Breaking Local News
Former Freedom Industries owner Charles Herzing entered a guilty plea at a hearing Monday in federal court in Charleston to causing an unlawful discharge of a coal-cleaning agent into the Elk River. Each faces up to a year in prison when sentenced June 22. Former owner William Tis also pleaded guilty Monday in a separate hearing. Plea hearings are scheduled Wednesday for Freedom environmental consultant Robert Reynolds and tank farm plant manager Michael Burdette, and on March 23 for the company itself. All are charged with federal Clean Water Act violations and are expected to plead guilty.
Timothy Coleman of Cross Lanes is facing charges after deputies say he stabbed his father after an argument over a locked door. Coleman couldn't get into the house and forced his way in, and his 77-year old father suffered cuts on his face and hands after a fight in the front yard. Coleman also suffered injuries, and has been charged with malicious wounding.
AT&T says it has upgraded its wireless and wired networks in West Virginia to improve reliability, coverage, speed and performance. The company said Monday in a news release that it invested nearly $300 million in upgrades between 2012 and 2014. The projects included construction of 27 cell sites, 217 wireless network upgrades, and expansion of network and mobile Internet capacity. AT&T says the upgrades are part of its Project Velocity IP investment plan.
A former owner of Freedom Industries has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from last year's chemical spill in Charleston. William Tis entered the plea on Monday in federal court in Charleston to federal Clean Water Act violations. Tis faces up to a year in prison when sentenced June 22. Plea hearings are scheduled Wednesday for Freedom environmental consultant Robert Reynolds and tank farm plant manager Michael Burdette, and on March 23 for the company itself. All are charged with federal Clean Water Act violations and are expected to plead guilty. Ex-Freedom owner Dennis Farrell and former President Gary Southern face trial later this year on spill-related charges.
Two former executives at Freedom Industries are due in court for plea hearings today on charges stemming from last year's chemical spill in Charleston. Ex-Freedom owners Charles Herzing and William Tis will enter pleas today, and plea hearings also are scheduled on Wednesday for Freedom environmental consultant Robert Reynolds and tank farm plant manager Michael Burdette and on March 23 for the company itself. All are charged with federal Clean Water Act violations and are expected to plead guilty.
While confident having been there before, Varun Kukkillaya nervously spelled the word "requisite" on Saturday to become the 2015 Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee champion for the second year in a row. The Charleston Daily Mail reports the 14-year-old John Adams Middle eighth grader will now advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Varun will now advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, taking place May 26-28.
A woman called 911 Sunday to say she was being held against her will by a man named Robert Bonds of the Cabin Creek area. The Kanawha County Sheriff's office says the victim, Anessia Hicks was able to get away and meet with deputies, and said Bonds had used a stun gun on her and that he had physically assaulted her with other items inside their home. Deputies had reason to believe he might have a gun inside so the SWAT team responded, and after warrants were issued the SWAT team went inside. They found Bonds there and he was taken into custody without incident. Once in custody he complained of chest pain and was taken to the hospital to be checked out, and from there he was to appear before a magistrate or be taken to the South Central Regional Jail.
Residents in Belle have gone home after voluntary evacuating due to a potential mine blowout. The state Department of Environmental Protection said Saturday that families began returning to their homes as conditions at a Hughes Creek-area mine stabilized. About 150 homes were affected by the "voluntary evacuation" late Friday night. Water flow from the old coal mine was returned to about the same rate as before Friday's heavy rains. Kanawha County emergency officials were advised that there is nothing to indicate an imminent threat. While only a few homes are near the mine, officials had said other roads could be covered by water and debris and cut off from emergency services. Mine discharge has been monitored since it started eight days ago.
A former Logan County assessor will spend five years on probation for violating federal banking laws. Russell R. "Rick" Grimmett's sentence includes six months on home confinement. Grimmett had pleaded guilty in December 2014. He admitted he and an associate withdrew cash from the Logan Bank and Trust in Man in amounts less than $10,000, a banned practice known as structuring. Federal law requires banks to report all cash transactions exceeding $10,000. Grimmett agreed to resign as assessor as part of his plea agreement. He also agreed to forfeit $150,000.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is calling for the Legislature to stay for an extended budget session. State lawmakers received the message Thursday for the budget session, which has been standard practice. The Legislature's 60-day regular session ends Saturday. Tomblin has called for the budget session to conclude Wednesday at the latest. Tomblin's proposed budget anticipates using $15.5 million from the state's Rainy Day Fund. It doesn't include tax increases. It's the Legislature's job to pass a balanced budget. Tomblin can make line-items vetoes in the spending plan that lawmakers pass.