Breaking Local News
A man was sentenced to more than two years in prison Tuesday on charges related to prescription pain killers. US Attorney Booth Goodwin says 40-year-old Thomas Henry Banks, Jr. of South Charleston, also known as “Fat Cat,” man possessed thousands of dollars in cash, hundreds of powerful prescription painkillers, and a loaded firearm inside a toddler’s bed at his home. Banks pleaded guilty in June 2012 to possession with intent to distribute prescription pain killers. Goodwin says this case was prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs.
Students at West Virginia State University are getting an up close look this week at the inner workings of the state Supreme Court. Justices are hearing four cases this week at the Institute campus, in the James C. Wilson University Union. The proceedings are open to the public. Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin says in a news release that the justices have been looking forward to hearing cases outside the court's chamber at the Capitol.
The governor has a new Chief of Staff. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's chief of staff, Rob Alsop, will leave the position this spring, and the governor said in a news release that Revenue Secretary Charlie Lorensen will take over the job in June. Alsop has served as chief of staff since November 2010. He previously served as chief of staff for former U.S. Sen. Carte Goodwin and as deputy counsel and revenue secretary for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin during Manchin's first term as governor. Lorensen has served as revenue secretary since January 2011.
A woman accused of reckless driving Monday didn't stop for police and they gave chase. The woman eventually rolled her vehicle, but didn't need medical treatment, and was taken into custody. Shayside Road was closed for a time in St. Albans while police investigated the crash.
The California man who allegedly tried to extort $13 million from a West Virginia coal executive is expected to enter a plea in two weeks. U.S. District Judge Irene Berger has scheduled a May 9 hearing in Beckley for aspiring actor Vivek Shah after having a recent motion to postpone the trial denied. Shah has gone through several attorneys since he was arrested last year, after being charged with threatening to kill relatives of Christopher Cline, owner of Foresight Reserves coal company, if Cline refused to pay the $13 million. Prosecutors say Shah targeted four other wealthy victims from Connecticut, Illinois, Texas and Florida, but they haven't identified them.
Charleston Town Center will host a lunch on Wednesday that doesn't happen every day. A news release from the mall says the 15th Annual Elephant Brunch is set for noon Wednesday, and they'll have five elephants from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus eating on a virtual buffet of food. This event has drawn thousands of spectators in the past, who want to see the Asian elephants feasting on fresh fruits and vegetables and 25 whole loaves of wheat bread from Panera Bread. The event will happen, weather permitting, and the mall’s Clendenin Street entrance.
A meeting coming up Thursday will likely hold the fate of a 1-year-old outdoor food ordinance. A planning committee meets Thursday to discuss whether to vote down changes to the ordinance, or move forward with them. The changes include shortening the space for outdoor dining areas so streets are more pedestrian friendly and better for those with a disability. Fencing would have to become more uniform too, and smoking would be prohibited in outdoor dining areas. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the City Service Center, that's 915 Quarrier St. in Charleston.
Charleston's West Side was able to rest a little easier on Sunday, after two people were shot at a 7-Eleven on Washington Street Saturday morning. Police said Antonio Collins shot two men in the head after one of them bumped into him inside the store and they argued. Collins is seen on surveillance video chasing the man's friend to the back of the store and shooting him too. Both men ended up in the hospital in critical condition. Collins was tracked to Columbus, Ohio Saturday night and arrested there.
In a significant turn of events, the Kanawha County school board has voted to give the library $1.9 million. The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in February that the school board didn't have to allocate part of its annual budget to fund the library. The decision ended a decade-long legal battle against being forced to give millions each year to the library. The school board could still give voluntarily, and voted Thursday to extend $1.9 million through July 1, and also voted to pursue an excess levy in November on behalf of the library that would bring in taxpayers' dollars to support library services past that date.
After an inmate at the Southern Regional Jail was mistakenly released last week, a follow-up investigation asked why it happened. A state jail agency chief says it was human error/ 51-year old Anthony Lee Ramsey was released Tuesday of last week and recaptured Wednesday. Media outlets report paperwork had been sent to the jail dismissing a magistrate court case involving Ramsey. But Ramsey had previously been ordered held by a circuit court after his indictment on murder charges for a shooting in January. West Virginia Regional Jail Authority executive director Joe DeLong called the mistaken release a breakdown in communication.