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Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said it is time for his city and Charleston to start working together. Williams has invited Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, Charleston City Council and administration officials to meet with their counterparts in Huntington so they can explore ways to cooperate. Williams told The Herald-Dispatch that the cities can accomplish more working together than they have been able to do separately. Both cities are dealing with issues like growth and development, pensions and infrastructure, and Mayor Jones says he's considering the invite. Earlier this year, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget moved Lincoln and Putnam counties from the Charleston metropolitan statistical area to the Huntington-Ashland, Ky., metro area. But Charleston remains the state's largest city, followed by Huntington.
State police have been passing out a fair share of speeding tickets on the West Virginia Turnpike lately. It's part of a larger effort to keep speeds down and help prevent accidents, so troopers have been increasing patrols on the turnpike. WSAZ reports patrols focused on a stretch of the turnpike that has had several recent tractor-trailer accidents - mostly between Barrier B and Barrier C in a 60 mph zone with lots of curves. Most of the focus so far has been on commercial vehicles, but expect passenger vehicles to be included in the near future.
Dates and times should be announced today for public hearings on how to fund state highways. The governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways had hoped to start the public meetings last month, but that was delayed, partially because the proper paperwork together to pass out at meetings wasn't ready yet. Hearings will happen in eight cities including Martinsburg, Beckley, Huntington and Logan, and there will be a public comment period during the Blue Ribbon commission's next meeting in Charleston, set for June 26. The deadline for making recommendations to the governor is August 1.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is investigating a home-invasion style robbery that happened in the early morning hours Wednesday in Rand. A black male broke in demanding money and drugs. At one point he fired his gun into a wall, and left on foot with a purse. Deputies got an arrest warrant for 19-year oldTevin Christopher Williams, also known as Smook. Anyone who knows where he is should contact the Kanawha County Sheriff's office. Williams may be linked to other recent home-invasion style robberies in Rand.
The dust has settled after last fall's incident at a Sissonville High School football game, and the man at the center of it has been found not guilty of making terroristic threats. Shawn Fogelsong had pleaded not guilty, and the jury agreed with him in a ruling handed down Wednesday morning in Kanawha County Circuit Court. Fogelsong had been accused of threatening to open fire at a Sissonville High School football game around Halloween last year.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says a review of West Virginia's storm response from the June 2012 derecho is online now. The governor says the after Action Storm Review shows communication among agencies is key in an emergency like that, and they're looking into alternative methods to be able to educate the public even when the entire state lacks electricity. Ideas include as using battery-powered radios, text messaging services, satellite phones, and social media. The review suggests ways to open communication between hospitals, 911 centers, critical care facilities, and utility companies.
Click here to read the After Action Review. To read the report in its entirety, visit www.governor.wv.gov.
A Belle woman is behind bars after being sentenced for a Kanawha County bank robbery. 37-year old Jennifer Garretson has started serving five- to 18 years in prison after sentencing Wednesday in Kanawha Circuit Court. Garretson pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery two months ago to the 2012 robbery of City National Bank in Glasgow. There was no weapon, but she confessed to passing the teller a note that said she did.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has plans to honor those behind the Upper Big Branch Mine Memorial. The annual Governor's Science Awards are coming up in August at the Charleston Civic Center, and the group Volunteer West Virginia says the governor will honor The Upper Big Branch Minning Memorial Group. The banquet is held as a part of Faces of Leadership, the annual state volunteerism conference. The Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial opened in 2012 and pays tribute to the miners who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mining disaster in 2010. The town of Whitesville donated the land for the memorial.
Today is the day that American Airlines takes its inaugural flight from Charleston to Dallas/Fort Worth. Yeager Airport will hold a special reception at the airport today at 4pm to welcome the new jet service. A news release from the airport says flights will depart from Dallas at 1:05 p.m. and arrive in Charleston at 4:30 p.m. Departures from Charleston will leave at 5 p.m. and arrive in Dallas at 6:30 p.m. It's a two and a half hour flight, but Dallas is Central time so passengers lose an hour.
State regulators plan to conduct more water tests near the Lochgelly injection well in Fayette County that pumps oil and gas drilling waste underground. The Department of Environmental Protection wants to determine whether the well is discharging waste into Wolf Creek. The Register-Herald reports that water samples taken by the Plateau Action Network and a citizen show elevated levels of chloride and other substances consistent with drilling waste. Environmental organizations and some residents say the well poses a threat to health, water resources and property values. The owner says he has operated the well legally.