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A federal report says West Virginia public health officials weren't trained to respond to a January chemical spill along the Elk River. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the state Bureau for Public Health had no epidemiologists trained specifically to deal with chemical or natural disasters. Instead, those who focus on infectious diseases led the bureau's response to the spill Jan. 9 spill at Freedom Industries. The report says the bureau's epidemiologists received training to chemical exposure assessment in late March, and says an epidemiologist who is focused in this area could rapidly coordinate a response in the event of an environmental disaster. State epidemiologist Dr. Loretta Haddy said Tuesday the bureau is reviewing the report.
A three-judge panel will hear a petition seeking Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants' removal from office. The Kanawha County Commission filed the petition on Friday in circuit court. The petition says Plants isn't performing the duties of his office. On Tuesday, West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis appointed Preston County Circuit Judge Lawrance Miller, Berkeley County Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes and Pleasants County Circuit Judge Tim Sweeney to hear the petition. Plants faces charges of domestic battery involving his son and violating a domestic-violence protection order.
A legislative committee has requested a study on whether West Virginia's small craft beer industry is unfairly burdened by regulations meant to govern large beer distributors. Blackwater Brewing Co. owner and brewer Lincoln Wilkins in Davis says brewers can face thousands of dollars in licensing fees in order to produce and sell craft beers. He says every step aimed at expansion is met with more fees and licensing requirements. The Legislature's Joint Commission on Economic Development requested a study of the craft beer industry, and will look into the requirements.
Former republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is in West Virginia to campaign for candidates here. Romney will campaign with Shelley Moore Capito, Evan Jenkins and Alex Mooney today, and he'll attend a fundraising event in Charleston along with a working for West Virginia jobs rally in Beckley.
The trial is underway for the man accused of illegally cutting down trees in Charleston after the 2012 derecho. David Bowen is accused of stealing trees and selling the lumber from Cooksin Park. He was okayed to cut down some trees at the park after the storm, but those who looked into it said he took more trees than he should have to make a profit. Bowen pleaded not guilty at a hearing back in July, and this is the trial phase that continues now.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office is investigating an incident in the South Charleston area after a car was stopped for speeding in on MacCorkle Avenue. The driver was covered in blood, and the sheriff's office says that driver, George L. McColgan III of South Charleston told police he was lured to an Oliver Street, St. Albans home on the pre-tense of repaying a drug debt by doing some mechanical work on a car. Instead he was battered, and to escape the assault he jumped into his car to leave as the attackers threw rocks and cinderblocks at his car shattering window glass. McColgan also reported one of the attackers fired a pistol at his car but he wasn't hit. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office at at www.Kanawhasheriff.us
A national insurance group says pickup trucks were popular targets for thieves in West Virginia last year. A report released Monday by the National Insurance Crime Bureau says a 2008 full-size Ford pickup was the most often stolen vehicle in the state in 2013. A 2004 full-size Chevrolet pickup was ranked second, followed by a 1998 small-size Chevrolet pickup. The 2008 Ford pickup also was the newest vehicle on the list. The oldest vehicles most often stolen were a 1995 full-size Dodge pickup, ranked sixth, and a 1995 Honda Accord, ranked ninth. Nationwide, the Honda Accord was the vehicle most frequently targeted by thieves, regardless of the model year.
A finance committee in Charleston voted to increase the sales tax by a half-percent last night. The tax hike would be aimed at helping cover costs related to police and fire pensions that are underfunded by almost $290 million right now. The next tax is estimated to generate at least $6 million a year. A public hearing is set for the next city council meeting in two weeks and then the tax increase would have to be approved by the home rule committee, then there would be two readings before the full council. If approved, the new tax would start next July.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants' request to go to trial on domestic violence charges has been denied after a hearing. Plants initially agreed to attend a 32-week Batterers Intervention Program in Putnam County, but requested a trial instead. The judge's ruling Friday means Plants will have to attend that program. The charges could be dropped after Plants completes that program. Kanawha County Commissioners are filing a petition to remove Plants from office. He's charged with domestic battery of his 11-year-old son, and is charged with violating a domestic-violence protection order that required Plants to stay away from his ex-wife and sons. A compliance hearing is set for the end of the month to ensure Plants is enrolled in the Batterer's Intervention Program.
The trial of a Randolph County teenager accused of killing a classmate has been delayed because the alleged weapon was lost. Eighteen-year-old Thomas Chevy Vas' trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday. The Inter-Mountain reports that Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Keadle on Friday granted a defense motion to continue the trial until December. Defense attorney Timothy Prentice and prosecutor Michael Parker told the judge that the West Virginia State Police couldn't find the knife allegedly used to stab 17-year-old Dustin White. Vas is accused of killing White in October 2012 outside the Tygarts Valley High School football stadium about 20 minutes before a game. Both were students at the high school.