WVPSC Speeds Up investigating FirstEnergy’s Double Billing, Meter Reading
FirstEnergy wanted the State Public Service Commission to dismiss an investigation into the billing practices of its subsidiaries MonPower and PotomacEdison.
But instead the WVPSC has asked for more information into the controversy and has promised to schedule some public hearings.
The PSC ordered a general investigation into the situation in June after the commission received a number of complaints from MonPower and PotomacEdison customers about meter reading and double billing.
Parent company FirstEnergy asked the PSC to dismiss the case. The commission denied the request in last week’s order.
The PSC now wants from FirstEnergy “the number and the percentage of customers who have received two or more consecutive estimated bills; current employment levels of meter readers; the number and types of complaints received by FirstEnergy; the number and percentage of customer complaints resolved on the first call to FirstEnergy and the number of customers placed on deferred payment plans.”
The PSC has ordered the information be submitted every month for the next year. It also said it will hold public hearings in the service areas later this year.
FirstEnergy said in June a series of unexpected circumstances caused a number of customers to go without actual meter readings for several months.
“You don’t want to have too many consecutive estimates because then when you have true-up meter readings it can be difficult,” company spokesman Todd Meyers said.
The PSC said last Friday that its staff would continue to pursue complaints from customers.
The PSC’s Consumer Affair Technicians can be reached at 1.800.642.8544.
Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 07.19.13
Judge Jack Alsop held Court in Gilmer County on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
• Two arraignments were scheduled with neither defendant appearing at their 9:00 AM hearing time.
However, later in the morning (9:25 AM) Lucas Buckhannon and his attorney, Jonathan Fittro, appeared and his pretrial is now set for
Friday, September 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM, and his trial is set for Friday, October 18, 2013.
• Brandon Rose failed to appear but rather than a bench warrant, Judge Alsop directed the Clerk to summons him to appear at 9:00 AM on Thursday, July 25, 2013 since he had already appeared twice without an attorney present to represent him.
• Judge Alsop then dealt with 2 jurors who failed to appear for the first day of petit jury, namely: Wendy Wilson and Scott McCullough.
Both jurors explained to the Court why they failed to appear and the Judge did not find them in contempt, but instructed them to follow the instructions in the letter given to them by the Circuit Clerk in the future.
He also heard a juvenile matter and set it for further review Monday, September 09, 2013 at 8:45 AM.
On Friday, July 19, 2013, Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over his rescheduled July motion day.
• He heard 3 Fugitive From Justice cases with all being represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon and waiving extradition back to their respective states as follows:
Bernard West to Maryland, Myron Miller to Ohio and Tyrone Ward to Michigan.
Authorities from those states have until 4:00 PM, Friday, July 26, 2013 to pick them up at Central Regional Jail or they will be released.
• One juvenile was heard and reset for Monday, August 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM, one for Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:10 AM, another for same day at 10:20 AM and a third for 10:30 AM.
• Jackie Belknap II was before the Court for probation revocation and he admitted the allegations filed against him in the petition.
Belknap was represented by Flanigan and was sentenced to 1-3 years in the penitentiary and $1,000.00 fine and court costs.
• Randall Lambey was before the Court for sentencing but due to his pre-sentence investigation not being completed his sentencing was reset for Monday, August 26, 2013 at 10:15 AM.
• John Carder‘s sentencing was also reset for Monday, September 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM.
• One petition for amended birth certificate was issued to Phyllis McHenry.
• The civil case of Educap INC. vs. Gary Jenkins and Charley Gregory was before the Court for hearing and was referred to a mediator for mediation to be completed by Thursday, October 17, 2013 and bench trial is set for Tuesday, November 05, 2013 at 10:00 AM.
Gilmer County Family Court Report - 07.17.13
Family Court Judge Larry Whited held Court on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
• He dismissed one divorce and granted a domestic violence petition.
Grand Jury Indicts West Virginia Doctor on Drug Charge
A north-central West Virginia doctor accused of overprescribing painkillers to patients has been indicted on a federal drug charge.
A federal grand jury in Martinsburg charged Dr. Edita Milan of Fairmont on Wednesday with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
The indictment charges that Milan prescribed the drugs without any legitimate medical reason.
Milan was arrested earlier this month. She voluntarily surrendered her Drug Enforcement Administration registration number. That means she can no longer prescribe controlled substances.
U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II has said that Milan was treating more than twice as many patients as she was permitted to treat with narcotics at her practice in Bridgeport.
Milan’s office was closed and there was no telephone listing for her in the Fairmont area.
Braxton County Mother Accused in Sons Death Waives Preliminary Hearing
The Sutton, Braxton County, WV mother accused of denying medical care to her terminally ill son and then allowing him to die has waived her preliminary hearing.
Valerie Brown, age 38, waived her preliminary hearing on a charge of child neglect resulting in death on Wednesday.
Her bond was also cut in half, from $100,000 cash only to $50,000 cash or surety.
Brown was arrested last week after a West Virginia State Trooper and a Hospice worker found her son dead wrapped in blanket inside her Sutton home along Salt Lick Road.
West Virginia State Police said the body of Levi Burroughs, age 8, was partially decomposed.
Troopers said results from an autopsy for Burroughs are not back yet.
Also on Wednesday, Brown was charged with obtaining goods under false pretenses.
The new charge is unrelated to the death of Burroughs.
West Virginia Mother Guilty of Baby Smothering Try in Pennsylvania
A West Virginia woman has pleaded guilty to trying to smother her 4-month-old son at a Pittsburgh hospital last year, and is still being investigated for allegedly trying to do the same thing more than a dozen times in her home state, according to the district attorney’s office.
Rachel Nelson, 23, of Costa, WV, pleaded guilty Monday to one count each of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child rather than face trial before an Allegheny County judge. She’ll return for sentencing September 05, 2013.
District attorney’s spokesman Mike Manko said West Virginia authorities were still working to indict her on charges that she tried to suffocate the boy repeatedly in that state.
Nelson’s public defender declined comment and referred questions to the head of her office, who did not immediately return a call.
Pittsburgh police Lt. Kevin Kraus has said investigators believe Nelson may have tried to suffocate the boy more than a dozen times since August.
The boy was treated at a Charleston, W.Va. hospital six times after he turned blue and had to be resuscitated, then was transferred to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in October for what police called “repeated episodes of apnea and hypoxia and concerns of medical child abuse.“
The boy’s father woke up in his son’s hospital room on October 19 to find the boy blue and not breathing, and told police Nelson was the only person awake with the boy. When the boy was transferred to intensive care, he was again found limp with abnormal breathing on October 20. After doctors reviewed surveillance footage of Nelson in the room alone with the boy and blocking the camera’s view of him, she acknowledged holding the boy to her chest until he stopped breathing, police said.
Nelson was taken to a psychiatric facility for evaluation after she was charged, but it wasn’t clear if she was continuing to receive psychiatric treatment.
Kraus said investigators have been unable to explain Nelson’s actions.
“At this point we don’t know,“ Kraus said. “That’s up to the medical people and the physicians to determine.“
Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 07.10.13
On Monday, July 08, 2013, 6 juvenile matters were heard by Judge Jack Alsop in Gilmer County and reset as follows:
• Two for Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM
• One for Wednesday, July17, 2013 at 9:30 AM
• One for Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 9:00 AM
• One for Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 9:45 AM
• One for Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM
• A motion for partial summary judgment was denied in a civil case between DC Petroleum Inc. vs. Christopher Haymond.
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 was the day for arraignments:
• Ginger Persinger appeared with her attorney, Daniel Grindo of Gassaway.
She entered not guilty pleas to all counts of her indictment and her trial was continued to the next term of Court, that being in November, 2013.
She posted $25,000.00 bond and was released.
• Rodney Singleton appeared for arraignment and further arraignment was set for him on
Friday, August 09, 2013 at 11:00 AM.
He has until Thursday, August 01, 2013 to complete a financial affidavit asking for a court appointed attorney.
• Darren Marbury appeared with his attorney, Lance Rollo.
His trial is set second for Thursday, October 03, 2013 with pretrial on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:30 AM.
• Brandon Lee Rose, failed to appear for arraignment.
The clerk was directed to issue a bench warrant but hold it until 9:00 AM on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 when his arraignment was continued to.
• Bryan Hinkle had replaced Grindo as his attorney and the Clerk contacted him to appear with his client on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
• Brandon Lee Rose appeared on July 10, 2013 without his attorney so Judge Alsop reset his arraignment for Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 9:00 AM with the Clerk leaving messages and notifying Hinkle in writing of his need to appear.
• Michael Anthony Puffenbarger failed to appear and likewise a bench warrant was issued but was to be held until 9:00 AM Wednesday, July 10, 2013 for further arraignment.
His attorney was Christopher Pritt and they both appeared on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, and his pretrial is now set for 9:00 AM, Friday, September 20, 2013 with his trial being set for second trial on Tuesday, October 01, 2013.
• Barry Neil Hamner did not appear for his arraignment since his attorney Garth Beck was in another county and his arraignment was reset for Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM at which time they appeared and his pretrial is now set for 10:00 AM on Friday, September 20, 2013 and his trial is set for Wednesday, October 02, 2013.
• Teresa Ann Riggs was represented by James Clevenger and her trial is set for Thursday, September 19, 2013 and pre-trial on Monday, September 09, 2013 at 10:15 AM.
• Larry Dale Lilly appeared with his attorney Daniel Grindo and his trial is set for Tuesday, October 29, 2013 with pre-trial on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM.
• Seth Michael Johnson also appeared with Daniel Grindo and his pre-trial is Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:15 AM and trial is Wednesday, October 30, 2013.
• Lucas Wayne Buckhannon‘s arraignment was continued to Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 9:00 AM since his attorney, Jonathan Fittro was unavailable.
• Jamie Lynn Farrar was represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon.
Her pre-trial is Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM with her trial on Thursday, October 31, 2013.
• Mark Alan Taylor appeared with counsel Daniel Grindo and his pre-trial is Friday, September 27, 2013 and trial Tuesday, October 0l, 2013.
His bond was set at $20,000.00 good and sufficient surety to be approved by the Circuit Clerk.
• Stacy Lea Bright appeared with counsel Grindo and her pretrial is Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM and trial on Thursday, October 03, 2013.
Her bond was set at $15,000.00 and she posted a PR bond until 4:00 PM on Thursday, July 11, 2013 when she must post a surety bond in the same amount.
She later appeared on Thursday, July 11, 2013 and posted bond with B&B Bonding as her surety.
• Motions were heard in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Gary Ferrell.
His bond was set at $50,000.00.
He was represented by Daniel Grindo.
On Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Judge Alsop indoctrinated the July 2013 petit/magistrate jurors and released them to report back at a date and time listed in the letter given to them by the Circuit Clerk.
• Two jurors failed to appear and the Clerk issued a summons to be served upon them by the Gilmer County Sheriff Larry Gerwig, for them to appear at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 to explain to the Judge why they failed to appear as previously summonsed.
• He also arraigned Michael A. Puffenbarger and Barry Neal Hamner.
Gilmer County Family Court Report - 07.10.13
On Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Family Court Judge Larry Whited held Family Court in Gilmer County.
• He continued 2 domestic violence cases to Wednesday, July 31, 2013.
• One domestic violence was terminated
• One contempt proceeding was dismissed
• One divorce was dismissed for non-appearance
• One divorce was granted with Kimberly Frymier (51) of Tanner, WV divorcing Michael D. Frymier (43) of Glenville, WV on July 10, 2013.
Missing Weston Girl’s Mom Warned to Avoid the Felon
The mother of a missing West Virginia girl is out of jail for now.
But a judge is warning her again to stay away from the convicted felon who fathered what will be her eighth child.
Lena Lunsford was arrested twice in two weeks for violating probation in Wheeling.
U.S. Magistrate James Seibert ruled she is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.
But Siebert say she is clearly unwilling to comply with the court’s conditions.
He ordered a bond be posted and warned Lunsford that continued defiance could lead to imprisonment and prosecution for contempt of court.
Lunsford served eight months for welfare fraud after her 3-year-old daughter Aliayah disappeared from their Lewis County home in September 2011.
The child has never been found.
Lewis County Grand Jury Has Indicted Two with Charges of 2011 Death of Baby
A Lewis County grand jury has indicted two people on charges stemming from a 14-month-old boy’s death in 2011.
Twenty-five-year-old Christopher Thomas Sheppard of Hepzibah in Harrison County is charged with death of a child by child abuse.
The child’s mother, 30-year-old Julia Mick, is charged with child neglect resulting in death.
Sheppard and Mick are scheduled to be arraigned Friday.
Media outlets report that the grand jury indicted the pair on Monday.
Investigators say Sheppard was babysitting at a Jane Lew apartment and left Mick’s son, Rex Mick, unattended in a bath.
The boy fell out of the sink, landed on his head and later died.
An autopsy revealed multiple blunt force traumas.
In June, special prosecutor Michael Parker dropped a first-degree murder charge against Sheppard.
Prosecutor Says Ohio Priest (Ex-Spencer) Abuse Charges Valid
Prosecutors are urging a federal judge to reject an Ohio priest’s contention that he was charged too late with allegedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy he took to West Virginia more than two decades ago.
Robert Poandl (POHN’-duhl), of the Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners, has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing the boy while the two visited a church in Spencer, WV, in 1991.
His attorney has asked U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett to throw out the case, saying a five-year statute of limitations should apply.
Prosecutors are responding in a filing made Monday that federal law changes have been clearly meant to extend the time for child sexual abuse charges.
It says Poandl’s argument his conduct isn’t covered is “unpersuasive, if not absurd.“
His trial is scheduled August 26, 2013.
Feds: Clarksburg Police Chief, Officer Out to Avoid Charges
The Clarksburg police chief and a lieutenant have agreed to step down to avoid federal criminal charges related to the delayed arrest of a city councilman in a domestic assault case, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.
U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II announced that the chief, Marshall Goff, and Lt. Tim Smith are accused of civil rights violations and making false statements to federal authorities. Both resigned on Monday.
Clarksburg police were called to councilman Sam “Zeke” Lopez’s home on April 02, where his wife claimed Lopez pinned her down, hit her with a rolling pin and dumped food on her during an argument. Lopez was arrested July 3 and charged with one count of domestic battery.
“Goff and Smith became involved in the response and the actions that they took led to a separate investigation into their handling of the case,“ Ihlenfeld said in a news release.
Lopez was re-elected to Clarksburg City Council in June.
Goff did not immediately return a message left at his home. His attorney was in depositions and wasn’t immediately available. A telephone number for Smith wasn’t available.
Both men are barred from ever working as police officers again. They agreed to cooperate with authorities in the investigation into the handling of the Lopez case, Ihlenfeld said. The prosecutor said it was unclear if other officials would face charges.
Goff became chief in 2007 after 23 years with the department. He spent five years in the Anmoore Police Department before starting work in Clarksburg.
Media outlets reported that the city named Lt. Robert Hillard as the interim police chief on Tuesday. City Manager Martin Howe did not immediately return telephone and email messages seeking comment.
The federal case is separate from Lopez’s battery case, which is being handled by a special prosecuting attorney from Marion County.
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