W.Va. restaurateur pleads guilty in gambling case
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Logan County restaurant owner has pleaded guilty to laundering cash proceeds from an illegal gambling operation.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says 51-year-old Gregory A. Dotson of Chapmanville entered the plea Thursday. Dotson faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 11.
Dotson owns Giovani's of Logan in West Logan. Prosecutors say he also operated an illegal poker machine parlor in the back of a tobacco store in South Williamson, Ky.
Dotson paid out gambling winnings to patrons, even though poker machine payouts are illegal in Kentucky, and mixed proceeds from the gambling operation and the restaurant. He also took nearly $12,000 from the gambling operation to Bristol, Tenn., to buy a sports car.
IRS agents raided the gambling parlor and seized 80 machines.
CHEMICAL SPILL-DIVERSIFIED SERVICES
W.Va. probing chem release at Diversified Services
ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia regulators are investigating a suspected chemical release at a company that cleaned up and hauled a coal-cleaning agent from the site of a January spill that contaminated the tap water of 300,000 residents.
The state Department of Environmental Protection says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency informed the DEP on Friday about a sheen in a drainage system near Diversified Services LLC in St. Albans. The DEP says the drainage system empties into a tributary of the Kanawha River.
The DEP says inspectors are taking samples to determine the material's composition. It isn't known how much material got into the drainage system. The DEP says there are no public water intakes immediately downstream from the site.
Court documents show Diversified Services received nearly $433,000 from Freedom Industries in January.
W.Va. Senate passes $1.50 minimum wage increase
CHARLETON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill to raise the minimum wage by $1.50 over three years.
Under the bill passed Friday, the wage would increase from $7.25 to $7.50 an hour in January 2015, to $8 in January 2016, and to $8.75 in January 2017. Originally the House approved a wage increase of 75 cents each year for two years.
The Senate Finance Committee extended the phase-in for the increase Wednesday. At that time, Sen. John Unger expressed concern that minimum wage workers will lose out on $1,040 in potential earnings in 2015 and an additional $520 in 2016.
The House must now agree to the Senate changes before the bill goes to the governor.
W.Va. House moves bill to protect teacher planning
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The House of Delegates has passed a bill aimed at protecting teacher planning periods in West Virginia.
The bill allows teachers to decide how to use their allotted planning time and prevents administrators from forcing them to attend meetings or perform other duties, including parent-teacher conferences.
Del. Paul Espinosa expressed concern that meeting planning period requirements for teachers would cost money county boards can't afford. He said he wonders if the bill is simply an unfunded mandate.
Del. Mary Polling said the bill does make schools comply with current law, but that good teacher planning is worth a very small percentage of county budgets.
Changes made to the bill must be approved by the Senate before it is passed to the governor.
W.Va. highway employee charged with lying to FBI
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - A state Division of Highways administrator has been charged with lying to a federal agent.
U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld says a federal grand jury indicted 38-year-old Edward Matthew Tuttle of Buckhannon this week. Court records show Tuttle will be arraigned Tuesday in Elkins.
Tuttle is accused of lying to an FBI agent during an investigation into the DOH equipment division. The indictment says he falsely denied that he and a co-worker transported a dump truck on state time and at state expense after it had been sold at a DOH auction.
Another employee, 48-year-old Barry Thompson of Mount Clare, was indicted on the same charge last month.
Court records do not list an attorney for Tuttle, and a phone call to his office in Upshur County rang unanswered.
W.Va. Senate OKs drilling waste in landfills
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A bill allowing drill cuttings from horizontal wells to be discarded in commercial solid waste facilities has passed unanimously in the West Virginia Senate.
The bill passed on Friday states these drillings must be contained in separate, lined cells. Drilling companies will be charged $1 per ton to fund Department of Environmental Protection studies on the viability of using existing landfills for cuttings. The bill also sets aside $75,000 for a scientific study on the leeching of these cells.
Sen. Herb Snyder said it's important to pass the bill to regulate how drillings are handled because there are currently few regulations.
The bill does not force landfills to accept these drillings.
Changes made to the bill must be approved by the House.
'Country Roads' gets W.Va. recognition
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is now an official state song in West Virginia.
Forty-three years after it first hit the airwaves with the words "Almost Heaven, West Virginia," the Legislature approved a resolution Friday designating it as one of four state songs.
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" has resonated with residents for decades. It's played after every West Virginia University basketball and football game. Denver sang it in person at the dedication of Mountaineer Field in Morgantown in 1980.
The state song effort was started two years ago by the widow of "Gilligan's Island" actor Bob Denver, who is no relation. Dreama Denver is a Bluefield native. She says she got the idea after playing the song on her morning radio show in Princeton.
DEATH INVESTIGATION-MISSING GIRL
Police get warrant for missing Md. girl's dad
DUNDALK, Md. (AP) - Baltimore County Police have a warrant charging the father of a missing girl in the death of the girl's mother.
Police announced Friday that they have obtained a warrant charging Timothy Virts, the girl's father, with first-degree murder after discovering 36-year-old Bobbie Jo Cortez's body at her Dundalk home a day earlier. Their daughter, 11-year-old Caitlyn Virts, was missing along with her father.
Police said Cortez had multiple cuts to her upper body. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.
Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost says Caitlyn's twin sister and Cortez's young son, as well as two adults, were living at the home. She says Timothy Virts had also been staying there for the past several weeks.
Armacost said at a news conference Friday that the FBI is assisting local police.
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