Breaking Local News
A man convicted of sexual assault in Putnam County won't have his case heard before the US Supreme Court. Joseph Lavigne Jr. is serving prison time for sexually assaulting a 5-year old girl, and his lawyer, Greg Ayers, told the Charleston Gazette that the U.S. Supreme Court won't review Lavigne's petition. He was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison in 1996, then set free in 2011 after a Putnam County Judge reversed the conviction. In 2012, the West Virginia Supreme Court reversed that decision and sent him back to prison, where apparently he'll stay.
A technology contest designed to inspire innovation in the shale gas industry is open to West Virginia companies for the first time. The Shale Gas Innovation Contest is run by the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center in State College, Pa. It awarded more than $75,000 in prizes last year. The goal is to help develop environmentally responsible technologies while also creating high-paying jobs. Companies should prepare now to enter the contest in November. Entries can focus on anything from extraction and wastewater technologies to environmental and safety products. In its first two years, the contest was only open to Pennsylvania companies.
Since the shootings last December at Sandy Hook Elementary school, schools have been reevaluating security. West Virginia is no exception. New schools built in the state now will be required to have shatter-proof glass and exterior door alarms. The West Virginia School Building Authority gave those and several other security measures the green light. Schools will also have to have a separate visitor entrance and waiting areas, and administrative offices must have a direct line of sight to a school's parking lot. And the door alarms will sound when a door is ajar.
Two men fishing on the Tug river near west Williamson discovered body floating about 15 feet off the shoreline in shallow water, and once first responders got there they confirmed it was an adult male. The body had been there to long to make a positive ID, and now the state medical examiner's office is conducting an autopsy. The body was found near the spot where a Crab Orchard man went missing Memorial Day weekend, and that's a possible lead being investigated. There's no confirmation the two cases are related, but more information is expected to come once autopsy results are complete.
Dunbar is having its municipal election today. Mayor Jack Yeager is not seeking re-election, so it's Republican Michael Hall and Democrat Terry Greenlee in the mayor's race. For city clerk, Republican Ross “Pepper” Harrison is running against Democrat Connie Fulknier. There will be more than two city council candidates elected in each of four wards. The polls are open until 7:30pm.
A man accused of sending threats and racial slurs to President Obama and his family is from West Virginia, and will be in court today before a federal magistrate. 20-year old Ryan Kirker McMechen of Marshall County is accused of sending a letter to the President in April, with the phrase "KKK forever," along with threats and profanity. An affidavit from a U.S. Secret Service agent said forensic experts also determined that Kirker had written of his plan to someone named John in late March. That letter allegedly mentioned a weapon and his ability to obtain armor-piercing ammunition.
A naturalization ceremony Monday morning at the Robert C. Byrd Courthouse in Charleston gave US citizenship to 45 people. Those folks took the oath of allegiance for citizenship before US District Judge, and included people from India, Croatia, and Pakistan. Some of them registered to vote after becoming official West Virginia residents.
In a second fatal train accident of the weekend, a 55-year old man was hit and killed Saturday afternoon. Police said Michael Pierson of St. Albans was sitting next to the tracks, and got up and tried to cross the tracks as the train approached. He stumbled on the tracks and didn't make it off the tracks in time. It happened just west of B street. About four months ago in the same area, another man died after walking along the tracks.
An accident involving a train Friday evening left a pedestrian dead. It happened Friday around 9pm on Paint Creek Road and MacCorkle Avenue in Hansford. The victim died at the scene after CSX workers said an Amtrack train struck the person, and investigators are looking into the possibility that it may have been suicide. Witnesses said the conductor sounded the horn and started to slow down, but the man never moved.
There will be no moonshine distillery in Ravenswood. Appalachian Mountain Distillery had entertained the idea of putting in the distillery, but decided to look for another site in Jackson County after some Ravenswood residents opposed the idea. Mayor Michael Ihle said the city's zoning ordinance also was a factor. The proposed site isn't zoned for a wholesale distillery. The distillery would have been located near the Independent United Brethren Church and a church member led a petition drive to keep the distillery away. The company still wants to find a site in Jackson County.