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A national insurance group says pickup trucks were popular targets for thieves in West Virginia last year. A report released Monday by the National Insurance Crime Bureau says a 2008 full-size Ford pickup was the most often stolen vehicle in the state in 2013. A 2004 full-size Chevrolet pickup was ranked second, followed by a 1998 small-size Chevrolet pickup. The 2008 Ford pickup also was the newest vehicle on the list. The oldest vehicles most often stolen were a 1995 full-size Dodge pickup, ranked sixth, and a 1995 Honda Accord, ranked ninth. Nationwide, the Honda Accord was the vehicle most frequently targeted by thieves, regardless of the model year.
A finance committee in Charleston voted to increase the sales tax by a half-percent last night. The tax hike would be aimed at helping cover costs related to police and fire pensions that are underfunded by almost $290 million right now. The next tax is estimated to generate at least $6 million a year. A public hearing is set for the next city council meeting in two weeks and then the tax increase would have to be approved by the home rule committee, then there would be two readings before the full council. If approved, the new tax would start next July.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants' request to go to trial on domestic violence charges has been denied after a hearing. Plants initially agreed to attend a 32-week Batterers Intervention Program in Putnam County, but requested a trial instead. The judge's ruling Friday means Plants will have to attend that program. The charges could be dropped after Plants completes that program. Kanawha County Commissioners are filing a petition to remove Plants from office. He's charged with domestic battery of his 11-year-old son, and is charged with violating a domestic-violence protection order that required Plants to stay away from his ex-wife and sons. A compliance hearing is set for the end of the month to ensure Plants is enrolled in the Batterer's Intervention Program.
The trial of a Randolph County teenager accused of killing a classmate has been delayed because the alleged weapon was lost. Eighteen-year-old Thomas Chevy Vas' trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday. The Inter-Mountain reports that Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Keadle on Friday granted a defense motion to continue the trial until December. Defense attorney Timothy Prentice and prosecutor Michael Parker told the judge that the West Virginia State Police couldn't find the knife allegedly used to stab 17-year-old Dustin White. Vas is accused of killing White in October 2012 outside the Tygarts Valley High School football stadium about 20 minutes before a game. Both were students at the high school.
A Charleston teen is facing wanton endangerment charges after shots were fired on the East End Saturday. Police say 19-year old Terrance Hensley is the suspect after gunfire near the Shop-N-Go on Washington Street East Saturday afternoon. The victim wasn't hit, and was able to describe to police what Hensley was wearing, and officers found him walking nearby.
Three people are facing charges after the Kanawha City Foodland was held up Thursday night. 18-year old John Proctor III has been arrested and officers are still looking for two women who acted as getaway drivers. There was another juvenile who staked out the store and was armed with a pellet pistol, while Proctor had a real gun. A clerek, 44-year-old Shawna Sampson, was critically wounded and is in stable condition at the hospital after being shot in the chest during the robbery. Proctor's sister, Alisyn and another woman named Telisa McCauley acted as the getaway drivers, and warrants are out for their arrest.
State utility regulators are deciding how deeply they'll probe a water company's response to a January chemical spill. The Public Service Commission will decide today if it will require West Virginia American Water to produce many documents the company doesn't want to hand over. The water company says those records, including emergency response and prevention plans, are beyond the investigation's scope. Many have been requested in civil lawsuits. It says many documents are shielded from release under federal anti-terrorism laws. Others disagree, and think reviewing emergency plans is necessary to determine if WV American Water reacted appropriately after the Jan. 9 spill.
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will campaign in West Virginia for U.S. Senate and House hopefuls. On Aug. 19, the former Massachusetts governor will attend a Charleston fundraiser and Beckley rally for Shelley Moore Capito, Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins. Capito's campaign announced the events Monday in a news release. Congresswoman Capito faces Democratic West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in a high-profile Senate race. Jenkins is challenging longtime Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall in the 3rd District. Mooney and Democrat Nick Casey are seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat Capito will vacate. Romney's former vice presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan, campaigned for Capito in Charleston last month. Romney won all 55 counties in West Virginia in 2012 against President Barack Obama.
West Virginia State University will open the first new residence hall on its campus since 1969. A dedication ceremony will take place on Wednesday for the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall in Institute. The residence hall features two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, along with a study lounge, cafe and gaming room for students. Last year the Kanawha County Commission approved up to $30 million in bonds to pay for construction. Keith is a 1943 graduate of West Virginia State. He has served as a judge on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 1977.
The suspects are wanted after damage was discovered at the Scarlet Oaks Golf Course in Putnam County. Damage estimates are into the thousands at the Poca golf course, and police think the property was destroyed late Saturday night when an ATV spun out on the grass at hole #9 and on a practice putting green. Anyone with information should call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.