Meth lab seizures on the rise in 2013

CHARLESTON — West Virginia law enforcement officials are seizing methamphetamine labs at a record pace in 2013.

They have seized 200 meth labs to date, nearly approaching the 288 they shuttered in all of last year.

Law enforcement is on a pace to seize about 570 labs this year, despite a new law intended to slow the proliferation of meth labs.

The size of meth labs has gotten smaller as the number of busts has spiked.

Still, the smaller meth-making operations are just as toxic as larger, traditional labs.

 

LOGAN

Student’s suspension investigated: Logan County school officials have hired a private investigator to look into the circumstances surrounding the suspension of a middle school student who wore a National Rifle Association T-shirt to school.

Eighth-grader Jared Marcum received a one-day suspension last month for causing a disruption at the school.

Allen Larieris has said his stepson was waiting in line in the school cafeteria when a teacher ordered him to remove the T-shirt or turn it inside out.

In a news release, school officials say they hired an independent investigator to ensure a complete, objective evaluation of the situation. The investigator’s report is expected soon.

Superintendent Wilma Zigmond also noted that shirts that depict guns or promote the NRA are not expressly forbidden by school policy.

 

HUNTINGTON

9 to be inducted in Marshall athletic hall: Former Marshall football coach George Chaump will be among nine inductees in the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.

Chaump went 33-16-1 as Marshall’s football coach from 1986-89. He led the Thundering Herd to their first Division I-AA championship game appearance in 1987. Marshall won its first Southern Conference football championship the following season with an 11-2 record.

Others in the 2013 induction class are football players Chris Crocker and Cecil Fletcher; women’s basketball player Sheila Johnson, volleyball star Jill Mussman O’Brien, track athletes Casey Batey and Erin Compton, men’s golf coach and assistant athletic director Buddy Graham, and swimmer Glenn Hartway.

An induction dinner is scheduled for Sept. 6 on the Marshall University Memorial Student Center.

 

MORGANTOWN

Gun brought to high school, teen arrested: A Morgantown High School student has been arrested after bringing an unloaded handgun that was reported stolen to school.

Morgantown High Principal Robert DeSantis says the gun was tucked into the boy’s pants. Another student reported the gun to an administrator.

Media outlets report the student was found alone near the school’s football field when he was taken into custody last Thursday.

Monongalia County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Perry Palmer says the handgun was reported stolen in a Dellslow burglary and that the boy is a possible suspect.

Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston says the teenager will likely be charged with possession of a firearm on school property and possession of stolen property.

 

WVU to debut college for undeclared majors: West Virginia University is starting a centralized college to help students with undeclared majors.

University College dean Elizabeth Dooley says one goal of the program expected to begin July 1 is to improve WVU’s student retention and graduate rates.

WVU says the University College will serve as an “academic hub” for general studies, exploratory and nontraditional students, among others.

About 7,800 WVU students will be served through the college.

The college’s ultimate goal is to have students focused on a particular path by their sophomore years.

The college will partner with the Career Services Center, which offers career counseling and career development programs.

Dooley says the college’s main hub will be in the Student Services Center in Morgantown.

 

OCEANA

Residents upset with documentary’s message: Some Oceana residents are upset over the portrayal of their southern West Virginia town in a documentary about prescription pill abuse.

The film “Oxyana’” chronicles the lives of people addicted to Oxycontin. Filmed by Sean Dunne, it was part of the lineup at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in March.

Resident D.J. Morgan says the vast majority of townspeople aren’t addicted to prescription pills and that the pervasive drug problem isn’t limited to Oceana. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia has the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation.

Morgan says the community will use the documentary as motivation to deal with the drug epidemic.

 

THURMOND

Man killed grabbing live power line: Police in Fayette County say a man was electrocuted when he picked up a live power line that he had shot down in order to steal copper from it.

Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler says the man’s body was found last Wednesday in Thurmond. On Thursday the sheriff’s office identified him as 22-year-old Dalton Newhouse of Oak Hill.

Kessler says Newhouse and an accomplice planned to strip the line of its copper wiring to later sell as scrap metal.

Kessler says Newhouse was killed instantly when he picked up the power line.

Media outlets report the accomplice was charged with an attempt to commit a felony, conspiracy to commit a felony and disruption of a public utility.

 

SUMMERSVILLE

Recent rash of fires investigated in Summersville: Summersville residents are on guard after three fires occurred in the town in the span of a week.

The recent fires come in addition to a string of arsons last year.

Summersville firefighter Seth Bostic says the cause of an apartment fire that left seven people homeless Wednesday is under investigation. Another apartment complex was destroyed last Saturday, and a vacant built also burned last week.

In February, a Salvation Army store in Summersville was destroyed by fire.

Two people were charged with setting several fires in February 2012 in Summersville. They are awaiting trial.

 

CHARLESTON

Man convicted of burning duplex for insurance: A federal jury has convicted a Logan County man of burning his duplex to collect insurance money.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said last Thursday that 58-year-old Michael L. White of Chapmanville was found guilty of conspiracy to commit arson, arson and accessory after the fact. White faces a maximum of 271/2 years in prison when he is sentenced in August.

White was accused of conspiring with Kimberly Dawn Kinder and her now-deceased husband to set fire to a rental unit he owned in Boone County. Evidence showed that after the October 2009 fire, White collected more than $80,000 in insurance claims and paid the Kinder about $2,000.

The 46-year-old Kimberly Kinder, also from Chapmanville, has pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy and faces up to five years in prison.

 

— Compiled by Robert Smith with information from the Associated Press

 

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