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Clarksburg man charged after allegedly threatening woman, growing marijuana

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – State police have accused a Clarksburg man of growing marijuana and threatening to set a woman on fire.

Michael Smith

While on routine patrol, troopers were flagged down by a passenger car in Adamston.

The victim had redness around the neck and told police she had just gotten into a fight with Michael Smith, 37. The victim told police Smith threatened to shoot her while pointing a .22 caliber rifle at her and said he “would cover her in gasoline.” The victim also said Smith grabbed her by the throat and picked her up two times.

Smith then allegedly prevented the victim from calling police and threatened to kill police and admitted to growing two marijuana plants outside the residence.

Smith has been charged with cultivation of marijuana, strangulation, wanton endangerment, terroristic threats and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

Smith is being held in the North Central Regional Jail.

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WVU secures commitment from wide receiver Elijah Caldwell

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia has received a fourth verbal commitment from the state of South Carolina for their Class of 2023. Northwestern High School wide receiver Elijah Caldwell accepted his scholarship offer on Friday evening.

Caldwell hails from Rock Hill, South Carolina. He joins defensive lineman Cam Jackson, quarterback Raheim Jeter and defensive lineman Eamon Smalls as commitments from the Palmetto State. Caldwell is the third receiver in this year’s class. Rodney Gallagher and Tory Johnson, Jr. are wideouts to recently commit.

In thirteen games in his junior season, Caldwell caught 77 passes for 1,247 yards and 15 touchdowns. Northwestern went 11-2 in 2021, advancing to the South Carolina AAAAA state quarterfinals.

Caldwell received a scholarship offer from WVU on January 25. He also holds offers from Appalachian State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Duke, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan, Gardner-Webb, James Madison, Kent State, Liberty, Marshall, UMass, Miami(OH), Middle Tennessee State, Old Dominion, South Carolina State, Utah and Western Kentucky.

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Mylan Park hosting ‘Freedom Day’ event Saturday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Mylan Park will host a “Freedom Day” event Saturday.

The patriotic celebration will include a petting zoo, high tunnel tours and food trucks.

“We can get families out and have a lot of fun,” said Heather McIntyre, Mylan Park’s assistant director of marketing and outreach.

“We want to show off Mylan Park. We want everyone to come out and take advantage of all the fun things we have. We’re going to showcase everything.”

All park facilities will be open with some admission specials and a free showing of “Captain America: Civil War.” There will also be field games, potato sack races and a soccer shootout.

“Inside, we’re going to be doing a home run derby with Pro-Performance, pickleball and a basketball shootout,” McIntyre said. “You can also slip over to the event complex for all kinds of fun and games.”

The first 750 guests will have an opportunity to win one of several Mylan Park prizes, including monthly membership packages and membership to the Mylan Park Aquatic Center.

The event will go from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Person dead after boat capsizes in Ohio River

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — One person died Friday after a boat they were on capsized in the Ohio River.

The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. According to authorities, a commercial boat collided with a barge near Newberry Island.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene. The U.S. Coast Guard and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are conducting an investigation.

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Photo gallery: Logan hosts 7-on-7 football event

LOGAN, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Logan’s 7-on-7 football event Wednesday, which featured the Wildcats, Man, Chapmanville, Tug Valley, Mingo Central, Scott, Westside, and St. Albans.

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

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Two admit to killing, robbing Preston County man in 2019

KINGWOOD, W.Va. — Two Preston County residents have admitted to first degree murder in the May 2019 murder of Phillip “Buckie” Barlow.

Laura Martin

Laura Lynn Martin, 38, and Robert Joseph Quinn, 45, both of Tunnelton, entered guilty pleas this week to first degree murder and robbery.

Robert Quinn

The investigation began when Barlow failed to show up for work. Police found his partially burned truck near Shower Bath Road about a week later.

His body was found near the Fortney’s Mill area. An autopsy determined Barlow died of a deep throat laceration.

The pair will be sentenced Sept. 9. The plea agreement says the two will face life in prison with mercy.

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Three Guys Before The Game: Emergency Podcast/Conference Calamity (Episode 386)

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.

Three Guys Before The Game is sponsored by Burdette Camping Center and Komax Business Systems.  Don’t forget to check out Three Guys merchandise.

Never miss an episode, it’s free, subscribe below.

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Prosecutors object to post-sentencing media comments by Jan. 6 defendant Derrick Evans

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.

Derrick Evans

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.”

Hundreds of people face charges from the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

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.

Eric Barber

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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West Virginians among people heading out for July Fourth

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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Schmidle hopeful Hawks’ quickness and depth will help compensate for lack of height

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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