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Judge Watkins to Face Hearing in February

A Putnam County Family Court judge accused of delaying rulings and screaming at litigants won't see a delay in the disciplinary proceedings against him. The Associated Press reports that the state Supreme Court denied Family Court Judge William Watkins' request on Thursday, after Watkins' lawyer filed a motion asking the court to delay the proceedings. The defense says Watkins has filed for disability and plans to retire. The state Judicial Investigation Commission recommends Watkins be suspended without pay until his term ends on Dec. 31, 2016. The justices will hear Watkins' case Feb. 5.

Thief Caught in Kanawha County

A Kanawha County Sheriff's deputy was called to K-Mart on Saturday afternoon around 2:30p for the shoplifting call, and learned that 22-year old Sean Bland of Elkview had stolen some electronics. A Loss Prevention Officer tried to stop him, but Bland jumped into a car and left the scene. Deputy B.K. Howery drove to Bland's home and arrested him there, and the Sheriff's office says the deputy was also able to recover a stolen cell phone charger. Deputy Howery also learned Bland was wanted on four (4) felony charges, two charges of Fraudulent Use of an Access Device and two counts of Computer Fraud. Bland was taken to the South Central Regional Jail.

2012 was a Warm Year

Meteorologists have been analyzing the data from 2012, and found that in some West Virginia Cities, the year was among the warmest on record. The National Weather Service said average temperatures last year in Beckley, Clarksburg and Elkins were the second-warmest on record. Beckley's average temperature, 54.5 degrees, is the highest since the record 55.6 degrees in 1931.

Former Mine Superintendent Asks for Delay in Sentencing

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.

Jorea Marple to Sue After Firing

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.

Hit and Run Suspect Sought after Hitting Off Duty Trooper

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.

Security Guard Robbed

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 Ski Resort Opens

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.

State Schools Superintendent to be Sworn In Today

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 Looks for New Leader

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.

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