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Police arrest man for stealing Huntington police cruiser

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Police said a man is in custody for allegedly stealing a police cruiser and leading officers on a pursuit through Ohio and Kentucky.

Officers said Rodney Sears, 36, stole a marked Huntington police cruiser from the department’s headquarters in the 600 block of 10th Street at around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Law enforcement spotted the vehicle in Lawrence County, Ohio, not too long after it was taken. Officers said Sears began fleeing and led authorities on a chase into Kentucky.

Sears was taken into custody along Interstate 64 near Morehead. He’s charged in Rowan County, Ky., with attempted murder of an officer, receiving stolen property, fleeing or evading police, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

No injuries were reported.

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Canyon Rim Visitor Center to close for major renovations

LANSING, W.Va. — The Canyon Rim Visitor Center at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve plans to be closed starting January 1, 2024, as multiple areas of the building will undergo renovations.

Upgrades are planned for the center to include new exhibits and a new sales area, along with updated carpeting, lighting, wall coverings, and new seating for the auditorium.

The new exhibits are expected to include orientation to all three national sites, Gauley River National Recreation Area, Bluestone National Scenic River, and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, as well as interactive displays on geology, history, plants and animals, recreation, and information about other national park sites.

“We are pleased and excited about being able to provide our visitors with the opportunity to learn more about all of our national park sites here in southern West Virginia,” said Park Superintendent Charles Sellars. “The new displays will also give our returning visitors and local community a fresh look at a familiar story.”

Canyon Rim saw 498,000 visitors inside the visitor center in 2022. Close to 750,000 walked the boardwalk to the bridge overlook. Canyon Rim offers one of the best views of the New River Gorge Bridge and New River.


This renovations will be the first to the facility since it opened to the public on May 23, 1991.

The center has a tentatively scheduled reopening for early March.

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Stratford hoping for ‘incredible environment’ as Mountaineers strive to continue winning ways at home Saturday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s 2 p.m. match Saturday against Loyola Marymount was announced a sellout Monday within 5 hours of tickets becoming available for the national quarterfinal.

Mountaineer head coach Dan Stratford is hoping for a frenzied atmosphere at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, one that can help push West Virginia through to the College Cup and its first Final Four appearance.

The Mountaineers (16-2-4) are unbeaten at home to this point with eight victories and three draws, and they’ve protected home field in wins over Louisville and Vermont to start NCAA Tournament play.

“Marshall, Louisville, Vermont, we’ve sold out those three games out and we’re 3-0,” Stratford said. “The trend is a real positive one. There has to be correlation there. There were moments we weren’t at our best in the last two games and a clear period where we definitely could’ve been better against Vermont. The crowd provides support and encouragement in those moments and then late on when protecting a lead, the encouragement and support from the crowd was incredibly uplifting. Not just for the bench and staff, it had to feel that way for the players as well. It makes a huge difference and I’m hoping for another incredible environment and atmosphere on Saturday.”

It marks the Mountaineers’ second Elite Eight appearance in Stratford’s four season as head coach. 

West Virginia was on this stage previously in 2021 and suffered a loss at Georgetown in a match decided on penalty kicks. That year, WVU was on the road for two NCAA Tournament matches, something this year’s team doesn’t have to concern itself with as Saturday marks the last possible home game before the College Cup shifts to a neutral site in Louisville.

“When I spoke to the group on Monday, following the result and a day off on Sunday, the challenge I presented to the players is that two weeks from today, someone is playing for a national championship,” Stratford said. “Do we have the mental fortitude, focus and mental endurance to be great for two weeks? Can we have the mindset there’s 14 days left in the season and we’d play three games and train nine times? What would it take for to be great for two measly weeks? How hard would that be for us and what does it look like? We went back to a lot of things we’ve done to preach consistency and the way we approach training and scouts.”

The first order of business comes Saturday against the Lions, a team that finished fifth in the eight-member West Coast Conference and has hit its stride at the perfect time. 

Thus far in postseason play, LMU (10-4-6) has eliminated UC Irvine and James Madison at home, with a victory at No. 13 UCLA in between. The Lions have won in different fashion, opening with a 4-2 victory over the Anteaters before advancing with a 1-0 result in consecutive contests.

For the season, Loyola Marymount has been more defensive-minded, scoring 25 goals and allowing 18.

Whereas the Mountaineers thrive on being the more attacking team and have attempted 70 more shots than their opponents, the Lions value quality over quantity and have attempted 241 total shots — 10 fewer than their opponents.

“They’re clinical. They haven’t needed to create too much necessarily to take a lead and they’ve been incredibly resolute in terms of their defensive output,” Stratford said.

Perhaps most importantly, Stratford sees a quality in LMU that’s necessary for success at this stage of the season.

“They’ve played an incredible schedule and eight teams inside the top 40 from RPI, and they’re 7-0-1 in those games,” he said. “They seem to show up on the big occasion and do incredibly well against other good teams. In that stretch, they’ve scored twelve and only conceded three. “They’ve shown 1-nil is enough at times and they’re very capable of defending the penalty area and very comfortable if they’re not the team in possession, which is a little more rare at this stage of the tournament. Normally you’re playing against teams that like to be teams with the ball, but they’ve had less possession than their opponent on average throughout the season. Slightly different challenge in that regard. We’re a team comfortable with the ball and it appears they’re a team comfortable without it. It makes for an interesting chess match for sure.”

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Super Six newcomer Princeton set to face 9-time champion Martinsburg in Class AAA final

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Princeton’s path to their first Super Six appearance included three consecutive playoff home games after a nine-win regular season. Now the longest of road trips awaits as the Tigers travel to Wheeling Island Stadium to face Martinsburg in the Class AAA final. First-year frontman Keith Taylor says the transition to a new head coach was swift and smooth.

“The kids bought into something that was bigger than themselves,” Taylor said. “No matter what we were doing, we were doing everything to the best of our ability.”

A preseason quarterback competition between sophomores Chance Barker and Bradley Mossor was won by Barker. But the move has worked out perfectly for both. Barker has tossed 46 touchdown passes against just two interceptions. Mossor is the team’s second-leading receiver with 46 grabs and six touchdowns.

“Once we knew Barker was going to be our guy, I think Coach [Chris] Belcher did a good job of putting a little bit more each and every day. Not putting too much on his plate and stressing him out, but he has always taken what we have given him, taken it and run with it.

“Bradley is a great kid. He has taken it in stride. He has helped us a lot because a lot of times, the way people have tried to bracket Dom [Collins], they have usually put their best corner on Brad. He has done a good job of being able to get open.”

Senior receiver Dom Collins is a top contender for state player of the year honors after a 77-catch, 1,735-yard season with 25 touchdowns. Those numbers have come despite being the top target on scouting reports for opposing defenses.

“They are triple-covering him. They are putting two dudes over there. And they are putting their best guys over there. That to me was a little surprising. But that’s the kind of athlete he is. He is the best athlete in the state of West Virginia. I keep saying that. I hope people hear it. I think it is catching on a little bit. But numbers speak for themselves.”

Junior Marquel Lowe has found the end zone 22 times, thanks in large part to an offensive line that is anchored by Air Force commit Eli Campbell.

“Eli has always been the leader of our team in the weight room, in the classroom and different things like that. But he has brought along those guys on the offensive line because we are young. Chase Smith has been a three-year starter. So he has been a focal point for us there in the middle. But the rest of our guys are young.”

As the Tigers await their toughest test of the season, Taylor expects his team to play loose and care-free on the state’s biggest stage.

“No pressure is on us. We weren’t supposed to be here. Nobody expected us to be here. We keep hearing every week that we will see if they can make it past this round. We’re here now. We have an opportunity. Why not go out there and give it our best shot.”

After a three-year stint as the head coach at Concord University, Dave Walker returned to Martinsburg and once again the Bulldogs head to Wheeling with a zero in the loss column. With eight state titles on his resume, Walker says he has enjoyed the process of learning to work with a new group of players throughout the year.

“Where I really didn’t have a history with many of them when I came back, a lot of this season has been getting to know a lot of these guys,” Walker said. “They are definitely a bunch of personalities and great kids.”

Junior Koi Fagan emerged as the leading rusher for the Bulldogs with 935 yards and 17 touchdowns. Fellow junior Nick Busky took on a greater role late in the year and he has rushed for 612 yards.

“Our running backs with Koi and Nick have really stepped up,” Walker said. “I wasn’t anticipating those guys being as good as what they are. Nick Busky has really turned it on here late.”

In his first season as the full-time starting quarterback, Murphy Clement has engineered an offense that averages 44 points per game. The senior signal caller has passed for 17 touchdowns and he has rushed for 16 more scores.

Britt Sherman led the Bulldogs to the 2021 state championship. He has returned to a coordinator role working with his longtime mentor.

“I think the fact that he doesn’t have to deal with a lot of the stuff you have to deal with as a head coach is probably a bit of a relief for him,” Walker said. “I have known him since he was five years old. We’ve been together a long time. That’s not to say we haven’t had a couple of hiccups here and there. But he has a great personality. I love him and he is family.”

While awaiting their semifinal game against Huntington, Walker checked out the broadcast of Princeton’s 73-point semifinal contest.

“They’re so explosive with what they do,” Walker said. “I think it is going to be an exciting game and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Four quarters away from the school’s tenth state title in 14 years, Walker is hoping that focus of individuals will lead to more team success for the state’s premier program.

“It could be one time and the only time you get to do it,” Walker said. “You have to enjoy the moment as you can. But you also have to keep in mind that you have a job to do and you have to stay focused. When it is kicked off, it is just another game. So you have to play like that.”

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Official Strongman Games gearing up for a competition in Charleston this weekend

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tickets are still available to see nearly 400 ‘strongmen’ and ‘strongwomen’ athletes across 35 countries compete in Charleston this weekend for the 2023 SBD Official Strongman Games.

The three-day event will bring the athletes head-to-head in a series of six intense tests of strength at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center starting Friday, Dec. 1 until Sunday, Dec. 3.

OSG Event Director Lynn Morehouse said this competition is part of the path for heavyweight men to reach the title of the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ seen on TV. Along with that, he said it’s a rivalry for strongmen and strongwomen involved in every weight class, age group, and division other than the heavyweight men.

“For everyone else in the world, for women 140 pounds or less, to women ages 50 and over, men ages 50 and over, men as light as 175 pounds, this is their world’s strongest title,” said Morehouse.

He said the succession of competitors will be cut down to a total of just the top 10 per class the final day of the event to determine those titles.

Morehouse said local Charleston resident Philip Pfister came back to the city in 2008 for a competition following his win of the title of World’s Strongest Man in 2006. He said this event is generating the same excitement as Phister’s 2008 visit.

“Everyone’s excited, it’s amazing how many people remember 2008, and if you liked 2008 where you had 30 of the heaviest strong men in the world come down to a top 10, you’ll love where you have 400 athletes come down to a top 10 per division,” he said.

He said various other previous world’s strongest men and women are also expected to be in attendance at this weekend’s competition.

Morehouse said this is the first time OSG has come to the state after starting in 2017 and quickly growing into the world’s largest international strongman and strongwoman competition.

He said the Strongman Games were created to fill a need for more inclusivity in the industry.

“World’s Strongest Man has always been just the heavyweight men, but the sport of strongman exists at an amateur level worldwide, as well as at a professional level for weight classes and women,” Morehouse said.

Morehouse said tickets to the event are still available online at Ticketmaster, and they will be available for purchase at the gate the starting day of the competition. He said VIP tickets are also still available which will give fans the opportunity to meet the world’s current Strongest Man Mitchell Hooper, in addition to meet and greets with other strong men and women.

Kids 12 and under get into the competition for free.

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West Virginia Tourism aims to continue expanding promotional initiatives following recent success in its reach

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia tourism is making great strides in generating an impact that’s reaching visitors from across the country and around the world.

The Department of Tourism and the Tourism Advisory Council met virtually Tuesday to discuss the advances they’ve made in the numbers of visitor impressions on web, national media placements, and the overall impact on West Virginia tourism promotions.

Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby said in the last three months, the state’s direct impact on tourism promotions reached 5 billion for the first time, and an overall impact of over 7 billion.

In addition, she said they have reached over 4.5 billion social media impressions, website page views of up to 56%, and have been seen within over 1,000 placements across major travel publications. Ruby said she promises West Virginia gets in many more of those “It” list publications moving forward.

Chelsea Ruby, Secretary of WV Dept. of Tourism

“In the past couple of years we’ve been on Outside Magazine’s list, Travel and Leisure, Conde Nast, Frommers,” she said. “There are just a few we haven’t been on and we’re just as determined as ever to get on them.”

Ruby said in the fall the tourism department ran 60, 30, and 15 second TV and radio spots sharing the autumnal beauty and adventure the state has to offer.

She the media spots ran both in-state and to out-of-state markets including Washington D.C, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Baltimore, encouraging tourists there to visit the Mountain State. Ruby added that their advertising is rather unique compared to other state’s tourism advertising in the sense that it reaches those already living here along with those from different states.

“Some states just target their out-of-state markets, but we in West Virginia know that West Virginians love their state and love to travel, so we make sure that we’re continually working to inspire West Virginians,” she said.

Ruby said when the governor and the legislature tripled the tourism marketing budget several years ago, the department was able to expand its market exponentially since then. She said they have saturated the state’s drive market and are now starting to reach the fly markets, as well.

Over the fall, Ruby said they partnered up with West Virginia Yeager International Airport to support promotional advancements regarding the new Breeze Airways flights that are now available, particularly marketing more to tourists from Florida where Breeze’s main flights come to Charleston from.

“We’re looking in places in Florida where people are in highly concentrated areas, where these wide open spaces, the beautiful landscapes, the four seasons are things that would appeal,” she said.

She said they will continue marketing in Florida with emphasis currently in Orlando and Tampa.

The tourism department now plans to run more 60, 30, and 15 second in-state and out-of-state media spots coming into the winter season, promoting the state’s cozy getaways and snow sport and winter recreational opportunities.

Ruby said they also plan to continue utilizing the new conversational-rich digital media advertising they have been using on the web and social media platforms as they have seen a lot of engagements and conversions onto the website since using such ads.

She said, in addition, posting daily videos pertaining to West Virginia scenery and tourism opportunities on social media garnered a lot of engagement on their own, but now the focus is on increasing inspiration to those particularly invested in a trip to the Mountain State.

“Us just showing videos to people does a lot on the inspiration side, but I think we need to make sure that inspiration is going to the right type of people, that it’s going to people in the end, who are going to request information about the state and come here,” Ruby said.

She said West Virginia’s involvement with the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in providing the tree has created another new promotional avenue to reach out-of-state visitors, particularly those in Washington D.C., and they plan to continue to use promotional content related to the national Christmas tree long after the ceremony is over.

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West Virginia is well represented at Christmas tree lighting ceremony at U.S. Capitol

A 63-foot-tall West Virginia superstar is the center of attention in the nation’s capital.

On a cold and blustery evening with the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, a majestic Norway spruce from West Virginia’s mountains lit up the night.

“You West Virginians are pretty tough folks. This is pretty cold out here,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., during remarks at a ceremony for the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree.

The marching band from Richwood High School serenaded a gathered crowd with Christmas cheer. The state’s congressional delegation, in brief and brisk remarks, extolled the virtues of West Virginia. And a boy from Randolph County described the West Virginia’s natural majesty and then hit the “light” button on the big, beautiful tree.

This was all at the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, a time-honored tradition of more than 50 years, during a Tuesday evening ceremony on the West Front Lawn.

“The most exciting thing is the tree, but then to see the people who have followed the tree all through West Virginia. Lots of people from Randolph County and Tucker County. Lots of kids. I keep telling them, you’re going to remember this the rest of your life,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

The 63-foot Norway Spruce came from the Monongahela National Forest and was carried on a specially equipped tractor-trailer to be displayed in communities around West Virginia before reaching its ultimate destination at the U.S. Capitol. 

Fourth grader Ethan Reese from Beverly Elementary School in Randolph County had a position of honor because of his status as the winner of the 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree essay contest. He was being accompanied by his fourth grade classmates along with a busload of Randolph County 4-H participants.

He also made time for West Virginia media who gathered at the Capitol. His advice to the people of West Virginia: “Have a great time.”‘

Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., applauded Ethan’s appearance and his sentiments.

“What a job he did. I mean, he made us all proud,” Manchin said after the ceremony. “This is a big time for West Virginia for us to have the People’s Tree  here at the Capitol.”

Ethan Reese and his family talk with WOWK reporter Amanda Barren. (Brad McElhinny/MetroNews)

Ethan’s essay is about his family’s connection to the Monongahela National Forest. His great, great grandfather, Arthur Wood, was one of the first supervisors of the area that became the Monongahela National Forest.

“He was one of the folks who helped rebuild the forest to what we know today, where we’re able to harvest a tree like this for our nation’s capital,” said Ethan’s mother, Amanda, on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

Amanda Reese said the family is marking the occasion.

“We’re all taking pictures,” she said. “We’ve got the whole family here with us, so between all of us we’ll get some photos.”

Following the ceremony, the Christmas tree will then be lit from dusk until 11 p.m. each evening through New Years Day. Visiting the tree is free and open to the public. No ticket is required.

This is the third time West Virginia and the Monongahela National Forest has provided the U.S Capitol Christmas Tree, which is cut on a different National Forest every year somewhere in the country. West Virginia provided the trees in 1970, which was the first time the Forest Service provided the tree, and again in 1976.

“The fact that we can share with you one more time makes us proud,” said Congresswoman Carol Miller, R-W.Va.

The Capitol Christmas Tree is being decorated with 5,000 ornaments by hundreds of kids and volunteers from West Virginia, its home state, so it is nicknamed The People’s Tree.

“I’m delighted to say we made a beautiful selection this year,” said James Kaufmann, director of Capitol Grounds and Arboretum for the Architect of the Capitol.

The Christmas tree from West Virginia is illuminated on the U.S. Capitol grounds. (Brad McElhinny/MetroNews)

Meanwhile, West Virginia is supplying another Christmas tree for the White House too.

That happened when the Monongahela National Forest got a call from the headquarters in Washington asking for help. The White House Christmas Tree, which is a permanent tree on the White House Ellipse, had died of a disease. So a replacement was needed.

The 42-foot Tucker County tree had been considered as an option for the U.S. Capitol but was rejected for being too short. But it was a great option for the White House.
So for the first time in history, West Virginia has provided both the Capitol Christmas Tree and the White House Christmas tree in the same year.

That tree, called the National Christmas Tree, will have a lighting ceremony on Thursday evening on the Ellipse at The White House and President’s Park.

The 101st National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, hosted by Mickey Guyton, will feature performances from Dionne Warwick, St. Vincent, Joe Walsh and more.

CBS will broadcast the 2023 National Christmas Tree Lighting on December 15th. The National Christmas Tree display is open to the public and free to the public from Dec. 2 through Jan. 1.

“For the first time in history, West Virginia is providing the White House Christmas tree down the street, in addition to our Capitol Christmas tree,” noted Congressman Alex Mooney, R-W.Va.

“So a lot of West Virginia spirit in the air today.”

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State leaders urge Postal Service to step back from possible closure of Charleston Processing and Distribution Center

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — Gov. Jim Justice is telling U.S. Postmaster General that West Virginians are deeply concerned with the Postal Service’s review of the Charleston Processing and Distribution Center with the possibility of moving the operations to Pennsylvania.

Gov. Jim Justice

“The potential closing or downsizing of the distribution center in South Charleston strikes at the heart of not just our state’s postal services but also the livelihoods of hundreds of hardworking West Virginians,” Justice wrote in the Tuesday letter to Postmaster General Louis Deloy.

The center, which is located at Southridge near the South Central Regional Jail, has 800 workers.

The review is part of the Postal Service’s “Delivering for America,” the 10-year plan to “transform the organization from one in financial and operational crisis to one that is self-sustaining and high-performing.”

West Virginia American Postal Worker’s Union President Sini Melvin said the review could result in the closure of the Charleston facility, and those operations could move to the Pittsburgh Processing and Distribution Center and the Pennwood Place Processing and Distribution Center in Pennsylvania. Melvin said the move would degrade service and increase delays.

Sini Melvin

“What once was just around the corner to get your mail is now going to be over four hours away,” Melvin said. “The Charleston plant services areas like Beckley, Princeton, and Bluefield, so now those areas are almost six hours away.”

Melvin said union members have been watching the impact of similar moves and have heard complaints as a result from postal customers. She added that the move is being considered without regard for all residents of the state.

“We’ve seen in other plants they’ve consolidated specifically into Pittsburgh, where they are now receiving their mail on a day delay because of the logistics of the situation,” Melvin said.

If the plan is ratified, it would eliminate the last processing facility in the state of West Virginia.

“We’re looking at 700 jobs—700 decent union jobs—that we’re looking at losing in this state,” Melvin said. “The Post Office is effectively wiping West Virginia off the map.”

The Postal Service closed the Clarksburg Distribution Center in September 2013. All mail in the northern part of the state goes first to Pittsburgh.

Mail customers are already feeling the effects of continued staffing problems and the closure of the Clarksburg Processing and Distribution Center about eight years ago. The Charleston closure would only increase delays and reduce the quality of service, according to Melvin.

“The increase in delayed mail means poorer service provided to the citizens of this country,” Melvin said. “We’ve seen the approval rating of Post Office go down to 70 percent from the 90 percent range—people are not satisfied with the changes that are taking place.”

Melvin said currently, Express Delivery service is no longer guaranteed in the state, and those packages could even be subject to increased delays if the Charleston facility is closed. Unlike other states, many express deliveries go to rural areas of the state and include medicines people depend on in some cases.

Senator Capito

“It’s not just somebody sending something at the last minute or an important legal document; this is VA medicine,” Melvin said. “The VA sends medicine out to the veterans of this state by express mail, and express packages are sitting there being delayed.”

Justice’s letter said the distribution center is “integral to our state’s economic prosperity and growth opportunities.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said she is concerned about the possible changes.

“While this decision is not final, I am in the process of seeking answers from USPS. My priority is making sure our hardworking West Virginians—like those that are employed by this USPS facility—have certainty, and I will do whatever I can to make sure these men and women are supported,” Capito said.

The Postal Service would hold a public meeting if its review supports a change in Charleston.

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Brown confident that resources are in place to keep WVU’s top talent

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As the Mountaineers await Sunday’s bowl announcement and the start of the NCAA national signing period in late-December, Neal Brown and his coaching staff are spending this week re-recruiting their own roster.

The four-day period from November 27-30 is classified by the NCAA as a “dead period” for in-person recruiting. The purpose is to allow coaches a small window to speak with their own players about their futures with the program.

Several promising young players have multiple years of eligibility left to play for the Mountaineers and Brown believes the needed NIL apparatus is in place to keep players that will certainly be coveted by other schools.

“I do believe we have the resources necessary to retain the majority of our roster,” Brown said on MetroNews Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval. “There’s always going to be surprises. That’s just kind of what we live in. And you have to be able to handle other programs coming in and even though it is illegal, actively recruiting off your roster. It is going to happen.”

West Virginia posted a three-game improvement in 2023, finishing the regular season with an 8-4 record and a 6-3 mark in Big 12 play. Brown is hopeful that a sixth season next fall leading the Mountaineers could lead to an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game.

“I am in regular contact with Wren [Baker]. I’ve got a contract. I don’t think we necessarily have to talk every single day. I have a really good relationship with him and a really good relationship with [President] Dr. [Gordon] Gee. I feel confident in what we are building and the strides we made. We’ve got to continue to get better. Our goal is to play in the game that is staged the first Saturday of December in Dallas. That’s our goal and we are making progress to get there,” Brown said.

“I do expect to be here. My family and I have enjoyed our time in West Virginia and we want to see this through.”

The eight regular season wins and six Big 12 wins were tops in Brown’s five seasons leading the program.

“This team, with where we were at certain positions, I thought we handled ourselves pretty well. I thought there were two games that if they went differently — maybe just one game if it went differently — that we had a chance to play in Dallas. The last play at Houston was really unfortunate. And we just didn’t play well defensively in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma State.

“As a coach, you sometimes remember the things that go wrong more than you do the things that go right. But I thought there was a ton of growth this year.”

In his first full season as WVU’s starting quarterback, Garrett Greene passed for 2,187 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed for 13 touchdowns, the fourth-best total in the Big 12.

“You could just see it as it went through January through the spring, through the summer and into fall camp, his confidence was growing.

“He studied the game and became more of a student.”

Fairmont Senior graduate Zach Frazier was injured during West Virginia’s game-winning drive and Brown confirmed that Frazier will miss WVU’s bowl game with what he called a ‘lower leg injury that required a minor procedure.’ Brown said it should not affect Frazier’s lead up to NFL Draft. Frazier has been invited to compete in the Senior Bowl on February 3.

“It will keep him out of the bowl game out of precaution more than anything.

“I will say this about Zach Frazier — I think that one play really sums up who he is as a player and what he has meant to the program. He gets injured after really carrying Hudson Clement for a first down. He is in a lot of pain and he hops off the field so we don’t get a ten-second runoff. He’s an unbelievably tough individual and highly intelligent.”

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Cabell County EMS works with St. Mary’s Medical Center to launch blood administration program

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A new pilot program in Cabell County is allowing injured patients involved in car accidents, shootings, stabbings or other traumatic situations to receive blood on scene.

Julia Zeto, critical care transport director for Cabell County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), said the program will help save more lives by getting blood to patients within minutes instead of waiting to be transported to the hospital.

“Regardless of how far away they are, the earlier the intervention, the better off it’s going to be,” Zeto told MetroNews. “It increases survivability, and it’s actually has been shown to decrease total hospital length of stays.”

Cabell County EMS works with St. Mary’s Medical Center to receive the blood.

The program is the first of its kind to launch in West Virginia with Cabell County EMS being one of 116 agencies in the U.S. to have prehospital blood administration capabilities.

First responders are able to provide whole blood transfusions, which Zeto said is usually very difficult to obtain in the trauma world.

“We have whole blood as opposed to packed red blood cells and that’s a really big deal. Whole blood is really hard to get. It’s like liquid gold and is in very short supply,” she said.

Studies show that prehospital blood administration has significantly improved outcomes for patients with hemorrhagic shock. Zeto said they’re saving lives.

“The leading cause of death in the United States for people under 46 is hemorrhage related to trauma and by having that pre-hospital intervention we are actually able to drastically decrease the chance of mortality,” she said.

Zeto said they hope to be a model for other counties in West Virginia when it comes to saving more lives through on-site blood administration for patients who need it.

A press event was held Monday in Huntington to discuss the program.

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