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West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre spoke Thursday afternoon before the state HouseHealth and Resources Committee and said water credits to residents and businesses will start today. Homes can be credited for 1000 gallons of water and commerical users will get 2000 gallon credits, amounting to about ten and twenty dollars. Despite the licorice smell, tests came back Thursday showing that there was no MCHM in the water, and the odor is likely to phase itself out in another few days.
The United Way of Central West Virginia says it's still distributing emergency funds. The fund has grown with donations and has reached six figures, and that money is going to qualifying West Virginians in need. WCHS TV reports the partner agency locations will continue to accept applications for assistance at least until Feb. 21 or until the fund is extinguished. Workers may qualify for up to $200 depending on work hours and lost wages. To see if you qualify just go to the United Way website, which is www.unitedwaycwv.org.
Three more Kanawha County schools closed early Thursday over water concerns. Riverside High School and Midland Trail Elementary School closed Wednesday after students and staff reported symptoms after flushing the system. And Thursday, J.E. Robins Elementary and Watts Elementary School on Charleston's West Side closed early, along with Overbrook Elementary School in South Hills. The Centers for Disease Control and Environmental Protection Agency held a news conference this week saying the water was appropriate to use.
The West Virginia Supreme Court has suspended a former Randolph County prosecutor's law license for three years for misconduct during his tenure in office. A court order says Richard T. Busch violated professional rules of conduct in two criminal cases between January 2009 and his resignation on Dec. 5, 2011. The court says Busch ignored the defense's request for documents in one case and obstructed the defense's access to an alleged victim's recorded statements in the other case. He also gave false statements about evidence. Busch had suggested a lesser suspension. He contended that his conduct was negligible but not intentional.
Charleston police have released more information about Wednesday's bank robbery. 37-year old Basil Smith of Charleston is facing charges after the heist, and was arrested a few minutes after it happened, just three blocks away from the WesBanco on Tennessee Avenue. There were no injuries in the robbery, and police said Smith didn't brandish a weapon during the robbery. He's been arraigned at Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
More than 50 people representing 32 countries have become U.S. citizens in Charleston. U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin presided over a naturalization ceremony this week. Fifty-three people took the oath of allegiance.
Two people are facing charges after a meth bust. The Kanawha County sheriff's office says the meth lab was found at Orchard Manor Wednesday morning, and members of the SWAT team and meth lab technicians were called out to investigate the apartment on Hutchinson Street. 32-year old Randy Lee Donahue Jr of Charleston and 29-year old Holly Nicole Willis of Charleston were arrested, and Cpl. BD Humphreys tells us that along with a clandestine meth lab deputies located marijuana, heroin and a .380 caliber pistol. The two have been charged with operation of a clandestine methamphetamine lab, and more charges could be added.
Thousands of gallons of the chemical that spilled into the water supply are leaving West Virginia and heading to Pennsylvania. Freedom Industries is moving 3,500 gallons of crude MCHM from its Nitro facility to a coal facility in Pennsylvania.The Department of Environmental Protection warned that it could mean unsavory licorice smells for neighbors. Freedom expects to move more chemicals in upcoming weeks. It's unclear where the chemicals are heading. State environmental regulators ordered Freedom to remove all chemicals from the Charleston site of the Jan. 9 spill. But when Freedom began transferring to Nitro, officials declared that facility unsafe. The state ordered Freedom to fix its issues or a different facility.
The investigation into yesterday's bus accident continues. A school bus went off Route 61 and hit a rock wall Wednesday near the Montgomery-Fayette county line, and that sent 15 students to the hospital. The students are from Valley High and Junior High and most complained of sore backs and necks from the impact of the accident. The cause of the wreck is under investigation.
The West Virginia Senate Committee on Health is moving forward on a proposal to make drugs used in the production of methamphetamine available only by prescription. The bill would allow an exception for certain over-the-counter drugs that are deemed "tamper resistant" by the Board of Pharmacy. Sen. Ronald Miller raised concerns Tuesday regarding how the bill might affect the way pseudoephedrines are tracked by law enforcement, since exempt drugs would be tracked through the state's controlled substance monitoring database instead of the pseudoephedrine tracking system NPlex. This means police would need reasonable suspicion to access information on drugs like Sudafed.