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Corps Urges Safety On The Water

Don't Become A Drowning Victim This Summer

 

There have been several accidental drownings in the Tri-State area this summer, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as the nation’s largest federal provider of water-based outdoor recreation, is urging everyone to take water safety seriously.           

Ask yourself the question: Are You Next? You could be the next person to drown, because accidents happen when you least expect it.

Each year about 3,500 drowning-related deaths occur in the United States. Drowning can occur because people under-estimate the power of the water and over-estimate th eir swimming ability. But those deaths might have been prevented by wearing a life jacket or taking other precautions.

A review of current public fatality statistics clearly shows which gender, age group and recreational activities that are most often involved in incidents. Trends analyzed since 1998 tell us our typical victim is male (88.4%), not wearing a life jacket (89.3%), swimming in a non-designated areas (47.2%), who is between 18 and 35 years old (39%).           

Huntington District Commander Col. Robert Peterson takes water safety very seriously. "The Corps of Engineers welcomes visitors to enjoy our beautiful lakes and recreation areas, but we urge caution. Our rangers spend a great deal of time talking to the public about the risks and offering advice on how to stay safe around water."           

Here are some safety tips from the Corps of Engineers:

Watch your children – Research shows it only takes a child an average of 20 seconds to drown. Don't let children wander very far from adults and never let them go into the water alone.            

Alcohol and water activities don't mix - Approximately one-third of all boating accidents and fatalities involve alcohol. Drinking just one beer can impair balance, vision, judgment and reaction time. Combine alcohol consumption with boating fatigue - exposure to noise, vibration, sun, glare and wind - and the risk for boating accidents is significantly intensified.             

Boaters should know the rules -Take appropriate safety classes, be familiar with governing state laws and have proper safety equipment onboard. Wear a life jacket; don’t just carry one on board. Don't overload the boat. File a float plan with a friend.                      

Respect the power of water -Surprisingly, two-thirds of drowning victims never intended to be in the water. This is especially true in cases of people accidentally falling out of their boats while fishing.   If someone is in trouble, reach or throw a floatation device – don’t go in the water. Don't over-estimate your swimming skills. Swim only in designated swimmin g areas. Half of all drowning victims are alone when they drown so use the buddy system. Take swimming lessons and learn to swim!

Never Dive or Jump into Lakes and Rivers – Cliff diving and jumping is not allowed at Huntington District lakes.Open water situations where water depth is unknown and conditions are constantly changing with floating or underwater debris can be very dangerous. You never know what might lie unseen below the surface of the water in a lake or river.

Learn to Swim Well and Practice Floating - Learning to swim well is one of your best defenses against drowning. Also, learn and practice simple survival floating skills; remembering how to relax and float when exhausted can save your life. If you are going to be swimming or wading outside our designated swimming areas we urge you to wear a life jacket.

Have Fun, But Be Smart - Make smart decisions when it comes to risky behavior – your life could depend on it!An estimated 360 million people visit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas nationwide annually, and our District annually hosts around 30 million visitors at our recreation areas. We urge you to make water safety your top priority when using the nation's waterways and lakes.

For more safety tips and interactive games, please visit our water safety website at: watersafety.usace.army.mil or contact the Public Affairs Office at 304-399-5353. Children can learn safety tips from Bobber the Water Safety Dog at this site: www.bobber.info/.

Publisher's note: This is a news release.


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Watkins Cusses At Amputee Harper In Court

Sends One-Legged Senior Citizen To Regional Jail
By Mark Hallburn
Publisher, PutnamLIVE.com

"I want him to go down," says RobertWilliam M. Chip Watkins, III R. Harper, Sr. "He's a disgrace."

Harper, a retired Greyhound bus driver from Sissonville, is referring to "The Putnam County Screamer," Family Jaw Judge William M. "Chip" Watkins, III, who, during a January 26th, 2012 hearing,  cussed at the senior, during a show cause hearing, and sent the 62-year-old amputee to jail over child support, to Joyce Halstead, that Harper claims is paid.

Like the loud video of the May 23rd, 2012 Arthur and Lillian Hage hearing, you may want to turn down your speakers. If you are at work, or if children are in the room, viewer discretion is advised because of Watkins' temper tantrums and language.

"No, Goddamnit," Watkins screams. "Don't cuss me sir," Harper responds. "I'm going to cuss you 'cause you came into my courtroom and lied," Watkins says. 

When Watkins demands to know why the other party has not been paid, Harper responds, "Contact my lawyer, sir." Watkins screams, "That's not my job!" They exchange "Oks" and Watkins says, "Take his ass into custody. I'm tired of him. You call up your lawyer and find out how to get your butt out, and that's to sign over the money. You got me?" A bailiff enters the picture and Harper hobbles out of the courtroom on crutches.

On a side note, dogs are said to have more sensitive hearing than human beings, which may be why Watkins' dog left the courtroom before his master let loose.

You may recall that PutnamLIVE.com brought international attention to Watkins when we published a video of his March 23rd hearing with the Hages. Many are calling for Watkins' removal from the bench. However, West Virginia Supreme Court Administrator Steven D. Canterbury announced that he is not taking action against Watkins, who he says recused himself, and is "contrite."

"I want Watkins' job," says Harper. "He has to go. He has no business on bench."

Harper says he contracted Tuberculosis while jailed under order of Watkins. Harper has been released from custody.

In addition to Watkins screaming at Harper, in court, Watkins also sent the man this July 6th, 2012 letter where he sarcastically writes that Harper "Holds the key to his jail cell."



"This is a threat to me," says Harper. "He's threatening me to jail."

The letter was sent after 13 News publicized the existence of the video, but only published a screen shot. PutnamLIVE.com is the first to publish the entire video.

In the letter, Watkins states, referring to Harper, "the sheriff shall keep him safely." However, the fact is, the West Virginia Regional Jail system is not run by any county sheriff.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the Putnam County Commission voted to raise taxes in order to acquire the funds to pay the West Virginia Regional Jail bill. 

PutnamLIVE.com left a voicemail message at the home of Watkins and attempted to visit him July 7th, 2012, for his comments about the videos. The telephone message has not been returned. Watkins did not appear to be home. Another message was left for Watkins on his office voicemail. It also has not been returned.

We do not know why Watkins verbally abuses senior citizens that appear in his courtroom.

If you have a recording of Watkins, or any other judge, screaming in court, PutnamLIVE.com wants to review it. Please contact Publisher Mark Hallburn at 304-415-NEWS or, by email, at News@PutnamLIVE.com.


Related articles:

Supreme Court Slaps Down Watkins

Canterbury Says Watkins Won't Be Published

Watkins Video Makes Fox News, The Blaze, Business Insider

Wallace Wants Hage Reprimanded

Watkins Screams At Hage In Court

 Watkins Threatens Reporter

Pastor Hage Suing Judge Watkins

Watkins Rulings Challenged Three Times In 2011

Putnam Man Accuses Family Law Judge, Staff Of Mischief

Suit Accuses Family Law Judge Of Abusing Authority, Unprofessional Conduct

 


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Canterbury Says Watkins Won't Be Punished

Putnam Family Court Judge Said To Be "Contrite"


When PutnamLIVE.com published the shocking video of Family Law Judge William M. "Chip" Watkins screaming at Pastor Arthur Hage, during a May 23rd, 2012 hearing, many predicted Watkins would not be punished by the West Virginia court system. Apparently, they are correct.

Despite Watkins behavior, which has been called "inappropriate" and "unprofessional" on blogs from Topix.com to YouTube.com and many others, West Virginia Supreme Court Administrator Steven D. Canterbury says he does not plan to file a formal complaint against the controversial judge.

"He's extremely embarrassed and Steven D. Canterburycontrite about it all," Canterbury tells the Charleston Daily Mail. "He feels that they've gotten into his personal life with the picture of his house on that blog in Putnam County. It made him angry."

This is the photo that Canterbury is referring to. PutnamLIVE.com published the picture after Watkins threatened reporter Lawrence J. Smith, in a voicemail, and made a false accusation against PutnamLIVE.com Publisher Mark Hallburn.

It should be noted that Watkins' home is not in a gated community and that his address, telephone number, and Rhonda's appraisal business, with the home's address, are all published online and easily accessed. PutnamLIVE.com has never published Watkins' address despite being legally allowed to do so. Instead, we published the letter fron his HOA.


During the video, Watkins falsely accused Hage of being involved with the publication of the photo of Watkins home and the article where Watkins threatened Smith and falsely accused Hallburn. Hage had nothing to do with the article and photo of the home.

Hallburn, independent of Hage, filedMenis Ketchum a complaint about Watkins' conduct with the West Virginia Judicial Investigative Commission. After Hallburn called the Supreme Court to follow-up with that complaint, Canterbury personally called Hallburn and told him an "Administrative Order" had been written by Chief Justice Menis Ketchum barring Hallburn from contacting the court. Hallburn has asked his attorney to file a Writ of Prohibition against Ketchum for improper conduct and violating The First Amendment.

"This is just another example of how many people feel the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals goes to extraordinary means to protect itself and judges from discipline," says Hallburn. "They will stomp on The First Amendment to cover their backsides when they screw up."


In addition, earlier this year, Hallburn sent a letter to the Supreme Court Justices asking that Canterbury be fired for sending Hallburn a sarcastic email about Hallburn's divorce. PutnamLIVE.com spoke to Ketchum and Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman who both claim they never were provided that letter. Canterbury says "I turn everything over to them, I do not know what happened."

As with Watkins' video, the court of public opinion will have its say in the next election. Justice Robin Davis may have to explain why the Supreme Court is not taking action against Canterbury and Watkins for their behavior. 

Of course, both have the option of resigning. However, many feel that they will not do so, hoping these issues will fade away.

If you have any videos of Watkins or any other judge acting improperly, please contact PutnamLIVE.com at News@PutnamLIVE.com or by telephone, at 304-415-NEWS.


Related articles:

Watkins Video Makes Fox News, The Blaze, Business Insider

Wallace Wants Hage Reprimanded

Watkins Screams At Hage In Court

Watkins Threatens Reporter

Pastor Hage Suing Judge Watkins

Watkins Rulings Challenged Three Times In 2011

Putnam Man Accuses Family Law Judge, Staff Of Mischief

Suit Accuses Family Law Judge Of Abusing Authority, Unprofessional Conduct


 

greenhouse GO GREEN: PutnamLIVE.com is only available online. We do not publish a paper edition in order to protect the environment. Please do not print this article unless it is necessary!

 
 

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Watkins Video Makes Fox News, The Blaze, Business Insider

"Someone's Got To Give Him A Mental Health Test" - Colwin


The video that PutnamLIVE.com first published, of Putnam County Family Law Judge William M. "Chip" Watkins verbally attacking Pastor Arthur Hage has "gone viral."

There are plenty of blog comments, mostly protesting Watkins' behavior. West Virginia TV and radio stations followed PutnamLIVE.com with their stories about the video.

Now, "Kelly's Court," on Fox News, is weighing in on a July 3rd, 2012 segment titled "Judge Loses Temper At Divorce Hearing In West Virginia."

"Objection," says show host Megyn Kelly. "Move to strike?" 

"As humans we have bad days," says Defense Attorney Joey Jackson, who defends Watkins. "And he had a tipping point. I would only hope that his conduct is evaluated on balance, not just what he did on this day when clearly he, perhaps, stepped over the bounds a little. Does he deserve to lose his job over it? Absolutely not!" He later says, "Take it in context."

"Someone's got to give him a mental health test," says Fox News Legal Analyst Mercedes Colwin. "Unbelievable." She also says, "This is absolutely insane... I'm sure the administrative judge is saying, 'Get this guy off the bench.'"

Actually, Watkins has not been removed from the bench, Steven D. Canterburynor has he resigned. West Virginia Supreme Court Administrator Steven D. Canterbury has not taken action against Watkins.

It must be reported that Fox News missed the fact that Watkins eventually recused himself from the case, which he said he would do, in the video, then did not recuse himself-during the May 23rd, 2012 hearing. Fox News also falsely reported that Hage published a photo of Watkins home and an article about Watkins being delinquent on his homeowner's association on Hage's blog. That never happened. 

Watkins outrage, wrongly directed at Hage, was after PutnamLIVE.com published this photograph of Watkins' home after Watkins threatened reporter Lawrence J. Smith on Smith's voicemail. Smith was researching a story about Watkins being named as "not in good standing" in a homeowner's association newsletter. Watkins, in a letter attacking PutnamLIVE.com Publisher Mark Hallburn, admitted that he needed to get his HOA dues "caught up." It is not known how far behind Watkins was on those dues. The West Virginia Supreme Court removed Watkins from Hallburn's divorce case, at Hallburn's request, when it was provided a copy of that letter.


The employee that Hallburn complained to Watkins about, Lori Mitchell, was later named for her behavior, in a Writ of Prohibition filed by Terry Hamm. Watkins has never apologized to Hallburn for Watkins' inappropriate letter or Mitchell's behavior.

In addition to West Virginia newspapers, and TV, and radio stations, and the FOX News segment, The Blaze has written about the Watkins video, The Business Insider has an article, and Fathers and Children Coalition has published an article.

The common thread through all of these articles and videos is that none of them would have been published had Watkins simply acted like a gentleman and kept his loud mouth shut. Instead, his loud mouth is getting him national, and possibly, international attention-for the wrong reasons.

If you have any videos of Watkins or any other judge acting improperly, please contact PutnamLIVE.com at News@PutnamLIVE.com.

 

Related articles:

Wallace Wants Hage Reprimanded

Watkins Screams At Hage In Court

 Watkins Threatens Reporter

Pastor Hage Suing Judge Watkins

Watkins Rulings Challenged Three Times In 2011

Putnam Man Accuses Family Law Judge, Staff Of Mischief

Suit Accuses Family Law Judge Of Abusing Authority, Unprofessional Conduct




 

greenhouse GO GREEN: PutnamLIVE.com is only available online. We do not publish a paper edition in order to protect the environment. Please do not print this article unless it is necessary!

 

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Grilling and Fire Pit Safety

How To Stay Safe While Enjoying Your Cookout

Every year Americans look forward to summer vacations, family reunions, picnics, and the Fourth of July. Summertime, however, also brings fires and injuries due to outdoor cooking and recreational fires. Annually, almost 3,800 Americans are injured by charcoal or gas grill fires, according to a news release from the West Virginia Fire Marshal's office.

The following information is provided by the United States

Fire Administration (USFA):

  • An estimated 5,700 grill fires occur on residential properties each year in the United States.
  • Over half (57%) of grill fires on residential properties occur in May, June, July, and August.
  • Almost half (49%) of grill fires on residential properties occur from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Thirty-two percent of grill fires on residential properties start on patios, terraces, screened-in porches, or courtyards.

Grill Safety: Some Tips To Remember 

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets from the grill area: keep a 3-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
  • Use long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

Charcoal Grills

  • Buy the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.

Propane Grills

  • Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.

A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.

  • If you determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or the “soapy bubble test” and there is no flame:
  1. Turn off the propane tank and grill.
  2. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
  3. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow

manufacturers' instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.

  • Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.

Fire Pits

In recent years, there has been a new concern for the fire service - fire pits. Fire pits are known to be a great source of warmth and ambience. But with the popularity of fire pits increasing, fire safety has become even more important. There are many things you should consider while setting up and using a fire pit.

  • Keep away from flammable material and fluids such as gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, and charcoal lighter fluid or vehicles while in use.
  • Do not use flammable fluids such as gasoline, alcohol, diesel fuel, kerosene, and charcoal lighter fluid to light or relight fires.
  • Exercise the same precautions you would with an open fire.
  • Do not allow children to use the fire pit. Keep children and pets away.
  • Do not wear flammable or loose-fitting clothing such as nylon.
  • Do not burn trash, leaves, paper, cardboard, or plywood. Avoid using soft wood such as pine or cedar that likely pop and throw sparks. Use of seasoned hardwood is suggested.
  • Before starting the fire, make sure that the lid will still close to extinguish the fire in case of emergency. Do not overload.
  • Before you light the fire, check the wind direction.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby.
  • Websites to visit for more information:

www.usfa.fema.gov

www.nfpa.org

www.safekids.org


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