Breaking Local News

Report Says Drilling Impacts National Forests

A conservation group is highlighting the George Washington and Jefferson national forests in Virginia and West Virginia are places that are at risk from gas drilling activities. Trout Unlimited's new "10 Special Places" report ranks the region as fifth for its areas that are rich in fish, game and natural beauty. The report covers threats to the specific regions and offers recommendations for the best approaches that can be used to protect these areas from potential risks. The group says it would be almost impossible to develop gas without severely impacting and changing the character of the national forest.

Court Rules in Inmate Case

The West Virginia Supreme Court has again ruled that the state Regional Jail Authority cannot be held liable in a lawsuit that alleged a male correctional officer raped a female inmate. The Charleston Gazette reports that justices made a similar ruling in March but agreed to reconsider its decision after outrage from state and national organizations. The court says the authority is entitled to immunity because the woman failed to provide any evidence that the officer's alleged actions occurred within the scope of his employment. A lawsuit claims the officer raped the woman 17 times while she was an inmate at the Southern Regional Jail in 2009.

Putnam Veteran's Court Gets Grant

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is getting a federal grant to expand Putnam County's Veterans Treatment Court. Officials say the $50,000 federal planning grant will allow the court to expand into a Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court. The grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice will cover the salary and benefits for a full-time treatment court manager for the Court, which is a combination of federal resources and state resources to offer treatment over incarceration. The Putnam County program will be the second full-fledged Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court in West Virginia.

New Flight Announced From Beckley to Charlotte

There's a new nonstop air service between Beckley and Charlotte, North Carolina starting soon. The Raleigh County Memorial Airport and Via Airlines reached an agreement for the service which should start in December. Flights to Charlotte will leave Beckley at 6:55 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 6:55 on Saturday and Sunday. Return flights arrive in Beckley at 9:46 a.m. and 5:35 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at 5:35 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It's about an hour flight. Right now the Beckley airport offers twice-daily United Express flights to and from Washington’s Dulles International Airport.

Radioactive Detectors To Be Installed at Landfills

A state Department of Environmental Protection official says the installation of detectors is nearly complete at six West Virginia landfills that will accept low-level radioactive drilling waste from natural gas operations. Legislation passed earlier this year required radiation monitoring of drill cuttings sent to landfills and overturned tonnage limits for those particular landfills. The DEP then crafted emergency rules for radiation detector placement. Detectors will be in place at two landfills in Harrison County and one apiece in Brooke, Ohio, Wetzel and Wood counties. Loads of cuttings above a certain radiation level must be rejected.

WV Students Camp Out Waiting For TCU

Students in Morgantown have been camping out, ready for ESPN's College Gameday live broadcast tomorrow. Some students have been having other students hold their campsite while they go to class. The Mountaineer game against TCU tomorrow is sold out, and starts tomorrow at 3:30pm on ABC.

Grandson Missing After Running Off From Grandfather

Last Sunday a grandfather, Paul Ferguson, called the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office about his runaway grandson. The grandfather was taking his grandson - 17 year old Paul Browning of Branchland, WV - to meet a transport van at the Mink Shoals park-and-ride lot. The van would take the 17 year old to a juvenile placement center, The Youth Academy, in Fairmont. But Browning went into a hotel to use the restroom, then fled through another exit. A canine sheriff' tracked Browning from the hotel to the banks of the Elk River near Mink Shoals. As of yesterday, Browning is still missing. He is 5’10” tall, approximately 160 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Anyone with information is asked to call 304-357-0169. No foul play is suspected.

Controversial Cat Bill Advances

The full Charleston City Council will review a controversial cat bill soon. The ordinance and rules committee advanced a bill this week that says a property owner can call and have unwanted cats that wander onto their property removed. The bill aims to keep animals on the owners' property, but concerns have been raised about how difficult that can be with cats. Under the new measure, a cat's owner can be fined if it wanders onto the property of someone who doesn't want the cat there. The bill is going before the city council soon.

Power Settlement Agreement In The Works

Negotiations are underway to resolve FirstEnergy's proposed $151.5 million rate increase for two West Virginia subsidiaries. The West Virginia Public Service Commission had planned to hold evidentiary hearings on the company's request this week. The executive director of the PSC's Consumer Advocate Division, Jackie Roberts, tells The Exponent Telegram that the hearings are in recess as negotiations continue. Any settlement agreement must be approved by the PSC.

Student Expelled After Threat

A student has been kicked out of school after making a threat. The Kanawha County student was expelled for threatening to bring a gun to Riverside High School, and Principal Valery Harper says that the student has been turned over to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department. Harper said the threat was directed at the entire student body and not any individual student. She says the student made the threat in a conversation with other students, who notified school officials. Cpl. Brian Humphreys with the sheriff's department says the incident is under investigation.

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