Wednesday, April 20, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-21-'11
- A Cabell County Circuit Court jury listened to some strong allegations, during day three of the trial for retired Huntington Police Captain Foster "Pete" Bowen, when another alleged victim took the stand Wednesday and testified that Bowen took him around several well-respected professionals in the community, including a doctor, dentist and a high-ranking law enforcement leader, and engaged in sexually suggestive conversation with them and even make comments to them about the victim's genitals. The alleged victim testified that he recalled one incident where Bowen cornered him in Bowen's bedroom, threw him on the bed and performed a sexual act on him. After that, he said he shied away from Bowen. Defense Attorney Jay Love has said of the claims, "It's all lies." He says his client was trying to help troubled young boys, not abuse them. There are still dozens more witnesses who could be called to testify during the trial that's expected to continue into next week.
- Police are investigating after a body was found in the Ohio River in Huntington Wednesday morning by a worker at Schooner's Waterfront Grille. Emergency workers recovered the body after it was spotted floating in some debris. The man's body has been taken to the West Virginia Medical examiner's office for an autopsy and identification. Reports indicate the person was wearing a ring and also had a bus card from Kanawha County.
- Radical Action of Mountain People's Survival, a coalition of coalfield residents in Virginia and West Virginia, is asking Alpha Natural Resources to halt mountaintop removal and other surface mining near their homes. The group presented letters to Alpha officials Wednesday asking the company to adopt a more sustainable future for Appalachia. Residents are particularly interested in having Alpha halt mines now operated by Massey Energy. Residents say they hope Alpha officials will be willing to talk about ways to find alternatives to surface mining in the two states.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will re-examine a permit for Massey Energy's Highland Mining Co. in Logan County. In a federal court filing, the Corps says it's seeking a remand of the Reylas surface mine permit granted in March. The agency told U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers it could reinstate, change or revoke the permit. Environmentalists sued days after the permit was granted, alleging violations of the federal Clean Water Act. They claimed the permit would wrongly let Highland bury more than 2 1/2 miles of stream. Chambers issued a preliminary restraining order and scheduled another hearing for May 10th.
- Following a tip concerning a meth lab, State Police Troopers L.W. Price and J.S. Crane went to a home on Sugar Creek Drive in Charleston Monday where they spoke with 47 year old Juanita Carrie Haynes, who allowed them to search the home. Price found a trash bag hidden under the back porch steps about six feet away from a garage where they were searching. Inside the bag, troopers found a gas generator, rubber gloves, used coffee filters, an empty bottle of Heet, a reddish-orange coffee filter with purple crystals and a cup containing black crystals. Sgt. L.G. O'Bryan, a certified meth technician, responded to the scene and confirmed the items were components of a meth lab. Haynes was charged with conspiracy, operating a meth lab and possession of altered pseudoephedrine.
- Thirty-nine year old Rogina Helmick of Elkins has been charged with three felony counts of embezzlement, fraudulent schemes, and uttering. Authorities say Helmick embezzled more than $100,000 from several accounts, including payroll and employee Christmas Club accounts, while working at Select In-Home Services for two and one half years. Helmick has posted a $30,000 bond.
- The state Supreme Court has denied Charlie Vance's petition for a new trial. Vance is serving a life-with-mercy sentence for first-degree murder after being convicted in 2000 of fatally shooting Bradshaw Police Chief Chloe "Frankie" Stanton in McDowell County in 1998. The shooting took place inside the police department after Vance was detained for creating a disturbance. Vance's petition asked the court to overturn a circuit court ruling that rejected his claim of excessive interference by the trial judge, but the Supreme Court found no error in the circuit court's decision.
- Seven West Virginia University students were arrested Wednesday morning by the Mon Valley Drug Task Force after search warrants were executed on three residences in the city. All seven are charged with possession with the intent to deliver controlled substances after undisclosed amounts of drugs and currency were seized in the raids. Those charged are Nelson Soelho, 22, Michael Priolo, 22, Brandon Israel, 20, Emeka Nwosu, 20, all from New Jersey, Steven Telo, 21, from Connecticut, Stephen Graziano, 19, of Melville, NY and William Lockard, 20 of Elizabethtown, Pa.
- The city of Milton should soon have more protection. The Milton City Council has approved the hiring of three new, full-time police officers. One of the men who will join the force still has to go to the police academy, but is eager to join the department.
- Tom Bell, Executive Director of the Huntington Municipal Authority, says 200-300 jobs are coming to Kinetic Park. Bell says, because of confidentiality, he cannot release what company, or companies, are bringing the jobs or when the the governor will make the announcement, but he says the future of Kinetic Park has a very bright outlook.
- The Department of Health and Human Resources announced Wednesday that Garrett M. Jacobs, the interim commissioner of the state Bureau for Child Support Enforcement, has been named commissioner. Jacobs is an attorney who worked for two years as staff counsel with the Department of Tax and Revenue. He then spent seven years with the state Attorney General's Office, managing the workers' compensation litigation unit. He started work with the Bureau for Child Support Enforcement as general counsel in 1999 and was promoted to deputy commissioner in 2001. He's been interim commissioner since December 2009.
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