Extracting taxes

1 MARTINSBURG — The Macy’s fulfillment center says it’s hiring more than 6,000 people for full-time, part-time and seasonal positions.

News outlets report the retail chain announced the hiring spree Thursday.

Macy’s northeast media relations manager Katelyn Yannie says the new hires will be sorting, ticketing and packaging shipments for customers who ordered online and through the Macy’s mobile app.

Yannie said the application process is easy and, last year, 40% of seasonal hires by Macy’s phone team were offered a job within 48 hours.

A press release from Macy’s says there are multiple shifts and flexible schedules.

The fulfillment center offers transportation to the fulfillment center from Hagerstown and Cumberland, Md.

Rocket Boys festival ends after 2 decades

2 BECKLEY — A festival that celebrates West Virginia’s Rocket Boys has ended its 2-decade run.

Author and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam tells news outlets that the Rocket Boys Festival that ended Saturday in Beckley was the last one.

The festival had moved to Beckley in 2012 after it was held since 1999 in Coalwood in McDowell County.

The festival celebrated the 3 years from 1957 to 1960 when Hickam and his friends launched rockets while in high school. They eventually won a national science fair.

Hickam’s novel, “Rocket Boys,” is about those experiences and growing up in Coalwood. The book was adapted into the 1999 movie “October Sky.”

Senators want New River Gorge national park

3 CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s U.S. senators want to make the New River Gorge a national park.

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin last week introduced the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act.

The lawmakers say the move will boost the local economy and tourism in the area, citing a study that says national park status is shown to increase the number of visitors by 21 percent.

The proposal would allow hunting and fishing at the park.

The New River Gorge is the site of the annual Bridge Day festival, where many gather to watch people base jump into the gorge.

Mall owner pleads to fraud

4 CLARKSBURG — A former mall owner in West Virginia has pled guilty to federal bankruptcy and tax fraud charges.

Dietrich Fansler of Morgantown entered the plea Monday in federal court in Clarksburg.

The 59-year-old Fansler is the managing member of Pin Oak Properties, which operated Middletown Mall in Fairmont. Fansler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2017.

Prosecutors say Fansler admitted that between June 2017 and the following January, he was required to deposit rent collected from the mall’s tenants into a special account but used about $225,000 of that for unrelated expenses. He also admitted concealing the action and failing to pay personal and employee withholding taxes.

Prosecutors say Fansler has agreed to pay more than $880,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service as well as the diverted rent.

Fansler faces up to 5 years in prison.

30 years in machine gun, carjacking

5 HUNTINGTON — A West Virginia man convicted of threatening two county workers with a machine gun before stealing their truck and leading authorities on a chase has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

A news release from U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart says 20-year-old Justin Michael Wilson received his sentence Wednesday.

Wilson was convicted in a May of carjacking and brandishing a machine gun during a violent crime, among other gun charges.

Prosecutors have said Kanawha County deputies were chasing Wilson, who was behind the wheel of a stolen car, when he approached two Putnam County public works employees eating in their company truck, held them at gunpoint and stole the vehicle.

Wilson then led officers on another chase before crashing. Troopers had to pull him from the burning truck.

Appointed senator won’t run

6 LOGAN — West Virginia state Sen. Paul Hardesty says he’s not running to keep his Senate seat in 2020.

The Logan County Democrat on Thursday announced that he will not seek the position in the next election. He says the decision came after he consulted with his family.

In a statement, Hardesty said he hopes whoever runs for the seat is aware that his southern West Virginia district is hurting in the wake of a declining coal market and drops in property values. He says tough times are ahead for the area.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice appointed Hardesty to the Senate in January after Richard Ojeda resigned to run for president of the United States. Ojeda abandoned his presidential bid after about 2 months, saying he wasn’t getting enough money or attention.

Trial date set for fake abduction case

7 HUNTINGTON — A trial date has been set for a West Virginia woman accused of falsely reporting that an Egyptian man tried to kidnap her daughter from a shopping mall.

A Cabell County judge has set a Nov. 15 bench trial for Santana Renee Adams, a court clerk said Thursday.

Adams, 24, was initially hailed as a hero after claiming she used a gun to thwart a brazen, mid-day kidnapping of her 5-year-old on April 1. The sensational tale was bolstered with vivid details about how a Middle Eastern man pulled her daughter by the hair, dragging her across the floor of a clothing store, according to a criminal complaint.

But her story quickly began to unravel when no witnesses could be found and mall surveillance video didn’t match up with her original statement.

Authorities said Adams started changing her account upon further questioning and told officials she might have overreacted or misinterpreted the man’s intentions. Police said the man may have simply been patting the girl on the head.

Abduction charges were later dropped against the man, a 54-year-old engineer from Alexandria, Egypt, who was in West Virginia for work. He cried as he greeted family members upon his release from jail. He left the country days later, with police driving to the airport.

Adams faces up to six months in jail. Her attorney did not immediately have a comment.

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