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Morgantown Utility Board moves on from Route 3 project

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Morgantown Utility Board has abandoned the revised Route 3 project in favor of a separate effort along Mississippi Street.

The board unanimously approved the change on Monday.

Compared to the Route 3 project, the Mississippi Street route is longer and will require a pump station to move water to a treatment plant. Residents in the area will have to deal with construction and related traffic until work is complete.

Board chairman J.T. Straface said the board negotiated in reaching a deal on the Route 3 project, but members were unable to reach an agreement.

“In every transaction, it is the seller’s right to set the price, and the right of the buyer to accept or decline,” he said. “Each agency is obligated to act in the best interests of its mission. For the best interest of its ratepayers, MUB has chosen to decline the price for the pipeline license.”

“We are committed to completing the pipeline as soon as possible because the ultimate goal of providing a safe water supply for our community cannot be compromised or delayed,” Straface added.

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Smith dives further into election message

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A week after his latest campaign finance report showed a strong count of small-dollar donations, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stephen Smith appeared on MetroNews “Talkline” to provide more insight into his platform.

Smith’s third-quarter report showed his campaign collected $149,816 in contributions, with an overwhelming amount from small-dollar donors.

“By having a campaign that’s really owned by and listening to everyday people, they say, yeah, I want to be part of that and I’m going to pitch in, whether it’s my ideas or my time or $5 a month,” he said.

When the conversation shifted to education, Smith said teachers’ salaries should be competitive with neighboring states, meaning a 10% raise.

“It’s not just about paying working people and our teachers what they’re worth, although that’s important,” he said. “It’s also about making sure we stop losing talent. By some measure, some 900 teacher vacancies going into this school year. You wouldn’t run any kind of business or organization where a large percent of your workforce doesn’t even exist because you aren’t paying a decent wage.”

To pay the raises, Smith pitched raising the severance tax on natural gas to 10%.

“What we’ve seen every time a state increases its severance tax is there has not been a side-by-side decrease in the gas business, and we don’t think there would be a major decrease,” he said. “There’s so much money being made and there’s so few places for people to get the gas that we’ll think they’ll stay.”

Smith said the additional revenue would also go toward infrastructure, which would allow West Virginia to lead in wind and solar energy in the future.

“We set ourselves up for a future that our kids can have a decent job not just now, but 10 and 20 and 30 years from now,” he added.

Smith said his campaign will put out a platform on other items as the election season continues, but it will take more than a governor for change to happen; he noted his West Virginia Can’t Wait movement is looking to recruit up to 20 candidates for the primary.

“One governor is not the solution,” he said.

Individuals already recruited to West Virginia Can’t Wait include U.S. Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin and 2nd Congressional District candidate Cathy Kunkel.

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Gee focuses State of the University address on future, availability

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University President Gordon Gee started this year’s State of the University address with a reference to an American president.

“The wisdom of the past, especially as articulated by Abraham Lincoln, provides a guidepost for the future, especially for the land-grant universities he signed into law,” he said.

Gee quoted Lincoln several times on Monday, tying the 16th president to his vision for the university.

Gee told the audience West Virginia University should be available to all students. He added Lincoln would have wanted university members to “build bridges instead of walls,” and prepare for the future in the process.

“We must topple the tyranny of the department and the college by restructuring our institutions,” Gee said. “Rather than organizing our teaching and learning functions for obsolescence, we must imagine the world in 20 years and reverse engineer.”

Gee said while national and international recognition is worthwhile, it is not what the university needs to be successful.

“We must reject the relentless pursuit of money and prestige — chasing rankings that we know are deeply flawed — at the expense of genuine educational excellence,” Gee said.

Gee cited a recent report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy, which found only six flagship institutions of the nation’s 50 are affordable for most students.

Following Gee’s remarks, Maryanne Reed, the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, also outlined priorities to increase relevance, advance the school’s reputation, grow revenue and build strong relationships.

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Photo gallery: Logan collects first win, blanking Scott 35-0

LOGAN, W.Va. — Photos from Logan’s 35-0 Homecoming Game victory over Scott.

(Photos courtesy of Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography)

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Statewide substance abuse forums begin this week

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Beginning Tuesday, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Drug Control Policy and the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment will host six regional public forums regarding the West Virginia Substance Use Response Plan.

Among the topics of discussion will be the current substance use environment in West Virginia, existing activities and initiatives to date, a framework of evidence-based goals, strategies, and objectives to address current gaps and needs.

“We’re going to collect all the information we get from the online process and public input and take a hard look in early November,” Bob Hansen, Executive Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy for the West Virginia DHHR told MetroNews.

Bob Hansen

“We want to incorporate these recommendations into a more final plan and present the plan to the Governor’s Council (on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment).”

Tuesday’s event will be held at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on Armory Drive in Beckley, followed by a forum Wednesday at the WVU Parkersburg Campus Multipurpose Room on Campus Drive.

Next week, discussions will take place Oct. 21 on the University of Charleston campus, in the ballroom on the third floor of the Geary Student Union on MacCorkle Avenue, Oct. 22 at the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office Training Center on South Raleigh Street in Martinsburg, Oct. 23 at Wheeling University’s Swint Hall on Washington Avenue and Oct. 24 at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center on Galliher Drive in Fairmont.

All of the meetings will begin at 4:30 p.m. with on-site registration starting at 4:00.

Public comments can be submitted during the forums.

“This is an important process over the next two to three weeks to collect input so we can finalize the plan,” Hansen said. “Our goal is to have the plan ready for the first of the year.”

On Tuesday, Gov. Jim Justice will join Hansen to officially unveil the Jobs & Hope West Virginia program; the state’s new, comprehensive response to the substance use disorder crisis.

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Photo gallery: Thundering Herd defeat Monarchs for third win of season

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall snapped a two-game skid and improved to 3-3 with Saturday’s 31-17 victory over Old Dominion.

(Photos by Angie Shockley)

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Marshall set to test campus wide emergency alert system

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Tuesday morning around the Marshall and Huntington area, nearly 18,000 people will receive an emergency alert. However, it will be a test of the MU Alert emergency messaging system.

Marshall community members who are subscribed to the alert system will receive calls, texts, and emails around 10 a.m. as part of the once a semester test.

“This would allow the university to communicate in the event of an emergency to the Marshall community,”  Leah Payne, a Marshall spokesperson said. “That’s students, faculty and staff who have signed up for the system.”

According to Payne, the MU Alert emergency notifications are limited to those concerning urgent health and safety concerns for Marshall students, faculty or staff; or disruption of normal university functions due to weather, crime or other concerns.

The criteria used by campus officials before sending out an alert are as follows: Did a crime occur?; Did the crime occur on campus property or on other Clery reportable property?; Is the crime a Clery reportable crime?; Is there a serious or continuing threat to the campus community?.

“This is very important. In this day and time, you need to be connected and the immediacy is very important.,” Payne said.

She added that any subscriber that does not receive the alert by Noon on Tuesday needs to review and update their contact information. Payne also encourages anyone involved with the Marshall community to subscribe.

The most recent test of the system occurred on January 31.

More information about the MU Alert system is available at

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Martinsburg’s streak to be tested at Salem, Va. (Week 8 Class AAA previews)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Greg Carey and Joe Brocato break down the best matchups we will be following in Week 8 of Class AAA football.

  • Wheeling Park (5-1) at Musselman (6-1)
  • Capital (3-3) at Huntington (3-3)
  • Martinsburg (6-0) at Salem, Va. (6-0)

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Justice, state officials announce aeronautics grant awards to 11 state airports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s air transportation infrastructure is getting a major boost.

Gov. Jim Justice, Secretary of Transportation Byrd White and Aeronautics Commission Director Sean Hill stopped at three airports on Monday to announce thousands of dollars in aeronautics grant awards being awarded to 11 state airports.


Gov. Jim Justice

The group held a press conference at Charleston’s Yeager Airport to announce $146,000 to the facility to be used for drainage system improvements. Yeager Airport Director Nick Keller said the grant will allow the airport to draw down $2.6 million in federal funding for drainage improvements, outfalls, and seeps.

“Money like this, the grant today allows us to leverage federal dollars to make infrastructure improvements,” Keller said.

“We are on top of a mountain so we have to make sure our drainage is adequate, the outfalls are maintained. Without support from the state of West Virginia, this type of federal funding would be impossible.”

Nick Keller

Keller, who was thankful for Justice’s support of the airport on Monday, said improvements to the airport’s infrastructure allows the facility to attract more fliers and airlines.

“Airlines and users of the airport they look at the facility,” he said. “We want to have a positive customer environment so we want to have a modern, nice-looking facility and it has to be well maintained.”

According to a release by Justice’s office, West Virginia airports received $677,000 in grant funding from the Aeronautics Commission, unlocking $12 million more in federal funding.

A grant to improve slips in the runway at Huntington’s Tri-State Airport was also announced Monday. Tri-State Airport Director Brent Brown said the slips are in the runway safety area, taxiway foxtrot and near the snow removal equipment building.

“All three of those are necessary aspects to keep the airport operational and safe. Without the help of the FAA, the state and our governor, we wouldn’t be able to do these projects as quickly as we need to get them done.”

The final stop on Monday was at Mercer County Airport in Bluefield.

Justice has proclaimed October as General Aviation Appreciation Month in West Virginia.

LIVE: Gov. Justice holds aeronautics grant award presentation @tristateairport. #WV #WVGov

— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) October 14, 2019

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Three Guys Before The Game – Iowa State Recap (Episode 147)

A key injury, an ejection, and the use of true freshmen will become the storyline to West Virginia’s game against Iowa State.

The Mountaineers were hit where they could least afford it; with injuries to quarterback Austin Kendall, cornerback Keith Washington, and the ejection of cornerback Hakeem Bailey. Those absences combined with a talented group of Cyclones proved to much.

Trailing 21-14 in the fourth quarter, West Virginia succumbed 38-14 as Iowa State took control in the final period.

The “Guys” share their takeaways, answer listener questions and wonder what could have been?

Join them again Thursday for their preview of Saturday’s date at Oklahoma.

Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google.

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