Breaking Local News
Law enforcement agencies across West Virginia are enforcing seat belt laws. Police across the state just started the first of four seat belt enforcement blitzes and the campaign runs through Dec. 1. WCHS-TV reports that the West Virginia Highway Safety Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have provided highway safety funds to conduct three mini "Click it or Ticket" campaigns that go along with the national campaign scheduled every May. West Virginia's seat belt laws are a primary law, meaning that police can stop a driver and issue a citation simply for not wearing a seat belt. Officers also will be watching for drivers who are texting and talking on their cellphones without a hands-free device.
An investigation is underway after a man was hit and killed by a train in Marmet over the weekend. Dispatchers said it happened on the railroad tracks on 98th Street around 4:00 a.m. Sunday, and the CSX Engineer who hit him was the one who called to report it. He said the man had been sitting on the rails. He was dead by the time paramedics and police got to the scene. Police are investigating to determine why the man was sitting on the tracks.
A former Mingo County prosecutor is due in court for a plea hearing on a federal conspiracy charge. Prosecutors say Michael Sparks is expected to plead guilty today in U.S. District Court in Charleston. Sparks resigned in October after being charged in a scheme to protect former Sheriff Eugene Crum from revelations that Crum bought drugs. Crum was shot to death in April in an unrelated attack as he ate lunch in his vehicle.
Keystone Development has scaled back plans for a proposed surface mine near Kanawha State Forest. The company is seeking a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection for a 413.8-acre surface mine. In 2009, Keystone proposed a 597-acre surface mine. Keystone dropped plans for a mile-long valley fill. The company now proposes hauling rock and other debris to an adjacent surface mine. The Charleston Gazette reported that the DEP held an informal conference on the proposed surface mine this week at Riverside High School.
This time next week the transfer will be complete for water customers in Pratt as they make the move over to West Virginia American Water. A ceremony is planned for next Thursday Nov. 21 at 2pm at the ball fields in Hansford, just to the east of Pratt, and anyone can attend. A spokesperson told the Daily Mail that the company plans to formally close the deal transferring the town's system to the company Nov. 19th. Pratt voters approved the sale of the system to the private company over the summer.
It was last weekend that voters in Kanawha County said no to an excess levy that would have sent money to library and the Kanawha County school district. This weekend voters in Lincoln County will decide on a similar measure, and whether or not to extend the school board excess levy in Lincoln County. The levy covers $3.5 million that would fund various educational programs.
Fayetteville officials are working to preserve and repurpose a stone building that once served as the town's high school. Town Superintendent Bill Lanham tells The Register-Herald that the goal is to transform the old Fayetteville High School into a cultural, arts and education center. Lanham says the town is accepting bids to replace the building's roof. The town also has applied to have the building placed on Preservation Alliance of West Virginia's endangered properties list which would help obtain grants and other funding. The building has been vacant since 2004 and the town acquired it in 2011.
Kanawha County Commissioners are addressing a drug problem. At their meeting Thursday, commissioners heard from members of the Substance Abuse Task Force, which is made up of doctors, members of law enforcement, and concerned citizens. The task force has come up with a plan to target the drug problem with the goal of forcing pseudoephedrine products to require a prescription. The full plan should be released before Thanksgiving.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office STOP team was conducting a drug investigation Wednesday in the eastern part of Kanawha County, and while they were investigating, learned that an escapee was staying on 3rd avenue in Glasgow. He was identified as Kevin Dale Burford and he was currently in NCIC. The Sheriff's office says Burford escaped from work release approximately 1 month ago and had apparently been staying in the Glasgow area during this time. Officers found Burford attempting to hide at the home in Glasgow where he had been staying, and he was taken into custody without incident. Burford was still wearing his department of corrections T-shirt with his name and department of corrections number on it when he was arrested.
A state commission has scheduled interviews December 16th to replace two judges. The Charleston Gazette reports, following the interviews, the Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission will recommend candidates to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to replace former Mingo County Circuit Court Michael Thornsbury and Putnam County Family Court Judge William Watkins. Thornsbury pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to deprive a man of his constitutional rights. The West Virginia Supreme Court suspended Watkins without pay in March until the end of his term after he was accused of delaying rulings, failing to enter domestic violence orders into the state's tracking system and cursing at litigants. Watkins will retire November 30th.