Breaking Local News
A lawsuit has been filed against Charleston government leaders and two newspapers in Kanawha County over the 2011 city election. The lawsuit was filed in US District court by former mayoral candidate Janet Thompson, claiming the election was unfair. She contends the machine that was supposed to add up and confirm the ballots was not used, which made the outcome unofficial. The suit also says she's suffered humilation and emotional distress, aggravation, inconvenience, and has lost her belief and trust in democray. Numerous local leaders are named in the suit, includig Kanawha County Commissioners Kent Carper, Dave Harper, and Hoppy Shores. It also names the county commission on the whole, plus the county clerk's office and the city of Charleston.
West Virginia was recognized this week for getting more students into the Advanced Placement Program. State education officials received the 2012 AP Beacon Award this week in Charleston. An effort that started two years ago seems to be paying off, getting more students involved in the classes the will give them a boost in college with a targeted focus on low income and minority students. Nine percent of students in West Virginia were part of Advanced Placement classes ten years ago, and last year the rate had surpassed twenty percent.
Water and sewer upgrades are coming to Putnam County with the help of federal money. The USDA Rural Development approved a $600,000 loan for Putnam County Public Service District. A news release from the water supplier says it has more than nine thousand customers, and the funds will be used to give them new service lines and in some cases upgrade to touch read meters. Two water storage tanks will be upgraded and another new one will be built. This in addition to the $1.5 million loan that is coming to Putnam County from the USDA Rural Development.
Prelimary court proceedings are underway for Shawn Lester, who's accused of shooting three people in 2003. Prosecutors argued yesterday that new evidence places Lester at the scene of the crime when three people were gunned down with a rifle at Campbells Creek Speedway. These are the pretrial motions being hear now, with the trial set for July. Lester is accused of shooting sniper-style, and killing Gary Carrier, Jeanie Patton, and Okey Meadows.
A dispute between two hospitals appears to be settled, after Fairmont General Hospital drops the fight to stop Charleston-based Highland Hospital from opening an new mental health center in Clarksburg. Fairmont had been concerned about damage from competition if Highland converted the former United Hospital Center into a large psychiatric facility. But now after coming to an agreement with the state, Fairmont will be designated a primary referral hospital for the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston. That's enough for Fairmont, and they'll drop the court proceedings against Highland.
A triple murder suspect is in custody. The story that covers several West Virginia counties and ended with a police chase in Kanawha County last night along Interstate 79. West Virginia State Police had been looking for a brown 1991 Ford Bronco believed to be traveling toward Charleston. The driver was a suspect in a triple murder in Webster County where two men and a woman were found shot to death. Another suspect had already been taken into custody, and this suspect was arrested near the Roane-Kanawha County line along Interstate 79. Police say the murders are thought to be drug related.
Mountaineer Gas has proposed a rate hike and customers have stated their opinion against it. Several customers showed up at a public hearing to voice their opposition to the proposal to raise the base rate. Most of a gas bill accounts for the cost of gas, but the base rate collected goes into the cost of running a business. Mountaineer Gas wants to raise that base rate by 4.9 percent and it could bring in an extra $12 million in revenue. There's been no final decision yet.
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has started a new program this summer that it's calling "no notice." It's an effort to reduce construction injuries and deaths, and will send OSHA representatives into the field to conduct unannounced inspections to uncover unsafe work conditions. The initiative focuses on construction sites covered by the Charleson office, which spans the entire state of West Virginia. The impromptu inspections will continue through September. There were 43 deaths in fiscal years 2011 and 2012, according to OSHA.
A Hurricane woman has a brand new home, thanks to Habitat for Humanity. By the time she moves in, Habitat for Humanity confirms she will have put in more than 250 hours of sweat equity and homeowner education classes. The home is at 2950 Montana in Hurricane, and a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday. Mortgage payments on the no-interest loans are recycled into new or remolded houses in Kanawha and Putnam Counties.
Rupert Phillips of Logan is free on his own recognizance after an incident over the weekend where he's accused of pushing a woman to the ground. The woman received stitches at the hospital. Phillips is a Democrat seeking re-election to the House of Delegates' 24th District. He was the district's top vote getter in the primary and faces no Republican opponent in the November general election.