Breaking Local News
Drivers don't expect to see cinder blocks in the road, and those caused some serious problems Saturday night. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office is investigating the accidents - there were at least 10 vehicles who hit the cinder blocks - on Interstate 77 around 8 p.m. Saturday. No one was hurt, but the damage included flat tires, leaks in fluid lines and bent wheels. The cinder blocks were in both the northbound and southbound lanes between mile markers 96 and 97. The investigation is on to determine how the cinder blocks got there.
Police are investigating after a badly decomposed body was found in an abandoned home in Dunbar. Police were called for a welfare check after a tip came in that something wasn't right at the building that sits off Myers Avenue in between 19th and 20th streets. There was an odor, and the windows were covered with flies. The body was so badly decomposed that police don't yet know the age, race, or gender. They'll do an autopsy this week, and if they can't figure out the identity, the body will be sent to the Smithsonian Institute for a forensic investigation.
State figures show that nearly a third of West Virginia's public school students were truant during the 2013-2014 academic year. According to Department of Education data, 58 percent of McDowell County's students were marked as truant. That was the highest rate in the state. Jefferson County had the lowest rate, 7 percent. The statewide rate was about 31 percent. Students are marked as truant if they miss at least five days of class without an excuse. McDowell County Superintendent Nelson Spencer tells The Sunday Gazette-Mail that truancy cases are a byproduct of poverty and drug abuse, and "graduation coaches" have been hired to work with at-risk students in high schools.
Robberies over the weekend have some neighborhoods on edge. Saturday morning around 4:30 a 7-11 store in South Charleston was robbed, and Saturday evening someone held up a Rich Oil gas station in Sissonville. Then on Sunday somebody tried to rob a retail store in Kanawha City. Police are still looking for the suspects, and anyone with information is asked to call with tips.
Nine health care centers in southern West Virginia are sharing in more than $2.2 million in federal funding. U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall announced the funding Thursday and said it's aimed at increasing access to quality care in the region. Health centers receiving the funding are in Princeton, Camden-on-Gauley, Beckley, Hamlin, Scarbro, Rainelle, Gary, Huntington and Williamson. Funding ranges from $187,000 to $406,000. The awards are through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Charleston Police Department unveiled a memorial for fallen officers last night. The Wall of Honor pays tribute to all Charleston police officers who have died in the line of duty, including Charleston patrol officer Jerry A. Jones, who was killed in the line of duty on September 13th, 2009.
Are pregnant women heeding the warning not to smoke? It turns out, more than 25 percent of pregnant women in West Virginia from 2008 to 2011 said they smoked during their pregnancy. Federal data and a state health organization say pregnant West Virginia women continue to smoke at the highest recorded rates in the nation. West Virginia Kids Count released the data this week, which shows that every year but one from 2000 to 2011, more than a quarter of West Virginia mothers surveyed said they smoked in the last three months of their pregnancy.
Enrollment at an area private school is higher than it's ever been. The University of Charleston has more than 2,100 students signed up this semeseter, which is an all-time high for the school. The university says it's seen an enrollment increase of 36 percent over the past two years. Last year, UC took over Mountain State University campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg. That followed the revocation of Mountain State's accreditation because of a series of leadership problems. The Charleston Gazette says that the university's full-time student enrollment last year was then the second highest in UC's 125-year history.
A Martinsburg doctor already facing a disciplinary hearing by a state medical board has been indicted on federal charges that she illegally prescribed prescription painkillers. Dr. Tressie Montene Duffy has been indicted on 100 felony counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of four controlled substances from April 2010 to February 2012, according to a U.S. Attorney. She's the CEO and owner West Virginia Weight and Wellness Inc. and she's accused of signing blank prescription orders, then allowing employees to issue 157 of them to 96 patients without being seen by a physician. Duffy faces a hearing Nov. 17-19 before the state Board of Medicine in Charleston over her medical license.
Charleston police have their man. 36-year old James Arthur Smith from California has been arrested in connection with three separate breaking and enterings at local bars. Police say he broke into Boulevard Tavern, Dome Bar and Vino’s and took a safe from each spot. He was taken to South Central Regional Jail and will be extradicted to Ohio for sentencing there on other crimes.