Breaking Local News
We told you earlier this week about the arrest of 31-year old Justin Brafford of Hurricane, after robbing a gaming parlor. Now he's been connected to other crimes. St. Albans police have charged Brafford with grand larceny after they were led to the conclusion that he robbed Lewie's Gaming Parlor on Route 60 last Friday. Brafford has also been connected to the robbery of Kelley's Kafe in Jefferson and Texas Jim's video lottery parlor in Teays Valley. And police have linked Brafford to thefts in Huntington too.
The state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting registrations now for the upcoming Adopt-A-Highway Spring Statewide Cleanup. The deadline to register is April 12th and the event takes place April 27th. Individuals and groups can get involved, as long as the actual volunteers are at least 12 years old. The cleanup can involve almost any road maintained by the state. Private roads and interstate highways cannot be adopted. The Adopt-A-Highway program provides garbage bags, work gloves and safety vests to volunteers, and then the state hauls off the trash. Last spring more than 5,500 volunteers cleared trash from more than 1,500 miles of West Virginia roadways.
Students at the University of Charleston can rest assured that tuition won't creep up next year. UC announced a tuition freeze for the 2013-14 school year Tuesday, which keeps the cost for undergraduates at $19,500. And the pay-per-credit cost structure will stay in effect at UC-Beckley and UC-Martinsburg locations. UC President Ed Welch said in a news release it's the school's goal to keep college affordable, and they want to show students and their families that earning a degree at UC is financially possible. The school says its rates or tuition and fees are more than five thousand dollars below the national average for private universities in the US.
A $1 million lottery winner has yet to step forward, but the West Virginia Lottery says the ticket was sold in Beckley. The ticket matched five numbers in Saturday's Powerball drawing, and only missed matching the Powerball itself. A news release from the lottery says the winner bought the ticket at the Little General Store on Robert C. Byrd Drive in Beckley. The winning numbers for Saturday’s drawing were: 3-7-21-44-55 and the Powerball number was 16. This is the third Powerball ticket worth $1 million sold in West Virginia in the last two weeks.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has announced a temporary hiring freeze that will be in effect for the rest of the budget year. The freeze affects all agencies within the Executive Branch and will be in effect through June 30th. This comes after the State's General Revenue tax collections were $35 million below budget forecast through January, and collections are not expected to pick up much in the coming months. Tuesday's order applies to jobs and vacancies funded by general revenue, and not to those that rely on special revenues like license fees. The governor said he would allow exceptions on a case-by-case basis, but any hiring would have to be approved by him. The governor also ruled out layoffs or furloughs.
Tenth graders are being encouraged to sign up for this summer's West Virginia Science Camp. One 10th grader from each of West Virginia's 55 counties will be selected to go to the camp from July 15th through 23rd at Cedar Lakes Conference Center near Ripley. It's sponsored by the state Department of Education and the National Youth Science Foundation,. High schools have to turn in the names of student nominees by April 17. County superintendents will then select one student to attend the camp and up to nine alternates.
State police say a man who escaped from a Charleston work release program has been recaptured. West Virginia State Police caught up with Donald Toler in Boone County Tuesday night and he's back in the Southwestern Regional Jail. Toler also had six felony warrants against him for possession of pseudoephedrine.
Ivy’s Video Parlor on West Washington Street in Cross Lanes was robbed Sunday night by a female suspect, whom employees said played a game for several minutes, then ordered a Mountain Dew. When she went to the restroom she came back with a black handgun by her side and demanded employees tell her how to open the cash register. Then she made of with an undisclosed amount of money. A warrant has been issued for 31 year old Kimberly Ann West, also known as Kimberly Ann Vest. Deputies say she has ties to Cross Lanes area but is believed to have fled West Virginia for her home state of Ohio.
Sheriff's deputies had a busy night Sunday, with three gaming parlors robbed in western Kanawha and Putnam counties within a few hours time. Deputies say a white male suspect went into Kelly’s Café on MacCorkle Avenue in Jefferson with a gun and demanded money, and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. That was shortly after midnight Monday morning. Then at 2:20am, Nitro Police found a suspect matching the robber's description at Wal-Mart at Nitro Place. 31-year old Justin Lee Brafford was found with a large sum of money, a semi-automatic pistol and camouflage clothing, according to Captain Sean Crosier. He was arrested and charged with 1st Degree Armed Robbery. Deputies are still working to see if he's connected to the other robberies.
Department of Highway workers ask for patience this month as they work on the Dunbar toll bridge. Drivers who move from South Charleston to Dunbar over the Kanawha River, should know it may not be a quick and easy trip. Through the end of March, one lane of the Dunbar Toll Bridge will be shut down from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from dawn to dusk on Saturday and Sunday for federally mandated inspections. Traffic is already heavier on the Dunbar bridge because of the demolition of the bridge that used to connect Nitro to St. Albans.