The Voice of West Virginia
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With several marquee victories during its unbeaten start to the season, West Virginia’s men’s soccer team has worked its way into the discussion among the nation’s best and entered Tueday’s match against Dayton with a No. 4 national ranking.
Still, WVU head coach Dan Stratford wants his team to consistently display a killer instinct, and the Mountaineers took a step in the right direction with their 3-0 victory over the Flyers on a rainy night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
“I want us to continue to own it and continue to embrace the fact that we border on that arrogance and confidence to say when teams come here they are lesser opponents than we are,” Stratford said. “We’re going to have that ruthless element to us that when we go 1-nil up, we’re going to go 2-nil up and we’re going to go 3-nil up. We’ve yet to have that game this season. Today was close, but we’ve really broken out and shown just how ruthless we can be and that killer instinct.”
Dayton (3-3-2) put together its best stretch of the contest early and generated pressure over the first 15 minutes.
“We knew that they were going to come with a lot of energy to start the game,” Stratford said. “We’re a target, right? We’re a top five ranked team right now and with respect, we’re going to be a lot of teams’ marquee fixture.”
But WVU (5-0-2) got a goal from Yoran Popovic — his second of the season — to strike first in the 20th minute, and that advantage stood through the opening half.
Although Dayton didn’t register a shot on goal over the first 45 minutes, the Flyers fired three shots and had three corner kicks.
Popovic’s goal helped the Mountaineers settle in, and they showed no sign of becoming complacent in the second half.
As the rain continued to fall harder throughout the match, WVU maintained the majority of possession and got a goal from Kyle Lehnert at the 76:18 mark to double its advantage. Pau Jimenez Albelda was credited with an assist on Lehnert’s goal.
Playing without forward Ike Swiger and midfielder Luke McCormick, it was another welcome sign for Stratford, who has sung the praises of his team’s reserves over the first month of the season.
“The sub story continues,” Stratford said. “We have continued to talk about the quality of depth that we have within this squad. Kyle and Elijah [Borneo] both played and had significant minutes for us in the spring. We feel very comfortable with both of them. Elijah won’t get the accolades in terms of the goal and the assist, but when he came on late in the first half and continued, his energy and effort was fantastic as well.“
With 2:12 to play, WVU made it 3-0 on an own goal.
The Flyers did not get a shot off in the second half and WVU goalkeeper Steven Tekesky recorded the clean sheet without making a save.
“We knew that there was going to be energy to start the game and they actually tried to set a high press, which was interesting,” Stratford said. “It’s something we had to manage, but after 15 minutes, we really settled in and then it was about making sure we got the second goal. It took a little longer than I would’ve liked, but very pleased with how we came out in the second half.”
Dayton keeper Marc Kouadio stopped five shots in defeat.
It marked the fourth shutout this season for the Mountaineers, who have surrendered four goals through seven matches.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jarret Doege remains West Virginia’s starting quarterback.
Yet as the Mountaineers brace for Saturday’s Big 12 Conference opener at No. 4 Oklahoma, it’s apparent head coach Neal Brown has a plan in place that continues allowing Garrett Greene to spell Doege at times.
“We’ll continue to play both and continue to have plans for both,” Brown said. “The good thing, too, for those guys is they’re really close and they get along, and they’ve been good for each other in the room.”
In last Saturday’s 27-21 win over then-No. 15 Virginia Tech, Greene saw the first extended action of his college career against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent.
Greene’s only pass was incomplete, while the redshirt freshman rushed four times for 28 yards and two first downs.
That followed Greene’s Week 2 performance against Football Championship Subdivision member Long Island in which he was 4-of-7 for 57 yards through the air and rushed 14 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
While one of Greene’s best assets is his mobility and ability to improvise and make plays on the run, Doege is more of a natural pocket passer who will rarely hurt opponents with his legs.
“There’s very little crossover with these two and that’s good and bad,” Brown said. “It’s probably more difficult for the defenses, but there’s some challenges when you’re putting together a game plan. It’s really important that you keep everything for the offensive line the same, because that’s the most important piece.
“Plus, we’ve had some issues up there that we did a much better job in the run game. We had some protection at tackle a little bit, but we protected pretty well against two really good defensive ends against Virginia Tech. But you can’t ask them to do a bunch of different things schematically. It’s not fair to them because you don’t have enough time to rep it.”
In the win over the Hokies, Doege had two fourth-quarter turnovers — the first a fumble in which he was poorly protected and the other a late-game interception that put VT in position to take its first lead in the game’s final minute, before West Virginia’s third stand in the red zone.
Prior to the interception, Greene rushed for 5 yards on second-and-10, and he was set to take the next snap before a pre-snap penalty turned third-and-manageable into third-and-long.
“We have a play for Garrett on the pull and get a false start,” Brown said.
When the third down distance doubled, Brown opted to pass in an effort to seal the win, but Doege’s throw on a receiver screen was picked off by Jermaine Waller.
Greene did not play in the season-opening loss at Maryland and his only previous action in a road game came last season in a lopsided loss at Iowa State when he rushed once for 7 yards.
However, by playing Greene each of the last two weeks, the Mountaineers have at the very least forced the Sooners to account for him in their game plan ahead of Saturday’s matchup.
While the 195-pound native of Tallahassee, Florida is WVU’s second-leading rusher with 126 yards, Brown believes the Mountaineers will have to do a better job of keep defenses honest as Greene continues to build experience.
Doege has attempted 88 passes to Greene’s eight.
“That’s where the challenge comes in,” Brown said. “How much can you do? How can we present differently to the defense with each quarterback? How you rotate them within a game, there’s a feel to it.
“With Garrett, I don’t know if I have a total feel for him in games yet. He did some really good things on Saturday. There’s a couple that weren’t so good. But he ran the ball well. He can throw it. We haven’t asked him to do it as much, but he can. He has a really strong arm. There’s a science to it. We don’t have it completely figured it out yet, but we’re working through it.“
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HAVACO, W.Va. — Police in McDowell County released the name of a murder victim Tuesday as they continue to look for the man and woman charged in the death.
Authorities said Marcus Edwards, 33, of Welch, was killed Monday afternoon in the Havaco area.
The McDowell County Sheriff’s Department has named Raquel Deshowna Adams, 34, of Welch and Kobe Rashawn Brown, 23, of Havaco, in arrest warrants.
Authorities said the pair should be considered armed and dangerous.
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The country roads of West Virginia are leading Martinsburg native Christian Rose to Las Vegas this week for his debut in the Automobile Racing Club of America’s (ARCA) Menard’s Series West.
Christian Rose Racing, LLC announced recently that it partnered with the West Virginia Department of Tourism where Rose’s No. 42 hot-rod with Cook Racing Technologies will feature West Virginia paint for the race on Thursday at the Bull Ring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Rose, 26, told MetroNews there is great pride in having a West Virginia-sponsored car.
“There’s a lot of pride in being from the state of West Virginia. Having them on the race car is a huge opportunity for us. It means the world to be able to represent the state in any fashion we can,” he said.
Rose said the scheme will be used in numerous races on the West Coast this fall and he hopes to continue the partnership into the 2022 season. The car is two shades of blue and black, with West Virginia on the hood with the New River Gorge Bridge. On the bumper is wvtourism.com with “Almost Heaven” in cursive writing on the sides.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to promote Almost Heaven, West Virginia,” said Chelsea Ruby, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Tourism in a statement. “As a native West Virginian who is always on the road, Christian presents a unique opportunity to promote West Virginia as a leading travel and tourism destination both on and off the speedway.”
Rose called his journey to this point in his racing career ‘a dream.’ He said he grew up a NASCAR fan, watching the Cup series and cheering for Jeff Gordon. He said one summer as a teenager he met current NASCAR driver/owner BJ McLeod at Daytona International Speedway and asked about getting involved.
Rose played collegiate baseball at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and had to put his racing interest in the rearview mirror until graduation in 2018. Rose said he reached back out to McLeod and he got his chance. McLeod let him get behind the wheel of a race car in 2018 during a test session. Rose said he impressed everyone there, despite never being behind the wheel of a race car before.
Rose ran his first test race in December 2018 before making his late model debut on January 5, 2019, where he finished 15th out of 24 at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.
“My journey in racing has been a bit different. Most of these other drivers have been at this since they were kids,” said Rose. “The last few years have been a great ride and I’m excited to take the next step in my career by racing in the ARCA Menard’s Series.”
IT’S ARCA TIME
— Christian Rose (@christianrose__) September 16, 2021
Rose signed with Cook Racing Technologies (CRT), owned by Bruce Cook, in 2020 and has since raced late model cars up and down the East Coast with the Mooresville, NC-based race team. Most recently, Rose ran a top ten finish at Orange County Speedway in Florida on August 14.
Rose said the goal is to be in the NASCAR Cup Series, something he still follows every weekend and a series that will also be in Las Vegas this weekend. Rose said his favorite racer following Gordon’s retirement is Kyle Larson
“Anybody that is in the sport and that doesn’t have the dream of being in the Cup series, I have always said you should not be doing it. If you don’t aim for the top, what is the point of doing it. Cup series is the goal. Five or six years down the road, hopefully shorter. Cup series champion is the goal of it all.”
Rose will race alongside CRT teammate Amber Slagle in the Star Nursery 150 at 11:30 p.m. EST on Thursday. The race will be live-streamed through TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and will be re-aired on September 30th at 5 p.m. EST on NBCSN.
He said the partnership with West Virginia Tourism will draw many eyeballs to his team and the Mountain State.
“There are so many people in the racing world that enjoy hunting, fishing and getting outdoors. There’s not a better state in the country that provides that opportunity more than West Virginia. That’s our message and what we’re trying to share with West Virginia Tourism. The bigger the reach, the more people we get to will be nothing but great things for the state,” Rose said.
Rose has also partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle, talking about the Triple Play initiative for young athletes. Fans can text RACING to 26989 to give to the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle.
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Gov. Jim Justice has decided to bow out of the boys basketball coaching job at Greenbrier East High School.
The governor wrote in a withdrawal letter that he believes he was the most qualified for the job. “Nevertheless, | am withdrawing my name from pursuing the Head Boys’ Basketball Coach position. I refuse to spend time fighting HATE.”
He submitted the letter to the rpesident of the Greenbrier County Board of Education and the Greenbrier County superintendent of schools.
After the Greenbrier County school board voted 3-2 against hiring Justice as coach, his lawyers filed a grievance. Board members made their vote without comment.
In today’s letter, the governor called the board’s position “vile.” He thanked supporters who spoke up for him.
“I understand that many of my players and supporters were at the Board meeting few. days ago. Additionally, I have received hundreds of calls from people in total disbelief and apologetic over the Board’s vile action,” the governor wrote in his letter.
The governor, who is also at the top of a sprawling business empire, said his feelings have been wounded over rejection in the coaching search.
“Does the hate of these Board members hurt? Of course, it does. When you love our school and community as I do — it really hurts. Could I have done a great job for the school and everyone of the kids? Without any doubt period. Always, my first responsibilities will be: the Governorship of our State, but with more hard work helping kids achieve goodness is something that I will never be ashamed of.”
Justice already coaches the girls basketball team at Greenbrier East, and his second term as governor lasts through 2024.
He coached the boys team at the high school starting in 2010 but announced his retirement from that team in 2017, his first year in office as governor. Former professional basketball player Bimbo Coles took over that year but now has departed.
The board first considered Justice’s candidacy for the boys basketball job August 10 but tabled the decision before voting against it later in the month.
Coaching two basketball teams in Greenbrier County would mean spending multiple evenings a week there during the legislative session.
To balance everything, Justice earlier told MetroNews he would need to rely on assistant coaches.
“At my age, I’ll have to have great assistant coaches. And to be perfectly honest, they’ll have to do the work. I’ll coach the game,” he said. “Nevertheless I love the kids. That’s all there is to it.”
Last week, a former legislator notified the governor of his intention to resume the lawsuit over the governor’s residency.
Former Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, a lawyer in Pendleton County, questioned whether it’s appropriate for the Governor of West Virginia to pursue a second high school basketball coaching job in Lewisburg.
“Jim Justice needs to decide what he wants to do with his time. He’s a part-time Governor, part-time businessman, and part-time basketball coach. The only thing that he’s doing full-time is residing in Greenbrier County,” Sponaugle stated while announcing he would resume the residency lawsuit.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three West Virginia elementary schools are being recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021.
The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday Crescent Elementary School in Beckley, Rock Branch Elementary near Poca and Criss Elementary in Parkersburg were on the exclusive list made up of 325 schools nationwide.
National Blue Ribbon Schools are recognized for academic performance and closing achievement gaps among students. The three schools chosen in West Virginia were recognized for their high academic performance.
Crescent Elementary Principal Theresa Lewis said the honor puts a stamp of approval on years of community efforts to do their very best.
“I think our parents understand the important role they play in their children’s education and they know that when they come here we have very high expectations and those two components working together achieves the excellent that we’ve always demonstrated,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the award is even more satisfying given the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic including having to close at times and relearning how to educate virtual.
“The fact that we are among that elite with all of the trials that we’ve had and parents who have chipped in and been our partners more than ever in the past year,” Lewis said.
State School Superintendent Clayton Burch said the three schools recognized are shining bright in a challenging time.
“The West Virginia Department of Education is so very pleased with the extraordinary commitment to student health, progress and well-being these schools have exemplified to earn this national honor,” Burch said. “They have faced incredible challenges to not only teach our children, but also to care for them during interruptions to in-person learning and inconsistent school schedules. Yet, they have excelled locally and nationally to earn this most-coveted national education recognition.”
State School Board President Miller Hall said it was an understatement to say the three schools recognized have gone above and beyond.
“The fact they were able to participate in this competitive process during this time while still caring for their children is impressive,” Hall said in a news release.
Crescent, which has 340 students, has a ‘bucket filling thought of the day’ that gets it started on the right foot academically, Lewis said.
“That is a huge component of what we believe. That if every day we come in and do our personal best then we will achieve excellence,” she said.
Criss Elementary has 252 students. Its application said “we owe our success to the high standards we set in all areas from academics to parent involvement.”
At Rock Branch Elementary, student population of 205, the application said they don’t use socio-economic status as an excuse.
“We have learned over the years that rather than using this as an excuse, we utilize these circumstances to teach our students that they do have the ability and motivation to shine and rise above in all aspects of their lives! We concentrate on the quote, “Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well,” while completing everyday tasks with our students to improve student achievement,” the application said.
Both U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito applauded the efforts of the schools.
“The National Blue Ribbon Schools recognition is an incredible honor, and I am thrilled three West Virginia schools are being recognized for their academic excellence and their tireless work to provide all students with a great education, regardless of their background,” Manchin said in a Tuesday statement. “Congratulations to Crescent Elementary, Criss Elementary and Rock Branch Elementary schools and thank you to all the teachers and faculty who have worked to create exemplary learning environments for our West Virginia students.”
Congratulations to all three schools on this national recognition! As a Crescent Chipmunk myself, I am so proud of the great work Principal Lewis and the entire staff do for our kids everyday! https://t.co/EA2XdUSkPl
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) September 21, 2021
“Congratulations to the students, faculty, and staff at Crescent Elementary, Criss Elementary, and Rock Branch Elementary schools on this incredible honor,” Capito said. “Ensuring West Virginia’s students have access to a quality education is so important to our state’s future, and these schools went above and beyond to create an environment for students to learn and thrive. I’m so proud of the hard work and dedication of everyone at the three Blue Ribbon schools recognized this year, and know they will continue to be exemplary models for student excellence and achievement for years to come.”
At Crescent Elementary Principal Lewis said she’s looking forward to getting a new sign that says it’s a Blue Ribbon school.
“That’s going to be exciting as well. We’ve earned it. No one can ever take it away,” she said.
Gov. Jim Justice attended elementary school at Crescent. He sent a congratulatory tweet Tuesday.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools program is in its 39th year.
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FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A Marion County grand jury has indicted to Fairmont residents in the abuse-related death of a four-year-old boy earlier this year.
The grand jury indicted the mother, Ashlee Starlene Allen, 27, and her boyfriend Walter Everett Richardson III, 34, in the incident that began at Ruby Memorial Hospital in January. Nurses noted injuries consistent with child abuse and summoned CPS workers.
CPS workers, Breeana Bizub, 25, and Tabetha Phillips-Friend, 44, were called to the hospital and prepared a temporary protective order. During that meeting the boy told workers he was afraid of Richardson and that he had tried to hurt him.
An additional portion of the order barring Richardson from being in Allen’s home was not monitored by the CPS workers.
On March 4, the boy was found unresponsive in the Fairmont home and was transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital.
When the toddler was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital he was placed on life support and doctors identified more than 50 injuries to his body, including missing teeth, bruises on his arms, and a shoe print-shaped bruise on his right shoulder. By March 8, the toddler’s brain function had ceased and he was declared dead.
Bizub and Phillips-Friend were terminated and charged with involuntary manslaughter and failure to report child abuse to law enforcement.
Allen has been indicted for death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian. Richardson has been indicted for death of a child by a parent and first degree murder.
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — The WVSSAC playoff ratings are calculated using a points-based system, factoring in each team’s record and strength of schedule.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — New federal funding is going to help a West Virginia non-profit reach thousands of uninsured state residents sign up for Obamacare.
West Virginia Navigator has provided free enrollment assistance since 2015. The organization will receive $1 million per year for the next three years from the Biden administration.
“It’s actually 10 times the amount of funding that we’ve been operating at,” said program director Jeremy Smith.
Smith said the money will enable them to reach under-served populations such as those struggling with substance abuse, minorities, LGBTQ people and those in rural areas.
“There’s a lot of different groups that are uninsured at a higher rate, so what we plan on doing with this extra funding is being able to go out and do more community outreach,” he said.
The funding will also allow WV Navigator to hire additional Health Insurance Navigators and open offices in Huntington, Fairmont, and Martinsburg, in addition to the current office in Charleston.
“Two Navigators will be in each office and will able to help the community that surrounds us,” Smith said.
Anyone who is not eligible for insurance through Medicare, Medicaid or employer-based insurance is eligible to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act’s provisions. WV Navigator assists people with the process of selecting a plan and applying for subsidies.
According to the organization, about 9 in 10 of those who enroll receive subsidies to make the insurance more affordable. About 4 in 10 people who sign up get a plan for less than $10 per month.
The new funding comes ahead of open enrollment for ACA-subsidized Marketplace insurance which will be Nov. 1, 2021 through Jan. 15, 2022.
“We already have our phone line in place, so we’re able to go ahead and talk to people, make appointments and get them prepped for what they’ll need for open enrollment,” Smith said.
WV Navigator can be reached by calling (304)-356-5834 or online at www.acanavigator.com.
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MARLINTON, W.Va. — While much of West Virginia continues to see dramatic spikes in COVID-19 hospitalizations, some counties are seeing cases level out because of high vaccination numbers.
Pocahontas was the only county in the “green” on the state Department of Health and Human Resources’ COVID-19 County Alert Map on Tuesday. Tucker, Gilmer and Calhoun counties were in the “gold.”
The rest of West Virginia remains in the “orange” or “red.”
Cindy Wilfong, administrator of the Pocahontas County Health Department, told MetroNews they have one of the lowest populations in the state and the county is very rural compared to other areas like Kanawha, Cabell, Monongalia and Berkeley counties that have high infection rates.
In Tucker County, health department administrator James Snyder said he believes their success comes from getting more shots in arms.
Snyder said there’s been hardly any push back from residents who refuse to get vaccinated or wear a face mask.
“They trust the vaccine,” he said. “With this Delta variant and the increase in cases, we’ve seen a good response from people now coming who had not been vaccinated and being willing to get that vaccination.”
Pocahontas County Schools is the only school system in West Virginia to not have a mask mandate in place. Superintendent Terrence Beam said the school board voted Monday to leave masks optional.
“The board felt like we’ve been doing well with the direction we’ve been going, so they decided to continue that,” Beam said.
The decision on masks in schools could change at any time, Beam said.
“That is an open discussion at each board meeting. Depending on what the mitigation strategies look like, how we’re progressing and the number of cases we get will probably determine whether they go to masks or not,” he said.
Beam said the biggest challenge they face is quarantining sick students and staff.
“It’s not necessarily the positive cases. So many teachers and employees are in quarantine that we can’t staff the schools,” he said.
After several heated discussions at school board meetings in Putnam County, the board voted Monday to allow individual schools to issues mask mandates based on positive case numbers.
Schools across the state have reported COVID outbreaks in recent weeks. In Tucker County, Snyder said school officials have played a key role in helping them limit the spread.
“The school system has been very active in identifying those that need to be quarantined and get them out of school for the time that they need to be. I think it’s just everybody doing the right thing,” he said.
Active COVID cases statewide dropped by more than 12,000 from Friday to Tuesday. COVID hospitalizations remained at 955.
Snyder said since Tucker County does not have a hospital, they have to rely on surrounding counties like Randolph to treat COVID patients. He said their case rate is consistent with the winter surge. On Tuesday, Tucker County had 85 active cases.
“Our active cases are still fairly high — too high in our opinion. We’ve been running around that 70 mark for the last couple of weeks. We hope they come down soon,” Snyder said.
It’s been a community effort to slow the surge, according to Snyder, who said county health departments can only do so much to protect residents.
“All the counties are doing the same thing as far as response,” he said. “It really comes down to the residents being willing to accept the recommendations and the guidance that’s out there.”
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