Breaking Local News
West Virginia state police have a class of cadets, that were part of a first-ever accelerated program. The 28 cadets were already part of law enforcement in some capacity. The new troopers were sworn in Monday morning at West Virginia State Police Academy in Institute. Overall, there have been 64 classes of cadets with 3,500 troopers on patrol in the past century because of the program. The first order of duty for the new troopers will be field training.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is investigating Monday morning's fatal accident. 21-year old Ashley Whitehair of Elkview was killed just after getting off a KRT bus. It happened on Frame Road in Elkview, and she was hit by a pickup truck near the entrance to the Elk Crossings Apartment complex as the truck was headed east toward US Route 119. Deputies are looking into whether the bright horizon was a factor in the accident, and they're considering driver error, speed, mechanical faliure, and the environment.
Last night was the first night for the Dunbar Bridge closure, but the bridge will continue to be shut down at night through the week. The state Department of Transportation says the bridge will be closed each night for inspection from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through this Friday the 28th. Drivers may see the alerts via the electronic message boards that are up along U.S. 60 and Interstate 64.
Kanawha County officials are creating a computer program to catalog hazardous materials storage sites that could threaten the county's waterways. C.W. Sigman is the county's deputy emergency services director and tells the Charleston Gazette that emergency services and Metro 911 officials are developing the computerized tracking system, which County Commissioner Dave Hardy requested in the aftermath of the January Elk River chemical spill. Hardy says officials need to be proactive in finding facilities that store hazardous materials. Sigman says there are several hundred in Kanawha County. Sigman says five water plants provide drinking water to Kanawha residents, and all are supplied by rivers.
Charleston police have a teenager in custody related to several breakins over the past year. The 17-year old admitted to breaking into cars and buildings in the Abney Circle area of Charleston, according to police, and may be linked to breakins in other parts of the city. Investigators are looking at unsolved car burglary cases to see if the teen might be involved.
West Virginia has the highest percentage of flood insurance policies that will see premiums rise as part of the federal government's overhaul of a subsidy program, according to an analysis of government figures. In 2012, Congress enacted a law that redrew the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood zone maps and required about 1 million policyholders to begin paying rates based on the true risk of flooding at their properties. An Associated Press analysis of government data found that of the 21,000 West Virginia homes and businesses in the National Flood Insurance Program, 57 percent face premium increases. Those are the roughly 12,200 policyholders receiving subsidies in the state.
Thirteen people are facing charges after a sting operation at Charleston's Transit Mall. Charleston police conducted the sting Saturday night after pressure from citizens who complained about issues. Some of the charges were for outstanding felony warrants, some were for open container violations, and others for trespassing. Charleston police also conducted a sting last September in an effort to clean up the Transit Mall area.
A woman in Nicholas County says she was shot outside her home in Mt. Lookout Wednesday. Katie Brant says she heard a noise an went out to investigate, and she had a loaded revolver with her. A news release from the Nicholas County Sheriff's Office says Brant was confronted by a masked man, and he took control of the gun during a struggle. She was shot in the left, lower leg and the man fled. The Sheriff's Office is still investigating.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed the budget. There were a few line item vetoes and reductions, and the Associated Press reports it's not immediately clear which spending items were deleted or lessened. The proposal passed by lawmakers last week would take $147.5 million from the state's $922 million Rainy Day Fund to cover a projected shortfall. Another bill that passed could ease the reserves sweep by $21 million. The budget includes $504 raises for public employees. It also accounts for $1,000 across-the-board raises for teachers and 2 percent raises for school service personnel, which were included in a separate bill.
Former McDowell prosecutor Sid Bell will serve as the special prosecutor in child abuse allegations against Kanawha Prosecutor Mark Plants. Bell was appointed this week by the State Supreme Court, and will meet with State Police next week to go over their findings in the investigation. The Daily Mail reports Bell was appointed to the post Friday after the state Prosecuting Attorney's Institute declined to appoint a special prosecutor. Bell will meet March 26th with state police to discuss the case.