News from around the Mountain State


River mishap leaves 1 dead; 1 rescued by copter

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (AP) — One person drowned and another was rescued by helicopter after they capsized close to rapids in the Shenandoah River near the West Virginia-Maryland border, an emergency response official said Tuesday.

The adult female who drowned and the 13-year-old girl who was rescued were kayaking and tubing with three family members near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, said Bakerton Fire Department Chief Josh Smith. He said they capsized near the Bull Falls rapids.

Smith said officials recovered the woman’s body. He said he didn’t know her age or name.

The Maryland State Police sent out a helicopter at 7:15 p.m. Monday to rescue the teenager, who was stranded on a rock surrounded by rapids, police said in a news release. Because her location was impossible to reach by boat, rescuers had to lower a basket with an officer to retrieve her, the release said.

Emergency management officials from Bakerton, and from Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland were out on the river until about 11 p.m., Smith said.

The two young children and a second adult who had been on the trip were either checked out at a hospital and released or refused treatment, he said.

Judge accepts plea deal in Girl Scouts embezzlement case

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A Wood County judge has accepted a plea deal involving two women accused of embezzling over $2,000 from the Girl Scouts.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a judge agreed Monday to dismiss embezzlement charges against Mary Farnsworth and Denise Davis if they both stay out of trouble for the next six months and pay back about $2,400.

Davis and Farnsworth are accused of using the money that girl scouts in the county area had made from cookie and yard sales to take their daughters and one of their friends to Sea World in 2011.

Another Girl Scouts employee, Mari Jo Tedesco, went to police about the missing money.

CEO of the Girls Scouts of the Black Diamond Council Beth Casey spoke at Monday’s hearing, insisting that no crime had occurred.

Officials investigating cause of fatal Charleston house fire

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Officials are investigating after one person has died in a house fire in Charleston.

Local media outlets report the blaze occurred Monday morning in the city’s west side.

Charleston Fire Department Lt. Wes Smith says the fire started in one bedroom on the first floor, where an unidentified man was killed. Three other people were able to escape unharmed.

A couple who lived there said they woke up to their roommate screaming and had to jump out a window into first responders’ arms to avoid the fire.

Investigators say they did not find any smoke detectors in the home.

State fire marshals will be investigating, and no cause for the fire has been determined.

Students asked to create virtual West Virginia Capitol

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is asking West Virginia students to create a virtual state Capitol building using a video game.

Tomblin’s science, technology, engineering and math initiative is one of the hosts for the contest in which students will use Minecraft to create a replica of the current Capitol or design a new Capitol. The contest is open to students from pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade.

The state Department of Education said in a news release that it is also involved along with the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts and The Education Alliance.

Tomblin said in the release that it’s important to encourage students as they become interested in technology-based pursuits.

More than $6,000 in prizes will be awarded.

Students must register by June 20 at http://wvde.us/minecraftcontest . Entries are due by July 31.

Demolition to clear way for teacher housing in WVia

WELCH, W.Va. (AP) — Demolition will start soon on two buildings to clear the way for new apartments for teachers in a blighted southern West Virginia community.

A news release says the Best Furniture and Katzen buildings in downtown Welch will be torn down starting Thursday.

The new space will house the Renaissance Village apartment complex, which will primarily be intended for teachers.

The apartments are a key component of the Reconnecting McDowell partnership. That project led by the American Federation of Teachers and its many partners aims to improve opportunities in impoverished McDowell County.

The 30-unit Renaissance Village will include rental apartments, a common area for residents and street-level retail establishments, like a coffee shop.

The news release says the project will be the first multistory construction in Welch in 50 years.

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