Shooting suspect bought multiple guns
CHARLESTON — A prosecutor says a man accused of killing a West Virginia sheriff bought several guns — not just one — after he had been determined legally ineligible to own them.
Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks says the purchases were made after February 2010, when 37-year-old Tennis Maynard was deemed ineligible. Sparks hasn’t said why Maynard wasn’t allowed to own a gun, but the suspect’s father says Maynard had mental problems and had been institutionalized.
Federal law prohibits the sale of firearms and ammunition to certain individuals with a history of mental illness.
But a state database that shares such information with a national background check system wasn’t operational until January 2011. Sparks says Maynard’s purchases were made before then, including the weapon allegedly used to shoot Sheriff Eugene Crum in Williamson.
Community colleges to merge: West Virginia will consolidate two community colleges, but they will retain separate campuses.
Bridgemont Community and Technical College in Montgomery and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College in South Charleston will be run by one president and one board of governors but keep their individual campuses.
The state House of Delegates voted unanimously Saturday to authorize the change.
Kanawha Valley President Joseph Badgley is planning to retire and it is expected that Bridgemont President Jo Harris will become president of the combined college.
The boards of governors of both colleges have approved the merger. The merger is being billed as a cost saving measure.
The two campuses are 33 miles apart on the Kanawha River.
Lawmakers OK Amazon sales tax gambit: The West Virginia Legislature has signed off on a plan to pursue more sales taxes from online retailers.
A unanimous Senate granted final passage Saturday to the proposal from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
The bill requires out-of-state retailers to start applying West Virginia’s sales tax if they or a subsidiary have a physical presence in-state.
E-commerce giant Amazon.com recently opened a customer service center in Huntington. The company has not responded to requests for comment.
Several other states have pursued similar legislation as brick-and-mortar businesses complain of an unfair tax burden.
West Virginia is also pursuing e-retail revenues through the multi-state Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. Congress has been debating the online sales tax question as well. The bill passed the House 85-12 on April 1.
4 hurt in blast: Tyler County officials say four people were injured in an explosion at a natural gas compressor station near Wick.
Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper said three workers were transported by medical helicopter to hospitals. The sheriff’s department says a fourth person also was injured and taken to a hospital.
The explosion occurred last Thursday night at the Twin Hickories compressor station. Such stations are placed along natural gas pipelines to help propel the gas through the lines.
The cause of the blast is unknown and remains under investigation.
ATF workers laid off: More than 90 contract workers at a federal facility in Martinsburg have been laid off due to federal budget cuts.
The Department of Justice tells media outlets that it had to cut its budget by $82 million. As a result, 98 contract workers at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ facility were laid off.
If the cuts are sustained, the department says up 160 contract workers at the facility could be affected.
The automatic spending cuts were triggered by the lack of a budget agreement in Washington.
Sale of historic estate completed: A historic estate in Martinsburg has been transferred to its new owners.
The Berkeley County Farmland Protection Board completed the sale of Boydville to Jonathan and Megan Mann earlier this month.
The couple acquired the two-century-year-old estate for $500,000.
The sales agreement requires the property to be open to the public at least twice a year. A conservation easement restricts new development. There’s also a preservation easement regarding the property’s structures.
In March, Jonathan Mann received a city zoning exception that allows him to operate a bed and breakfast, special events facility and commercial office at Boydville.
The estate’s Georgian-style two-story mansion was built around 1812. President Abraham Lincoln spared the mansion from torching by Union soldiers during the Civil War.
Researcher hailed for golden eagle efforts: U.S. forestry officials are honoring an organization led by a West Virginia University research biologist for its work protecting golden eagles.
The recognition by the U.S. Forest Service’s Wings Across the Americas program is for the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group.
The international collaboration of biologists and wildlife managers is headed by Todd Katzner and a colleague in Quebec.
A small population of golden eagles can be found in eastern North America. They face challenges that range from diminishing habitat to the whirring blades of wind turbines.
Katzner’s working group is being honored for its efforts with the Forest Service’s 2013 Research and Management Partnership Award.
Katzner’s work is funded jointly by the Forest Service and WVU.
— Compiled by Robert Smith with information from the Associated Press