Breaking Local News
To Institute....West Virginia State University just received a million dollar gift from a private donor. President Brian Hemphill announced the gift during the recent State of the University address, and said the money will help fund several different projects for education and athletics. $500,000 will go for a scholarship for business and science degrees. Much of the rest will help upgrade facilities at the football field and add a locker room, coaches offices and weight rooms. Fleming Hall is also expected to see some renovations soon.
Sky Lounge on Capitol Street is changing its name. The owner hopes the name change will provide a fresh start after the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration temporarily took away the bar's liquor license after three people were shot there Sept. 22. The bar plans to reopen under the name Martini Bar, and the license has been restored, effective Wednesday. The bar hasn't officially reopened yet. That could come this weekend or Monday. Mayor Danny Jones has said he wants the bar permanently closed. Charleston's Board of Zoning Appeals will take up the issue when the board meets Oct. 11.
There are plans to remove two oak trees at the edge of St. Albans High School's Crawford Field because school officials say they're causing problems. The trees were already rotting, but the storms that hit the area this summer created hazards over U.S. 60. The trees also hang over parts of the end zone on the football field and can create a risk for the football players. These are the trees that were almost removed in 2007 to make way for bleachers and other upgrades to Crawford Field. There was a court protest then and the school board let the trees stand. There could be another protest this time. Stay tuned.
A former St. Albans elderly care provider has admitted to Medicaid fraud. 56-year old Shida Jamie is the owner of Golden Heart In Home Care, and pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges she fraudulently altered Medicaid documents in a scheme that took in $2.2 million in health-care claims. The ageny specialized in providing in-home care to elderly and disabled people under a contract with Putnam Aging, which is an authorized provider under West Virginia Medicaid. Federal investigators have said Jaimie changed transportation records, and Jamie admitted to ordering training documents be changed. Jamie faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced in January.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is investigating an accident Tuesday night involving an ambulance. Deputies say the ambulance was turning left from US 119 north into the lot of Hardees Restaurant in Big Chimney when a white colored Buick slammed into it. The car was driven by a white woman, and hit the ambulance in the driver's door area. 26-year old Thomas Robinson of Cross Lanes was injured. 34-yera old Karrie Cunningham was also taken to CAMC General for treatment. Detectives are still looking for that white Buick, which detectives say should have heavy front end damage and fled north on US 119. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office. Callers will remain anonymous.
A major drug bust came out of Kanawha City Wednesday night. It was more than that actually. Kanawha County Sheriff Deputies found cash, drugs and guns in the bust and arrested Eric Simmons. They say Simmons had 900, 30mg pills when he was arrested, with an estimated street value of $35,000. Deputies also seized just over $35,000 in cash, some marijuana, a shotgun, a rifle and two pistols. The bust is part of an on-going, wider investigation into pill trafficking from Detroit to West Virginia. Simmons is scheduled to be arraigned this morning.
The mining industry will be highlighted tomorrow in Beckley with the 2012 Miners' Celebration. Speakers at the conference will celebrate the past and look forward to the future,and several awards will be handed out, including a special "Spirit of the Coalfields'' award to McDowell County native and author Homer Hickam, who wrote "Rocket Boys'' and other memoirs about growing up in the mining community of Coalwood. It's a free event and anyone can attend. All you have to do is register in advance at www.marshall.edu/ccegas .
The extensive renovations continue at Charleston Town Center Mall, but shoppers should notice the dust and drills gone by the holiday shopping season. The news came this week too that the Starbucks kiosk, closed by the dust, could reopen by the end of the week. The kiosk at center court closed September 20th because of the dust, and they're waiting until all the tiles nearby have been replaced. Floors on all three levels of the mall are being resurfaced.
It's not final yet, but Dunbar City Council members have taken a necessary step toward limiting motorized scooters on city streets and crosswalks. They'd have to have better reflective gear to make them easier to see. Another ordinance targets texting and driving, which uses language from the state code which will make texting while driving a primary offense and talking on the phone while driving without a hands-free device a primary offense starting next July. This would make it happen faster in Dunbar. Council members will take up the ordinances again and consider passage at a future meeting.
What's better than a raise? Perhaps a raise when you don't expect it. The raise for City of Charleston workers goes into effect next week after city council members approved it earlier this week. It's the first pay raise for city employees since the middle of 2009. That means all full-time staff, including police and fire fighters, will get a boose. Elected officials are excluded. The pay raises are possible because of leftover funds from the last fiscal year.