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A man who escaped from the Beckley Correctional Center on Monday has been captured by federal marshals in Kentucky. 26-year old Joseph Cody Genet is serving a sentence of one to 15 years for a burglary conviction out of Wayne County. He was found missing early Monday during the midnight inmates count and authorities don't know how he escaped at this point. Marshals say in a news release they received a tip Wednesday that he was hiding at his mother's house in Catlettsburg, Ky. He was found there and arrested. He's awaiting extradition now.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said given the uncertainties caused by Superstorm Sandy at some polling locations, the election went smoothly this week. Some counties most severely affected by the storm had to move their polling locations, but she's said publicly that because of the heightened focus those locations were prepared and everything went just fine. Tennant herself secured a second term as Secretary of State by defeating Republican challenger Brian Savilla 62 percent to 38 percent.
Nationally, voter turnout for this week's election was down compared to the 2008 presidential election, with about 60% of the nation's eligible voters casting ballots this year compared to 62% four years ago. Hawaii typically has the lowest voter turnout among states, but this year it's looking like West Virginia may have that title. 46.9% of voters turned out Tuesday in Hawaii, and West Virginia's turnout was slightly lower at 46.1%. Superstorm Sandy hit West Virginia a week ago, and polling locations were moved in some counties.
With the election this week, Superstorm Sandy and her effects have been pushed to the backburner. Those without electricity haven't received any break from feeling Sandy's effects, and power has yet to be restored for some. Still on Wednesday, about 21 thousand home and businesses were without power. FirstEnergy expects to restore to electricity to most customers by late Friday. Preston County has the most outages, and Randolph County is a close second, according to FirstEnergy's website. Appalachian Power has restored all power except for a few spotty outages in Raleigh County.
The Putnam County Commission is gaining some new blood with this week's election. Republican Andy Skidmore and Democrat Lee Casto were vying for current Commissioner Gary Tillis' seat, who announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election. Skidmore won the race with 50 percent of the vote.
The West Virginia Education Association plans seven forums across the state to talk about the public school system. The Education Association is the state's largest teacher's union and seeks more input from teachers and school employees. A current audit lists more than 100 recommendations to improve student performance and save millions of dollars at the same time. A forum was held last night in Huntington. Other forums coming up include one Nov. 13 in Fairmont and Martinsburg, Nov. 14 in Elkins, Nov. 26 in Wheeling, Nov. 29 in Parkersburg and Nov. 30 in Princeton.
The head of West Virginia's largest Teachers Union has announced after more than 20 years she's stepping down. Judy Hale, president of the American Federation of Teachers' state chapter will leave her post in six months, and be replaced by Hillsboro resident Christine Campbell, who has taught in the West Virginia school system for 18 years and served on the WV-AFT executive board for five years.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is going back to Capitol Hill for a full six-year term. Sen. Manchin is a Democrat, but has disagreed with President Obama over issues related to the coal industry, also national debt and federal budget issues. West Virginia voters also re-elected the state's three members of the U.S. House of Representatives: Republicans Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley and Democrat Nick Rahall.
Mitt Romney easily carried West Virginia, and in fact the race here was called as soon as the polls closed based on data from exit polls. Approval ratings for Barack Obama's presidency have been low since his administration's environmental regulations hit the coal industry - an important part of the West Virginia economy. Even though just over half of registered voters in West Virginia are Democrats, Republican Mitt Romney carried the state. Obama also lost West Virginia in 2008.
A Charleston firefighter is awaiting court dates after his arrest Saturday for driving while intoxicated. Grant Kelly Gunnoe has also been charged with fleeing and obstructing an officer. A police news release says officers pursued Gunnoe for about three miles before pulling him over in Winfield Saturday evening. When he wouldn't get out of his vehicle, officers had to remove him at gunpoint. Gunnoe's blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. The Daily Mail reports Gunnoe will not be suspended, and will continue to report to work as a firefighter. The Fire Chief Chuck Overstreet says he's innocent until proven guilty.
A Utah man has been sentenced for his role in a scheme that involved the sale of property in a Hurricane subdivision at inflated prices. Raymond Morris of South Weber, Utah, had his sentencing hearing postponed last week because of Hurricane Sandy, and it was rescheduled for Monday in federal court in Charleston. Morris will spend our years and nine months in prison for his role in a multimillion-dollar scheme. Federal prosecutors said six defendants were sentenced in the scheme that skimmed nearly $2 million in equity from defrauded lenders in less than two years.