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If you groan when you open your electric bill, here's something to make you feel better. We pay less for electricity that a lot of other state's. In fact, the West Virginia Public Service Commission says Mountain State residents paid the sixth lowest residential electric rates in the country in 2013. The only states where folks paid less were Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota and Washington. The typical West Virginia customer got a bill for just over 95 dollars a month last year.
The state's school chief is going to be stepping down. West Virginia Superintendent of Schools James Phares has submitted his letter of retirement. Phares plans to relinquish his duties on June 30th. He was appointed to the superindent's office in 2012.
Seven people were arrested when Charleston police raised a West Side bar last night. Police moved in on Shaar's bar on Central Avenue around 9 PM ; they said they were called to the bar after several nuisance complaints from concerned neighbors. Police were also reacting to a series of shootings in that part of town last week. Police say those involved in the shootings frequent Shaar's Bar. Arrests were made for disorderly conduct and drug possession. Police say they will be looking into revoking the bar's liquor license.
Governor Earl Tomblin signed a hike in the West Virginia minimum wage into last last night. The law raises the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 by 2015. It's the first minimum wage hike in our state since 2008. The governor has some concerns,however, about overtime changes addressed in the law. He asked for a special legislative session in May for lawmakers to address what he called "unintended consequences" before the law takes effect. Critics of the law agree, because as it stands it overrules federal exemptions for police and firefighters. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says it wold cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime. Jones says the city doesn't have that money,and won't spend it.
Firefighters made quick work of a house fire late last night in the Davis Creek area. They got the call around 10:40 PM, and flames were shooting out of the house when they arrived on the scene on Berginator Lane. There were no residents at home in the burning structure at the time. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.
For the sixth time this year, a million dollar lottery ticket has been sold in West Virginia. This time the lucky winner was Katie Ivers of Pullman. She bought a Powerball ticket in Ellenbro for Saturday's drawing and matched five numbers but missed the powerball. Ivers says she'll use her winnings to take care of her family. She also considering a nice vacation with her daughter and grandson.
A former Kanawha County teacher is going to prison for sexually assaulting three students. John Watt the third pleaded guilty in January to two counts of third -degree sexual assault. The assaults date back to the 1980's when Watt was a teacher at the former McKinley Junior High School in St. Albans. On Monday, Watt was sentenced to 2 to 5 years in prison for each count. Those sentences will run consecutively.
If you've been concerned about that funny licorice smell in the water,here's some news that should brighten your day. West Virginia American Water will begin changing out all of its water filters today. A lot of people are still buying bottled water for drinking and cooking. It's been three months since the initial water troubles began,with some people reporting nausea and burning eyes. Water company officials say it has taken them this long to start changing the filters because of weather problems and production volumes. However, spokesperson Laura Jordan says the goal of changing out the carbon in all 16 filters at the treatment plant demonstrates their commitment to their customers. It will take about 8 weeks to finish changing all the filters. Meanwhile, Jordan says the Kanawha Valley Plant continues to produce water that meets all drinking water standards.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants has been released on his own recognizance, after being arraigned on a charge of domestic battery. He's accused of striking his son with a leather belt more than 10 times. The charge filed on Monday follows a complaint filed by Plants' ex-wife with the West Virginia State Police. She told police that Plants held his 11-year-old son by the arm and hit him with a belt after a dispute between the boy and his brother. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Plants turned himself in Monday morning. After his arraignment on the misdemeanor charge, Plants told reporters that he is not guilty of any crime. He said that , just like any other person accused of a crime, he's got to sit back and let the criminal justice system run its course.
Last week Charleston police were looking for Levi Carter as a person of interest in a series of West Side shootings, and now Carter has been arrested. The investigation continues into how exactly the shootings were related - they occurred between last Sunday and Tuesday. No word yet what the exact charges are that Carter will be facing.