1CHARLESTON — Can the governor of West Virginia be forced to live in the state capital? A persistent lawsuit seeking to do just that is heading back to court.

A hearing in the case brought by Democratic Del. Isaac Sponaugle against Republican Gov. Jim Justice is scheduled for Wednesday (today) in Charleston.

Sponaugle says Justice should be ordered to live in Charleston because the state constitution requires the governor to “reside at the seat of government.’’

Justice’s lawyers argue that the definition of the word reside is unclear. They’ve also questioned the court’s ability to chaperone Justice’s whereabouts.

Justice has said he lives in Lewisburg, not at the governor’s mansion. He is frequently criticized for not being at the statehouse.

This is the third time Sponaugle has sued over Justice’s residency, with the previous two suits thrown out on technicalities.

Truck maker Hino celebrates new

assembly plant

2MINERAL WELLS — Japanese truck maker Hino Motors Manufacturing has marked the opening of its new West Virginia assembly plant.

Hino (HEE’-no) Motors held a ceremony last week in Mineral Wells at a former retail distribution center.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said on Twitter before the ceremony that one of his first trade trips as governor in 2005 was to Japan to recruit Hino Motors to North America. Manchin says “it’s been a wonderful, wonderful success story.’’

Company President Takashi Ono has said the $100 million investment could create up to 250 new jobs.

For 12 years Hino Motors had assembled medium-duty trucks at a smaller facility 20 miles away in the Wood County community of Williamstown.

Hino Motors is owned by the Toyota Group and its American headquarters are in Novi, Michigan.


Legislative panel says judges should get raises

3CHARLESTON — A state legislative panel is recommending pay raises for West Virginia judges.

The West Virginia Judicial Compensation Commission released its final report last week and said the state has some of the lowest paid judges in the country.

The report says Supreme Court, circuit and magistrate judges should get 18.3% raises. Supreme Court justices would be paid almost $161,000 under the commission’s recommendations.

The panel is also recommending that family court judges should receive a more than 20% pay increase to bring their salaries up to nearly $114,000.

The commission says the raises would bring West Virginia in line with national pay scales. The last judicial pay increase became effective in 2011.


Ojeda says VA

leak derailed his

congressional bid

4HUNTINGTON — Former Army Maj. Richard Ojeda says his West Virginia congressional campaign was derailed by a Department of Veterans Affairs employee who’s charged with leaking medical records.

The former Democratic state senator and one-time presidential hopeful filed suit against the VA last week. He’s seeking documents relating to the agency’s investigation of former claims assistant Jeffery S. Miller.

Federal prosecutors have accused Miller of unlawfully accessing and sharing the medical records of an unidentified public figure.

Ojeda says he is that public figure and his records were distributed among high-ranking Republicans in a bid to hurt his 2018 race against current-Rep. Carol Miller.

A spokeswoman for the congresswoman says Carol Miller isn’t related to Jeffery S. Miller. She says the congresswoman has never seen the medical records and knew nothing about the matter.


Politicians seek

answers on veteran’s death at VA hospital

5CLARKSBURG — West Virginia politicians are calling for answers after a Vietnam veteran’s death at a VA hospital was ruled a homicide.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito vowed Friday to investigate after a news report on the death of retired Army Sgt. Felix Kirk McDermott at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

A lawyer for McDermott’s estate provided The Associated Press with a legal document sent to the VA claiming the 82-year-old was wrongly injected with a fatal dose of insulin in April 2018. It also contains an autopsy report from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner that rules the death a homicide.

Manchin also questioned the hospital’s treatment of other patients.

The hospital didn’t return a voicemail. A VA spokeswoman did not comment.

Man accused of

aiming airsoft gun

at officer

6CHARLESTON — Police say a West Virginia man who pointed a realistic-looking airsoft gun at a police officer has been charged with threatening a terroristic act.

The Charleston Police Department says Charles Norman Miller was arrested last week after officers received a report of an armed man outside a house in the city’s West Side. A police spokeswoman says a nearby elementary school was put on lockdown as a precaution.

Authorities say the 31-year-old quickly dropped the weapon after aiming it at an officer who arrived in a squad car. Police determined Miller was holding an airsoft gun without an orange safety tip or any other features that would make clear it wasn’t a real firearm.

Miller has been jailed. He doesn’t have a lawyer yet.

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