Charleston man accused of randomly shooting at cars, people

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A Charleston man has been arrested after police say he arbitrarily shot at vehicles and people around Kanawha County.
News outlets report that 20-year-old Charles Whiting was arrested several hours after someone fired at random vehicles and people in the county on Sunday morning. No one was injured, but multiple cars were damaged, including one that had a window shot out while people were inside the vehicle.
Police didn’t say what type of gun Whiting is accused of using.
WSAZ-TV ( ) reports Charleston police Lt. Eric Smith says officers have responded to similar incidents over the last several days, and they believe Whiting may have also been responsible for those crimes as well.
Whiting is charged with wanton endangerment with a firearm. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

Doctor spends own money to establish needle exchange program

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A doctor is spending her own money to establish needle exchange programs in Beckley.
The Register-Herald ( ) reports that Dr. Ayne Amjad, along with the help of Beckley Pharmacy owner Ali Sherwani, recently opened syringe exchange programs at the two Beckley Pharmacy locations.
Amjad says she had anticipated a local health department to establish a needle exchange in southern West Virginia, but since one hasn’t materialized, she decided to create one herself.
The free, confidential program allows intravenous drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones to help prevent the spread of disease, establish trust between pharmacists and clients, and help users access treatment options.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says southern West Virginia is an at-risk area for an HIV or hepatitis C outbreak.
Information from: The Register-Herald,

Former church volunteer sentenced for abusing boys for years

PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) — A former youth volunteer at a Bluefield church has been sentenced to 15 to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing children.
The Bluefield Daily Telegraph ( ) reports that 58-year-old Timothy Prober, of Princeton, was sentenced Friday in a Mercer County courtroom after pleading guilty in April to 37 charges related to child sexual abuse.
Authorities said Probert abused multiple male victims between the ages of 10 and 16 between 1986 and 2010 while he served as a youth volunteer at Westminster Presbyterian Church and mentor for the Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect (WE CAN) program.
Probert was facing a maximum sentence of 171 to 489 years in prison.
Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph,

Contractors come out against Tomblin’s Hobet mine plan

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Citing dwindling state coffers, West Virginia contractors have publicly rebuked a large redevelopment plan that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin unveiled in his State of the State address earlier this year.
The West Virginia Contractor’s Association said in a statement that it could not support spending $99.8 million to build a 2.6-mile highway to the reclaimed Hobet surface coal mine in Boone County when so much money is needed just to maintain the existing highway system, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported (
Mike Clowser, the group’s executive director, says the State Road Fund, which is used to repair roads and bridges throughout the state, has already been hurt from declining revenue. The fund’s revenue fell nearly 7 percent over the past fiscal year to $691.5 million.
“Our association is probably one of the biggest proponents of the ‘build it and they will come’ strategy, but we cannot support diverting money from an already distressed State Road Fund to build this project,” Clowser said.
During his State of the State address, Tomblin portrayed the project and accompanying roadway as the best way to diversify the southern West Virginia economy. One possible fit for the site, among others, would be automotive-related companies, Tomblin said.
The state applied for a $40 million federal transportation grant for the project, but that proposal was not approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation this year. The state can apply for the grant again next year, said Jessica Tice, spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office.
Without that federal grant, the entire cost of the project would be up to the state to cover.
“Until we can pass legislation to provide additional funding for West Virginia’s highway transportation system, the CAWV has to oppose the Boone County project,” Clowser said.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,

West Virginia governor candidates accept 2 debate invites

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Democrat Jim Justice and Republican Bill Cole will participate in two October debates in the West Virginia governor’s race.
Justice, a billionaire businessman, announced Friday he’ll join the West Virginia Press Association debate on Oct. 4 and the West Virginia Broadcasters Association debate on Oct. 11.
Both will take place at the Clay Center in Charleston and only include Cole and Justice.  West Virginia Public Broadcasting and AARP West Virginia are also hosting the Press Association debate.
Cole, the state Senate president, previously accepted both invitations.
Cole had challenged Justice to seven debates statewide on different topics, from coal to infrastructure.
Justice said Friday he’ll discuss jobs and education ideas during the debates.
Mountain Party candidate Charlotte Pritt and Libertarian David Moran round out the ballot for the governor’s race.

Student demonstrates architecture skills at nationals

By BILL FRYE, The Register-Herald
BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — Recent high school graduate Brityn Stump is already taking steps to pursue a career in civil engineering.
But despite advancing his aspirations by enrolling into West Virginia University Institute of Technology and a summer internship at Thrasher Engineering, Stump recently took one more step to close out his high school career.
Earlier this year, Stump placed first with a gold medal in architectural drafting at the West Virginia SkillsUSA competition.
That success allowed him to compete at the national level at the National SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, Kentucky.
Now, Stump returns to Raleigh County having placed second in the nation in architectural drafting.
Stump said that for the competition he and his competitors were put into a “real-world scenario” that had them dealing with a customer who gave them what they wanted in a house.
Stump then had to take those requests and turn them into an actual blueprint that featured a 1,600-square-foot “c-shaped” home with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms with a courtyard and both private and public sectors.
This wasn’t Stump’s first trip to the national competition as he had done it the year prior. But this year his work earned him a silver medal and the knowledge of being among the top students in the nation with architectural drafting skills.
Stump took courses through the Academy of Careers and Technology in Raleigh County to find a passion for drafting.
“My parents talked me into drafting,” Stump said. “I was going to take computer courses but then they talked me into taking drafting courses instead. Then once I started, I just really got into it and enjoyed it.”
Stump said it was an honor to have competed against the nation’s 45 best students in his category in Louisville.
“It was really cool,” Stump said. “I enjoyed seeing people and talking to people from different places like Alaska, Guam and Puerto Rico.”
However, despite being second in the nation over many other students trying to display their drafting skills, Stump said the silver medal was “bittersweet.”
“When they called my name for the silver medal, my heart kind of sank,” Stump said. “I really wanted that gold medal this year. But I guess being the second best isn’t so bad.”
Stump thanked his instructor from ACT, Matthew Harper, for “guiding me the last two years.”
Harper said that any student who competes at the national level in SkillsUSA has reached a great accomplishment.
“They get the experience of big competition,” Harper stated. “They get to represent the state of West Virginia, and you could tell how important that was to them.”
Information from: The Register-Herald,

AC, power issues cause closures of 7 West Virginia schools

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s largest public school district was forced to close seven schools on Friday for problems with its air conditioning and power systems.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports ( ) the closings add another set of problems as the district struggles to recover from a devastating flood in June that destroyed two schools and damaged others.
The Ben Franklin Career Center, South Charleston High, South Charleston Middle, Capital High, George Washington High, St. Albans High and Grandview Elementary all dismissed students early before noon on Friday.
Maintenance Director Terry Hollandsworth said “multiple issues” contributed to the problem.
American Electric Power spokeswoman Jeri Matheney said a bad transformer affected South Charleston Middle School. But she said none of the company’s systems were the cause for the other Friday closings.
Since June, school district officials have focused most of their attention on repairing the flood damage to Elkview Middle and Bridge Elementary schools. That’s because officials needed those schools to house students from two other schools, Herbert Hoover High and Clendenin Elementary, that were destroyed in the flood.
Hollandsworth said construction crews have been working 12 hour days, seven days a week to make the repairs before the school year began. All of the extra work made it difficult for school officials to keep up with other maintenance issues, Hollandsworth said.
Other schools that did not close early have dealt with broken air conditioners as students returned to school amid the summer heat. Holz Elementary School Principal Lynn Davis said she had to keep students out of a classroom for two days because she was concerned about the temperature. Holz said the district fixed that problem after parents called to complain.
“The parents were very upset,” Davis said.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,

Man pleads guilty after threatening West Virginia officials

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man has pleaded guilty to federal charges after threatening to kill a West Virginia mayor and a former federal prosecutor.
The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports ( ) Kenneth Robert Godsey pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court in Virginia. The newspaper reported Godsey has agreed to a sentence of between 5 years and 10 years in prison, which still must be approved by a federal judge.
Prosecutors say last year Godsey sent letters to former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole, threatening to kill them both. Prosecutors say Godsey’s letter to Goodwin included numerous sexual references while the letter to Cole also threatened to kill Bluefield citizens.
Godsey pleaded guilty to two counts of mailing a threatening communication.
Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph,

Police arrest youth for bomb threat at West Virginia school

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Police say they have arrested a juvenile for making a bomb threat at Sissonville High School.

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Thursday that the bomb threat was made Wednesday. Deputies arrested the juvenile Thursday for making terrorist threats related to a bomb, and the juvenile is now at the James H. “Tiger” Morton Juvenile Center in Dunbar.

Police say the juvenile used a cell phone app to hide his location and identity and phone in the bomb threat.

The investigation is ongoing. Police did not release any further information on the juvenile arrested.

West Virginia State Police to increase DUI patrols

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia State Police will be on the lookout more often for drunken and impaired drivers.

State Police say in a news release that grant money through a partnership with the Governor’s Highway Safety Program will enable troopers to increase DUI patrols late this summer and in the early fall.

The release says the increased patrols will be in the area of events such as high school and college athletic contests, and fairs and festivals.

State Police spokesman Lt. Michael Baylous says such events routinely result in a higher number of vehicles on the roadways.