Breaking Local News
We'll know more today about the National Transportation Safety Board Investigation about the Sissonville pipeline explosion last December. A news release from the NTSB says they'll release more than 1400 pages of documents including interview transcripts, pictures, and other documents from the investigation. Everything will post later this morning - at 11:30am - on the NTSB website. The explosion destroyed three homes and burned part of the interstate last December 11th. The reports today won't contain any analysis, it will just be data.
Several weeks ago we told you that some Charleston pools may not open because of a lifeguard shortage. Now that's exactly what's happening. Cato Park's swimming pool is still closed while it tries to bring on more lifeguards. WCHS TV reports the park has only 27 of the 40 spots filled and plans to host a life guard certification class next week to fill in the gap.
Some hospitals in West Virginia are seeing an increase in the number of babies born with drug addictions. At Cabell Huntington Hospital, Dr. David Chaffin, perinatal center director, told the Charleston Daily Mail that one of 13 babies born are addicted to drugs. Dr. Stefan Maxwell, a neonatologist, said the rate is about the same at Charleston Area Medical Center. Thomas Memorial Hospital in Charleston also is seeing an increase. On one recent weekend, eight of 12 babies born were addicted to drugs. To combat overcrowding, Cabell Huntington plans to partner with Lily's Place, a pediatric addiction recovery center that's expected to open later this year.
A man convicted of sexual assault in Putnam County won't have his case heard before the US Supreme Court. Joseph Lavigne Jr. is serving prison time for sexually assaulting a 5-year old girl, and his lawyer, Greg Ayers, told the Charleston Gazette that the U.S. Supreme Court won't review Lavigne's petition. He was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison in 1996, then set free in 2011 after a Putnam County Judge reversed the conviction. In 2012, the West Virginia Supreme Court reversed that decision and sent him back to prison, where apparently he'll stay.
A technology contest designed to inspire innovation in the shale gas industry is open to West Virginia companies for the first time. The Shale Gas Innovation Contest is run by the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center in State College, Pa. It awarded more than $75,000 in prizes last year. The goal is to help develop environmentally responsible technologies while also creating high-paying jobs. Companies should prepare now to enter the contest in November. Entries can focus on anything from extraction and wastewater technologies to environmental and safety products. In its first two years, the contest was only open to Pennsylvania companies.
Since the shootings last December at Sandy Hook Elementary school, schools have been reevaluating security. West Virginia is no exception. New schools built in the state now will be required to have shatter-proof glass and exterior door alarms. The West Virginia School Building Authority gave those and several other security measures the green light. Schools will also have to have a separate visitor entrance and waiting areas, and administrative offices must have a direct line of sight to a school's parking lot. And the door alarms will sound when a door is ajar.
Two men fishing on the Tug river near west Williamson discovered body floating about 15 feet off the shoreline in shallow water, and once first responders got there they confirmed it was an adult male. The body had been there to long to make a positive ID, and now the state medical examiner's office is conducting an autopsy. The body was found near the spot where a Crab Orchard man went missing Memorial Day weekend, and that's a possible lead being investigated. There's no confirmation the two cases are related, but more information is expected to come once autopsy results are complete.
Dunbar is having its municipal election today. Mayor Jack Yeager is not seeking re-election, so it's Republican Michael Hall and Democrat Terry Greenlee in the mayor's race. For city clerk, Republican Ross “Pepper” Harrison is running against Democrat Connie Fulknier. There will be more than two city council candidates elected in each of four wards. The polls are open until 7:30pm.
A man accused of sending threats and racial slurs to President Obama and his family is from West Virginia, and will be in court today before a federal magistrate. 20-year old Ryan Kirker McMechen of Marshall County is accused of sending a letter to the President in April, with the phrase "KKK forever," along with threats and profanity. An affidavit from a U.S. Secret Service agent said forensic experts also determined that Kirker had written of his plan to someone named John in late March. That letter allegedly mentioned a weapon and his ability to obtain armor-piercing ammunition.
A naturalization ceremony Monday morning at the Robert C. Byrd Courthouse in Charleston gave US citizenship to 45 people. Those folks took the oath of allegiance for citizenship before US District Judge, and included people from India, Croatia, and Pakistan. Some of them registered to vote after becoming official West Virginia residents.