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Rep. Shelley Moore Capito says she tried to have her congressional pay withheld during October's partial government shutdown. But the U.S. Constitution requires members of Congress to be paid. Since she had to be paid, Capito says she donated her salary to seven charities in West Virginia. The charities received a total of more than $7,700. Capito says in a new release that these charities work to improve literacy, strengthen families, provide health care, preserve the state's history and promote the arts.
A neighborhood association on a Charleston hilltop has replaced a school bell that was stolen three years ago. A replica of the Fernbank School bell was put in place last week along Bridge Road. The Charleston Gazette says the original bell called children to and from school each day in the early 1900s. The Bridge Road Neighborhood Association had acquired the bell in 2009. It was stolen a year later. A dedication ceremony for the new bell is scheduled for Dec. 1.
A stolen vehicle investigation is underway after it was taken from Marmet on Sunday. The Buick Lucerne had OnStar installed and active, and the owner had already reported the theft to OnStar. The vehicle was found on Virginia Street in Charleston, and Onstar notified the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office soon after it was stolen. The vehicle was found abandoned, but it has been dusted for prints and released to the owner. The investigation into the theft is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call 304-357-0169.
A former Mingo County prosecutor has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. Prosecutors say Michael Sparks, former commissioner David Baisden and former circuit judge Michael Thornsbury offered a lighter sentence if an alleged drug dealer fired his lawyer and hired one they preferred, in a scheme to protect former sheriff Eugene Crum. Sparks made his guilty plea in federal court in Charleston Monday. Sparks resigned in October. Crum was shot to death in April in an unrelated attack as he ate lunch in his vehicle.
Law enforcement agencies across West Virginia are enforcing seat belt laws. Police across the state just started the first of four seat belt enforcement blitzes and the campaign runs through Dec. 1. WCHS-TV reports that the West Virginia Highway Safety Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have provided highway safety funds to conduct three mini "Click it or Ticket" campaigns that go along with the national campaign scheduled every May. West Virginia's seat belt laws are a primary law, meaning that police can stop a driver and issue a citation simply for not wearing a seat belt. Officers also will be watching for drivers who are texting and talking on their cellphones without a hands-free device.
An investigation is underway after a man was hit and killed by a train in Marmet over the weekend. Dispatchers said it happened on the railroad tracks on 98th Street around 4:00 a.m. Sunday, and the CSX Engineer who hit him was the one who called to report it. He said the man had been sitting on the rails. He was dead by the time paramedics and police got to the scene. Police are investigating to determine why the man was sitting on the tracks.
A former Mingo County prosecutor is due in court for a plea hearing on a federal conspiracy charge. Prosecutors say Michael Sparks is expected to plead guilty today in U.S. District Court in Charleston. Sparks resigned in October after being charged in a scheme to protect former Sheriff Eugene Crum from revelations that Crum bought drugs. Crum was shot to death in April in an unrelated attack as he ate lunch in his vehicle.
Keystone Development has scaled back plans for a proposed surface mine near Kanawha State Forest. The company is seeking a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection for a 413.8-acre surface mine. In 2009, Keystone proposed a 597-acre surface mine. Keystone dropped plans for a mile-long valley fill. The company now proposes hauling rock and other debris to an adjacent surface mine. The Charleston Gazette reported that the DEP held an informal conference on the proposed surface mine this week at Riverside High School.
This time next week the transfer will be complete for water customers in Pratt as they make the move over to West Virginia American Water. A ceremony is planned for next Thursday Nov. 21 at 2pm at the ball fields in Hansford, just to the east of Pratt, and anyone can attend. A spokesperson told the Daily Mail that the company plans to formally close the deal transferring the town's system to the company Nov. 19th. Pratt voters approved the sale of the system to the private company over the summer.
It was last weekend that voters in Kanawha County said no to an excess levy that would have sent money to library and the Kanawha County school district. This weekend voters in Lincoln County will decide on a similar measure, and whether or not to extend the school board excess levy in Lincoln County. The levy covers $3.5 million that would fund various educational programs.