Around the State

Drug busts common for slain Mingo County sheriff

WILLIAMSON — The late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum made it his mission to clean up the county’s pervasive drug problem.

He wanted residents to live without fear that illegal drugs were being sold in their neighborhoods. He wanted to cut off the flow of drugs that he said often were coming from prescriptions from out-of-state doctors.

Many say he was largely successful in achieving those goals in his short time in office.

His funeral was Sunday, four days after the 59-year-old sheriff was shot to death in a downtown Williamson parking lot where he ate his lunch each day.

Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney in Mingo County says there’s no substantial evidence at this time that Sheriff Eugene Crum’s murder was drug-related.

C. Michael Sparks issued a statement Saturday on the speculation between Crum’s drug enforcement efforts and his murder earlier this week.

In the statement, Sparks asked the public to refrain from “engaging in unfounded speculation and conjecture” regarding the motive for the murder.

 

CHARLESTON

‘Buckwild’ star remembered: Family and friends in West Virginia said goodbye to “Buckwild” reality TV star Shain Gandee.

Hundreds wearing camouflage filed past two closed coffins Sunday at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium. A private burial followed later for the 21-year-old from Sissonville and his uncle, David Gandee.

The Gandees and another man were found dead April 1 inside a vehicle partially submerged in a mud pit near Shain’s home near Sissonville.

Autopsies determined all three died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Police say the muffler was below the surface and that mud covered the passenger side.

A slideshow of family photos focused on Shain’s off-camera life, showing him as a uniformed pee wee football player, in a tuxedo for prom, graduating high school, kissing brides and holding babies.

 

LAYLAND

Memorial to honor victims of 1915 mine blast: The 112 workers killed in a 1915 explosion at a Fayette County coal mine will be honored with a memorial.

The Layland Miners Memorial Committee plans to build the memorial at the site where the Layland Mine once operated.

The committee members and state and local officials held a groundbreaking ceremony last Saturday.

Former state Sen. Shirley Love says the disaster changed the lives of many people.

The committee continues to raise funds to complete the project.

 

— Compiled by Robert Smith with

information from the Associated Press

 

CHARLESTON

Auditor scolded over Visa promotion: The West Virginia Ethics Commission has scolded state Auditor Glen Gainer for taking part in a Visa online campaign promoting the state’s purchasing card program.

The panel ruled in an advisory opinion that state officials can’t promote programs on a company’s website and that Gainer may have violated the Ethics Act by using his office for private gain.

Gainer and other state officials who appeared in the online videos last summer said they received no compensation. Visa removed the videos at Gainer’s request and he also sought the Ethics Commission’s opinion.

Visa’s marketing campaign, which began in October 2009, also has featured the governments of Pakistan and the Dominican Republic to show how purchasing card programs save taxpayer dollars.

Gainer’s office manages the program for state government, which has a $432 million purchasing card contract with Visa.

In a February letter, Gainer had said West Virginia benefited from his appearance in the online campaign, saying the state has repeatedly received praise for purchasing card best practices. He said highlighting that success and the saving of taxpayer dollars were public benefits.

Media outlets report that the commission said it would be OK for Gainer to promote the purchasing-card program on the state auditor’s website, so long as he doesn’t mention Visa by name.

Auditor’s office spokesman Justin Southern said Gainer would no longer take part in the promotion.

 

MARTINSBURG

Airport approves FBI documents’ temporary storage: A West Virginia airport has approved the FBI’s request to temporarily store flood-damaged documents at a National Guard base.

The National Guard Bureau also must approve storing the records at the West Virginia National Guard 167th Airlift Wing’s base at the Eastern Regional Airport in Martinsburg.

The Eastern Regional Airport Authority approved the plan last week.

Maj. John Poland with the 167th Airlift Wing says the documents were damaged by flooding in Washington, D.C. The documents currently are stored at a facility in Alexandria, Va.

Poland says 12 refrigerated cargo trailers filled with documents would be stored at the base for about a year.

He says the FBI wants to attempt to salvage some of the documents. The agency would dispose of the remaining documents.

 

MORGANTOWN

Grant to help students with patents: West Virginia University is getting grant to better help students turn ideas into industry.

The Morgantown school has received an $80,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Officials say the funding will support a student intellectual property patent services pilot project.

The project is a joint effort of WVU’s College of Law, College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design, and the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

It will support provisional patent applications of students enrolled in West Virginia colleges and universities.

Those involved in the project say that with a number of courses and competitions encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation the time was right to bolster WVU’s patent resources.

 

CHARLESTON

Singing cashier performs on awards show: A Wal-Mart cashier whose singing became an Internet sensation headed to last weekend’s Academy of Country Music awards show.

During an appearance with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in February, 21-year-old Kayla Slone received an invitation to Las Vegas from country music star Dierks Bentley.

She’s took her husband, coal miner David Slone, to Sunday night’s show at the MGM Grand. The show was co-hosted by Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan on CBS.

Slone’s popularity rocketed earlier this year after videos of her singing from the checkout lane at the Logan Wal-Mart were posted online.

The Matewan native performed at the Grand Ole Opry last month in Nashville, Tenn.

Slone says she hopes her singing leads to a lifelong career.

 

KINGWOOD

County still cleaning up Sandy debris: A cleanup effort is continuing in Preston County to remove downed trees and limbs left by Superstorm Sandy.

West Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Bly says the agency awarded contracts to Lincoln Leasing for four cleanup projects along major roads in the county.

Bly says that the company has cleaned up 31 of 34 sites in the Albright area. Woody debris also has been removed from three of 20 sites in the Fellowsville area.

Bly says the remaining work includes 19 sites in the Aurora area and 58 sites in the Terra Alta area.

The October storm left seven people dead and knocked out electricity to more than a quarter-million customers in the state.

 

 

— Compiled by Robert Smith with information from the Associated Press

ELKINS

Commission to open meetings with prayer: The Randolph County Commission is replacing a moment of silent meditation at the opening of its meetings with a non-sectarian prayer.

The decision is in response to requests from several residents to open the commission’s meeting with a prayer.

Commission president Chris See says the prayer will be read by a commissioner at the beginning of each meeting.

The Rev. Stephen Pyle asked the commission at its meeting last week why Jesus Christ’s name was omitted from the prayer.

Commissioner Mike Taylor said the commission wanted to keep the prayer generic and to not offend other religions.

 

— Compiled by Robert Smith with information from the Associated Press

 

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