Breaking Local News

Area Graduations Are Underway

This is a week of multiple graduations, with the first ceremony last night at the Charleston Civic Center Colesium. South Charleston High School seniors got their diplomas, and also last night Sissonville High School held their graduation at Municipal Auditorium. Herbert Hoover High graduates tonight at Municipal Auditorium, and Capital High graduates at the Civic Center Colesium. Wednesday it's Riverside High and George Washington High; Thursday Nitro and St. Albans will graduate. In Putnam County, Poca High graduates Saturday at Municipal auditorium. Buffalo, Hurricane, and Winfield graduate next week.

Putnam County School Board Resolves Suit

The Putnam County Board of Education has resolved allegations that it violated the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The U.S. Department of Justice made the allegations in a lawsuit filed against the school board over its termination of an employee. The lawsuit alleged that the board retaliated against the former maintenance electrician because he requested time off to care for an ill parent. The department said Monday that a consent judgment approved by the U.S. District Court requires the school board to pay the former worker $50,000 in back wages. The board also will train managers and supervisors on the law's rules and requirements. This is one of several measures that will be implemented to prevent future violations

Suspected Rapist Enters Plea

A man accused of raping a woman at knife point last November pleaded guilty Monday to first degree sexual assault and second degree sexual assault. 21-year old Enrique Harris is accused of stabbing the woman in the arm at some point, and the audio was captured during a partially recorded phone call to Metro 911, which the woman was able to dial. Harris will be sentenced June 12, and faces up to 60 years in prison, according to a news release from Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants Office.

Detectives Investigate Elkview Man's Death

After a call came to the Kanawha County Sheriff's office Monday afternoon from a man who said he could see inside an Elkview home and there was a dead man inside. Deputies later determined that to be 28-year old David Lemons, who lived at 7 Darlington Lane and was alone inside. Members of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy to determine a cause of death. Detectives are still processing the crime scene, but ask anyone with information to call with tips.

West Virginia Leads Nation with Obesity Rate; What to Do

The West Virginia Obesity Conference at the Charleston Marriott has wrapped up, and it gave experts a chance to talk about what should be done to fight the obesity rate here. Right now West Virginia has a soft drink tax of 1 penny per 16.9 fluid ounces and the proceeds go to the West Virginia University School of Medicine. Some suggest boosting the tax on sugary beverages to send more money to education, that would help people make smart choices with the overall goal of reducing obesity.

Gestamp To Move Ahead With Bond

West Virginia officials are moving forward with a bond sale to help expand an auto parts stamping plant in South Charleston. The West Virginia Economic Development Authority has authorized up to $150 million in bonds that will be used to purchase equipment for the Gestamp plant over the next five years. The financing assistance was part of the original incentive package state officials used to entice the company to move into plant. The company announced last year that it would invest a minimum of $100 million in the facility over the next five to seven years, creating up to 700 jobs.

Investigators Look Into Another Suspicious Fire in Belle

A fire in Belle over the weekend may be arson. There have been reports of several suspicious fires in that area in recent weeks and that has neighbors on edge. The most recent was on Simmons Creek Road, and the blaze destroyed a trailer Friday night after neighbors said they heard a loud pop or explosion. The home was abandoned at the time. The state fire marshal's office is investigating.

Former Fire Chief Faces Embezzlement Charge

A grand jury in Fayette County has indicted the former chief of a volunteer fire department and his wife. Ex-Smithers fire chief Timothy M. Whittington is facing one felony count of embezzlement. His wife, Patricia A. Whittington, was indicted on one count of fraudulent schemes after the two were allegedly involved in taking department funds for personal use. The indictment says Timothy Whittington is accused of taking money from the fire department between July 2010 and September 2012. An audit showed thousands of dollars went missing from the department. Whittington resigned last year. The couple's arraignment is scheduled for May 24 in Fayette County Circuit Court.

Routine Patrol Leads to Drug Bust

Early Thursday morning in the Marmet area, two Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies pulled over an SUV, and a drug sniffing dog could smell something from the exterior. A search turned up more than two pounds of marijuana, along with 291 Oxycodone 30 mg tablets. Together the drugs have an estimated street value of over 20-thousand dollars. More than 6-thousand dollars in cash was found in the vehicle too. 27-year old Eugene J. Lobaugh of Cleveland, Ohio was arrested and charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, both felonies.

Superstorm Sandy Relief is Coming

West Virginia is getting more than $1 million in federal funding to help with last fall's storm. The response to the snowstorm that Hurricane Sandy spawned last fall was costly, with more than 2 feet of snow in some areas. Seven people died and the storm knocked out electricity to more than a quarter-million customers. Congress passed a final relief package in January. U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin announced the latest award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday. They say it will go to the Office of the Adjutant General for the costs of activating the National Guard and implementing a statewide emergency plan. It also reimburses West Virginia for search-and-rescue efforts, emergency patrols, medical support and debris clearing.

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