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Capito meets with Mexico’s president, discusses trip on curbing flow of fentanyl to U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) says she expressed her concerns about fentanyl flowing into the country during a recent trip to Mexico.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito

Capito briefed reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday about her trip to Mexico last Sunday.

The senator joined a congressional delegation that met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and others.

Capito said the drug epidemic remained one the top issues discussed with the president.

“He told us that he would go directly and forcefully to the Chinese government to try to stop the flow or disrupt the flow of the precursor chemicals that are coming in to the ports, into Mexico and then across our border and killing, in my case, over 1,100 West Virginians last year alone by fentanyl,” she said.

Capito said she also talked with the Mexican president about the flow of illegal immigrants across the border.

“Title 42 is going to go away in May,” she said. “What’s going to happen to the already chaotic border between the United States and Mexico?”

The Trump-era order allows officials to skip the asylum process and deport people who illegally cross the southern border.

Capito said she urged Mexican officials to work together to prevent more illegal crossings.

“How can we help Mexico? How can Mexico help us?” she said they discussed. “We got into a lot of technology. We got into a lot of workforce issues. We talked a lot about the cartels and human trafficking.”

The meeting was a step in the right direction, Capito said.

“We tried to be positive in terms of trying to find solutions rather than just constantly identifying the problems that we have and that we see at that border because they’re massive,” she said.

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WVU Energy Institute panel: Act now to control methane or it could be too late

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University Energy Institute held the panel discussion “The Other Greenhouse Gas and Why It Matters for West Virginia” to highlight the importance of mitigating methane, a greenhouse gas that is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Morgan King

The mitigation program would create jobs for inspectors and help ease climate change.

Morgan King, Climate Campaign Coordinator, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, said just this week scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released what they called a “final warning.” In short, the report that took eight years to prepare said,”Act now, or it will be too late.”

“If we don’t drastically cut emissions starting now we are going to lock in warming that is going to be detrimental,” King said. “This isn’t something that can be reversed later on and it will change the way our ecological systems work.”

King also said the problem in West Virginia is aggravated by the number of active and abandoned oil and gas wells. The Department of Environmental Protection reports there are thousands of the abandoned wells, some are estimated to be over century old and continue to leak.

“We have tens of thousands of oil and gas wells- it’s really a local problem,” King said. “Over half of West Virginians live within a mile of an oil and gas well, so you probably know someone, or you live in proximity to one of these wells.”

Evan Hansen

Panelist Delegate Evan Hansen (D-Monongalia, 79) said legislation passed this year increases funding to the Office of Oil and Gas, which will double the number of inspectors from 10 to 20. But, this type of program would require many more workers to do the job correctly.

“We have 75,000 wells in the state and many of those are active wells,” Hansen said. “One of things that is going to be required is inspections of those well- and that means jobs for inspectors.”

Hansen said one of the disappointments in the state is the number of jobs West Virginians have working for natural gas companies. Hansen believes constant monitoring and testing will require companies to hire more local residents to complete the work.

“If you’ve got people that have to go out and visit these well sites they have to be located here in West Virginia,” Hansen said. “These would be ongoing jobs, at least the inspection jobs would be ongoing jobs.”

The supplemental rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires a reduction in methane emissions to 87 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

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Wayne County man charged with arson for allegedly setting barn on fire

FORT GAY, W.Va. — A Wayne County man faces arson charges after State Police say he allegedly set a barn on fire.

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor, 37, of Fort Gay, was arrested Thursday night on arson and for being a fugitive from justice. Taylor was wanted on a parole violation in North Dakota.

The fire was reported at around 7 p.m. Thursday.

Taylor now in the Western Regional Jail.

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Two charged in meth-related death of child in Monongalia County

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two people have been charged after an autopsy revealed methamphetamine intoxication contributed to the death of a two-year-old.

Reports indicate the child died in Monongalia County in December of 2020 and Brandy Eddy, 42, of Sutton, and the child’s father, Jonathan Eddy were in the home prior to the death of their daughter.

Both suspects have been processed at the Central Regional Jail and are each charged with child neglect.

Police have been unable to determine how the child came into contact with the drug.

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Fairmont police say fatal shooting was a targeted attack; two arrested

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Police in Fairmont are calling the shooting at the Fairmont Hills Apartment Complex early Thursday morning a targeted attack, and there is no further danger to the public.

Fairmont police chief Steve Shine said Leo Charles Ginty, 18, and Clayton Vanlier Peck, 22, both of Frostburg, Md., traveled to the apartment complex in Fairmont to sell a large quantity of marijuana.

During the transaction, Peck was fatally shot, and his body was found over an embankment at the apartment complex.

As police arrived around 2:50 a.m. they encountered the vehicle occupied by the two subjects from Frostburg. Police stopped the vehicle, recovered the marijuana and took Ginty into custody.

Detectives isolated evidence in the car and at the scene that led them to Zeighshawn Jarelle Meade, 18, who was apprehended in a Fairmont home.

Ginty has been charged with possession with intent to deliver.

Meade has been charged with first-degree murder.

Detectives continue to review surveillance video and would like to talk to anyone who may have seen something. Information can be left confidentially by calling 304-366-2217.

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MetroNews This Morning 3-24-23

Today on MetroNews This Morning:

–West Virginia is under a State of Preparedness with severe weather in the forecast for the next 24 hours

–Interim State Police Superintendent Jack Chambers says he’ll do what it takes to fix problems identified within the agenc

–PEIA Finance Board has three plans for PEIA and will take those to stakeholder with meetings next week

–In Sports: West Liberty advances to the D-II National Championship game

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 3-24-23” on Spreaker.

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Hyperloop Stalls


Two-and-a-half years ago, Governor Jim Justice announced with much fanfare that a futuristic company was making an enormous investment here. Virgin Hyperloop would locate a testing and certification facility on nearly 800 acres in Tucker and Grant counties.

It was an inspiring moment. West Virginia had beaten out every other state for hyperloop, a transportation technology that would move people in sealed vacuum tubes at speeds up to 600 miles an hour or more.

But it is not going to happen, at least not anytime soon.

Sarah Biller, executive director of Vantage Ventures at WVU and point person on the hyperloop project, confirmed that to me this week. She explained that the Virgin Hyperloop/Hyperloop One went through a significant restructuring.

“The company shifted its strategy to using its technology for logistics and cargo movement, as opposed to developing a global mass transportation system,” Biller said. “The movement of goods and packages is a first priority at this point,” she said.

So, there is no need for the $500-million people-moving hyperloop testing facility planned for here. Understandably, Biller is disappointed. “You want to see it with every ounce of your being,” she said.

However, Biller sees a silver lining since West Virginia beat out every other state. “We were seen as the best place in the country,” Biller said. “It proved that we can compete.”

That is a fair point. Jay Walder, who at the time of the announcement was the CEO of Virgin Hyperloop, said, “The engineering and scientific talent, combined with the skilled workforce and collaborative spirit we know is critical to this project, is all right here.”

Well, those qualities are still here. Hyperloop’s decision to change direction is not a reflection on West Virginia’s ability to meet the demands of new technology innovators. “West Virginia is the right place for these technologies to find a home,” Biller said. “That’s the story of West Virginia’s future.”

Fortunately, West Virginia did not invest beyond the work Biller and others put into trying to secure the project, but even that has value. “We learned about competing with the best states in the country,” she said.

“Not everything is going to be a success, but that doesn’t mean that you give up,” she said. “You figure out a new pathway, and that is what innovation is all about.”

Yes, Hyperloop was over hyped. We are not going to be zipping around in vacuum tubes anytime soon, or maybe ever. The collapse of the project is disappointing, but the experience alone contributes to the growth of West Virginia’s entrepreneurial spirit.



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Class AAAA All-State Boys Basketball List

The Class AAAA All-State Boys Basketball Team as Selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association:

First Team

Sharron Young, Morgantown, Jr. (Captain), 6-0, 19.4 

Ben Nicol, GW, Sr. 6-6, 16.3 

Nate Plotner, Parkersburg South, Sr. 6-8 14.0 

Anthony Spatafore, Bridgeport, Sr. 6-3 17.1

Mikey Johnson, Huntington, Jr. 6-3, 17.3 

Brody Davis, Morgantown, Sr. 6-5. 14.6 

Cyrus Traugh, Parkersburg South, Sr. 6-2 15.5 

Jamari Jenkins, Jefferson, Soph. 5-8, 15.7 

Second Team 

Elijah Redfern, Beckley, Jr. 6-2, 18.1 

Brendan Hoffman, GW, Sr. (Captain) 6-2, 18.2 

Duane Harris, Huntington, Jr. 17.5 

Goose Gabbert, Greenbrier East, Sr. 17.4 

Dominic Schmidt, Cabell Midland, Sr. 22.2 

Aiden Davis, Wheeling Park, Soph. 20.3 

Caleb Thomas, Spring Mills, Soph. 

Cam Danser, Morgantown, Sr. 6-6. 10.5 

Honorable mention 

Zach Ayoob, Bridgeport; Rafael Barcinas, University; Avion Blackwood, Martinsburg; Aiden Blake, Parkersburg South; Markel Booker, Capital; Jackson Clark, Hurricane; Ashton Curry, Bridgeport; Coby Dillon, Woodrow Wilson; Izzy Everett, Morgantown; Austin Fleming, Parkersburg; James Fortney-Garbart, University; Jaiden Gladney, Jefferson; Christian Goebel, South Charleston; Roman Gray, John Marshall; Chase Hancock, Princeton; Kris Joyce, Princeton; Trevor Kelley, Oak Hill; Malachi Lewis, Oak Hill; Matt Mahood, Musselman; Brett Phillips, Wheeling Park; Austin Reeves, Parkersburg South; Clay Robertson, Spring Valley; Khayleb Robinson, Spring Mills; Nate Rodriguez, Parkersburg; Adam Seams, Greenbrier East; Will Shively, Jefferson; Bryson Smith, South Charleston; Jackson Smith, Parkersburg South; Brennan Sobutka, John Marshall Leyton Toepfer, Brooke; Cam Wilkes, Hedgesville.

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Class AAAA All-State Girls Basketball List

The Class AAAA All-State Girls Basketball Team as Selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association:

First Team

Alexis Bordas, Wheeling Park, Soph. (Captain)

Lala Woods, Wheeling Park, Soph.

Gabby Reep, Bridgeport, Sr.

Lily Jordan, Morgantown, Jr.

Jayda Allie, Cabell Midland, Sr.

Kilah Dandridge, Spring Mills, Soph.

Hallie Bailey, Spring Valley, Sr.

Ella Simpson, University, Jr.


Second Team 

Finley Lohan, George Washington, Jr.

Cadence Stewart, Greenbrier East, Sr. (Captain)

JayCee Elzy, St. Albans, Soph.

Sofia Wassick, Morgantown, Jr.

Trinity Balog, Parkersburg, Jr.

Keanti Thompson, Woodrow Wilson, Sr.

Zaniah Zellous, GW, Soph.

Abby Dillon, Woodrow Wilson, Soph.


Honorable Mention

Sophia Abraham, Wheeling Park; Lexi Adams, Washington; Sophi Aldridge, Cabell Midland; Autumn Bane, Princeton; Lindsay Bechtel, Morgantown; Kaitlyn Blake, John Marshall; Olivia Bolduc, Spring Mills; Ava Bolen, Brooke; Kaydance Bradley, Martinsburg; Mackenzie Brezovec, Jefferson; Lucie Cline, Parkersburg South; Kylie Conner, Princeton; Lataja Creasey, Woodrow Wilson; Josie Cross, Woodrow Wilson; Kendal Currence, Buckhannon-Upshur; Allie Daniels, Spring Valley; Natalie Daugherty, Wheeling Park; Jaylin Dodd, Bridgeport; Reagan Edsell, Spring Mills; Kaila Fitzpatrick, Martinsburg; Mia Henkins, Morgantown; Amara Jackson, Huntington; Alanna Mackenzie, Riverside; Kenna Maxwell, Buckhannon-Upshur; Maggie Oduor, Hurricane; Dria Parker, Spring Valley; Mary Rivera, Washington; Gracie Shamblin, Parkersburg South; Emily Sharkey, University; Natalie Smith, South Charleston; Hannah Stemple, University; Kennedy Stewart, Greenbrier East; Maddie Stull, Princeton; Jazmyn Wheeler, Cabell Midland; Ella White, Preston; Maddy Young, Hurricane

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Sheriff’s department testing out second body cam

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the past 10 months, deputies with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department have been testing out body cameras. Chief Deputy for the department sasy they will test out a new brand of cameras in April.

Chief Crawford gave out an update to the Kanawha County Commission Thursday afternoon. Chief Crawford said they’ve been going through trials with a Motorola brand of body cameras. The Motorola camera also attaches to the in-car camera in a deputies patrol car.

The commission has already approved the funding required for these cameras for the sheriff’s department.

“We want the latest, greatest technology,” said Crawford. “We want a policy at the Kanawha County Sherriff’s office that best fits us.

These body cams will have the latest technology, helping protect not only the public, but also the deputies who are using them.

The chief deputy said they will next test out a slightly different camera from Axon. Crawford said he doesn’t know of any department in the southern part of the state that’s using these kinds of cameras with the abilities they come with.

“When we roll this out on our platform, we want input from everybody,” Crawford said Thursday, making sure all deputies in the department approve of the cameras used.

The price has gone up however, but the commission and President Kent Carper said they’re still on board. Crawford explained that over time the price has risen from an original estimate of $900 thousand dollars, to now somewhere between $1 million and $1.2 million.

The Kanawha County Commission plans to help fund the purchase by seeking grants from other agencies.

“You (the commission) came to us and said ‘were on board, let’s get this done.'”

Chief Crawford said the Sheriff’s Office would be ready to purchase body cams no later than early next year.

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