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West Virginia marks National Voter Registration Day

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — County clerks are ramping up efforts to get West Virginians registered to vote.

Mac Warner

Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day.

To celebrate the day, Secretary of State Mac Warner visited St. Albans High School in Kanawha County as well as Buffalo and Winfield High Schools in Putnam County. He was joined by Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick and Putnam County Clerk Brian Wood.

Warner said it’s the perfect time to increase their voter registration numbers with it being an off year ahead of 2022 and that lawmakers are redrawing state district lines.

“A lot of changes are going to go on with single member districts, we’re losing a congressional seat, the Census is out. That’s a lot of moving parts,” Warner said on Monday’s “580 Live” heard on MetroNews affiliate 580-WCHS in Charleston.

This year is the 50th anniversary of 26th Amendment giving 18 year olds the right to vote.

Warner said encouraging young people to vote is also crucial at this time when so many are involved in social media during the election process.

“They can’t help but see what’s going on across the world, say in Afghanistan, the border crisis and that sort of thing. These students are in high school have opinions. They’re teenagers. They want to express themselves and what better place to do that than at the polls?” Warner said.

The late U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia is considered the “Father of the 26th Amendment.” The first 18 year old to register to vote in 1972 was Ella Mae Thompson Haddix, now a retired school teacher who lives in Randolph County.

Tuesday’s event was also meant to urge voters to check if their registration is up to date including address changes. To register or make changes, visit govotewv.com. You can also visit your county clerk’s office to register in person.

National Voter Registration Day was first observed in 2012.

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Deadline fast approaching for two-year card in state’s medical cannabis program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A deadline is fast approaching for potential patients of the state’s new medical cannabis program that would allow them to have a card for two years.

Jason Frame, the director of the state Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Medical Cannabis, told MetroNews September 30 is the date that if patients sign up for a card by then, the card would be valid for two years. Registration after Oct. 1 will result in a card that is good for one year.

“We extended the expiration date of the medical cannabis cards for people that signed up early instead of waiting later in the year when dispensaries are actually open,” Frame said.

Frame said as of Tuesday morning there had been around 3,600 applications with just more than half approved. There have been in-person sign-up events through the state during the summer including in Charleston and Morgantown.

Those with a household income of 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less may apply for a waiver of the $50 state card fee. If a waiver is requested, applicants must provide documentation like a W2, paystub or proof of eligibility for low-income benefits.

Medical cannabis was legalized in the Mountain State with the signing of Senate Bill 386 on April 19, 2017. It created the Medical Cannabis Act that allows for cannabis to be used for certified medical use by a West Virginia resident with a serious medical condition to purchase the drug in the forms of a pill, oil and topical forms including gels, creams, or ointments; as well as in a form of vaporization or nebulization, dry leaf, plant, tincture, liquid or dermal patch.

The Office of Medical Cannabis lists serious medical conditions under the Act as:

Cancer
Position status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Parkinson’s disease
Multiple sclerosis
Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
Epilepsy
Neuropathies
Huntington’s disease
Crohn’s disease
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Intractable seizures
Sickle cell anemia
Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain
Terminal illness that is defined as a medical prognosis of life expectancy of approximately one year or less if the illness runs its normal course

Frame said the program has a lot of momentum with signups and credits a strong advertising campaign and word of mouth. The state has 100 dispensaries getting ready for opening later this year.

“We anticipate folks will continue to sign-up as a medical cannabis patient throughout the fall. We expect dispensaries to open mid to late November,” Frame said.

“Our goal is to get folks into this process early instead of having a rush of patients trying to sign up in the November, December time range.”

Frame said state residents can register for a medical cannabis patient card at www.medcanwv.org or call the office at 304-356-5090.

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Moundsville police release details on ‘gruesome’ murder-suicide

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Police Lt. Steve Kosek is describing the scene of a weekend murder-suicide in Moundsville as “gruesome,” and something that has left the community shocked.

Kosek revealing additional details about the Marshall County incident that occurred Saturday at 2:10 p.m. on 2nd Street.

According to the lieutenant, Nicholas White, 40, attacked Thomas McKeever, 71, with a machete while he was taking a shower. Kosek said according to witness statements, White then slit McKeever’s throat with a knife and then took his own life with a .45 caliber handgun. The gun belonged to McKeever, police said.

Steve Kosek

White and McKeever lived together in that house but were not related, Kosek said. Two other adults also live there and witnessed the attack. They called 911, according to Kosek, and the incident was ongoing as the call was received.

“They witnessed this and attempted to intervene. Both were not physically injured,” Kosek told MetroNews.

When the Moundsville police, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police, and Marshall County EMA all responded to the scene, both White and McKeever were dead.

Kosek said the investigation is ongoing but there is not a clear motive at this time.

“Witnesses did state that the assailant suffered from longtime mental issues and substance abuse issues. We do not have a clear motive,” he said.

Kosek said in the 24 years he has been with the department, he’s only encountered a scene of this nature a handful of times. He said it was a gruesome scene but this is what first responders train for.

“It’s something you certainly remember but everyone that does this is trained to do that. You never know if day one on the job you’re going to encounter something like that or 20 years from now, you just don’t know,” he said.

Autopsies took place on the bodies on Monday.

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Active COVID cases continue downward trend, WV adds 10 deaths

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Active COVID-19 cases fell by nearly 1,000 Tuesday, continuing a downward trend from the state’s latest peak of more than 29,000 cases this month.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources confirmed 13,542 active cases statewide Tuesday and announced 10 new deaths. Active cases were above 16,000 on Saturday.

The total amount of deaths is currently 3,578.

Confirmed deaths include a 43-year old female from Marion County, a 75-year old male from Kanawha County, a 72-year old female from Marion County, a 43-year old male from Wood County, a 71-year old male from Hampshire County, a 72-year old female from Preston County, a 92-year old female from Mineral County, an 89-year old female from Kanawha County, a 97-year old female from Marion County, and a 36-year old male from Cabell County.

“We extend our sincere condolences to these grieving families,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch in a news release. “The COVID vaccine is free, safe, and effective. Please take time to schedule an appointment today.”

Hospitalizations remain below 1,000. On Tuesday, the number stayed the same as Monday’s report at 978 hospital patients. There are 291 in the ICU and 193 on ventilators.

DHHR reports as of September 28, 2021, there are currently 13,542 active COVID-19 cases statewide. There have been 10 deaths reported since the last report, with a total of 3,578 deaths attributed to COVID-19. https://t.co/HQcEk8gC9O pic.twitter.com/w4RkTQRnEP

— WV Department of Health & Human Resources • 😷 (@WV_DHHR) September 28, 2021

CURRENT ACTIVE CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (84), Berkeley (712), Boone (189), Braxton (148), Brooke (98), Cabell (692), Calhoun (35), Clay (44), Doddridge (63), Fayette (314), Gilmer (35), Grant (129), Greenbrier (291), Hampshire (172), Hancock (224), Hardy (92), Harrison (764), Jackson (244), Jefferson (325), Kanawha (950), Lewis (215), Lincoln (130), Logan (319), Marion (586), Marshall (244), Mason (161), McDowell (238), Mercer (562), Mineral (298), Mingo (277), Monongalia (346), Monroe (84), Morgan (87), Nicholas (201), Ohio (230), Pendleton (40), Pleasants (78), Pocahontas (45), Preston (353), Putnam (447), Raleigh (552), Randolph (119), Ritchie (107), Roane (118), Summers (103), Taylor (133), Tucker (29), Tyler (113), Upshur (203), Wayne (382), Webster (50), Wetzel (149), Wirt (69), Wood (684), Wyoming (185). To find the cumulative cases per county, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov and look on the Cumulative Summary tab which is sortable by county.

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New Commentaries Coming Soon

Folks, my daily commentaries will return soon.

Hop

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Elderly man identified in Kanawha fatal ATV wreck

SAINT ALBANS, W.Va. — Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies have identified an elderly man who was killed in an ATV wreck over the weakened.

Kenneth Roy, 81, of Saint Albans, lost control of the machine at around 3:45 p.m. Sunday and died.

The crash happened in 1200 block of Strawberry Road in Saint Albans.

Deputies said the man lost control of the ATV and it slid down a hill.

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Par Mar Stores MetroNews Top Plays – Week 5

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Check out the top plays from around West Virginia in the fifth week of the high school football season.

You can win $100 each week by submitting videos using the Twitter hashtag #MNTopPlay. Hudl links are also welcome.

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Spring Valley-Huntington headlines Week 6 slate in Class AAA

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Greg Carey and Joe Brocato recap the best performances in Class AAA in Week 5 and take a look ahead at this week’s best matchups.

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MetroNews This Morning 9-28-21

Testimony gets underway in a high profile murder case in Morgan County. Governor Jim Justice confirms his family’s businesses have been in talks to settle a massive debt with an international lender. The head of the WV Coal Assn. pushes for approval to upgrade three coal fired power plants in West Virginia. Active covid cases plateau and health officials continue to encourage people to get vaccinated. Those vaccinations have now crossed 1-Million West Virginians. In sports, there is a shake up in the MetroNews Power Poll after Friday’s games. Those stories and more in today’s MetroNews This Morning podcast.

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 9-28-21” on Spreaker.

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West Virginia Coal Association president backs upgrades to coal-fired plants

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of the West Virginia Coal Association described keeping three coal-fired power plants in West Virginia open as important for local communities and the state.

Chris Hamilton’s comments on Monday’s “MetroNews Talkline” came days after the Public Service Commission of West Virginia held a public hearing about Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power’s request to increase rates to upgrade the John Amos, Mountaineer and Mitchell facilities.

There was a PSC hearing last Friday as to whether rates should be raised to fund improvements at three coal-fired power plants. Chris Hamilton, President of the @WV_coal1, gives his perspective on this story with @DaveWilsonMN. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/KEc7RlO2eJ

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 27, 2021

The utilities have argued $443.8 million is necessary for environmental upgrades to the three plants. Upgraded plants could remain in operation until 2040 compared to 2028 without any additional work.

“It’s been clearly developed that the replacement cost for any of these three plants is going to be in the neighborhood of 10 times the operating costs of the current plants,” Hamilton said on Monday’s “MetroNews Talkline.”

“If we shut those plants down today or 10 years from now, you’re going to, first of all, continue to pay for that plant that’s paid for. You’re going to continue to pay for that like your first mortgage well into the future, but then you’re going to have a second mortgage that all West Virginians are going to have to share the cost going forward as well.”

Hamilton noted how closing each plant could impact communities. He referenced how other communities have struggled after coal-powered plants and coal facilities closed.

“We had six of these plants the size of the Mitchell, Amos and Mountaineer close here about 10 years ago, and it just devastated communities,” he said.

The three plants also serve residents of Virginia and Kentucky, where regulators have already rejected the proposals. Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power have asked the state Public Service Commission to announce a decision by Oct. 13.

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