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A new survey shows more West Virginia teenagers are staying away from tobacco. The 2013 West Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey shows about 46 percent of West Virginia high school students have never used any type of tobacco. That's up from 20.6 percent in 2000. According to the survey released Monday, the percentage of students who never smoked cigarettes increased from 25.7 percent in 2000 to 53.2 percent in 2013. The percentage of teen smokers declined from 38.5 percent to 18.6 percent during the same period. Bureau for Public Health commissioner Dr. Letitia Tierney credits the decline to outreach efforts and programs aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of nicotine.
Several brass light fixtures that were taken from the West Virginia Veterans Memorial in Charleston have been recovered. Capitol Recycling owner Randy Halstead tells the Charleston Gazette that he bought the fixtures from a woman and learned they were stolen when a Capitol Police officer came to his store with photos of them. Halstead says information that he entered about the woman in a national database helped police identify her. 32-year-old Amanda Suzanne Young of Charleston has been charged with receiving or transferring stolen goods.
A case of stolen checks is under investigation. The Kanawha County Sheriff's office says the checks were passed at the Elkview 7-Eleven store where two suspects passed one of the forged checks. One suspect is wearing a blue WVU sweatshirt with a camouflage coat in surveillance video and the other is wearing a blue coat and red hat. Both suspects are white males. They were seen in a two-tone, older model Ford F-150. Anyone with information on the identity of these men is asked to contact Detective A. Pile of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office. Those giving tips can remain anonymous. Detective Pile can be reached at 304-357-0556. To submit a tip online, go to www.kanawhasheriff.us.
A Kanawha County Sheriff's deputy was patrolling Sissonville when he saw a driver not wearing a seat belt Monday. He 59-year old Walter Hamrick was pulled over and had no valid driver’s license and had prior felonies on his record. Hamrick had hunting gear and did have a valid hunting license. Hamrick was charged with a misdemeanor for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Charleston police are investigating after a pizza delivery driver was robbed Saturday night. Officers say the suspect was armed with a handgun and robbed the pizza delivery driver on Matthews Avenue near Washington Street. After robbing the driver of cash, the suspect took off on foot and has yet to be located. He's described as a black male, and there are few other details available. Anyone with information should call Charleston police.
A 25-year old woman is facing shoplifting charges after allegedly trying to take a cart full of items from the Marshall's at Southridge in South Charleston. Shadonna Collins was booked into the South Central Regional Jail Saturday morning on a robbery charge. Police say the store manager caught her trying to leave with a cart full of stolen items, and Collins is seen on surveillance video pushing the manager to the ground and kicking her in the head. After driving off, police received an anonymous tip that Collins was the suspect, and the store manager identified her from several mugshots.
A meeting today will address making a bridge in Dunbar handicapped accessible. A public meeting is planned from 4 to 7 p.m. today at Bridgeview Elementary in South Charleston, to talk about making the Dunbar Toll Bridge more wheelchair-friendly. Officials from the West Virginia Division of Highways told WSAZ.com the estimated cost of the project is $1.1 million, and 80 percent would be federally funded and the remainder would be paid for by the state.
Armstrong Telephone Services in Lincoln County is working to fix an outage that prevents some customers from dialing 911. Those with the prefixes 778 and 855 aren't able to dial 911 and anyone in Lincoln County who would need any emergency service should call (304) 778-7927 until the problem is fixed.
West Virginia motorists will pay a little more this week during the big Thanksgiving travel period. AAA East Central says the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in the state increased six cents over the past week to about $3.33. Even with the increase, that's still about 26 cents a gallon less than West Virginians were paying the same week a year ago. This week's prices range from $3.20 a gallon in Clarksburg to $3.46 in Martinsburg. Gasbuddy.com says prices in Charleston are averaging in the $3.30's. Nationally, gas prices average $3.29 per gallon, eight cents more than the previous week.
Charleston resident Ronald Fisher donated the 25-foot white pine as one of three natural trees that will be used for holiday displays this year at the state Capitol complex in Charleston. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will lead a lighting ceremony Dec. 3 as part of the annual Joyful Night celebration. Fisher's tree will be used around the north fountain at the Capitol. The other two trees that will be on display are from the Fayette County farm of Al Tolliver. Tolliver also had a Christmas tree from his farm sent to the governor's mansion in 2011.