Local News – 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV
Charleston, W.Va. – Morgantown High School has bee crowned the West Virginia Academic Showdown grand champion following the finale at the West Virginia Culture Center Friday. George Washington High School, Kanawha County, earned runner-up.
The finale was part of a three month journey for 71 teams from 40 high schools representing 26 counties competing head-to-head in math, history, sports, fine arts and more. Each team had four students from grades 9 – 12, with a fifth member serving as an alternate.
“What an experience for our team to be named the 2023 Academic Grand Champion,” said Carter Herron, team captain. “We do regional quiz bowl tournaments, and those made us feel more prepared for this event. We have learned a lot of skills together as a team and have grown to be a great team, but even better friends as a result. It’s also nice to see academics supported to this degree.”
The WVDE, West Virginia Legislature, American Electric Power and Microsoft®, provided prize money for teams that participated in this year’s championship:
Morgantown High School Team 1, Monongalia County: $10,000 with each team member receiving $2,500
George Washington High School, Kanawha County: $8,000 with each team member receiving $2,000
Morgantown High School Team 2, Monongalia County: $5,000 with each team member receiving $1,250
James Monroe High School, Monroe County: $4,000 with each team member receiving $1,000
Huntington High School, Cabell County: $3,000 with each team member receiving $750
Berkeley Springs High School, Morgan County and Wheeling Park High School, Ohio County: $2,500 with each team member receiving $625
Ripley High School, Jackson County: $2,000 with each team member receiving $500
Winfield High School, Putnam County and Spring Mills High Schools, Berkeley County: $1,000 with each team member receiving $250
Team Alternates: Alternates are awarded half of the amount according to their team’s final standing
Academic Showdown Most Valuable Player (MVP): $1,000
All-Tournament Team: $3,000 with each team member receiving $500
Carter Herron was also named the Academic Showdown MVP. Matthew Leasure, Berkeley Springs High School; Patrick Ward, George Washington High School; Cameron Mays, Huntington High School; Madisen McMillion, James Monroe High School; Steven Tian, Morgantown High School Team 1; and Sawyer Rudy, Morgantown High School Team 2 and were named to the All-Tournament Team.
“The Academic Showdown makes it plain that our students are academically prepared for great success thanks to their dedication and love of learning,” said State Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach. “We are witnessing the development of West Virginia’s future right before our eyes. I look forward to more scholarly competition in the next school year.”
“I applaud our state for celebrating the Academic Showdown with its enthusiastic support throughout each of the five regions,” said Senate President Craig Blair whose advocacy was behind the creation of the event. “I could not be more proud of the work our students, teachers and families have put into the competition and the support each community has shown our teams. I appreciate the support our sponsors, and I hope with this year’s success we will grow from 71 teams to more than 100 next year.”
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. The goal for West Virginia University is clear: lower enrollment and high inflation mean revenue is down and costs have to be cut. However, the road map used to get to the final destination is a bit murky.
On MetroNews “Talkline,” vice president of strategic initiatives Rob Alsop said it’s happening across the country and all institutions of higher learning are resetting their balance sheets.
“While it’s going to be hard, we have the same budgetary pressures that everyone else has,” Alsop said. “So this is our time, as President Gee indicated, to innovate and think about the future.”
Alsop said that nearly two decades ago, people started having fewer children, shrinking the available pool of seniors in recent years and years to come. Add a pandemic, student debt concerns, and questions about the value of a college degree, and the math becomes clear.
Projections show the number of available high school seniors will continue to fall for the next five years.
“It’s a pretty simple equation,” Alsop stated. “If we have fewer students, fewer customers that enter the institution, that means fewer employees, and that means fewer programs.”
In addition to taking the WVU story on the road to primary recruitment areas like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, that area will be expanded. No matter the area, Alsop said they need to increase enrollment by any amount across the board.
“And there are only 8,000 seniors graduating from those markets in five years, so if we get 20 percent of the market share today, to keep the same number of students if the pool is smaller, we need to get 25 percent of that market,” Alsop said.
If the numbers don’t increase, that’s where the solutions become a little unclear. But we do know that next year the budget cut figure is $35 million, and an increase in enrollment won’t stave off the need for cuts somewhere within the organization.
“If we don’t beat our enrollment targets, it would need to come from expense reduction,” Alsop said. “What part of that is supplies and services and what part of that is salaries from a personnel perspective, we’re still working through, but it will be a combination of both.”
Alsop acknowledged tough decisions are in the future, but maintains university leaders recognized the issue quickly. The quick response gives the institution time to reposition and resize and continue to be a partner to communities and businesses.
“While it’s challenging, it also can be exhilarating to think about how important our institution is, and we need to keep that front and center of what we can continue to mean for the state of West Virginia.”
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Weekend weather across northern West Virginia about a spring weather maker that is expected to bring rain, high winds, and possibly hail.
Power crews are bracing for the possibility of an another high-wind event just days after restoring power from the last destructive spring sorm.
First Energy spokesperson Hannah Catlett said their crews have just completed restoration efforts from the weather event from last weekend. She said they are confirming crew availability and preparing equipment and bucket trucks for a quick response if needed.
“A lot of our crews just got back in from restoring power that was taken out in last weekend’s storm,” Catlett said. “They worked hard to get that work done.”
First Energy’s in-house meteorologists have been tracking this weather event since the beginning of the week and are concerned about the amount of precipitation in the forecast prior to the arrival of forecast high winds.
“The ground is wet and saturated, so when these winds come, the ground is soft and the trees are more likely to fall over,” Catlett said. “That’s what’s on the minds of our crews.”
Catlett said customers should make sure their electronic devices are charged in order to quickly report outages. If powerlines are on the ground, Catlett reminds residents that all powerlines should be treated as if they are live.
If power is lost, never use a generator in or near your home due to the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
MetroNews AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Lundberg said the rain moves in Friday with a break during the evening. The rain returns Saturday morning, and temperatures could rise to the 70-degree mark before another cold front pushes into the area Saturday afternoon.
“There could be a squall line that comes through,” Lundberg said. “So with that, there could be some brief downpours, a possibility of hail, and certainly the strong winds we’ve been advertising.”
Lundberg said those wind gusts could reach 60-miles-per-hour with expects sustained winds of 25 to 30-miles-per-hour.
Saturday afternoon, the cold front takes over and rain exits in the evening to make way for a sunny Sunday with a forecast high temperature of 52.
“It’s going to mean an abrupt drop in temperatures from the 60s and 70s right down to the 50s and maybe the 40s by sunset.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The lineup for the 2023 Ruby Summer Concert Series at Ruby Amphitheater in Hazel Ruby McQuain Park in Morgantown has been announced. The first show is set for Friday, June 2 and the final show is August 25 with a fireworks celebration to follow.
This year’s lineup features local, regional, and nationally touring artists:
The Stranger- Billy Joel Tribute with opener Philadelphia Freedom June 2;
Color Me Badd with opener The Heavy Hitter June 9;
Love and Theft with opener Christian Lopez June 16;
Debbie Gibson with opener Holly Forbes June 23;
Oak Ridge Boys with opener The Davisson Brothers July 7;
MANIA- The ABBA Tribute with opener Adrian and the Soul Miners July 14;
Caleb Johnson with opener The Michael Weber Show July 21;
Thunderstruck- AC/DC Tribute with opener The Jukebox Band July 28;
Los Lobos with opener Del Castillo August 4;
Home Free with opener Morgan White August 11;
Sam Bush with opener Andrew Adkins August 18;
Smashmouth with opener Motorcycle Drive-By August 25
There will be food and beverage vendors on-site within walking distance of the amphitheater. Public parking is available at Wharf Street Parking, Pleasant & Chestnut Street Parking, University Avenue & Chestnut Street, and Spruce Street Parking.
“We are thrilled to continue this great concert series and are pleased to be working with both old and new sponsors this year,” said Vincent Kitch, Director of the Arts and Cultural Development Department, “The artists are a great combination of genres that provide something for everyone to enjoy, and we are excited to see everyone again this year down by the river for the 2023 lineup.”
All 12 shows are completely free and opening acts are scheduled to take the stage at 6 p.m. with headliners taking the stage at 8:00 p.m.
The Ruby Summer Concert Series is presented by the City of Morgantown and the Hazel Ruby McQuain Trust with support from numerous sponsors.
Sponsors for the 2023 Ruby Summer Concert Series are Monongalia County Commission, WVRC Media, Visit Mountaineer Country, The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, Mon Health-Vandalia Health, Hotel Morgan, Active Air Productions, MPE Rentals, RMA Presents, Mountain State Justice, United Bank, Drusky Entertainment, March-Westin Company Inc. and T and L Hotdogs.
Sponsorships of events and programming are still available. Interested sponsors should contact Vincent Kitch at [email protected] or 304-284-7472.
Wadestown, W.Va. — A replacement for an over ninety-five-year-old barn at the Battelle District Fairgrounds is now close to being completed.
The new 80-by-80-foot structure that will be the main barn at the fairgrounds has finished construction, and according to Clay-Battelle FFA Alumni Association President Keith Watson, final steps are currently underway to have it open for public use. The expanded steel-skinned barn will have a large livestock ring and will include modern amenities to host FFA or 4-H events.
“This barn here will be able to service a lot of other things other than just putting some animals in it and storing some things,” said Watson of the new structure. “So that’s our goal, to open up that opportunity for many, many more things to be able to be done,” he said.
The new $500,000 barn will be used at the upcoming Battelle District Fair as a way to break in the structure for live events. Electricity and plumbing are expected to be completed in time for the fair July 11 through 15 and are expected to improve the number of animals that can be presented at the fair with a larger audience able to watch. Watson states that any improvements needed for the structure will be undertaken so the longest running fair in Monongalia County can continue to thrive.
“We’re actually going to use the fair as a trial to see exactly what we’ve got to do,” said Watson on WAJR’s Talk of the Town. “We have a company willing to step up and help us do some fabricating of some pens and different corral-type things to make the building better,” he said.
Funding for the new barn came from several different public and private sector sources. Approximately $200,000 was approved by the Monongalia County Commission in August 2022. This was supported by $60,000 from the Economic Development Assistance Grant and $50,000 from the Clay-Battelle FFA Alumni Association, with the rest supported by various state government grants and private donations.
“I called it an in-kind; this is something that we ain’t writing a check for; it’s simply someone saying, ‘Hey, I’ll do this,'” said Watson. “That figure right now, to date, is over $150,000 on this project,” he said.
The new barn is expected to be fully completed by summer 2023 and will allow for events to be hosted there in the fall and winter. Watson stated that the goal for the barn is to have expanded community use, which he and the Clay-Battelle FFA Alumni Association will help pay for in the long term. As uses for the structure are determined through hosting events and activities, the goal is to maximize its use for the community.
“This is a community thing; I’m trying to make sure that the community can use it for everything they can, but we also have bills to pay,” said Watson. “We have bigger insurance to pay on the building, so in the upcoming events, I say yes, that’s a possibility,” he said.
MARION COUNTY, W.Va. There is an outpouring of sympathy and support on social media in the wake of the Tuesday death of longtime Marion County resident and educator Nelson Elliott. Marion County Schools superintendent Dr. Donna Heston said the employee was very well known and it is a huge loss for the Husky family.
“That day he returned as a retiree to substitute in a math classroom,” Heston said. “You can’t say enough about a pillar of the community, and our hearts go out to the family.”
Heston praised the response by first responders and co-workers who attempted lifesaving measures unsuccessfully.
Elliot taught in Marion County for more than 30 years after graduating from West Virginia University and UC Riverside. Elliott coached several sports, including football, at Fairmont State University.
Current head football coach at Fairmont State University, Jason Woodman, did not know Elliott as a coach there but knew the family and Nelson when he was a student at North Marion High School.
“Nelson and the whole Elliott family in general have meant a lot to our county, Fairmont State University, and North Marion High School,” Woodman said.
Tributes on Elliott’s Facebook page refer to him as a “legend” and a “true class act.” The posts equally praise his passion for coaching and teaching and his skill at both as well.
“There have been a number of people that have reached out and shared stories of the impact this employee had throughout his career as a baseball coach, a football coach, and a math teacher,” Heston said.
Nelson’s brother, Rusty, served as the Director of Athletics at Fairmont State University for 27 years. In February of this year, the Mary Jo and Coach Rusty Elliott Endowed Athletic Scholarship was established to help college athletes complete their college degrees.
“It’s just so sad, and it’s really tough for everybody, especially in the northern part of the county right now; it’s just a tough situation,” Woodman said.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. West Virginia University has announced additional financial assistance to incoming first-time freshmen through the WVU Pledge, a last-dollar-in automatic aid program for qualifying Promise Scholarship recipients that is being offered for the fall of 23. On MetroNews Talkline, assistant vice president for WVU Enrollment Management George Zimmerman said students are beginning to learn how they qualify for the program.
“We’ll be automatically awarding this, and we’ve actually started those awards today,” Zimmerman said. “So, students will begin to see their aid package update as these awards are applied, and they’ll get a letter from us.”
For those approved for the Promise Scholarship, the program bridges the gap between grant money and out-of-pocket expenses. The money can be used for campus housing, books, fees, tuition, and meal programs.
“It is a “last dollar in,” so that means the dollar amount is determined by how much the student owes after federal, state, and other SID programs are applied to the student’s account,” Zimmerman said.
During the spring state of the university address, president Gordon Gee said the program is one way they can put students first and remove barriers to education. The poverty rate in West Virginia was 16.8 percent, compared to a national rate of 11.6 percent.
“We know that bachelor’s degrees help move students and families out of the poverty range,” Zimmerman said. “So, really, this is a way to show a commitment to our state.”
Qualifying Promise Scholarship recipients must be first-time freshmen for the fall 2023 semester, have an expected family contribution of zero, live in a residence hall, and have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by May 1.
“To qualify, they need to have a zero EFC (expected family contribution) on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) and be eligible for the Promise Scholarship and be awarded that scholarship by July 1 by the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC).”
Zimmerman said the residence hall requirement is designed to keep students engaged in the campus community. Studies show that students who live on campus do better academically and graduate at a higher rate than off-campus students.
“We know students tend to be more engaged and more successful,” Zimmerman said. “We want them to really have everything lined up to be able to graduate, be successful, and leave WVU with a bachelor’s degree, so living on campus for those four years will be required.”
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A Clarksburg man has been charged with neglect after failing to report injuries to a child following a November 2022 accident.
Clarksburg police said on Nov. 17 Jacob Pinion, 30, struck a light pole and two Waste Management cans in the 300 block of West Pike Street with a child in his vehicle.
Police said Pinion did not report the crash or injury to the child.
When Pinioin took the child back to the parent’s house, they noticed a laceration that was so large and open that the child’s skull was visible.
Pinion has been charged with child neglect with a risk of injury and is being held in the North Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond.
FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A Farmington woman has been arrested after state police said she handed them suspected methamphetamine during a bicycle traffic stop in Fairmont.
Troopers said Crystal Wycoff, 34, was riding her bicycle at night on Fairmont Avenue in Fairmont, wearing all black with no light or reflective equipment.
Troopers stopped Wycoff and found a methamphetamine pipe when she was searched for weapons. When troopers asked if there were drugs in her bra, she replied yes and was taken to the cruiser. Once in the cruiser, she handed troppers a bag of methamphetamine from her bra.
Troopers also found a digital scale, baggies, and a metal tin that contained additional methemphetamine in a backpack she was carrying.
Wycoff allegedly told troopers she planned to sell the methamphetamine that was seized.
Wycoff has been charged with possession with intent to deliver.
FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A Fairmont woman faces two counts of child neglect with risk of injury after allegedly “ripping a chunk of hair” from the scalp of a juvenile.
As police responded to a report of a domestic disturbance Wednesday, they learned Tabatha Gibson, 39, of Fairmont, was involved in a verbal altercation with a juvenile in the home and ripped hair from the scalp.
When the police arrived, Gibson told them she had just consumed “four bootleggers.” A field breathalyzer determined Gibson had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of.227.
The police said another child was in the home and Gibson was the only adult present.
Gibson is being held in the North Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $10,012 bond.