Breaking Local News

Whistleblower Suit Dismissed Against DHHR

A lawsuit filed by two former Department of Health and Human Resources employees for raising concerns about an advertising contract has been dismissed. Kanawha Circuit Judge Jim Stucky granted the DHHR's motion for summary judgment last week. Former DHHR deputy secretary Susan Perry and former general counsel Jennifer Taylor filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the DHHR in 2012. Taylor, Perry and former DHHR spokesman John Law were reassigned in July 2012 after they objected to the handling of a six-figure advertising contract. They were eventually fired. The Charleston Gazette reports Stucky's dismissal order says Taylor and Perry "were engaged in wrongful conduct" when they intervened in the contract.

Fayette County Man Faces Murder Charges

A Fayette County man has been charged in the death of a Bradley man whose body was found inside his business. Media outlets reported the Raleigh County sheriff's department charged Don Douglas Dicken, 34, with murder on Wednesday. The body of Glenn L. Farrow, 47, was found May 16 inside People's Auto Garage off State Route 16 in Bradley. Police said Farrow had been beaten. Dicken was lodged in the Southern Regional Jail pending a bond hearing. Jail records didn't indicate whether Dicken has an attorney.

Domestic Violence Petition Against Plants Still In Effect

A family court judge has kept the domestic violence protective order against Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants. The petition was granted several weeks ago at the request of Plants' ex-wife Allison, after an incident involving the couple's son in February. The domestic violence petition has been extended through September 17th.

Hurricane Accident Victim Identified

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office has identified an accident victim this week. Deputies said Gabriel Michael Collins of Hurricane was cutting a 24-foot tree on Tuesday that had been debranched, and it apparently rolled downhill and on top of him. Collins died of blunt force trauma to the head. The accident happened on Buff Creek Road outside of Hurricane.

Agency May Need More Money For Water Monitoring

A Department of Health and Human Resources official says the agency might need additional funding to implement new drinking water safety legislation. The law requires water systems across the state to craft plans to protect their water supplies. The DHHR's Bureau for Public Health oversees the plans' creation. The bureau's director of public health regulations, Ann Goldberg, says the bureau projects the program to cost nearly $1.9 million in its first year. The cost is expected to decline in future years. The Legislature allocated $1.5 million for the bureau's work after the January 9th chemical spill.

Flash Flood Watch In Effect Until Saturday

When it rains over the next few days, some of those rains could be heavy, and it's caused the National Weather Service to issue a Flash Flood Watch through Saturday at 6am. There are more than 30 counties in the watch area, including Kanawha, Fayette, Nicholas, Lincoln, Cabell, Clay, and Boone counties in West Virginia. The watch area runs primarily from Interstate 64 and to the north.

Vandals Target West Side Church

There are vandalism concerns at Rehoboth (Ruh HOE buth) Cathedral of Christ Church on Main Street on Charleston's West Side. The vandalism ranges from graffiti to broken windows, and it's new destruction mixed with old. WCHS TV reports some of the older vandalism has been painted over, but new vandalism has popped up in recent weeks. Those in the area are urged to call police if they see anything suspicious.

Kidstrong Conference Wraps Up Today

The KidStrong Conference and Immunization Summit continues today in Charleston. It got underway Tuesday and about one thousand people associated with schools are in town for it, including administrators, teachers, counselors, and nurses. School health coordinators have been part of Kidstrong sessions related student health, and it's the fifth year the Immunization Summit has happened at the same time, so school nurses and others can hit both conferences. Measles, mumps and pertussis are getting special attention, and how to prevent outbreaks. KidStrong speakers included State Board of Education President Gayle Manchin. Both conferences wrap up today.

Beckley Little League Review Background Check Procedures

Beckley Little League has revised its background check process after discovering that a registered sex offender was a volunteer. A member of the league's board of directors, Bill Roop, says the organization barred 29-year-old Albert Aaron Mills from volunteering after learning that he is listed in the state's sex offender registry. Roop tells The Register-Herald that Mills started volunteering after the season began and a background check wasn't performed because he wasn't given a form to fill out. The league says it's putting in new procedures to ensure all backgrounds are checked.

State is Owed Millions in Uncollected Taxes

An audit of the West Virginia Tax Department has found that the state is owed more than $715 million in taxes. The legislative audit released Tuesday says that out of $715.7 million, $298.3 million owed in about 139,000 tax accounts is collectable. The totals are as of December 2013. The largest bucket of collectable taxes the state hasn't received was $104.7 million in personal income tax. The second was $83.9 million in sales tax. The audit says the department lacks adequate policies and procedures to ensure taxes are collected. Tax Commissioner Mark Matkovich said the owed taxes include accounts that skew the numbers, like dead taxpayers. The Tax Department responded saying it would look for ways to improve.

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