Breaking Local News

Bridges a Top Cause for Rep. Nick Rahall

The federal Department of Transportation is planning to audit bridges across the country, after a request by West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall over safety concerns. Bridges have been a focus for Rahall. Earlier this year, he introduced the SAFE Bridges Act aimed at helping states address a $121 billion backlog of deficient bridges, hoping something can be done not only about safety, but to improve the economics of it. Without sturdy bridges, goods and services can't get from one place to the next. The SAFE Bridges Act would send $57.8 million to West Virginia over two years.

Coal Job Losses May be Leveling Off

New data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration shows the state lost about 125 mining jobs in the second quarter this year. The good news? Over the same period in 2011, the industry was down by over 2400 jobs, so the drastic job losses seem to be lessening. Energy experts say cheap natural gas and competition from other coal basins are contributing factors.

Lawsuits by Mountain State Students Progress

Several students have filed suit against Mountain State University after the school lost accreditation, and court dates are pending this month. The federal lawsuit filed by more than a dozen Mountain State University nursing students, and even though it's a federal suit, the case was sent to Jefferson County Circuit Court earlier this month after the students amended the lawsuit. The students claim the school just wanted increase enrollment so the school could bring in more federal student loan and grant money. This case will be part of mass litigation now and other lawsuits, and the court dates are coming later in August.

Owners of Ms Sylvia's Sandwich Shop Face Charges

It was last month that a man was shot at Ms Sylvia's Sandwich Shop and Polo Social Club in North Charleston, and after that the two managers were charged with illegally selling alcohol. Now a police raid has the sandwich shop in trouble again. In a raid early Sunday morning police found found alcohol, guns, drugs and thousands of dollars in cash and four people were taken into custody, including the two managers, who were charged with illegally selling alcohol. The two others face obstruction charges.

Putnam County Wreck Highlights Safety Concerns

A stretch of road in Putnam County that has seen a string of accidents recently saw another one yesterday. Emergency dispatchers said a semi truck with a box trailer overturned near the Buffalo Bridge along U.S. 35, and the same area near where a tractor-trailer overturned and spilled a disinfectant chemical in May. The driver of the truck that overturned Tuesday wasn't hurt.

Students Get High Tech

As is happening across the country, students are becoming more high tech in area classrooms. All public school students in Raleigh County will use iPads in the classroom when the new academic year begins. The school system will assign iPad2s to every student in grades two through 12. Kindergarten and first-grade students will share an iPad Mini with one fellow student. Superintendent Jim Brown tells The Register-Herald that school officials plan to phase in electronic editions of textbooks over the next five years. The agreement with Apple will cost the county about $7 million, but the district expects to save money in the long run.

Coal Layoffs In the Works

Independence Coal Company is in the process of shutting down its entire Allegiance, Cook and Justice No. 1 mines in Seth, and the layoffs began this week. The Spartan Mining Company is also closing its Liberty Processing Plant in Madison, after workers were notified in June of the coming cuts. Alpha Natural Resources owns both companies, and has said in the past it will do what it has to do in the current market conditions.

Clay County Sheriff Faces Wiretapping Charges

The Clay County Sheriff is facing charges for putting a monitoring device on his ex-wife's work computer. Federal prosecutors are charging Clay County Sheriff Miles "Mike" J. Slack with illegal wiretapping, and say the device was likely installed in late April. A news release says a keystroke logging device can intercept everything typed on the keyboard, and also says the computer was owned and maintained by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and is connected to a central Supreme Court network. No hearing date has been set.

State Contractor Fined for Environmental Violations

State regulators have fined a Kanawha County school contractor more than $13,000 for environmental violations. A consent order said the violations include failure to control dust, failure to protect groundwater quality and failure to operate and maintain erosion-control devices. The Department of Environmental Protection issued the fine in a settlement with Sissonville-based Carpenter Reclamation Inc. The violations occurred at the site where the company is building a $21 million elementary school for the county school system. Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring told the Charleston Gazette that the fine will be deducted from Carpenter Reclamation's payment.

Teacher's Alleged Battery on Students is Investigated

The state Department of Education is investigating complaints against a Fayette County teacher accused of hitting two kindergarten students. Police charged Kathleen Wade with two battery counts last week. She remains free on $5,000 bond. Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro told The Register-Herald that the department is conducting an internal investigation. The findings will be referred to the state Committee on Professional Teaching Standards. ordeiro said the committee will make a recommendation on whether Wade should keep her teaching license to State Schools Superintendent Jim Phares. The alleged incidents occurred in May.

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