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DHHR confirms additional COVID-19 related death; state total at 73

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reported an additional COVID-19 related death in the state on Monday, bringing the total to 73.

The DHHR confirmed the death of a 74-year old male from Mineral County in its evening update.

“On this Memorial Day, we remember the service of those veterans who have passed away, as well as the seventy-three West Virginians we have recently lost due to COVID-19,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary.

The DHHR also reported 1,782 total cases of COVID-19, up eight from Monday morning. There were 547 additional tests added, bringing the statewide total to 86, 872.

Cases per county (Case confirmed by lab test/Probable case): Barbour (7/0), Berkeley (277/10), Boone (9/0), Braxton (2/0), Brooke (3/0), Cabell (57/2), Calhoun (2/0), Clay (2/0), Fayette (45/0), Gilmer (10/0), Grant (10/1), Greenbrier (9/0), Hampshire (21/0), Hancock (16/2), Hardy (37/0), Harrison (38/1), Jackson (135/0), Jefferson (154/3), Kanawha (210/2), Lewis (5/0), Lincoln (5/0), Logan (16/0), Marion (50/0), Marshall (27/0), Mason (16/0), McDowell (6/0), Mercer (13/0), Mineral (36/2), Mingo (4/1), Monongalia (121/1), Monroe (6/1), Morgan (17/1), Nicholas (10/0), Ohio (40/0), Pendleton (8/1), Pleasants (3/1), Pocahontas (23/1), Preston (17/5), Putnam (32/0), Raleigh (15/1), Randolph (36/0), Ritchie (1/0), Roane (8/0), Summers (1/0), Taylor (8/0), Tucker (4/0), Tyler (3/0), Upshur (6/1), Wayne (97/0), Wetzel (8/0), Wirt (4/0), Wood (49/3), Wyoming (3/0).

.@WV_DHHR reports as of 5:00 p.m., on May 25, 2020, there have been 86,872 total confirmatory laboratory results received for #COVID19, with 1,782 total cases and 73 deaths. #SaferAtHomeWVhttps://t.co/H5ITiKZGIa pic.twitter.com/fhnkhpASFJ

— WV DHHR (@WV_DHHR) May 25, 2020

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CAMC, Mon Health partner for clinical affiliation

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston Area Medical Center and Mon Health System have signed a clinical affiliation agreement that promotes collaboration to address West Virginia’s high rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and opioid abuse.

The two healthcare giants in West Virginia are looking to address state health priorities in the agreement that was announced on Monday.

According to a release, the agreement focuses on maintaining the two organization’s independence while working together to improve the coordination and access to the highest quality health care, strengthening consumer choice in where to get that care, improving our community’s health care outcomes and address disparities of health and educating the population on issues related to chronic disease.

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David Goldberg

“Mon Health and CAMC are two strong, community-based, independent health care systems and together we can do much more to improve access to health care and address chronic issues in West Virginia. We are nationally, regionally and locally known for our outstanding programs, clinicians and outcomes and collaborating can work to improve our State’s health and well-being for the long run,” said David Goldberg, President and CEO of Mon Health.

“We share community values and a commitment to improving the health of our population that will make a real difference.”

CAMC said that under the agreement the health systems share clinical best practices, participate in clinical initiatives as members of a Clinical Integrated Network (CIN) focused on shared Medicaid populations, use efficiencies of  their same electronic medical record-Cerner- and conduct educational programs.

CAMC

David Ramsey

“CAMC’s focus is always on how to best meet the needs of patients and communities,” said David Ramsey, CAMC President and CEO.

“CAMC and Mon Health are both community-based, nonprofit institutions with similar missions. This clinical affiliation agreement will result in an increased collaboration to locally address the high rates of debilitating disease and the shortage of specialty services we each face.”

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Some voters having second thoughts about voting by mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick says she’s starting to receive some calls from voters who applied for and were sent mail-in absentee ballots for the June 9 primary election but now they would rather take advantage of in-person early voting or go to the polls on election day.

“I think people were concerned about the virus and nobody knew what was happening and they wanted to vote and they went ahead and got their ballots but they are kind of hanging on to them now,” McCormick said.

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Vera McCormick

County clerks sent absentee ballot applications to all registered voters last month. The state opened up its usually restricted vote by mail provisions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, Gov. Jim Justice’s stay-at-home order has been lifted and state’s positive test rate has consistently stayed under 2 percent for last several weeks. Now, McCormick said, some voters would like to vote like they normally do.

McCormick said there’s an option that allows the ballot that was mailed to the voter to be returned and marked as a spoiled ballot.

“We will mark it spoiled and then will take their name off of the list as receiving a ballot and then when they go to vote they won’t have to vote a provisional ballot,” McCormick said, adding it’s best for a voter to call her office for instructions if that’s what they want to do.

There’s also an option that allows voters to bring their ballot to their polling place on election day and have it marked as spoiled by poll workers. They will then be given another ballot.

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the Secretary of State’s website further explains the process.

“I received my absentee ballot, but I have not sent it in yet – can I still vote in person?”

“Yes, just bring your absentee ballot with you to the polling place to give to your poll worker. The poll worker will then “spoil” your absentee ballot and allow you to vote at the voting booth.
If you forget your absentee ballot, you may still vote in person. However, your in-person vote will be by “provisional” ballot. The county clerk’s office will simply double-check the absentee ballots received in the office prior to canvass. If your absentee ballot was not received by the county clerk, the Board of Canvassers will count your in-person vote.”

McCormick said the bottom line is residents don’t have to vote by mail.

“We have early voting going on. We have election day and we will be open at their regular precincts,” she said. “At the time when these (ballots) went out we didn’t know what was going to happen (with the pandemic).”

McCormick said whatever a voter decides to do, vote by mail or change their mind, they need to do it quickly.

The deadline for the ballot applications to be the hands of county clerks is June 3.

Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Justice has several times used his coronavirus media briefings to urge residents to go to the polls and vote instead by mail.

“We don’t want to go by absentee,” Justice said on April 23. “All of us know, all of us know the level of potential corruption from purely absentee is rampant.”

There may be more information released next week by the U.S. Attorney’s Office concerning an “absentee ballot fraud scheme” first investigated by the West Virginia Election Fraud Task Force. The task force said Thursday it had turned the information over to federal prosecutors for review.

At the end of last week, McCormick’s office had received ballot applications from 26,771 Kanawha County voters. The office had processed applications and mailed out 24,367 ballots. There had been only 9,551 returned as of Friday morning. State code requires the mail-in ballots to be postmarked by election day to have it counted in the primary.

Information from the Secretary of State’s Office said as nearly 50 percent of Democrats who had requested a mail-in absentee ballot had returned it and nearly 35 percent of Republicans.

County clerks will allow the process the ballots that are returned prior to election day but the votes can’t be tabulated until after the polls close at 7:30 on June 9.

The state’s 10-day early voting period begins next Wednesday, May 27.

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Former WVU fullback Adam King enters 11th year on Bridgeport coaching staff

(Citynet Statewide Sunday Sportsline Interview with Adam King)

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Adam King’s football career has included individual honors and state championships at the high school level and Big East title at the college level. After wrapping up his playing career at WVU in 2003, King transitioned into the coaching ranks and is now entering his eleventh season on the staff at Bridgeport High School.

“I have wanted to coach since I was a kid,” King said. “I just didn’t know what type of coaching I wanted to get into. I had a thought of going the college route and then I thought about strength and conditioning. And then I ended up using my education degree and ended up coaching high school football.”

King was a starter on a pair of playoff teams at Ripley High School in 1996 and 1997 and graduated a year later as the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher. King also was a two-time all-state wrestler and he says the similarities between the two sports are numerous.

“A lot of people talk about balance, but I think the most important part would be the mental aspects. The grind of wrestling practices are every bit as grueling as a Mike Barwis summer workout in my opinion. I was kind of versed in that.”

King redshirted in the 1999 season at WVU and was a fullback and special teams contributor over the next four years. He played through the coaching transition from the Don Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez staffs. In 2002 and 2003, the Mountaineers went 17-9.

“You could see the talent level rising and mixing in with a good teamwork attitude. Leading all the way up to the 2005 through 2007 seasons, you could see the talent getting better each year.”

King joined the Bridgeport High School coaching staff in 2010 and the Indians have won four Class AA state championships (2013-2015, 2019) in the past decade. He has been the defensive coordinator in the past two seasons.

“The exciting part was being able to add your own wrinkles. We kept a lot of the same base terminologies. But we have added several wrinkles the last few years. The challenging part for me was the back end of the defense. I personally played and coached in the box on both sides of the ball. I have gotten to where I am pretty comfortable with it now.”

One of the unique challenges of coaching defense at Bridgeport is going against the Indians’ traditional run-dominated offense in practice on a daily basis. With more opponents moving to pass-heavy spread offenses, King’s defense had to get different looks against an offense that ran the ball on 94 percent of snaps last season.

“When I first got to Bridgeport, they started practice with skelly drills. Even on offensive practice days, we would do a skelly drill for a half hour to 45 minutes, working with the defensive backs and the linebackers. I always wondered where that came about and now I see why. It is because your defense doesn’t really get a look when we scrimmage against our offense. We have kept that tradition.

“Last year, Sean Snider, who is our quarterbacks coach who can really wing it, he played skelly quarterback the whole season. He probably has a sore arm, but he did a great job.”

Bridgeport has advanced to the playoffs every year since 1993, a streak that covers 27 seasons. Their last losing season came in 1967.

“This is a cliche, but we have really, really good players. Not all are Division I kids like (Dante) Bonamico and (Dylan) Tonkery, but we have a lot of kids that sign at Division II schools and become good players.”

The Bridgeport defense allowed just 11.4 points per game last season. In the Class AA state championship game against Bluefield, the Indians held the Beavers to a season-low fourteen points.

Photo by William Wotring

Bridgeport’s Brian Henderson (11) breaks up the pass in the AA State Championship.

“We had to stop their run game. J.J. Davis went on to sign at Marshall and there’s a reason for that. When they have a good run game going they are successful. When you make them one-dimensional and they have to pass, not so much. He averaged around three yards a carry and had over twenty carries. That was where we wanted to fit in our defensive game plan.”

King must find a way to replace the team’s three leading tacklers last season in Carson Winkie, Trey Pancake and Michael Watkins.

“The biggest question mark will be replacing Michael Watkins at defensive tackle. He was a one-man wrecking crew. We have some very good young talent. The sophomore class we have coming in may be the most talented group since I have been here as a whole. That is really saying something. We are excited to get these new kids on the field and get their names out there.”

 

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DMV reopening regional offices for appointment-only services

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles will be reopening 10 regional offices Tuesday by appointment only.

The offices in Charleston’s Kanawha City district, Winfield, Beckley, Charles Town, Huntington, Moundsville, Fairmont, Flatwoods, Romney and Parkersburg will be open for appointment only.

Appointments can be made at https://apps.wv.gov/Appt/DMV.

Services that will be offered include driver’s license exams, driver’s license renewals, duplicate driver’s license requests, vehicle registration renewals, and duplicate vehicle registration decals and cards.

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Metronews This Morning 5-25-20

Two separate shootings are under investigation in Berkeley County and in Kanawha County an elderly man is murdered, apparently by a relative. Covid 19 has dampened Memorial Day events in West Virginia–including one of the biggest at the National Cemetery in Grafton. The parade there is cancelled and the ceremony is scaled down to just a handful to lay a wreath–but visitors are allowed as long as social distance is practiced. Furloughs begin for nearly 900 workers at WVU this week. A beautiful space awaits a monument on the Capitol grounds in Charleston. We look back at a Civil War battle in West Virginia and in sports a well-known foursome raised a ton of money for Covid 19 relief. Those stories and more in today’s edition of Metronews This Morning.

Listen to “Metronews This Morning 5-25-20” on Spreaker.

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Kanawha County man killed in Sunday shooting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An elderly Kanawha County man is dead after an apparent altercation with a relative.

Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as Jacob A. Smith, 80. . The shooter is identified as a 50-year old man who is the son-in-law of the victim.  The Sheriff’s Department confirmed both were residents of the Lick Branch Road home in Charleston where the shooting occurred.

So far the shooter has not been charged. Deputies say he claimed he acted in self-defense. The Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s office is reviewing the evidence to determine if the alleged shooter  will face charges.

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Two separate shootings under investigation in Berkeley County

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two separate shooting incidents remain under investigation.

The first one is a homicide that started as a 6 a.m. shots fired call at 2178 Henshaw Road in the Inwood. Deputies found a 25 year-old man from Harpers Ferry dead from gunshot wounds.

Berkeley County Sheriff Curtis Keller confirmed Donnyel Simmons, 40 of Martinsburg, has been arrested and charged with murder. The victim’s name is being withheld.

On Sunday evening at around 5, Berkeley County deputies went to a trailer court off of US Route 11 in the Pikeside area for a disturbance. On scene, they found a man with gunshot wounds to his legs. The man had also been beaten during an altercation.

A suspect confessed to the crime and was arrested.

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The Greenbrier in talks to host World TeamTennis season

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The top-tier international tennis tours have been shut down since early March and no tour events are expected to resume until August at the earliest. West Virginia could host the world’s best players for three weeks in July.

The New York Times reported Sunday that WorldTeam Tennis and The Greenbrier are in discussions to host the entire summer season at the White Sulphur Springs resort. The three-week season is likely to be played from July 12 to August 1.

“The Greenbrier and World TeamTennis have been in discussions about the WTT visiting America’s Resort this summer,” said Greenbrier Director of Public Relations and Content Cam Huffman. “We are hopeful an announcement will come soon about a partnership between the two groups.”

World TeamTennis was founded in 1974 and is contested every summer in conjunction with the U.S. hard court season. Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens are top Americans expected to compete.

With the ATP (men’s) and WTA (women’s) tours halted, several world class players could join the league as a tuneup for late-summer tournaments, including the U.S. Open. Nine coed teams from across the nation were originally scheduled to compete.

The Greenbrier’s tennis stadium, Center Court at Creekside, seats 2,500 fans and is located near the first tee of The Old White TPC golf course. The stadium has hosted exhibition events featuring Serena and Venus Williams, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and John McEnroe.

The Greenbrier will no longer host their annual PGA Tour event but NFL teams have expressed interest in holding their training camps at the resort this summer. The Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints have conducted preseason drills there in recent years.

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Remembering the ultimate sacrifice

This holiday weekend, it is understandable that thoughts turn to the coming summer, the benefits of relaxation and the hope that with care and vigilance we will be able to put the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us.

We might not give a second thought to the notion that living in a free and secure country enables us to pursue not only a comfortable life, but also our individual destinies.

However, it is critical to remember that the opportunity for personal fulfillment for ourselves and our families is built upon a foundation of great sacrifice, without which our way of life would not be possible.

This Memorial Day is an appropriate time to pause and reflect on that sacrifice.

More than 1.3 million American service members have died in defense of our country.  Another 1.5 million have been wounded.  At least 38,000 Americans are still missing in action, the majority of them (30,000) from WWII.

But just citing the numbers does not do justice to them. Each loss was a personal tragedy, a full life denied. Each one was a heartbreak for a family and a lifetime of sadness for what might have been.

James Garfield, who served as a Union officer in the Civil War and would later become the 20th U.S. President, spoke at the country’s first Memorial Day service (then called Decoration Day) on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. He told the crowd of 5,000 that the country’s very nature is intertwined with the dead.

“I love to believe that no heroic sacrifice is ever lost; that the characters of men are molded and inspired by what their fathers have done; that treasured up in American souls are all the unconscious influences of their great deeds,” he said.

“Consider this silent assembly of the dead,” he went on. “Their voices will forever fill the land like holy benedictions.  Here, let them rest, asleep on the Nation’s heart, entombed in the Nation’s love.”

Memorial Day is not only a time for remembrance, but also for reverence. Each of the dead leaves us with what Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a Union Army veteran and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, called, “The contagion of his courage.” We are inspired to be better because of what they have done.

Our debt to those who have died in service to the country is never fully repaid.  It is ongoing and everlasting. And in remembering them we are humbled and awed by their sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

 

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