A Suspended Norton Virginia High School Football Coach Continues To Receive Pay Despite Being On Suspension. Virginia State Police Are Investigation Norton High School Coach James Adams On A Sexual Harassment Complaint. The School Board Met This Week But Took No Action On His Status. Adams Has Been Suspended Since June Of This Year.
The man who caused a two-hour manhunt and lockdown of Mountain Empire Community College earlier this year appeared in the Wise County Circuit Court this morning on the day he was scheduled for a jury trial.
David Dewayne Scott, age 44 of Big Stone Gap, entered a plea of guilty today to all counts of an Indictment against him in the Wise County Circuit Court. He admitted guilt to various weapons charges including possession of a weapon by a violent felon, stealing the firearm, brandishing the weapon, recklessly handling the gun, and discharging it in an occupied dwelling. Scott further pled guilty to resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He offered his plea without an agreement from the Commonwealth's Attorney's office, meaning a judge will determine his sentence after listening to the testimony of witnesses from prosecutors and the defendant at a sentencing hearing.
On March 30, 2019, Scott, a convicted violent felon, stole a firearm from a vehicle parked at 1803 Lenora Road in Big Stone Gap. Shortly thereafter he pointed the firearm at his sister and then shot through a window at a residence. Scott then fled the home and entered the wooded area near the Mountain Empire Community College campus, pursued by officers from Big Stone Gap, the Wise County Sheriff's Office, and the College itself. His proximity to the college resulted in its temporary closure, evacuation, and lockdown. He was eventually arrested on campus. Scott later admitted that he was under the influence of drugs.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys Dan Fast and Sarah Childress successfully prosecuted the case.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "This frightening incident was every police officer's nightmare: a violent felon, under the influence of heroin and other drugs, deranged for unknown reasons, armed with a loaded firearm and headed for a college campus. We are so grateful to the officers of the Big Stone Gap Police Department, Wise County Sheriff's Office and campus police at Mountain Empire Community College for their quick and professional response. I also want to commend the good work of our prosecution team for securing these convictions."
A sentencing hearing in the case is now scheduled for January 7, 2020. Scott faces up to 39 years behind bars as total possible maximum punishment.
Saturday, September 28, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. and to 4:00 p.m. The Clinch Coalition (TCC)
presents the 13th annual High Knob Naturalist Rally at High Knob Recreation Area.
Registration begins at 9:30 for the family friendly event that includes hikes, presentations,
kayaking, fly fishing, nature arts and crafts throughout the day. Lunch is provided and people
are encouraged to bring chairs.
The High Knob Naturalist Rally participants discover and learn about the unique natural world of
southwest Virginia. Experts, educators and knowledgeable naturalist present programs about,
wolves, visit the world of beavers, butterflies, mushrooms, mussels, salamanders, edible plants,
medicinal plants forest ecology and regional geology. Special programs focus on wilderness
survival, High Knob's climate, making maple syrup, solar energy, and backyard birding.
The. U.S. Forest Service works with the Clinch Coalition to make the High Knob Naturalist Rally
possible. All activity is free, open to the public and the day use fee is waved. The High Knob
campground is closed however camping available at Flag Rock located approximately two miles
from the Naturalist Rally.
The Clinch Coalition formed in August 1998 when a small group of concerned citizens
organized to protect southwest Virginia's great natural resources. The group endeavors to
make the public aware and actively involved with the environment through educational
programs, guided hikes, trail work and the High Knob Naturalist Rally.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp announced today lengthy prison sentences for a Norton couple will put the relationship of two 'ice' dealers on ice. Grover Jenkins, age 37, and Amber Jenkins, age 33, of Norton were recently sentenced by the Wise County Circuit Court for charges related to the distribution of methamphetamine, a drug commonly referred to as 'ice'. These convictions stem from a drug distribution ring operated by the husband and wife couple out of their residence in Norton, Virginia.
On May 17, 2019, Gromer Jenkins was convicted of six counts of distribution of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute. On August 19, 2019, Mr. Jenkins was sentenced by the Court on July 11, 2019 without a plea agreement from prosecutors to ten years in prison with five years and nine months suspended. Thus, Mr. Jenkins will serve an active sentence of four years and three months in the custody of the Virginia Department of Corrections. He will have to complete ten years of probation following his release.
On May 3, 2019, Amber Jenkins was convicted of two counts of distributing methamphetamine, one count of conspiring to distribute, and one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. On August 19, 2019, Mrs. Jenkins was sentenced by the court without a plea agreement from prosecutors to six years with two years and six months suspended. Thus, Mrs. Jenkins will serve an active sentence of three years and six months in the custody of the Virginia Department of Corrections. She will have to complete two years of supervised probation following her release.
In the spring of 2018, law enforcement began investigating Gromer and Amber Jenkins upon suspicion that the two were working together to distribute methamphetamine in Wise County. In June and July 2018, on more than one occasion, the pair sold methamphetamine at their residence to undercover agents working for the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force. The investigation culminated with officers serving a search warrant at the Jenkins residence on July 23, 2018. While searching the residence, officers found methamphetamine, digital scales, and small clear baggies. All of these items were consistent with distribution of methamphetamine.
Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Steven Davis was the lead prosecutor in the case. Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "Methamphetamine is a dangerous, highly addictive, and destructive drug. We are thankful for the hard work of the Southwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force and the DTF's member agencies. Their diligence made these convictions possible and illustrate our ongoing efforts to eradicate the scourge of methamphetamine across southwest Virginia."
James Orza Miller, age 51, of Coeburn appeared today in the Wise County Circuit Court for crimes he committed while perpetrating construction fraud against five different victims in 2018. Miller pleaded guilty under the Alford rule in June 2019 to five separate counts of Construction Fraud and a probation violation. At today's sentencing hearing, the court imposed a lengthy prison sentence after hearing evidence from prosecutors, victims, and the defendant.
Miller was sentenced to 35 years in prison with 30 years suspended. Thus, he will serve an active term of five years within the custody of the Virginia Department of Corrections. He will be required to complete indefinite years of probation for at least 20 years following his release and pay restitution to the victims. Miller's sentence in Wise will run consecutively with over two years of additional prison time he received on a Lee County construction fraud case earlier this year.
At the hearing today, Miller admitted that he "got too big for my britches," was "in over my head," and started "robbing from Peter to pay Paul."
Between February and August 2018, Miller unlawfully and feloniously obtained advances of money from the five different victims and promised to perform construction work that he was paid in advance to perform. At the time of these new offenses, Miller was on probation in Wise County for similar crimes he committed against a group of property owners in 2010. Several of the victims from the 2010 case testified that they had not been paid restitution Miller owed and called him a "predator."
Senior Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Ken Lammers was the lead prosecutor on this case. Lammers is the chief prosecutor of serious fraud and larceny cases at the Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "Your house is more than just your home. It is your single biggest investment. That's why crimes like these are so offensive. Mr. Miller is a predator who used a position of trust, holding himself out to be a contractor, to steal thousands of dollars from innocent victims and homeowners who just wanted to improve their property. Wise County homeowners are safer with Mr. Miller behind bars. We hope that these convictions will serve to provide justice and restitution to the victims and safeguard the public from ongoing schemes to defraud homeowners in our region."
Slemp praised the efforts of the Wise County Sheriff's Department investigators for making the convictions possible.
RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police (VSP) Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s (BCI) Richmond Field Office continues to pursue new leads and tips connected to the 1999 unsolved homicide of a Mechanicsville teenager in New Kent County. To date, state police is still working to identify the male suspect who fired several rounds into the 1999 Nissan Altima Sara Bruehl had rented to drive to Virginia Beach with her two close friends on Aug. 8, 1999.
It was 20 years ago on the Sunday evening of Aug. 8 that Sara Bruehl and her two friends were shot at while traveling along Interstate 64 near Exit 205 for Bottoms Bridge. Tragically, Sara, who was driving, was shot and killed prior to her vehicle crashing off the right side of the interstate. Her 18-year-old female front-seat passenger was also shot, but survived her injuries. The 17-year-old female backseat passenger survived injuries resulting from the vehicle crash. All three were recent graduates of Atlee High School in Hanover County.
The suspect was described as a light-skinned African-American or Hispanic male, with dark eyes and a goatee. The suspect vehicle was described as a small, red car with tinted windows and halogen lights. Based on witness statements and other information gathered during the course of the investigation, it is believed that Sara and the driver of the red car had engaged in a “cat-and-mouse” game of speeding up, slowing down and changing lanes over about a 20-mile stretch of I-64. Both vehicles were heading eastbound when the other driver pulled up in the right lane next to Sara’s vehicle, rolled down the driver’s side window, and shot four times into the Nissan Sara was driving. The suspect sped away in the eastbound lanes of I-64 as the Nissan ran off the right side of the interstate at Exit 205 and struck a tree. The shooting occurred at about 9:10 p.m.
“We know there are people out there today, even 20 years later, who know who was responsible for taking this young girl’s life and injuring her friends,” said Captain Tim Ring, VSP BCI Richmond Field Office Commander. “State police is still committed to identifying this individual and bringing him to justice. We owe it to Sara and her family to solve this case once and for all. That’s why we are still pursuing leads and still asking for people to come forward with any information they may have to share on this drive-by shooting.”
Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to contact the Virginia State Police at #77 on a cell phone or 1-800-552-9965 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIG STONE GAP – Mountain Empire Community College and the Slemp Foundation are partnering to assist families impacted by the Blackjewel mine closures with tuition and college expense assistance.
Qualifying families living in Lee and Wise County are encouraged to visit www.mecc.edu/blackjewel to submit their contact information. An MECC representative will work with individuals to determine qualification and potential available assistance.
MECC has assisted several Blackjewel employees and family members with enrollment and retraining needs. The Slemp Foundation has donated $20,000 to further provide for families impacted by the mining closure to be used to pay for tuition, books, and other college-related needs.
For more information, please contact MECC Dean of Student Services Lelia Bradshaw at 276.523.2400 ext. 288.
Wise County Industrial Development Authority Receives$500,000 for a Solar Project Site Preparation and Reclamation of Abandoned Mine Lands
Wise Co., Va.- The first large scale solar development in Southwest Virginia will be deployed in
Wise County thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program. The grant
will fund site preparation for a solar system that will generate over three megawatts in clean energy
to be used by the Mineral Gap Data Center. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and
Energy (DMME) received the $10 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury to help identify
abandoned mine land sites that could be reclaimed to boost the economy of the southwest region
of the Commonwealth.
“This Abandoned Mine Land Pilot program grant will contribute to a large-scale solar project in
Wise County,” said Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA). “In addition to a new source of
power generation for the Mineral Gap Data Center, this project will result in construction jobs. It
will make a positive contribution to Wise County’s economic climate.”
The development of the solar project will result in several economic and environmental benefits.
Site preparation and system installation will create several jobs and the use of renewable energy
at the Mineral Gap Data Center is expected to increase the center’s customer base. Ridding the site
of nearby dangerous portals and clogged stream lands caused by historic coal mining will also
improve overall water quality in the region.
“Areas that were once mined are underused. We have thousands of acres that have the potential to
have a great impact to the economy of Southwest Virginia,” said DMME Deputy Director Butch
Lambert. “This solar development provides a great example for others to see the potential in
historic and reclaimed coal mining lands.”
“Mineral Gap Data Center is honored to be part of southwest Virginia’s renewable-energy future,” said Kathleen Fowler, spokesperson for Mineral Gap. “Mineral Gap Data Center is already a leading-edge example of a vital and growing industry, so combining our highly secure facility with highly renewable solar power is a win-win for us, for the region’s economy and for the Commonwealth’s green-energy leadership.”
“Solar is more than just a power source – it’s an engine we’ll continue to use to create jobs, spur economic development, and build a more sustainable future in Southwest Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth,” said Devin Welch, Chief Strategy Officer of Sun Tribe Solar. “We’re grateful that we have public sector leaders here in Virginia who understand that by working with the private sector on locally-focused solutions, we can use renewable energy as a positive force for change in all of our communities.”
The Solar Project Site Preparation Project was one of 18 proposals submitted to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). The agency reviewed proposals for eligibility and then took them before an advisory council made up of people involved in local economic development. The council chose ten projects to go to the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) for approval.
The Pilot Program originated in a federal omnibus bill in 2017. DMME has received a total of $20 million for the projects over the last two years. The agency is expected to receive an additional $10 million for economic development projects to be selected in 2020.
Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) is set to host the sixth annual Colors of Courage 5K on Saturday, Aug. 17 in downtown Pikeville. For the second year, the event will be a true color run, with colored powder tossed at various points throughout the race. Proceeds will benefit underinsured patients of the Pikeville Medical Leonard Lawson Cancer Center (LLCC).
“There are so many patients in need and all of the proceeds benefit these patients directly,” said Vickie Justus, LLCC Director. “Thousands of dollars are raised each year with this event to help our patients who may be struggling financially. This money helps them cover transportation costs to make it to life-saving treatments.”
Most people have been affected by cancer in some way. To show support of those fighting cancer or to remember those lost, event participants are encouraged to dress in the color of cancer they represent. Although the color for each person may be different, the Colors of Courage 5K will unite everyone.
“This event is important to everyone at the Cancer Center, because we know the impact these funds make in helping our patients,” Justus explained. “We are all extremely excited to not only participate, but also volunteer to make this race a tremendous success.”
Registration for the event will begin at 7:30am at the Garfield House located at 178 College Street in Pikeville with the race beginning at 9am. Free parking is available in the City of Pikeville parking garage located on Hambley Boulevard. Finisher medals will be given to participants crossing the finish line (while supplies last). The top three overall male and female finishers and the top three male and female finishers in each age division will receive an award.
For convenience, early bag pickup will be available on Friday, August 16 from 11am-2pm and from 3pm-6pm at the Garfield House.
Entry fees are as follows:
• $25 - early registration (must be received by Wednesday, August 7 to guarantee a T-shirt)
• $30 - day of race
• $20 - group of eight of more
Register online at www.tristateracer.com/ColorsOfCourage. The Colors of Courage 5K registration form can also be printed from the tristateracer.com website or picked up at the Pikeville Medical Center information desk. Deliver or mail the completed form, along with your entry fee to:
Pikeville Medical Center - Public Relations Department, Attention: Amy Charles, 131 Summit Drive, Pikeville, KY 41501.
For more information about the Colors of Courage 5K, please visit www.pikevillehospital.org or call 606-218-3960.
About Pikeville Medical Center
Pikeville Medical Center is 340-bed regional referral center and Kentucky’s only level II trauma center. PMC offers over 400 services, including every major specialty and many subspecialties, and features the region’s most advanced medical technology.
PMC employs more than 3,000 people and has nearly 400 credentialed healthcare providers.
PMC’s mission is to provide world-class quality health care in a Christian environment. For more information, please visit www.pikevillehospital.org.
The Nature Conservancy In Abingdon Virginia Has Announced More Than 153-Thousand Acres Of Land In The Cumberland Forest In Southwest Virginia Is Now Part Of A Project. The Land Will Now Be Managed By The Conservancy Group And Includes Land That Has Been Timbered And Reclaimed Mining Sites. Eventually Some Of The Land Will Be Sold In 10 To 12 Years. The Goal Is To Blend Conservation And Economic Development.