy-producing state, not just a coal producer. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was on hand to meet the group at Yeager Airport in Charleston on Saturday. One of the spots the group visited was Arch Coal's Mountain Laurel Complex in Sharples in Logan County. One of the senators on the trip could become the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this year.
Putnam County Commissioners have approved an increase to the fire fee. A one hundred percent increase was rejected last year, but this time a fifty percent increase was approved, and it will be the first hike in 25 years. It means beginning in January, a homeowner who pays $25 a year would pay $37.50 annually based on the square footage of the home.
The good news for Wiseman Construction of Charleston....the company was the apparent low bidder on the contract to renovate 34 restrooms, 3 women's lounges, and 9 janitors' closets at the State Capitol. The bad news....the company under-estimated what it would actually cost to finish the renovations by about $3.3 million. The bid was for $6 million and the actual cost is closer to $9.3 million. The other bidders were in that $9 to $10 million ballpark. All of the bids are being evaluated more closely.
A woman appeared before a Putnam County magistrate yesterday, accused of trying to hire a man to kill her former boss. 43-year old Gigi Lynn Hinchcliffe was allegedly upset with the former boss because he owed her $700, and she's accused of asking another man to kill him or give her the name of someone else who would carry it out. The Putnam County Sheriff's office started investigating after the alleged hitman contacted them to turn Hinchcliffe in. The case has been forwarded to a grand jury for consideration.
Two people were found passed out in a van that belonged to a mortuary early Thursday, and they've been arrested. Deputies found the van at the 7-11 on West Main in St. Albans around 2am Thursday, and it was registered to Tri-State Mortuary, who said neither Michael Parsons nor John Shaver had permission to use it. Both have been charged with joyriding, and Parons faces charges of driving on a revoked license. Shaver was charged with obstructing an officer. Both went to South Central Regional Jail.
Police got a break in a graffiti case this week and arrested three men. Two adults and a juvenile were arrested and charged with destruction of property after allegedly tagging signs and businesses in North Charleston. 20-year old Cody Ryder Pfeiffer of Charleston faces a felony destruction of property charge and could spend one to ten years behind bars if convicted. He has a preliminary hearing is set for June 22nd. 21-year old Joshua Lee Bailey is charged with misdemeanor property destruction. The juvenile's name hasn't been released.