Breaking Local News
The newly released Lundberg Survey says gas prices have dropped 46 cents a gallon of the past two months. And over the past three weeks, gas prices have dropped a dime to a national average of $3.38 per gallon. The national average is still 8 cents higher than a year ago, but prices could continue to fall and may reach an average below 2011 in the coming days. Drivers in New York are paying the most at $3.85 per gallon, and Memphis, Tennessee has the cheapest gas at $3.04. Charleston is somewhere in the middle, in the $3.40s, according to gasbuddy.com.
The downtown Christmas parade went off without a hitch Saturday. Spectators lined up on Court Street near the Charleston Town Center Mall as Santa passed by. Among the winners in the parade, - Girl Scout Troop #8371 won first place in the nonprofit group for their float in the parade float competition sponsored by the Charleston Town Center. Elk Valley Shamrocks 4-H Club took home second place and the Salvation Army Kettle Drive was named honorable mention. For commercial floats, C&H Taxi and Captain Cab won first place. The Mardi Gras Casino and Resort was second, and Goldman and Associates was named honorable mention.
West Virginia State Police say a victim was abducted at knife point from Witcher Creek early Saturday, then beaten, cut, and abandoned on a Kanawha County mountain by a known drug dealer and his girlfriend. State Police say 44-year old Joey Keith Jeffrey allegedly kidnapped the victim and forced her into a black Dodge truck where his girlfriend, 37-year old Cindy Leanne Creathers was waiting. All three people are from Witcher Creek and know each other, according to detectives. The victim is in her 20s, but her name has not been released. After being beaten and cut, somehow the victim managed to walk off the mountain and find help. Police arrested Jeffrey and Creathers at the Knight's Inn in Kanawha City.
Two Charleston Police officers are on paid administrative leave over a drunk driving incident. Steven "Matt" Webb was arrested Sunday morning. He was the driver when Huntington police pulled over the vehicle. Sgt. Michael Pridemore was the passenger, and was not arrested but is also on paid administrative leave. The Charleston Gazette reports Charleston police will conduct an internal investigation.
A new study shows West Virginia is a good place to retire. Expect more efforts to entice people to retire here, as a result of the study. In fact that's a top strategy recommended by the West Virginia Ten Year Tourism Plan. The studay says key factor includes West Virginia's affordable cost of living. The study also says West Virginia can capitalize on the trend of travelers taking more trips that are shorter.
An area theater is out of debt and is starting to raise money for the 2013 season. Theatre West Virginia in Beckley closed its doors nearly a year ago amid financial troubles, and it was announced this week that the debt has been erased. General Manager Gayle Bowling told the Register-Herald that the theater has secured a line of credit to pay expenses until it receives $265,000 in state funding. But another $80,000 is needed to cover expenses beyond the state funding. The annual membership campaign starts in February, and the theater is seeking grants in the meantime.
A police chase in Hurricane Thursday left one person dead. Hurricane police pursued a driver that was suspected of taking items from a local store, and the chase reached speeds of 100 MPH in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 before the driver tried to exit the interstate and crashed into a semi that was parked at the Hurricane rest stop. The man died in the accident. Investigators say he was a fugitive wanted on unrelated bank robbery charges.
If you haven't received your flu shot yet, it's not too late. Flu typically peaks in January and February, but can run from October to March. With the mild weather lately it may not feel like flu season, but Kanawha County has had an influenza outbreak this week. Janet Briscoe, director of epidemiology for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, told the Charleston Gazette, there was an outbreak reported by a day care center, and the number of flu cases across West Virginia continues to rise. This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get vaccinated.
A former Putnam County Schools janitor has been sentenced to jail. 47-year old Michael Timothy Crist was given the maximum sentence Thursday for sexually abusing a teenage family member, after a deal with prosecutors. Crist pleaded guilty in August to sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or person of trust and child abuse resulting in bodily injury. Five other charges were dropped in the plea deal. Crist was sentenced to 10 to 25 years for the sexual abuse charge and one to five years for the child abuse charge.
The Kanawha County Metro 911 Executive Board will likely vote today on a proposal to transfer oversight of the Metro 911 Center to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department. Johnny Rutherford is the Metro 911 director, and he's leaving in January to serve as Kanawha County Sheriff after winning the November election. To transfer oversight, it's a matter of working out an intergovernmental agreement. The 911 Center is also getting a new computer dispatch system and telephone system.