Breaking Local News

Investigation Opens after Possible Explosive Device is Found

State police are asking for the public's help figuring out who put an explosive device on a playground outside a Head Start in Williamson. WCHS TV reports it was made of some aerosol cans taped together with wires soldered to it. Bomb squads were called out Monday, and state police think somebody tossed it over a fence onto the playground. Investigators are looking to see if video surveillance is available, and asking anyone with tips to call state police. It happened at Cinderalla Head Start on Vinson Street in Williamson.

Changes Made to Contra-Lane to Make it Safer

Drivers in Charleson are still getting used to the new contra, and crews are doing their best to clear up any confusion about it. There were some broken posts in spots, and WCHS TV reports last night those were replaced with concrete barriers to make the merge safer at the Interstate 64-77-79 split. The West Virginia Division of Highways said drivers hit the posts and broke them as they merged out of the contraflow lane and tried to cross several lanes of traffic. The concrete barriers will keep them in the left lane. The contralane will stay in place until a major bridge project is finished.

Robbery Investigation Continues

Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a robbery that happened Monday morning around 12:30 a.m. on Falcon Drive between Charleston and Sissonville. A sixty year old man said he answered a knock on his door and two men barged in, tied him up, and rummaged through his belongings, leaving with thousands of dollars in cash and other items. Some of the property has already been recovered, but not everything was located. Anyone with tips should submit them at www.kanawhasheriff.us or by phone at 304-357-0169.

Deputies Are Taking Tips on Robbery

On Monday at about 2:45 a.m. Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies were called out to a robbery in the Jefferson area. Deputies met the victim on the lot of the Value City store at 6400 MacCorkle Avenue after the robbery on Kanawha Terrace near Weimer Elementary. Sgt. B-D Humphreys says the victim described stopping to check on someone waving at him on Kanawha Terrace. The suspect got into the back of the victim’s car and held a handgun to his head, and took his wallet, phone, and other items. Deputies are looking for a white male, believed to be in his late twenties. He was wearing blue jeans and a gray t-shirt. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip online at www.kanawhasheriff.us.

Rare Falcons Close Park

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has closed two rock climbing areas at Maryland Heights after a pair of peregrine falcons was spotted building a nest on the cliff face. All climbing routes on the Gully and Sign Wall sections of the cliff will remain closed until mid-August. Other climbing sections of the cliff face remain open. Park chief of resource management Mia Parsons tells The Journal that peregrine falcons haven't been seen nesting in Harpers Ferry since 1952. The park began a program in 2000 to reintroduce peregrine falcons to the area, in partnership with the Dominion Center for Conservation Biology. Parsons says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will monitor the falcons from a distance.

CERT Group's Formation On Hold

Plans for a new community service group in Fayette County are on hold after allegations of inappropriate activity surfaced. WCHS TV reports the group calling itself the Fayette County Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT was asking for donations as it took shape. After investigating, it came to light that no such group had been licensed as a nonprofit organization by the secretary of state’s office. A group of students at local high schools apparently started it and had no ill intent, but they didn't go through the proper channels to make it happen. They'll have to be affiliated with the Fayette County Office of Emergency Services, maintain a liability insurance policy, be registered with the secretary of state as a nonprofit organization, file reports on fundraising and receive training. No charges have been filed.

Teachers Have Help With Earth Day Lesson Plans

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia is encouraging teachers across the State to use the opportunity of Earth Day on April 22, to talk to students about the importance of taking care of the earth by conserving energy, water and the other natural resources we depend on in our daily lives. To start the discussion, they've developed and collected lesson plans for students in kindergarten through high school. Those plans can be found on the Public Service Commission’s website: http://www.psc.state.wv.us/KidCorner/EarthDayLessonPlansGradesK-12.pdf.
The lesson plans include conservation tips, science experiments, art projects, group activities, discussion topics and many other useful tools for teachers.

Woman Pleads Guilty to St. Albans Stabbing

A woman has pleaded guilty in the stabbing death of a St. Albans resident.
The Charleston Gazette reports 29-year-old Jessica M. Wilson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Kanawha County Circuit Court on Friday. She faces up to life in prison at a hearing May 7. Nancy Burdette Lynch was killed during a robbery at her home in January 2014. Wilson testified that a co-defendant, Timothy Paul Shafter, did the stabbing. Shafer, who previously pleaded guilty to murder, had said Wilson stabbed the victim. Shafer is serving life without parole. A third defendant, Megan Marie Hughes of St. Albans, was sentenced to 15 years for burglary and five years for being an accessory after the fact to murder

Decision To Move Blankenship Trial is On Hold

A federal judge won't decide whether to move former coal baron Don Blankenship's criminal trial until after potential jurors are questioned in Beckley. Blankenship has asked for a change of venue, arguing that he cannot get a fair trial in southern West Virginia because of prejudicial news coverage. The former Massey Energy CEO was charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch Mine after a blast killed 29 men in 2010. It was the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades. U.S. District Judge Irene Berger said in Friday's order that Blankenship's motion will be put on hold until after questioning of potential jurors is completed. That process is set to begin July 9. The trial is scheduled for July 13.

Charleston Building Struggles Financially

Charleston's 22-story Laidley Tower has been placed into federal receivership. U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston ordered the move earlier this month after Wells Fargo Bank filed a civil lawsuit after the office building's owners defaulted on a $25 million loan taken out in 2007. Tenants were notified Thursday that Johnston appointed property management firm Colliers International to oversee Laidley Tower's finances, tenants and bank accounts. Two dozen separate entities jointly own the building. Wells Fargo said the owners failed to make a January loan payment, and the bank requested the remaining principal balance of $24.2 million be paid in full. Laidley Tower has seen a drop-off in tenants in recent years. Patriot Coal moved about 100 employees from Laidley Tower to Putnam County last year.

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