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Former labor organization officer in Beckley hit with sentence for embezzlement

BECKLEY, W.Va. — A Mount Hope man must spend five years on federal probation and pay back nearly $3,000 for stealing money from a labor organization.

On Friday, Jason Todd Weaver, 50, received his sentence which includes paying $2,896.78 in restitution for embezzlement of funds.

Weaver worked as the secretary/treasurer of the American Postal Workers Union Local 1509 in Beckley. Court documents show that on October 29, 2021, Weaver wrote out a check to himself for $352.62 from Local 1509’s bank account. Weaver signed his name as an authorized account signatory and forged the name of another union officer who was also an authorized account signatory. He then deposited the check into his personal bank account.

Weaver further admitted to embezzling $12,396.78 in union funds. He issued 17 union checks in total to himself and misused the union’s credit card 59 times between at least April 25, 2016, through November 13, 2021. Weaver has repaid $9,500 of the over $12,000 before pleading guilty to embezzlement.

U.S. Attorney Will Thompson announced the sentence Friday. U.S. District Judge Frank W. Volk imposed the sentence.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Kanawha County has roads closed heading into weekend

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice has added 14 counties to his original state of emergency issued after tornadoes and flooding hit the state last week.

The counties added Friday are connected to Thursday night flooding.

The new counties include Boone, Braxton, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Jackson, Logan, Mingo, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wayne and Wirt.

There are now 26 of the state’s 55 counties under the state of emergency since the weather first started to hit on April 2.

A state of emergency generally clears red tape and allows for a smoother response to emergencies.

Meanwhile, the state Division of Highways says it will continue to assess and clean-up damage on its roadways across the state following the heavy rainfall that hit many counties Thursday night into Friday morning.

The DOH said that as of mid-afternoon Friday there remained 58 roads closed. Most of the closures were in Kanawha, Cabell, Jackson, Clay, Mason, Lincoln, Pleasants, Wood, Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Morgan, Brooke, Marshall, Ohio, Tyler, and Wetzel counties.

DOH Chief Engineer of Operations Joe Pack said the rain came down hard and fast mostly north of Interstate 64.

“Such large amounts of rainfall are bound to cause flooding,” Pack said in a DOH news release. “In West Virginia, it’s not the volume of the water but the velocity that causes damage to roads.”

Pack said DOH workers cleared a drain by hand on I-64 near the state capitol Thursday night to allow standing water to drain. He said work Friday focused on removing downed trees, rocks and mud from the state’s highways. Many roads are still flooded. DOH crews will have to wait until the water goes down before their work can begin, Pack said.

Pack said there would have been more significant damage had not the agency stepped up its core maintenance efforts over the last few years.

“Water is our enemy,” Pack said. “Anything we can do to keep water away from our roadways is going to extend the life of our pavement.”

Roads in the area still closed as of Friday afternoon included:

Kanawha, Shale Road, culvert washed out.
Kanawha, Kanawha Two Mile Creek, culvert washed out.
Kanawha, WV 622, milepost 9.30, high water.
Kanawha, Holmes Branch Road, culvert washed out.
Kanawha, Sissonville Drive at Haines Branch, high water.
Kanawha, WV 214 at Willow Drive, tree and power lines in the road.
Kanawha, Frame Road, milepost 4.5, tree in road.
Clay, WV 16 at Hartland Bridge, high water.
Mason, Salt Creek Road, high water.
Cabell, Two Mile Creek at East Mud River Road, high water.
Cabell, Goose Creek Road, high water.
Cabell, Dry Creek Road, milepost 4.796, high water.
Cabell, West Mud River Road, milepost 0.01 to 0.40, high water.
Lincoln, Coal River Road, milepost 7, culvert washed out.
Jackson, Trace Fork Road, high water.
Jacskon, Middle Fork Road, milepost 7.05, high water.
Jackson, Homer Smith Road, high water.
Jackston, Lower Parchment Valley, high water.
Jackson, Liverpool Road, high water.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Heavy rain leaves behind its mark in Charleston and across Kanawha County

Flooding was reported on Seventh Avenue in North Charleston on Thursday. (Brandon Carden/Chime In via WCHS-TV)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  A good portion of West Virginia saw heavy rainfall Thursday afternoon and it extended into the overnight hours. At the National Weather Service in Charleston, Meteorologist Nick Webb said most of the state had one to three inches of rain.

“It wort of bisected the state and affected areas of the coalfields, up into the Kanawha Valley, and then up to the Little Kanawha basin,” said Webb in an appearance o n MetroNews Talkline Friday.

The deluge was more than a lot of drainage systems could handle.  There was  widespread flash flooding. Even Interstate 64 had to be briefly closed when several feet of water were standing on the highway in the Charleston area. Low lying areas in many parts of the state were impacted.

Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin said it was all of the usual spots in her city, but none of them was spared.

“Sugar Creek, Wertz, Woodward, South Ruffner, Chesterfield, if you’re by a creek you have flooding,” the Mayor said on 580-WCHS Radio after a long night.

Across Kanawha County there were plenty of issues with high water as well. County Commissioner Kent Carper said the bigger problem was trees washing into the roadways. Numerous roads were closed, but are slowly reopening as the county fire department helped clear them away along with Division of Highways crews.

The National Weather Service has extended the flood warning for the Coal River in Kanawha County until 8 p.m. Friday. Minor flooding is in the forecast.

Appalachian Power reported 6,000 of its customers in Kanawha County without power at 11 a.m. Friday in connection with last night’s rain—-and poles that have come down.

Outages impacting more than 500 customers is also impacting Boone, Fayette and Lincoln counties.

Power restoration efforts could be impacted by windy conditions that are in the forecast.

The National Weather Service has a wind advisory in effect until 7 a.m. Saturday with west winds 10-20 mph with gusts to 40-45 mph possible.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Charleston committee approves new PODA section for East End

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The City of Charleston’s Committee on Ordinance and Rules approved a bill Thursday to create an East End Private Outdoor Designated Area.

A Private Outdoor Designated Area, or PODA, allows for people to buy and consume liquor, wine, beer, and craft beer from a special permit holder in a designated area drawn out by the city. City Council passed the original PODA ordinance back in October.

According to City Attorney Kevin Baker, Bill 8031 includes a few changes to the city’s PODA ordinance to be in line with state code.

“It adds language saying that you can simultaneously host multiple qualified licenses and permit holders within the same area,” Baker said.

The East End PODA would run along Washington Street to include Tricky Fish to Time After Time and up Elizabeth Street to include The Red Carpet Lounge and The Empty Glass. Those are the only establishments at the moment that would be included in the East End PODA. The PODA also includes the East End Dog Park.

“The East End PODA is defined essentially the same as the others as far as hours of operation and how it will operate,” said Baker.

Downtown Charleston is only area of the city that currently has an active PODA. There are plans for the West Side and South Hills along with the East End to be included in code to have PODAs. There’s also discussion to include the Capital Market.

Businesses wanting to apply to be a “PODA business” would need to apply and get approval from the city and from the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration. The city supplies special cups to the businesses and then people can purchase a cup to be able to drink alcoholic beverages in the PODA.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Kanawha County emergency officials answering numerous calls relating to flash flooding

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Emergency officials in Kanawha County said they received numerous calls Thursday night during the flash flooding.

A Flash Flood warning is in effect until 11:30 p.m. Thursday for parts of Kanawha and many surrounding counties. Some areas of the state including Parkersburg, Chapmanville and Logan had flash flood warnings in effect until at least 12 a.m. Multiple severe weather warnings were also issued for much of the state.

Flash flood warnings issued Thursday (NWS)

The flash flood warnings stretched for 195 miles from the southern coalfields to the northern panhandle.

Kanawha County Emergency Management Director C.W. Sigman said they were coordinating their response to the dozens of calls they were getting.

“Most of it is people driving into high water and people stranded in their homes,” Sigman said.

Sigman said there were a handful of water rescues that had to be made throughout Kanawha County with people getting stuck in their car or having water enter their home.

“We had a lot of water rescue calls, but some people were not actually rescued, they were able to self-rescue or walk out of their house to higher ground,” he said.

The National Weather Service said as much as two inches of rain had fallen in some areas as of Thursday night. Sigman said a lot of their calls came from west of Charleston. Calls cam in from the Smith Creek and Davis Creek areas.

“We were not getting many calls from the eastern part of the county,” said Sigman.

According to Sigman, the Marmet area was also hit hard with heavy rain and flooding.

The heaviest of the rain came through the state Thursday afternoon and evening before there was a break during the night. There’s more rain in the forecast for Friday. Sigman expects springs to recede overnight too.

“A lot of rain came in, but no tornados thank goodness,” Sigman said Thursday night.

The heavy rain and flooding comes a week after the record number of tornados that hit the state and much of the Kanawha County area.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Flash flood warning for Kanawha County until 11:30 p.m.

Flash flood warnings stretched through the center of the state Thursday evening. (NWS)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Weather Service had at least 10 counties under flash flood warnings at 6 p.m. Thursday with heavy rain continuing to move in from the south.

There were a number of severe thunderstorm warnings that were filled with lots of thunder and lightning and heavy rain.

High water was reported on a section of the interstate near the state capitol in Charleston. There were flooding warnings also issued for central West Virginia counties and the state’s northern panhandle.

The National Weather Service previously placed 39 West Virginia counties under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. Thursday but meteorologists said the heavy rain cut down on the wind threat.

The counties under the tornado watch include: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Monongalia, Nicholas, Ohio, Pleasants, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt and Wood counties.

West Virginia set a one day tornado record in the April 2 storm event.

The National Weather has confirmed 10 tornadoes from that day.

There has been little severe weather in the state as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday. There was a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Mingo and Logan counties for until 4:15 p.m.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Kanawha County man sentenced for September 2023 attack of a woman that involved 2 dogs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County man will spend six months to two years in a youth correctional facility after he was sentenced Thursday for attacking a woman and involving two pit bulls during an argument last September.

Zachary Atkinson, 21, of Cabin Creek was sentenced by Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster after his guilty plea in February to unlawful wounding for the incident which occurred on Sept. 2, 2023 in Cabin Creek.

Due to the lesser charge and Atkinson being only 21, Webster said she wrestled with sentencing Atkinsons to the 1-5 max or the youth facility known as the Anthony Correctional Center in Greenbrier County. Atkinson was originally charged with malicious wounding which would have made an up to 15 year prison sentence.

Atkinson was hugged by supporters in
the courtroom Thursday. (Photo/MetroNews)

Webster said she made the decision to sentence Atkinson to the Anthony Center . She said she believes it would be the most effective for him to serve out his time, as well as give him the ability to garner some skills and acquire his GED.

“I feel to make any positive change in this case for you, would be to place you within a structured environment,” Webster said.

The day of the attack, Atkinson approached a 24-year-old woman while she was attempting to walk home from a friends’ house at the Hide-A-Way Trailer Park.

The woman claimed Atkinson beat her and ordered the two dogs to attack her while he was holding her down on the ground. Atkinson had previously claimed that the dogs did not attack her on his command.

The woman and Atkinson had been friends up until the attack. He was very remorseful in court Thursday.

“Me and her have always been friends from day one, and I never meant for it to go as far as it did,” Atkinson said in tears.

The victim was not present at Thursdays’ sentencing, but she wrote an impact statement which Kanawha County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Monika Jaensson read.

In the statement, the woman wrote that her life has been changed forever since the attack and that it has affected her entire family.

“I can’t go to my mother’s house without the whole thing just playing over and over again in my head,” Jaensson read. “Every day my scars will sting and itch and burn just like they did the day of the attack.”

“At one point, I couldn’t even leave my house because I had people making threats to my mother and writing things on the street out in front of our house, calling me a snitch and other things,” she continued.

The woman said she remembers lying on the ground yelling for help as Atkinson held her down. She said she saw neighbors watching the situation unfold but doing nothing to help as the dogs continued to gnaw at her thigh, neck, and side.

The victim said she knew Atkinson her entire life and that the situation has made it hard for her to trust anyone anymore.

“The world is not safe, people will be your best friend and then the next day, try to end your life,” she wrote.

If it wasn’t for one neighbor who finally came out to stop the attack, she wouldn’t have made it, the victim said.

For weeks after, the woman said she didn’t leave her house over threats that were made to her and her mother after she pressed charges on Atkinson.

Webster said the whole confrontation was over an allegation that the woman had taken $140 in marijuana from Atkinson.

After previously viewing frames of footage of the attack, Webster said in her observation, this was not a two-sided fight.

She said after hearing the victim’s testimony, it confirmed something for her that she had been trying to process, and that was, where was the community during the attack?

“Now I’ll admit and when I looked at it, I did not see fifty people standing around, but I wondered, how did she lay there, why was there a delay, why did somebody not respond,” Webster inquired.

Atkinson’s girlfriend and his father, Kenneth Atkinson also got up and testified in court Thursday. They said they need Zachary to come home, because he took care of the family.

Kenneth Atkinson feels Zachary should have gotten probation and that he could have gotten his GED at home. He said his son is very remorseful and regretful for what he’s done.

“He takes full responsibility for what he did and what happened, he does, and he told us that over the phone,” Kenneth said. “I’m just sad for his daughter, because that’s at least another six months.”

Kenneth said he also had two jobs at two different chemical plants lined up for Zachary when he got out of jail.

Atkinson has already served nearly a year in South Central Regional Jail for the incident.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Kanawha, most counties under tornado watch until 9 p.m. Thursday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. The National Weather Service has placed 39 West Virginia counties under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. Thursday.

The tornado watch is in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday. (NWS)

The counties include: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Monongalia, Nicholas, Ohio, Pleasants, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt and Wood counties.

West Virginia set a one day tornado record in the April 2 storm event.

The National Weather has confirmed 10 tornadoes from that day.

There has been little severe weather in the state as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday. There was a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Mingo and Logan counties for until 4:15 p.m.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Dempsey says Hunt investigation over

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An internal investigation into former Charleston Chief of Police Tyke Hunt has concluded. As a result, Hunt has been suspended and reduced in rank.

Scott Dempsey

“The investigation concluded April 2nd of this year. We can’t release specifics about the findings, but I can relay Hunt is currently on a suspension status and his rank is corporal,” Charleston Police Chief Scott Dempsey told MetroNews Thursday.

Hunt was a lieutenant when he stepped down from his position as chief last August and went on medical leave. His medical leave came soon after allegations came to light of inappropriate behavior involving a female officer. Dempsey would not confirm the nature of the investigation. Former Charleston police officer Chelsea McCoy filed a formal complaint against Hunt which was referred to the city police Professional Standards Division.

At the time WCHS Television reported McCoy alleged Hunt tampered with her polygraph results during her departmental application process and had improper interactions with her in the polygraph examination room and the former chief’s city hall office.

Tyke Hunt

Hunt stepped down from his position as chief, but continued on the force under his previous rank while on leave. According to Dempsey his status is now suspended without pay.

“Right now he is currently on suspension status and he was on medical leave. I would imagine once the suspension is over, he will continue to be on medical leave,” Dempsey said. “Suspension is without pay and any other leave is paid.”

Dempsey would not reveal the length of the suspension and said it was unclear when Hunt might return to work. Dempsey added they were glad to have the matter behind them.

“Obviously it’s caused a lot of nervousness and emotions within our department and I think in these situations we try to keep everybody focused on the positive things and focused on our jobs. I think all of our employees are ready to move forward,” Dempsey said.

He added there would be no changes in policy regarding the allegations in the case. Dempsey said there were clear policies in place to govern the alleged behavior, and those policies were enforced as written.

“We have a pretty robust policy and they were pretty clear,” he said.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Charleston Dirty Birds give back through new ‘Dirty Birds in Training’ program.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston Dirty Birds announced that they have committed a total of $75,000 to local youth sports programs over the past few months.

Since February, the Dirty Birds have partnered with 12 local little leagues and made donations to them as a part of their new ‘Dirty Birds in Training’ program.

“It is a tremendous source of pride for us being the professional baseball team in West Virginia,” said Andy Shea, Dirty Birds Owner and CEO. “We created this program to reach and support as many youth baseball and softball players as possible, and we hope to continue growing every year.”

Each of the leagues in the program this year will be able to “take over the ballpark” with a ticketing fundraiser event on a select weekend of a Dirty Bird home game. Little leaguers will get the chance to play catch and interact with Dirty Birds players before the game and be a part of a little league pre-game parade. As a part of the partnership too, the Dirty Birds logo is printed on each league’s jersey.

“It’s my favorite thing every season seeing hundreds of kids at the Ballpark wearing their uniforms and enjoying a Dirty Birds game,” said Shea. “It’ll be even cooler this year seeing all the jerseys with a Dirty Birds logo!”

The ‘Dirty Birds in Training’ program is full this year, however leagues can still participate this season with other fundraisers and the Field of Dream programs.

For more information about partnering with the Dirty Birds, leagues can contact [email protected] or go to www.dirtybirdsbaseball.com.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV