Thursday, April 21, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-22-'11
- Thursday, Shirley Bowen took the stand in defense of her husband, retired Huntington Police Captain Foster "Pete" Bowen. All the alleged victims say many of the sex acts between them, Bowen and each other occurred in the couple's Barboursville home in Bowen's bedroom while Shirley Bowen was often home. However, Bowen testified she was very religious and was often out of the home at church or choir practice, and the young boys often came to their home to play and seemed to flock around her husband, but Mrs. Bowen denied seeing or hearing anything out of the ordinary. She said it wasn't unusual for the couple to take some of the boys out to eat or even on summer vacations, and that she and her husband have slept in separate bedrooms for years, but when they did have relations, it always happened in her room in her bed. Mrs. Bowen testified the two had a healthy sexual relationship during the years of the allegations and she's never had any marital problems with her husband when it came to sex. The case will resume Monday.
- The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said Thursday it issued 134 citations during its latest round of inspections targeting problem mines. The agency said 60 of the violations were uncovered at coal mines in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee during March. Another 74 citations were issued to metal and non-metal mines in Utah, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Nevada and Idaho.
- Mingo County Sheriff's Deputies say Stephen Hatfield was shot four different times in the head, neck and hand after he got into an argument with Elbert Addair around 12:30 A.M. Thursday on Ned's Branch in Gilbert. Later Addair called Wyoming County dispatchers and reported he had been stabbed. Both men were taken to the hospital.
- Three corrections officers from the Southwestern Regional Jail were held in contempt of court, and each worker was fined $50 Thursday in Mingo County because they failed to bring inmates from the jail to court on time after they had been given warning before this incident.
- Two Charleston Police officers were responding to a backup call from an officer attempting to arrest Thomas Means a fugitive located at the Hardee's on Bigley Avenue Thursday morning. Means was on the run after skipping out on a burglary trial. When Cpl. Keith Peoples showed up to arrest him, Peoples says Means fought back. 911 heard the scuffle coming through the radio and called for back-up. It appears an officer on Washington Street was pulling through a green light at the intersection when he was "T-boned" by the officer on Court Street. The officers were not injured, but both cruisers sustained significant damage. Means was taken to the hospital after the scuffle. When he was released into police custody, he took off and tried to escape.
- Two people pleaded guilty and were sentenced Wednesday for their roles in the murder of Edward Ferrell who was killed at his home in the Madison community of Boone County. Police arrested Ramsey and Davis in February 2009. Jason Ramsey pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and Natasha Davis pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the murder. Ramsey was sentenced to 45 years in prison, while Davis was sentenced to six to 10 years.
- Local dignitaries cut the ribbon on a runway extension project Thursday afternoon which adds 500-feet of space to landing and departing aircraft at Huntington's Tri-State Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration has been pushing airports nationwide to have a 1,000-foot safety zone. Until the construction, Tri-State could operate its runway without the changes, but wasn't comfortable with the plan. The airport now has 500 extra feet of paved surface so larger aircraft can come in or aircraft that have been landing there can now take on more fuel to go greater distances.
- U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller says he has confidence in Toyota Motor Company that it won't have to lay off any workers at its Buffalo plant in Putnam County. The company announced earlier this week plans to slow down its production schedule in the U.S. for the next month and a half because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last month. Rockefeller says he's spoken with the president of Toyota and has been given full assurance the company does not plan to make any layoffs in the near future.
- As he seeks a third term, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says the next four years could be the most difficult and challenging the city will possibly see in his lifetime. Jones believes climbing out of the firefighter and police officer pension plan holes will be difficult. He noted the problem arose in 1991 before he became mayor. Jones says the city has a total unfunded pension liability of about $200 million, and the Legislature recently passed a measure that will allow Charleston to address the unfunded liability while putting new hires in the police and fire departments into a new pension plan. The city's contribution into the plans will increase by $1.5 million if Charleston leaders opt into the new program, meaning the city would have to pay about $7.8 million into the plans during fiscal year 2012 as opposed to $6.3 million. However, this will keep the city's contribution rate from ballooning to about $27 million in 2031. Jones is just the third mayor in the city's history to seek a third term in office. If he wins and serves a full third term, he will tie D. Boone Dawson who served from 1935-1947.
- The Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District will consider tranferring Veterans Memorial Field House property to Marshall University which wants the property to be used as part of an athletic facilities upgrade that includes a new soccer complex. The group says Veterans Memorial Field House, which badly needs costly repairs, continues to lose money. The park board has had to transfer an average of $67,912 annually the past three years to maintain operations at the facility. Park Board president Dr. Ken Wolfe says, in the past ten years, the board has transferred more than a half million dollars from other park enterprises just to keep the utilities on, and there are not enough revenue raising activities to keep the Fieldhouse operating. If approved, Marshall University would be responsible for the costs of the demolition of Veterans Memorial Field House. The park board will consider the transfer at its meeting April 27th.
- The Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation, called on state economic development officials Thursday to disclose details of the incentive package used to entice Macy's to build a $150 million distribution center in Berkeley County. Steve White, director of the Trades Foundation, told state Economic Development Authority members that West Virginians deserve to know the specifics of the deal because the state and Berkeley County Commission are giving Macy's significant tax breaks. Thursday, the state Economic Development Authority voted unanimously to authorize the sale of up to $176 million in bonds to finance the Macy's distribution center. The Development Authority will own the 1.3 million square-foot warehouse and lease the facility and equipment to Macy's so the department store chain won't have to pay property taxes. In exchange, Macy's has promised to create a minimum of 600 jobs. State officials have previously said that the packaging center would employ about 1,200 people full-time and another 700 seasonal workers.
- Thursday, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller sat down with the CEO's of Clark International Logistics of Poca and Ideal Innovations of Clarksburg, two companies that have teamed up to produce a state-of-the-art military vehicle. Clark International is known around the world for rehabbing military vehicles...rebuilding, working on frames, blasting and coating. Currently 91 percent of their business transactions are from outside the U.S., but company president and CEO Eric Clark wants to change that and vie for U.S. military contracts. Clark employs about 35 workers, while Ideal Innovations employs about 60.
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