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Balanced effort leads GBC past Charleston Catholic, 60-49

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Five players scored in double figures for Greater Beckley Christian as the Crusaders collected an impressive 60-49 win over Charleston Catholic.

GBC’s Isaiah Hairston led all scorers with 15 points. He was followed up by teammates Kaden Smallwood (14), Elijah Edwards (11), Thaddeus Jordan (10) and Krystian Krunic (10).

“We’re happy to have the win,” said Greater Beckley Christian head coach Brian Helton. “We know how hard they are going to play. I thought our kids tried to match that intensity. I thought we did a good job of defending in the half court and getting the ball down inside on offense.”

The Crusaders (10-3) have won four games over a span of five days.

“Last night we played so well (against Webster County) that I think maybe early on we had a little hangover,” Helton said. When you play one of the top teams in the state you can’t have that our you’re going to have what happened to us early which is find ourselves down.”

Charleston Catholic led 11-7 after the first quarter but the Crusaders closed the half on an 18-2 run to take a 28-17 lead into halftime. The Irish crept to within six points in both the third and fourth quarters but could never inch any closer.

Zion Suddeth led the Irish (7-3) with 13 points. Aiden Satterfield and Marshall Pile each added a dozen points.

The Crusaders have won five consecutive games and are undefeated against Class A competition. “Our three losses are to Class AAA teams (University, Life Christian, Va. and Woodrow Wilson). All in all, this one marks right up there with all of those wins. When you play a top five team like Charleston Catholic, you have to count that as a great win.”

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Lee seeking fifth term as WVEA president

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dale Lee will seek a fifth term leading the West Virginia Education Association.

Lee announced his decision on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” noting with 2020 being an election year, he needs to remain as president for stability.

“This one really is the most important election of our time,” Lee said. “We have to get some moderate people who want to move West Virginia forward in the House and Senate that want to look at public education for our students and really make sure we fund that correctly and are doing the right things with it.”

The education union has not made an endorsement yet in this year’s cycle. When asked if it would endorse Gov. Jim Justice, Lee said there is a process in approving endorsements.

“We’re working on a questionnaire right now. Once the filing period is over, we’ll send a questionnaire to every candidate who is one the ballot for governor, Board of Public Works, the House and the Senate of the state Legislature,” he added. “Our by-laws say we cannot endorse anyone until they fill out the questionnaire.”

Lee added the state has made improvements in education under Justice, but he wants to leave the final decision up to union members.

The West Virginia Education Association will hold its leadership election in April.

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Paine to ask for keeping social studies standards

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Superintendent Steve Paine is planning on asking the West Virginia Board of Education to keep the number of high school social studies credits the same.

The announcement comes following criticism over a proposal cutting the number of credits required to graduate from four to three and requiring only one American history course.

While the comment period on the policy is open until Jan. 24, the state Department of Education noted Tuesday the review left officials understanding of arguments from the public.

The state Board of Education could still approve the policy.

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WVU notes improved academic performance among Greek life

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University officials say academic performance among the school’s Greek community is now higher than the student population at-large.

During the fall of 2019, the average GPA among fraternity and sorority members was 3.24 compared to the average for WVU undergraduate students, 2.969.

Matthew Richardson, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said the numbers are expected to continue rising.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in the academic performance of our Greek students and it has steadily climbed to be over the all undergraduate average,” Richardson said. “Now, this semester we’re looking at a 3.24 collective which is pretty fantastic.”

Phi Sigma Phi Fraternity led Interfraternity Council with a 3.2 GPA; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity led the National Pan-Hellenic Council with 2.843; Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority led the Panhellenic Association with 3.47; and the Phi Beta Lambda Co-Ed Business Fraternity led the Professional Geek Council with a 3.7 GPA.

“I think what we’re seeing is Greeks being able to collaborate with one another and learn some skills from one another,” Richardson said. “What we’re hoping is our academic service and professional Greeks, some of their good study habits will rub off on our social Greeks.”

He added Greek life has experienced a culture change over the past five years.

“I think our students have realized that with the privilege that comes with being a member of a fraternity or sorority comes with a level of expectation,” he said. “Greeks are often relied upon by administrators and community members to be role models and change agents.”

Richardson also pointed to a policy not allowing first-year students to join a Greek organization during their first semester on campus is also a contributing factor to the improved performance.

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JV dunk shatters backboard; game called off

QUINCY, W.Va. — Riverside and George Washington were supposed to play basketball Tuesday night but the second half of the JV game and the entire varsity game had to be postponed after a dunk shattered a backboard.

It came in the first half of the JV game with the Patriots leading the Warriors  24-20 with 45 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. Riverside missed a shot and Warriors freshman Braydin Ward went up for a two-hand slam. The result was a shattered board.

So I finally get to see my kid dunk in person!!Hold up. He broke the back board!!!Braydin Ward 33

Posted by Angela Ward on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

GW Junior Varsity Coach Todd Hutchinson said he had to do a double take at first.

“Oh man, first thing I was just shocked, like did that really happen … then I was like well I guess the game is over … which was unfortunate because it was actually turning into a pretty good JV game,” he said.

Ward is listed at 6-5 190 pounds.

No one was injured.

The two schools hope to make up the game later this season.

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Spencer Macke living as king for a day after making first shot

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’s Spencer Macke’s world, and we’re just living in it.

Macke has seemingly been lifted to the heavens since getting carried off the WVU Coliseum floor following West Virginia’s 97-59 win over Texas, unwittingly providing the program with its most national exposure in years despite being its last man in the lineup.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt took that scene and ran with it, highlighting Macke’s first career field goal as “The Best Thing I Saw All Day” on his SportsCenter broadcast late Monday night.

👀 @notthefakeSVP The Best Thing I Saw Today! @Smacke1313 🔥#HailWV pic.twitter.com/18lYxIBv54

— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 21, 2020

ESPN wasn’t done with the Macke love-fest, once again highlighting the moment during Tuesday morning’s SportsCenter broadcast.

This morning’s Sportscenter with a special segment on walk-on Spencer Macke! 💪🏻💪🏻 #HailWV pic.twitter.com/KTzg1omSoh

— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 21, 2020

Quite the turn of events for a freshman walk-on whose most prominent recruitment came from Division II Kentucky Wesleyan.

Macke’s moment began in earnest when the student section started calling for him, as it always does at the end of blowout wins. In this case, though, there was still plenty of time left — there was still 7:05 on the clock when the cries of “We want Macke!” started ringing through the Coliseum.

At that point the lead was secure enough that the Mountaineers could have gotten by with the 5-foot-11 Macke playing center, but Bob Huggins waited another four minutes before relenting to the crowd’s demands.

Though it was still the earliest Macke has checked into a game this season, he didn’t get his first shot off until 35 seconds remained. That one was on the wrong end of the highlight real, resoundingly rejected by 6-foot-8 Texas forward Gerald Liddell.

But Jordan McCabe was able to corral the loose ball and feed it back to Macke, who got his second attempt off just before Liddell had the chance to jump in from behind for a repeat rejection.

“I was nervous,” Macke said. “I didn’t know if I should shoot or not because I didn’t want to get blocked two times in a row.”

He made the right choice, with his three-pointer temporarily putting West Virginia up by 41 points.

As was the case when Macke hit a pair of free throws in a December game against Nicholls, West Virginia’s bench lost its collective mind when the ball went through the net. So did the guys on the floor.

“It’s like a big brother seeing his little brother score for the first time,” said teammate Emmitt Matthews.

It was Matthews and Oscar Tshiebwe who gave Macke the ultimate hero’s treatment, plucking the 170-pound guard onto their shoulders for a ride to the locker room.

“It felt great,” Macke said. “I loved that.”

As it turns out, so did much of America on Spencer Macke’s unexpected day in the spotlight.

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Miley: Economic impact study for marijuana makes sense

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House of Delegates Minority Leader Tim Miley says there’s no way to know the economic impact the legalization of marijuana for recreational use would have on West Virginia unless it’s studied.

File

Tim Miley

Miley and members of the House Democratic Caucus sent a letter this week to state Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch seeking the study. Miley said during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” Tuesday without the study the impact is only a guessing game.

“We don’t know so why wouldn’t we want to know that number and that data to drive our decision-making,” Miley said. “Number 2, clearly, other states are getting on board with that.”

.@TimMileyWV joins @HoppyKercheval at the Capitol to discuss a marijuana study and legalization in West Virginia. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIRZCB pic.twitter.com/VAVdacWq4P

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) January 21, 2020

Eleven states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana in recent years along with the District of Columbia.

“We really don’t hear of anything negative happening those states, at least from a national level,” Miley said.

Miley said his own thoughts about the legalization have evolved in recent years. He said he believes it’s happened around the country.

“It’s not much different than alcohol and the health effects it can cause or smoking cigarettes,” Miley said.

He doesn’t know if Gaunch will do the study or not but he hopes so. Miley said the state is in danger of missing an opportunity, not so much for the tax money, but a chance to be proactive and become more inviting to those who currently don’t live in West Virginia.

“We seem to be adverse to passing those kinds of policies that might actually attract young people that would keep them here or bring them here and I think we’re going down a bad path by ignoring it,” Miley said.

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Front porch video shows man shooting up Charleston house

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Police are looking for the person responsible for shooting several rounds from an AK-47 style rifle at a residence on Charleston’s West Side early Tuesday morning.

A front porch security video shows two men walking toward the house in the 400 block of Wyoming Street at around 1 a.m. Tuesday. One man knocks on the door and goes back toward the street while the other man waits a few feet from the front porch pointing the rife at the house.

When someone inside asks “Who is it?” the man holding the rifle fires it several times as he runs away. The other man took off in the other direction.

Charleston police said no one was injured.

Anyone with information is asked to call 304-348-8111. Police said callers may remain anonymous.

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Elk River residents still looking for flood help as VOAD begins outreach events

CLENDENIN, W.Va. — Mayor Kay Summers admits that her town still needs a lot of help, three and a half years after the June 2016 floods.

Officials with the state’s long-term flood recovery efforts, West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), were in Clendenin on Tuesday for an outreach help event to make sure anyone eligible for housing and bridge replacement through RISE West Virginia is enrolled.

Summers told MetroNews that there have been many missed signals by citizens whether with VOAD or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in what they could and couldn’t receive in flood recovery.

Jake Flatley/wvmetronews.com

Clendenin Mayor Kay Summers sits at her desk on Tuesday.

“If you don’t have electricity, if you don’t have water and you don’t have gas in your home, and you have holes in the side of your home from the flood, that’s a real problem. We actually have that,” Summers said.

“We have homes that need repaired or be torn down and rebuilt.”

Willy Harper, a resident of Clendenin, was one of the dozens that came to Clendenin City Hall and applied for more help.

He told MetroNews that he got about nine feet of water in his house and the foundation is cracking in different spots.

“I’m just trying to get some help,” Harper said. “I didn’t get hardly anything in the first round so I thought I would come up here and see if they could help me out again.”

“They (VOAD) came in and bought me twenty boards for my porch and a volunteer group came in and out them on. I’m appreciative of that but now I have structural damage. Do I just live with that or do I ask for help again? I am a proud person and this is the last place I wanted to come to.”

Harper expressed gratitude towards many people but also told MetroNews he felt that the process by FEMA has been unfair. He said hundreds of families remain waiting on FEMA money, including his 80-year old grandmother.

“Two weeks ago she tells me that she needs to go look for a job because she has two mortgage payments,” Harper said. “FEMA has said the check is in the mail, the check is in the mail.

“If they would just give her money to get rid of that one mortgage payment, that would free her up a lot. She’s struggling.”

Harper, a 25-year Clendenin resident, said he has no neighbors left following the flood because several houses were completely wiped out and others moved away because of the lack of help.

“A lot of people decided just to move, had their houses torn down and moved. I don’t blame them. If I could have afforded to do that, if I had any sense I would have just taken my FEMA money and left.”

Summers, who has been the mayor for less than one year, admits the town did lose residents and critical resources such as the only grocery store following 2016.

“Some people are going to say we did,” Summers said on losing many citizens.

“I don’t think we lost as many as people think. They had to relocate, maybe just on the Elk River. Some people did move and some people want to move back.”

Summers said it’s her job to continue to rally the town together because it’s the only way they will move along.

“I don’t think we will ever be over it,” Summers said. “Some people are still bitter. Some people are bitter rightfully so and some people are bitter because they haven’t done anything to help themselves.

“I think we have a great town here. We just need to pull together as a team.”

These last rounds of outreach efforts will continue throughout the week in multiple counties. Applicants need to have been affected by the 2016 flood that crushed Kanawha, Roane, Clay, Jackson, Lincoln, Nicholas, Fayette, Summers, Pocahontas, Webster, Monroe or Greenbrier counties.

The upcoming outreach effort events:

January 22: City National Bank of Rainelle, 1218 Main Street, Rainelle; 10 a.m.to noon and White Sulphur Springs City Hall, 589 West Main Street; 2 to 4 p.m.

January 23: Risen Lord Catholic Church, 67 Wallback Road, Maysel; 9:30 a.m. to noon.

January 24: Richwood Public Library, 8 White Avenue, Richwood; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

According to the latest numbers from RISE West Virginia, 108 homes have been rebuilt and completed since the program began.

Active cases under RISE total 381 including 244 requiring total reconstruction, 44 requiring some form of rehabilitation actions, 85 requiring new mobile home replacement, and 8 cases are awaiting initial project type and undergoing the damage assessment process.

For more information on how to get help, call VOAD at 304-553-0927,visit an outreach event or go to RISE’s website.

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Senate Democrats cast doubt on passage of property tax cuts without more specifics

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Resolutions that could lower property tax on manufacturing machinery and automobiles debuted today in the state Senate, but Democrats are already vocal with their skepticism.

The view of the minority party is particularly important in this instance because passing the resolutions would require a two-thirds majority vote. The Senate has 14 Democrats and 20 Republicans, so three Democrats would be needed for passage.

Property taxes are specified in the state Constitution, and changing them would require a vote of the citizens of West Virginia.

Democrats who rose and spoke about the property tax resolutions said there would need to be a concrete plan to make up the money to county governments and local school boards, not just general promises of growth.

Republicans countered that the details can be worked out in committee and that West Virginia needs to reduce the property tax on equipment for manufacturers as an economic generator.

The Republican majority has been talking since prior to the session’s start about reducing or eliminating the property tax on manufacturing equipment, an issue that has come up repeatedly over the years.

That would come at a cost of about $100 million a year, an amount that could be phased out over time.

Today that resolution made its debut, generating debate from the moment of inception. It has been assigned to both the Senate Judiciary and Senate Finance committees, and it was unclear when it would be taken up.

That resolution was accompanied by a companion that would authorize the Legislature to lower or eliminate personal property taxes on motor vehicles.

Senate Minority Whip Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, in an interview after the floor session, said Democrats could be persuaded to get on board with property tax cuts but they need to hear a more specific plan to make counties whole

“I think there’s certainly a handful of Democrats who would be open to the idea of getting rid of the business inventory tax,” Palumbo said. “I think that what’s unclear at this point is how exactly we’re going to do it.

“So the question is, if there’s a way that can be done to get rid of the tax and keep the counties whole then I think there could be some support for it. But if it’s a little bit unclear how that’s going to work then I think people are going to be less comfortable with it.”

The property tax issue prompted senator after senator to rise and speak at midday Tuesday.

Mike Romano

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, described his time as a Harrison County commissioner. He is concerned about financial effects on counties, volunteer fire departments and senior centers.

“There should be a fiscal  note attached to this,” Romano said. “We should be able to make a decision based on the facts, not hyperbole”

Craig Blair

Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, rose and said the details can be worked out during the committee process.

“That means every member of this body will have access and participation during that process and the ability to amend and work through,” said Blair, who is a sponsor of the resolution aiming at property taxes on vehicles.

“Me being the lead sponsor of one of those, I have every intention of making sure this entire body participates on the process.”

Blair contended that cutting the property tax on manufacturing equipment would lead to greater investment. Manufacturing growth is necessary to make up for low ebbs in the energy markets that have traditionally driven West Virginia’s economy, he said.

“These resolutions we’re talking about here are a heavy lift, but it’s a lift that must be done,” Blair said.

Paul Hardesty

Senator Paul Hardesty, D-Logan, characterized the property taxes as “regressive and problematic.”

But Hardesty, a former Logan County school board member, said the revenue is necessary for local governments.

“If you want our help on this side of the aisle, don’t come to me with a growth story – that we’re going to make up this money by growth. Because in southern West Virginia that does not resonate,” Hardesty said.

“Come to me with something we can all work together on and move forward on. I’m all for manufacturing but don’t come to me and say ‘We’ll make up for it with growth.’”

Eric Tarr

Senator Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, agreed with Blair that the change to the tax code is necessary to diversify West Virginia’s economy. He said West Virginia can no longer count on coal to pay the revenue load.

“If our GDP goes down, the gross domestic product, those services of government are not available,” Tarr said.

“This is an effort to try to get it to where our revenue is so strong in West Virginia that we’re able to go back in and provide those services.”

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