Breaking Local News
What's become known as Tent City sits along the banks of the Elk River, and has become a camp for the homeless population. The Charleston Gazette reports the number of people at the camp is dwindling. Over the summer there were 25 people living at the encampment next to the Spring Street Bridge, but the number has decreased since the Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority has given 14 of them housing vouchers, using federal money. There are less than 10 people living at the encampment now.
Air Evac Lifeteam has opened a fifth base in West Virginia. The air ambulance service says the new base in Beckley expands its coverage in the state. The Beckley base's Long Ranger helicopter is equipped with autopilot and a glass cockpit. Air Evac Lifeteam president Seth Myers says in a news release that the service plans to outfit the rest of its fleet with autopilot and glass cockpits over the next two years. Air Evac Lifeteam operates 116 bases in 15 states.
State health and education officials are working together to fight flu in West Virginia's public schools. Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling and state Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Martirano announced a joint education effort on Monday during an appearance at a Charleston elementary school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says West Virginia is among the states with widespread flu activity, and school-aged kids are hard hit. It's not too late to get a flu shot.
The Charleston City Council last night gave its approval to a re-zoning request that paves the way for a new residential drug rehab facility near Capital High School. The Kanawha County School Board donated the land for the new T-Center, which will be built at the site of the former Meadowbrook Country Club. The campus will cover 44 acres, and include a 48-bed residential drug treatment facility. It's not going to happen quickly...about 20 million dollars will need to be secured first.
The West Virginia State Fair will run for an additional day this year. The Charleston Gazette says that the 10-day event is set for Aug. 14-23. The fair's Kelly Collins says the last time the fair ran for 10 days was 2006. This year's fair will offer more free entertainment as organizers are adding an additional stage, and organizers hope to boost participation at the farm-to-food pavilion, which made its debut last year. That introduces kids to agriculture and helps them understand where food comes from.
Officials with the former Mountain State University are shifting their attention to a lawsuit against an accrediting body. The Register-Herald says Mountain State officials wanted to ensure the campus was in good hands before focusing on the lawsuit. Last week, West Virginia University announced that it plans to buy Mountain State's campus in Beckley. Mountain State's federal lawsuit alleges that the Higher Learning Commission didn't follow its policies, rules and practices when it withdrew the university's primary accreditation in June 2012. In court filings, the commission says Mountain State failed to assert sufficient facts to maintain a majority of its claims.
The number of murders in Charleston increased from 2013 to 2014. Charleston police investigated seven homicides in 2014 after reporting only one the year before. The Charleston Gazette reports the 2014 number is slightly higher than the 10-year average of five homicides in the capital city from 2004 to 2013. Police Lt. Steve Cooper says the public shouldn't interpret the increase as a sign of an upward trend in violence because the numbers tend to fluctuate - from last year's single homicide to a peak of 10 in 2010. He said six of the seven cases last year involved drugs, and police made arrests in all of the homicides.
Jesse Doyle of Akron, Ohio was arrested yesterday after allegedly stealing a car parked at the CVS in Kanawha City. The 93-year-old woman inside the car fought back, but he eventually took her on a ride that led to a high speed chase across three counties. Doyle let the woman out of the car before taking off on Interstate-64 west. Police from Charleston, Putnam County, Huntington, and Cabell County were all part of the pursuit, and then Doyle eventually crashed in Huntington near the 29th Street exit. Now he's at the Western Regional jail with a $20,000 bond, facing charges in multiple counties.
Filing for an upcoming election in South Charleston starts in ten days. South Charleston will elect a mayor, municipal judge, and city clerk this spring, along with all eight ward seats. Incumbent mayor Frank Mullens is running for re-election, and former mayor Richie Robb has also announced intentions to run. If you're in South Charleston and interested in running, filing begins on January 12th and runs though January 23rd. South Charleston’s primary election is set for April 18th, and the general election will be June 6th.
Overall it was a relatively uneventful New Year's Eve, where traffic problems are concerned. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says it had a full shift of Deputy Sheriffs answering 911 calls and others on directed patrols looking for drunk and impaired drivers. The directed patrols were funded by the Governor's Highway Safety Program. Cpl B-D Humphreys says three drivers were arrested for driving under the influence. Two were arrested near Saint Albans. One was related to alcohol, the other was under the influence of marijuana. A third driver was arrested in Elkview following his single-vehicle crash.