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Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

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Mon Health system keeping pace with COVID cases, opening new resources

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Monday 10 a.m. report from the DHHR has 636 new COVID cases identified in the last 24 hours. Hospitalizations are at a pandemic high of 463, 136 people are being treated in ICU and 60 people are on ventilators.

On MetroNews Talkline, president and CEO of the Mon Health System David Goldberg said they are watching the numbers closely and the remain well within capacity to treat COVID patients.

“I can tell you today that I have about 12 patients across our four hospitals that are COVID positive,” Goldberg said,” Two in ICU and two on ventilators.”

Each of the four hospitals have a review team that monitors the daily information from the DHHR, as well as reviewing schedules to make sure the organization can safely provide elective procedures.

“If we get a point where we believe we don’t we have capacity, which by the way do, we will reduce any elective procedures that might need a hospitalization to follow,” Goldberg said,” But, we’re not at that point by any means across the Mon Health System”

Additionally, hospitals are also involved in the planning for vaccine distribution. Goldberg says they anticipate playing a major role in the area to administer the vaccine.

“We are coordinating, we do have freezer capacity that is in place when the vaccine becomes available,” Goldberg said,” The state, I think in their wisdom, is coordinating appropriately to make sure our first level responders get vaccinated first and then work our way out, but we’ll be prepared.”

Following the closure of the Fairmont Regional Medical Center, Mon Health System announced plans to build a 19,000 small format hospital with approximately 20 beds valued at $20 million. Work is also underway to expand out patient services from a location in the Fairmont Technology Park.

“Not only are we building our hospital, but we’re expanding outpatient services at the technology park,” Goldberg said,” We had a ribbon/groundbreaking a few months back and that will be up by late spring, early summer with extended and expanded primary care, rehabilitation, cardiology and other surgical specialties.”

According to Goldberg, hospital stays are much shorter today than in the recent past due to value based care and the pandemic has added aspects that compliment and will likely change the delivery of treatment.

“You don’t have to be in hospital, or stay in hospital for a long period of time to get the care you need,” Goldberg said,” So, I think in the next couple of years you’re going to see more done in the home with tele-medicine and remote monitoring.”

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Federal funds used to buoy local charities during pandemic

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Several Morgantown area charities are in line to receive federal funds with the assistance of Morgantown City Council.

During council’s regular meeting Tuesday, an ordinance was unanimously approved to allocate over $450,000 in Community Development Block Grant – Cornoavirus (CDBG-CV) funds, granted via the CARES Act back in March. These funds, will allow local charitable organizations around Morgantown to help handle the headwinds suffered at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The CDBG-CV funds are used to assist programs that service low income and underserved populations that were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Morgantown Interim City Manager Emily Muzzarelli during council’s meeting.

The funds are being allocated to three different local groups and assistance programs in the Morgantown area. Along with $200,000 being allocated for the Food Pantry Assistance Program, money will also be given to the United Way MPC and Meals on Wheels, organizations who’s base of operations are located in Morgantown. These funds, as part of the passage of the CARES Act, will also assists those who have been effected by the pandemic and are using these local organizations for assistance.

“We’re primarily geared at two goals, and that was preventing eviction and the foreclosure of homes, as well as insuring that folks did not go hungry,” said Muzarelli regarding how the funds are expected to be used.

The close to half a million dollars in federal funds, is expected to be used to fund several aspects of United Way, Meals on Wheels and others that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Basics such as staff salaries, utilities and cost of rent, are among the provisions that the relief funds are allowed to be spent on after the CARES Act was passed with requirements set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) before funding was sent on a local level. The allocation of the funds to the local groups was passed unanimously without much argument from council.

“Many, many residents of the City of Morgantown are receiving the benefits from, you know the services that we’re able to coordinate from Preston County as well as addresses and programs that are in adjoining cities such as Westover,” said Morgantown Deputy Mayor Rachel Fetty regarding the expanded efforts of local groups.

Whether these federally granted funds are going to be the beginning or the end of COVID-19 funding relief still remains to be seen. Political gridlock on a national level, is preventing further COVID-19 stimulus to be passed with the results of the 2020 Presidential Election still yet to be officially confirmed, adding to the further stalling of potential relief. In the meantime, local charities that have been working overtime since the pandemic’s official arrival, are going to get some financial support in a time where it’s severely needed to help those who badly need assistance during an unprecedented point in history.

“All of these things have had a very detrimental effect on hundreds and thousands of Mon County families and families in our city, so I’m glad to see that it’s going toward direct aid,” said Fetty.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Driver identified in Fairmont hit-and-run case

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A young boy was hit by a car that fled the scene in Fairmont near the intersection of 5th Street and Walnut Avenue Wednesday.

The boy was riding with other children when he was hit by a dark blue or dark gray Chevy Equinox LT. Police say the bicycle was found later in the area 9th Street after the driver dislodged it from the vehicle.

Witnesses believe the driver was a female.

The boy treated at Ruby Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Fairmont police say an unidentified 59-year-old female has been idenitified and will be charged in the incident.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Chestnut Ridge Church suspends in-person services

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Chestnut Ridge Church has suspended in-person service until the end of the year in the building at 2223 Cheat Road. Sunday, November 22, services will be available online at 9 and 11 a.m. at the church website, Facebook, YouTube, and on The Ridge app. The Ridge Live and Facebook broadcast will continue to be available to view after the service ends.

Groups and event s at the church are also cancelled until the end of the year.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Pearl Avenue fire ruled accidental

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Early Thursday afternoon Morgantown firefighters quickly extinguished a fire in the 500 block of Pearl Avenue.

Officials say the fire started between a piece of flashing and window trim around 1:30 on a structure that was being improved.

Damage was set at $7,000. No injuries were reported.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Milan Puskar Foundation donation to enhance student experiences, help the homeless population

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Fairmont State University School of Nursing has received a $40,000 grant from the Milan Puskar Foundation to help nursing students who are providing clinics and COVID-19 health and safety kits to homeless people in Marion and Harrison Counties.

“One of the major directives that Milan Puskar wished to address through the Milan Puskar Foundation is the growing issue of homelessness in West Virginia,” said Kyle Pratt, the foundation’s President. “The grant to the Nursing Homeless Outreach Program will help provide basic healthcare needs to the homeless and education to nursing students and RNs on how to better understand the challenges that such individuals face in order to improve the healthcare they receive.”

Milan Puskar Foundation board members hope the effort will help the students will build personal connections with the homeless that improves their lives by meeting some basic healthcare needs.

“We also hope that the educational sessions for the nursing students and RNs that treat the homeless and provide awareness on COVID, including mask use and care, handwashing, and an array of other imperative information, will be valuable training that results in other meaningful and life-changing impacts,” Pratt said.

Pratt said the goals that Fairmont State University presented were thorough, measurable, and the Milan Puskar Foundation believes that this grant will assist the University in improving the lives of homeless individuals in the North Central West Virginia region.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide our students with a comprehensive nursing education while assisting those in need within our local communities,” said Laura Clayton, Fairmont State School of Nursing Dean. “This project will allow us to further serve our mission to improve the health of West Virginia and the global community through a commitment to excellence and innovation in teaching, scholarship and service.”

“Experiential learning is the hallmark of a Fairmont State education,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “This generous gift will not only give our students real-world opportunities to apply classroom knowledge, but it also gives them the chance to do what Fairmont State does best: Change lives. With the help of this grant, the Nursing Homeless Outreach Program will have an immeasurable impact on the lives of so many in our community.”

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Fairmont police search for hit-and-run driver

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A young boy was hit by a car that fled the scene in Fairmont near the intersection of 5th Street and Walnut Avenue Wednesday.

The boy was riding with other children when he was hit by a dark blue or dark gray Chevy Equinox LT. Police say the bicycle was found later in the area 9th Street after the driver dislodged it from the vehicle.

Witnesses believe the driver was a female.

The boy treated at Ruby Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Information can be left by calling 304-366-4200.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Public Safety Building access limited in Morgantown due to COVID-19 spike

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown officials have limited access to the Public Safety Building to essential business only due to the latest spike in COVID cases. Resident can enter for essential business by requesting entry at the Spruce Street entrance.

Hearings in Morgantown Municipal Court will take place as scheduled and fines are to be paid online. For questions or concerns, please contact the Municipal Court at 304-284-7497.

The Morgantown Parking Authority window is still open, but parking citations and other fees can be paid online at the MPA website. For questions or concerns, please call the Morgantown Parking Authority at 304-284-7435.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Mon County gets new communication tower, possibly broadband expansion

MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va. – A new communications tower that could evolve into a pilot broadband is planned in Mon County, according to commissioner Tom Bloom.

The 480-foot, 15-year old tower on Catherine’s Knob was demolished on Monday and commissioners have approved a 340-foot replacement that will cost $561,655.50. Commissioners also approved another $14,950 for engineering and site layout.

“It just crumbled right under which made the clean up a lot easier and it’s already cleaned up,” Bloom said,” We’re looking to build this thing by January or February.”

Broadband connectivity has been problem in the Blacksville area, that has been only been validated by workers and students attempting to complete responsibilities remotely during the pandemic.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito has championed broadband expansion with her Capito Connect plan. In October of 2019, Capito announced $4.9 million for fiber optic improvements for residents in portions of Preston, Marion and Monongalia Counties.

“Both Capito and Manchin have talked and this is their priority, the governor has mentioned it,” Bloom said,” So, why use this as a pilot project? You cannot run cable out there.”

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Diverse team set to tackle long-term Woodburn redevelopment project

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown city council is considering a partnership with several agencies to redevelop nine to 11.5 acres in the Woodburn area. The Monongalia County Development Authority, WVU and county commission would redevelop property purchased from the Giuliani family for 11.8 million.

President and CEO of the Morgantown Area Partnership, Russ Rogerson will assist the group creating the plan that is not on a set timetable.

“A mixed used development with various types of housing as well as small retail,” Rogerson said,” Connectivity, walking, biking and car traffic to the university, to downtown and to the trail system.”

Due to the location and size of the parcel there are many opportunities, but formulating the plan will be a deliberate process, according to Rogerson.

“Most likely we won’t be executing any construction for well over a year because of the planning process,” Rogerson said,” Because of what we need to go through to prepare and be ready to start doing something where you’ll see the difference.”

City council members approved allocating $60,000 per year, over the next three years from the Wiley/Brockway/Spruce TIF district to get the project off the ground.

“We think this project will last two to three years,” Rogerson said,” We look forward to really setting the standard for redevelopment in Morgantown and also how to work together to accomplish great things.”

Local developer Dave Biafore will offer his market experience to help target the right type of dwelling or retail location in the right place. Mayor Ron Dulaney praised the efforts of Rogerson to bring the diverse group together.

“Your approach of pulling the county, the city, the university and private developers together is a great opportunity for us to show we can work together and bring a really excellent development to our city.”

All side believe the “team” approach will help keep progress moving and add the expertise to solve issues that will come up along the way.

“We all share the goal of doing an exceptional project here, that everyone can walk away and have won,” Dulaney said,” In terms of what’s most important to each of us.”

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV