Tuesday, June 07, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-8-'11
- In an ongoing effort to make mines a safer place to work, MSHA is holding hearings across the country on proposed rule changes. Tuesday, one of those hearings took place in Charleston. MSHA is focusing on examinations of work areas in underground coal mines and patterns of violations. John Gallack, with Alpha Natural Resources, told the panel, when it comes to implementing new policies, MSHA needs to set more than just vague guidelines. He said coal companies want and need rules written in black and white. Gallack said another issue with the proposed changes is the need for an appeal process for coal companies who disagree when MSHA files a citation for a pattern of violation. He says, if MSHA is going to rewrite a rule, there needs to be someplace to go to mediate a dispute. Two more hearings are scheduled, one on Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama and the other on June 15th at MSHA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
- Rodney Thomas, 60, of St. Albans was killed Monday night when the motorcycle he was riding on Route 34 near Buff Creek was struck head-on by a car driven by Suzanne Thomas, 50,of Hurricane. Thomas, who is no relation to the victim, is charged with DUI causing death with reckless disregard and driving left of center. Rodney Thomas died at the scene.
- The West Virginia Division of Corrections says David Knight escaped from the Huntington Work Release Center sometime Monday evening. He's 36 years old, 5 foot 7 inches and weighs about 180 pounds. His head is shaved, and he has three tattoos on his arms. Knight was serving time for grand larceny and burglary in Kanawha County. Friday, Dajuan Jones walked away from the facilty where he was serving time for manufacturing and delivering narcotics. Jones is still missing.
- Bonnie Bain, 60, of Belle, a former 30-year employee of BB&T, pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling at least $200,000 from May 2004 to October 2007 from the West Side Branch, where she worked as a teller. She admitted to trying to cover it up by making false entries in the company's books, recording fake cash amounts in her teller drawer and reducing the cash shown in her rawer by creating fake cash out tickets. She faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine when sentenced on September 8th.
- Dennis Lester Barker, 56, of Gallipolis Ferry, in Mason County, was sentenced to six months in prison Monday for cultivation of marijuana. Barker pleaded guilty in February to charges of growing about 165 plants for personal use and financial gain. State Police spotted the marijuana while conducting an aerial marijuana-eradication operation in September 2009.
- Mark Smith, 38, of Newport, Kentucky has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison for interstate stalking. Smith pleaded guilty in February after police say he traveled from Ohio to Huntington to harass and intimidate his former wife who was living at her mother's home, along with the child she had with Smith. In August 2006, Smith drove to the Huntington home and began banging on the door and demanding entry. After his ex-wife refused to open the door, Smith began breaking windows. Smith left the scene, but not before using his vehicle to ram the car belonging to his ex-wife's mother. Smith was also ordered to pay a $6, 642.49 fine.
- Thomas Pomeroy from Kanawha County was arrested early Tuesday morning. Police say, during an interview, he admitted to sexually abusing an 11-year-old female family friend at a home in Cedar Grove.
- Charleston City Council has approved a $150,000 federal block grant to help fund the Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center, a new 10-bed veterans home on Capitol Street. On Monday, council approved the funding with only two nay votes. Democrat Robert Sheets, who represents the 10th District, and independent Culbert Smith, of the 9th District, argued that the center could be located elsewhere. Officials with Roark-Sullivan say residents at the home will be expected to have a job and eventually move out of the transitional home. There will be three full-time staff members, with at least one at the facility at all times.
- The West Virginia Public Service Commission issued an order June 1st to stop West Virginia American Water’s plan for a 10 percent workforce reduction. Monday, West Virginia American Water issued a new order asking the PSC to allow its layoffs of 31 workers. The company’s order argues the PSC does not have the authority to oversee the day-to-day tasks and management of the utility.
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