A former official of Freedom Industries was sentenced on Feb. 1 to three years of probation and a $10,000 fine for a Clean Water Act violation connected to the 2014 Elk River chemical spill. Robert J. Reynolds, of Apex, NC, pleaded guilty in federal court in March 2015 to negligently discharging a pollutant MCHM contaminating the water supply of Charleston and the surrounding areas for several days.\r\nReynolds is one of six former officials of Freedom Industries, in addition to Freedom Industries itself as a corporation, to be prosecuted for federal crimes associated with the chemical spill. Reynolds is the first defendant sentenced as part of the investigation. Charles E. Herzing and William E. Tis, fonner owners of Freedom Industries, Michael E. Burdette, plant manager, Dennis P. Farrell, former president and owner, and Gary Southern, president at the time of the spill, all pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, the Refuse Act and\/or failing to have a pollution prevention plan. Sentencing for the remaining five are scheduled to follow in the coming weeks.\r\n\u2022 \u2022 \u2022\r\nEight Greenbrier County students have been honored for their academic achievement at Farimont State University after completing the fall 2015 semester. As full-time students achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average and named to the President\u2019s List are: Devin Morgan and Jamie Riddell. As full-time students earning a 3.4 grade point average or more and named to the Dean\u2019s List are: Eric Dowdy, Chandler Fitzwater, Jordan Grimmett, Colter Kincaid, Ashtyn Stevens and Eric Tobergte.\r\n\u2022 \u2022 \u2022\r\nThe first reading of a water rate hike was approved by the Ronceverte City Council on Monday. The ordinance will increase water rates by more than 36 percent. The proposed rate hike is the product of a new law passed by the Legislature last year requiring municipal water systems to set aside a reserve fund. Ronceverte cannot afford to do so, said city administrator Reba Mohler, under the present rate structure.\r\nIf the measure is approved on second reading, the cost of the first 1,000 gallons of usage per month will rise from the current rate of $15.38 to $21. With each subsequent 1,000 gallons, the rate of $9.95 rises to S 14. A public hearing and final reading of the ordinance is set for Mar. 7.