Breaking Local News
About 350,000 West Virginians will see a reduction in federal food assistance benefits when a temporary boost expires this fall, according to a nonprofit policy research group. The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy said the increase to federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits expires on Oct. 31. The Charleston Gazette says that increase amounted to about $29 per month for a family of three. In West Virginia, about one-quarter of children live in families with income below the federal poverty level.
A drug bust over the weekend on Charleston's West Side...Heroin and meth were found in a police raid in the 600 block of Simms Street, and two suspects took off, but were eventually captured. 43-year old Steven Belcher has been charged with distributing, and officers also found an outstanding warrant for Belcher from Putnam County for solicitation of a minor online. 29-year old Glen Hughes has been charged with operating a mobile meth lab.
A Randolph County bridge has been named in honor of a fallen state trooper. A ceremony was scheduled Saturday for the Trooper Brian William Linn Memorial Bridge along U.S. Route 33 in Bowden. Linn was stationed in Charles Town. He was killed in November 2007 while responding to a call to assist another officer. He lost control of his cruiser while attempting to pass two vehicles on state Route 9 in Jefferson County. He was 25 years old.
The Putnam County sheriff's office has a new opportunity to help protect children when there is suspicion of drugs. Starting with the change of the calendar on August 1, the sheriff's department started entering drug-related cases where a child's safety could be compromised into the new Drug Endangered Child Tracking System. With that, there is a formal way to share suspicions and concerns directly with child-welfare workers. Officers will enter every felony drug arrest, and child-welfare workers can log in to look for cases that may not already be on their radar.
American Electric Power says a ruling by Virginia regulators complicates matters in its proposal to reorganize ownership of some of its coal-fired power plants in West Virginia. The Virginia State Corporation Commission recently approved ApCo's plan to acquire the remaining portion of its John Amos plant near St. Albans, but also rejected the company's effort to take over half of the Mitchell plant near Moundsville.
A Putnam County man is headed to jail after a deadly DUI accident in 2012. Caleb Beckner received his sentence Thursday for the drunk driving accident that killed his passenger, Heather Brooks. Beckner was on parole at the time for grand larceny, and received an 18 month prison sentence for his role in the deadly crash. His parole was revoked so he will also serve two to 15 years in prison for that charge.
Charleston police are investigating a shooting that happened early this morning. Metro 911 Dispatchers say it happened in the 300 block of Leon Sullivan Way and the victim suffered two leg wounds. No word yet on a suspect.
Charleston Town Center has announced plans to give the shopping center a facelift, at least on the Court Street side. The goal is to match the rest of the renovations that took place last year. So the concrete on Court Street, from JC Penney to Five Guys Burgers and Fries, will be replaced, at a cost of about $800,000. You'll notice new landscaping, lights, and ramps too. The inside of the mall was renovated last year at a cost of about $7 million, and this new project will help it all match. The latest project should be finished by the Christmas shopping season.
The court house became a bit tense on Wednesday when an inmate refused to go to court and had to be restrained in a special chair and wheeled into the South Central Regional Jail video room. Lamont Harris then had to face the judge on TV. Harris was also removed from the courtroom in May because of a similar incident. The trial had been scheduled to start Monday, but has been moved to Sept. 21 to allow time for a psychiatric evaluation. He's facing charges related to a Dunbar shooting in 2011, and is already in jail on a federal gun charge.
A demolition crew started the task Wednesday of taking down the old Poca Middle School. Once the demolition is finished in about three weeks, that space will be used as a drop-off spot for buses. The newly completed Poca Middle School is combined with the elementary school and already sits not far from the old one. The Poca Middle School was a high school when it opened in 1926, and it became a middle school in the 1970s.