Breaking Local News
A Putnam County Family Court Judge is facing charges as a result of a state investigation into his conduct during hearings. There are claims judge William Watkins has shouted and used profanity. Two charges were filed last month by the state judicial commission, which alleged Watkins didn't enter domestic violence orders into the state's tracking system, and that he failed to rule on motions even after circuit judges told him to.. Five new charges were filed this week and Watkins has 30 days to respond. There are reports that an overwhelming case load has played a role.
The Kanawha County sheriff's office has released more information on a pair of incidents that occurred on a school bus last week. The father of a 13-year old girl reported that a group of boys groped, fondled and forced his daughter into a sexually explicit situation on the bus, and he said it happened twice on consecutive days while his daughter rode to Elkview Middle School. Detectives say in another incident, a 12-year old boy exposed his penis in an attempt to force another 12-year old boy to perform sexual acts on him. The 12-year old accused has been sent to the Tiger Morton Juvenile Detention Center and faces three counts of first degree sexual abuse. Another 16-year old boy faces two counts of first degree sexual abuse, along with 18-year old Matthew Cavalier. Since Cavalier is not a minor, he's been sent to South Central Regional Jail.
25-year old Vivek Shah of West Hollywood, California is accused of threatening to kill relatives if a West Virginia coal executive didn't pay $13 million. He was indicted last month and arraigned this week, after allegedly threatening to kill relatives of Christopher Cline, who owns Foresight Reserves. Pretrial motions are due October 1, and the trial will happen October 29. Cline is the only one who has been named so far, but court documents show other millionaires were also targeted. Those victims aren't likely to be identified. Shah is charged with four counts of interfering with interstate commerce and using interstate commerce to threaten extortion.
A St. Albans man has been charged with grand larceny after being caught stealing money from a store safe on Tuesday. 33-year old Daniel Holt told store staff at the Dollar General on Kanawha Terrace that he was only kidding, according to police, and asked employees not to report it. Holt was arrested later at his home and charged with grand larceny.
There's one less Starbucks in Charleston right now. The Starbucks in Charleston Town Center is closed for renovations now and won't open again until sometime next week. This is part of the overhaul happening now at Town Center mall, which started in mid-May and will bring a $7 million makeover to the interior. Demolition at center court and the debris left there has led to the closure of the coffee shop. There are no other store closings that we know of. The entire renovation project at the mall should be finished in November, before the Christmas shopping season.
Rhonda Stewart was convicted of murder two years ago in the death of her husband, Sammy Stewart, who was shot and killed at CAMC Memorial. A jury convicted Rhonda Stewart in 2009, but her attorneys filed an appeal with the Supreme Court and won. They claimed Sammy abused her for years, and that wasn't discussed in the original trial. A new trial was scheduled for October 9 this year, but her attorneys asked for a delay, waiting on forensics evidence. Stewart will be back in court next Thursday, September 13 to have a new trial date scheduled.
The Putnam Farmers' Market at Hurricane City Park plans to have a Kids Day Celebration on Saturday. All of the usual wares like fresh produce, honey, and pottery will be for sale, and this week they'll have several free activities for the kids, including inflatable jumping toys, an inflatable ball pit, face painting, cotton candy and carnival style games. It's Saturday from 9:30am to 1:30pm.
Putnam County schools learned at a meeting last night they're meeting Adequate Yearly Progress, and in fact leading the state in requirements set by the No Child Left Behind Act. Although most schools are performing well in Putnam County, three of four middle schools didn't meet the standards. The West Virginia Department of Education plans to request a flexibility waiver that would change the way AYP is measured for all schools in the state.
Expect heavy traffic around the Charleston Civic Center this afternoon with the funeral of slain state trooper Eric Michael Workman at 2pm. Trooper Marshall Lee Bailey and Workman were shot by a 22-year-old Oak Hill man last week after a traffic stop. The gunman, Luke Baber, was later killed in a shootout with another officer. Cpl. Bailey was remembered Sunday at a service at the Charleston Civic Center and Trooper Workman will be honored this afternoon.
Vivek Shah of West Hollywood, California is accused of threatening to kill relatives if a West Virginia coal executive didn't pay $13 million. He'll be arraigned early next week in Beckley, after being indicted last month on extortion charges. Shah is accused of threatening to kill relatives of Christopher Cline, who owns Foresight Reserves, if Cline didn't pay. Cline is the only one who has been named so far, but court documents show other millionaires were also targeted. Those victims aren't likely to be identified.