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Princeton woman gives life after tragic death

PRINCETON, W.Va. — A Princeton family is mourning the loss of a woman who died after being struck by a pickup truck in a Walmart parking lot last month.

Eddie and Coleen Farley would’ve been married 40 years this September. Credit: Ashley Asbury

Coleen Farley, 62, was flown to Charleston Area Medical Center after the incident on July 23 and died at the hospital four days later.

“It’s just a shock. I never dreamed something like this would ever happen to her,” said her husband Eddie Farley.

The Mercer County Sheriff’s Office said a 88 year old driver in a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado claimed he did not see Farley due to the height of his truck.

Early that morning, Farley spoke to his wife for the final time and didn’t know it.

“She called me and we talked for about 10-15 minutes. We told each other we loved each other. Next time I saw her, she was in the hospital on a ventilator,” he said.

Farley was well-known in the Princeton community where she worked at Service Dry Cleaners for 46 years.

“Princeton is a small town, but everybody knew her. They loved her. Every person she ran into, she had an impact on their life,” her husband said.

She also had a passion for clothes and jewelry.

“She loved dry cleaning and clothes. The sparklier her clothes, the better she liked it,” Farley said.

He and his wife would’ve been married 40 years this September. They have two children.

“There’s just no words to describe the kind of woman she was,” he said. “She never saw the bad in no body. She would give you the shirt off her back.”

Coleen Farley loved clothes and accessories. Credit: Eddie Farley

Farley was an organ donor and insisted she be kept on a ventilator for as long as possible.

“They took a kidney to one recipient, a kidney to another recipient and her liver to somebody else, so she’s already saved three people’s lives,” said her husband.

This comes as West Virginia marks its first ever Donor Day on Sunday.

Support for the family has flooded a Facebook donation page created by daughter Tera Farley and her cousin Ashley Asbury.

“She always wanted to help,” said Tera Farley through a Facebook video update on her mother’s condition. “She always wanted to give the gift of life when she didn’t have anymore life left to live.”

The family is asking for help to pay for medical bills and funeral costs. Funeral arraignments are currently being made, but a service date has not been announced.

There will be a bake sale at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Mufflerman Tire & Auto in Princeton.

In addition to donations, the family is asking for prayers.

“I pray that God gives my dad and my brother strength,” Tera Farley said in her video. “Everybody loved mom.”

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Group calls in clean transportation funding in infrastructure bill

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Public officials and environmental advocates are calling on federal legislators to support clean transportation and related infrastructure in the bipartisan infrastructure measure.

Organizers held a rally last week in Monongalia County asking for investment in new vehicle technology and efforts addressing climate change.

Delegate Evan Hansen, D-Monongalia (West Virginia Legislature)

Members of the U.S. Senate are considering a proposal that includes $550 billion in new spending on infrastructure issues, including repairing and upgrading bus and rail fleets as well as supplying school districts with thousands of electric buses.

“The majority of the vehicles sold in the future are going to be electric vehicles,” Delegate Evan Hansen, D-Monongalia, said. “All the jobs that are created to build out that infrastructure and to build the vehicles, we want to capture as many of those jobs in West Virginia as we can.”

Hansen said the United States needs to undergo tremendous efforts to decrease emissions, emphasizing the threat of climate change.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he added.

“The technology is improving day-by-day. I know they’re being used elsewhere, and I know they could be used in West Virginia, too.”

The Senate is expected to vote this week on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is part of the bipartisan group that negotiated a deal with the White House.

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Sunday marks first-ever West Virginia Donor Day

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sunday marks the first-ever West Virginia Donor Day, highlighting organ donation.

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), Donate Life West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice and other local partners including the families of fallen Charleston Police Officer and organ donor Cassie Johnson, are commemorating the day.

Justice signed a proclamation recognizing August 1 as the first-ever West Virginia Donor Day. The 8/1 date highlights the fact that just one donor can save eight lives.

“Twenty people die every day because the organs they need are not donated in time,” Justice said. “The most effective way to address the public health crisis surrounding organ donor registrations is to encourage citizens to register as an organ, tissue and cornea donor. We ask the citizens of the state of West Virginia to support and register in this life-saving initiative.”

VIEW: Gov. Jim Justice’s proclamation for West Virginia Donor Day

According to CORE, more than 107,000 people are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in the United States, including 500 West Virginians. Only 30% of West Virginians are registered organ donors.

“Every day, we at CORE are inspired by the generous West Virginia donors and their families, who through their own grief, choose to give others the gift of life,” said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of CORE in a release. “West Virginia Donor Day is a time to celebrate them. It serves as a moment for communities across the state to come together so that we can all encourage our own family, friends and neighbors to make the Pledge for Life by registering as a donor. The lives of 500 West Virginians are depending on it.”

Sheryl Johnson, the mother of Officer Cassie Johnson recalled her daughter’s final life-saving gift as an organ donor. Johnson was shot and killed in the line of duty in December 2020.

“I’m a firm believer in donation,” Sheryl Johnson said. “I know it’s what she wanted. They sat me down and explained everything to me, told me how many people she could help and maybe give them a little bit more life, and it helped me get through everything.”

In April 2019, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper had a successful kidney operation, a gift of life from his own daughter. Carper spoke out in a social media video on Friday about organ donation.

“Three years ago, I was in kidney failure. Things looked bleak for me and my family. Thanks to receiving a kidney transplant, I have a good life now. I received the gift of life,” he said.

“It is important for all of us to remember that we can continue a legacy of life by the give of life. please consider being an organ donor.”

Commissioner Carper encourages you to become an organ donor by telling his personal story of needing a transplant 3 years ago. More than 500 West Virginian’s need a life-saving organ transplant! You have the power to save lives! #WVDonorDay #8/1/21 @DonateLifeWV @COREDonateLife pic.twitter.com/oUyhsIEQCh

— Kanawha County (@kanawhaus) July 30, 2021

The list of West Virginia Donor Day partners includes the following hospital partners:

• Beckley Appalachian Regional Healthcare
• Broaddus Hospital
• Charleston Area Medical Center
• Davis Medical Center
• Grant Memorial Hospital
• Greenbrier Valley Medical Center
• Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital
• Montgomery General Hospital
• Mountain Health Network
• Princeton Community Hospital
• Summers County Appalachian Regional Healthcare
• Thomas Hospital
• Webster County Memorial Hospital
• WVU Medicine

Justice also acknowledged in his proclamation the giving community that already exists in West Virginia, demonstrated by the two consecutive record-breaking years for organ donation the Mountain State achieved in 2019 and 2020.

West Virginians can register as an organ donor by clicking HERE or visting their local DMV, or when purchasing a hunting and fishing license.

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WVU students, faculty face Sunday deadline to update vaccination status

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University students, faculty and staff face a Sunday deadline to verify their vaccination status with the institution.

Individuals who verify their status will not be required to quarantine after travel or possible exposure to the virus, submit test results before the fall semester begins, or participate in random testing.

Dr. Carmen Burrell, the medical director of WVU Medicine Student Health Services and Urgent Care, told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM unvaccinated people and individuals who do not verify their status will be subject to the rules.

“They must comply with return to campus testing and throughout the semester will also have surveillance testing,” she said. “They will also have to quarantine if they encounter any COVID positives.”

Students, staff and faculty will be able to update their vaccination status throughout the fall semester.

“That will pull you off of those other requirements when you are two weeks past your last vaccine,” Burnell noted.

Burnell said anyone who does develop symptoms is encouraged to get tested for the coronavirus. The institution is offering community testing Mondays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and noon at the Student Rec Center.

“Walk-in testing for the general public as well as the WVU students and staff is easily accessible,” she noted. “No order is needed ahead of time.”

Students who do not verify their vaccination status will have to deliver negative test results to a university health care professional with 48 hours of arriving on campus. West Virginia University has set up multiple drop-off locations:

— College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences; Aug. 2-17 (Monday through Friday) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Mountainlair; Aug. 12-20 (Monday through Friday) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Health Sciences; Aug. 9-20 (Monday through Friday) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Aug. 14 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

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End of an era: Mylan workers leave Morgantown plant with fond memories

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After more than 55 years of operation in Morgantown the oral solid dose facility, formerly operated by Mylan Pharmaceuticals now Viatris, has closed.

The closure eliminates an estimated 1,400 workers, 850 are members of the United Steelworkers Union.

Many employees like Joe Gouzd, president of the United Steelworkers Union Local 8-957 reflected Friday on what the company culture was prior to the 2009 exit of founder Mike Puskar.

“Mr. Puskar walked the halls, he talked to our people, he talked to me,” Gouzd said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.” “He asked if there were things that needed to be done- caring, sharing, giving.”

Joe Gouzd, President of the USW Local 8-957, speaks with @DaveWilsonMN about the Mylan plant closing. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/0jPPubQBMr

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) July 30, 2021

Mylan completed a merger last November with Pfizer Inc.’s Upjohn unit to form Viatris. Former Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch, daughter of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, retired at the closing. Upjohn group’s president, Michael Goettler, assumed the chief executive’s post at Viatris.

Heather Bresch

At the time, the new company said it was targeting about $1 billion in cost cuts, but hadn’t provided details right away. The combined company has about 45,000 employees.

In addition to providing hundreds of jobs over the life span of the company, the names Puskar, Milan and Mylan are affixed to many landmarks throughout the Morgantown area.

“Mr. Puskar was able to give back folds and folds over and above what the people of West Virginia expected,” Gouzd said. “He found a way in his heart, through his success and determination to help people.”

According to Gouzd, there are too many people that have worked at the plant and family members who have benefited from those jobs that the name will live on.

Mylan/Viatris workers outside the state capitol on June 8. (Photo/Jake Flatley)

“Mylan Pharmaceuticals will never dissolve,” Gouzd said. “Mr. Puskar’s legacy will never be erased- we stand proud, we’re Mylan Pharmaceuticals.”

Puskar’s daughter Johanna has watched Mylan Pharmaceuticals grow to one of the largest companies in the area. She has also watched as her went from running the facility to ultimately not being allowed to enter the building after a leadership change in 2009.

“He always treated people like human beings and he respected his employees, and he appreciated his employees,” Puskar said. For it to go from that to where it is now just devastates me.”

According to U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, work is still going on at the federal level to save the facility. Capito said the last several months have been evaluated by officials in order to avoid repeating some of the problems experienced early in the pandemic.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (File)

“Some sort of repurposing could be the best route, then that would make it critical to the nation because we are working now to make sure we have all the strategic reserves if there were another pandemic and not relying on China,” Capito said.

Viatris issued a WARN notice in late May. The company said it’s anticipated 1,431 workers would lose their jobs as a result of the closing. There would be 482 non-union workers and 764 union workers lose their jobs on July 31. Additional job separations will take place on Aug. 31, Oct. 31, Dec. 31 and March 31, 2022.

The WARN notice lists the job titles affected.

The plant has more than 200 categories of non-union workers with most categories made up of one worker. The non-union categories with the most workers who will lose their jobs include Chemist II (58 jobs) and Area Lead/Cleaning Supervisors (31 jobs).

There are 57 categories of union workers at plant who will lose their jobs including 65 in the category of Utility Worker D, 61 Department Coordinators, 40 Blended Operators and 36 Fluid Bed Operators.

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Walmart announces new policies following CDC coronavirus guidance

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Walmart Inc. announced Friday that workers in areas with high coronavirus infections rates will have to wear face masks inside stores and company facilities.

The announcement follows guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending people — including fully vaccinated individuals — wear masks in public indoor settings in areas with substantial or high transmission.

Walmart is also encouraging employees to get vaccinated for the coronavirus, noting Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies offer vaccine doses for free. The company has been paying associates $75 to get vaccinated, but it is now doubling the amount to $150.

“Associates who already received the $75 incentive will receive $75 more on their Aug. 19 paychecks,” the company said in a press release. “This incentive program will remain in place until Oct. 4, 2021.”

Employees are also being offered three days of paid leave for any adverse reactions to the vaccines.

“As a country, vaccination options have been available for months, but, unfortunately, because so many people have chosen not to receive it, we’ve left ourselves more vulnerable to variants,” Walmart said. “The Delta variant is a mutation of the original COVID-19 virus and is much more aggressive and transmissible. It is important that necessary steps are taken to keep ourselves and our communities safe.”

Market, regional and division associates who work in multiple facilities as well as campus office associations will be required to be vaccinated by Oct. 4.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources on Friday reported 2,057 active coronavirus cases, including 100 cases of the delta variant.

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Highly touted wideout Kevin Thomas commits to Mountaineers

West Virginia continues to bolster its 2022 recruiting class by putting an emphasis on the City of Brotherly Love.

On Friday, the Mountaineers received a commitment from Kevin Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 202-pound wide receiver from Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia.

Thomas’ pledge to the Mountaineers marks the 16th commit of West Virginia’s 2022 recruiting class and the second straight Neumann-Goretti player to commit after hybrid defender Raleigh Collins III did so last week.

I’m coming home‼⛰ #takemehome22 pic.twitter.com/55nqaucBcZ

— Kevin Thomas (@k_thomas8) July 30, 2021

Thomas is listed as a 4-star prospect by Rivals and 3-star prospect by 247 Sports. He had a lengthy list of offers from high-level programs, including: Florida, Texas A&M, Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Oregon, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Maryland and Arizona State.

The Spartans were believed to be the Mountaineers’ biggest threat to land Thomas.

Thomas joins Jarel Williams of Saraland, Alabama as the second wide receiver commit in West Virginia’s upcoming recruiting class.

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Body found in remote area of Randolph County, drowning suspected

LOWER CHEAT, W.Va. — An autopsy is being performed on the body found this week in Randolph County.

According to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, authorities responded Thursday to a call about a body being spotted in the Lower Cheat area near Rattlesnake Run.

First responders were able to recover the body a few hours later. Firefighters had to wade through the water to get to the victim.

It’s believed the person drowned. Deputies are continuing their investigation. They are awaiting autopsy results.

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The Education Alliance’s summer intern program winds down with student presentations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — High school students in The Education Alliance’s WV Ready Summer Internship program got the chance to present their capstone projects to company presidents on Friday, marking the end of the summer program.

Appalachian Power President Chris Beam, Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia President Srini Matam, and West Virginia American Water President Robert Burton all observed presentations in separate ceremonies on Friday while Dominion Energy President Robert Blue also observed his groups’ on Wednesday.

Those four companies made up the four-week paid internship program for the summer of 2021. Amelia Courts, President and CEO of The Education Alliance told MetroNews that Friday was exciting, seeing a culmination of all the hard work.

Amelia Courts

“We got to see all of the hard work that all of the interns put into this. The companies as well, working with interns on their projects this summer,” she said.

The program was created in 2019 by The Education Alliance, placing high school juniors and seniors with West Virginia businesses. According to the Alliance, the program placed 25 interns from Berkeley, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, Mingo, Putnam, Wayne, and Wood Counties at the four businesses.

Two programs were hybrid between in-person and virtual and two were all virtual as COVID-19 played a role in the direction of learning.

Courts said the programs made the most of working during the pandemic and often times made a plus out of it.

“Having that virtual component really opened it up and gave more access. It’s a great way to just showcase the wonderful career opportunities and the education steps that you need to take to have a high-quality job here in West Virginia,” she said.

Courts described one of the capstones with Appalachian Power that was presented on Friday. It was the creation a of PR campaign centered around safety. Each intern with Appalachian Power worked on a separate PR campaign.

“Their theme was ‘If Its Down, Go Around.” They were talking about the dangers of a downed power line. They were coming up with a catchy way so the public would remember to stay away from downed power lines,” Courts said.

Courts was impressed with the growth of the students throughout the summer and credited the companies’ investments into weekly training.

“They did various training modules every Monday that they’ve learned from. One of them was about diversity, another was about the importance of a positive work culture,” Courts said.

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Regents at Texas, Oklahoma vote unanimously to accept invitation to SEC

The board of regents at Texas and Oklahoma voted unanimously Friday to formally accept invitations for both schools to join the Southeastern Conference.

While leaving behind the Big 12, Texas and Oklahoma will make the SEC the first 16-team conference.

“While our university has enjoyed over 25 years in the Big 12 Conference, we recognize that we must be willing to make changes with our eyes on the future,” Texas President Jay Hartzell said. “In a world of uncertainty and change, it is incumbent upon us as leaders to protect and enhance our athletic program and university. In order to do so, we looked at conferences across the country and concluded that the SEC was the best fit for our future.

“The reasons are many: the stability and strength of the league and its leadership, the level of visibility for our student athletes, some of the toughest athletic competition, and exciting stadiums that are similar in capacity and attendance to ours.”

One day after SEC presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to invite Oklahoma and Texas, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey expressed pleasure with the addition of both schools.

“This is an important moment for the long-term future of the Southeastern Conference and our member universities,” Sankey said. “Oklahoma and Texas are outstanding academic institutions with two strong athletics programs, which will add to the SEC’s national prominence. Their additions will further enhance the already rich academic, athletic and cultural legacies that have been cultivated throughout the years by our existing 14 members.”

The question now becomes when the Sooners and Longhorns will officially join the SEC.

In a joint statement released Monday, UT and OU said they intend to remain members of the Big 12 through June 30, 2025 — the date the league’s grant of media rights expires. However, the schools could come to an agreement on a settlement with the league to leave before then, though it likely won’t be cheap.

Jay Hartzell

So long as the Big 12 stays a conference prior to Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC, both schools would likely face a cost of no less than $75 million to get out before June 2025.

“We alerted the Big 12 that we would not be renewing our grant of rights agreement in 2025 — four years down the road,” Hartzell said. “We told the Big 12 that we intend to honor our current agreement, while knowing that notice now is the fairest way to allow the conference to plan for its future beyond 2025.”

The remaining eight Big 12 schools — West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State — could stay together and allow the league to look elsewhere for additions that could make it a 10-or-12-team conference.

On the flip side, any school on that list could act in what it believes is its best interest and seek membership into another league, forcing the Big 12 to disband.

In addition to taking issue with ESPN for its alleged role in conference realignment, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been outspoken against both Texas and Oklahoma.

Bowlsby issued a statement earlier this week after learning each had submitted a request to the SEC for membership. It read in part: The events of recent days have verified that the two schools have been contemplating and planning for the transition for months and this formal application is the culmination of those processes. We are unwavering in the belief that the Big 12 provides an outstanding platform for its members’ athletic and academic success.  We will face the challenges head-on, and we have confidence that the Big 12 will continue to be a vibrant and successful entity in the near term and into the foreseeable future.

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