Breaking Local News
West Virginia is gearing up to test a national alert system this week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will lead a test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Wednesday afternoon. The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the West Virginia Broadcasters Association and others will participate in the test. It is expected to last about two minutes and goes beyond traditional TV and radio emergency notifications to include alert messages to Facebook, Twitter, websites and digital signs. U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall says West Virginia is the only state to be chosen for this integrated test. The results will be used to inform a nationwide evaluation of the system next year.
Initial performance audits of West Virginia schools will start today as part of a new statewide assessment program. The audits involve onsite visits of all schools by the Office of Education Performance Audits over the next two years. They will provide Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the state Legislature and the West Virginia Board of Education an overall view of performance. Among the reasons for the visits are to identify needs for professional development and assess the adequacy of school buildings. The visits also will determine if schools are in compliance with state school board policies and if they are meeting quality standards adopted by the board. The results of the audits will be used as part of an A-F grading system that will begin in the 2015-16 school year.
There's been an arrest after a man's body was found at St. Albans City Park last week. 24-yera old Michael Benbow from North Carolina has been charged with murder, accused of murdering Micah Burdette. Burdette's body was found in St. Albans City Park on Tuesday, and police reports show he was shot in the head. Investigators used text messges from Burdette's phone to connect him to Benbow....Burdette had arranged to meet a man named "Smoov" at the park, and police figured out that was Benbow's nickname.
A woman carrying a concealed handgun at a high school football game is facing charges. 44-year old Lisa Lizotte of Meadow Bridge was arrested Friday night and charged with carrying a concealed handgun, and it's a felony since it was on school grounds. She was also charged with public intoxication and obstructing and officer, according to the Fayette county Sheriff's Department. Police were called after a disturbance at the game.
Six people are facing charges after a raid at a bar in Charleston last night. Police went to the Park Place Bar on the West Side after getting complaints of some drunk and loud people congregating outside the bar. WCHS TV reports there were several people with active warrants and evidence of illegal gambling.
The West Virginia Supreme Court is going on the road next week. The court will hear cases at Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on Tuesday as part of the school's celebration of Constitution Week. The cases include an inmate's challenge of a state law that bars jury trials for people found to be mentally incompetent. A Lewis County Circuit Court judge found Justin Sean Gum incompetent and ruled there was sufficient evidence to support a second-degree murder conviction. The judge sentenced Gum to 40 years at William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston. Also on the docket is a woman's appeal of a circuit court ruling affirming the Bluefield Municipal Board's order to euthanize her dog.
Mark Plants has had his visitation with his children temporarily suspended. A family law judge in Huntington made the ruling, and that means Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants' won't have his normal visitation with his children, and the domestic violence protection order has been extended until Dec. 16th. Plants is charged with domestic battery for hitting his son with a belt and with violating a domestic violence protection order filed by his ex-wife. This is part of an ongoing case with several impacts. Kanawha County commissioners are looking into ways to have Plants removed from his job. A three-judge panel will hear the removal proceedings Sept. 22 and 23 in Charleston.
Thoroughbred and greyhound breeders say that budget cuts to state racing subsidies are hurting the industry. The Charleston Gazette says the two groups made their cases to a legislative committee this week. Most recently, the state chopped racing subsidies for the current budget year by 10 percent. Mardi Gras racetrack in Charleston showed purses for greyhound racing dropped from $98,000 for the first week of Sept. 2010 to $61,700 this year.
West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association President Sam Burdette said three of 17 kennels at Mardi Gras made enough to cover expenses last week.
A lawsuit by a former Murray Energy worker says she was fired for not making campaign contributions to preferred political candidates. The Charleston Gazette reported the lawsuit was filed Sept. 4 in Monongalia County Circuit Court and seeks damages, back pay, reinstatement to her position and legal fees and costs. In the lawsuit, Jean Cochenour says she received written requests from CEO Bob Murray to donate to specific candidates. The letters asked for specific donation amounts. She was fired in May from her job as a prep plant foreman at a mine in Marion County. The company says Cochenour failed to perform her job and that's why she was fired.
Another West Virginia locality is considering going smoke free. The latest is Brooke County, which will take up the proposed smoking ban at a hearing in early October. The move comes weeks after Hancock County went that route, according to The State Journal. Health Department administrator Karen McClain says officials are weighing a ban in all enclosed public places as well as outdoor places like fairs, festivals and playgrounds. A public hearing has been set for Oct. 6.