The Voice of West Virginia
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Police Chief Maury Richards says the city’s three-year-old drug house ordinance has worked “beyond our wildest dreams.”
Richards is releasing some numbers this week that look beyond the 59 residential properties that have been shutdown under the provisions of the ordinance.
During an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” Friday, Richards said overall crime on the block where the house is located is down significantly when you compare the year prior to the shutdown with the year following.
“Violent crime has dropped by 51 percent; property crime by 35 percent; drug calls of all kinds by 52 percent; public nuisance by 34 percent and overdose calls by 54 percent,” Richards said. “Not only is it making a difference for who lives in that house but it’s also making a tremendous public safety difference for that entire block, cleaning it up, giving the decent citizens a better quality of life.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) November 15, 2019
The numbers also show 89 arrests with the closings of 59 houses and 80 of those arrests are on felony drug charges.
“The criminal justice system has taken care of a lot of these problems as well,” Richards said.
More and more landlords are working with police, according to Richards. He said the landlords are committed to doing a better job screening potential tenants.
The ordinance reads, “Under the provisions of the Drug House Ordinance, property owners are subject to fines if they fail to take appropriate action to abate the problem after 30 days of notification. The Order of Abatement announced today contains compliance stipulations including: evicting the problem tenants, other actions to prevent the recurrence of illegal drug activity, and mandating criminal background checks on future tenants to insure they are “free from convictions for prostitution; illegal gambling; illegal possession, storage, or delivery of or trafficking in controlled substances, or other illegal drug activity.”
Richards said he also believes morale among police officers is better because they are relieved of repeat calls to the same property.
“If we can shutdown a house and we know that it reduces return calls by 90 percent–you know you’ve solved that problem. We’re saving hundreds of hours of police manpower,” Richards said.
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GAMES TO WATCH
No. 10 Huntington (5-5) at No. 7 George Washington (7-3)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: The Highlanders hung with Spring Valley but fell short, 19-11. GW edged Capital, 20-17, to ensure itself of having homefield advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
Who to watch for Huntington: Brocton Blair is a big part of the Highlanders establishing their rushing attack and trying to limit the opposition on the ground.
Who to watch for George Washington: Quarterback R.T. Alexander seems to get better and more comfortable by the week. With several capable wide receivers and a quality offensive line, Alexander can do damage through the air or with his legs.
No. 13 South Charleston (4-6) at No. 4 Parkersburg South (9-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: The Black Eagles failed to reach the .500 mark in a 62-21 loss to unbeaten Cabell Midland. The Patriots pounded Parkersburg, 49-14.
Who to watch for South Charleston: Freshman quarterback Trey Dunn has been solid most of the season, while Romeo Dunham is a big asset at defensive back and on special teams.
Who to watch for Parkersburg South: Brandon Penn has been a catalyst throughout the season. Against the Big Reds, Penn passed for 196 yards and rushed for 98 more. He had a hand in four of the team’s five offensive touchdowns and also returned a fumble 30 yards for a score in the win.
No. 14 Hurricane (4-6) at No. 3 Spring Valley (9-1)
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Last week: The Redskins secured a spot in the postseason with a 38-12 win over St. Albans. The Timberwolves held off Huntington, 19-11.
Who to watch for Hurricane: Quarterback Austin Womack and tailback Christian Hill are the keys offensively. Hill rushed for 214 yards and a pair of touchdowns a week ago, giving him more than 1,000 rushing yards in three seasons.
Who to watch for Spring Valley: The Timberwolves have numerous contributors on a balanced offense, including quarterback Nate Ellis. Ellis threw a touchdown pass to Zane Porter a week ago, while Luke Christopher reached the end zone on a run. Wyatt Milum
No. 15 Riverside (4-6) at No. 2 Cabell Midland (10-0)
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Last week: The Warriors suffered a 25-6 loss to Greenbrier East, while the Knights knocked off South Charleston, 62-21.
Who to watch for Riverside: To have a chance at keeping this competitive, the Warriors will need to possess the ball often. That means tailback Caden Easterling and quarterback Javonte Elzy will need to be at their best.
Who to watch for Cabell Midland: J.J. Roberts is a home run threat every time he has the ball. The Wake Forest commit has stepped up all season and his speed adds another dimension to an offense that can also look for power back Jakob Caudill to produce.
No. 14 North Marion (7-3) at No. 3 Poca (10-0)
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Last week: The Huskies lost out on any chance at homefield advantage in the first round by falling at Liberty Harrison, 21-8. The Dots finished off a 10-0 regular season with a 32-0 win at Wayne.
Who to watch for North Marion: The Huskies’ offense never got on track in last week’s loss to Liberty. As a result, North Marion opens the postseason with a tougher first-round matchup. To play with Poca, the Huskies need a sharp performance from quarterback Gunner Murphy, who will look to Tariq Miller and Jahkari Mesidor on the perimeter.
Who to watch for Poca: Tailback Ethan Payne easily led the state in scoring this year with 276 points that came via 46 touchdowns. Payne is a focal point of what the Dots do on both sides of the ball, but quarterback Jay Cook can also hurt opposing defenses.
No. 16 Winfield (7-3) at No. 1 Fairmont Senior (10-0)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: The Generals were no match for Mingo Central in a 55-20 setback. The Polar Bears blanked East Fairmont, 53-0, to record their 24th straight win.
Who to watch for Winfield: Tailback John Covert has been a standout throughout the season and scored all three of his team’s touchdowns in last week’s loss.
Who to watch for Fairmont Senior: Much like the aforementioned Payne, FSHS quarterback Gage Michael is squarely in the mix for the Kennedy Award. The dual threat is the straw that stirs the drink for the Polar Bears. Michael has plenty of weapons at his disposal and is protected by an experienced offensive line that features Zach Frazier, a West Virginia commit.
LENORE, W.Va. — A student at Mingo County’s Tug Valley High School has been arrested on multiple charges of making terrorist threats.
The Williamson Daily News reported Friday Kenneth Wood, 18, of Lenore, was arrested Nov. 7 by members of the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department.
A criminal complaint filed in Mingo County Magistrate Court alleges Wood made multiple threats of intimidation against fellow students and added their names to a “kill list.”
Deputies allegedly discovered two separate lists on Wood’s computer. One list included 26 names of individuals to be “spared” and 24 names on what was labeled “kill list.”
Wood was arraigned in Mingo County Magistrate Court and is lodged in the Southwestern Regional Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash only bail.
Administrators at Tug Valley High School referred all questions about the cast to the superintendent who was unavailable for comment Friday.
SUTTON, W.Va. — Those who enjoy using Sutton Lake during the fall and winter should be advised of an anticipated change in water level. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to temporarily lower the winter pool of the lake starting Dec. 1.
The lake level will be drawn below the normal winter poll by another 30 feet dropping the elevation to 865 feet for two weeks. The purpose of the extended draw down is to allow divers and workers to install equipment and make repairs on the dam structure.
Corps of Engineers officials say efforts will be made to keep lake access points at the Bee Run ramp open for winter boat launching as well as the ramp at the south abutment. However, officials said you can expect heavy siltation on the ramps once the lake levels fall below 895 feet.
Officials also warn about changes to the navigable channel between now and the end of the year as a result of the extended draw-down and low water period. The Corps plans to start the lake’s return to normal pool levels by Dec. 14.
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ELKINS, W.Va. — Managers on the Monongahela National Forest have announced plans for a prescribed burn on the forest in Greenbrier county for Saturday.
The plan is to burn about 96 acres in the Brushy Mountain/Buskirk Grouse Management Area east of Mapledale.
The controlled burn is to help improve and enhance wildlife habitat, particularly for grouse, wild turkey, and the Appalachian grizzled skipper. Officials said it’s the only known population of the skipper in West Virginia.
The activity will be weather dependent and a decision will be made on the day of the burn if conditions are favorable. The area where they fire is happening will be closed to the public for several days and signs will be posted alerting about the burn on nearby roads. Residents and visitors will likely see and smell smoke for several days.
Prescribed fires are conducted under specific weather conditions and designed to accomplish pre-determined forest management goals. Monongahela National Forest follows strict guidelines for conducting prescribed burns, and takes into consideration environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and wind. If any environmental conditions are not within limits, the burns will be postponed.
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— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Louisiana Tech won’t be close to at full strength tonight for its important Conference USA matchup at Marshall.
The Bulldogs’ athletic department confirmed through a statement late Thursday that senior starting quarterback J’Mar Smith, junior wide receiver Adrian Hardy and senior linebacker James Jackson are suspended due to an athletic department policy violation.
The statement said that Smith and Hardy will also sit out next week’s game against UAB, while Jackson’s suspension is for one game.
Tech’s updated depth chart shows that redshirt freshman Aaron Allen will start at quarterback in place of Smith, while graduate transfer Malik Stanley will fill Hardy’s X-receiver spot.
Allen has thrown nine passes in four games for 114 yards and a touchdown along with an interception this season. He steps in for the experienced Smith, who leads the 17th ranked offense in college football, having recorded 2,483 passing yards and 14 touchdowns against four interceptions this season.
Tech has won eight straight games after dropping its season opener to Texas, while Marshall is on a four-game win streak.
The winner of tonight’s game controls its destinty to host the Conference USA title game on Dec. 7.
With news of the suspensions, Marshall is a 6-7 point favorite, up a few points from what it was earlier in the week.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Brackets are set for the WVSSAC state volleyball tournament, which will be held in Charleston. Quarterfinal and semifinal contests will be played on November 15th and the championships in each class will be played on November 16th.
The eight teams to survive regional play have been seeded this year.
Class AAA seeds:
2. George Washington
3. St. Albans
4. Spring Valley
Class AAA schedule:
Game 1 – Parkersburg 3, Spring Valley 2
Game 2 – Musselman 3, Morgantown 0
Game 3 – No. 7 University vs. No. 2 George Washington – Friday, 1:30pm
Game 4 – No. 6 Hampshire vs. No. 3 St. Albans – 30 minutes after
Game 5 – No. 5 Parkersburg vs. No. 1 Musselman – Friday, 6:30pm
Game 6 – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner – 30 minutes after
Game 7 – Championship – Saturday, 9:30am
Class AA seeds:
1. Oak Glen
2. Shady Spring
3. Philip Barbour
5. Point Pleasant
7. Robert C. Byrd
Class AA schedule:
Game 1 – Bridgeport 3, Point Pleasant 1
Game 2 – Oak Glen 3, Independence 0
Game 3 – No. 7 Robert C. Byrd vs. No. 2 Shady Spring – Friday, 1:30pm
Game 4 – No. 6 Winfield vs. No. 3 Philip Barbour – 30 minutes after
Game 5 – No. 4 Bridgeport vs. No. 1 Oak Glen – Friday, 6:30pm
Game 6 – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner – 30 minutes after
Game 7 – Championship – Saturday, 30 minutes after Class A final
Class A seeds:
1. Wirt County
2. Parkersburg Catholic
3. Paden City
5. Ritchie County
6. Greenbrier West
7. East Hardy
8. Greater Beckley Christian
Class A schedule:
Game 1 – Ritchie County 3, Moorefield 1
Game 2 – Wirt County 3, Greater Beckley Christian 1
Game 3 – No. 7 East Hardy vs. No. 2 Parkersburg Catholic – 1:30pm
Game 4 – No. 6 Greenbrier West vs. No. 3 Paden City – 30 minutes later
Game 5 – No. 5 Ritchie County vs. No. 1 Wirt County – Friday, 6:30pm
Game 6 – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner – 30 minutes after
Game 7 – Championship – Saturday, 30 minutes after Class AAA final
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — News and notes from around West Virginia as the high school football postseason begins Friday.
Martinsburg and Cabell Midland protecting perfection in Class AAA
The beat rolls on at Martinsburg where the top-seeded Bulldogs have extended their state record win streak to 52 games. Their closest margin of victory was in their 35-point win at Salem, Va. Martinsburg (10-0) will host No. 16 Preston (4-6) Saturday afternoon. “Our guys know what to expect,” said Martinsburg head coach David Walker. “They expect to be here and they expect to keep moving on. It is not arrogance, it is just confidence that they have. They go to work and they understand what is at stake.”
Cabell Midland (10-0) has successfully navigated through the gauntlet of the Mountain State Athletic Conference. The Knights defeated Spring Valley, Hurricane and Capital by seven points or less in September. They cruised to victory over their final five games and will face a rematch with No. 15 Riverside (4-6) Saturday. “It is tough,” said Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons. “With the teams we play, to overcome a lot of things that we have been through this year with injuries… they have been resilient.”
Spring Valley seeks fourth consecutive trip to Wheeling
While Martinsburg is seeking their fourth straight trip to the Super 6, Spring Valley is looking to do so same. The No. 3 Timberwolves (9-1) will host No. 14 Hurricane (4-6) to open up their postseason run. “Our senior class has played twelve extra weeks than everybody else,” said Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess. “That’s like having a redshirt season. Those kids have had quality practice time over the last three years. And it showed this year when we had to start playing younger kids.”
Photos by Marcus Constantino
Parkersburg South and Musselman could stage quality quarterfinal
If they can avoid first round upsets, No. 5 Musselman (8-2) will visit No. 4 Parkersburg South (9-1) next weekend in the quarterfinal round. The Applemen will host No. 12 Parkersburg (5-5) while the Patriots welcome No. 13 South Charleston (4-6) to Erickson Stadium.
“This is the fourth straight season we have finished in the top five going into the playoffs,” said Musselman head coach Brian Thomas. “We are on a pretty good run right now which says a lot for our players and our staff.”
PSHS rebounded from their first loss to Wheeling Park in Week 10 by defeating city-rival Parkersburg. “I thought our kids re-channelled their focus after the (Wheeling) Park game,” said Parkersburg South head coach Nathan Tanner. “We had a great week of practice and the kids came out and hit on all cylinders.”
Preston faces long road trip, long odds in opener
The Preston Knights are making their first postseason appearance since 2008. They will visit Martinsburg on Saturday. PHS head coach Jonathan Tennant is hopeful that a playoff berth can be a building block for a program that has struggled with low numbers of players in recent years.
“We dressed 36 kids in our last game against Brooke,” Tennant said. “That’s not enough to have practice. It is not enough to have a consistent junior varsity program. We hope to get ten or fifteen more kids out to the program. And if we do that, we’ll be in good shape.”
Polar Bears ready for return to ‘Thunderdome’
Class AA No. 1 Fairmont Senior (10-0) owns the state’s second-longest win streak at 24 games. They will host No. 16 Winfield (7-3) Friday. “For a while now, we have called the playoffs ‘Thunderdome’,” said Fairmont Senior head coach Nick Bartic. “Because two men enter and one man leaves in terms of your season. We approach it as a round-by-round type of contest.”
Poca’s remarkable ride continues
From 2012-2017, Poca won five games. They are 19-2 since. The No. 3 Dots (10-0) will host No. 14 North Marion (7-3) Saturday in the opening round. “There’s a lot of goals we have accomplished so far,” said Poca head coach Seth Ramsey. “Winning the (Cardinal) Conference and being able to go undefeated for the first time since 1978, we’ve accomplished a lot but we still have to keep our minds where they need to be.”
Similar styles for Keyser and Liberty Harrison
No. 5 Keyser (9-1) will host No. 12 Liberty Harrison (8-2) and both teams feature run-heavy, ball control offenses. “In a day and age where everybody is spread out and in the shotgun, teams like us and Keyser are getting a little bit more few and far between,” said Liberty head coach A.J. Harman. “I think it will be fun and it will be a challenge to see how tough we are.”
“They run Stick-I, so we have seen that before,” said Keyser head coach Sean Biser. “They’ve got some nice backs and they come off the ball really hard.”
Bridgeport posts seventh consecutive regular season with at least nine wins
No. 2 Bridgeport (9-1) finds themselves in a familiar position with the opportunity to host multiple postseason home games at Wayne Jamison Field. The Indians will host No. 15 Lewis County (7-3) Friday. “I don’t think we played as well as we probably should have early in the year,” said Bridgeport head coach John Cole. “A one-loss season is a really good season and I am proud of them. But all that is in the past now.”
Photo by William Wotring
Class A defending champs ready for road challenges
For the second time in three seasons, two-time defending state champion Wheeling Central Catholic (6-4) enters the playoffs as the No. 10 seed. The Maroon Knights have played a challenging schedule featuring several top teams from Eastern Ohio. “Seeding can be a little bit deceiving,” said Wheeling Central head coach Mike Young. “I like our chances in terms of the schedule we played because it helps us prepare to play in this postseason.”
Central visits No. 7 Tolsia (7-3) Saturday afternoon.
Modesitt making an impact at Williamstown
No. 5 Williamstown (8-2) is once again a higher-seeded team in the Class A playoffs. The Yellowjackets will host Tug Valley (6-3) in their opener. First-year starting quarterback Brayden Modesitt won the job in training camp and has progressed throughout the year.
“We trust our quarterback a little bit more,” said Williamstown head coach Terry Smith. “He really didn’t play a whole lot before this. Now we are ten games into the season and so he is not really a junior or a first-year quarterback. We have let him change plays at the line of scrimmage a little bit more and let him throw it a little bit more.”
2018 semifinalist Midland Trail fighting injuries
Midland Trail won their first twelve games in 2018 before falling to Williamstown in the semifinals. The Patriots (6-4) earned the No. 9 seed this year and they will travel to face No. 8 East Hardy (7-3). Trail graduated a large senior class a year ago and Frank Isaacs’ club has been beset by numerous injuries this year.
“We have had eight starters out from the beginning of the season,” Isaacs said. “We will go into the playoffs probably short six starters. So it is frustrating. At the same time, you have to admire the kids that have been stepping up. A lot of Class A teams at this point would love to be where we are at.”
Photo by Marcus Constantino
Route 50 rivals lead Class A field
Class A No. 1 Doddridge County (10-0) has won 28 consecutive regular season games and they have the opportunity to host as many as three postseason games at the brand new Cline Stansberry Stadium. The Bulldogs will host No. 16 Madonna (6-3-1) Saturday.
“It is a good feeling,” said Doddridge County head coach Bobby Burnside. “The players and coaches have worked real hard to get in this position. The regular season is over so just like everyone else, it is perform or be eliminated.”
Fourteen miles to the west on Route 50, No. 2 Ritchie County (9-1) enjoyed their best regular season since going 10-0 in 1995. From 2014 to 2017, the Rebels had a stretch where they won 2 of 34 games. In their second season under head coach Rick Haught, Ritchie has posted a mark of 16-5.
“Some kids just know how to win more than others,” Haught said. “That seems to be what we have going for us right now. They are a confident group but they are not a cocky group. The Rebels will host No. 15 South Harrison (6-4) Friday.
Greenbrier West revived with return of first head coach
The most dramatic turnaround season in the state has been authored by Greenbrier West. After winning just two games in 2018, the No. 4 Cavaliers posted a 9-1 record this fall. They will host No. 13 Tygarts Valley (7-3), who has qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
After fifteen years away from coaching, Toby Harris returned to GWHS. He led the Cavaliers to their first postseason appearance in five years. Harris launched the program and was their first head coach when the school opened in 1968.
“I am having a good time,” Harris said. “There’s no pressure on me at my age. I have been retired for fifteen years and saw this opportunity and thought I might try it. The Good Lord has been good to me and my health is good. So I have been having a good time.”
Photo courtesy of Greenbrier West Athletics (@GWHSCavaliers)
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PRINCETON, W.Va. — A McDowell County man has been charged with 10 counts each of incest and sexual assault of a female teen.
Everett Eugene Whitt, 46, of Cucumber was taken into custody by West Virginia State Police, who began an investigation after interviewing the alleged victim, a relative of Whitt, who told authorities she had been assaulted by him on multiple occasions between January 2016 and October 2019.
The teen reportedly said Whitt had told her he wanted her to become pregnant.
Whitt is being held at Southern Regional Jail on a $75,000 cash-only bond.
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Amy Kontras/USA TODAY Sports
PITTSBURGH — West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins should know much more about his team by the end of Friday.
The Mountaineers and Pittsburgh meet for the 187th time on the hardwood with tip-off at the Petersen Events Center set for 7 p.m. The contest, which marks the first November meeting between the two schools, will air on ESPNU.
West Virginia (1-0) plays for the first time in a week following a 94-84 home win over Akron in the season opener.
“We need to play well against a Power Five school and get a win under our belt,” Huggins said.
Pitt, meanwhile, is off to a 2-1 start that features a win over Florida State, a loss to Nicholls State and Tuesday’s 71-57 victory over Robert Morris.
The Mountaineers are seeking their fourth consecutive win in the series, something they haven’t accomplished since the end of Huggins’ playing career in Morgantown. Friday’s game marks the third in a four-game series that runs through next season.
“We’re just worried about getting one,” Huggins said. “I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to that stuff.
“If it continues, it’s going to go back to being the rivalry that it was and that’s fun for both schools and both fan bases.”
The Panthers’unusual start includes a quality 63-61 win over Florida State in the opener and a 75-70 loss to the Colonels.
In his first season at Pitt, junior guard Ryan Murphy leads the team with 17 points per game and has made 9-of-19 three-pointers.
“Murphy really stretches the defense,” Huggins said.
Sophomore guards Trey McGowens and Xavier Johnson follow with averages of 15 and 10 points, respectively.
“McGowens played terrific in the second half against Robert Morris,” Huggins noted. “He did everything — rebounded it, drove the ball to the basket and he was really, really good. Twenty-five (points) and eight (rebounds) is a pretty good day.”
Six-foot-10 junior Terrell Brown is the team’s fourth leading scorer at 9.7 points. Brown blocked 60 shots a year ago and should be a formidable challenge for the Mountaineers’ post players.
West Virginia sophomore Derek Culver (6-10) tied for the team lead with 16 points in the season opener, although heralded freshman Oscar Tshiebwe (6-9) was held to five points and five rebounds in only 12 minutes.
Senior Jermaine Haley also scored 16 against the Zips, while sophomore Emmitt Matthews finished with 13 in the win.
Perhaps the biggest brightest spot for the Mountaineers in the opener was freshman guard Miles McBride, who finished with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Despite starting against Akron, sophomore point guard Jordan McCabe played only 10 minutes. Fortunately for the Mountaineers, reserve guards Chase Harler and Brandon Knapper each scored nine points, while Taz Sherman added eight in his West Virginia debut.
“We’ve watched a lot of film — a lot more film than what we normally do of ourselves,” Huggins said. “Your good things really stand out on film as well as your transgressions. They got a chance to see the things they did well and a chance to see what they didn’t do very well. That really helps them.”
West Virginia is after its first road win since Feb. 20, 2018, at Baylor. The Mountaineers finished 0-10 in road games last season.
This will be just the second game for West Virginia compared to the fourth for Pitt.
“We basically have three games in,” Huggins said. “We had a good scrimmage against Penn Sate and our Duquesne scrimamge had 9,500 people there. I think we’re OK.”
The Mountaineers lead the all-time series, 98-88.
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