Breaking Local News
A judge has been asked to delay the sentencing for a former Upper Big Branch Mine superintendent who pleaded guilty to plotting to get around safety rules in Raleigh County. Former mine superintendent Gary May pleaded guilty and is cooperating in the ongoing investigation into the explosion that killed 29 Massey Energy Co. miners in 2010. But May wants the sentencing delayed so he'll have a fair chance at a lesser sentence - a benefit for his cooperation with the government. May's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17.
As James Phares is sworn in as the newstate schools superintendent, lawyers for fired superintendent Jorea Marple have notified the state Department of Education of a pending lawsuit. The state Board of Education abruptly voted to fire Marple in November, and her lawyers say her termination was illegal. The letter provides the 30-day advance notice required by law before a state agency can be sued in most instances. Two Boone County parents earlier petitioned the Supreme Court to challenge the firing. That filing alleges the board violated the state open meetings law. That case is pending.
An off-duty state trooper ended up in the intensive care unit at the hospital after being hit by a car Monday. A West Virginia state trooper is showing signs of improvement after being hit by a car in St. Albans, and the woman who hit him has yet to be found. The off duty trooper was trying to apprehend a suspected shoplifter in the parking lot near the Goody's at the St. Albans Mall, and investigators say 34-year old Jennifer Garretson hit the officer and then left the scene. She would have faced a citation for shoplifting, but now she's now facing much more serious charges.
An investigation is underway after a security guard was robbed at gunpoint on New Year's Eve. It happened early Monday morning in downtown Charleston, and Charleston police say the security guard that works for the DHHR was making his rounds about 3:15 a.m. at the Capitol Street parking garage when two men approached. One of them was armed, and they got away with about $200. So far there have been no arrests.
Another West Virginia ski resort is open for the season. Oglebay (Ogl bee) resort in Ohio County becomes the fifth West Virginia ski resort to open for skiers and snowboarders after opening on New Year's Eve. Mountain State, Winterplace, Snowshoe, Canaan Valley and Timberline opened in November and December.
Today is the day the new state schools superintendent will be sworn in. After Jorea Marple was fired in November, James Phares was tapped to become the next state superintendent of schools. West Virginia Board of Education members will conduct the swearing in today, and Phares will serve as the board conducts a nationwide search for a more permanent replacement. Phares has worked as a teacher in Virginia for 25 years before becoming a superintendent in Pocahontas, Marion and, most recently, Randolph County.
East End Main Street is looking for a new president. Andy Milovich joined the group three years ago and was selected as President this fall. He replaced president Mary Anne Crickard, who had been President for eight years. Milovich announced this month that he was leaving his job as executive vice president of the West Virginia Power to take a similar job in Myrtle Beach. The Charleson Gazette reports the board will go through a nominating process for a new leader, and it will be someone who has been on the board for at least a year.
Two local leaders are asking regulators to go slow when it comes to restarting the natural gas pipeline that exploded in Sissonville recently. Last week the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said the pipeline could be restarted after repairs and inspections. The state Public Service Commission also listed demands that must be met before the pipeline is restarted. Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper and Deputy Emergency Services Director C.W. Sigman say they'd like to see the entire pipeline dug up and inspected, instead of just a portion of it.
Sen. Joe Manchin is one pushing to create a National Commission on Violence, after a report was created from his task force on gun violence. That report will go to Congress and the White House in January. The letter urging for the National Commission on Violence was signed by three other US Senators, and went to Vice President Joe Biden. This comes after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults. Among other things, the letter to the Vice President said that the root causes of this violence are complex and that responding to and preventing it will require a comprehensive approach.
As the swearing in ceremony approaches for the new state schools superintendent, two members of the state board of education have resigned over the firing of the former superintendent. The state Board of Education voted to fire dismiss Jorea Marple as schools superintendent in November. Jenny Phillips and Priscilla Haden voted against firing Marple, and sent resignation letters Thursday to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The swearing-in ceremony for James Phares will be held Jan. 2 in the West Virginia Board of Education Room at Building 6 at the Capitol Complex.