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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Clarksburg, W.Va. According to Clarksburg Police Chief Mark Kiddy, the department is investigating a three-vehicle crash involving a Harrison County Sheriff’s Department canine unit.
The accident happened just after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday on Route 50 near the interchange with I-79.
“A Chevy Silverado pickup truck rearended a Fisher Auto Parts delivery vehicle, and that collision caused the Fisher Auto Parts vehicle to hit the rear of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department canine vehicle,” Kiddy said.
The driver of the Fisher Auto Parts vehicle was examined at a local hospital. The driver of the pickup truck was not injured.
“The officer was fine,” Kiddy said. “They were taking the dog to the veterinarian, but he seemed fine.”
ALBRIGHT, W.Va. An Albright home was destroyed by Tuesday morning.
Multiple departments were called to the home on Sugar Valley Road around 6 a.m. and found the home to be fully involved.
All occupants were able to escape the house uninjured.
The cause remains under investigation.
Fire departments from Albright, Kingwood, Bruceton, Terra Alta, and Friendsville responded.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The 2023 USA Diving National Championships are coming to the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park May 17 through 24 this year. About 150 of the top divers in the nation will be here for the event that will also serve as the USA Diving’s trials for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships and the 2023 Pan American Games.
On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” President and CEO of Visit Mountaineer Country Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Susan Riddle, talked about the stellar performance displayed by the community during the 2022 USA Diving Winter Nationals held at Mylan Park in December.
“We couldn’t have had better cooperation and support from the community, the state assisting us, and WVU,” Riddle said. “We couldn’t have done this without everyone’s support.”
“The team at Mylan Park and Visit Mountaineer Country did a phenomenal job hosting our recent Winter National Championships. “They ran a top-notch event, and we are excited to continue building our partnership with them for the 2023 National Championships,” said USA Diving President Lee Michaud.
During that December event, Riddle had several meetings with Michaud about what it takes to be a regular stop for USA Diving competitions. Riddle said those conversations highlighted the importance of becoming familiar with the diving community and harnessing the power of businesses, elected officials, and volunteers to be ready to welcome competitors and families.
“I told them I wanted a national or international event here every year until we’re able to bid on the Olympic trials again in 2028,” Riddle said. “That’s the only way we establish our destination as a premiere location.”
Following the pandemic when hotel rooms sat empty, record occupancy rates have been reported during the WVU football season and the December USA Diving event. When thousands come to the community for an event, tourist dollars fall into the hands of just about every type of business in the area.
“Hotel rooms, restaurants, caterers, and security,” Riddle said. “The impact of events in general on our destination is tremendous.”
Riddle said the Tourism Advancement Fund has given them opportunities to attract important events that have boosted the local and regional economies. The fund is now part of a grant process to cover costs of special events like police for traffic control, rental expenses, or supply needs.
“We know that for every dollar spent from the fund, there are at least five more dollars that come back and are spent in our community that wouldn’t have done so if the event had not been held,” Riddle said.
Riddle is confident that an ongoing relationship with USA Diving will yield additional opportunities for Mylan Park and local businesses and could develop a local interest in swimming and diving.
“We have a great quality of life here that not everybody else can showcase,” Riddle said. “Our whole community does this, and we’re getting better at it.”
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. A wintry system passed through the area, making travel difficult Tuesday morning. MECCA 911 Director Jim Smith said 20 property damage accidents and five motorist assistance calls were dispatched by his staff.
“We did have three of the accidents reported with people that did have some injuries,” Smith said.
Motorists should slow down, increase their following distance, and be prepared to stop. Also, watch the actions of others and drive defensively.
“Make sure the cars are able to stop before that light turns green and you take off,” Smith said. “Make sure the vehicles in the other lane can stop before you get out in that intersection.”
No accident details were available at press time.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The co-owner and manager of Reliance Laboratories, Inc., in Bridgeport, has admitted to violating the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act.
According to court documents, Tenley Megan Miller, 42, of Bridgeport, was the owner of Reliance Laboratories, Inc., a company that provided public drinking water testing consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act. In May 2021, the City of Martinsburg sent water samples to Reliance Laboratories for testing, and Miller reported that the samples were tested and were safe. Investigators then discovered that Miller did not test the samples because her laboratory equipment was not operational. The City of Martinsburg then reported the false test results to the State of West Virginia as required by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
Miller entered a guilty plea to making a false representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency. She faces up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $250,000.
“The defendant in this case knowingly submitted falsified water analysis results, jeopardizing the health and safety of the impacted communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Nic Evans of the EPA’s Office of Inspector General. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General’s commitment to holding accountable those who attempt to undermine the laws designed to protect the safety of the public’s drinking water supply.”
The Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigations Department investigated.
WHEELING, W.Va. – The Morgantown Mohawks are state champions in hockey. On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Cory Kourtsis, Morgantown Hockey Association high school director, said they earned the championship with wins over Wheeling Central Catholic and Wheeling Park in Wesbanco Arena.
“Both teams beat us earlier in the year, so it was nice to get some redemption during the championship,” Kourtsis said.
The Mohawks were the second seed in this tournament and have now won the championship (the Bob Otten Trophy) for the second time since 2020.
“There were six seniors who have worked hard for the last four years and spent their whole careers in Morgantown playing hockey—it’s nice to see them win a championship ring,” Kourtsis said.
Unlike other sports where you could languish in the outfield waiting for a pop fly or where playing time might be limited, hockey is a game that requires constant effort to remain a factor on the ice. The program has about 250 participants, and Kourtsis said they like to get boys and girls started in the sport at a young age. The association does have select events where kids can try hockey for free with equipment provided.
“That’s our focus as an organization: getting the younger kids involved,” Kourtsis said. “Get them out on the ice playing, and they can progress from the Mite program up to travel teams or even high school teams.”
Now, the Mohawks have a chance to compete for the national title in March of this year.
“By winning the state championship, we are now invited to the USA Hockey National High School Tournament held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in March,” Kourtsis said.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. Staffing challenges in jails across West Virginia are at a crisis point, and Joey Garcia (D-Marion, 76) came to MetroNews “Talkline” to describe the urgency of the matter.
On some shifts that require 15 people, only two people report for duty. According to Garcia, jail staff then have to ask those who have already worked a shift if they will stay, and if they decline, employees are ordered to work the additional shift.
“That is a situation that is preparing us for a situation that is not going to be good for both the correctional officers and the offenders in the regional jails,” Garcia said.
House Bill 2879 allows a $6,000 hiring and retention bonus. Current employees would also be paid the $6,000 bonus. Newly hired officers will get $3,000 immediately and another $3,000 after three years of service.
Also, the bill includes a $10,000 pay raise for officers. That would be paid $5,000 July 1, 2023 and a $2500 raise in 2024 and anther $2500 raise in 2025. Lawmakers want to increase the starting salary for corrections officers from $33,000 to $43,000 in three years.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to make this a profession, not just a place where people go to get a short-term job,” Garcia said. “Also, when we bring someone in, a correctional officer won’t start in West Virginia jails and be poached by another organization.”
The problem has been around for the last few decades but has recently become a major issue. Since the governor’s emergency order late last year, more than 300 members of the West Virginia National Guard have been performing administrative functions for the department to free up more to serve as correctional officers.
Garcia hopes the increase in compensation will help the state recruit and maintain a dedicated workforce.
“This is a difficult job, and they deal with difficult situations and people,” Garcia said. “So, having longevity should also make it a safer environment.”
Now, he said, it is the responsibility of lawmakers to recognize the severity of the problem and take swift action.
“Each one of us needs to be an advocate for this, getting it to the Finance Committee and getting it to the floor, and we have the money,” Garcia said. “There is no one that can say with our almost $2 billion in surplus this year that we don’t have the money to do something about it, and one person’s life is worth that.”
House Bill 2879 will next be considered by the House Finance Committee.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. A Clarksburg man is facing robbery charges after allegedly taking a purse from a woman while she walked on Nutter Street.
On Friday, Eric Digman, 38, allegedly argued with the victim before pushing her down. Digman pulled the woman several feet as she held on to the purse to keep it from Digman.
Digman ultimately got the purse from the woman and fled. He was captured minutes later on Philipi Pike.
Digman has been charged with robbery and is being held in the North Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond.
WESTON, W.Va. In Lewis County, a Parsons man has been charged with wanton endangerment and threats of terroristic acts after pointing a gun at a woman and threatening to kill police officers.
The incident started as a dispute involving a firearm around 2 a.m. Sunday at a home in Weston.
Officials reported they heard the victim ask the suspect, 33-year-old Jonathan Long, to stop loading firearms during a 911 call for help.
When deputies from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department arrived, the victim told them Long pointed a loaded firearm at her and chambered a round. The victim also alleged that Long said he was waiting in the residence to shoot police officers who entered.
Deputies made forced entry after Long ignored several attempts to communicate. Deputies found Long in a bedroom, on the bed, with several different firearms.
When police attempted to detain Long, he briefly resisted but was taken into custody without incident.
Long is being held in the Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash-only bond.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. Governor Jim Justice will continue his series of town hall meetings regarding his tax cut plan next week in Clarksburg and Martinsburg.
The governor and secretary of revenue will be at the Bridgeport Conference Center on Monday, Jan. 30, at noon, and on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Berkeley County Clerk’s Office at noon.
The governor took the program to Parkersburg, Beckley, and Wheeling last week.
The House of Delegates has passed his proposal for a 50 percent personal income tax over three years, but the Senate continues to debate options.
Each meeting will also be live streamed for those unable to attend.