Breaking Local News
Relief is on the way for those struggling to pay utility bills this winter. The Department of Health and Human Resources has started accpeting applications for assistance through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. Eligibile households are determined by using a number of factors including income, type of heating payment and total heating costs. The Southwestern Community Action Council is hosting an application seminar today in Huntington. The application period is open through February.
You can find more application information online at www.wvinroads.org
Changes are coming to your license plate. West Virginia is switching to flat license plates that are digitally printed rather than embossed. Division of Motor Vehicles officials said the new plates are cheaper to produce and should be more legible than the current plate. The digitally printed plates are also more environmentally friendly because they don't have to be painted.
Retired DMV commissioner Joe Miller told the Charleston Daily Mail that the move is expected to save the state at least $600,000 a year. And you'll just be relying on the decal for the expiration month instead of the current number or first letter system. The color of the decal will correspond with the year the plates expire.
If you got the notice in the mail saying your property taxes are going up this year, you're not alone. County tax records show Kanawha County property taxes have been rising steadily for the past several years and more than 24-thousand homeowners in the county, along with 3500 businesses have been notified of increases over ten percent this year. State officials told the Charleston Gazette that property in West Virginia has been undervalued for several years and county assessors have been pushed to reasses values all over the state to bring values up. Assessed values can be appealed.
The man who led police on a high speed chase early Monday and that ended up with one injured deputy, is facing criminal charges. Jeremy Hudson was arraigned Monday night after being take to the hospital himself to be checked out. The officer suffered just minor injuries and is epected to be fine. Hudson is accused of fleeing after South Charleston police tried to pull him over, then took police on a chase along Route 60 through Kanawha County, and into Putnam County. The pursuit finally ended near Winfield before dawn Monday. Two South Charleston police cruisers suffered minor damage.
Two people who died have been identified after a Nicholas County house fire Monday. 57-year old Delbert Cutlip and 62-year old James Bud Freeman died when their house caught fire along Route 55. WSAZ TV reports Freeman's wife was able to make it out safely, and family members think he died trying to save Cutlip, who was bedridden. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
One town is forced to conserve water. Pratt Mayor Gary Fields says the town continues to battle water issues, and anytime the Kanawha River is low, the town can't pump water because debris can lead to clogs in the intake pump. West Virginia American Water is moving a portable pump into Pratt to help solve the problem, but that doesn't have the same capacity and residents of Pratt are asked to conserve. There's also a precautionary boil water advisory in the Pratt area now for West Virginia American Water customers in the Upper Kanawha Valley district and it will be in effect until further notice.
A man is facing charges after a bomb threat. It happened Friday afternoon at the Kanawha City Village Apartments, and Charleston Police say the man yelled at a FedEx driver that there was a bomb under his foot. One of John Workman's neighbors called police as a builiding was evacuated and the bomb squad was called in. Nothing was found. Workman was arrested and charged with making false reports concerning a bomb.
A drug ring was busted over the weekend in St. Albans. A police raid by the St. Albans Special Enforcement Unit happened at a home in the 2200 block of Grant Avenue, and it came after detectives say 48-year old Timothy D. Basham of St. Albans sold pills to an informant. More pills and large amounts of cash were found during the raid, and two men in their twenties from Detroit were arrested at the home. They also had outstanding warrants in Michigan, and police say they were getting money from Basham and had missed their bus back to Detroit. They've been charged with possession with intent to deliver and obstructing an officer. Basham is charged with delivery of a controlled substance.
Fire investigators are looking two possible arson suspects after a fire on Charleston's West Side. A fire broke out in the 100 block of Lovell Drive early Sunday, and investigators think someone deliberately set fire to a parked utility trailer next to a vacant house. There have been several suspicious fires on Charleston's West Side over the past few months. Anyone with information should contact the Charleston Fire Dept.'s Fire Prevention Bureau.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin will host a school safety summit in February to address school violence. Education leaders and law enforcement will come together Feb. 6 at the Culture Center to talk about identifying potentially violent situations in schools and how to prepare worst cast scenarios like the one that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. Three panels of West Virginia experts will work to develop a set of school safety recommendations. Panel members include Mark Manchin, executive director of the West Virginia School Building Authority, and representatives from the State Police and the Department of Education.