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Setting the stage for Class A football in Week 5

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Greg Carey and Joe Brocato set the stage for the top matchups in Class A football this weekend.

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Man in critical condition afternoon Charleston shooting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County man is in critical condition after being shot in Charleston.

Charleston police said the shooting was reported just before 1a.m. outside a home along 1st Avenue on the city’s West Side. They said Blaine Ivery, 41, of Cross Lanes, was shot in the chest.

Drugs were found in the doorway close to the where Ivery collapsed, according to police.

Witnesses told police they heard a gunshot and saw a man running from the scene.

No arrests have been made.

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MetroNews This Morning 9-21-23

Today on MetroNews This Morning:

–More cuts at WVU, this time into student services

–A long anticipated bridge over the Ohio River opens to traffic today in the northern panhandle

–More discussion over the new state high school transfer rule and its impact on sports

–In Sports: Marshall ready to welcome Virginia Tech to Huntington

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 9-21-23” on Spreaker.

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Congress tackles NIL, transfer rules

The rapid de-regulation of college athletics has empowered athletes to profit from their name, image or likeness, and has liberalized transfer rules to the point where athletes are free agents who are able to move from school to school, often motivated by the highest bidder.

On one hand, the dramatic changes are long overdue since college athletes—especially football and basketball players—were cheap labor for years while athletic departments raked in mountains of television money and coaches’ salaries exploded.

But on the other hand, the meteoric shift has created confusion and destabilized the traditional model for college sports. Colleges, conferences and even states have their own ideas about what the new paradigm should be.

College athletics desperately needs some rules that all institutions play by, but all the schools and their conferences are separate entities with disparate ideas about the new landscape. In the absence of consensus, now Congress is getting involved.

And many athletic directors want that because they want cost certainty, and coaches want more roster certainty. This week, athletics directors who belong to the LEAD1 Association met with members of Congress in Washington to get their take on the possibility of federal regulation.

As USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz reported, “They all but cheered when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he believed there was a 60-40 chance that Congress will pass a college-sports bill that the AD’s and NCAA officials hope bring some national order” to college athletics.

Others believe Cruz is overly optimistic, however, there are several bills on the issue, including one sponsored by West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville, a former college coach.

Here are several key provisions of the bill:

–It ensures collectives that raise funds for NIL are affiliated with the colleges rather than acting as independent fundraisers who dole out money to athletes.

–Agents who represent players must register with the Federal Trade Commission.

–All NIL contracts with athletes would have to be filed with the FTC and available to the public.

–The bill requires that athletes complete at least three years at their school before being eligible to transfer. There are exceptions, including when a coach takes another job.

–One percent of revenue from post-season tournaments and playoffs would be deposited into a fund to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses for athletes for a period after they leave school.

–The NCAA would be responsible for investigating violations of the law and would refer findings to the FTC which would be empowered to hand down civil penalties.

Who knows whether the Manchin-Tuberville bill goes too far or not far enough?  Maybe most politicians really do not want to wade into the chaos of college sports? Perhaps it is not even possible to craft federal legislation that can fairly untangle the Gordian Knot of college sports.

But it feels like the current “model,” and I use the term loosely, is not sustainable. The failure of college presidents, who make the rules and run the NCAA, to be proactive on the amateur status and transfer issues, unleashed a Wild West atmosphere in college sports.

Now it is going to be up to the United States government to try to fix it.

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Intermediate Court of Appeals to hear arguments at Concord University as part of a new education initiative

ATHENS, W.Va. — The Intermediate Court of Appeals of West Virginia will now be hitting college campuses around the state to host a series of oral arguments and give students a first-hand look into the judicial proceedings.

“ICA on Campus” is an inaugural education initiative in which the court plans to go on the road to every college and university in the state to unpack cases, and Concord University in Athens was the first institution selected to host them.

“We, as a Court, are thankful to faculty, students, and staff at Concord University for their willingness to host the inaugural ICA On-Campus,” said Chief Judge Dan Greear.

“The ICA plans to host one on-campus argument day during each term of court moving forward, with a different West Virginia college or university selected each time. My son is a recent Concord graduate, and so it is particularly special for me to hear argument on that campus,” said Greear.

The ICA will be at Concord Thursday in an event is open to the public. The arguments get underway at 10 a.m. in the main auditorium of the Alexander Fine Arts Center.

WV Intermediate Court of Appeals

Concord President Kendra Boggess said it will be a part of the university’s annual Constitution Day, which coincides nicely with the ICA’s event.

“We always have a Constitution Day where we look at and recognize things that are going on in the United States right now, and so this just fit in perfectly with that celebration,” said Boggess.

A couple of arguments will be heard during the event and they include:

. Rule 20 argument at 10:30 a.m. — Earl J. Nicholson and Joyce A. Nicholson v. Severin POA Group, LLC., Antero Resources Corporation, Rockwell Resources, LLC., JEC Production, LLC., and Robert R. Jones, et. al. No. 22- ICA- 207

. Rule 19 argument at 11:15 a.m. — IPI, Inc. and Matthew Joseph Taylor v. Axiall Corporation and Eagle Natrium, LLC. No. 18-C-14

The three judges during the event will be Judge Greear, Judge Charles Lorenson and Judge Thomas Scarr.

Boggess said they explained to the students that they will not be allowed to come and go like a normal classroom setting as the auditorium will essentially be transformed into a courtroom for a day.

“They have to follow court protocol, they can’t leave early, you know, all of those things, so it’s going to be a great experience, I think it really does shadow what actually happens in a courtroom, and if you’ve never seen it or never been a part of it, I think it’s pretty exciting,” she said.

Following each of the arguments the students will have a chance to inquire about the cases during a brief question and answer period with the attorneys for the cases.

The judges will also be on-hand after the argument docket is over to informally answer questions about the judiciary.

Boggess said as Concord offers a pre-law program on campus, a criminal justice degree, and has many students who earn a social work degree go on to work within the court system a lot, it’s a beneficial event for them to be a part of and to get an idea about the handlings of actual legal proceedings.

“We can’t always take the whole campus to the real-world, but having speakers and having people come to show what they do, we do a great job with that,” she said. “We do an amazing job over in our biology and chemistry area where we bring doctors, because I think students think about going to med school.”

Boggess believes around 175 students have signed up to participate in the ICA on Campus event.

The ICA was signed into law on April 9, 2021, establishing a three-judge panel that will serve ten-year staggering terms. The first three judges within the ICA were appointed by Governor Jim Justice.

The proceedings will be webcast live online on the West Virginia Judiciary YouTube page.

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Talented Texas Tech tailback sure to test Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When West Virginia tries to snap a four-game losing streak to Texas Tech on Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium, the Mountaineers’ defense will be out to show their effort in last week’s 17-6 win over Pitt was more a sign of the unit’s improvement than the Panthers’ offensive struggles.

That will be no easy task against the Red Raiders, which have boasted some of college football’s most explosive and productive offenses through the years.

While Texas Tech rarely struggles passing and the Mountaineers had difficulty defending the pass over their first two games, it’s running back Tahj Brooks that’s garnering no shortage of attention from West Virginia.

“Nobody talks about the running back,” fifth-year WVU head coach Neal Brown said, “but he’s going to be an NFL player and he’s going to play in the league for a long time. He can pass protect, run inside and outside.”

Brooks has previously been successful against the Mountaineers, including in last season’s matchup when he rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries to help the Red Raiders have their way in a 48-10 victory.

Oct 22, 2022; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders running back Tahj Brooks (28) hurdles West Virginia Mountaineers’ Davis Mallinger (27) in the first half at Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

He also rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman in the 2020 meeting. Brooks missed the 2021 matchup with WVU due to an injury that limited him to playing in nine of 13 games.

Thus far in 2023, Brooks has largely picked up where he left off to finish last season, when he finished with 691 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Brooks has totaled 268 yards on an average of nearly 7.3 yards per carry through the first three games of his senior campaign. In last week’s 41-3 win over Tarleton State of the FCS, Brooks rushed for a career-best 158 yards on career-high 19 carries. It marked the fifth 100-yard effort of Brooks’ career.

His 268 rushing yards are tied for 29th best among all FBS players, while Brooks’ yards-per carry is 11th among all FBS players with at least 30 rushing attempts.

He’s one of our best players right now and we’re running the football well, so I definitely think you have to continue that,” Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire said. “He’s hot, healthy and he feels great. He has a lot of confidence.“

Brooks has gained at least 10 yards on seven carries. He has three runs of 20-plus yards and two of at least 30 yards.

For comparison’s sake, West Virginia’s top rusher is tailback CJ Donaldson, who has six runs of at least 10 yards, but has yet to gain 20 yards on a carry this season.

Brooks’ production helps provide balance to a Red Raiders’ offense that’s recording just north of 271 passing yards and 166 rushing yards per contest.

The Red Raiders thrive on tempo, which has given WVU problems in past matchups and can allow Brooks to impose his will while developing rhythm in a hurry.

“One thing I love about our offense, if that’s what you’re going to give us, that’s what we’re going to take,” McGuire said. “Our guys have the ability to check us into run plays to really get us going.”

West Virginia’s rush defense has been solid over its first three games and is surrendering 93 yards on average on the ground. 

That number is skewed from the dominance against Duquesne in which the Dukes had 28 rushes for 3 yards, but the Mountaineers have also held their own against powerful rushing attacks from Penn State and Pitt. In those two games, WVU allowed 276 rushing yards on 71 attempts. 

Pitt managed 67 rushing yards on its opening series in Morgantown, but gained only 63 the remainder of the matchup.

“You can see from last year to this year, the improvements on defense,” McGuire said. “They’re playing really on defense and the numbers show it.”

After carrying it a total of 17 times in the Red Raiders’ losses at Wyoming and against Oregon to start 2023, it’s safe to assume a heavier dose of Brooks in Morgantown.

While that may not mean matching last week’s total of 19 carries, through his combination of size and speed, the 5-foot-10, 230-pound Brooks is sure to provide a unique challenge.

“They’re still throwing the ball more than they’re running it, but the running back is special,” Brown said. “They’re going to try to get him touches. He’s probably the best player in our league that nobody talks about. He’s right up there at the top of our league for running backs. He’s really productive. I was telling our defensive staff [Sunday] that I think he’s the best player in our league that nobody talks about.”

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UPDATE: Fire in Monongah extinguished, U.S. Route 19 reopened

MONONGAH, W.Va. – Multiple units were dispatched to a fire in Monongah Wednesday afternoon.

The structure fire in the three-story apartment building was initially reported at 2:25 p.m. in the 500 block of Camden Avenue (U.S. Route 19) and resulted in closure of the street for about two hours.

Students at the Monongah Middle School nearby were taken to the Monongah Elementary School after the fire was reported and will board buses from there.

Unconfirmed reports indicate the fire was contained to two second floor apartments.

Firefighters from Monongah, Valley, Winfield, Barrackville, and Shinnston responded to the scene.

There is no word on injuries.

The cause remains under investigation.

Original story:

Multiple units were dispatched to a fire in Monongah on Wednesday afternoon.

The structure fire in a three-story building was initially reported at 2:25 p.m. in the 500 block of Camden Avenue (U.S. Route 19) and resulted in the closure of the street.

Students at Monongah Middle School nearby were taken to Monongah Elementary School after the fire was reported and will board buses from there.

Officials are urging residents to avoid the area.

Firefighters from Monongah, Valley, Winfield, Barrackville, and Shinnston responded to the scene.

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HIV/AIDS in Appalachia discussed by national panel in visit to Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State and community leaders who deal daily with those impacted by substance use disorder detailed their successes and struggles to members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS during its full council meeting Wednesday at the University of Charleston.

Gregg Alton

The council visited West Virginia to hear the response to HIV in the Appalachian region.

The state has previously reported there have been more than 100 HIV cases identified in the Kanawha County since Jan. 1, 2019. Nine out of the 10 new cases in 2022 were confirmed to associated with injection drug use. There have been 70 confirmed HIV cases this year.

There were a number of panel discussions during Wednesday’s meeting including one dealing with stigma that’s associated illegal drug use and its results.

“What we’re obviously dealing with here is two levels of stigma,” advisory council member Gregg Alton said. “Number 1, against people who inject drugs and number 2, because we are talking about HIV, people who are reluctant to be on PrEP because it’s considered a gay drug.”

Dr. Lyn O’Connell

Marshall University Associate Director of Addiction Sciences Dr. Lyn O’Connell said the state Office of Control Policy has sought to develop a comprehensive stigma approach.

“The goal as we move forward is to do a top down and a bottom up intervention,” O’Connell said.

Stigma campaigns have struggled because they’ve changed yearly, O’Connell said.

“Every time the campaign changes there’s no lingering brand,”

O’Connell said the state is seeking to change that.

“There needs to be a long-term brand with sub-campaigns addressing different populations in unique ways that meet that population.”

Rev. James Patterson, who is president and CEO of the Charleston-based Partnership of African American Churches (PAAC), said dealing with stigma begins with compassion.

“It’s how people are treated when they are in your facility,” Patterson said. “As well as what is the reputation of your facility, your organization, among the people we are trying to serve.”

James Patterson

Patterson, whose organization now has 76 treatment beds, said he takes it upon himself to lead that compassionate care.

“It’s my job to make sure that from top to bottom of the organization that people are treated with care and passion no matter their condition when they come to see us,” Patterson said.

Other panel discussions focused on needle exchange and community engagement.

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Scott strengthens hold on top spot in Class AA poll (Week 5 preview)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Greg Carey and Joe Brocato recap the best Week 4 contests in Class AA football and they look ahead to the weekend’s matchups.

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Multiple teams of volunteers go out in the community to serve for United Way’s annual Day of Caring

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hundreds of volunteers are coming together again to do some handy work for under-served groups throughout Central West Virginia during a large, one-day event of giving back.

The largest one-day volunteer event in the region, The United Way of Central West Virginia held its 18th annual Day of Caring Wednesday. It brought in volunteers from all over to serve non-profit organizations, low-income assistance programs, recovery centers, among other facilities through anything from carpentry work, cleaning, to lawn care.

The volunteer teams were expecting to take on around 70 different projects for the event throughout Kanawha, Boone, Putnam, Braxton, Clay and Logan counties.

Around 100 members of Charleston Area Medical Center were one of the groups out volunteering throughout the Kanawha Valley for the event Wednesday.

The Lee Terrace apartments on Charleston’s East side was one of the locations CAMC staff were working at, trimming bushes, planting flowers, and doing various other landscaping work outside. CAMC volunteer Megan Hatfield told MetroNews it’s important work, as it’s helping those who can’t always help themselves.

“This particular place that we’re at today houses elderly and disabled adults, so we want to be able to give back to them and do what we can, and this is the kind of thing that they can’t get out here and do, so we want to make this as nice as possible for them,” said Hatfield.

She said some of the apartment building residents who were able to were out helping the volunteers with the work.

Hatfield said CAMC participates in the event every year as a way to extend beyond the walls of the hospital in servicing others, adding that it’s not only beneficial for the community but the staff, as well.

“It’s great for us, too, you know, we like to get out here and team-build and do all of that with our other employees together, so it’s a great experience for everybody I think,” Hatfield said.

Some of the other stops CAMC volunteers were going to be making Wednesday to help out at included Mountain Mission, the Ronald McDonald House, and Kanawha Valley Senior Services. Hatfield said some were also going to be helping at a local soup kitchen, organizing their pantries and helping them get ready for winter.

TC Energy was another company helping out and about in the community Wednesday with around 33 volunteers.

One of the stops they made was at Recovery Point, a drug and alcohol recovery center located on Charleston’s West side. TC Energy volunteer Stephen White said volunteering in various ways is something the company advocates closely for.

“TC Energy is really connected to the communities where we have offices and where we have our pipeline assets, and we really like to give back to the local communities, we have a very strong volunteer program and donation program,” said White.

They were at Recovery Point Wednesday giving its kitchen a fresh, new bright yellow paint job.

TC Energy volunteers painting in Recovery Point’s kitchen

While White said this was about the fifth or sixth year working at United Way’s Day of Caring event, the company takes on other volunteer work opportunities whenever possible.

“We serve at food banks, we have a very strong internal program called Build Strong, it focuses entirely on non-profit organizations in the communities where we work and live, and we’re always looking for new groups to partner with and ways we can help serve those around us,” he said.

White said the two other places they would be volunteering at were Sojourner’s Women’s shelter and Manna Meal.

He said it it feels good to give back to those in need.

“It feels really good, not just in a personal way, but it feels really good because the company is supportive,” White said. “We can do this on a work day and we don’t have to worry, the company says serving the people around us is so important that you can take the day and go and do that.”

Hatfield agreed that the work just simply feels good to do for others, as well as partnering with an organization like the United Way whose well-known for the humanitarian work they do on a daily basis.

“I mean like I said, giving back to the community is great and we don’t get that opportunity every day, so being able to be supported by the United Way and get out here where, you know, we don’t always know who needs us, so it’s really great to be sponsored by them, they tell us what to do and where to go and we’re glad to go do it,” said Hatfield.

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