Monday, May 09, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...5-10-'11
- Adam Victor, the owner and president of TransGas Development Systems, joined a large crowd, including U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, in Gilbert Monday morning during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Adams Fork Energy Plant, a coal to liquid gas plant to soon be constructed on a 300-acre post-mine site at Wharncliffe in Mingo County. Victor says, in about four years, the first gasoline should be coming from the facility. The plant will take local coal and convert it into 750,000 gallons of “ultra clean Premium 92 Octane synthetic gasoline a day. The project will turn 7,500 tons of coal per day into liquid which will run trucks, machinery and cars. Victor says the technology has been used in Germany and South Africa for years. The German company ThyssenKrupp will provide the conversion technology. The project will cost more than $3 billion to construct. The plant will create 3,000 construction jobs over the four years and once it is finished there will be 300 permanent jobs. Victor says the only roadblock he can see is if Washington enacts retroactive environmental regulations that would negate the permits. Jim Sconyers, the chair of the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, says developer Adam Victor has had two other projects...one was abandoned and the other went bankrupt. Sconyers wonders why the state Economic Development Authority has authorized up to $3 billion in revenue bonds to be sold for the project. Project manager Randy Harris said earlier this year TransGas plans to sell taxable bonds and use private insurance and didn't need state EDA approval, but getting it was a good sign the state is behind the project.
- The bodies of 24 year old Daniel Whitely and his 20 year old wife Debra Sue were found in their mobile home near Wright's Mountain in Mercer County in May 1982. Both had been fatally shot. As part of a renewed effort by the West Virginia State Police to resolve more than 30 cold cases in nine southern counties, Police are asking for the public's help in solving the murders. Sgt. D.W. Miller Jr. says he wants people to contact him if they have any information, even if they think it's irrelevant. Miller says one small piece of information could be the one he needs to solve the case. Anyone who believes they have information can call 304-425-2102.
- Monday, Raleigh County Circuit Judge John Hutchinson declared a mistrial in the murder case of 38 year old Christopher Bowling, a Raleigh County man facing murder in the shooting death of his wife, Tresa. The jury had already heard a week's worth of testimony. Bowling's attorney claims the shooting was accidental and that his client was unloading his gun when it discharged, striking his wife in the head. Last week, witnesses testified that Bowling physically and emotionally abused his wife, and the two were heard arguing just minutes before Tresa was killed at the couple's home in Daniels in January of 2010. The victim's ten year old daughter, who was just feet away when her mother was shot, has testified as a witness for the prosecution. The mistrial was called after an issue with one of the jurors left only eleven people on the panel. Judge Hutchinson has scheduled a new trial for Monday, June 20th.
- Michael Barker of Cross Lanes, a former salesman at Bert Wolfe Ford on Charleston's West Side, claims he was getting a vehicle identification number from a Chrysler SUV for a customer on June 23, 2009 when he was struck by a car on the dealership's lot. The driver was identified as James Workman, the sales manager of the dealership. Barker sustained severe and permanent injury to his left foot, knee and ankle in the crash and underwent surgery and hospitalization. In court documents filed in Kanawha Circuit Court on April 1st, Barker is demanding compensation for his injuries, punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs, saying Workman along with Bert Wolfe Ford is liable for his injuries.
- In recent months Alpha Natural Resources has announced plans to purchase Massey Energy, James River Coal of Richmond, Virginia has signed an agreement to purchase the coal business built by Buck Harless and then just last week, Arch Coal announced plans to purchase International Coal Group. West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney says he’s not concerned about several recent or pending transactions involving large coal companies. Raney says the activity shows the interest in West Virginia coal, but the situation would be even better if there was more predictability when it comes to getting coal permits approved from the federal EPA.
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration has released some new information into the Upper Big Branch Mine investigation on their website. The 25 transcripts include interviews from the mine rescue and recovery efforts following the April 5, 2010 explosion. The transcripts describe how the rescuers were called to the Upper Big Branch Mine following the explosion, as well as their activities underground while searching for the missing miners, establishing communications with the surface and ultimately recovering the 29 victims. More are expected to be released in the coming months.
- Monday Randolph County Judge Jamie Wilfong sentenced 54 year old Pamela Thoman to one to three years in prison on a conviction of delivery of a controlled substance. The defense asked Wilfong to suspend Thoman's sentence in favor of participating in a community corrections or home confinement program, but Wilfong denied the request.
- Stephen Trent Johnson, 41, of Charleston pleaded guilty Monday to possession with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, admitting he sold a small amount of cocaine base and 40 grams of crack to a confidential informant with the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team in Charleston on June 14th. Officers found more than 37 grams of crack cocaine in his pocket while arresting him on an outstanding warrant. Johnson faces up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine when sentenced August 22nd.
- A Scott Depot man has pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and to distributing Oxycodone to an undercover agent. Forty-three year old Daniel Seth Fleshman admitted to selling a 9 mm, semi-automatic pistol to an undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent in Huntington. He also admitted to distributing morphine and Oxycodone to an undercover ATF agent in Huntington. Fleshman faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced September 6th.
- Tressie Hayes, 34, of Julian, who served as a therapist at Prestera in Danville, a mental health center in Boone County, was arrested Saturday on drug and sex abuse charges. Boone County Sheriff Rodney Miller says his office received complaints from two underage boys who say Hayes took them on drug runs and smoked marijuana and took pills with them. They say some of the drug activity happened inside Hayes' office. One of the boys claims Hayes had sex with him, even though she was aware of a sexual relationship he had with one of her family members, and she threatened to have him killed if he ever told anyone what she was doing. Hayes was being held Monday evening at the Southwestern Regional Jail on a $120,000 bond.
- Five West Virginia University students from four states have been charged with malicious burning after 29 fires kept Morgantown fire crews busy all weekend. Fire Capt. Ken Tennant says the fires were set randomly, both day and night, from Thursday night through Monday morning. All 18 street fires and 11 trash bin fires were in the downtown and Sunnyside areas. Those charged are: Eric T. Bailey of New Cumberland, Gage T. Swartz of Winchester, Virginia, Emily S. Foster of Berryville, Virginia, Michael J. Rutland of Overland Park, Kansas and Matthew P. Isakower of Hackettstown, New Jersey.
Links to this post: