Breaking Local News
Lawmakers are expected to vote today on whether officers can pull over drivers for not wearing a seat belt. West Virginia's House of Delegates will vote on whether to make failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense, meaning a police officer would not have to pull over a driver for another offense like having a tail light out, before writing the ticket. The measure has been idle since the House Judiciary Committee endorsed it March 12. West Virginia is among 16 states that currently treat failure to wear a seat belt as a secondary offense.
The Beckley VA Medical Center has its eye on expansion. The first project is a$5.8 million project that will add an 8,000-square-foot building adjacent to the hospital, intended to house an expanded adult health care program and other programs. The VA hospital also plans to build a 2,300-square-foot deck suite on the second floor. That $5.8 million addition will house a magnetic resonance imaging scanner. The construction phase won't finish until 2014. Ground just broke on Monday.
One person died last night in an accident on Corridor G. Police say an 18-wheeler was headed north just after 9 p.m. near the Kanawha-Lincoln County line when the driver lost control and hit another vehicle, and then and burst into flames. Two people were inside that other vehicle, and one was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver and the other person inside the car were taken to CAMC General with serious injuries. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department is investigating.
The Kanawha Bureau of Investigation has charged 21-year old Aaron B. Chapman of Pinch in connection with a home invasion nearly one month ago. Captain BC Robbins says Chapman faces 2 counts of Night Time Burglary, 1 count of 1st Degree Robbery, and 1 count of Attempted 1st Degree Robbery, stemming from home invasion style robberies at 665 Mace St. and at 440 Church Road in the early morning hours of February 28th. In the Church Road incident, 74-year old Ramona Jones was severely injured and deputies say she remains hospitalized.
Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies are still investigating after an apparent home invasion in Rand early Monday. Deputies were called to 200 Clemson Avenue in the Rand area to investigate and found a 64 year old woman had been tied up and held captive by two men she didn't know. Deputies say it appears based she was specifically targeted and it wasn't random. She was physically assaulted, deputies say, and suffered minor injuries. The men eventually left, and she was able to get free and call 911. Anyone with information should contact the Kanawha County Sheriff's office.
A dedication ceremony is coming up to honor the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion three years ago. The new memorial is going up on the Raleigh County Courthouse lawn, and a special dedication ceremony will be held April 5th, the day that will mark the third anniversary of the explosion. The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce will honor the fallen miners at the ceremony, and recognize those who continue to their work mining coal.
St Albans police have arrested a man for child porn. 32-year old Joseph Brauksieck of Virginia is accused of printing pictures and leaving them in a Budget rental truck. The truck rental was overdue, and according to police, the rental company did a routine inspection and found the pictures and a laptop.
The Kanawha County SWAT team served a warrant over the weekend to Michael Todd Lynch, who has been on home confinement for operating a clandestine meth lab charges. Lynch was rearrested on an active warrant for failure to pay child support and being a felon in possession of a firearm. As the search warrant was executed, officers found stolen property, weapons, and drugs, and Cpl. BD Humphreys says additional charges are pending.
A controversial gun bill brought out pro second amendment protestors on Saturday. Members of the Citizens Defense League voiced concerns about gun legislation that has passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate. Senators have been feeling heat for not acting on the bill, that proponents argue is a uniform set of regulations for the state of West Virginia. Mayor Danny Jones says cities have their own gun regulations to help deter crime, and this bill infringes on that territory.
The city of Charleston wants fewer vacant properties, since many say those empty homes and buildings drag down property values and annoy neighbors. Charleston City Council members are considering an ordinance the may require the owners of vacant properties to register those sites with the city and pay steep fees. It's not a done deal yet. The Charleston Gazette reports the City Planning Director will make changes in the draft ordinance before the task force meets next month.