Breaking Local News

Investigation Continues After Woman Jumps to Her Death

Authorities are investigating the death of a woman who jumped off the New Bridge Gorge Bridge. The National Park Service said the 53-year-old woman stopped her car on the bridge on Wednesday, put a step stool next to the rail and climbed to the bridge's edge. She didn't respond to several motorists who stopped and tried to talk her. The woman jumped and fell 876 feet. The park service said Thursday that it and the Fayette County Sheriff's Department are investigating.

Mingo County Officials Refuse to Resign

Some are calling for it, but two Mingo County officials say they won't resign. The County's prosecutor, Michael Sparks, and County Commissioner, Greg "Hootie" Smith say they won't step down, and both say they are continuing to cooperate with a federal investigation in the county. In August, a federal grand jury charged Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury with trying to frame the husband of his secretary for several crimes. Commissioner Dave Baisden was charged in a separate case with extortion. There also is a state investigation of alleged election law violations in the county.

Nicholas County Woman's Case Moves to Grand Jury

A woman accused of hiding bodies in a storage unit in Nicholas County will have her case sent to a grand jury. Wanda Kiser was charged in mid-August after human remains were found in a storage unit in Summersville. Detectives in Alabama think the remains are those of 105-year old Mary Cobb, and Wynona Delvecchio. The two women went missing in 2002.

Latex Gets Into the Water at Magic Island

Vandals have perhaps inadvertently caused latex spill into the Kanawha River. The white substance is visible in the water at Magic Island in Charleston. The latex is coming from a tank used by the contracting company, Penhall, whose tank was broken into over Labor Day weekend. Penhall is doing the work on the Fort Hill Bridge in Charleston. Most reports say there is no danger because the latex is so diluated.

Pot Bust Seizes $26,000 Worth of Marijuana

On Monday, the Kanawha County sheriff's office got a drug tip about someone selling drugs at of his home in the 4900 block of Campbell’s Creek Drive. 42-year old Joey Franklin Washington allowed deputies to search, and they found 13 marijuana plants in the back yard, both in pots and planted in the ground. The sheriff's office says the estimated street value for the seizure is $26,000. Washington was arrested for possession with intent to deliver.

Stabbing is Under Investigation

Charleston police are still trying to figure out what led up to a stabbing at a bus stop. Officers think Timothy Robinson stabbed Thomas Striker with a box cutter at the bus stop at the corner of Tennessee Avenue and Randolph Street. Striker was hospitalized in stable condition, and Robinson was also treated for a stab wound, and then arrested and taken to South Central Regional Jail.

Area Schools Receive Standardized Test Scores

West Virginia Department of Education has released the results of standardized test scores. Every public school in the state is designated as a SUCCESS, TRANSITION, FOCUS, SUPPORT or PRIORITY school. At Alum Creek Elementary, students fell below the Met Index Target, and failed to reach at least 50 percent o targets in math and reading, and it received the Support designation. Kenna Elementary reached the Met Index Target and landed in the Success category. Cross Lanes Elementary was also in the Success category. Lakewood Elementary is in the Transition category along with Clendenin Elementary. More schools' scores and in depth analysis is available on the state Dept. of Education website.

Cities Express Interest as Home Rule Expands

As the state's home rule pilot program expands, there are four Kanawha County cities that plan to apply. The Daily Mail reports St. Albans, Nitro, Dunbar and South Charleston have all expressed interest. The home rule program gives cities more control over ordinances and taxes, and could help with a number of things, including cleaning up old, dilapidated buildings and making the permitting system easier. The state Legislature expanded the pilot program this year to allow up to 20 cities to participate. The program already includes Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling and Bridgeport.

New Book to Focus on Putnam County

In less than a week, a new book will be out that highlights the history of Putnam County. Several local contributors offered old photographs and personal accounts for the book, which will be released September 9th. The Charleston Gazette talked with Sam Sentelle, a former Putnam County Schools superintendent, who said the Kanawha River used to be the only pathway to get to Charleston, and now it's a barrier. Three bridges have gone up to get over it. Proceeds from the book will go toward Rivers to Ridges, which works on preservation projects like restoring Hometown Park, which was damaged during last year's derecho storm.

Special Needs Teacher Accused of Rape

A Putnam County special needs teacher's aide has been charged with raping a former student. David Gibson was a teacher's aide at Hurricane High School, and the 21-year-old victim told investigators that she went to stay at Gibson's home for a week and that's when he tried to have sex with her. WCHS TV reports Gibson got her drunk and had sex with her, which is considered rape. Gibson is currently in the Western Regional Jail.

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