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A conference continues in Charleston today that helps people train for emergencies and natural disasters. West Virginia State University hosted the conference yesterday and today is the final day for the gathering held by The Center for Threat Preparedness and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. It's drawing emergency workers including including law enforcement, EMS and social workers from across West Virginia, along with local members of the Kanawha County Ambulance Authority.
The former Mountain State University is suing the Higher Learning Commission over the loss of accreditation. The suit says the commission didn't follow its policies, rules and practices when it revoked the university's accreditation in June 2012 and says the accreditation loss forced the university to close. Without accreditation, the university was no longer eligible for state and federal funding, including student aid. The Charleston Gazette says Bridgeport attorney Jack Merinar filed the lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of three Mountain State board members. The University of Charleston took over Mountain State's Beckley and Martinsburg campuses.
A father called 911 to report that a baby hit his head Tuesday night, and by Wednesday police were investigating after the baby was found dead in his car seat. Now it has turned into a homicide investigation. The father - identified as Jeremy Smith - tried to slit his own throat, but remained alive. It happened in Kanawha City on Venable Avenue, where Smith was found inside the car the the dead infant, who was only a few weeks old, according to police. An autopsy is underway to determine the cause of death. And while Smith was taken into custody by Charleston Police, a separate investigation was happening at a crime scene in Putnam County, and he'll likely also face charges there. There's crime scene tape at a home on Shank Avenue in Hurricane as the investigations continue.
Three teenageres are facing charges after mailbox bombings Saturday on Louden Heights Road, and now there have been two more arrests. Police are working to figure out if the bombings are all related, since they occurred in about the same spot. Detectives aren't ruling out the possibility that individuals besides the ones arrested may be involved, and they may have to cast a wider net. Three juveniles were charged after the Louden Heights bombings, and the others happened on Skyline and Clark roads.
Starting June 3 and into November, local and county officials across West Virginia will have the opportunity to discuss the state's 10 regional jails. The public hearings have been in Charleston in the past, but they'll spread out across the state this time. The Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority has scheduled nine hearings to talk about jail issues. There has already been a meeting in Logan. The June 3 session will be in Beckley. Others are planned in Romney, Martinsburg, Doddridge County, South Charleston, Flatwoods, Elkins, Moundsville and Barboursville. They continue through Nov. 6.
The Division of Natural Resources is stocking more than 5,000 channel catfish in West Virginia lakes. The stocking started Tuesday and the cats will be what the division calls catchable size. The stocking is in addition to more than 34,000 fish added to 28 lakes in March. The program is intended to offer fishing opportunities at DNR wildlife management areas, state parks and municipal fishing holes. Tagged channel catfish will be stocked in eight state parks. Anglers who snag one of those fish are asked to return the tag or tag number to the Division. In return, that person will receive a free night of camping.
A book written by a Charleston storyteller has been selected as the West Virginia title for the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington. Bill Lepp's "The King of Little Things" is aimed children and young adults. The book is illustrated by David T. Wenzel. The book's selection was by the West Virginia Center for the Book. Lepp is a five-time-champion of the West Virginia Liar's Contest. The National Book Festival is scheduled for Aug. 30.
There was another anti-violence event last night in Charleston, called the Guns Down, Hands Up to Pray Prayer Walk and Information Rally. Grace Bible Church on Kanawha Blvd. hosted the event as follow-up to last month's rally where hundreds marched against violence. At last night's event there were representatives on educational and career opportunities available to at-risk youth and young adults 14 to 25 years old.
Nitro city councillors have approved a second reading of a home rule ordinance that would give the city more local control and allow for faster decision-making. Under the ordinance, city leaders wouldn't have to go through the county, or state for some things. Nitro will still have to apply with the Municipal Home Rule Board to make it happen.
A woman inside a home in the 4800 block of Ohio Street in South Charleston Monday got a scare, when a man came in through the front door, and another through the back. A relative of the woman's boyfriend was hit by gunfire in the home invasion. South Charleston police are still looking for the two men involved, but they have little to go on since their faces were covered and the victims couldn't get a good look at them. Anyone with information is asked to call South Charleston police.