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Video, updates: Governor’s briefing on covid response at 1 p.m.

We’ll provide updates here about how West Virginia is dealing with the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

State officials have directed members of the public to a landing page dedicated to information about coronavirus in West Virginia.

Additional information can be found at CDC’s Situation Summary or at DHHR’s COVID-19 information hotline, 1-800-887-4304.

12:19 p.m. Justice leads pandemic update at 1 p.m.

10:32 a.m. 5/14/2021 Justice leads pandemic update at noon

11:45 a.m.  5/12/2021  Justice leads pandemic update

10:25 a.m. 5/10/2021  Justice leads pandemic update 

9:29 a.m. 5/7/2021 Justice leads pandemic update at 11:30 a.m.

9:16 a.m. 5/5/2020 Justice leads noon briefing about covid response

8:04 a.m. 5/3/2020 Justice provides latest on pandemic response at 11 a.m.

8:04 a.m. 4/30/2020 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

11:05 a.m. 4/28/2021 Pandemic briefing by Justice at 2:45 p.m. 

12:45 p.m. 4/26/2021  Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 1 p.m.

7:59 a.m. 4/23/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

11:55 a.m. 4/21/2021  Justice to address pandemic response at noon

11:55 a.m. 4/19/2021  Justice to address pandemic response at noon.

10:25 a.m. 4/16/2021  Justice to address pandemic response at 10:30 a.m.

10:25 a.m.  4/14/2021  Justice to address pandemic response at 10:30 a.m.

11:54 a.m. 4/12/2021 Justice to address pandemic response at noon 


11:35 a.m.  4/09/2021  Justice to have back to back briefings beginning at noon (income tax/COVID)

10:15 a.m.  4/07/2021  Justice briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  4/05/2021  Justice briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  4/02/2021   Justice briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  3/29/2021  Justice briefing at 10:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.  3/26/2021  Justice briefing at 9 a.m.

10:30 a.m.  3/24/2021  Justice briefing at 11:00 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  3/22/2021  Justice briefing at 11:00 a.m.

10:20 a.m. 3/19/2021  Justice briefing 10:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m. 3/17/2021  Justice briefing 10:45 a.m.

11:15 a.m.  3/15/2021  Justice briefing at 11:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m. 3/12/2021 Justice briefing at 11:00 a.m.

10:30 a.m. 3/10/2021  Justice briefing set for 11:00 a.m.

10:15 a.m. 3/8/2021  Justice briefing set for 10:30 a.m.

10:55 a.m. 3/5/2021  Justice briefing set for 11:00 a.m.

This briefing was originally scheduled for 10:30 a.m. but now has been shifted to 11

;

10:32 a.m. 2/19/2021 Justice leads briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

6:52 a.m. 2/17/2021 Justice leads briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

9:30 a.m. 2/15/2021 Justice leads briefing at 10:30 

9:03 a.m. 2/12/2021 Justice to lead briefing at noon

9:30 a.m. 2/10/21 Justice to lead briefing at 11 a.m.

11:58 a.m. 2/8/21 Justice to lead briefing at noon 

9:48 a.m.  2/5/21 Justice to lead briefing at 11:30 

11:05 a.m.  2/3/21 Justice to lead briefing at noon 

9:34 a.m. Justice to lead briefing at noon 

10:34 a.m. 1/29/21 Justice to lead briefing at noon

9:39 a.m. 1/27/21 Manchin applauds federal effort to increases vaccine supply

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a statement about the announcement from the Biden Administration about increasing the weekly supply of COVID-19 vaccinations to states and territories next week. The administration will also increase transparency by giving states a three week forecast of vaccine supplies.

“Today’s announcement by the Biden Administration shows that help is on the way. I thank President Biden for staying true to his word and delivering more vaccine so quickly and will continue to work closely with him to further increase our allocation. West Virginia is leading the country in efficiently and safely distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. Clinics across our state have been operating below capacity because of the vaccine shortage. Now President Biden will ship out at least 10 million doses each week to get more shots in arms as soon as possible. Today’s announcement from the Biden Administration is another step closer to ensuring every West Virginian who wants a vaccine can get one, restoring our economy, and getting back to life as usual. In the last week, I have spoken with President Biden and multiple White House officials who have assured me the number one priority for the Administration is quickly producing and efficiently distributing the vaccine. I’m glad to see them put their money where their mouth is and ramp up vaccine distribution.”

9 a.m. 1/25/21 Justice plans 11 a.m. briefing 

12:07 p.m. 1/21/21 Justice plans noon briefing 

9:56 a.m. 1/19/2021 Justice plans 11 a.m. briefing 

8:51 a.m. 1/13/2021 Justice plans 10 a.m. briefing

here is the livestream https://t.co/i4kQb1qU8N

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 13, 2021

8:49 a.m. 1/11/2021 Justice plans noon briefing

here is the livestream https://t.co/Dw7fbZbuev

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 11, 2021

11:31 a.m. 1/8/2021 Justice plans noon briefing 

livestream here https://t.co/jN45H6LHG6

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 8, 2021

7:54 a.m. 1/6/2021 Justice plans 11 a.m. briefing 

here is the livestream https://t.co/Khcw32yYBv

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 6, 2021

6:59 a.m. 1/4/2021 Justice plans 11 a.m. briefing

here is the livestream https://t.co/6YB4IooQpY

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 4, 2021

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MetroNews Week 5 Baseball Power Rankings: Independence new No. 1 in Class AA

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The MetroNews high school baseball poll is voted upon weekly by a panel of 10 radio broadcasters and sports writers across West Virginia. The rankings include overall records, total points and first-place votes in parenthesis.

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Two women injured in Charleston home invasion

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston police are looking for two suspects who forced their way into an apartment building on the city’s east end late Sunday night.

Charleston Police Chief of Detectives Tony Hazelett said two black males forced their way into the apartment of Angelique Vogel, 44, and Tandi Vogel, 37, around 10 p.m. Sunday.

“The two black males entered the apartment accursing the two of stealing their wallet,” said Hazelett.

He said the women didn’t know their assailants and were unaware of any wallet. One of the suspects shot Angelique in the arm and struck Tandi in the forehead with the butt of the pistol. Both women were taken to the hospital and are in stable condition.

“The didn’t know their names, they just opened the door and forced their way in. The one suspect brandished a gun and started screaming about the wallet,” he said.

The shooter is described as 6′ black male around 40 years of age with a stocky build. He wore a cream colored shirt, black jacket and blue jeans. The second suspect was 5’6″ black male with short hair about 30 to 40 years of age and a heavy build.

Anyone with information about the two suspects is urged to contact Charleston Police at 304-348–6480.

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One more hurdle for Marshall: Thundering Herd seek first national championship against Indiana

Marshall’s men’s soccer team has enjoyed a historic season that has the program one win away from its first national championship.

All that stands in the way of the Thundering Herd and a coveted title is one of the sport’s most storied programs in Indiana, which will face Marshall at 8 p.m. Monday in the NCAA College Cup National Championship.

The contest, being held at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Complex, will be shown on ESPN2.

“We don’t have to have the best game of our lives to win the national championship,” Marshall coach Chris Grassie said. “We just have to play well and do what we normally do. That’ll be the message and that’s been the message throughout. We’ll continue to reiterate that.”

The 10th-ranked Herd (12-2-3) have gotten by Fordham, Clemson, Georgetown and most recently North Carolina in Friday’s national semifinal during NCAA Tournament play.

Marshall has allowed two goals in those four matches, while shutting out the Hoyas and Tar Heels.

Limiting the opposition’s offense has been a key to Marshall’s success, with the Herd having allowed only eight goals all season.

In 10 of Marshall’s victories, the Herd haven’t surrendered a goal to its opponent.

Junior goalkeeper Oliver Semmle has nine clean sheets and a 0.40 goals-against average over 17 games and 16 starts.

“He’s clearly the best goalkeeper in the country,” Grassie said following Marshall’s 1-0 win over UNC in which Semmle had a season-high five saves. “Is there any goalkeeper who can play with their feet like he does? He just adds to our team and I think we have a lot of guys who are the best in the country at their position.

“I think as a team, we’re the best team in the country. He just fits perfectly along with that. It’s more important to win championships than personal awards and I think every single member of the team is totally on board with that.”

Marshall goalkeeper Oliver Semmle (1) makes a stop at the goal against North Carolina. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Junior Vitor Dias leads Marshall’s offensive attack with six goals and five assists, while Jamil Roberts is one of three Marshall players with four goals. Roberts has come through in a big way for the Herd of late, scoring the lone goal in the matches against Georgetown and UNC.

Third-ranked Indiana (12-1-2) is seeking its ninth national championship. The Hoosiers most recently won a title in 2012, though they played for one in 2017 while finishing runner-up for a seventh time.

Like Marshall in its win over Clemson, the Hoosiers advanced past St. Francis Brooklyn on the strength of penalty kicks in their NCAA Tournament opener. Since, Indiana has posted victories over Marquette, Seton Hall and Pittsburgh, while allowing one goal in the three matches.

IU sophomore keeper Roman Celentano has nine shutouts, a 0.32 GAA and 52 saves.

Victor Bezerra leads the Hoosiers with 12 goals and four assists for 28 points. The 28 points are 16 more than the next closest IU player — Ryan Wittenbrink, who’s second on the team with five goals.

Herbert Endeley has scored four times, including the lone goal in the triumph over the Panthers.

While a tough challenge awaits the Herd, Grassie expects a strong contingent of Marshall fans on hand for the finale in Cary, N.C. He was impressed with the support his team received Friday against UNC, whose Chapel Hill campus is only a half hour the venue.

“Herd Nation traveled and we made this place our own,” Grassie said. “We’ll make it our own again on Monday. It felt like a home field for us and we performed like the team with the history and they didn’t. I can’t thank the Herd Nation enough for making Cary a home venue for us.”

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Siegel: Billions of Cicadas are Coming, But They Won’t Hurt You

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The East Coast is bracing for an invasion:
“An entire tree may have certain barks covered with them, and when the husks hit the ground, you will say it’s like acorns falling from the tree – which are all the discarded skeletons, and then the animals are climbing up to the tops of the trees and start their chorusing. The males are chorusing,” according to Dr. Jim Siegel who is an Ecology Curriculum Manager/Biologist at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown. He says put down the bug spray:
“This isn’t an animal that you need to kill. This isn’t an animal that you need to use insect repellant to keep them off your arms and legs. They don’t bite. They don’t eat,” he says.

And while the thought of ‘billions’ of bugs may be unnerving, he says they don’t destroy vegetation save some small fruit trees.
“Over one million of them per acre is possible, and so it’s billions of insects emerging all at once during from about mid-May to maybe another six weeks after that. And they’re going to be all doing that to breed, and to mate, and lay their eggs. And then they will die, to start the cycle again.”
The Eastern Panhandle will likely see the bulk of West Virginia’s emergence of the 17-year-cicadas.

 

Pictures, from L-R Picture 1: Dr. Jim Siegel
Picture 2:Discarded Cicada exoskeleton

 

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MetroNews This Morning 5-17-21

Senators Capito and Manchin want answers about how Reta Mays was hired at the Clarksburg V-A when her background check should have revealed evidence that would have blocked her employment. They’ll meet with the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs today at the Clarksburg V=A hospital. An ATV accident leaves two dead in Greenbrier County. Covid vaccinations continue in West Virginia, but the demand continues to decrease. Governor Jim Justice relaxes his mask mandate amid a change in policy from the CDC. In Sports, the Marshall Men’s Soccer Team plays for a national championship tonight. Those stories and more in today’s MetroNews This Morning podcast.

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 5-17-21” on Spreaker.

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Responsibility for Murders at the VA Hospital in Clarksburg Goes Beyond Reta Mays

Denis McDonough, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will be at the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Hospital in Clarksburg today where he will answer questions about the systemic procedural breakdowns at the hospital that allowed the murder of patients.

Reta Mays, a former overnight nurses’ aide at the hospital, admitted to murdering seven veterans and contributing to the death of an eighth by giving them doses of insulin that were not prescribed, triggering hypoglycemia.  Civil suits attribute two additional deaths to her, and there may be more.

Mays acted alone, however, the VA’s Office of Inspector General’s detailed investigation released last week also places substantial blame on the hospital and individuals in supervisory positions.

Here are several of those key findings:

—“The OIG found that the facility did not consistently promote a culture that prioritized patient safety of a high-reliability organization.  Consequently, a combination of clinical and administrative failures at the facility created the conditions [emphasis added] that allowed Ms. Mays to commit these criminal acts and for them to go undetected for so long.”

—“Ultimately, the failure of leaders at multiple levels [emphasis added] to ensure patient safety resulted in the tragic events described in this report.”

—“The OIG found that the facility had serious, pervasive and deep-rooted clinical and administrative failures [emphasis added] that contributed to Ms. Mays’ criminal actions not being identified and stopped earlier.”

So, who was responsible for these failures and how were they held accountable?

The Veterans Administration has largely stonewalled since the scandal became public, and when the agency does provide answers, they are vague.

Dr. Glenn Snider, the medical center Director at the time of the murders, was reassigned to another job within the VA.  When asked about other leadership changes, the hospital’s response was, “Other personnel actions have occurred, however, due to privacy we are unable to provide those.”

The OIG report says the medical center’s former Associate Director of Patient Care Services, who is not identified in the report, was also reassigned to a different position within the Veterans Administration.

So, here is a question: Is anyone who was in a leadership position at the medical center during the murders who, according to the OIG report, failed to do their job going get fired?  If not, why not?

The investigation strongly suggests if these individuals had been on the ball, Mays would have either not been hired in the first place or she would have been caught before the death toll rose.

West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators are pressing the VA for answers.

“I don’t like the practice of the VA that you just pass the person who’s violating VA regulations and rules—and just pass them to the next job,” Senator Shelley Moore Capito said.  “To me, that’s a slap in the face of veterans.  So, I think we need to really clean house at the VA.”

Senator Joe Manchin is expected to take a similarly tough stand with the Secretary.  “I want to make sure he understands the need to absolutely overhaul the management and practices at the VA hospital,” Manchin said.

The press will also have plenty of questions today.  The breakdown at the hospital did not happen under McDonough’s watch–he was appointed by President Biden–but the responsibility for cleaning up the mess falls to him.

The hospital has made changes to ensure patient safety, and top leadership positions have been filled, at least on an interim basis, with a new team.   Those are all much-needed steps to restore the kind of patient-first culture our veterans deserve.

However, the OIG report makes abundantly clear that the management failures under the previous administration contributed to the deaths of those veterans.  Simply reassigning those responsible is barely a slap on the wrist, and is an insult to the families whose loved ones were murdered.

 

 

 

 

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Marion County health officials concerned about vaccine interest despite increased availability

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Marion County Health Officer Lloyd White is among the health officials concerned about a decline in coronavirus vaccine demand.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, more than 23,000 vaccine doses have been administered countywide. Marion County clinics are administering 30 doses a day amid efforts to make it easier to get vaccinated. White notes despite the increased availability, the public has not matched it with interest.

“Our clinics now are a lot smaller to the point that we’re looking at having open walk-in clinics at any point throughout the day to facilitate getting the vaccine much easier,” he said.

“It’s a good thing if, in fact, those who wanted the vaccine have gotten it, so hopefully we’ve reduced the barriers to obtain the vaccine. The other concern is why are we seeing less people seeking the vaccine.”

West Virginians who are 12-years-old and older may receive vaccine doses, with younger West Virginians getting the Pfizer vaccine.

“If you continue to get the vaccine — and even if you do get COVID — you have a much less chance of being hospitalized and certainly a less chance of dying,” White said. “We still want to recommend people get the vaccine so we can prevent that.”

The Marion County Health Department has a mobile unit with plans to go to various locations for clinics.

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Carter, Payne and Heinaman tied for lead after opening round of West Virginia Senior Open

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Defending champion Pat Carter, Harold Payne and Craig Heinaman are tied for the lead after the first round of the West Virginia Senior Open played Sunday at Guyan Golf & Country Club.

The three each shot even-par 71 on the course that proved to be a tough test on how to handle the greens.

“I’ve never seen Guyan play like this,” said Carter, a former Guyan member who now plays out of Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston. “It’s a demanding course and the whole field will attest to that. It’s as difficult I’ve ever seen Guyan play. Give me seventy-one on both days if it stays like this.”

David Loggins shot 73 and Jim Grimmett a 74 on a 40-34 over the two nines. Grimmett started with a bogey and double bogey and played even the rest of the way.

Carter’s round featured two birdies and two bogeys. The second was a disappointing five at the short par-four 17th where his drive went into the left fairway bunker and his approach came up short.

“I hit a bunch of good putts,” Carter said. “You had to be very careful.”

Payne, like Carter a former Marshall University player, had an up-and-down day. The Sleepy Hollow Golf Club member shot 39 on the front and rallied with 32 on the back with the highlight a birdie on the par-4 18th.

“You had to be in the fairway and for the most part I did,” Payne said. “If you missed (fairways) you paid for it.”

Payne scrambled for par at the par-4 10th and then went on the birdie train thanks to a hot putter.

“I’m very fortunate,” Payne said. “I made more putts. I’ve always had success at Guyan.”

Heinaman had five birdies and five bogeys on his card.

“Keep the ball below the hole,” Heinaman said.

Jim Carpenter shot 76 to lead the Senior Division. Douglas Taylor and David Corbin each posted 77.

Monday’s final round starts at 9 a.m.

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Relationship focuses on cleaning Deckers Creek of metals

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A public-private partnership is concentrating on cleaning up the lower portion of Deckers Creek in Monongalia County.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Northeast Natural Energy previously announced plans to build a facility for treating acid main drainage near the Richard Mine.

Diane Corwin, the vice president of operations for Northeast Natural Energy, told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM the effort will focus on removing metals such as iron, manganese and aluminum, as well as rejuvenating the local ecosystem.

“The acid mine drainage into Deckers Creek has been happening for many years, so this is not a new occurrence,” she explained.

Despite prior clean-up efforts, the drainage has degraded a portion of Deckers Creek for more than a century.

“It’s a concentrated effort for the last five miles of Deckers Creek,” Corwin said.

The facility will separate metals from the water, and the clean water will be discharged into Deckers Creek.

“With this effort, we hope to restore Deckers Creek so that it can become a better asset to the community and an enhancement to the Rail Trail,” said Jon Bourdon, the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s state conservationist of West Virginia. “It’s been decades since the water in Deckers Creek could support aquatic life and we hope to change that with this project.”

Corwin noted officials will monitor cleaning efforts to understand local improvements and make any adjustments.

Construction on the facility is slated to begin in October with the goal of having operations ready next year.

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