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


FestivALL to kick-off tomorrow

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — FestivALL Charleston events kick off on Friday, June 9th with Live on the Levee, an Argentine Tango Performance & Class, and an Organ Recital at First Presbyterian Church.

Some other ongoing events throughout FestivALL include the Art-for-ALL Kids Juried Art Exhibition and the Charleston Light Opera Guild’s Production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Check out the full schedule of events below.

Friday, June 9th

• Live on the Levee
Location: Haddad Riverfront Park
Time: 6:30 pm
Cost: Free
Acts: John Inghram presents A Tribute to the Who with openers Of the Dell

• Argentine Tango Performance & Class
Location: Vino’s Bar & Grill
Time: 7 pm
Cost: Free
Note: The class will be focused on basic skills, understanding the line of dance,
connection, embrace and communication, walking together, navigation, and a
little musicality. No partner is needed.

• Organ Recital with Dr. Kristina Rizzotto
Location: First Presbyterian Church
Cost: Free – donations will be accepted to benefit Fairness WV, Bream Food
Pantry and Dreamer’s Food Pantry
Time: 7 pm

• Charleston Light Opera Guild’s “Little Shop of Horrors”
Location: Charleston Light Opera Guild Theater
Time: 7:30 pm
Tickets: Online at charlestonlightoperaguild.org or at the CLOG Box Office


• Art-for-ALL Kids Juried Art Exhibition
Location: Clay Center

• Porch Parade
Location: Charleston East End – Quarrier Street

• Downtown Open
Location: Downtown Charleston

• “Show Your Pride: Window Display Contest
Location: Throughout Charleston

• ArtBus Voting
Location: Online at festivallcharleston.com

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

Sgt. Maynard an inspiration to become a donor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An organ donation group is admiring the efforts of the recently fallen state trooper, Sgt. Cory Maynard, who gave his tissues after his death.

Sgt. Cory Maynard and family

Within 24 hours after Maynard was shot and killed in the line of duty nearly a week ago today, his body was taken to a tissue donation facility. The Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) West Virginia Outreach Coordinator, Cheryl King said Maynard lives on through such a bequest.

“That is what brings such comfort to families and it gives them hope, and all people who are donors are heroes,” King said on MetroNews Talkline Thursday.

She said Maynard’s donation was one of the more rare contributions, as tissue donation is less known than organ donation.

“It’s easier to understand what a heart transplant is, or a lung transplant or a kidney transplant,” said King.

She said tissue donation is just as impactful though, having the ability to improve the lives of up to 75 people.

Tissues which can be transplantable include bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, heart valves, skin, veins, cornea and nerves.

“All of those can help patients in various situations some life-threatening, as in the case of heart valves,” King said.

Cheryl King

King said tissue transplants mainly improve the quality of someone’s life, helping them to walk or stand up straight, as they replace worn out tissue that was prohibiting them from working properly.

However, organ donation typically deals with live-saving matters. King knows of at least two stories where the gift of life was passed along through organ transplants.

One is the story of Jasmine “Nicole” Moore of Ripley who was 26 and engaged to be married when she was killed in a car wreck. Her mother, Lisa Johnson didn’t find out until after the accident that Nicole had become a donor, saying that she’s a hero and lives on through those in need.

Another story is of Sam Romano of Clarksburg. Appearing to be a healthy 18-year-old boy preparing for college and deciding on football and baseball scholarships, doctors soon discovered Romano had a heart abnormality that required a transplant. He received the donation three years ago, and his mother, Beth said “he isn’t going to waste that precious gift.”

King said often a person’s decision to become a donor also comes as a gift to their family members.

“Families always are glad when the family member has made the decision themselves, because then they don’t have to make it, but it always brings them and sense of comfort in knowing that their loved one lives on,” she said.

King said organ and tissue donation are both greatly in need, with about 500 people in need of organ donation in West Virginia alone.

People can sign up to become a donor when they go to get their hunting and fishing license, or from Donate Life West Virginia.

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

Kanawha judge sentences teen for fatally shooting Capital High student

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County teen is going to jail for 11 years in connection with the 2021 shooting death of a Capital High School freshman.

Chrishaun Coller, 16, was sentenced to the maximum time Thursday in Kanawha County Circuit Court on charges of involuntary manslaughter and wanton endangerment. Da’nija Miller, of Charleston, was shot and killed in Aug. 2021.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers said although Coller is a teenager who made a bad decision, he should pay the price for committing “adult crimes.”

“If you’re going to behave as an adult, then you have to face adult consequences,” Akers said.

Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Eric Cantrell said Coller was messing around with a gun in the woods near Miller and then a second time in her bedroom. Cantrell said that second shot on Aug. 15, 2021 ultimately killed Miller.

Da’nija Miller’s mother Sierra Miller addressed the court. Carrie Hodousek/MetroNews

“They were absolutely senseless acts of violence that resulted in the ultimate consequence for Da’nija and her family, ” Cantrell told the judge.

Da’nija’s mother Sierra Miller fought back tears as she addressed Coller in court. She asked him why he fired a gun twice around her daughter.

“I just want to know, if you didn’t have a problem with my child and it was an accident, why did you attempt to do something to her a week before?” she asked. “I just ask today that he get the maximum sentence because I know that this was not an accident. You intentionally killed my child.”

Coller apologized to the family and said he never meant to put Miller’s life at risk.

“All this was a mistake. I’m very sorry,” he said. “I never meant for anything to happen like this.”

While locked up, Coller said he still thinks about the day Miller died.

“I pray for their family every night and for my forgiveness. I made a lot of mistakes in the past and I’m willing to take the consequences,” Coller said.

Akers told Coller he has his whole life ahead of him, but Miller does not.

“Doors are permanently closed for Da’nija Miller. She’s done. She doesn’t have an opportunity to better her education. She doesn’t have an opportunity to be there for her family. She doesn’t have an opportunity to have children. Her mom doesn’t have an opportunity to have grandchildren,” the judge said.

Akers also addressed the issue of young people using firearms.

“If you can’t feel the power of a firearm somewhere when you shoot it the first time and you realize it doesn’t click in your head what would happen if you pointed that at somebody or you were careless with it and it fired and killed someone, obviously you shouldn’t have one,” she said.

The judge will reconsider Coller’s case when he turns 18 on July 29, 2024.

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

Intermediate court sends back case over mall’s parking garage payments

West Virginia’s intermediate court has concluded the current owners of Charleston Town Center shouldn’t be held to a contractual agreement for the parking garages that was worked out under a prior authority.

The Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled that the circuit court erred and sent the case back for further proceedings. The intermediate court judges said the earlier ruling was based on a contractual relationship that no longer exists.

The intermediate court heard oral arguments in April.

The mall’s owner, Charles WV Mall, LLC, claimed Kanawha County Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit erred when she ordered the company to remit payments to the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, which owns the property where the garages sit.

The attorney for Charles WV Mall contended it shouldn’t be forced to pay based on a contractual agreement from before ownership changed in May 2021.

“Additional litigation is required to determine the rights of the parties under the new contractual dynamic,” wrote the judges on the intermediate court.

“Such litigation will afford the parties an opportunity to establish the breadth and scope of their new contractual relationship, as well as provide each party due process and the opportunity to advocate their respective positions under the new contract provisions.”

Parking charges between the mall and the garage owners have been a source of conflict for years. The original agreements started in 1982.

The Town Center Mall went into receivership in January 2019. The bank in charge of the receivership was part of a joint motion to continue paying the tenant parking fees.

A lawyer for the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority told the intermediate court that the prior agreements should stand.

The ruling from the intermediate court acknowledged that the same principles might very well wind up applying but that the matter needs further exploration by the two sides.

“It is important to note that the Circuit Court may conclude, after litigation of the new contractual relationship, that the duties of the parties with respect to the parking garage tenant charges have not changed,” concluded judges on the intermediate court.

“However, under the limited facts and circumstances of this case, it would be improper for Petitioner to be bound by a prior court order interpreting a contractual framework that may no longer exist.”

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

Workforce study shows the need for medical staff in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A recent workforce study is showing the state’s largest segment of healthcare has come face-to-face with multiple converging factors that’s heightening its staffing shortages.

New data shows more than 49,000 caregivers are employed by West Virginia hospitals and the West Virginia Hospital Association recently launched the 2023 Healthcare Workforce Report, which not only presents the challenges of the hospital workforce shortages but the opportunities to potentially resolve it.

WVHA President Jim Kaufman came on MetroNews Talkline Wednesday to first discuss the key findings behind the study that have exacerbated these staffing shortages.

Kaufman said the study found that declining college enrollment, increased burnout, an aging workforce with less people entering healthcare fields overall, and the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic have all contributed to the problem.

However, another major part of the problem Kaufman said is the significantly less pay West Virginia healthcare workers make as opposed to healthcare workers in other states.

“One of the biggest challenges we also have is keeping those healthcare workers here in West Virginia, because we know we pay less than the national average,” said Kaufman. “When I was looking at some numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for some of these key positions in this report were anywhere from 10 to 20% below the national average.”

According to the study, West Virginia hospitals spend an estimated $97 million to help cover the cost of vacancies, including recruiting and retaining medical staff. It also helps to cover funding for the increasing travel costs of traveling nurses, who have recently been widely used to help alleviate these vacancies.

“The hospitals are in this sort of catch 22 of how do you make sure that you have the staff that you need to take care of the patients when you know there are vacancy rates, and I know travelers are receiving a lot of attention, and it’s almost a catch 22, because if you don’t use travelers, you burn out your staff faster, but then to recruit and get those travelers from across the country, you have to pay more,” said Kaufman.

The increased demand for travel nurses comes as a direct result of the need for local nurses, including RNs and LPNs, who have the single highest turnover rate at 42.9%.

“That’s a huge burden that we’re looking at and how do we try to get that down, and there are a lot of opportunities that we can try to shift back to more house staff versus travelers,” he said.

However, Kaufman said these vacancies are not just limited to nurses, but diagnostic imagery and medical laboratory professionals who run X-rays, CT scanners, MRI machines and aid in the delivery of medications when radiation is needed, among the need for other hospital workers.

“What’s important to note is that there are a lot of positions critical to the hospital not included in this report, like environmental services, nutrition services, 24 hours a day 7 days a week so we can keep the facilities clean and operational, and we need to feed not just our staff but our patients,” he said.

Respiratory therapy was yet another major vacancy listed in the report, however, and one which saw a vastly increased demand during Covid, as workers were needed to be able to operate ventilators.

Kaufman said, according to the study, these vacancies and turnover rates in hospitals can not only lead to a negative impact on healthcare spending, but the quality of care and patient safety and satisfaction.

However, he said solutions to address these problems are being taken into account, an effort that is extending beyond the healthcare realm and into the hands of colleges, lawmakers and other parts of the community.

“That’s why the hospitals are looking across the board, how do we work with the community, higher ed, K to 12, policymakers, to address these vacancy rates and improve access to care for all of West Virginia,” said Kaufman.

Kaufman said recent efforts from West Virginia lawmakers to add healthcare workforce initiatives into policy making decisions has helped alleviate some of the strain.

Governor Jim Justice and his administration’s efforts is just one example of such outreach, as they recently launched the second round of investments to the Nursing Workforce Expansion Initiative. An initiative that was originally launched in 2021 with an initial investment of $48 million towards the recruitment and retention of nursing staff, and another $20 million has gone to the effort since then.

West Virginia hospitals are licensed for a total of 6,441 acute care beds but currently can only staff approximately 4,800 beds, the study finds, and while it’s also finding that the shortages are not showing any signs of decreasing overtime, continued strategic investments and recalibration can help alleviate the problem.

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

Kanawha school board members tour new Herbert Hoover High School ahead of 2016 flood anniversary

ELKVIEW, W.Va. — As the Elkview community prepares to mark the seven-year anniversary of the June 2016 flood this month, the destroyed Herbert Hoover High School is getting ready to open a new school building.

Members of the Kanawha County Board of Education joined Herbert Hoover Principal Mike Kelley and contractors for a tour of the new school Wednesday morning. The building is located less than a half mile off the I-79 Elkview exit.

Kelley said the new location is part of the reason why there’s been a lot of interest from students outside the county.

“We are having a lot of students asking to transfer in from out of area. I think part of that is because we have a good reputation, part of it is because we have a new building, part of it is the convenience to get here and back,” Kelley said.

The old school building was located further north toward Clendenin off U.S. Route 119. High water on June 23, 2016 destroyed the building. Band uniforms, instruments, athletic equipment, the gymnasium floor and more were all ruined.

While school officials were deciding how to rebuild, many students and staff were also dealing with a loss of their own. Thousands of homes were impacted and 23 lives were lost statewide.

Students and staff have been in portable classrooms since the flood. On Aug. 18, they’ll be in a real school building for the first time in seven years.

“It was a very, very difficult and traumatic time for our community, but we’ve stuck together, and we’ve moved forward. We’re about to open what I believe is going to be the nicest school building in the state,” Kelley said.

Kanawha County School Superintendent Tom Williams said while the loss of human life and the pain of trekking through muddy homes won’t easily go away, he hopes the new school building will serve as a reminder of how far they’ve come.

“I don’t know that they’ll ever be closure on what the folks up here went through. I don’t think you ever forget losing family, friends and your home, but I hope this helps makes things better for them,” Williams said.

Ground was broken on the $103 million project in Jan. 2020. There were minor delays with the shipment of steel and other supplies. Kanawha County BOE President Tracy White said she was impressed with the progress since then.

“To see classrooms that have furniture in it and bathrooms that have walls and toilets, it’s great to see things moving in,” she said.

The facility includes a number of upgrades including sound panels in every hallway to reduce noise, updated science lab stations, televisions that will be installed for sporting events in common areas, a weight room, wrestling room, auditorium, gymnasium, locker rooms, restrooms, sound proof practice rooms located inside the band room and more.

White said it was overwhelming to take it all in.

“The athletic department is amazing. To see the huge weight room, the CTE area, the art, the pottery. There’s just so many opportunities for our students,” she said.

Clendenin Mayor Kay Summers was also on Wednesday’s tour and she said liked new security features including a windows that open up in each classroom.

“I think that’s fantastic. It gives me chills,” she said. “I’m really proud of that.”

Over the summer months, teachers will be moving their classroom supplies out of the portables and into the new school building, Williams said.

“They’re moving classroom boxes into the classrooms now, teacher supplies and stuff they had in the portables. It’s just a real exciting time to finally see everything coming together,” he said.

Meanwhile, progress is still being made on the new Clendenin Elementary School nearby. The project was delayed more than Hoover’s due to soil issues. School board members also toured that new school last month. The goal is to open for the 2024-2025 school year.

The first day of school in Kanawha County is Aug. 18.

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

No injuries in St. Albans fire

ST. ALBANS, W.Va. — Firefighters from St. Albans and Nitro were able to contain flame damage to the bottom floor of a townhome in a Wednesday morning fire in St. Albans.

Firefighters were able to keep flame damage to the bottom floor. (Photo/Nitro Fire Department)

The early morning blaze occurred at a residence in Kanawha Court.

Fire crews were able to keep the flames from spreading to the upstairs of the residence. The upstairs and a neighboring townhome did sustain smoke damage.

No one was at home at the time of the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the St. Albans fire marshal.

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

Three races voted on in Barboursville

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — Barboursville residents decided on three different races at the polls Tuesday, including mayor.

Unofficial results said incumbent Mayor Chris Tatum was reelected. He defeated challenger Tom Turman by a vote of 445-290.

Rachel Patton defeated Michelle Harris 353-293 in the race for village recorder.

Winners in the village council race were these top five vote-getters: Paula Seay (457), Patrick Wagoner (457), Necia Freeman (413), Donnie Plybon (396), and Rick Keaton (355).

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

Nitro discusses plans to fix flooding in Brookhaven subdivision.

NITRO, W.Va. — Mayor Dave Casebolt and Nitro City Council members spent most of their meeting time Tuesday evening discussing continued flooding issues in areas of the city, specifically on Brookhaven Drive, and possible solutions for it.

The city has looked into installing a stormwater retention system within the Brookhaven subdivision.

Funding from the federal infrastructure initiative was applied for by the city and was approved for a second round of earmarks. That second round of earmarks won’t be heard until the fall.

Council member Andy Shamblin, who wrote a letter seeking support for the project, said the project would cost an estimated $535,000. Of that cost, the council said federal funding would cover 80% of the $535,000.

If approved to receive the money, Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt expects the project to last around 2 months.

New River Engineering has been tasked by the city to help with a potential project to address the flooding.

Brookhaven Drive has suffered through significant flooding issues for many years.

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

Two people killed in Wayne County crash

CRUM, W.Va. — Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies continue to investigate a crash that killed two people and injured two others.

Deputies confirm the crash happened Monday afternoon on U.S. 52, also known as Tolsia Highway near Crum in Wayne County.

They said a vehicle struck a husband and wife as they were pulling out of their driveway onto U.S. 52., killing them in the crash.

Deputies said the two other people involved were taken to the hospital.

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