Breaking Local News
After a church suffered a fire and was ruled a total loss, it has a new building to work with. Another church is loaning a vacant building to the Church of Deliverance United Holy Church after an intentional fire destroyed the place it had been. The fire was set on Martin Luther King Day, and the State Fire Marshal's Office has ruled it arson. The Charleston Gazette reports St. Albans United Methodist Church donate the vacant St. Luke United Methodist Church so the congrgation impacted by the fire would have a place to gather. The investigation continues into the fire at the Church of Deliverance, but so far there have been no arrests.
St. Albans police are trying to catch two people who used a stolen credit card at K-Mart. The purchase was denied and the white male suspect left the store, wearing a red cap at the time. The card was stolen from Kelley's Cafe in Nitro the night before and police say stolen cards from that wallet have been used in several spots around St. Albans and Nitro. Anyone that can help solve the crime should call St. Albans police, or submit a tip at www.saintalbanspolice.com.
Craft beer lovers could score samples on brewery tours or fill growlers to take home for later under a push by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. This week lawmakers filed the craft beer bill Tomblin mentioned in his State of the State address last week, and it would let craft breweries give free samples during tours. Breweries could sell up to four growlers per day, per customer. Right now, only licensed brewpubs can sell growlers. The bill would provide some relief from fees for the craft beer industry, and brewpubs also would no longer need to provide a bond for their licenses.
The Bridge Day Commission has decided to require BASE jumpers, rappellers and vendors to undergo finger scans. The commission voted unanimously this week to require the scans, saying they're less intrusive than the festival's current background checks. Several jumpers criticized the requirement during the meeting's public comment segment saying it was insulting. Alan Lewis of Tennessee is organizing an alternative event in Twin Falls, Idaho, which he says is more friendly for jumpers. BASE stands for building, antenna, span and Earth, the fixed objects from which jumpers leap with a parachute.
Former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern faces a new federal fraud charge. A federal grand jury in Beckley handed up a superseding indictment this week against Southern and three other former Freedom executives. The indictment charges Southern with a new count of fraud by interstate commercial carrier, alleging that he sent a $6.5 million personal check to an insurance company to be deposited in an annuity account as part of a bankruptcy fraud scheme. The alleged scheme included attempting to protect some assets from possible verdicts and judgments stemming from the January 2014 chemical spill.
After months of trying to figure out what to do with it, city leaders may tear down the Slack Street Recycling Center. The Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority would replace it with a new building on the same site, according to the Charleston Gazette. A year and a half ago, the Solid Waste Authority entered into a lease agreement with a local businessman to run the recycling center, but he abandoned it last year. The Solid Waste Authority has been talking about how to finance a new building, with loans mostly, and they've agreed on a list of equipment they’ll need to replace to get the recycling program up and running again. They may ask for help from the Kanawha County Commission.
West Virginia’s top health official, Dr. Rahul Gupta, says flu season may have already peaked, but warns to stay away from emergency rooms unless it’s absolutely necessary, since that can make someone without the flu sicker. WCHS TV reports Gupta's concern that there are 200 upper respiratory tract viruses floating around, and the flu shot hasn't been all that effective. For those under 18, the flu vaccine is working just 26 percent of the time. For adults 18-49, it drops to just 12 percent. For those over 50, the most vulnerable group, its only 14 percent effective. Flu season runs through March.
The Republican-run state Senate has passed a repeal of an energy portfolio. The Senate voted 33-0 Wednesday to repeal the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. One senator was absent. The portfolio requires generating 25 percent of electricity with renewable or alternative power sources by 2025. The House expects its repeal vote today.
A community group is trying to give new life to Clendenin’s historic Roxy Theater. It's been closed for 15 years and was built around 1930. Now a revitalization group that was instrumental in getting federal funding to renovate the old Clendenin High School building, is also working on fixing up the theater, according to the Charleston Gazette. The group will use a $75,000 grant to begin restoration of the old theater’s interior, and has spent six figures completely replacing the roof and a crumbling back wall. They're raising more money for more renovations, and will pursue another grant to finish it out.
Thomas Health System president and CEO Stephen P. Dexter is stepping down after 21 years of service. Dexter plans to retire July 31 after 21 years of service, but will remain with the health system as a senior executive through January 2017. Executive vice president and chief operation officer Dan Lauffer has been named to succeed Dexter. Thomas Health System operates Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston and Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston.