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Kanawha County Commission soon to hire new member to fill vacant seat

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s boots on the ground now for the Kanawha County Commission as they discuss who will temporarily fill the recently vacant seat on the commission.

The now just two commissioners, Lance Wheeler and Ben Salango opened up discussions Monday regarding the timeline and procedure for filling the vacancy left behind by longtime and now retired commissioner Kent Carper following previous battle with health issues and an investigation into alleged misconduct.

They met at the Voter’s Registration Office in Charleston for a special meeting regarding the matter after taking all morning to canvass votes from last Tuesday’s May Primary Election.

After the seat became officially vacant on May 12, the commissioners have until this Friday, May 24 to look over resumes of qualified candidates and make their selection.

Lance Wheeler

Commission President Wheeler said during the meeting that the process of hiring someone to fill the role until November’s General Election will be handled as fairly and efficiently as possible. He said the candidate will officially be appointed during another special meeting on Thursday, May 30.

“We are going to make sure we do this as transparent as possible, and we’ll make sure on the 30th for the county commission meeting that candidates will have received a notice, and it will be on a public agenda in front of everyone who wants to be here,” said Wheeler.

Also during Monday’s meeting, commissioners made the decision to rescind a portion of Order 2013-309 pertaining to the hiring process of a new commissioner.

Specially, they made the motion to do away with the public interview process of that order. Commissioner Salango said he had to go through it in 2017 and it came down to him and a group of others in the same room being grilled on questions, and he said it hardly seemed a fair or efficient process.

“It’s just unnecessary, I’m not aware of any other government that would do that kind of process, so certainly it’s my recommendation that we rescind that portion of 2013-309,” Salango said.

Wheeler said he agreed that the process wasn’t being conducted in an efficient way and he believes it will go a lot smoother without that portion.

“I watched that at the time actually and that was very daunting for the people that came out and spoke,” he said. “I think this is something that we can come together, figure out someone for the next seven months, and get somebody who is big in the community and is able to work hard.”

The vacancy is currently being advertised on Kanawha County’s website and through a legal ad.

Ben Salango

They are encouraging qualified candidates to send in their resumes and cover letters to County Manager Jennifer Herrald at [email protected]. She will then forward all cover letters/ resumes over to the commissioners for review.

Former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant who won the Democratic nomination for Kanawha County Commission during the Primary Election, or Republican nominee winner and former state senator Chris Walters will be running against each other this November during the General Election for the commission seat.

After canvassing votes all Monday morning for the overall election, the commissioners say they are just waiting on a few more hand counts until the election can be certified on May 30. They had 48 hours from the point of Monday’s meeting to canvass all of the votes, but Salango said they could make adjustments if need be.

“If we needed to, like for any local elections, we could certify before then and just wait for the final county to turn in their votes,” he said.

Those who want to apply for the vacant spot on the commission must turn in their resumes and cover letters by Friday at 5 p.m.

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Lawmakers pay tribute to the life of Bob Ashley, longtime public servant

West Virginia lawmakers honored Bob Ashley, a longtime and widely-respected public servant who died last week.

Ashley, 70, of Spencer died shortly after midnight May 15 at Charleston Area Medical Center Memorial Hospital after a short illness.

“Last week, the people of Roane County, the City of Spencer, every man and woman in this body and our sister body at the end of the hall lost just an extraordinary friend, a wonderful man, one of the finest inspirations I have ever had in public service,” House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, said before a moment of silence and the presentation of a resolution to Ashley’s family.

A special session and legislative interim meetings later on Monday afternoon were paused for a celebration of Ashley’s life at the West Virginia Culture Center.

“We’ve lost a gentle giant,” Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said in a floor speech describing Ashley as a mentor.

Bob Ashley

Most recently, Ashley had been a part-time regional representative for Gov. Jim Justice’s administration. Before that, he had been the administration’s legislative director.

Ashley was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1984 and went on to serve as Republican Leader in the 72nd and 73rd legislatures. He was appointed to the state Senate in 2015. He was a delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2012.

In the Senate, Ashley was defeated in the 2016 general election by fellow incumbent Republican Donna Boley. Ashley had been appointed to a Senate seat in 2015 by then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to replace departing Sen. David Nohe. Instead of filing to run for that seat, Ashley filed to run against the seat held by Boley.

This week, the Senate has been displaying pictures of Ashley during periods when floor sessions aren’t active with consideration of bills.

“The news about Bob that came this week, came like a shot to the solar plexus. I don’t think anyone had any idea that his passing was imminent,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Trump, R-Morgan.

“He was a remarkable person. I can’t think of Spencer or Roane County without thinking about Bob. Everyone here should understand how important he was to the people of Roane County.”

Most recently, Ashley had been a part-time regional representative for Gov. Jim Justice’s administration. Before that, he had been the administration’s legislative director.

Ashley was the owner of Ashley Insurance Agency. He is a graduate of Marshall University.  He is also a member of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and served more than 20 years on the Board of Directors for Roane General Hospital. He is a member of the Spencer, WV Rotary Club and the former president of the Allohak Boy Scout Council.

His wife, Anita, is a circuit judge in the area that includes Calhoun, Jackson, Mason and Roane counties.

Their son, Ben Ashley, served as director of architectural services for the School Building Authority. He now works for ZMM, an architecture firm, and he and his wife Suzette run the Ashley Insurance business in Spencer. Another son, Sam, is a petroleum engineer.

“I’m going to miss him,” Trump said. “The resolution said ‘devoted husband and father.’ There’s no question about that.”

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Williams, Democratic candidate for governor, delivers petition for referendum on abortion

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, the Democratic candidate for governor, today delivered a petition with thousands of signatures to the state Capitol to push for a referendum on guaranteeing access to abortion and reproductive healthcare.

Steve Williams

“As of this morning we have 2,500 signatures,” Williams said from the Capitol.

Williams has been pushing for the referendum to be on the agenda for the special legislative session that has been going on this week.

That seems highly unlikely since the current governor, Republican Jim Justice, has not put anything like that on the legislative call. But Williams said he intends to keep pushing the point.

“We’re making a statement,” Williams said. “Fact of the matter is, we know this issue of some sort was on the ballot a few years ago, but there is a significant population in this state — 52 percent of all voters in West Virginia are women — and everywhere I go women are saying ‘We want our rights restored.’

“One way or another, freedom is going to be on the ballot — whether it’s through a constitutional amendment or where every person is up for a seat on the legislature or for governor is going to have to be able to speak to female voters to say ‘We support restoring your constitutional rights or reproductive rights, or we’re going to hold fast that you’re not worthy of receiving due consideration.'”

In 2018, West Virginia voters narrowly approved — 52% to 48% — an amendment stating “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” The language about funding had to do with whether the state would be required to use Medicaid dollars to pay for abortions for women who could not afford to pay for the procedure.

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling in 2022 left abortion policies to the states, six of them — California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Vermont, and Ohio – have voted on abortion related constitutional amendments. The side favoring access to abortion prevailed in every state.

States with statewide ballot initiatives on abortion this year include Florida, where a state constitutional amendment to legalize abortion until viability will be on the ballot. Missouri and South Dakota now also have citizen-sponsored measures on the ballot this year.

West Virginia lawmakers in 2022 passed a bill that  would not allow for abortion at any time during pregnancy, except for in some limited circumstances.

During the most recent regular legislative session, Delegate Kayla Young, D-Kanawha, introduced House Joint Resolution 27 calling for an amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing women the right to control their reproductive decisions, including abortion. The resolution was assigned to the House Health Committee and went no farther.

Williams said he will just keep trying.

“The one thing I’ve learned is you just don’t stop — constant, constant moving toward what you’re trying to do,” he said.

“You can just rest assured we’re just going to keep this in front of the voters. And the voters will either speak one way or another; they’ll either speak if there is a constitutional amendment or they’ll speak by whom they choose to be governor and members of the state legislature.”

Williams presented the petition to House Minority Leader Sean Hornbuckle, D-Cabell, who took it to the House clerk.

Sean Hornbuckle

“We believe that reproductive healthcare freedom is what is wanted. We just believe it is time now to have the people of West Virginia to decide if women should have reproductive healthcare freedom,” Hornbuckle said.

“We tired last session. We’ll try this special session. We’ll try all sessions in the future. This is something that’s important to us.”

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Despite struggles throughout season, Beals optimistic Marshall moving in right direction

— By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall’s 2024 baseball season came to an end on Saturday when the Thundering  Herd dropped a 9-5 contest to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Senior Day at Jack Cook Field.

Coastal swept the Sun Belt Conference series, leaving the Herd with a final record of 18-37, including 9-21 in Sun Belt Conference play.

Marshall finished 13th out of 14 teams in the league and failed to qualify for the Sun Belt Tournament, which features the top 10 teams in the league standings and begins Tuesday in Montgomery, Alabama.

For Marshall, strong pitching was not matched by timely hitting in many cases. Marshall had a team batting average of .233 while opponents hit at a .273 clip.

The Herd’s earned run average as a team was 6.09, while the opposition’s pitching posted a 4.17 ERA.

Despite losing two-thirds of its games and finishing with a 3-21 road record, Marshall head coach Greg Beals believes there were strides in 2024 following a 16-37 campaign a year earlier.

“I’m excited, because we’re moving the needle and the win total moved up,” Beals said. “We would’ve liked to have seen it move up more. I really feel like character and culture is growing and that’s got to continue to grow, because that’s what leads to wins.”

Marshall’s biggest news came with the first season in its on-campus ballpark, the first in program history. The Herd had a 14-12 record at “The Jack”, including a notable win against West Virginia and a quality victory against Ohio and Sun Belt series victories over Arkansas State and Texas State.

Another of the season’s highlights came on Opening Day at Jack Cook Field when Marshall second baseman Tre Hondras hit the first pitch thrown to a Herd player over the left field fence on the way to a 3-0 win over Manhattan.

Beals has a lot of holes to fill in his roster as Marshall loses 17 seniors. Those losses include Hondras, pitchers Drew Harlow and Jack Firestone and catcher Owen Ayers.

Ayers’ loss leaves a large void, as he led Marshall in slugging percentage, runs, hits, doubles and total bases.

Tops among potential returnees is starting pitcher Bryce Blevins, who posted a 3-5 record this season with a team-best 3.45 ERA.

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Boone County grandparents charged in death of teen found in ‘skeletal state’

MADISON, W.Va. — Boone County sheriff’s deputies have charged the grandparents of a 14-year-old girl who was found in a “skeletal state” last month.

Jerry Stone (WVRJA)

Jerry Stone, 75, and Donna Stone, 76, were taken into custody Monday morning and charged with child neglect causing death.

The teenage girl’s mother Julie Miller, 49, of Morrisvale, faces the same charge. She waived her preliminary hearing on April 29. Her case will now head to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Kyneddi Miller was found unconscious on the bathroom floor of her Morrisvale home on April 17. Investigators described the girl’s body as “emaciated to a skeletal state.”

The girl lived at the home with her mother and her grandparents.

Donna Stone (WCHS-TV)

According to a criminal complaint, the Stones failed to “exercise a minimum degree of care” to assure the 14-year-old’s safety.

The grandmother told deputies that the girl had not attended school since late 2019 or early 2020 and had only been outside the house possibly two times in the last four years.

Julie Miller (WVRJA)

The complaint also went on to say the girl had an eating disorder for several years and that the grandmother told deputies the girl had not been able to function on her own for four to five days due to her physical state.

Julie Miller is being held on a $250,000 bond. The Stones’ bonds were set at $25,000. All three are housed at the Southwestern Regional Jail.

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‘Treat-in-place’ law alleviates long wait times at emergency rooms

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new state law is providing relief to West Virginians in need of emergency services across the state.

The new “treat-in-place” protocols took effect earlier this month after Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill in March. It’s a move Justice said will help alleviate long wait times in emergency rooms and keep ambulances from being tied up at the hospital.

State Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services Director Jody Ratliff told MetroNews patients will still be required to call 911, except now they’ll be able to receive treatment at home.

“They’ll be in the comfort of their home. They can stay right there at home and don’t have to go anywhere, and it frees the ERs up a little bit,” Ratliff said.

Patients with the following five conditions will qualify for the “treat-in-place” law among other things including hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), seizures, overdoses and cardiac arrest.

Ratliff said it’s difficult for some patients to get to an ER because not all areas of the state have a hospital around the corner. He said this law is good for a rural state like West Virginia.

“The hospitals do everything they can to provide everything they can possibly provide, but we do have counties where no hospitals are even there so and EMS is basically a primary care for some of these folks especially after hours,” he said.

The new protocols were developed during the COVID pandemic. OEMS then developed the education for the protocols, Ratliff said.

“During COVID, Medicaid had a treatment in place to try to take some of the relief off of the ERs in the state and those were basically related to COVID-type of diseases. After that, Medicaid here in the state decided to keep that on but expand it so it’s not just for COVID-related,” he explained.

The measure also gives EMS companies the ability to bill for certain services provided in the home that do not require an ambulance transport to the hospital. Ratliff said the initiative will free up EMS units to respond faster to emergencies.

To view the protocols, CLICK HERE.

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2024 WVSSAC State Softball Tournament preview

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — 12 teams have qualified for the 2024 WVSSAC State Softball Tournament. All games in the double-elimination event will be hosted by Little Creek Park in South Charleston on May 22-23.

Tournament schedule

Class AAA

University is the Class AAA Region I champion (Photo by Teran Malone)

Region I champion University (22-9) vs. Region III champion Greenbrier East (21-9) – Wednesday, 9:45 a.m.

University went undefeated through postseason play (5-0) to qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 1994. UHS defeated Morgantown in two games in the regional round. Sophomore Maddie Campbell leads the Hawks in runs scored (40), home runs (4), RBI (27) and hits (40). Campbell also owns a 3.64 ERA in 20 pitching appearances with a record of 8-4. Sophia Lehosit (3.87 ERA) is 10-5 in 21 appearances.

The Hawks defeated Greenbrier East, 10-7 on April 20. UHS enters the state tournament on a six-game winning streak. They average 7.1 runs per game.

Greenbrier East has qualified for the state tournament for the first time. Like the Hawks, the Spartans are perfect in postseason play (5-0). They defeated George Washington in consecutive games in the regional round. East allows just 3.1 runs per game.

Alanis McClary and Alizabeth Wooding share the team lead in batting average (.429). McClary’s 42 hits and 38 runs scored are tops on the team. Taylor Boswell leads East with 35 RBI and Kayla Bartley had connected for a team-best six home runs.

Washington is the Class AAA Region II champion (Photo by Robert Ovies Sports Photography)

Region II champion Washington (22-6) vs. Region IV champion Cabell Midland (28-5) – Wednesday, 30 minutes after Game 1

The Patriots have qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2021. WHS emerged through a challenging sectional tournament, where they defeated No. 7 Jefferson in walk-off fashion (nine innings) in the decisive game to advance to the regional against Musselman. Washington is 3-0 against teams in the state tournament field, with a pair of victories over Keyser and another against Petersburg.

Gabrielle Bibb leads the Patriots in batting average (.525). She also leads the team in hits (53) and runs scored (42). Carly Constantino leads the team with 34 RBI. Courtney Greenfield is the team’s leader in home runs (4).

Constantino (1.74 ERA) with the Patriots in victories (8), while Carly Crowder has added six victories.

Cabell Midland defeated University, 13-3 in the Mon County Classic (Photo by Teran Malone)

Cabell Midland endured a gauntlet to win Region IV. The Knights’ region included No. 8 Spring Valley, No. 2 Lincoln County and No. 5 Hurricane. Midland defeated LCHS in the decisive game of their sectional tournament with a walk-off home run from Becca Conrad.

The Knights average 9.9 runs per game. Olivia Bell (.529) is the team’s leading hitter and RBI producer (48). Quinn Ballangee leads in home runs (12) and runs scored (47). Ballangee owns an 8-0 pitching record with a 3.02 ERA. Audrea Watts (3.10 ERA) has posted a 10-3 record in the circle.

Washington ended the regular season ranked fourth in the MetroNews Softball Coaches Poll, while Cabell Midland held the top spot for most of the season.

 

Class AA

Region I champion Keyser (25-9) vs. Region III champion Bluefield (17-5) – Wednesday, 9:45 a.m.

Keyser battled back from a one-run loss in their regional opener at Weir to claim the school’s second regional title and first state tournament appearance since 2012.

Taylor Likens leads KHS in batting average (.535), home runs (16), doubles (17), RBI (67) and runs scored (61). Rylee Mangold has racked up seven home runs and 53 RBI.

In 25 pitching appearances, Mangold has posted a 14-3 record with an ERA of 1.24. She has struck out 194 batters in 96 innings of work.

Bluefield enters the state tournament on a six-game winning streak. The Beavers scored 16 runs in their regional round victories over Independence to secure the school’s first regional championship. Bluefield has allowed just 42 runs in 22 games.

Grace Richardson leads BHS in batting average (.469), runs scored (35) and home runs (4). Madison Lawson has driven in a team-best 34 runs. Isabella Smith owns a pitching record of 16-5 and an ERA of 1.73.

The Golden Tornado ended the regular season raked ninth in the MetroNews Softball Coaches Poll, while the Beavers checked in at No. 8.

Herbert Hoover won Class AA Region II Photo by Greg Carey

Region II champion Herbert Hoover (26-3) vs. Region IV champion Winfield (23-9) – Wednesday, 30 minutes after Game 1

The second Class AA matchup on Day 1 is a rematch of the last two Class AA state championship games. Winfield is the lone defending state champion to qualify for the 2024 state tournament.

Herbert Hoover won five consecutive state championships from 2017-2022 (no tournament in 2020). The Huskies have been the top-ranked team in the MetroNews Softball Coaches Poll all season. The Huskies opened their season with a 1-0 win over Winfield. The Generals finished the regular season ranked fourth.

The Huskies are 3-0 against teams in the state tournament field. Hoover has not allowed a run in their five postseason games, outscoring their opponents, 55-0. For the season, the Huskies are allowing 1.3 runs per game.

Laila Varney leads Herbert Hoover in batting average (.470), RBI (29) and home runs (4). Audrey Canterbury and Sadi Wehrle have each scored a team-best 29 runs. In 23 pitching appearances, Varney sports a 19-2 record with an ERA of 0.73.

Winfield struggled early in the season, winning just two of their first nine games. However, the Generals rebounded to close the regular season with 15 victories in their last 16 games.

WHS was tested in the sectional round by Poca. The Dots forced Winfield into a decisive game, where the Generals prevailed 6-5. Winfield would later win a pair of one-run contests in the regional round against No. 3 Chapmanville to defend their regional championship.

Class A

Region I champion St. Marys (28-3) vs. Region III champion Midland Trail (20-7) – Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.

St. Marys head coach Lacy Riggs. Photo by Greg Carey

Last year’s Class A state runners-up from St. Marys have been the wire-to-wire top team in the MetroNews Softball Coaches poll. The Blue Devils won the Little Kanawha Conference Tournament title in April. St. Marys was pushed to a decisive game in their sectional tournament by No. 3 Wheeling Central Catholic, before taking the best-of-three series finale, 9-0.

St. Marys swept a regular season home-and-home series with Region IV champion Buffalo. The Blue Devils have allowed just 37 runs in 31 games.

Zoey Winland leads St. Marys in batting average (.421), runs scored (39), RBI (36) and doubles (15). Cali Masters owns a .414 batting average. In 22 pitching appearances, she has posted an 18-2 record with an ERA of 0.28. Kyleigh Rupert is 9-0 with a 1.26 ERA.

Like St. Marys, Midland Trail won a decisive game in the sectional tournament, winning at James Monroe. The Patriots went 4-0 in sectional play, outscoring their opponents, 31-6.

For the season, Trail is averaging 10 runs per game. Charleigh Ford leads the Patriots in batting average (.667 in 24 games). Nevaeh Hall leads the squad with 34 runs batted in.

Freshman pitcher Madison Rader has posted a 15-6 record in the circle with an ERA of 2.06 in 22 appearances.

Region II champion Petersburg (25-8) vs. Region IV champion Buffalo (18-12) – Wednesday, 30 minutes after Game 1

Petersburg defeated Doddridge County to win Class A Region II (Photo by Teran Malone)

Petersburg was tested by Moorefield in their sectional tournament, but the Vikings prevailed in the decisive game, 3-2. The Vikings later scored 11 runs in each of their regional games against Doddridge County.

Only three of Petersburg’s eight losses have come against Class A West Virginia opponents. Two-thirds of their regular season opponents were in higher classes. PHS opened the year on a six-game winning streak. The Vikings finished in third place at last year’s state tournament.

Pitcher Samantha Colaw is the lone senior on this year’s Petersburg roster.

Buffalo won the Class A Region IV title. Photo by Greg Carey

Buffalo lost their first three games to open the year, two of those were to state tournament qualifiers St. Marys and Winfield. The Bison hit their stride in mid-April and they head to the state tournament with victories in 12 of their last 15 games.

Buffalo went unbeaten in sectional play, outscoring their opponents, 36-1. In the regional round, BHS won back-to-back elimination games against Ravenswood to secure the Region IV title.

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Stories of panic and chaos emerge from Sunday shooting

DUNBAR, W.Va. — Witnesses said chaos and panic ensued Sunday at a major kids soccer event in Kanawha County. Hundreds of families were on hand watching children participate in the West Virginia Soccer Association’s Open Cup event at the Shawnee Sports Complex in Dunbar, W.Va. Around 3 p.m. shots rang out about two blocks away at an apartment complex.

Investigators now say none of the shots involved the soccer complex and weren’t in an area which would have endangered anyone there. But nobody knew that at the time.

Katie Smith was coaching one of the teams on a soccer field near the back of the complex bordering the West Virginia State University campus. She heard what she thought was a car backfire, then moments later saw a stampede of people headed toward their field and ultimately the rear exit of the complex.

“We found out later that was people on the baseball field who saw the shooting and they were running to get away. It was mass chaos,” Smith said on MetroNews Talkline.

“I grabbed all of the kids and just started running. Bless their hearts they didn’t know what was going and you’ve got parents rushing everywhere trying to find their kids,” she said.

Terry Dunford was coaching in the same game and said once the panic started there was no stopping it as everybody tried to gather their children and get out all at once.

“It was just mass panic. The West Virginia State field gate was locked and people were trying to climb over the fence. I’m talking elderly people, moms crying because they can’t find their kids. They’re just trying to get out of the field,” he said.

Once out of the field, people were in their cars trying to leave all at once created even more chaos.

“Everybody tried to exit as fast as they could and of course you got bottleneck. I ran right out into the middle of the road to try and direct traffic to get some order involved. People were scared they wanted to get out of there and get their kids to safety,” he said.

Both said when people fled the field, they left all of their belongings behind.

“It looked like a movie where there was was a town with life and then there wasn’t. Chairs turned over, tents everywhere, water bottles all over, it was real eerie,” said Smith.

Three people are now in custody charged in the shooting. Nobody was injured in the gunfire.

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Three charged in Kanawha County drive-by shooting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three men have been taken in custody in connection with a drive-by shooting from Sunday in Kanawha County.

According to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department Antonio Jacobs III, 18, of St. Albans, W.Va. and Kaden Bowman, 24, of Dunbar, W.Va. are each charged with wanton endangerment. A third individual, Zion Clark, 23, of Dunbar, W.Va. was arrested on an outstanding and unrelated burglary warrant as well as wanton endangerment tied to the incident.

“We’re still trying to determine what the initial incident was over,” said Chief Deputy Joe Crawford of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies were called to Smoot Avenue in Institute for a call of “shots fired” around 3 p.m. on Sunday. Families and parents at the nearby Shawnee Sports Complex ran for cover as the gunfire could be heard nearby. Children were participating in the West Virginia Soccer Association’s Open Cup event. All activity was suspended at the event for the day.

“You really don’t know where it’s coming from or what’s taking place, we understand that. But looking at it now, the patrons at the sports complex were obviously not the target or in danger,” he said.

The complex is about two blocks from the shooting scene, but the gunfire was very noticeable and many tried to find cover when the shooting started.

The suspect vehicle which fled the scene was pulled over in Cross Lanes, W.Va. by Nitro Police. Police recovered a number of weapons from the vehicle. Deputies say another weapon also used in the shooting was recovered at the scene.

All three individuals are lodged in the South Central Regional Jail. Crawford said additional charges against all three are possible as the investigation continues. Nobody was hurt.

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Sources: Manchin is being encouraged to hop into governor’s race against Morrisey

Sources close to Senator Joe Manchin, a mainstay of Democratic politics in West Virginia, say he is being encouraged to run for governor.

Two sources confirmed that the outreach comes from Republicans who oppose the GOP nominee for governor, Patrick Morrisey. One source said at least 20 Republicans with financial resources have reached out to Manchin, who was governor from 2005 to 2010.

“Many Republicans who believe Manchin did a good job as governor previously are encouraging him to run again,” one of the sources said.

Joe Manchin

Manchin has made no decision, but also he has not dissuaded the conversations. The frequent swing vote in the U.S. Senate decided he would not run for re-election to that seat and then spent time considering whether he would run on a third-party ticket for president before deciding against that too.

The state Republican Party provided a statement indicating full support for Morrisey’s campaign against the Democratic nominee.

“The WVGOP is united squarely behind Patrick Morrisey for Governor. West Virginians are excited to continue our Republican victory streak by electing him as our conservative voice in the Governor’s mansion this November!” stated Matt Herridge, WVGOP chairman.

The National Republican Governor’s Association also provided comment expressing support for Morrisey.

“Republican voters spoke loud and clear in selecting Patrick Morrisey as the nominee and next governor of West Virginia. There is only one conservative candidate on the ballot who will stand up to the Biden Administration’s disastrous agenda and deliver results for West Virginia families and no amount of wish-casting by anonymous sources will change that,” said Courtney Alexander, national press secretary for the Republican Governors Association.

The only Democratic candidate in last week’s primary election was Huntington Mayor Steve Williams. So at this point, Williams would face Morrisey in the general election.

Fundraising and statewide name recognition will be challenges for Williams between now and the November election. The most recent filings with the West Virginia secretary of state show the Williams campaign with $30,418 cash on hand. Morrisey’s campaign had $685,276 on hand at the conclusion of the most recent filing period.

One scenario being contemplated is to wait a few weeks and take a poll to see how Williams is faring in the race. If Williams is not doing well then it could open an opportunity for Williams to step aside and Manchin to run.

At this stage, none of this has been discussed with Williams.

Williams, in a telephone interview today, was aware of the talk, but he characterized it as an unlikely scenario.

Steve Williams

“Joe Manchin has not given me any indication that there has been any conversation along those lines. Secondly, he contributed to my campaign in the primary. He is committed to contributing to my campaign in the general, and we have had several conversations since election day,” Williams said.

“Unless Joe Manchin is the most duplicitous person on the face of the earth, which I don’t believe he is because he’s been a friend for over 40 years now, I don’t see that these rumors have any legs.”

Asked about the scenario on Friday’s MetroNews’ “Talkline,” state Democratic Party spokesman Mike Plante described the possibility as a longshot.

“If that isn’t bad news for Patrick Morrisey, I don’t know what is — the fact that leading Republicans with deep wallets are looking at these kind of contingency plans,” Plante said.

Plante continued, “I think this is wishful thinking on the part of some Republicans who are deeply and bitterly opposed to Patrick Morrisey.”

Morrisey, a three-term attorney general, lost to Manchin by three percentage points in the 2018 race for U.S. Senate. 

Morrisey was in a competitive four-way race for governor. He won with a plurality, 33% of the vote — coming in ahead of former House Judiciary Chairman Moore Capito’s 28%, Huntington businessman Chris Miller’s 20% and Secretary of State Mac Warner’s 16 percent.

Morrisey’s campaign, reached today, pointed toward a recent social media post by Morrisey that described a sense of unity in the party. The post said he had “good conversations with Moore Capito, Chris Miller, Mac Warner, the Governor, our Board of Public Works Candidates, and many others.”

Patrick Morrisey

“My opponents and the BOPW nominees were quite gracious. It’s now clear we will all pursue our common goal of electing Republicans in November and advancing conservative values,” Morrisey wrote.

Morrisey’s campaign during the primary race frequently said he is “not a product of political royalty” and that “the media and political elites are against me.” Capito is the son of Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Miller is the son of Congresswoman Carol Miller and Warner’s brothers have been active in government and GOP politics.

Shelley Moore Capito

Asked for her reaction to Morrisey’s win during a briefing last week, Capito spent some time talking about her son’s loss and then described her excitement that incumbent Gov. Jim Justice had won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, where he is heavily favored in the general election.

Capito did not mention Morrisey’s name in her response and said, “I am the leader of the Republican Party and will be supporting the Republican ticket, so let’s just see what happens in November.”

Gov. Jim Justice

Governor Justice had endorsed Moore Capito for governor, saying he could continue the trajectory of the current administration. Asked last week on “Talkline” about Morrisey’s victory, Justice said he would support him.

“Patrick and I are friends. You know, I absolutely wanted Moore to get across the finish line. But Patrick’s the man across the finish line. I’ll support him 100 percent. I think the world of him and Denise. They’re good people, and I just want good stuff for ’em. We move on, you know.”

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Source: WV MetroNews