The Voice of West Virginia
Conference calamity has resumed.
The Big Ten western expansion into the Pac 12 is the single largest move to date in the ongoing reshuffling of college sports teams.
In this emergency episode, the “Guys” share their thoughts on the news and how it will impact West Virginia University.
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The post Three Guys Before The Game: Emergency Podcast/Conference Calamity (Episode 386) appeared first on WV MetroNews.
Federal prosecutors are taking exception to comments former Delegate Derrick Evans made on a West Virginia radio show right after being dealt a three-month prison sentence for his behavior at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
U.S. attorneys filed a notice of defendant’s post-sentencing comments this week, citing a 24-minute appearance on “The Tom Roten Morning Show” in the Huntington area. The prosecutors say comments Evans made in that radio appearance are inconsistent with his own video lasting more than an hour that was presented as evidence at the prior day’s sentencing.
“While Evans’ sentence has already been imposed and the government is not seeking its modification, the speed and degree of Evans’s about-face warrants this notice, for the record and for the court’s edification,” prosecutors wrote.
Evans, who was elected to West Virginia’s House of Delegates before resigning a few days after joining the mob at the Capitol, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of civil disorder.
He was sentenced June 22 by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who told Evans he had actually considered a longer sentence of six months. “These are cases where there has to be a penalty imposed for serious offenses. To me, this has to be considered a serious offense,” Lamberth said.
Evans told the judge that day, “I take full responsibility for my action.” He described a difficult journey in the months since Jan. 6, including death threats to his family but also the joy of seeing the birth of his fourth child.
“I will forever bear the reminder that I committed a crucial mistake,” he told the judge. “I let down myself, my community and, most importantly, my family.”
By that evening, Evans had debuted a website to take donations and accept interview requests. “His story. His truth. Derrick Evans speaks.”
“I have media requests from all over the world, but the first one is going to local radio host Tom Roten,” Evans posted the morning after his federal sentencing.
Prosecutors say many of the comments Evans made on that appearance are out of line with his words and actions from his own livestreamed video from the U.S. Capitol.
“Evans stated throughout the interview that he believed that he was allowed to be in the areas that he breached on January 6, and that he did not see any violence or destruction, despite seeing and smelling tear gas, seeing police officers trying to prevent the rioters from advancing, and laughing at a police officer running from the crowd that jammed officers against the Rotunda Doors,” the prosecutors wrote.
Among his statements on radio: “I had no intention of going up there [to the Rotunda Doors]. I never honestly thought that we was going to be inside the Capitol, never crossed my mind.”
Evans also told the radio host, “Nobody was trying to get inside [the building] at that point [when the barriers were breached]. They wanted to get to the Capitol steps, basically, make their voices heard.”
Prosecutors say those statements are contradicted by his livestream video when he expressed intent to go into the Capitol building. The prosecutors entered an hour and twenty minutes of video into evidence and played several clips as Evans was sentenced.
Before Evans entered the building, narrated into the video about others going in: “They’re in. We’re in. Everybody’s in. There’s too many for them [the police] to do anything about it. Every side, every angle.”
Again before entering the Capitol, Evans narrated into the livestream, “We are in baby. We’re going in that building in a minute. We’re in baby! Share this video.”
A mob storming the U.S. Capitol that day disrupted the constitutional duty of counting Electoral College votes and prompted the evacuations of representatives, senators and Vice President Mike Pence. One woman was fatally shot while trying to climb into the chambers, three others died from “medical emergencies” and more than 100 police officers were injured.
Of the thousands of protesters in Washington, D.C., that day, about 800 went into the Capitol, police have said.
Several West Virginians were charged from their participation in that day’s events.
They include George Tanios, a Morgantown sandwich shop operator accused in the assault of three Capitol police officers with pepperspray; Jeffery Finley of Martinsburg, the leader of West Virginia’s chapter of the Proud Boy right-wing militant group; West Virginia National Guard member Jamie Lynn Ferguson; former Parkersburg Councilman Eric Barber and college senior Gracyn Courtright of Hurricane.
Barber, who was sentenced last month to 45 days in jail for demonstrating in a Capitol building, made public statements objecting to the conditions surrounding his sentencing right after it occurred.
In a statement to local television station WTAP, Barber said “If I had a judge assigned to my case that was appointed by President Trump I would have received no jail sentence, unfortunately, I had an Obama appointee and as a result, I’ll have to do 6 weeks in a minimum-security facility as a political prisoner.”
Barber had previously told that same judge, “My remorse has been sincere, and, I think, was immediate and I think that differs me from a lot of defendants.”
Prosecutors have not raised the issue of Barber’s post-sentencing comments, though.
Evans, who uses his official legislative portraits as marketing material, has continued the media appearances that began after his sentencing. Each interviewer has asked him about running for public office in the future, and he hasn’t ruled that out.
Last Sunday, he thanked “the Trump Team for our nice chat yesterday and for officially verifying my account on Truth Social,” the social networking platform launched by the former president.
At mid-week, Evans provided updates about radio and television appearances with Newsmax host Greg Kelly.
In each appearance, Evans expressed regrets over serving time but not about the choices that led him to the Capitol. “At the end of the day, I believe I’m being held captive as a political prisoner along with many other January 6th defendants,” he said on Newsmax.
On local radio, Evans said. “I regret the situation I’m in. I regret I’m gonna be away from my family. If I had to do it all over again, maybe I wouldn’t have went inside the building.
“But I’m never going to regret standing up to tyranny and standing up for the people who believe in me and standing up for the future of my children. I’m never going to have regrets when it comes to standing up and doing what’s right, at the end of the day.”
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Despite high gas prices, AAA estimates nearly 48 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles over the Fourth of July weekend with a record number of people traveling by car.
According to spokesperson Lynda Lambert, 42 million people will be on the road over the holiday.
The travel comes as AAA reports the average price of regular gas in West Virginia is $4.82. Gas prices have decreased by around seven cents in the last week.
“We are still nationally and in the state of West Virginia about $1.80 a gallon more than we were last year,” Lambert explained.
Monongalia County Sheriff Perry Palmer said drivers should plan for traffic congestion. He also advised drivers to not driver distracted, observe the speed limit and wear their seatbelts.
“There’s going to be a lot of extra people on the roadway traveling to and from different locations,” he said. “There are going to be people coming through the area that aren’t familiar with our roads, so be courteous.”
The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department will have patrols throughout the county during the holiday weekend to monitor roads and ensure drivers are safe.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’s been several years, but University boys basketball coach Joe Schmidle has experience guiding Hawks’ teams that lacked height.
Schmidle will likely fall back on some of those past dealings as he readies his team for the 2022-2023 campaign.
Last season, the Hawks had one of the taller and more productive front court tandems in the state in Aaron Forbes and Garrison Kisner. Forbes has since graduated, and Kisner, now a senior, transferred to Morgantown. It leaves Schmidle without the services of two 6-foot-6 players that were pivotal to not only the Hawks’ success last season, but their style of play.
“We’re playing a completely different style now than what we’ve been used to because we don’t really have any true bigs,” Schmidle said. “We’re very deep and very athletic and we have a lot of speed, so we’re going to try to use those things to our advantage. We have to get a little bit better at shooting the ball, but we have the kids that have the potential to become very good shooters. That’ll come with repetition.”
Over the course of the three-week summer period, UHS was a participant at West Virginia’s team camp as well as in shootouts hosted by Robert C. Byrd and Morgantown.
“We have a lot of people that are inexperienced,” Schmidle said. “We’re just trying to build some chemistry.”
The Hawks were one of three West Virginia teams, along with Jefferson and Morgantown, scheduled to compete in a DC Live event at Sidwell Friends School on June 17 and 18, but Schmidle elected for his team not to when he discovered Kisner was bound for MHS.
“You go down there without anybody over 6-foot-3, you’re probably going to be in trouble,” he said. “We’d have been undersized with him.”
Yet what Schmidle witnessed from his guard-oriented group this summer was a team that prefers to push the pace and space the court and has no trouble playing as a unit.
Guards Rafael Barcinas and Jaeden Hammack are two of the team’s most productive returning players, and Schmidle believes several others could become household names this winter as the Hawks look to overcome the loss of four seniors and Kisner.
“We have a chip on our shoulder and they love each other,” he said. “They love to play together. A very unselfish team. When you have a lot of guys that can all pass, shoot and dribble, you can create a lot of matchup problems for teams, even if they do have a lot of length and athleticism. There are matchup issues on both sides of the ball. One of them is in our favor and the other is not.”
While plenty of work remains for the Hawks to get to a level Schmidle desires, the UHS coach believes there is potential for his team to fit the mold of the Hawks’ squad in the 2017-2018 season. That team was the No. 1 seed in the Class AAA state tournament and finished 25-2 and a state semifinalist.
The next season, UHS won the Class AAA championship.
“I’ve had small teams before that did real well back four and five years ago with [Ethan] Ridgeway, [Clay] Bailey, [Austin] Forbes and those guys. My tallest kid was 6-2 and we won 25 games that year,” Schmidle said. “We know what to do. It’s just a matter executing, being patient and taking the shots that we want. If these kids can learn how to do that, we’ll be OK.”
In addition to discovering ways to generate paint points and prevent the opposition from controlling the interior, one of the Hawks’ toughest tasks is likely to be rebounding.
Considering Forbes and Kisner were a major factor on the glass last season, Schmidle is hopeful he can get across to his group that more of a total team effort will be required this time around.
“We haven’t really concentrated enough on that during the three weeks. We’ve been trying to get a little bit of cohesiveness and getting everybody on the same page,” Schmidle said. “We’ve been working mostly on team defense and just running some offensive sets. We haven’t really been able to work on a lot of the things that we would typically work on, but rebounding is something we’re going to work on every day down the line.
“I have some guys that are very active and do a good job of crashing the offensive boards as well as boxing out on the defensive glass, but it’s going to take everybody. We’re not going to be able to stand and watch.”
After UHS’ solid 16-9 campaign ended in disappointing fashion last season, with the Hawks falling to Bridgeport in the sectional title game to force a regional co-final against eventual state champion Morgantown, Schmidle isn’t lessening expectations despite the roster turnover.
Instead, the head coach is hopeful his group can open eyes and get back to the state tournament after failing to qualify for the event in 2022 for the first time since 2016.
“We’re going to be a lot better than people think we will be this year,” Schmidle said. “We lost a lot, but these guys have been working really hard. They really love each other and play hard. If you do that, you’ll be in most games.”
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Many West Virginians are anticipated to take time out of their long holiday weekend to remember one of the state’s heroes. Memorial services are planned for this weekend for Hershel Woody Williams, the last Medal of Honor recipient of World War II.
Williams died Wednesday at the age of 98.
His body will be transported in a procession Saturday morning from Huntington to Charleston starting at 8.a.m. Governor Jim Justice’s staff released the processional route Friday. It will start at Huntington’s Beard Mortuary and travel U.S. Route 60 through Cabell County and finally enter I-64 east bound at Milton. The procession will head east on I-64 into Charleston and exit the interstate at the Greenbrier Street exit in Charleston to arrive at the State Capitol.
Along the route, through Cabell County many are expected to line the roadways to pay their final respects. Along the interstate every overpass and exit is expected to be crowded with those wishing to give a final salute to a West Virginia hero.
“For veterans in general he meant the world to us. He was our greatest champion here in West Virginia. We have lost somebody who has worked tirelessly for us ever since he got out of the Marine Corps,” said Jim McDade Commander of American Legion Post 187 in Winfield.
McDade and his members plan to be on the overpass at the U.S. Route 35 interchange in Putnam County to wave flags and salute. McDade said it wasn’t just for veterans, he hoped everybody would join them around 8:15 a.m.
“Veterans groups will be saluting his procession as it goes by and the Teays Valley Fire Department will have their big ladder truck and displaying the flag off of it,” he explained. “We hope people will be there to wave small flags as well.”
A number of communities along the route have also indicated plans for a show of respect to Williams as his hearse passes by.
Williams’ body will be placed in the lower rotunda of the State Capitol where he will lie in state. According to state Culture and History Director Randall Reid-Smith, Williams becomes only the third to ever lie in state in the West Virginia State Capitol. Senator Robert C. Byrd Byrd lay in state in the Capitol’s lower rotunda in 2010. Congressman John Kenna was the first to lie in state at the Capitol, but it was at the old West Virginia Capitol in downtown Charleston in 1893.
The public will be able to file past and view the casket from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. His funeral will be in the Culture Center at the Capitol Complex at 4 p.m. Sunday. Seating inside the Culture Center to the public will be first come, first served. Overflow seating along with video and audio of the service will be available outside.
The public will be required to enter the Capitol through the public entrance at the Capitol’s west wing security checkpoint. Parking will be first come/first serve in Capitol parking areas and at the Laidley Field parking lot with shuttle services.
You’ll be able to watch the service at wvmetrones.com.
“Prior to his death, we told all of the people we would absolutely conduct the celebration of his life in the biggest way the state could possibly offer,” said Governor Jim Justice.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Boone County man is behind bars charged with making terrorist threats to the Greenbrier Resort and a Charleston senior living facility.
State Police arrested Joseph Toler, 62, of Danville this week at his home in Danville.
Toler is alleged to have phoned in bomb threats to the Summers County 911 center last Saturday claiming bombs had been placed in the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs and at the Edgewood Summit retirement home in Charleston. The caller advised the bombs would be detonated at 4 p.m. that day.
Law enforcement in Greenbrier County and Kanawha County responded to the two locations. Guests from the Greenbrier Hotel were evacuated along with residents of Edgewood Summit in Charleston. The buildings were thoroughly searched with bomb sniffing dogs and no devices were found. At one point the same caller made a second call to the Summers County 911 center claiming first responders were running out of time.
Acting on evidence collected with a number of search warrants troopers from the State Police detachments in Union, Hinton, Danville, and the Digital Forensics Unit were able to develop information to trace and identity Toler’s cell phone as the source of all three calls.
He was arrested on warrants obtained in Monroe County for three counts of making terrorist threats and three counts of false reporting of an emergency incident. Toler is lodged in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu off $75,000 bond.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state finished the fiscal year roughly $1.3 billion in tax revenue collected compared to estimates.
The state Senate Finance Committee released June collection numbers along with fiscal year wrap-up numbers Friday.
West Virginia collected $662.4 million in revenue in June which was $201million above the estimate for the month.
The end of June brought the end of the fiscal year and the numbers show the state at $1.318 billion above the estimate for the budget year.
State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy predicted a strong finish when he appeared before state lawmakers on June 13.
“We will be at least $1.2 billion above projection for this fiscal year. Think about that for a minute,” Hardy told lawmakers. “That’s $100 million a month on average that we have been above projection for the fiscal year we’re wrapping up.”
The governor’s office and state legislature have already approved the use of $800 million of the revenue surplus in the next state budget. That would leave about $500 million open to other allocations.
“There’s a lot of decision-making that will need to be done,” Hardy said.
It’s anticipated Gov. Jim Justice will call a special session of the legislature sometime later this summer to deal with the additional revenue.
Severance taxes collections continue to fuel the revenue surplus. The state reports $120 million came in for taxes related to coal, oil and natural gas for the month. That exceeded the estimate for the month by more than $80 million. Severance tax collections for the fiscal year exceeded estimates by 240% or $449 million above the estimate for the year.
The state predicted it would collect $319.7 million in severance taxes over the last 12 months when it actually took in $768.7 million.
June numbers also included Personal Income Tax above collections by more than $31 million for the month. Consumer Sales Tax also showed a collection surplus for the month of around $31 million.
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CHARLESTON ,W.Va. — Sternwheel Regatta Commissioner Brian Hughes said he turned to Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin Thursday night and said “we did it.”
Hughes and Goodwin came away from the opening night of the return of Regatta pleased with the crowd that showed up for the activities and for the concert by the Everclear.
“I had a moment to look over the crowd and I just smiled,” Hughes said.
That crowd on Kanawha Boulevard stretched from Capitol Street to Clendenin Street along the Kanawha River reminiscent of Regatta crowds in the 80s and 90s.
Hughes said it wasn’t bad for the opening night.
Goodwin said she’s hopeful the crowds will build through Monday with concerts that will include the Spinners, the Four Tops, Martina McBride, Rick Springfield and a July 4 performance by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Goodwin said one her goals when she took office four years ago was to return the Regatta to Charleston after a long absence. It was last held in 2009.
“When we were sitting in the mayor’s conference years ago (discussing the return)—and even through Covid when we were shut down. It was always our intention to bring back the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta,” Goodwin said Friday.
She said it’s a full team effort from the city including police, fire, public works department and others. Goodwin gives a lot of credit to her assistant Jane Bostic for help putting it all together.
Hughes said there’s still a lot to accomplish through Monday. He said people can count on music during every hour of the Regatta whether it’s live performers or live deejay.
“We want the music to continue and the concerts we do in the evening. We’ll wrap up around 9:30 p.m. and after that you can still hang around and ride the rides,” Hughes said.
There are a few dozen sternwheel boats on the Kanawha River getting ready for a busy weekend that will include sternwheel races.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Active cases rose once again in Friday’s COVID-19 report from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).
The agency confirmed 2,297 active cases of the coronavirus, up from 2,105 on Thursday. Active cases in West Virginia were near 1,400 last Friday.
Current active cases per county: Barbour (17), Berkeley (137), Boone (47), Braxton (27), Brooke (21), Cabell (126), Calhoun (5), Clay (8), Doddridge (1), Fayette (61), Gilmer (6), Grant (13), Greenbrier (56), Hampshire (35), Hancock (29), Hardy (11), Harrison (99), Jackson (26), Jefferson (64), Kanawha (249), Lewis (19), Lincoln (20), Logan (43), Marion (90), Marshall (36), Mason (22), McDowell (31), Mercer (82), Mineral (43), Mingo (33), Monongalia (117), Monroe (22), Morgan (8), Nicholas (27), Ohio (45), Pendleton (3), Pleasants (13), Pocahontas (4), Preston (28), Putnam (94), Raleigh (112), Randolph (19), Ritchie (10), Roane (22), Summers (16), Taylor (30), Tucker (8), Tyler (2), Upshur (42), Wayne (32), Webster (13), Wetzel (21), Wirt (3), Wood (114), Wyoming (35). To find the cumulative cases per county, please visit coronavirus.wv.gov and look on the Cumulative Summary tab which is sortable by county.
No new deaths were reported by the DHHR Friday. The death total remains at 7,064.
Hospitalizations are at 225, down seven from Thursday. Patients in the ICU are totaled at 30 and five on a ventilator.
DHHR reports as of July 1, 2022, there are currently 2,297 active #COVID19 cases statewide. There were no deaths reported to DHHR over the last 24 hours, and total deaths remain at 7,064 attributed to COVID-19.https://t.co/NLwsyhNa28 pic.twitter.com/Dj19MI7Klt
— WV Department of Health & Human Resources • (@WV_DHHR) July 1, 2022
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Students interested in flying the skies through Marshall University’s Bill Noe Flight School will be able to learn more about the programs this weekend.
The flight school will host an open house for prospective students beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday at West Virginia International Yeager Airport in Charleston. The open house and growth of the school comes at a time when there is a nationwide pilot shortage.
David Pittenger, a professor at Marshall and Academic Coordinator for the Bill Noe Flight School told MetroNews that attendees will be able to take a close-up look at Marshall’s training aircraft and see the facilities.
“The guests will be able to meet our current staff, instructors and students. They will be able to look at our airplanes, tour our facilities and we have a lot to show off,” he said.
The university’s Executive Aviation Specialist and school’s namesake, Bill Noe, as well as flight school faculty members, will be on hand to meet students and answer questions. Noe will make a presentation and show off the classrooms from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.
Following the tours are prospective student meetings in classrooms where Pittenger said they can meet with representatives from admissions and financial aid. Prospective students can also meet with a physician who provides the aviation medical exam.
The afternoon session of the open house will feature tours of facilities including introductions to the Frasca Simulators, Cirrus SR20 and Piper Seminole PA-44 aircraft on site.
A limited number of attendees will be chosen to take a ride in one of the Marshall planes or on the vintage American Airlines DC-3 that will be on view at the airport that day, a release said.
The flight school opened for the fall 2021 semester, offering students a chance to earn a Commercial Pilot: Fixed Wing Bachelor of Science degree. The ground and flight courses also will lead to a series of FAA certifications, preparing graduates to become commercial pilots of single and multi-engine aircraft. In addition, on Wednesday, Marshall and Mountwest Community and Technical College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program received its formal FAA certification.
Pittenger said now is the time to enroll in the flight school as a pilot shortage has been highlighted in the past year. The shortage has resulted in the cancellation of dozens of flights daily and cut to regional routes.
Pittenger said that the school had 24 students in the first year and expects a larger class in year two — with 23 students ready for the fall semester and another dozen in the primary phases of applying.
When in full operation, the Bill Noe Flight School is expected to enroll more than 200 students and produce some 50 commercial pilots annually. Pittenger expects that to occur in ‘five to six years.’
“We have had two students go through their mandatory FAA certification for their private license. Both students passed with flying colors. We have many more students getting ready for that same checkrite,” Pittenger said to the successes of year one.
Pittenger noted the school expects to add two new aircraft this year , August and November, including a Cirrus SR20 and Piper Seminole PA-44.
Those interested in attending the July 2 event are asked to RSVP in advance by calling 304-696-5038 or emailing [email protected]
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