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Around the state: Crash kills 3 Oak Glen High students

NEW MANCHESTER – Police are investigating a collision between a passenger vehicle and a fire truck that killed three 16-year-olds from Oak Glen High School.

Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher reports that the southbound car went into the northbound lane while trying to pass another vehicle. It collided with a New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department truck.

Driver Krsytan Butcher of Newell and passenger Kaylin Blake Rice of Chester, died at the scene. John Emmett Snow III of New Cumberland died at an area hospital.

Three firefighters were treated at the hospital and released.

Fletcher says the accident occurred around 9 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of W.Va. 8 and Tomlinson Run State Park.

 

MILTON

Union workers hope to persuade SuperValu to keep its food distribution center in Milton.

SuperValu announced last week that it will close the facility in April and consolidate the operation with a facility in Pennsylvania.

Teamsters Local 505 president Ken Hall says the union plans to meet with SuperValu. Union members are circulating a petition statewide urging the company to keep the Milton facility open. The union represents 60 of the Milton facility’s nearly 100 workers.

 

CLARKSBURG

Bath salts arrest: A West Virginia fugitive wanted on drug charges has been arrested in New Mexico.

Federal authorities had been searching for 58-year-old John N. Skruck of Clarksburg since he failed to appear for trial in May 2013.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, deputy marshals in New Mexico arrested Skruck on Saturday in San Cristobal, N.M.

Federal prosecutors say Skruck was general manager of two stores that distributed hallucinogenic bath salts in north-central West Virginia. Authorities raided and closed the stores in Clarksburg and Buckhannon in April 2012.

The stores’ owner and two other co-defendants were convicted and sentenced in 2013.

 

MORGANTOWN

Runway closes after plane tips over: A runway at Morgantown’s airport had to be closed briefly when a small plane tipped forward upon landing.

Morgantown Assistant City Manager Glen Kelly tells The Dominion Post no one was injured in Friday’s mishap at the Morgantown Municipal Airport.

Kelly says the plane’s owner was flying with an instructor pilot when undisclosed problems occurred on the plane and it had to land quickly. The plane’s propeller was damaged when the aircraft tipped forward onto its nose upon landing.

Kelly says the plane was turned upright and a small amount of gas was cleaned from the runway. He says the runway was closed no longer than 10 minutes.

Rebranding project launched: Morgantown is looking for a new logo and other changes as part of a rebranding effort.

City Manager Jeff Mikorski says the city has teamed with Main Street Morgantown to hire a city planning and marketing form to freshen the city’s image and message.

The firm, Arnett Muldrow & Associates, already has begun gathering information about the city’s assets, destinations, businesses and people. The next step is gathering ideas from residents. Two public roundtables are set for Jan. 23 at City Hall. The morning session is for businesses, the late-afternoon session for residents.

Along with a new logo, the project will include new motto, coordinated signs, print designs for brochures and guides, and a revamped web page.

 

POINT PLEASANT

Five hurt in house fire: Firefighters in Point Pleasant say five people have been injured in a blaze that destroyed their home.

The fire was reported at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The names of the victims weren’t immediately released.

Point Pleasant Fire Chief Jeremy Bryant says three of the victims were airlifted to Cabell Huntington Hospital with severe injuries. A hospital spokesman didn’t immediately return a message seeking information on the patients’ conditions.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

HACKER VALLEY

Holly River repairs complete: Repairs are complete at a Webster County state park hit hard by two major storms.

The Division of Natural Resources says the campground at Holly River State Park will reopen in April.

Superstorm Sandy dumped more than 3 feet of snow at the park 2012, destroying most of the park’s above-ground power lines. That came four months after the park was damaged by a derecho. And last year, a 2-mile stretch of underground electrical cable at the park failed.

The DNR says campsite reservations will be accepted beginning Feb. 15. The park also has 10 rustic cabins available for rent starting April 4.

 

CHARLESTON

Time for change: A trio of coins is stirring some interest in the West Virginia treasurer’s office online auction of unclaimed property.

The U.S. Liberty coin set – a dollar coin, a $5 gold piece and a half dollar ­­– is attracting more than just the usual interest, said Treasurer John Perdue.

The set includes. Early this week, bidding had risen above $500 for the coins, which were minted in the 1800s.

Two surveying lasers opened with high bids – $325 and $475. Perdue’s office says those are steals, when compared to retail prices.

The auction continues through Jan. 30 at WestVirginiaUnclaimedProperty.org.

Ex-Mingo official to pay restitution: A former Mingo County commissioner who pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge has agreed to pay $7,700 in restitution to two tire companies.

David Baisden pleaded guilty in October to trying to buy tires for his personal vehicle at a government discount in 2009, then terminating the county’s contract with Appalachian Tire when it refused to cooperate.

Federal prosecutors have said Baisden’s decision cost Appalachian Tire tens of thousands of dollars.

The Charleston Gazette reports the agreement reached with prosecutors Thursday calls for Baisden to pay $5,489 to Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and $2,236 to Appalachian Tire. He’ll make monthly payments over three years.

Baisden, 66, of Delbarton, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 29 in federal court in Charleston. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His attorney, Jim Cagle, said in a sentencing memorandum this month that advisory guidelines call for a sentence between two years and 30 months.

Cagle is seeking probation, noting in the memorandum that Baisden has no salary, has lost his pension and has prostate cancer. The restitution agreement makes reference to Baisden’s “minimal disposable income and net worth.”

Baisden resigned from the commission a week after his guilty plea. He also was the county’s purchasing agent.

Federal prosecutors also mentioned Baisden but didn’t charge him in a separate investigation involving the late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum.

Former Mingo County prosecutor Michael Sparks and ex-circuit judge Michael Thornsbury are awaiting sentencing in a scheme to keep Crum’s alleged prescription drug supplier and campaign sign maker, George White, from talking to the FBI about Crum, who was killed in April in an unrelated shooting.

Sparks has pleaded guilty to depriving White of his constitutional rights and Thornsbury has pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive White of his rights.

Six sentenced at former Massey Energy: Six people have been sentenced on federal charges in a billing scheme at Massey Energy.

The office of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says the six were sentenced Thursday in Charleston. One defendant, 43-year-old Donald Bryan Steele of Barboursville, received an 18-month prison term on wire fraud and aiding and abetting in connection with the fraud scheme.

— From the Associated Press

The Charleston Gazette reports that Steele is a former owner of M&S Hydraulics, a major Massey supplier. Virginia’s Massey Energy was purchased by another Virginia company, Alpha Natural Resources, in 2011.

Among those sentenced Thursday were also former Massey sourcing agents.

Steele acknowledged last year that he illegally provided cash and other items to former Massey sourcing agents.

 

 

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