Around the State

Charge dropped against student who wore NRA shirt

CHARLESTON – The Logan County teen who refused a teacher’s command to remove a National Rifle Association T-shirt he wore to school is no longer facing a criminal charge.

A Logan County Circuit judge last week signed an order dismissing an obstruction charge against Jared Marcum, 14, stemming from an April 18 incident at Logan Middle School.

Marcum’s attorney, Ben White, said after a review of statements from a police officer and the school’s principal during a preliminary hearing, he and a prosecutor agreed that creating a criminal record for Marcum wasn’t a good idea.

Marcum’s stepfather, Allen Larieris, has said the eighth-grader was waiting in line in the school cafeteria when a teacher ordered him to remove the T-shirt or turn it inside out. Marcum refused and was taken under physical restraint to the school office, where an officer told him to “sit down and shut up,” according to White.

Marcum was charged because though he took a seat, he “kept trying to tell his side of the story. Jared didn’t understand he was going to be given an opportunity to give his side of the story” later, White said.

White – who said Marcum was exercising his free speech rights and his support for the Second Amendment right to bear arms – contends the T-shirt did not violate the school dress code. He said he still plans to file a lawsuit on Marcum’s behalf against the school district.

 

WHEELING

WVU study detects benzene: A new West Virginia University study has found dangerous pollutants in the air at seven natural gas drilling sites, including one site with high levels of benzene: the Maury pad in Wetzel County.

“Benzene is a carcinogen and causes leukemia,” said WVU’s Public School of Health chairman Michael McCawley, who conducted the study.

“There is no level at which there is no risk. However, the lower the level, the lower the risk is likely to be.”

Benzene levels at the Maury pad were 85 parts per billion, compared to a normal range between one and 30 parts per billion. McCawley said benzene levels at the other drilling sites in Wetzel, Marion and Brooke counties were more like the exposure one would experience living in a city.

The study, conducted for the state Department of Environmental Protection, examined drilling sites in Wetzel, Brooke and Marion counties.

 

MARTINSBURG

Changes for I-81: State officials are taking steps to slow motorists traveling through an Interstate 81 work zone in Berkeley County.

The Department of Transportation plans to put rumble strips in the work zone, along with signs directing trucks to travel in the zone’s left lane.

The zone’s 55-mph speed limit will be enforced at all times.

Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox and other officials toured the work zone Friday.

DOT spokesman Brent Walker said motorists’ average speed during the tour was 68 miles per hour. Radar guns showed the slowest speed was 61 miles per hour.

 

CHARLESTON

Funding to help bats: West Virginia has been awarded a $47,500 federal grant to study White-Nose Syndrome, which has killed millions of bats since its discovery in 2007.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the money will support research and detection of the fatal bat disease and how to respond to it. The state also will use the funds to monitor bat populations.

- The Associated Press

The agency awarded to West Virginia. The disease has been reported in 22 states and five Canadian provinces was first found in New York and has killed some 5.5 million bats so far.

More bike paths proposed: Charleston could, and should, become a better place to walk and ride a bike, say the Imagine Charleston consultants who recently unveiled their draft plans for the city.

Biking advocate Dennis Strawn said he was particularly struck by the “word cloud” the planners created from comments collected during public meetings. “The three that popped up were walking, biking and connections,” he said.

Some improvements could arrive soon. Indeed, dual bike lanes for Kanawha Boulevard are already on the drawing board. But other changes will take time and money, and maybe a new attitude among motorists who seem to feel they own the streets, the consultants say.

“There’s a non-urban kind of mentality in the state,” said Craig Gossman of MKSK, author of the new Downtown Redevelopment Plan, part of the broader Comprehensive Plan. Both plans are in the final comment stage, pending final approval by City Council.

 

Medicaid cuts: West Virginia officials have cut nearly $18 million from Medicaid reserve funding in an emergency move to ensure the state would end its budget year Sunday with spending and revenues balanced.

An executive order from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin allowed for a reduction of up to $20 million to help the state offset a general revenue shortfall projected to total $93 million, or 2 percent below the nearly $4.15 billion the stated expected to collect from these taxes during the budget year.

Acting Revenue Secretary Jason Pizatella said the actual cut was $17.7 million. To avoid a budget deficit, which the state Constitution forbids, the Legislature had also previously cut $28 million from current spending at Tomblin’s request and the state drained a $45 million special account for paying income tax refunds.

“This is purely a timing and cash flow issue,” Pizatella said. “We will ask the Legislature to restore what we’ve cut the next time they convene.”

 

FAYETTEVILLE

Sheriff’s secretary accused of embezzlement: A Fayette County Sheriff’s Department secretary has been charged with stealing more than $30,000 from her office.

Sheriff Steve Kessler says Cheryl Lynn Graym, 42, has been charged with embezzlement, falsifying accounts and two counts of forgery.

Kessler says Gray allegedly submitted fake receipts and reports to the sheriff’s tax office in the past several months. He said she has been fired from her job.

 

MARTINSBURG

Changes for I-81: State officials are taking steps to slow motorists traveling through an Interstate 81 work zone in Berkeley County.

The Department of Transportation plans to put rumble strips in the work zone, along with signs directing trucks to travel in the zone’s left lane.

The zone’s 55-mph speed limit will be enforced at all times.

Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox and other officials toured the work zone Friday.

DOT spokesman Brent Walker said motorists’ average speed during the tour was 68 miles per hour. Radar guns showed the slowest speed was 61 miles per hour.

 

MORGANTOWN

Teen’s best friend accused in murder: The parents of a 16-year-old girl say one of the friends accused of stabbing her to death had been like a second daughter to them.

But she lied to them for the better part of a year about what happened last July.

The unidentified juvenile had been friends with Skylar Neese since age 8, and Mary Neese says the girls became inseparable when they hit high school.

Now that girl and another classmate – Rachel Shoaf, 16 – are charged with plotting the attack.

Mary Neese says she defended the girl for months, until lies tripped her up with police. After Shoaf pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, the truth began to emerge.

 

Share This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>