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Photo gallery: Fairmont Senior earns 34-15 win at Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The Class AA top-ranked Polar Bears started fast and finished strong to win at No. 2 Bridgeport on Thursday night.

(Photos by Greg Carey)

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Full broadcast: Fairmont Senior at Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Check out the full HD video broadcast of Fairmont Senior’s 34-15 win at Bridgeport in the Chick-Fil-A High School Football Game of the Week.

(Game broadcast produced by Pikewood Sports)

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Kanawha Valley Report: Week 4

GAMES TO WATCH

CLASS AAA

No. 7 Parkersburg (2-1) at No. 7 Capital (2-1)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Both teams won to climb above the .500 mark. The Big Reds handled business against Woodrow Wilson, 35-6. Capital got past Hurricane, 33-21.

Why it’s important: A key Mountain State Athletic Conference matchup that will carry a lot of weight in the postseason picture. The Cougars have won two in a row since a season-opening loss to Johnson Central (Ky.), while the Big Reds’ lone loss thus far is to No. 1 Cabell Midland.

Who to watch for Petersburg: The Big Reds used a dominant second-half showing to outscore the Flying Eagles, 22-0, and pull away a week ago. Quarterback Bryson Singer rushed for 133 yards on 20 attempts and tossed a pair of first-half touchdown passes, while PHS held Beckley to 128 total yards.

Who to watch for Capital: The Cougars have made a habit of breaking off big plays and that was key in last week’s victory. Kerion Martin had a 74-yard touchdown reception and returned an interception 40 yards for a score against the Redskins. Tay Calloway added a 50-yard TD run and Chance Knox hauled in a 44-yard TD pass from Evan Landers.

No. 15 South Charleston (1-2) at No. 11 Spring Valley (2-1)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last week: The Black Eagles lost their second straight against Johnson Central (Ky.), 59-29. The Timberwolves fell short at home against Cabell Midland, 28-21.

Why it’s important: After a season-opening win over George Washington, South Charleston has dropped two straight. Things don’t get any easier for the Black Eagles this week as they’ll face a hungry Timberwolves’ squad out to bounce back from last week’s setback. 

Who to watch for South Charleston: Romeo Dunham had a sensational 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week and has proven he can more than hold his own as a defensive back.  

Who to watch for Spring Valley: Corbin Page was a bright spot in last week’s loss and caught four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Nate Ellis and David Livingston are relied on heavily for offensive production as well.

CLASS AA

No. 7 Sissonville (3-0) at Mingo Central (2-1)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last week: Sissonville held its third straight opponent to single digits in a 28-6 victory over Scott. The Miners rolled to a 52-6 win at Logan.

Why it’s important: The Indians have been dominant each of the first three weeks, allowing a total of 20 points and no more than eight in any game. But this will be their toughest test yet and it comes against a Miners’ team with 108 points over its last two games.

Who to watch for Sissonville: While the defense has stolen the show in each outing, Dylan Griffith has also established himself as a high-level playmaker. Griffith rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Scott and also caught a pair of passes for 72 yards.

Who to watch for Mingo Central: Quarterback Daylin Goad and wideout Drew Hatfield form one of the most prolific duos in the state. A week ago, Goad completed 19-of-26 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns, while Hatfield had 127 receiving yards and two TDs on 14 receptions.

Other games: Class A No. 15 Buffalo (2-1) at Sherman (0-3); St. Albans (0-3) at Class AAA No. 15 George Washington (1-2); Clay County (1-1) at Class AA No. 14 Herbert Hoover (2-1); Hurricane (1-2) at Class AAA No. 1 Cabell Midland (3-0); Chapmanville (0-3) at Nitro (1-2); Logan (0-3) at Class AA No. 6 Poca (3-0); Wayne (0-2) at Class AA No. 13 Winfield (2-1)

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Update: Body found in Raleigh County identified; victim suffered gunshot wound

RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va — The body of a man discovered in a remote area of Raleigh County earlier this week has been positively identified, according to the sheriff’s office.

20-year-old Roy Lee Barnes III of Crab Orchard reportedly was last seen by family members Sept. 13. His body was located in a wooded area Tuesday near Whitby, south of Beckley.

A statement released Friday said Barnes appeared to have been the victim of a shooting.

In July, sheriff’s deputies found skeletal remains in a wooded area of the nearby town of Surveyor. The body has not been identified, and the cause of death in the case has not been determined.

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Mays’ day: Freshman center Briason Mays gives WVU a needed rescue

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As West Virginia prepared to use its third starting center in three games, offensive line coach Matt Moore was becoming increasingly anxious that he would have to move on to a fourth.

Redshirt freshman Briason Mays had earned the job in the week leading up to the North Carolina State game. But when it came time to warm up, Mays looked more like he was trying to snap to a punter rather than a quarterback.

“Whew, I was so nervous,” Moore said. “He was spraying them all over in pregame. He snapped about four over the quarterback’s head.”

Given the situation, Moore had to show his best poker face and project confidence.

“I was definitely amped-up during pregame,” Mays said. “He said ‘Just do what you do.’ And that definitely helped me a lot.”

As it turns out, it was a bit of a mind trick.

“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” Moore said. “I was trying to reassure him, but I hope I didn’t have that nervous look in my face.”

Based on what happened from there, Mays didn’t notice the nervous look if it was there. And West Virginia may end up going quite a few games — ideally somewhere in the 30s or 40s — before it ends up needing to start another player at center.

The offensive line had its best performance of the season in both run- and pass-blocking, and Mays played a big role in the improvement.

“He had a good game,” Moore said. “He didn’t play with good pad level, but played with effort and energy. They did what they were coached to do. It’s my job to continue to enforce that and get guys to understand we do things a certain way around here.”

Mays’ energy is what got him into the lineup in the first place. He was buried down the depth chart in training camp, falling behind Chase Behrndt and Adam Stilley. Then the coaching staff decided yet another option — moving Josh Stills from guard to center — was preferable to giving Mays a shot.

Mays didn’t take it personally.

“I just kept working every day,” Mays said. “Josh is a good player, so wherever he was working he would do pretty well. The coaches know what’s best for the team.”

The problem for Mays in training camp was the same one that cropped up before the N.C. State game — his snaps were all over the place.

“His snaps have gotten considerably better,” Moore said. “That was one thing that hurt him early on.”

Mays got better by practicing in his apartment with roommate Trey Lowe.

“I snap in the hallway,” Mays said. “It’s a little narrow hallway, so if you snap it here or there, you hear it [hit the wall].”

He and the Mountaineers’ No. 3 quarterback played together at Bolivar Central High School in Collierville, Tenn., though at that level Mays was exclusively a tackle.

“Snapping has never been my natural thing,” Mays said. “Learning has helped me a lot.”

Mays’ work ethic became hard for the coaching staff to ignore.

“He never lost hope,” Moore said. “He kept working and working, and when he got an opportunity he took advantage of it.”

Though snapping didn’t come naturally to Mays, mauling people certainly seems to. On Leddie Brown’s 3-yard touchdown run to cap off the Mountaineers’ 44-27 win over N.C. State, Mays laid out Wolfpack linebacker C.J. Hart with a devastating pancake block in the end zone.

“I was like ‘That’s Briason?’ Because he’s not that type of person,” Brown said. “He’s like, quiet. Just stays to himself. But on the field he turns into a different animal.”

Mays admitted there was plenty of satisfaction in finally laying someone out after more than a year of keeping it bottled up during practice.

“That was pretty cool, I’m not gonna lie,” Mays said. “But I was more happy with the touchdown and icing the game than the pancake, to be honest with you.

“It was third down and if we scored there, it was over. Something in you is like, ‘We have to score here and it’s over.’”

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Pastor says Alex Miller left a large legacy on his community

 

SPENCER, W.Va. — Pastor Russ Stump knew late Roane County football player Alex Miller better than most. Stump is the minister at the Boggs Fork Community Church in Spencer, West Virginia where Alex was a member. He is also a teacher and assistant football coach at Roane County High school. Stump first met Alex when he was in the 6th grade and encouraged him to come out to play middle school football.

Since his death a week ago, the words praising Alex as a young man have been overflowing. Those who knew him have commented he was a great teammate, a great friend, an incredible student, and a strong Christian. But Pastor Stump said such words fall short.

“It may not be enough, because he may very well have been the finest 17 year old young man I ever met in my life,” said Stump.

Stump has the difficult task of addressing a grieving community on Saturday afternoon with words of comfort during Alex’s funeral. When asked of the challenge, Stump didn’t hesitate.

“I’ll simply tell the truth of the gospel, which is this; Alex Miller’s body has died and ceased to function, but the real Alex Miller, his soul and spirit, lives on with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His example and the legacy that he has left is overwhelming,” said Stump.

Stump described the young may whom he knew for ten years as a champion in all facets of his life. According to the pastor, Alex feared nobody on a football field, but was the first to help an opposing player back to his feet at the end of a play. Stump said Alex was a champion socially and had more friends than anyone could count.

“It wasn’t because he was rich or famous, it was because people knew he could keep a confidence. He didn’t look at anyone’s social status or race, he was a true friend in every sense of the word,” said Stump.

Stump plans to impart to the anticipated large crowd in the Roane County High School gymnasium Saturday Alex was a champion in the classroom as an “A” student and most importantly, according to Stump, he was a champion for Jesus Christ.

“In many ways, he wasn’t as vocal, but in the way he lived his life he was like a young Tim Tebow. He had that kind of influence.” said Stump.

The message will be one of hope and healing to a community who embraced a young man they lost, but one whose legacy and impact will never be forgotten.

“He has left a large footprint. His legacy will always be remembered here and he has truly honored his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through his words and actions. I believe we can draw comfort and consolation from that,” said Stump.

 

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Teen indicted on murder charges in fatal Wood County fire

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — A teenager has been charged with arson and murder in the deaths of two family members in a Wood County fire in May.

Madison Wine, 16, was indicted Thursday and charged with first-degree arson and murder in the deaths of Robert Taylor, 58, and his wife, Charolette, 52, in Wood County Circuit Court. Circuit Judge Jason Wharton recently ruled that Wine would be tried as an adult.

In May, investigators said a juvenile was taken into custody and charges were pending following the fire at a home on 72 Spruce Street in Davisville.

According to the state fire marshals office, the victims were Wine’s adoptive parents, with Charolette Taylor being her biological grandmother.

A 6-year old was also injured in the fire, suffering from smoke inhalation. Emergency personnel was able to revive the child after she was not breathing at the scene.

Both murder charges carry a potential sentence of life in prison. Other charges in the indictment include first-degree arson, attempted murder in relation to the child surviving and cruelty to animals, due to the dogs that died in the fire.

The trial for Wine is scheduled for January 8.

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Fayette County mining operation shut down; owner says it’s temporary

POWELLTON, W.Va. — The Maple Coal mining site near Powellton was closed Thursday, leaving an unspecified number of employees out of work.

Ohio-based Murray Maple Eagle Coal, LLC said in a news release it is temporarily ceasing operations at the Maple Eagle No. 1 Mine, the Sycamore Surface Mine and the Maple Eagle Preparation Plant due to depressed market conditions and a significant drop in the price of coal this week.

Murray Maple’s parent company, Murray Energy Corporation, acquired the property from Mission Coal during bankruptcy proceedings in April.

Thursday’s announcement was made the day after Bluestone Energy announced it would reopen the Pinnacle Mine’s preparation plant in Wyoming County, following a closure the previous week related to unfavorable market conditions.

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Claim against VA: Families should have been warned about prior deaths

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant George Shaw would probably be alive today if his family had been warned about prior mysterious deaths at the veterans hospital in Clarksburg, according to a notice of claim filed by Shaw’s family.

Shaw, who died at age 81, is one of about 10 suspicious deaths at the Veterans Administration hospital in Clarksburg. His family has now filed a claim over his death with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“If the VA Medical Center had properly warned Ret. SMSgt. Shaw or his family they could have made an informed choice about whether to seek care at that facility,” the claim states.

“Due to the negligent concealment of those other suspicious deaths and information, neither Ret. SMSGt. Shaw or his family had an opportunity to choose.”

This is the second known notice of claim to be filed over the series of deaths at the Louis A. Johnson Medical Center, although more seem certain to come. Attorney David Glover is representing the Shaws.

“This gentleman wasn’t supposed to die, and he died at the hands of the VA hospital,” Glover said today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

David Glover talks with @HoppyKercheval about the Shaw family filing a notice for the intent to sue the VA after the homicide of veteran George Shaw. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIAoe1 pic.twitter.com/cROfcS6d6c

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 20, 2019

The other claim was filed by the family of retired U.S. Army Sgt. Felix McDermott. That family’s lawyer, Tony O’Dell, has that case and six others.

And another lawyer, Dino Colombo, came forward this week as counsel for the family of Army veteran Archie D. Edgell of Barbour County.

Like the others, Shaw is believed to have died from crashing blood sugar that resulted from unprescribed insulin injections. He was not diabetic and his time at the hospital should not have required insulin.

Instead, on March 22, 2018, he was not feeling well and wanted to be checked out. He was examined, admitted and his health seemed to be improving.

But on the morning of March 26 his blood sugar crashed. He was transferred back and forth from the medical center to a nearby nursing home and then to the VA again. On April 5, he was placed on comfort care measures at the VA hospital.

“SMSGT Shaw died a very painful death from severe hypoglycemia at roughly 8:23 a.m. on the morning of April 10, 2018,” according to the claim.

But at that point, his family still didn’t know the cause of death or many of the other circumstances.

“At the time of Ret. SMSgt. Shaw’s death, nobody at the VA Medical Center told his family about the sudden and unexplained hypoglycemia that caused his death,” the claim states.

“Moreover, the family members were not told that, prior to Ret. SMSgt. Shaw’s death, 9 or 10 other patients at the VA Medical Center had suffered similar unexplained deaths due to the sudden onset of unexplained medical conditions.”

But the family wondered enough to request an autopsy, which concluded he had died of congestive heart failure.

The truth began to come to light months later when investigators with the VA’s Office of Inspector General contacted Shaw’s wife, Norma, and told her about the earlier deaths.

The Shaw family gave permission to perform an exhumation and another autopsy. The autopsy at Dover Air Force Base revealed four injections with evidence of insulin. The insulin is what killed Shaw, the autopsy concluded.

“Based on the investigative and autopsy findings, the manner of death is homicide,” the autopsy stated.

“If the medical examiner’s conclusion is correct, Ret. SMSgt. Shaw was murdered while he was in the care and custody of the Louis A. Johnson Medical Center, despite the VA Medical Center being on notice of the previous wrongful injections,” the Shaw family’s claim states.

The FBI and the VA’s Inspector General have continued to investigate. The Shaw family, like others, has been told of a person of interest in the case, but no name has been revealed.

The Shaw family contends the VA should have done a better job screening its employees, keeping control of its medications, making sure patients would be safe and warning families of any concerns.

Veterans expected better care following their military service, the Shaw family contends.

“The VA Medical Center had a special relationship with its veteran patients that created an affirmative duty to protect those patients from reasonably foreseeable harm,” the Shaw family’s claim states.



Shaw family claim vs VA (Text)

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Ohio County magistrate resigns a month after taking position

WHEELING, W.Va. — An Ohio County magistrate who was suspended without pay earlier this week has resigned.

After it was discovered that Janine Varner never finished high school, the state Supreme Court of Appeals announced they received a resignation letter from her on Thursday.

Varner’s counsel, Wheeling Attorney Teresa C. Toriseva, released a statement to WTRF and WTOV TV in Wheeling on Thursday:

“Ms. Varner has made what she believes is the best decision as it relates to the public interest and the responsibilities of her appointed position to resign at this time as an Ohio County Magistrate. Ms. Varner apologizes to the Court and the citizens of Ohio County for the turmoil that has been created due to her nontraditional education path. To remedy this, Ms. Varner has begun the process of obtaining her GED to remove all question about her qualifications. She fully intends to seek reappointment and/or election as Magistrate once she completes the GED process and looks forward to a long and distinguished career of public service.”

On Wednesday, Varner was suspended without pay by the state Supreme Court of Appeals but no reason was given other than “she has engaged or is currently engaging in a serious violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

Varner replaced Harry Ratcliffe in August who was sentenced to four months in prison for tax fraud.

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