Breaking Local News

New River Gorge Makes National Lists

The federally protected New River Gorge National River is being added to the Old Growth Forest Network. Other states that are part of the network include New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. West Virginia will add the New River Gorge on April 15. The Endless Wall Trail in New River Gorge National River recreation area has also been named the Best National Park Hike in USA Today's Best Readers' Choice contest.

Missing Person's Case Unrelated to a Second Case

Amber Nichole Winnell was reported missing to a Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff late Wednesday after last being seen Monday afternoon in the upper Kanawha valley. Sgt B-D Humphreys says she's 28 years old, has brown hair and eyes, is 4’11” tall and weighs 190 pounds. She is from Cabin Creek and was last known to be driving a gold Dodge Stratus with West Virginia license sesquicentennial license plate number SQ047613. Anyone with information should call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip at Although another adult female was reported missing to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office at about the same time, the two cases are not linked.

Missing Person Sought

The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office is looking for a missing person. Lacy Renee West was reported missing Thursday and was last seen Monday evening in the Charleston area. Sgt B-D Humphreys says she's 22 years old, 5’4” tall, weighs 110 pounds, has hazel eyes and blonde hair. Anyone with information is asked to call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip on the website at This is not suspected of being linked to another missing persons case that was reported around the same time.

Survey to Decide Whether Prosecutors in Spill Case are Conflicted

A federal judge is drafting a questionnaire to weigh whether prosecutors are conflicted in the criminal case over a massive chemical spill last year. In Charleston federal court Wednesday, Judge Thomas Johnston said he is finalizing the 19-question survey. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and two subordinates who also lived in the area affected by the spill will fill them out.
Former Freedom officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell have pleaded not guilty to pollution charges. Southern also pleaded not guilty to fraud related to Freedom's bankruptcy case. Southern and Farrell contend Goodwin's office should be recused because some of its members were impacted by the spill. Their trials are slated for Oct. 6.

Voting on Now for Girls Night Out Theme

Over a thousand women gather each year to support domestic violence victims, and plans are being made now for this year's event in August in Charleston. It's the state's largest women-only event and boosts revenue to keep the YWCA Charleston's Resolve Family Abuse program active. You can vote now on a theme for this year -- either "Welcome to the Jungle" or "Floral Fantasy." The winning theme will be announced April 23. Girls Night Out is happening August 15th at the Culture Center.

Mine is Idled

A portion of Murray Energy Corp.'s Monongalia County Mine has been temporarily idled. The company attributes the move to shipment shortfalls by railroads serving the mine. The company didn't say how many workers were affected or when the mine would resume full operations. Federal figures show the mine produced more than 3 million tons of coal in 2013 and 4.6 million tons in 2014. It employed an average of 588 workers during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Pipeline Comment Period Extended

The U.S. Forest Service is again extending the public comment period on whether portions of the Jefferson National Forest can be surveyed for a possible pipeline route. A special use permit would be required before surveying could be done in the national forest for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The Forest Service's original deadline for comments was Feb. 13 and had been extended until April 2, now the deadline is April 17th. The pipeline would transport natural gas from Wetzel County, West Virginia, to another pipeline in Pittsylvania County.

Top O Rock Makes 'Buildings at Risk' List

The Creel House in St. Marys and Top O Rock in Charleston are the first properties to be listed on Preservation Alliance of West Virginia's new Buildings At Risk Register. The group says it created the register to draw attention to historical buildings at risk of demolition. Built in 1850, the Creel House served as a hotel in the late 19th century. The preservation group says the building's current owner has obtained a demolition permit. The late architect Henry T. Elden designed Top O Rock, a circular glass-and-steel hillside house built in 1968. Vandals damaged the house in 2014. The preservation group says Top O Rock made the register because of a design competition to develop plans to preserve and adapt it for a new use.

Disaster Declaration Approved

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved his request for a disaster declaration in West Virginia after a severe storm March 4th and 5th. The declaration will provide assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of spots damaged in the storm and makes public assistance available to 29 counties for infrastructure and cleanup efforts. The storm brought heavy snow and rain, knocked out power to more than 80,000 customers and caused flooding, landslides and mudslides.

Agreement Reached on Spill Cleanup

Freedom Industries and state regulators have signed an agreement for a cleanup of the site of a 2014 chemical spill into the Elk River. The cleanup will be done through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Voluntary Remediation Program. The voluntary remediation agreement sets deadlines for Freedom to submit reports and work plans to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The company's first deadline is April 20, when it must submit a report on an initial site investigation and interim measures. A work plan for a human health and ecological risk assessment is due in the third quarter of 2015. The January 2014 spill at a storage site in Charleston spurred a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.

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