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A 5 percent increase in the high school graduation rate among males in West Virginia could save $100 million each year in crime-related costs as well as boost the state's economy, according to a national policy group. The study by the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education ties the dropout rate among males with an increase in the crime rate, saying, dropouts are far more likely than high school graduates to be arrested or incarcerated. The study found that it costs over $12,000 to educate a student and $28,000 to incarcerate an inmate, and said dollars should be focused on education and keeping students engaged.
Mingo County has its new sheriff. Former chief deputy James Smith was named permanent sheriff of Mingo County MOnday, replacing two interim sheriffs who have served since Eugene Crum was fatally shot on the job in April. Sgt. Smith will take over the department today. County Commission chose him from among four candidates in a special meeting. Earlier this month, chief tax deputy Pam Dixon took over as interim sheriff after the widow of Eugene Crum resigned the post. Rosie Crum had been tapped to serve as interim sheriff just days after her husband was shot while eating lunch in his car in downtown Williamson. The suspect, Tennis Maynard, is awaiting an October trial on murder charges.
A man from Dunbar is facing charges after allegedly threatening a lawmaker. Charleston police say John Curtis Dawson has been charged with making terroristic threats after he allegedly called Dr. Leanne Skaff’s office and making threats against Del. Doug Skaff. THe criminal complaint says Dawson screamed about Skaff running for governor and said he wouldn't allow that to happen. Police said Dawson also made threats involving a gun, and mentioned the mafia.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is running for Democrat Jay Rockefeller's seat in the U.S. Senate. Tennant confirmed her plans to The Associated Press Monday, a day ahead of planned announcements in Beckley, Charleston and Morgantown. Her candidacy sets up the possibility of a high-profile battle with popular seven-term Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who has also announced her intentions to run. If each candidate wins her respective primary, West Virginia voters could elect a woman senator for the first time.
The State Election Commission has certified a new voting system that could count ballots faster and more accurately. Now it's up to West Virginia's counties to decide if they want to spend the money to upgrade their voting systems. The new software features a high-speed digital scan counter that works faster than the optical-scan ballot counters now in use, according to the Secretary of State's office and it could help counties get done with their count faster on election night. It's the first time since 2005 that the State Election Commission has certified a new voting system for use in West Virginia elections.
Police in Hurricane are trying to figure out who vandalized a bunch of mailboxes. The vandalism happened Saturday night or Sunday morning in the 200 block of Hodges Creek Road. Many of the mail boxes were knocked to the ground. Anyone with information should contact Hurricane police.
West Virginia's Senate president, Jeff Kessler, is pushing to create an oil and natural gas trust fund to support core government functions decades from now. His goal is a cushion of funds long after the gas is depleted so the West Virginia economy can be better sustained. Supporters say the future health and welfare of the state is, to some extent, at stake. West Virginia consistently has ranked among the states with the lowest life expectancy while grappling with problems of obesity, education and drug abuse. Some say it's about protecting the long-term fiscal health of the state.
Two firefighters were taken to the hospital early this morning after fighting a fire in East Bank. The fire started just before 11 p.m. Sunday night in the 100 block of Williams St., according to Metro 911 dispatchers. The firefighters are expected to be okay. Others stayed on the scene to continue battling the blaze.
Charleston police arrested a woman Thursday in connection with a purse snatching, and in the process of the arrest she's accused of trying to bite an officer. Police said 52-year old Parma Jo Bobbit from Boone County allegedly used a woman's credit cards at a convenience store, and will likely face a charge for assaulting an officer trying to detain her. The victim was at the Bob Evans in Kanawha City Wednesday morning when her purse was snatched from the floor beside her chair.
West Virginia linebacker d'Vante Henry has been dismissed from the team after his arrest on a second-degree sexual assault charge. A criminal complaint said a woman told deputies she had been sexually assaulted at an apartment Sunday. Henry told an officer the sex was consensual. Henry is a junior college transfer who is now off the team.