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A bill that would create a private flood insurance option has been introduced in the West Virginia Senate. The sponsor is Sen. Rocky Fitzsimmons, who said federal law changes in 2012 under the Bigger-Waters Flood insurance Reform Act have caused significant increases in premiums for West Virginia. The bill introduced Monday would also allow a greater option of flood insurance plans. Senate Bill 621 has been referred to the committee on Banking and Insurance.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office STOP (Sheriff’s Tactical Operations Patrol) Team acted on tips Monday during an arrest on a marijuana and firearm charge. Cpl B.D Humphreys says tips were received through the department’s meth tip line, saying Eric Toon was involved in the drug trade and was operating at 114 Roane Street in Charleston. With probable cause, a search warrant was executed Monday, and a .45 auto pistol was found, along with a small quantity of marijuana. Toon was arrested and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
An infant from Cabell County has died from the flu. The baby was in the Kanawha Valley, and was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center Friday night, but died Sunday morning. Flu season isn't over yet, but typically peaks in January and February and should be winding down soon.
Another school let students go home Monday over concerns about the water. Grandview Elementary in Charleston released early after there were reports of an odor in the water. That's protocol for the school, once that licorice smell is detected. Representatives from the West Virginia National Guard and the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department went to the school and tested the water, and the pipes are being flushed. Then more tests will be conducted to make sure the water is safe.
The West Virginia State Bar is helping sponsor a video contest for students about the U.S. Constitution. The contest is open to students in grades 6 through 12 who create and submit a three-minute video with the theme, "We the People: Freedom of Speech." First-place winners will receive $500 and will be invited to attend the State Bar's annual meeting on May 9 in Charleston. Entry applications and contest rules are available online at www.wvde.state.wv.us/wvstatebar. The deadline to submit entries is April 4.
The West Virginia Senate Education Committee is proposing a $1,000 pay raise for all teachers across the state. The bill originally proposed a 2 percent raisebut the committee opted for the across the board $1000 raise to give the boost more impact for teachers just starting out. The state is making a push to attract highly qualified teachers as others are nearing retirement. The minimum salary in West Virginia is currently $27,917. According to the West Virginia Education Association, the average teacher in the state makes about $45,000, which ranks West Virginia 48th in the country. The bill also makes it a goal to increase the state minimum salary for entry-level teachers to $43,000 by 2019. The bill has been passed to the finance committee.
The West Virginia Senate on Friday passed a bill to alleviate overcrowded jails through a pretrial release program. The bill would allow any county or municipality to establish and operate a community pretrial committee. The committee would recommend individuals who are being held in regional jails awaiting adjudication for supervised, pretrial release. The release program may also be used as an alternative sentencing. The bill now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.
A man is dead after fleeing from officers and jumping into the Big Coal River over the weekend. The Boone County Sheriff's Department says deputies went to a home in Bloomingrose on Friday night to arrest a man wanted for failing to appear in court on methamphetamine charges in West Virginia. He was also wanted on felony charges in Virginia. Two men actually jumped into the river, and one was found floating unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His name will be released after identification by the Chief Medical Examiner's Office. The other man who jumped into the river was arrested.
Police are looking for a man and a woman who escaped Friday from the Charleston Work Release Center. A news release from the West Virginia Division of Corrections says 37-year old Kevin Leek, and 44-year old Brenda Williams, escaped Friday afternoon. Williams was serving time for fraud, forgery, and grand larceny. Leek was serving time for grand larceny, petit larceny, and breaking and entering. Anyone with information should contact the Charleston Work Release Center or call 911.
One person is dead after a traffic accident Saturday on Interstate 77. A section of roadway was closed for seven hours as crews cleared the scene and investigations reconstructed the accident. A tractor trailer rolled over and diesel fuel was spilled near exit 99.