Breaking Local News
The board of West Virginia University is encouraging administrators to complete the $8.5 million purchase of Mountain State University's Beckley campus. Meeting in Morgantown, the governors unanimously approved backing the purchase on Friday, stating the administration should take "all necessary steps" to complete the sale. In a statement, WVU President E. Gordon Gee called the purchase a "unique opportunity" for the university to introduce academic programs to southern West Virginia. The Beckley private school's accreditation was revoked by the Higher Learning Commission in June 2012 because of leadership, organizational and integrity issues. A three-judge panel has given its approval to the sale.
There's been an arrest in a reckless driving case, after the person behind the wheel hit a Kanawha County Sheriff's cruiser. It happened early Saturday morning, and the deputy was responding to a disturbance call on Strawberry Road outside of Saint Albans. He had his emergency lights on and was parked near the side of the road when a black sedan came speeding along and hit the rear of the cruiser, and then kept going. The car went onto Empire Drive and nearly struck several parked cars, and then on Scott Drive the car came to a sudden stop. The driver ran but was quickly caught, and identified as 51-year old Susan Marie Scott of Saint Albans. She was charged with fleeing while under the influence and fleeing with reckless intent. She had been arrested a few hours prior for driving while revoked for DUI after she was involved in a crash. Cpl B-D Humprheys says she was released after that arraignment, retrieved her vehicle, got high on drugs, then drove to Strawberry Road where she struck Corporal Vernon’s car.
Investigators are working to determine what caused last week's oil train to derail near the Fayette-Kanawha County line. Federal Railroad Administration acting administrator Sarah Feinberg says crews at the site are making progress on the cleanup and the investigation. But she says snow, ice and cold temperatures have made the work difficult. Investigators are examining evidence gathered from the site, but some of what they need is underneath the derailed tankers. The CSX train was carrying 3 million gallons of crude from North Dakota to Virginia when twenty-seven of the 107 tank cars derailed.
West Virginia American Water has had several water main breaks across the area, and that has led to low water pressure or no water at all for about three thousand customers in Kanawha County. WCHS TV reports the reserve water tanks are now empty. West Virginia American Water said the leaks should be repaired and water service restored to most customers by this morning, but those in affected areas have been asked to boil water until further notice.
The city of Charleston says the frigid wind chills are restricting trash collection again today. The snow on Monday and Tuesday pushed trash collections back a day, and more changes are necessary now because of the dangerous wind chills. City officials want people to store their trash and recycling - if possible - until regular schedules resume next week. For those on a Thursday trash schedule, trucks will be stationed between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at several locations today including the Danner Meadow Park parking lot, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, and Elizabeth Memorial United Methodist Church among others. Normal Friday collections are being pushed to Saturday when sub-zero temperatures are expected to break.
A man who was fatally shot by a pharmacist during a robbery in Kanawha County has been identified. Investigators with the Kanawha County Sheriff's office say25-year old Terry Gillenwater was shot and killed Wednesday by a pharmacist at Good Family Pharmacy. Cpl. Brian Humphreys said charges were not expected to be filed against the pharmacist, and there is a press conference scheduled today to announce a final decision. Pharmacy workers provided medical aid to Gillenwater but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The West Virginia House of Delegates unanimously approved a bill this week that would create a statewide task force on the prevention of sexual abuse of children. Also included in the bill -- training on child sexual abuse and age-appropriate awareness curriculum for students, according to a news release from the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network. Former Capital High School principal Clinton Giles is one of two West Virginia educators facing related charges right now. Giles allegedly failed to report a sexual assault immediately after one occured on school grounds in January.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office has been investigating a stabbing that happened Wednesday in Big Chimney. Thomas Fluty Jr. called 911 after a man who had been staying with him was stabbed several times in the torso during an argument. 59-year old Benny Anderson died at the scene. Cpl B-D Humphreys says that during the course of the investigation Detectives with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office developed probable cause to arrest Fluty and charge him with first degree murder. He was booked at South Central Regional Jail and arrainged, and awaits more court dates.
The West Virginia Supreme Court says a jury should decide whether a man was trespassing when he strayed off the sidewalk and injured himself at a Cross Lanes casino. It reverses a Kanawha County judge's decision to dismiss the lawsuit, ruling that the man was trespassing when he left the sidewalk and fell off a 6-foot retaining wall. In 2013, David Ragonese filed a lawsuit against the Racing Corporation of West Virginia, which does business as the Mardi Gras Casino. The Charleston Daily Mail reports that Ragonese alleged the casino was negligent in protecting guests from the retaining wall. The casino's attorneys argued that Ragonese knew the wall was there and was trespassing when he walked off the sidewalk and down the hill that led to the wall.
State senators have voted down a proposal to cap punitive damages from civil lawsuits in the state. On Wednesday, two Republican senators broke party lines to help Democrats kill the measure in a 16-18 vote. The proposal would have capped punitive damages from lawsuits at $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages, whatever is greater. Republican Sens. Chris Walters and Daniel Hall voted against the bill alongside Democrats. The bill was one of several legal reforms being pushed by the newly minted Republican legislative majority.