NWS confirms microburst in Teays Valley
HURRICANE, W.Va. (AP) - The National Weather Service says a storm that destroyed two mobile homes and injured two people in Teays Valley was a microburst.
The storm hit around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday with estimated wind speeds between 70 and 80 miles per hour.
It cut a path about 150 yards wide and about a third of a mile long, primarily along Marina Drive.
The weather service said Thursday that the mobile homes were destroyed by trees uprooted or felled by the storm. Five other mobile homes were damaged. One uprooted tree hit a vehicle and turned it on its side.
A microburst is sinking air in a thunderstorm with a scale of less than 2.5 miles. The weather service says microbursts can cause damage comparable to tornadoes.
W.Va. trooper charged with fraud
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia State Police trooper faces charges of obtaining leave pay for military training that he didn't attend.
Media outlets report that a Berkeley County Circuit Court grand jury indicted 25-year-old Johnathan Brand on Wednesday on one count of fraudulent scheme.
Brand is assigned to the Martinsburg detachment.
Brand is accused of submitting leave requests to attend military training when he no longer was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. The indictment says he received more than $4,400 in leave pay between April 2012 and March 2013.
State police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous tells The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., that Brand has been on administrative leave without pay since March 27.
WEST VIRGINIA SLAYINGS
Aug. trial for suspect in W.Va. quadruple slayings
SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - A man charged with killing two adults and two children in Nicholas County is scheduled to stand trial in August.
James Roy Belknap is being held without bond in the Central Regional Jail on four counts of first-degree murder.
The 27-year-old Leivasy resident is charged with fatally shooting Steven Leroy Hendix, Amber Martin and Hendrix's two young children. The victims' bodies were found on May 26, 2012. Police said the victims had been stripped and their bodies were dumped down a mountainside.
Belknap was arrested two days later at a police roadblock.
A criminal complaint says the shootings occurred over a drug debt.
The Register-Herald reports that Belknap's trail is set for Aug. 13 in Nicholas County Circuit Court. The trial originally had been scheduled for April.
Panel looks at tax, fee hikes to fund W.Va. roads
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A commission studying West Virginia's highway system is proposing tax and fee increases to raise millions of dollars for maintenance and repairs.
The proposals include increasing the sales tax, increasing vehicle registration and title fees, and raising the cigarette tax.
Media outlets report that the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Highway Commission decided Wednesday to hold six public hearings around the state on the proposals in June.
If all the proposals were approved, they would generate more than $400 million in additional revenue annually. But that's less than half the funding needed to fully maintain and repair the state's roads and bridges.
Wes Stafford with the engineering consulting firm CDM Smith told the commission that more than 1,300 miles of state roads are deficient.
CAMC takes out $20m loan for future use
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Charleston Area Medical Center is taking out a $20 million loan for unspecified future uses.
The CAMC Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to set up a bank account for the loan.
Media outlets report CAMC wanted to take advantage of low interest rates to get the loan.
The loan follows a $60 million loan that hospital officials recently took out for a new cancer center addition at CAMC's General Hospital.
CAMC board member Mark Chandler says the money will be held "until we need it somewhere."
GAS WORKER SCHOOL
W.Va. to launch new oil, gas job training center
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) - A new training center for people who want to work in West Virginia's oil and gas industry is opening in Fairmont, complete with indoor and outdoor laboratories to simulate drilling operations.
The Community and Technical College System is planning a formal announcement next week about the launch of the Appalachian Petroleum Technology in the I-79 Technology Park. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and others are expected to attend.
Pierpont Community and Technical College and West Virginia Northern Community College are teaming up to offer associate and certificate programs in Petroleum Technology, plus a variety of other customized training programs.
Martin Olshinsky, president of West Virginia Northern, says the gas industry spoke, and the schools responded.
Both schools will house indoor drilling simulation labs, and they'll share an outdoor lab in Fairmont.
POWER BOAT REGATTA
Power boats to gather at W.Va.'s Bluestone Lake
HINTON, W.Va. (AP) - Power boats of all types will gather at Bluestone Lake next week for the Travis Pond Memorial Regatta.
The event is being conducted by the Hampton, Va.-based Carolina Virginia Racing Association, which is part of the American Power Boating Association.
Practice runs and heats will be held on May 31 in Hinton. Finals will be held the following two days.
New River Gateway Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Chris Meadows says some of the boats can reach speeds in excess of 100 mph.
Travis Pond was a member of a boat racing family. According to the event's program, he started racing as a 9-year-old. He died in a car accident in 2006 at age 22.
BLUE STAR MUSEUMS
W.Va. attractions to let military in for free
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Several West Virginia attractions are participating in the National Endowment for the Arts initiative to offer free admission to active-duty military members and their families.
The Blue Star Museums program includes more than 2,000 museums across the country offering the deal starting next week through Labor Day.
On Tuesday, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences will begin offering free gallery admission, along with discounts for planetarium shows and giant screen films. Military families also will have three free months added onto annual memberships.
Other state attractions in the program are the Huntington Museum of Art, the Children's Discovery Museum in Morgantown and the Morgantown History Museum, the Beverly Heritage Center, the Museums of Oglebay Institute in Wheeling, the Arthurdale Heritage museum, and Bethany's Campbell Mansion.
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