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Three Guys Before The Game – WVU Basketball Preview (Episode 246)

If the analytics are correct get ready for a memorable WVU basketball season.

On this episode, Brad Howe explains why WVU is one of eight teams nationally that meet the criteria for a Final Four appearance. The computer likes the Mountaineers, but what other areas must improve for prediction to become reality?

The “Guys” answer listener questions and calls on WVU basketball and football.

The crew returns Friday with their Oklahoma football preview and update on the Bad Boys Mowers Crossover Classic.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Three Guys Before The Game is brought to you by Mardis Gras Casino and Resort, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Burdette Camping Center. Look cool by wearing Three Guys merchandise.

Never miss an episode, subscribe below.

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Hospitals keeping close eye on COVID-19 numbers

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 continued to climb Monday in West Virginia.

David Goldberg

The state Department of Health and Human resources listed them at a pandemic-high 463. The agency said 136 people are being treated in ICU and 60 people are on ventilators.

Mon Health System President and CEO David Goldberg said they are watching the numbers closely and the remain well within capacity to treat COVID patients.

“I can tell you today that I have about 12 patients across our four hospitals that are COVID positive,” Goldberg said during an appearances on MetroNews “Talkline.” “Two in ICU and two on ventilators.”

Each of the four hospitals have a review team that monitors the daily information from the DHHR, as well as reviewing schedules to make sure the organization can safely provide elective procedures, according to Goldberg.

“If we get a point where we believe we don’t we have capacity, which by the way do, we will reduce any elective procedures that might need a hospitalization to follow, but we’re not at that point by any means across the Mon Health System.”

David Goldberg, President and Chief Executive Officer at @MonHealth, talks with HoppyKercheval about how everything is going within Mon Health, and how everyone is holding up. WATCH:

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) November 23, 2020

Additionally, hospitals are also involved in the planning for vaccine distribution. Goldberg said they anticipate playing a major role in the area to administer the vaccine.

“We are coordinating, we do have freezer capacity that is in place when the vaccine becomes available,” Goldberg said. “The state, I think in their wisdom, is coordinating appropriately to make sure our first level responders get vaccinated first and then work our way out, but we’ll be prepared.”

Following the closure of the Fairmont Regional Medical Center, Mon Health System announced plans to build a 19,000 small format hospital with approximately 20 beds valued at $20 million. Work is also underway to expand out patient services from a location in the Fairmont Technology Park. Goldberg said Monday the project is progressing.

“Not only are we building our hospital, but we’re expanding outpatient services at the technology park,” he said. “We had a ribbon/groundbreaking a few months back and that will be up by late spring, early summer with extended and expanded primary care, rehabilitation, cardiology and other surgical specialties.”

According to Goldberg, hospital stays are much shorter today than in the recent past due to value based care and the pandemic has added aspects that compliment and will likely change the delivery of treatment.

“You don’t have to be in hospital, or stay in hospital for a long period of time to get the care you need,” Goldberg said. “So, I think in the next couple of years you’re going to see more done in the home with tele-medicine and remote monitoring.”

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Civil action settles in high-profile Berkeley County school abuse case

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The 2018 abuse allegations stemming from a special needs classroom at Berkeley Heights Elementary School are inching closer to a resolution.

The Berkeley County Board of Education agreed unanimously Friday to settle lawsuits stemming from the abuse allegations.

On Monday, a hearing scheduled in 23rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Laura Faircloth’s courtroom was set to approve and distribute the settlement proceedings.

The terms of the settlement are not being disclosed.

Berkeley County Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy released a statement that said, “The board voted to approve the submission of the settlement to the court because it is believed to be in the best interest of the school system, and all involved.”

The lawsuits stem from incidents in 2018 in which the Amber Pack, the mother of a special needs daughter placed a recording device in her child’s hair that picked up alleged verbal and possible physical abuse. As a result of that recording, other parents also became involved in suits against the parties involved.

Former Berkeley Heights Elementary School special education teacher Christina Victoria Lester and aides June Elizabeth Yurish and Kristin Lynn Douty were later charged with single misdemeanor counts of failure to report suspected abuse and neglect, according to court records.

Amber Pack referred questions regarding the settlement to attorney Ben Salango, who represented the Pack family in the case.

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Federal judge declines to halt Justice’s mask mandate

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers declined to strike down Gov. Jim Justice’s mask mandate today.

“The governor has made a rational decision that wearing a mask is an appropriate response to a public health crisis during a pandemic,” Chambers said at the conclusion of a two-hour hearing in Huntington.

Chambers later added, “The governor has properly relied upon medical science in determining these restrictions must persist.”

This is the second federal ruling — on top of three state court rulings — to uphold the governor’s use of emergency powers during the pandemic.

In this instance, a Putnam County business, Bridge Café and Bistro in Hurricane, was trying to get a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order. The restaurant contended that the mask order violates federal constitutional protections, including people’s right to free speech in the sense that masks have become a political issue.

A lawyer for the restaurant, John Bryan, contended that the governor’s positions — including the stated possibility of obstruction of justice charges — are an overreach of state law. Bryan emphasized how long the governor’s emergency orders have been in effect without any legislative action.

Chambers concluded those arguments were unlikely to prevail on the merits.

“I deny the plaintiff’s request,” Chambers said.

Justice announced a statewide face covering requirement in response to the coronavirus pandemic on July 6. Earlier this month, Justice tightened the mandate somewhat, saying facial coverings should be worn in public places even if social distancing is possible.

During a press conference, while discussing the modifications, Justice held out the possibility that law enforcement officers could charge individuals and businesses with obstruction of justice for disobeying.

Speaking in court today, Bryan acknowledged the governor may issue executive orders but questioned the degree to which the state can enforce them without additional legislative action.

“I think the governor can say what he wants in his executive orders, but they’re unenforceable,” Bryan said. “The governor cannot cloak his executive order under the guise of it being some enforceable West Virginia law.”

Chambers said that position is confusing.

“How is it the governor has the authority to issue orders like the mask mandate and like the stay at home restrictions and that those become valid policies, but he can’t take any action to enforce them?” Chambers asked.

“I’m puzzled at what you believe the governor can do to enforce what you acknowledge he has the authority to do,” the judge said.

Bryan responded that the penalty described by the governor essentially creates law.

“He’s attempting to create a law. I think it’s unconstitutional,” Bryan said.

“I’m not challenging that the governor has emergency powers or that he has the ability to issue executive orders but the way he’s done it to say ‘This is a new law in West Virginia,’ I don’t think he has the authority to do it.”

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Hoyer to retire from Guard, will continue with Justice, pandemic response effort

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Adjutant General Jim Hoyer is retiring from the National Guard but will continue with Gov. Jim Justice’s administration on the pandemic response and other special projects.

Gov. Jim Justice announced during Monday’s media briefing that Hoyer would be leaving the Guard and taking a position as an associate vice president at West Virginia University.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer

“He expressed his desire to retire from the uniform but he wanted to continue to serve the state. He said he wanted to continue to work with me in moving the state forward but in a different role,” Justice said.

Justice added that Hoyer will be the leader of the joint interagency task force on vaccination, remain on the COVID advisory team and work on economic development projects such as Hyperloop.

“Many of you know that General Hoyer was a key part of my team that convinces Hyperloop to come to West Virginia. We need his leadership to move forward with Hyperloop,” Justice said.

Hoyer, who will move to Morgantown where his wife has taken a new job and where one of his sons lives, said it was time to move on as he approaches 60 years old.

“I think it’s time for me to step out in uniform, let somebody else focus on taking care of the soldiers and airmen of the guard, day-to-day. So I can focus on pandemic response, vaccine distribution and economic development opportunities,” Hoyer said.

“While I may be changing uniforms, I intend to be with you to take care of the people of West Virginia and figure out how to do more.”

Hoyer will be replaced by Brig. Gen. Bill Crane. The appointment becomes effective Jan. 4.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito expressed well wishes towards Hoyer Monday afternoon in a tweet:

General Hoyer has been such an asset to @WVNationalGuard, and I wish him well in his next role at @WestVirginiaU. Looking forward to working with Brigadier General Crane!

— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) November 23, 2020

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Photo gallery: South Charleston advances to the semifinals with a win over Princeton

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Photo gallery from South Charleston’s 57-18 win over Princeton in the Class AAA quarterfinals.

(Photo gallery courtesy of Chuck Roberts)


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Super Six or Super Four?

The high school football championships are less than two weeks away and still a lot of questions remain!  But, before we look ahead, let’s take a quick look back!

Last weekend, the quarter-finals were much like the 1st round with several games lacking opponents!  In Class AAA, only one game was actually played out of the possible four.  In that lone matchup, the Black Eagles of South Charleston proved worthy of their number two seed as the young men from Kanawha County strolled past a very good Princeton team by a final of 57-18!  Coming into the game, no one would have been surprised if South Charleston would of had to shed the rust of not playing since October 30th,  however Trey Dunn connected with Shyleik Kinney for a 69-yard touchdown pass on SC’s first play from scrimmage and the Black Eagles were on their way to keeping  an undefeated season in tack.  The Princeton Tigers ended their season with a 6-3 record and the three losses came to just two teams as the Tigers of Head Coach Chris Pedigo had lost two games to Bluefield during the regular season.  For the other three games in Class AAA last weekend, Covid 19 was the winner again as the coronavirus knocked out #9 Spring Mills, #3 Musselman and #4 Martinsburg!

In Class AA last weekend, all four games were played even though we had to wait til Sunday for the final contest!  On Friday night, #2 Bluefield defeated #10 North Marion 33-10 and #6 Fairmont Senior prevailed over #14 Independence 43-15.  On Saturday afternoon, #5 Oak Glen and #13 Herbert Hoover met in a high scoring affair and the Golden Bears defeated the Huskies 53-26!  In the lone game played Sunday afternoon, #8 Robert C. Byrd played their first game in the playoffs and ran past #16 Elkins 33-6!

In Class A, three games were played with one on Saturday afternoon and the other two on Sunday!  In the Saturday game, #7 surprised #2 Greenbrier West 38-29 by scoring 19 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to upset the previously unbeaten Cavaliers!  Win the win, the Rebels improved to (10-2) on the season.  In the two Sunday games, #4 St. Marys and #5 Midland Trail teamed up for an old fashioned donny-brook as St. Marys outscored Midland Trail 52-49!  The other Sunday encounter found #8 Pendleton County defeating #16 Tygarts Valley 41-17!  As noted, only 3 games were played in the quarter-finals in Class A and that is where Covid 19 won again as the matchup between #11 Tolsia and #14 East Hardy was wiped out because of that dreaded color coded map!

So, what is in store this weekend for the semi-finals?  Well, in Class AAA we have no guarantee either game will be played!  On the schedule we have #1 Cabell Midland hosting #5 Bridgeport Sunday afternoon at 3pm.  However, Cabell County will have to work on the orange color if the Knights are to play.  In the bottom of the bracket, the same goes for that semi-final!  Scheduled to kick at 5pm Sunday is #3 Musselman at #2 South Charleston.  However, Berkeley County is in the dreaded red color, so best of luck to the Applemen!

In Class AA, the Saturday contest between #2 Bluefield and #6 Fairmont Senior will kick off at 4pm at Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield and it is always a great game when these two AA powers meet.  In the top half of the bracket we have #8 Robert C. Byrd scheduled to visit #5 Oak Glen on Sunday at 5pm, but that is only if Hancock County can get out of the orange color on the Covid color coded map that will come out Saturday evening.

In Class A, we have one game scheduled and one game already in the Class A finals.  And, if the map color does not change to the good for Ritchie County, then the Rebels  would have to forfeit!  Which means, the winner of the semi-final game between #4 St. Marys and #8 Pendleton County would be declared the 2020 Class A State Champion without ever playing in the state championship game!  The game on Saturday is scheduled for a 1:30 kick at St. Marys!

So, as you can see, will we have a Super Six or a Super Four?  And, where will the championship games be played?  Right now, Wheeling is still designated as the site, however Ohio County is like  a lot of other WV counties and they are in the wrong color!  According to the WVSSAC, the decision to play the championships in Wheeling or move the games somewhere else will probably by made no later than Friday morning of this week!  And if they move the games, where do they move them to?  Stay tuned….those questions and more will be answered and you’ll hear those answers on MetroNews GAMENIGHT!  Our final show of the season will be this Friday, November 27th; so make plans to join Dave Jecklin and me from 9:30 til Midnight for all of those answers and more!

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Virus spread keeps Wirt County red on tracking map; a couple other Mid-Ohio Valley counties are orange to start week

WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. — Wirt County was one of five red counties, signifying “substantial” coronavirus transmission, on Monday’s daily County Alert System Map from the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Ritchie County dropped to a level below in orange for “heightened” transmission after spending Sunday under the red designation.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department serves both Wirt County and Ritchie County along with Calhoun County, Pleasants County, Roane County and Wood County.

Wood County joined Ritchie County in orange Monday on the daily DHHR map after being labeled red on the separate Saturday Education Map.

Carrie Brainard, the public information officer for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, said the colors reflected high levels of virus spread ahead of Thanksgiving, the highest levels seen in the MOV region since the start of the pandemic.

Carrie Brainard

After the holiday, “I’m afraid we’re going to have even a higher increase,” Brainard said.

“People are going to be traveling. Kids are going to be out of school. People are going to want to go places and do things and I’m just afraid it’s going to escalate even more. Hopefully, people will not take it to the elderly.”

From the start of the pandemic in the spring until the end of September, Brainard said nearly 500 total COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the Mid-Ohio Valley counties.

In October, the area topped 500 cases.

That level was again reached within just the first ten days of November.

For Wood County, specifically, “It’s been so difficult to even keep up with doing the case investigations, let alone the contact tracing,” Brainard said.

In Wirt County and Ritchie County, “They’re so small and they have to do a 14-day window and it doesn’t take very many cases for them to change colors quickly,” she said.

Thanksgiving was not going to help case numbers, in Brainard’s view.

Her advice for those getting together was to keep distance from others and to wear masks when not eating.

“We’re going to try to do all of those precautions because we don’t want to spread it even more,” she said.

Pre-Thanksgiving free COVID-19 testing events involving the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department included the following events:

Monday, Nov. 23, 2020
Wood County
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Vienna Recreation Center, 510 33rd Street, Vienna, WV

Wirt County
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Wirt County Primary Center, 438 E. Schoolview Street, Elizabeth, WV

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020
Ritchie County
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Ellenboro Fire Department, 103 E. Washington Avenue, Ellenboro, WV

Wood County
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Parkersburg High School, 2101 Dudley Avenue, Parkersburg, WV

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020
Wood County
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Parkersburg High School, 2101 Dudley Avenue, Parkersburg, WV

Pre-registration for the listed testing events was available HERE.

The full testing schedule for all of West Virginia was posted on DHHR’s coronavirus website.

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DHHR: COVID-19 hospitalizations approach 500

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — COVID-19 hospitalizations in West Virginia climbed to a pandemic-high 463 patients in numbers released by the state Department of Health and Human Resources Monday morning.

The previous high was 429 patients. Patients being treated in ICU, 136, and on ventilators, 60, are also pandemic highs in the Mountain State.

The DHHR confirmed 636 new cases Monday. Active cases are now 13,678. The daily positivity test rate was 4% Monday.

There were five deaths recorded Monday including a 66-year old female from Kanawha County, a 71-year old female from Kanawha County, a 79-year old male from Berkeley County, a 75-year old male from Wyoming County, and a 72-year old male from Summers County.

Overall deaths are now 667.

The COVID-19 daily alert map has Mineral, Berkeley, Brooke, Marshall and Wirt counties in the “red” category with high spread numbers.

.@WV_DHHR reports as of 10:00 a.m., November 23, 2020, there have been 1,033,510 total confirmatory laboratory results received for #COVID19, with 41,114 total cases and 667 deaths.

— WV Department of Health & Human Resources • 😷 (@WV_DHHR) November 23, 2020

Overall cases per county include: Barbour (355), Berkeley (2,727), Boone (585), Braxton (99), Brooke (543), Cabell (2,575), Calhoun (57), Clay (104), Doddridge (109), Fayette (1056), Gilmer (186), Grant (291), Greenbrier (396), Hampshire (277), Hancock (528), Hardy (203), Harrison (1,096), Jackson (666), Jefferson (1,181), Kanawha (5,235), Lewis (219), Lincoln (387), Logan (997), Marion (732), Marshall (1,047), Mason (349), McDowell (573), Mercer (1,227), Mineral (1,009), Mingo (926), Monongalia (3,058), Monroe (330), Morgan (234), Nicholas (303), Ohio (1,329), Pendleton (97), Pleasants (73), Pocahontas (102), Preston (472), Putnam (1,675), Raleigh (1,415), Randolph (629), Ritchie (128), Roane (148), Summers (258), Taylor (266), Tucker (105), Tyler (126), Upshur (444), Wayne (915), Webster (52), Wetzel (374), Wirt (90), Wood (2,141), Wyoming (615).

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MetroNews This Morning 11-23-20

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 and it’s time for MetroNews This Morning.

Shauna Johnson has the latest news from across the state of West Virginia from the MetroNews anchor desk.

Kyle Wiggs has a recap from Sunday high school playoff games.

Hoppy Kercheval focuses his commentary on where Senator Joe Manchin stands in a new Senate.

Listen to today’s episode here.

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