Breaking Local News
The West Virginia Supreme Court says a circuit judge wrongly dismissed more than 50 criminal counts against a former Shepherd University administrator. The court says that former Shepherd dean of student affairs Elizabeth A. Shanton can be prosecuted on the charges because they don't violate double jeopardy principles. Shanton was indicted on one fraudulent scheme count and 53 counts of fraudulent or unauthorized use of a state purchasing card. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge David Saunders dismissed all of the purchasing card counts, saying they violated double jeopardy principles. A new trial date will be set at a June 8 hearing.
The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority is offering up some vacant houses, and a developer may buy them and restore them. The homes are near the intersection of Lewis Street and Ruffner Avenue, and the Charleston Gazette reports the Urban Renewal Authority board approved the sale of the homes this week. The Sadd brothers will buy the homes and develop them, and they've already restored four buildings in Charleston, including the former Glenwood school on the West Side, which is senior housing now. The developer has applied for credits, and the sales will finalize once those go through, likely this fall.
Charleston is hanging on as the only city in West Virginia with a population of more than 50,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Census estimates released Thursday show Charleston had 50,404 residents in 2014. That's down about 1,000 from the 2010 Census. Huntington remains the second-largest city and Morgantown is the third largest. Besides Morgantown, Fairmont and Martinsburg were the only other top 10 cities to gain residents since 2010, according to the Census estimates.
It's been two years since the death of Fredericksburg teen Samuel Herrera in a drug overdose case, and there were court dates earlier this month for one of the men indicted. The district judge quashed the indictment, saying it was “defective” and should be quashed because it was vague and does not allege that Jarreau knew that the specific drug given to Herrera was contraband and illegal, according to the Fredericksburg Standard.
Six people are facing charges for credit card fraud after their arrests in Kanawha County. The U.S. Secret Service has been in on the investigation since the fraud involves several states, and so far the six from New Jersey have each been charged with one count of credit card fraud. WCHS TV says the South Charleston Police Department is still investigating after several people used stolen credit cards at the South Charleston Target Tuesday, and more charges will likely be filed.
A federal magistrate judge says former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship can't spend Memorial Day in Las Vegas. U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort denied Blankenship's travel request this week and said the conditions of Blankenship's pre-trial release don't include traveling to Las Vegas to attend to personal matters. Blankenship's attorneys had asked the court to allow him to go home to Las Vegas for a week, including the holiday. Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at a former Massey coal mine in West Virginia where an explosion killed 29 men in 2010. His travel is restricted to West Virginia, Pike County in Kentucky, and Washington, D.C.
A panel recommends increasing tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike to finance up to $1 billion in bonds for statewide highway construction and maintenance. The West Virginia Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways released its final report Wednesday. It now goes to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The report calls for toll increases of 10 percent to 25 percent and also recommends increasing the state motor vehicle sales tax by 1 percentage point to 6 percent and raising Division of Motor Vehicles registration and licensing fees. Those and other new revenue sources would raise $141 million annually.
A car was stolen in the wee hours of the morning last Friday, from the parking lot of the 7-Eleven in the 5100 block of Elk River Road North in Elkview, and the Kanawha County Sheriff's office has been investigating. Sgt B-D Humphreys says a silver 1992 Pontiac Bonneville sedan was left running in the parking lot and a man and woman that had been inside the store hopped in the car and fled south on US 119 toward Charleston. Anyone with inforamation on the suspects should call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip at www.kanawhasheriff.us.
A new proposal could mean a pay hike for the mayor. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones could see his pay go up $20,000 a year, to $120,000 a year. WCHS TV says if approved, it would take effect June 15, when elected officials are sworn in for the next term. The bill was referred to the city finance committee at this week's city council meeting. Jones won an historic fourth term in Saturday's election.
Many of the city's pools are getting ready to open for the summer season. The Kanawha City Rec Center Pool is getting set to open Saturday and admission is free. The North Charleston pool is also planning to open on Saturday, and will be open on Memorial Day even though it's usually not open on Mondays. Admission is also free. Kanawha County Parks and Rec will open up the Coonskin pool and the Shawnee Park pool this Saturday, and the East Bank Pool next Saturday May 30th.