Thursday, February 03, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...2-4-'11
- The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says a bulldozer operator died at Consol Energy's McElroy Mine in Marshall County Thursday after being pinned between the bulldozer and a water truck. The man was connecting a tow chain to the truck when the dozer rolled backward, pinning him. He was alive when freed, but died before he could be flown to a hospital. It's West Virginia's second mining fatality of 2011.
- The House of Delegates unanimously approved a compromise bill Thursday in which West Virginia would elect a governor October 4th after nominating candidates in a May 14th primary. Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin welcomed the measure's final passage and intends to sign it.
- Kelly C. Davis, former head of West Virginia's anti-poverty agency, has sued the state, alleging that she was fired after speaking up about the improper use of grant funds, violating federal and/or state laws. Davis says the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity illegally fired her in November. The lawsuit seeks damages equal to the most that the state's liability insurance would pay.
- After a three hour jury deliberation in Monroe County Thursday, a jury returned a not guilty verdict for Kimberly Blankenship after Lowell Bowden was attacked, mauled, and killed by four pit bulls that stayed at Blankenship’s Lindside home. Part of the problem with prosecuting Blankenship was that laws don’t exist in West Virginia regarding dogs that maul, mame, or kill humans. Monroe County’s Prosecuting Attorney Justin St. Clair says after trying this case he thinks laws need to change since he was forced to pursue involuntary manslaughter. Charging her simply with harboring vicious dogs would bring a 30 days in jail penalty to the case.
- Thirty-three year old Joshua Riffe, a St. Albans man facing four felony charges of sexual assault, was in Clay County Magistrate Court Thursday, where he waived the 10-day waiting period to have a preliminary hearing. According to a criminal complaint, Riffe, using the name Eddie Wayne, asked a 13 year old boy to be his friend on Facebook, saying he thought they knew each other. Police say he sent pictures of himself to the boy and sent a photograph of his penis via cell phone before picking the boy up near his home in Clay County on January 16th and performing sexual acts on the boy inside the vehicle. The boy's mother discovered sexually explicit e-mails and photographs on the boy's computer and contacted police.
- Cathy Gorby from St. Albans has been sentenced to two years probation and has had to give up her rights to her children. Police arrested her in July 2009 after they were called to her home and found her 15 year old daughter taking care of two other special needs children. Gobry had pleaded guilty to child neglect charges.
- The first bill passed by the entire Legislature this session was signed into law Thursday by Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. House Bill 2001 would set parole hearings every three years, rather than every year, for inmates sentenced to life with mercy. The corrective bill is the first to pass the 60-day regular session, and takes effect immediately.
- Police were called after the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Society went to Wayne Workman's home on Gap View Drive in Kanawha County Thursday morning to check on a horse and found it malnourished. The horse died shortly after police arrived. Workman was charged with two counts of animal cruelty and neglect.
- During Thursday's session of the West Virginia Coal Association Symposium in Charleston, Freshman Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., said federal regulatory agencies are over-stepping their bounds, and he assured coal industry leaders he will be their voice in Washington, D.C., and will take on the Environmental Protection Agency. McKinley said the war on coal has to come to a stop, and we have to stop it. He vowed he's going to make sure they understand in Washington just how important coal is.
- The Marshall County Sheriff's Department says 49 year old Kevin Campbell of Washington, Pennsylvania was killed Thursday morning on a Marcellus shale drill site located on Route 250, south of Cameron. Campbell worked for an excavation company called 18 Karat, Inc. and was operating a bulldozer when he was attempting to hook a chain to a vehicle that was stuck and the bulldozer rolled backwards and pinned him against the vehicle. He was taken to Reynolds Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Drill site 6 is owned by Consol.
- Secretary of State Natalie Tennant announced Thursday morning that she is a candidate for governor in this year's special election. The Marion County native, who has served as Secretary of State since 2009, says she's going to promote innovative ways to create jobs, educate children, and be more responsible about the fiscal policy.
- The Kanawha County Board of Education sent notices to parents Wednesday alerting them that the remaining scheduled early out days will now be full days to make up some of the time that has been missed because of bad weather. June 2, 3 and 6 will now be full days as well. Kanawha County School Board member Pete Thaw says that should bring the total number of instructional days to 179. Students are required to have 180 instructional days.
- Logan Police say that the State Medical Examiner and an archaeologist have determined that the bones found Monday by a construction crew working on a new state office building are those of a Native American. As of now, researchers don't believe that the site was a burial ground.
- Deputies with the Nicholas County Sheriff's Department say an extensive investigation lead to the arrest of 33 year old Aaron Shane Ballew from Summersville on Thursday. He is charged with first degree sexual assault, first degree sexual abuse and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian. He's accused of raping a juvenile in 2006.
- Representative Nick Rahall is questioning the U.S. Postal Service's decision to study the feasibility of consolidating a mail processing and distribution facility in Bluefield with operations in Charleston and Johnson City, Tennessee. Rahall says smaller towns deserve the same level of mail and delivery service as big cities. Last week, Rahall asked the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to review the process in response to other consolidations involving facilities in Beckley and Huntington.
- Three Belington residents have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the illegal killing of two black bears. Brandan Allen, 26, James Edgell, 36, and Kimberly Smith, 40, were charged in late January. Allen received a 30-day jail sentence and a $2,677.60 fine after he pleaded guilty to exceeding the bear season limit and violating checking regulations. Edgell pleaded guilty in Barbour County to withholding information, illegal wildlife possession and conspiracy. He was fined $542.40. Smith pleaded guilty in Barbour County to withholding information and conspiracy. She was fined $361.60.
- International Coal Group plans to spend heavily in 2011 to increase production of metallurgical coal for steelmakers. ICG expects to spend between $225 million and $245 million on capital projects this year, with approximately $80 million to be spent on developing the Tygart Valley No. 1 mine in Taylor County, West Virginia. ICG hopes to produce 3.5 million tons of coal annually at Tygart Valley once the mine is at full capacity. ICG expects to have invested $325 million by then.
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