Breaking Local News
Frontier Communications and the Communications Workers of America have extended their contract again while negotiations continue on a new labor agreement. Frontier says the existing contract will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 2. The contract was set to expire Saturday night. The company and the union have extended the contract several times since negotiations began in mid-June 2013. Frontier East Region vice president Ken Arndt says in a news release that the two sides have made substantial progress. The contract covers more than 1,500 workers in West Virginia.
The West Virginia Board of Education says its top candidate for the state Superintendent of Schools position is Michael Martirano, and he's expected to take over the position on July 1. He will replace Jim Phares, who will retire June 30. Martirano is serving in his ninth year as superintendent of St. Mary's County Public Schools in Maryland. He's currently is the longest-serving superintendent in Maryland. Charles Heinlein is serving until the position is permanently filled. He will return to his current position as after the schools chief is officially hired. Martirano will be introduced to the public at a July 9 board meeting.
The sentencing is coming up in August for one of the three people accused of robbing the Chase Bank in Charleston. Stephen Spires pleaded guilty Thursday to robbing the bank last October. At a hearing Wednesday, Spires' attorney asked Judge Jennifer Bailey for a suspended sentence, and after research she came back and said she couldn't do it. As part of Thursday's plea deal, the state agreed that it won't seek the "three strikes your out" rule. This is the third felony conviction for Spires so he would have been sentenced to life in prison. Instead he'll face 10-20 years when he's sentenced on August 19.
WorkForce West Virginia is getting more than $191,000 in federal funding to help West Virginians who are out of work find employment opportunities. Sen. Joe Manchin says the funds are through the Re-Employment and Eligibility Assessments program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Officials say the funding will be used to help individuals with re-employment plans, unemployment benefits eligibility, and referrals.
A Jackson County bomb plot has been unraveled, and the criminal complaint says the suspect threatened to blow up a bomb on an elementary school playground. 20-year old Blake Ryan Garnes of Evans is charged with terrorist threats and possession of an incendiary device, according to the complaint. It also details the bomb that he had built from scratch, and includes threats to detonate the bomb at his family's home and at the elementary school playground. Notes were also found outlining a dark obsession with death, misery, and killing others. The Kanawha County bomb squad was part of the raid on Garnes’ home in Evans.
Hurricane cell phone customers may get better cell phone service soon. Putnam County has spotty service in places, and that's not only a concern for data users who want texts and emails in a hurry, but it's also important for emergency services. AT&T has made a deal with the city of Hurricane to install two new towers. WCHS TV reports one will be right off the interstate behind Mid-Way Ford, and the other on Route 60. Emergency services will be allowed to put an antenna on top of the new towers to increase scope.
Charles Heinlein will head West Virginia's public school system until the state superintendent's position is permanently filled. The state Board of Education named Heinlein as superintendent this week for the short term. Heinlein will return to his current position as deputy superintendent after the board hires someone to replace Jim Phares, who will retire June 30. Heinlein will take over the job on July 1 and will be paid $165,000. He also served as a short-term superintendent after the board fired former Superintendent Jorea Marple in 2012.
An anonymous tip led to a drug arrest this week. The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office STOP Team arrested 32-year old Jared Brent Casdorph of Pinch after executing a search warrant at his home. He was arrested for possession with intent to distribute heroin. Additional charges are being considered, as well. The Sheriff’s Office says it reviews and distributes every tip it gets, even though they don't always lead to arrests. You can call the Meth Lab Tip Line at 304-357-4693 and any tips can be submitted at www.kanawhasheriff.us.
Police have recovered a stolen state vehicle that was issued to West Virginia School Building Authority executive director Mark Manchin. The Boone County Sheriff's Department found the Ford Fusion on Tuesday at a home in the Bloomingrose area. Manchin had reported the vehicle stolen in late April from a hotel parking garage in Charleston. Boone County chief deputy Chad Barker said deputies went to the home to arrest 51-year-old David Griffy Sr. and 24-year-old Marra Altizer on unrelated petit larceny charges. Barker says police haven't determined who took the vehicle.
After a plea deal had been struck in the Mark Plants domestic battery case, it's being called into question. Under the deal, the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney could see domestic violence charges dropped if he completes a 32-week education course. The Putnam County prosecutor says a plea deal is illegal and he's advising that he not be accepted. How it all resolves remains to be seen.