Monday, February 14, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...2-15-'11
- A public hearing is scheduled for 2:30 Tuesday afternoon in the House chamber to discuss a bill to bring back the death penalty to West Virginia. The idea is gaining support in the House after Sidney Devonshire, an eastern panhandle resident, woke up on June 6th to a fire that killed his 22 year old daughter and 3 year old grandson. Antonio Prophet, 34, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The bill would allow the state to execute some convicted murderers using lethal injection. Critics have called capital punishment cruel, but some say it's an important element of a legal system.
- A bill was introduced in the House Monday that would give gun owners more rights by reducing the number of places where guns are prohibited. The new law would set higher penalties for criminal misuse of firearms and other weapons. Another issue the bill targets is being able to carry a concealed weapon over state lines. There are currently 21 states where a West Virginia concealed weapons license is not honored.
- Philip F. White Jr., 52, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, bringing stolen property into West Virginia from outside the state, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, fleeing on foot and carrying a concealed firearm without a license. West Virginia State Police stopped White in South Charleston after a license plate check showed no record with the DMV. As the officer began to check the truck, White took off toward Route 60. After a short foot chase, he was caught and arrested.
- Greg Conley,39, of Milton was arrested Sunday after Cabell County Sheriff's Deputies say they found drugs in his possession while investigating possible drug activity in the parking lot of the Dollar General in Ona. Deputies say they found Conley sitting in the driver side of a silver Camaro in front of the store, along with about a gram of heroin, a gram of methamphetamine, about 100 Oxycontin pills, and $2,200 in cash. Conley, a convicted felon from Milton who was just released from home confinement Friday for operating a meth lab, blamed his quick return to crime on nobody wanting to hire a felon. Bond was set at $100,000.
- Construction of a state office building in downtown Logan has been delayed for at least another three weeks after the recent discovery of Native American bones at the site. A fire at the nearby Aracoma Hotel held up work on the project for 52 days. Construction was halted again after the bones were found earlier this month. The state plans to send an archaeologist to monitor digging at the site until excavation work is completed.
- The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has suspended Joseph P. Albright, Jr. from practicing law for one year. Albright, the son of the late West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Joseph P. Albright, was admitted to practice law in 1988. In 2007, he was found to be in contempt for violating the court's previous order of publicly reprimanding him for conduct violations following seven counts from clients were brought against Albright, including complaints that he failed to communicate with clients, failed to provide itemized accounts and failed to respond to requests for information. Albright defended himself with testimony from satisfied clients. Albright will be required to petition for reinstatement and must pay $1,800 in restitution to two clients named in the counts against him. His practice must be supervised for two years and he must complete 18 hours of continuing education in ethics and meet with a licensed psychologist.
- Philippi Police are continuing to investigate after being called to Philippi Middle School last Thursday after someone found a handwritten note with a bomb threat in the school. Police evacuated the school and called in a bomb dog which swept the school, but didn't find anything. Police are investigating a possible link with a note found on a Barbour County school bus that was written by the bus driver.
- Huntington attorney Paul T. Farrell was sworn in at 3:00 P.M. Monday afternoon as West Virginia's newest circuit judge, replacing retired Cabell County Circuit Judge Dan O'Hanlon. Farrell, who graduated from Xavier University and West Virginia University law school, has specialized in civil and criminal defense during his career. He's also a former assistant attorney general and counsel for the state Senate, among other things.
- Mayor Larry Conley of Belle died Sunday after having a heart attack while driving from Man back to Belle with his wife Barbara. Conley served as mayor of Belle since 1994 after retiring from the police department. The town's recorder, Kim Holmes, is now acting mayor. Town officials are reviewing state code and the town charter to choose a course of action.
- Charleston Police say 19 year old Deenia Burno was crossing 7th Avenue in North Charleston around 11:30 A.M. Monday when she was hit by a vehicle. Investigators say Burno suffered head, neck and hip injuries.
- The Higher Education Policy Commission has withdrawn its preliminary approval for Tri-State Pharmacy School, saying Tri-State Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences needs to go back to the drawing board. Among other things, it said the school must renovate its Huntington facility and seek accreditation. Marshall University plans to open its school in fall 2012 despite objections from West Virginia University and the University of Charleston.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee gave overwhelming approval during Monday's floor session to a bill changing violation of the state's seatbelt law from a secondary to a primary offense. It's the third straight year the bill has passed the Senate, but it hasn't gotten out of the House. The bill says motorists not wearing seatbelts would be fined $15, but charged no court costs and would lose no points on their driver's license. Currently motorists can only be cited for not wearing seatbelts if they are pulled over for something else first. Committee Chair Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, says statistics show seatbelt usage has gone down in West Virginia since 2007, and, by changing the current code, an estimated 21 lives could be saved a year.
- Since July, Frontier Communications has spent $59 million on equipment and facilities to improve its telephone landline network in West Virginia, along with an additional $8.3 million to expand high-speed Internet across the state from October through December. According to a quarterly report filed with the state Public Service Commission last week, the investment made broadband available to an additional 28,233 homes. When Frontier purchased Verizon's telephone landline business in West Virginia and 13 other states as part of an $8.6 billion deal on July 1st, Frontier promised to spend $30 million on network improvement projects by the end of the year, but wound up investing $29.3 million more than expected.
Links to this post: