Thursday, June 16, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-17-'11
- Authorities say a 2 year old boy died after firefighters removed him from the smoke-filled Blue Ridge Manor Apartments on State Route 27 in the Wellsburg area of Brooke County after fire broke out Wednesday afternoon. Wellsburg Assistant Fire Chief Stanley Kins identified the victim as Lucas Eric Parr. Kins says firefighters found the boy in a bed in the apartment. He was pronounced dead at a landing zone while awaiting transport to a Pittsburgh area hospital. Brooke County Sheriff Richard Ferguson says a 16 year old babysitter apparently was outside of the apartment building when the fire began in the bathroom.
- Ricky Spaulding, 39, of Logan County, was sentenced Thursday to more than two years in prison after admitting that on June 9, 2009, he sold two Oxycodone 80-milligram pills to an informant working for the US 119 Task Force at a residence located at or near Verdunville in Logan County. Shanda Watkins, 33, also of Logan County, was sentenced to three years probation for aiding and abetting the distribution of Oxycodone. Watkins and Spaulding admitted that on June 16, 2009, they sold two 80-milligram Oxycodone pills to an informant.
- Five victims in a deadly collision in Jefferson County early Wednesday morning remain hospitalized. The crash on State Route 9 claimed the life of Ho Young Won, 68, of Fairfax, Virginia. He was in one of the vehicles hit by a stolen SUV being driven by Michael Brown, 40, of Washington, D.C. Police across the line in Louden County, Virginia tried to stop Brown on a traffic violation, but he kept going and wrecked shortly after entering Jefferson County. Police say, when the vehicle came around the curve Brown was in the wrong lane. Brown is one of those hospitalized. He'll face criminal charges in Virginia and West Virginia.
- The Charleston Fire Department shut down the intersections of Brooks and Lee Streets, Morris and Washington Streets and Leon Sullivan Way and Washington Street for nearly two hours after construction crews in the area broke a major gas line Thursday morning, sending some people to the emergency room at Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital. Mountaineer Gas spokesman Moses Skaff says a contractor hired by Mountaineer was replacing a natural gas line feeding into CAMC General when he dug into the existing line. Skaff says Mountaineer took extra precaution to keep everyone safe.
- The U.S. Department of Energy issued a report Thursday saying West Virginia has mismanaged a $38 million federal weatherization grant. Government auditors say the state can't account for more than $60,000, and one agency fixed up homes owned by its employees first, before helping handicapped and elderly homeowners. Auditors say they also found evidence of poor workmanship and improper billing for unfinished jobs. The report chastises the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity for poor management. Auditors are recommending immediate state action to address the poor quality of services and require agencies doing the work to document their activities. They also want tighter state control of the remaining money. The state says it's working to fix the problems.
- Residents in the Lindbergh Edition of Fayetteville are fighting against a halfway house for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts on Short Street. Oxford House, an organization dedicated to providing a sober safe haven for its residents, leased a home on the street, causing considerable controversy. The town attempted to obtain an injunction against the lease. Oxford House argues residents of the neighborhood have interfered with the establishment of the home, and are in violation of the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.
- State lawmakers could be back in Charleston by August to take up legislation dealing with a regulatory framework for drilling in the Marcellus shale. Several members of the state Senate and the state House of Delegates will make up a House-Senate study committee that will work on a compromise proposal for the full Legislature to consider. Such legislation was debated throughout the entire 60 day 2011 Regular Legislative Session but no final bill was approved after many questions were raised about rights for surface owners and environmental issues. Supporters of the legislation say now is the time for the Legislature to set some state standards for drilling, with many cities, including Morgantown, taking steps to implement their own limits or bans on the drilling.
- At Beckley's Common Council Meeting Tuesday, pay raises were discussed in which council members would see an increase from $4,800 dollars a year to $6,000 dollars. The Mayor's pay would also raise from $42,500 dollars a year to $55,000 dollars. Not included in the conversation was if city employees would receive a raise. No decision has been finalized. The public can voice their concerns and comments over the raises at the next Beckley Common Council meeting on June 28th. If the raises aren't passed during the next meeting, they can't be brought up for another five years.
- Unsuccessful Charleston mayoral candidate Janet "JT" Thompson asked the Kanawha County Circuit Court on Wednesday to issue a default judgment in her favor to hear her complaint against the May 17th election. On Thursday, she filed an emergency petition for a temporary injunction to delay the swearing in of newly elected City Council members scheduled for Tuesday. On June 3rd, about 2 1/2 weeks after Mayor Danny Jones beat her by more than a 2-1 margin in her quest to become mayor, Thompson filed her first "notice of election contest." Thompson alleged numerous election irregularities by city and county election officials that amounted to voter fraud. She asked that the election be voided, a general election be held and/or she be declared the winner. City Attorney Paul Ellis and County Commission President Kent Carper say state election laws are clear: When someone challenges a municipal election, the city council of that municipality judges the case.
Links to this post: