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Local & area briefs for Thursday, September 24, 1998

WVU rape suspect charged in burglaries

MORGANTOWN (AP) -- A Kanawha County man accused of raping a West Virginia University student was back behind bars Wednesday, less than 24 hours after making bond.

Lee Hogan was charged with four counts of burglary for allegedly stealing women's lingerie and photographs from Morgantown homes.

Police would not say when or where the burglaries occurred, so it was not immediately clear whether the break-ins are linked to a series of assaults on female students at West Virginia University.

"This is a continuing investigation. No further information will be released at this time," Cpl. P.K. Scott said in a statement.

Hogan, 31, of Big Chimney had posted a $100,000 bond on the rape charge Tuesday afternoon.

The next day, he was arrested in Randolph County and brought back to the Monongalia County Jail, Scott said.

The computer draftsman was charged Sunday with the Aug. 30 rape of a WVU student. Although he fits the description of the suspect in three other assaults since April 10, police have not classified him as a suspect in all four.

State's largest hospital plans more cost-saving moves

CHARLESTON (AP) -- Charleston Area Medical Center is raising rent at medical staff buildings, using more generic drugs and reducing advertising to further cut costs.

Mike King, vice president for operations, said Tuesday the state's largest hospital hopes to save an additional $3 million in the fourth quarter.

At midyear, the hospital was $10 million behind its goal of cutting $36 million from the budget.

King blamed reduced reimbursements from public programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and the Public Employees Insurance Agency.

Also, this summer's stock market decline took about $5 million out of the hospital's budget, said Jack Canfield, CAMC vice president for corporate development.

Despite the cuts, the hospital is hoping for a $10 million yearly profit with revenues of $580 million.

"Our goal is to finish with a double-digit bottom line," said Larry Robertson, the hospital's chief financial officer.

Video gambling rules may tighten

CHARLESTON (AP) -- The state Lottery Commission wants operators of video poker machines to restrict their use by employees at West Virginia's four race tracks.

New games will allow jackpots to reach up to $100,000, and track employees who hit the big prize will cause too much suspicion, said Virgil Thompson, commission co-chairman.

"The concern is the integrity and credibility of the lottery," Thompson said Tuesday.

The commission recently agreed to expand progressive video slots, which allow people to play on multiple machines at once.

The expansion will lead to bigger jackpots and increased public scrutiny, Thompson said.

State lottery employees are prohibited by law from playing lottery games but the rules are more lenient for track employees.

Only service technicians, validation representatives and floor attendants are prohibited from playing video games under state lottery regulations, said John Melton, commission attorney.

Tightening employee play rules will be discussed at a commission meeting in October, lottery director John Musgrave said.