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3 people in jail for December 2018 death of child

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. — Three people are now in jail in connection with the December 2018 death of a child.

The Fayetteville Police Department on Monday arrested 35-year-old Sherie Titchenell of Hilltop. Julie Browning, 36, and Marty Browning Jr., 34, both of Hilltop, turned themselves in on Tuesday to the Oak Hill Police Department.

According to police, the child lived at a home with three adults and three other children. One of the children told a counselor the girl had been grounded from drinking anything and the child was caught drinking from the toilet several times.

The child also said the victim was subject to being struck with a wooden spoon and metal object.

All three face of charges death of a child by parent, guardian or custodian and child neglect causing death.

Each person’s bond was set to $100,000.

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Governor, first lady join West Virginians in celebrating holidays

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dozens of West Virginians, including Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice, celebrated the holiday season on Tuesday with the annual Joyful Night celebration at the state Capitol.

The Justices flipped the switch to turn on this year’s state Christmas tree, which stands on the south side of state Capitol.

“It’s an amazing state, it’s amazing people, and it’s an incredible time of year,” the governor said. “A time to be so thankful in so many ways. A time to know the true meaning of the season. … Merry Christmas is the reason and the meaning of the season.”

Music from the marching bands of Cabell Midland High School and Greenbrier East High School as well as the Capital High School show choir, the Voices in Perfection, entertained the crowd. The students performed as light snow flurries fell, a shift from the rain showers observed in the Kanawha Valley earlier in the day.

“You think about these young people and these incredible voices and this incredible works of our marching bands and all fo the people that are here with us tonight. You just think about the good Lord giving us these flurries of snow versus the rain that we had just a little while ago,” the governor said.

After the music, the governor and first lady turned on the lights decorating this year’s tree. David and Rebecca Absher of Absher Christmas Tree Farm in Mount Hope donated two trees being used at the state Capitol.

“To grow this beautiful, beautiful specimen of trees is un-flat-believable,” Gov. Jim Justice added.

A tree inside the state Capitol honors military personnel and first responders.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, two West Virginia State Police troopers were honored with the Purple Heart; Cpl. Joshua Ware was injured while assisting with a call in July in Berkeley County, and Trooper First Class Joshua Tallman was shot while apprehending an armed suspect in Pocahontas County.

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Saint Albans withdraws annexation proposal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Saint Albans officials have withdrawn their annexation proposal regarding property associated with Sun Valley and Lakewood Drive.

The annexation proposal included all streets and adjacent properties on the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said there were serious concerns about the related petition and if it met state code.

“I have stated several times that “forced” annexations are not good public policy,” he added. “I understand the city intends to move forward under one of the other methods of annexation that allows for the public to have a greater say in the ultimate decision.”

A public hearing before the Kanawha County Planning Commission set was Wednesday has been canceled as a result of the decision. A similar hearing at the Dec. 19 Kanawha County Commission meeting has also been canceled.

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Interest in library renovations high with a month until bids open

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Interest in renovating the downtown Charleston library is plenty as the bid opening date approaches.

Firms and general contractors have been able to receive tours of the facility as well as ask questions ahead of the Jan. 9 bid opening.

The $27-million effort includes 22,000 new square feet of space, a new entrance and a third-floor walkway connected to the Summers Street parking garage.

According to Brian Estep, a project architect with Silling Architects, 11 general contractors and multiple subcontractors attended a pre-bid meeting on Nov. 19.

“The room was full, which is a great sign because there is a whole lot of interest in the project,” he said.

Silling Architects will perform construction observations when related work begins, in which architects will oversee work and represent the library.

Firms have until Dec. 20 to ask Silling Architects questions regarding the project. The library has already offered several days for firms to tour the library to better understand the project.

“It’s good for them to be able to walk around the site since it is in the middle of downtown Charleston to be able to get really familiar with the constraints they have to work within,” he said. “It’s always really good for them to come and see it in person.”

The Kanawha County Public Library Board of Directors will consider the bids on Jan. 9 starting at 2 p.m.

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Dozens of volunteers begin training for Charleston warming stations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dozens of volunteers were busy training Monday in Charleston at the United Way of Central West Virginia.

The Kanawha Valley Collective and United Way of Central West Virginia hosted the sessions for the warming centers that will open up for Kanawha Valley residents in need this winter.

“We just want to make sure we have a good body of people that are ready,” Margaret O’Neal, President of the United Way of Central West Virginia (UWCWV) said.

“Certainly if we would happen to have a cold spell where we have multiple days of 15 degrees or less, we need to make sure we have a volunteer base that is ready to help out and make sure we have all the opportunity to serve people in needs.”

The Charleston warming center, located at the Salvation Army on Tennessee Avenue, will be open when winter temperatures are predicted to drop to 15 degrees or lower taking into account wind chill.

In 2019 to this point, O’Neal said they have opened warming stations nine times. The busiest night of last winter saw 97 people use the station, with an average of 70 people per night.

O’Neal said its important to help the people affected by homelessness.

“There are stories by the old saying ‘Grace of God Go I,'” she said. “When we hear their stories, we realize this could have been us. These are people’s children, parents. We need to keep them safe and at the same time offer them opportunities.”

Those opportunities include a chance at recovery from drug addiction with Kanawha County’s Quick Response Team on hand. There are also ways of signing up for housing and jobs.

The volunteers will work in three shifts from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. and 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. They will do anything from cleaning, signing people in and distributing blankets, pillows, gloves, and snacks.

“I found out over time that I like volunteering and helping others. So I use my time by volunteering,” Howard Thompson of South Charleston told 580-WCHS on Monday.

When the warming station is open, two paramedics and two police officers work on-site with volunteers. O’Neal said there are costs to having the stations open for a night and that is why they cannot have it open every day during the winter like they’d like to, only during certain temperatures.

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CAMC Women and Children’s receives mamaROOs as part of program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital got a boost on Monday.

Project 4, an initiative sponsored by Project Sweet Peas, a national non-profit that supports NICUs and NICU families, and 4moms, the makers of the mamaRoo infant seat, announced CAMC as one of the 10 hospital recipients of its “Nominate a NICU” program.

As part of the nomination, the hospital received seven mamaRoo infant seats for its NICU.

“The mamaROO is in 375 hospitals across the country and we have heard from numerous doctors and nurses just how transformational it really is to have in the NICU. Specifically, with NAS babies that need constant motion, the mamaROO helps to calm and soothe them,” Amie Stanton, Director of Brand Engagement, 4moms told 580-WCHS.

Stanton said CAMC was one of 10 hospitals selected of around 100 nominations nationwide. Nominations came in from NICU patients or people who knew patients.

MamaROO is an infant seat that replicates the natural motions of parents. The item that normally has costs starting at $220 bounces up and down and sways from side to side to soothe and comfort a baby.

“In the NICU, they are very helpful when the families aren’t here or the nurses are busy with a full NICU. They can set the babies down in the mamaROO and that motion comforts and soothes them,” Stanton said.

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Kanawha BOE approves Lewis County company bid for Herbert Hoover work

CLENDENIN, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Board of Education unanimously approved Lewis County based Doss Enterprises LLC’s $19.7 million bid for site preparation work on the new Herbert Hoover High School.

The 5-0 motion came Monday morning during a special session meeting to get the ball rolling on work in the Givens Fork area for the school destroyed in the June 2016 floods.

Chuck Smith, the Kanawha County Schools Facilities Planning Executive Director said at the meeting he expects work to begin by the end of the year into January, after a 10-day notification period of approval is complete.

“They will begin by clearing the site, providing all the environmental and stormwater management controls on it. We have to locate part of the stream there to meet the DEP requirements,” Smith told the media.

In addition, Doss will balance, cut and fill the rocks while putting an access road from Frame Road up to the school site and put in utilities up from Route 119 to the school property line.

Kanawha County Schools paid more than $3 million for the proposed site earlier this year. The site is more than 200 acres on land previously owned by Elkview Baptist Church, but the school system is only using 96 acres of the land. Smith noted that the school only does whole take purchases when buying property

Smith said 3.2 million cubic yards of dirt will be moved, along with acres of trees to have the building pad done in late September, early October.

From there, a contract for the building package is expected to be put out for bid in the Spring of 2020.

VIEW: Kanawha County Schools timeline of Elk River Area schools

The $19.7 million bid from Doss was the lowest of five bids and fell below the estimated cost of $25 million. Smith said during the board meeting that the bid awarded was around $6.5 million less than the second-lowest bid.

He believes it has something to do with equipment costs.

“In my opinion, they’ve got the equipment sitting idle right now and they are looking for work,” Smith said. “They are looking to do whatever they need to do to make it happen. Whenever you have large equipment, it costs you money to let it sit there. It’s much more economical for them to utilize that equipment.”

Smith and Alan Cummings, the Kanawha County Schools Purchasing Director, both backed Doss to board members with questions about the low bid on Monday. Smith said that the company has all kinds of experience in building pads for oil drilling sites, which is the same preparation work.

He also said this will be a “highly scrutinized project” and will feature many inspections to the foundation process, to make sure Doss is following requirements.

Last month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released $52.3 million for the complete project, which has a goal of opening the school in the fall of 2022.

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One injured in Cross Lanes house fire

CROSS LANES, W.Va. — An early morning fire sent one to the hospital in Kanawha County.

The blaze was reported around 4:30 a.m. at a home at 5145 Dover Drive in Cross Lanes.

Fire crews arrived and found fire showing. The flames spread rapidly as crews battled the blaze.

There were several people in the house at the time, all but one were able to escape. One victim was taken to the hospital with burn injuries. There’s no word on her condition.

A cause for the fire remains under investigation.

Members of the Tyler Mountain, West Side, Poca, and Institute Fire Departments all responded to the blaze. Firemen had to battle the elements as well as the fire with heavy rain falling during the operation.

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Volunteer training focuses on future cold weather needs in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Colder days are ahead this winter in the Kanawha Valley and, before the worst of the frigid temperatures sets in, volunteers are being trained to staff future needed public warming stations.

On Monday, the Kanawha Valley Collective and United Way of Central West Virginia hold the next in a series of volunteer training sessions.

That training was scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. at the United Way, 1 United Way Square, Charleston.

The volunteers will staff the Charleston warming station, located at the Salvation Army on Tennessee Avenue, when winter temperatures are predicted to drop to 15 degrees or lower taking into account wind chill.

“We have these warming stations for both individuals who are experiencing homelessness who are living on the streets as well as individuals who may be in housing without adequate heat,” said Traci Strickland, executive director of the Kanawha Valley Collective.

“This is the most basic service to people who are in our city and who are vulnerable.”

Last year, on average, about 70 people sought shelter at the warming station.

The busiest night brought in 97 people, according to Strickland.

When the warming station is open, two paramedics and two police officers work on site with volunteers.

Tasks for the volunteers include cleaning, signing people in and distributing blankets, pillows, gloves and snacks. Shifts run from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. and 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Those interested in attending Monday’s training session can contact Margaret O’Neal with the United Way by phone at 304-340-3503 or via email at moneal@unitedwaycwv.org.

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Park Place work moving ahead with bonds set to go on sale

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Work continues on the new shopping complex in South Charleston, and bonds related to the project will go on sale next Thursday.

Drainage rock and tarps are being placed at the site of Park Place Plaza, the former location of the FMC fly ash pond. Crews are creating a 24-inch layer of drainage stone over the entire site, in which the work is expected to be completed by the end of March.

Crews will then add drainage, with the goal of adding fill by next summer.

“We got to make the fly ash pond a pad-ready site for the retail complex that’s going to go in there,” Mayor Frank Mullens said. “This is the process.”

BB&T is scheduled to buy private-placement bonds for the site on Dec. 12. The $10 million purchase has a 2.5% interest rate tied to it, and deals with the mediation of the pond.

This is the third and final round of bonds associated with the project; according to South Charleston City Manager Rick Atkinson, United Bank and Priemere Bank each bought $7 million worth of bonds.

“We’ll take those out with the TIF bonds once we have the businesses there,” he added.

Atkinson estimated the shopping complex will generate up to $14 million annually in sales tax revenue.

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