Breaking Local News
A dedication ceremony is coming up to honor the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion three years ago. The new memorial is going up on the Raleigh County Courthouse lawn, and a special dedication ceremony will be held April 5th, the day that will mark the third anniversary of the explosion. The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce will honor the fallen miners at the ceremony, and recognize those who continue to their work mining coal.
St Albans police have arrested a man for child porn. 32-year old Joseph Brauksieck of Virginia is accused of printing pictures and leaving them in a Budget rental truck. The truck rental was overdue, and according to police, the rental company did a routine inspection and found the pictures and a laptop.
The Kanawha County SWAT team served a warrant over the weekend to Michael Todd Lynch, who has been on home confinement for operating a clandestine meth lab charges. Lynch was rearrested on an active warrant for failure to pay child support and being a felon in possession of a firearm. As the search warrant was executed, officers found stolen property, weapons, and drugs, and Cpl. BD Humphreys says additional charges are pending.
A controversial gun bill brought out pro second amendment protestors on Saturday. Members of the Citizens Defense League voiced concerns about gun legislation that has passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate. Senators have been feeling heat for not acting on the bill, that proponents argue is a uniform set of regulations for the state of West Virginia. Mayor Danny Jones says cities have their own gun regulations to help deter crime, and this bill infringes on that territory.
The city of Charleston wants fewer vacant properties, since many say those empty homes and buildings drag down property values and annoy neighbors. Charleston City Council members are considering an ordinance the may require the owners of vacant properties to register those sites with the city and pay steep fees. It's not a done deal yet. The Charleston Gazette reports the City Planning Director will make changes in the draft ordinance before the task force meets next month.
Sunday marked the anniversary of a deadly fire that broke out at a home on Arlington Avenue in Charlesont and killed nine people, including seven children. The fire killed Lisa Carter, her boyfriend Alex Seals from Pittsburgh, and seven children who belonged to the couple and Carter's sister. The exact cause of the fire has yet to be released for what has been called the deadliest fire in Charleston history.
Judge Duke Bloom has been stern when it comes to truancy, and more parents appeared in court this week. Seven Kanawha County women were sentenced to 90 days of probation on truancy charges, as they appeared before judge Bloom in Kanawha County Circuit Court. They also were fined $50, ordered to pay $161 in court costs and given five days of community service. Judge Bloom told the women that another unexcused absence could mean a possible jail sentence of 20 days. The children's unexcused absences from school ranged from 13 to 41 days. Six other parents facing first-offense truancy charges did not show up in court and the judge ordered their arrests.
Don't forget about the inspections at the Dunbar Toll Bridge. The inspections are federally mandated, and that's going to mean traffic schedule changes this weekend in Dunbar, and those changes will linger for the next week. Traffic will be impacted with lane reductions during the day, and crews will close the bridge completely while the inspections are done at night. That means tomorrow/Saturday, and Sunday, one lane of the bridge will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. And next week, the bridge will be closed from 10 p.m. Sunday night until 6 a.m. Monday. That night-closure schedule will run through Friday, March 29.
Kanawha County is middle-of-the-pack when it comes to West Virginia's healthiest states. A new report this week from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute says Mongolia County is the healthiest, and McDowell County is the least healthy. The rankings are based on factors including obesity, smoking, and high school graduation rates, among other things. Kanawha County ranks #37, and Putnam County ranks 9th of 55 counties.
A pedestrian ended up with scrapes on the back of his legs after being hit by a vehicle Thursday morning at a Kanawha County Go Mart, and the man told a deputy that his girlfriend, Leslie Ann Dent, tried to take his car while he was at the store and he tried to stop her. Deputies caught up with her and learned she had an active warrant and her driver's license was suspended for nine unpaid citations. She was arrested and charged with driving while suspended, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, failure to report a crash, and domestic battery.