The Voice of West Virginia
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Neal Brown’s staff showed off some recruiting bona fides this weekend, swooping into a neighboring state to flip a prospect who was previously committed to his home-state school.
Jordan White, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound offensive guard from DeMatha Catholic in suburban Washington, D.C. announced his commitment to West Virginia on Sunday evening. White had previously committed to Maryland in the spring before decommitting last month.
DeMatha is one of the premiere high school programs in Maryland. In fact, DeMatha’s head coach from 2011-18 is now the running backs coach for the Terrapins, who play at West Virginia next season.
Rivals grades White as a three-star recruit. White made his official visit to Morgantown this weekend, ultimately picking West Virginia over Syracuse. He was recruited by offensive line coach Matt Moore and defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae.
White helps fill a clear need on the interior of West Virginia’s offensive line. The Mountaineers were 129th out of 130 teams nationally in yards per carry in the regular season.
West Virginia now has 16 commitments for its 2020 recruiting class. The early signing period is looming on Dec. 18.
West Virginia’s commitments for 2020:
Chris Mayo (Richland, N.J.) 6-5, 305 OL 4 stars
Garrett Greene (Tallahassee, Fla.) 6-0, 175 QB 4 stars
Jordan White (Hyattsville, Md.) 6-3, 310 OG 3 stars
Daryl Porter Jr. (Plantation, Fla.) 5-10, 165 CB 3 stars
Sean Martin (Bluefield, W.Va.) 6-6, 260 DE 3 stars
Jackie Matthews (Gulf Coast CC/Pinson, Ala.) 6-0, 180 CB 3 stars
Quay Mays (NW Mississippi CC/Bradenton, Fla.) 6-2, 290 DT 3 stars
Taurus Simmons (Savannah, Ga.) 6-3, 210 OLB 3 stars
Zach Frazier (Fairmont, W.Va.) 6-2, 277 OL 3 stars
Jairo Faverus (Filton, England) 6-0, 190 CB 3 stars
David Okoli (Gaithersburg, Md.) 5-11, 176 CB 3 stars
Lanell Carr (St. Louis, Mo.) 6-3, 230 OLB 3 stars
Jacob Gamble (Iowa Western CC) 6-7, 325 OL 3 stars
Reese Smith (Danville, Ky.) 5-11, 175 WR 3 stars
Devell Washington (Bay City, Mich.) 6-4, 215 WR 3 stars
S.L. McCall (Iowa Western CC/Lake City, Fla.) 6-3, 200 OLB 3 stars
Charles Finley (Wayne, N.J.) 6-4, 215 TE 2 stars
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CHARLESTON — With the help of 22 points from senior guard Tynice Martin, Mike Carey won his 400th career game as West Virginia women’s basketball coach in the No. 22 Mountaineers 72-55 defeat of Norfolk State at Charleston Civic Center.
It was the first game for WVU (7-1) since beating No. 10 Mississippi State last Sunday, which pushed the Mountaineers into the Top 25.
Given the week layoff, the Mountaineers unsurprisingly didn’t play very crisply.
“I just want to start out by saying that it was a very sloppy game,” Carey said. “We just never got in the flow of things. I’ll be honest with you, that’s how we practiced this week. [It was] sloppy. We have to learn from this.
“It’s good to get a win and get down here to Charleston. I wish we could have put more of a show on for the fans down here, but we were able to get the win.”
Carey now has 688 overall career wins. The first 288 came in 13 seasons as the men’s coach at Salem University.
Martin led all scorers with a season-high 22 points and was one of three Mountaineers to finish in double figures. Martin now has 1,670 career points, good for No. 7 on WVU’s all-time scoring list.
Sophomore forward Kari Niblack finished with 14 points, while redshirt freshman center Rochelle Norris notched her second double-figure scoring performance of the season with 10 points. Niblack also hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds to notch back-to-back doubles.
The Mountaineers shot 26-of-56 (46.4 percent) from the field, including 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from three-point range. WVU held the advantage on the glass and out-rebounded NSU 42-31. West Virginia also bested Norfolk State in points in the paint (38-30), second-chance points (15-5), fast-break points (13-8) and forced 15 turnovers.
Norfolk State went 22-of-58 (37.9 percent) from the field and shot 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from behind the arc. Chanette Hicks led the scoring effort for the Spartans, adding 24 points, and tied for the team lead in rebounding with La’Deja James and Armani Franklin, with five.
West Virginia next travels to Orlando, Fla., from Dec. 21-22 for a pair of games at the Florida Sunshine Classic. The Mountaineers are set to square off against No. 19 Michigan State on Saturday and Syracuse on Sunday. Both games are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. at Rollins College.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Delegate Moore Capito of Kanawha County believes West Virginia could be a major beneficiary of the next evolution of the tech economy.
“It’s not defined by geography. New York will always be New York because it’s the financial center, but as we become more mobile in the way we work, communicate, and live, West Virginia really has a great opportunity and a great story to tell,” said Capito.
He hopes his newly formed Legislative Tech Caucus will help jump start the idea of thinking more along the lines of policy which is more geared toward entrepreneurship and high tech jobs and industry.
The Millennial generation is geared toward tech more than any other and that will only increase in the years ahead. Capito believes West Virginia should embrace the idea as an option to transform the Mountain State’s economy because we are an attractive place for those involved in the tech sector.
“We have so many things they want outside of the work arena. We’ve got the recreation and the lifestyle, and he cost of living and the values you want to raise a family. Now we need to focus on professionally what this next generation is looking for.” he said.
The caucus is being co-chaired by Del. Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio. He said the state has to react to the trend of the young generations becoming more mobile.
“West Virginia offers a great place to raise a family, (and) it’s about time we join the 21st century and make sure West Virginia also becomes a great place for innovation and technological opportunities so that we can truly compete in today’s economy,” Fluharty said.
Capito said the caucus is bi-partisan and he hoped to make it bicameral as well, inviting members of the Senate to get involved as well. He said the state’s transformation could be linked to this line of thinking.
“I think the next generation of jobs are going to come from this start up economy. I think we need to take part and to do that we need to jump in head first,” he said.
The new caucus will begin meeting next month following the beginning of the 60-day regular session.
The 2019 Class AAA all-state football team as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association
OL — Wyatt Milum, Spring Valley, Jr.
OL — Ty Lucas, Martinsburg, Sr.
OL — Jackson Oxley, Cabell Midland, Sr.
OL — Terrance Pankey, Huntington, Sr.
OL — Ian Pomeroy, Woodrow Wilson, Sr.
WR — Jaord Bowie, Martinsburg, Sr. (captain)
WR — Dylan Day, Parkersburg South, Sr.
QB — Alex Dunlevy, Wheeling Park, Sr.
RB — Blake Hartman, Musselman, Jr.
RB — Caden Easterling, Riverside, Sr.
RB — Jakob Caudill, Cabell Midland,Jr.
K — Chris Catlett, Martinsburg, Sr.
Utility — Elijiah Banks, Martinsburg, Sr.
Utility — Chance Knox, Capital, Sr.
Utility — J.J. Roberts, Cabell Midland, Sr.
DL — Matt Bednarski, Martinsburg, Sr.
DL — Zeiqui Lawton, South Charleston,Jr.
DL — Braxton Amos, Parkersburg South, Sr.
DL — Zach McCoy, Cabell Midland,Sr.
DL — CJ Wade, Parkersburg, Sr.
LB — Logan Spurlock, Capital, Sr.
LB — Trey Sine, Martinsburg, Sr.
LB — Brocton Blair, Huntington, Sr.
DB — Teddy Marshall, Martinsburg, Sr.
DB — Kerion Martin, Capital, Sr.
DB — David Livingston, Spring Valley, Sr.
P — Michael Hughes, George Washington, Sr.
Utility — Brandon Penn, Parkersburg South, Sr. (captain)
Utility — Preston Fox, Morgantown, Sr.
Utility — Devin Heath, Hedgesville, Sr.
OL — Marcellus Marshall, Morgantown, Sr.
OL — Ethan Northcraft, Musselman, Jr.
OL — Austin Chapman, Riverside, Sr.
OL — Jake Hutchison, Spring Valley, Sr.
OL — Corey Shaffer, Jefferson, Sr.
WR — Alex Mazelon, George Washington, Sr.
WR — Carson Namack, Wheeling Park,Jr.
QB — R.T. Alexander, George Washington, jr
RB — Naieem Kerney, Martinsburg, Jr. (captain)
RB — Kevon Warren, Martinsburg, Jr.
RB — Marion Lawson, Greenbrier East, Sr.
RB —Christian Hill, Hurricane, Sr.
K — Andrew Glass, Wheeling Park, Jr.
Utility — Kyle King, Greenbrier East, Sr.
Utility — Stevie Mitchell, Wheeling Park,Jr.
DL — Terrel Goode, Martinsburg, Sr.
DL — Jeff Tucker, Parkersburg South, Sr.
DL — Bomani Brooks, Hurricane, Sr.
LB — Parker Hardman, Cabell Midland, Sr.
LB — Logan Raber, University, Sr.
LB — Malakai Brown, Martinsburg, Sr.
LB — Justin Rinehart, Musselman, Jr.
LB — Tierdin Berry, Cabell Midland, Sr.
DB — Anthony Smith, Martinsburg, Sr.
DB — Devin Jackson, Huntington, Jr.
DB — Romeo Dunham, South Charleston, Sr. (captain)
P — Matt Curry, Parkersburg, Sr.
Utility — Chase Henson, Spring Mills, Jr.
Utility — Luke Christopher, Spring Valley, Sr.
Utility — Devin Gaines, Parkersburg South, Jr.
Special Honorable Mention
Eli Archer, Huntington; Jace Boggs, John Marshall; Jace Bradbury, Washington; Brody Brumfield, Spring Valley; Grant Cochran, Princeton; Jackson Fetty, Cabell Midland; Gage Fiore, Parkersburg; Dalton Flowers, John Marshall; Chris Hudson, Capital; Shaheed Jackson, Wheeling Park; Braeden Mason, Parkersburg; John McConnell, Morgantown; Matt Moore, Ripley; Ryan Moses, Hurricane; Ethan Parsons, Princeton; Charlie Pierson, Riverside; Zane Porter, Spring Valley; Andrew Preast, George Washington; Colten Rosenburger, Preston; Andrew Shelek, Wheeling Park; Joshua Shorts, Brooke; Jacob Spearen, University; Ryan Strader, Buckhannon-Upshur; Sawyer Twigg, Hedgesville; Ethan Von Glahn, Hedgesville; Tyrone Washington, Hurricane; Joseph Wells, Woodrow Wilson; Max Wentz, Huntington;
Frank Amore, Washington; Camden Bates, Brooke; JB Barrick, Spring Mills; Ayden Bishoff, Preston; TaJhan Blackwell, Huntington; Caleb Bryan, Wheeling Park; Tay Calloway, Capital; Mondrell Dean, South Charleston; Deondre Crudup, Morgnatown; Zach Dillon, Cabell Midland; Justin Frohnapfel, John Marshall; Christian Gist, Capital; Cooper Hardman, Cabell Midland; Jaxon Holbert, St. Albans; Chris Hulmes, Greenbrier East; Isaac Isabell, George Washington; Chase Keener, Spring Mills; Bryce Morris, Martinsburg; Ripley; Michael Ray, George Washington; Trevor Sardo, Hampshire; Josh Sanders, University; Clayton Sharp, Spring Valley; Samahji Simon, South Charleston; Ryan Smith, Buckhannon-Upshur; Noah Waynick, Huntington; Noah Westfall, Ripley; Jace Whetsell, Morgantown; Elijah Williams, George Washington; Kam Wells, St Albans; Shyliek Kinney, South Charleston; Nemo Roberts, Cabell Midland; Karrington Hill, Capital
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State delegates in special session will again examine the extension of a tourism tax credit while also attempting to untangle how one of Gov. Jim Justice’s family businesses, the historic Greenbrier resort, could be affected.
The bill was introduced last month in a special session that coincided with regularly-scheduled interim meetings. The Senate passed it plus two other bills and then adjourned.
But the House of Delegates put it off because of concerns over how Justice’s Greenbrier properties could be affected long-term.
“When it passed the first time, Jim Justice was not the governor. But what’s before us now is an extension of it, and he is the governor,” said Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, this week. “It’s certainly a concern.”
The tax credit bill that was passed by lawmakers a few years ago sunsets at the end of this month so the bill before lawmakers simply strikes through the original dates and subs in dates six years in the future.
“I don’t know if you can amend the underlying law or just have to work with the part of the bill that’s open,” Cowles said.
A bill passed at the very end of the 2014 legislative session was amended with language targeted to specific Greenbrier facilities, particularly its associated medical clinic.
The bill signing ceremony featured trumpets, Greenbrier catering and Jim Justice, who was a billionaire businessman but not yet the governor.
The law provides a tax break worth up to 25 percent of the cost of building new facilities but only in certain conditions. Businesses that qualify can only collect the credit if tax revenues grow.
A Tourism Development Act report to the Legislature describes what happened with past projects that have qualified for the credit.
Several qualifying projects, including some associated with Justice’s properties, remain eligible.
For instance, the tennis stadium and wedding chapel at The Greenbrier has 7 to 9 years remaining for the credit. The expansion properties have a potential credit of $4 million.
The athletic facility at The Greenbrier that was a pro football training center still has six to eight years of credit eligibility remaining. The maximum allowed would be $9.5 million.
But there are new tourism destinations not associated with The Greenbrier interested in the credit, the report details.
New possibilities include Corduroy Inn expansion project at Snowshoe in Pocahontas County, construction of a Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center, the new Grand Patrician Resort in Cabell County, Rustic Ravines in Wayne County for visitors using the Hatfield McCoy trail system, renovation of Hotel Morgan in Morgantown and renovation of Hill Top House Hotel in Harpers Ferry.
The state Development Office says it is aware of three to five more projects that might submit applications.
Cowles said he voted against the bill in 2014 and remains concerned about its provisions aimed at breaks for properties owned by the current governor.
But he’s been persuaded that state tourism officials consider it a draw.
“They really like it and think it can be beneficial going forward,” Cowles said. “I’m kind of leaning toward the renewal of the act, but I’m uneasy with that old language that remains in there benefiting The Greenbrier.”
It’s not clear how to deal with that, though.
Because the bill currently before lawmakers currently just strikes through some dates, it’s not clear if legislative surgery can be performed on the full 2014 version currently on the books.
Moreover, amending the bill hits a wall because the the Senate’s adjournment.
A couple of outcomes are possible:
Pass the extension during special session this week and worry about broader changes when the regular session begins next month.
Or hold off on dealing with the bill at all until the regular session and make the date changes retroactive.
Or, finally, pass the bill and let it remain as it is and instead focus on the state’s ethics laws for public officials and their business dealings.
“I certainly don’t know yet, but I’m hoping to have some of those conversations when we get back down to the Capitol,” said Cowles, who asked several questions about the bill last month during a House Finance session.
Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, also asked about the bill during a House Finance meeting last month.
Sponaugle also said the tax credit seems broadly effective.
“The question is whether or not you want to extend the program out for another five years. Generally speaking, I think it’s probably a pretty good idea,” he said.
“It’s a way to encourage development or building in tourism. That in and of itself sounds good.”
But he is concerned about The Greenbrier provisions.
“There needs to be some interest on both sides to go back and clean this issue up – or go back and address it. It just looks bad,” Sponaugle said.
“There is nothing stopping the governor, who has never divested himself, from going in and using this tax credit starting January first.”
He concluded, “I think the bill is good. I just don’t think that’s the intention.”
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State lawmakers have 30 separate meetings scheduled over four days this week at the state capitol.
The bulk of the meetings in the December ‘interims” will take place on Monday and Tuesday. The House of Delegates also have noon floor sessions scheduled for those days in connection with a special session that did not wrap up in the House last month.
Monday’s meetings will focus on natural gas development, the current status of the state budget and career readiness in schools.
State Transportation Secretary Byrd White is scheduled to give an update on the Pritchard Heartland Gateway Intermodal facility in Wayne County at a Tuesday morning meeting. The Post-Audits committee meets on Tuesday along with the Committee on Flooding.
The legislature’s Rule-Making Review Committee has all-day meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
The 60-day regular legislative session begins Jan. 8.
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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. — A CSX Transportation employee died Saturday after being struck by a train.
The incident happened near DuPont Road before 4 p.m.
CSX Transportation is conducting an investigation. The victim’s identity has not been released.
MASON COUNTY, W.Va. — A Mason County Sheriff’s deputy is recovering after a shooting incident on Sunday.
According to authorities, the incident happened at a home in the 1300 block of Whitten Ridge Road.
The deputy is in stable condition at a hospital. An investigation is underway.
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — WVU Medicine Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg is taking the next step in robotic surgery.
The hospital recently added the da Vinci Xi Surgical System. Berkeley Medical Center President and CEO Anthony P. Zelenka said the robot allows for increased precision while decreasing incision sizes.
“Two of our new operating rooms at Berkeley Medical Center were designed to support this new Xi model da Vinci robot,” Anthony P. Zelenka, president and CEO, said. “The precision of this advanced Xi system means that WVU Medicine is taking surgery to the next level in our region.”
The da Vinci system is manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. The surgeon sits at an ergonomically-designed console across the room while operating. A team of technicians and nurses remain in the operating room during the procedure.
Other key components include interactive robotic arms, the 3-D HD vision system and wristed instruments.
— Mike McCullough (@MikeMcC_MN) December 12, 2019
General Surgeon Dr. Mazin Shackour performed the first hernia repair at Berkeley Medical Center using the da Vinci robot on November 19.
Shackour said they can perform a wide range of surgeries, including heart and prostate, more precisely which means a shorter patient recovery period.
“We are talking about high-definition technology, basically. When I’m operating there and looking at that console there are nerve endings that I can see that you would not be able to visualize on traditional laparoscopic (equipment). That is very important for patient safety and achieving the operation safely.”
Berkeley Medical Center officials plan to expand surgical procedures using the da Vinci robot to include urological, gynecological and thoracic procedures.
“If you see a little, small amount of bleeding it’s so magnified and blown up I bet you will be able to stop it immediately with blood loss. The other specific advantage for this technology is wristed instruments. When you’re operating down in deep pelvic areas, there will be a need for the ability to bend the instrument shaft. Traditional laparoscopic equipment does not have that ability.”
WVU Medicine officials said they ordered five da Vinci robots across their network, including the unit placed in Martinsburg.
“This expansion of our robotic-assisted surgery program here at WVU Medicine East is just another example of how we strive to provide our patients with revolutionary treatments using the latest state-of-the-art technology,” Zelenka said.
The addition of the da Vinci symbolizes a series of recent expansions to both Berkeley Medical Center and Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson.
“We are honored and excited to have been the first health system in our region to offer the Maxor X for robot guided spine surgery and now the da Vinci for various minimally invasive surgical procedures” Zelenka said, adding that in January 2020 Jefferson Medical Center will be the first hospital in the region to introduce the ROSA robot for robotic-assisted knee replacement.
WVU Medicine said the da Vinci robot will not increase the cost of surgical procedures for patients.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning consumers to watch for identity theft this holiday season, especially when it comes to children using digital devices.
Morrisey said many children will receive electronic gifts that will give them broader access to the Internet and very one of those devices poses an increased risk of identity theft by malicious apps and social networks
“Children may not always understand the basics of security, especially with the excitement of receiving a new device,” Morrisey said. “Many times these gifts become just another form of entertainment, but each device makes a child susceptible so it’s important for everyone to monitor usage and educate children about dangers posed by the Internet.”
Morrisey is offering several tips:
1. Monitor social media use, even if children object.
2. Lay down ground rules as a protective measure.
3. Warn children that private information should not be shared on websites.
4. Caution children against downloading games or apps from third-party sites. It’s also a good idea to have an adult approve any downloads.
5. Maintain strict privacy settings on Facebook and other social networks.
6. The advice comes as part of the Attorney General’s Holiday Consumer Protection Week.
Morrisey also said residents shouldn’t travel with important personal information. You shouldn’t carry medical insurance cards, Social Security cards or banking information in your purse or wallet. He said residents should never put valuables in a car in open view.
“This is the time of year that people see packages in cars and it really entices them,” Morrisey said. “Leave anything real sensitive behind whether it is cash or Social Security numbers.”
He said consumers should know what the return policies are and when making online purchases make sure you’re on a secure website.
Morrisey also said gift cards should be purchased with caution.
“If you’re buying a gift card look and see if the code has been scratched away at the bottom,” Morrisey said. “You have to verify the amount on the gift card is the amount you have paid for.”
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