News in brief — 3/25/11

Published 10:06 am Friday, March 25, 2011

Tree uprooted in storm falls, kills Ohio woman

WEST PORTSMOUTH, (AP) — State officials say a woman was killed when a tree uprooted in a severe thunderstorm fell across her tent in a state forest in southern Ohio.

An Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman says ODNR law enforcement officers identified the woman as 24-year-old Meredith Wilkie, of Fairfield Township in southwest Ohio. Heidi Hetzel-Evans says Wilkie was with a friend inside the tent at Shawnee State Forest in West Portsmouth when the storm hit the area Wednesday afternoon.

Hetzel-Evans says the friend was on his way out of the tent and the woman was inside when a healthy, 70-foot red oak tree was uprooted in the storm and fell across the tent, killing her.

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Hetzel-Evans says wind gusts were up to 76 mph on Wednesday afternoon.

Body of person found in burned house named

PORTSMOUTH — Fire officials and the Scioto County Coroner’s Office have confirmed that Jason Moore, 25, was the victim found in the home that burned on Saturday in Portsmouth. The victim was positively identified by family members.

The investigation is ongoing and no additional details, including the manner of death and origin of the fire, will be released at this time.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the State Fire Marshal, Portsmouth Fire Department and the Portsmouth Police Department.

Rockefeller announces new broadband initiative

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — An $8.4 million broadband initiative will provide high-speed internet access to 93 health care centers and rural health clinics across West Virginia, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced Thursday.

Patients will be able to receive medical expertise from doctors in major health care centers without leaving their communities. The initiative’s funding comes from the Federal Communication Commission’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program.

“This technology is the future of our health care system,” the West Virginia Democrat said during an announcement at the Erma Ora Byrd Clinical Center in Huntington.

Rockefeller also celebrated the completion of the Metro Fiber Build Project. That project connects medical centers in Huntington with rural health clinics in southern West Virginia. The project involves Marshall University, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Cabell-Huntington Hospital.

The rural health care broadband program is b eing overseen by the West Virginia Telehealth Alliance. The non-profit group is one of 69 programs from across the U.S. selected to participate in the federal pilot program.

In addition to the $8.4 million in federal money, the state Health Care Authority provided funds for one-time costs associated with broadband upgrades and enhancements.

The broadband service and upgrades started in January and are expected to be completed this summer, said Larry Malone, the alliance’s chairman.