Friday, June 17, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-18-'11
- Al Roker with NBC's The Today Show was in Charleston Friday morning to unveil about $1.4 million in donations to Covenant House of Charleston. He has visited Anchorage, Alaska, Birmingham, Alabama, Las Vegas, Nevada and Houston, Texas, and Charleston was the final stop for Roker who is raising millions of dollars for charitable organizations across the United States. Roker gave away more than $9 million to charities across the country. This is the 10th year for the Lend A Hand Campaign which focuses on smaller, grassroots charitable donations. In addition to a new Toyota Tundra and thousands of pounds of food along with a $25,000 check from Malt-O-Meal, Covenant House received air miles, laptop computers, board games, clothing, strollers, shower gel, beauty tools, health products, appliances, windows and mattresses. Covenant House offers a variety of services to those in need in the Charleston community. The services include a food pantry that serves nearly 5,000 meals every year, a shelter for the homeless, community house and housing assistance.
- U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced 32 year old Edward Miller of Beckley to nearly five years in federal prison for robbing the First Peoples Bank in Mullens on June 7, 2010. Miller entered a guilty plea in February. Police say he entered the bank and handed a note to a teller who gave him $2,607. Miller was arrested later that same day in Mercer County, and police recovered almost all of the money.
- Eight people were arrested during a drug raid at a house in the North Queens Court area of Huntington around 6:00 P.M. Thursday. All eight are charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance after officers confiscated heroin, crack, powdered coke, a large amount of money, pills and a handgun.
Alicia Ramella, 22, of Huntington
Angel Baldwin, 22, of Huntington
James Meeks, 33, of Huntington
Kristan Shaw, 29, of Vanceburg, Ky.
Adam Shaw,32, of Tollesboro, Ky.
Adam Bellew, 25, of Hurricane
Scott Crump, 43, of Detroit
Deon Powell, 42, of Detroit
- Crump and Powell, who are from Detroit, have extensive violent criminal histories that include rape and murder.
- The state Supreme Court has ruled that Jonathan Darby, a Kanawha County Schools bus driver, should be given back his job after the county Board of Education fired him for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a student. The ruling overturned a Kanawha Circuit Court decision that supported the firing of Darby. The circuit court's decision had overruled a judgment by the state Public Employees Grievance Board that ordered Darby be reinstated to his position because of inconsistencies in testimony and evidence. On December 2, 2008, Darby was fired on allegations that he had violated the Board of Education's sexual harassment policy. A parent complained to the director of pupil transportation in June 2008 that Darby was having an inappropriate relationship with a 17 year old girl who rode his bus. After Darby went to the state Public Employees Grievance Board, the girl said she and Darby had one sexual encounter. The stepmother said she discovered numerous calls between the girl and Darby on her cell phone bill and several unsigned notes in her stepdaughter's wallet detailing a bus crash and plans for the writer to leave his wife. The stepmother said she presumed that Darby wrote the letters. Though Darby admitted to having lengthy conversations with the girl, he denied having a sexual relationship with her.
- Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier Resort, has purchased the Black Knight Country Club in Beckley for $1 million. Black Knight shareholders voted Thursday to sell all of the country club's assets to The Justice Companies, including the clubhouse and restaurant, pool, tennis courts, 9-hole golf course and about 60 acres of land. Terry Miller, chief financial officer for The Justice Companies, says they hope to finalize the Black Night acquisition by the end of the month. Justice says he feels like Black Knight was a second home. He grew up there, he and his wife held their wedding reception at the Black Knight and he learned to play golf there. Justice says he has too many fond memories of the Black Knight Country Club to watch it fold.
- Thursday, the Senate voted 73-27 to repeal the $5 billion annual subsidy for producing ethanol. The tax credit provides 45 cents a gallon to oil refiners who mix gasoline with ethanol, a renewable, liquid fuel additive that comes mainly from corn in the U.S. West Virginia's Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., voted to end the ethanol tax credits. Rockefeller says it will reduce the federal deficit by nearly $2.4 billion. Rockefeller says we must end tax breaks that don't work, and this subsidy has been adding to the deficit without doing anything to help Americans who are just trying to make ends meet. Manchin says he's encouraged that the Senate voted to stop providing costly ethanol subsidies that do not even reduce gas prices and actually jack up food costs and grocery bills.
- The city of Elkins has agreed to pay nearly $130,000 in fines for federal clean water violations. The City Council accepted a consent decree Thursday with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA initiated a lawsuit after the city failed to meet minimum guidelines in 1997 for reducing the amount of sewage flowing into the Tygart Valley River. Under the consent decree, the city must meet the sewage flow guidelines by July 30th or face daily fines, implement a yard-waste recycling program and come up with a long-term sewage flow plan.
- Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., will bring the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to Charleston on June 27th for a hearing titled “Making it in America: Innovate Locally, Export Globally.” The hearing will provide an opportunity to focus on American manufacturing, job creation and exporting. The hearing begins at 10:30 A.M. in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the seventh floor of the Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse.
- Unemployment rates have fallen in 32 of West Virginia's 55 counties. Workforce West Virginia said Friday that 19 counties reported higher unemployment rates in May and rates in four others remained unchanged. Monongalia County's 6.0 percent unemployment rate was the lowest in the state. Pocahontas County reported the highest rate at 16.5 percent. West Virginia's unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in May, down from 8.7 percent in April.
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