Breaking Local News
West Virginia state biologists want to know if you see or hear the whip-poor-will. The Division of Natural Resources is fearful the bird with the distinctive call is on the decline. That's why they're asking residents to report any sightings of the bird through July 31. Whip-poor-wills are gray, brown and black, and you should report the sightings by email to DNR biologist Rich Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story of two young boys at a Mingo County Middle School is making national news. The boys are accused of sexual abuse, working together to restrain victims and grope other students, and one victim alleges she was raped during a class trip to Charleston. CNN reports that the Mingo County prosecutor has filed criminal charges against the boys, and this comes after West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morissey filed a request for a civil injunction. The incidents happened at Burch Middle School in Mingo County between November 2012 and May 2013.
The state Board of Education wants a lawsuit filed by former West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple to be dismissed. Marple was fired in November 2012. She contends in her lawsuit that she unlawfully fired and that members of the Board of Education secretly plotted to dismiss her, violating the state's open meetings law. The State Journal says attorneys for the board asked Kanawha County Circuit Judge James C. Stucky to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the panel is a state agency and immune from prosecution. They also stated that Marple was not under contract at the time of her firing.
The WV Lottery Commission on Friday said those with video lottery machines have 30 days to report any violations, or face large fines and the loss of their licenses. Fraternal organizations and all limited video lottery distributors who provide those groups with machines have to meet the deadline, according to the Charleston Gazette. This comes after a Clarksburg group is accused of setting up 23 video gaming parlors and using the identities of fraternal organizations. Fraternal organizations can have 10 machines at each location, double the maximum of five permitted in bars and clubs.
It's still under investigation, but more now on an accident that happened Wednesday near Marmet. A vehicle that crossed the center lane caused the accident on Route 61 near Turnpike Ford, between Charleston and Marmet. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says a Pontiac G6 was going south on Route 61 and a gray Jeep Wrangler was going north on Route 61. The two were involved in a head-on collision after the Pontiac crossed the center line. That driver was not wearing a seat belt, and was killed in the crash. He's been identified as 21-year old Alexander Neophytou of South Charleston.
A company studying the feasibility of building an ethane cracker plant in Wood County has applied for two state permits. The Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC is seeking an air quality permit and a permit to evaluate the site of the proposed plant under the state's Voluntary Remediation Program. The Parkersburg News & Sentinel reports that permitting is another administrative step in an ongoing feasibility study of the proposal. Cracker plants crack or convert ethane into ethylene, a widely used chemical compound. Ethane is a byproduct of natural gas drilling.
West Virginia's unemployment rate inched down in April to 6 percent. The seasonally adjusted rate is down one-tenth of a percentage point from March. WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed state residents fell by 100 in April to a total of 48,400 statewide. The West Virginia rate is less than the national rate of 6.3 percent. Employment gains in West Virginia were recorded in mining and logging, manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, educational and health services, leisure and hospitality and government. They were offset by declines in construction, information services and the financial sector.
More now on an accident that happened Monday along Reamer Road in Clendenin. The accident claimed the life of a Herbert Hoover High School student after the car she was in rolled into a creek. Counselors have been available this week to comfort students about the death of junior, Toni "Leeann" Spencer. There is a visitation tonight at Matics Funeral Home and the funeral is tomorrow.
A bankruptcy judge is expected to approve Freedom Industries' request to sell its Poca Blending facility unless a better bid is submitted by Friday afternoon. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson found the proposed buyer, Lexycon LLC, doesn't have any connection to Freedom or its former controlling officers. Pearson also said the sale's terms and conditions, and the negotiations, weren't inappropriate. Pearson made the findings during a preliminary hearing Tuesday on Freedom's motion to sell the property to Lexycon. But the judge delayed approval of the sale until 1 p.m. Friday to allow time for anyone to offer a higher bid.
More now related to Monday's mine explosion....Employees at the Boone County mine where two men were killed during a severe coal burst were notified weeks earlier that they may lose their jobs due to mass layoffs. St. Louis-based Patriot Coal gave notice to 450 workers at its Wells mining complex near Wharton on April 23. Federal law requires companies to provide 60 days notice to employees if large layoffs are possible. The Wells mining complex includes Brody Mine No. 1, where miners Eric Legg and Gary Hensley died on Monday. They were doing something called retreat mining, which is risky, but standard practice. The roof is intentionally collapsed to retrieve more coal.