Around the State

Son of Charleston’s mayor nabbed for drugs

CHARLESTON – Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said Thursday that the arrest of his son on drug charges is a “life saving fall’’ that might be the only way to save him.

Jones said in a statement that his son, 23-year-old Zachary Jones, and another man were arrested Thursday on a charge of possession with intent to deliver an ounce of cocaine.

The younger Jones also had been arrested in 2010 on a heroin possession charge and in 2008 on a driving under the influence charge, the mayor said.

“It may surprise many to know that I was relieved when I found out Zac was arrested, because I know that the only things that might save his life are isolation and yes, incarceration,’’ the mayor said. “If in jail or prison, I know that Zac has a better chance at living than on the outside. This is because Zac is a hopeless drug addict who has broken the heart and the will of everyone and anyone who has tried to help him.’’

MORGANTOWN

Mascot still got it: Jonathan Kimble has been named West Virginia University’s mascot for another year.

The graduate student beat out three other finalists. His selection was announced at the WVU men’s basketball game with Iowa State on Saturday.

Kimble has made more than 300 appearances since taking over in April 2012.

He’s also triggered some controversy.

In December, the Division of Natural Resources cited Kimble for failure to wear blaze orange when he killed a black bear in Pendleton County with the musket that’s part of his costume.

The kill was legal but an outcry arose after Kimble posted a video online. The musket can fire ammunition but uses only gunpowder at WVU events.

Kimble has since agreed to stop hunting with the musket.

MORGANTOWN

Health, school jobs dominate: Half of all graduates from West Virginia’s public colleges and universities who remain in the state were employed in two industries – health care and education, a study found.

Published by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the study found that of the 115,730 college graduates from the previous 10 years, 48 percent were working in West Virginia in 2011. And among those who chose to remain in the state, 27 percent work in the health care industry and 23 percent were employed in education.

Those with associate’s degrees were the most likely to work in West Virginia, while graduates earning PhDs were the least likely, the study found.

The number of new graduates who found jobs in West Virginia increased every year, from 4,005 in 2001 to 7,988 in 2010.

SHEPHERDSTOWN

Volunteers hailed: Shepherd University is among the West Virginia colleges and universities getting federal recognition for their community service work.

Ten West Virginia schools and 680 others across the country have been named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The annual honor roll dates to 2006. Officials say it highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.

BECKLEY

“CHiPs” actor delivers warning: Actor Erik Estrada – best known for playing 1970s TV hunk Francis “Ponch” Poncherello on NBC’s “CHiPs” – spent time in southern West Virginia last week, along with fellow castmates of the film “Finding Faith.’’

“`Education is prevention – be aware of who your kids are chatting with online and you need to express to them the dangers that are out there,’’ Estrada told a crowd at Calvary Assembly of God in Beckley on Thursday. “That’s why we made this movie, for these young girls. So they won’t get taken.”

The film tells the true story of Holly Austin Smith, who was abducted from Bedford, Va., and held captive for three days before a police rescue.

Estrada is a sheriff’s deputy in Bedford County, where he works with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

CHARLESTON

Mining reassurances: West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey told mining industry officials Thursday he will carefully monitor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s reach into West Virginia and protect the state’s interests.

The EPA has repeatedly sparred with the mining industry over permits and their effect on clean water, particularly for mountaintop removal mining operations.

Earlier this month, Gina McCarthy was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the EPA.

Morrisey said his staff will ensure that West Virginia’s interests are protected when the EPA proposes rules concerning air quality standards and when Obama takes administrative actions.

“This is where we begin to develop the legal theories to make sure that the EPA is going to be adhering to the rule of law much more carefully,” Morrisey said at the 40th annual West Virginia Mining Symposium conducted by the West Virginia Coal Association.

BRUCETON MILLS

Prisoners may be moved: Two inmates accused of killing another prisoner at the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton could be moved to an even more restrictive out-of-state prison because of “violent and disruptive behaviors’’ that federal authorities say they continue to commit.

Kevin Bellinger and Patrick Andrews, both 32, are serving life sentences and are housed in the prison’s most restrictive unit. But the U.S. Bureau of Prisons says in a letter to the inmates’ attorneys that they’ve still threatened staff and been combative,

The bureau wants to move the men to a prison with a special management unit. The only federal prisons with such units are in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Colorado and Louisiana.

Bellinger and Andrews are charged with the second-degree murder of 28-year-old inmate Jesse Harris, who was stabbed to death in 2007.

ELKINS

Murder trial set: A Randolph County teen will stand trial starting June 4 on charges of stabbing a classmate to death at a Tygarts Valley High School football.

Thomas Vas, 17, will be tried an as adult. The Dailey resident is charged with murder in the death of 17-year-old Dustin White last October.

Police say the stabbing occurred outside the stadium in Mill Creek about 20 minutes before a game between Tygarts Valley and Hundred High School.

Vas is being held without bond in a juvenile detention facility.

– The Associated Press

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