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The Game Within The Game (Episode 92)

DraftKings’ Julian Edlow and Brad Howe discussed prop plays for Thursday Night Football (Green Bay vs Arizona), NFL week 8 lines and best bets in the NBA and college football.

Topics included:

*Best candidates for NFL Thursday Night Football (Green Bay at Arizona) longest reception prop

*Potential NFL week 8 teaser play candidates

*A 4-team moneyline parlay to consider

*Thursday, Friday and Saturday NBA best bets

*A Friday night college football game under play

*College football highest total of the week best bet

*NHL early season trend that is 7-0

All of that and more in the latest episode of The Game Within The Game presented by DraftKings.

New users click here DraftKings Sportsbook… and use code METROGAME for a special sign up bonus offer.

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Zips’ Mikal Dawson returns to West Virginia for exhibition against Mountaineers

— By Taylor Kennedy

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Akron Zips will be in Morgantown on Friday for a charity exhibition against West Virginia. While the Mountaineers’ lone exhibition provides a chance to play another team ahead of the November 9 season opener against Oakland, it also marks a homecoming game for Mikal Dawson.

Dawson, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, is a former standout at Huntington High School and Huntington Prep.

Dawson hasn’t played in a game in West Virginia since his lone year of post-graduate basketball at Huntington Prep.

“It is going to feel great being back home,” Dawson said. “It is going to be fun seeing everybody I know, including my family that’s coming up to watch.”

Dawson played four seasons for the Highlanders. He helped lead Huntington to the Class AAA championship during his junior season. Dawson was captain of the Class AAA all-state team in 2018 after being a first-team selection on the squad in 2017.

He then spent a season at Huntington Prep, where he was reclassified for the class of 2019. Dawson averaged 20 points and seven rebounds at Huntington Prep.

The opportunity to play in his home state fills Dawson with Joy.

“It going to mean a lot,” Dawson said. “Morgantown is three or four hours away from Huntington, but I have played in Morgantown before. It is going to feel like home.”

Dawson played in 23 games last season, averaging 4.3 points on 42 percent shooting. He scored in double figures twice, including a season-high 13 points at Western Michigan.

During the offseason, Dawson spent focused on improving his jump shot.

“Getting more reps in the gym,” Dawson said. “My teammates do a great job of finding me open and getting me open shots. Most of the time they get mad at me for not taking the open shot. That helps me as well.”

Dawson joined the Akron program in December 2019. He immediately stepped on the court as a freshman, when he played in 17 games for the Zips.

“My growth has been more of me being vocal with my teammates,” Dawson said. “At Prep, I was considered a leader,  but I was not a vocal leader. I was more of a physical leader. Now, I am more vocal and I can help the guys out. I think me being here has helped me a lot.”

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Three Guys Before The Game – WVU Football Issues Cyclone Warning (Episode 324)

The Mountaineer football team will try to earn its second victory over a nationally ranked team on Saturday when No. 22 Iowa State visits Mountaineer Field.

Neal Brown’s squad, played its most complete game of the season last Saturday at TCU, but the Cyclones offer a much stiffer challenge.  In six seasons, Coach Matt Campbell has successfully built Iowa State into a contender for the conference championship. 

On this episode, Brad, Hoppy and Tony give their thoughts on what it will take for the Mountaineers to emerge victorious.  

Do the Cyclones have any weaknesses?  Will WVU be able to score against the Big 12’s stingiest defense that’s allowing just 17 points  per game? 

Those questions and details of a very special in-game contest comes your way on the 324th episode of Three Guys Before Game.

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

Never miss an episode, subscribe below.

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Wood County Commission weighs options in firestorm involving sheriff

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — The Wood County Commission decided Thursday to seek legal advice that could lead to an attempt to remove Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens from office.

Commissioner David Blair Couch

Commission President David Blair Couch said allegations against Stephens have been piling up for months and the commission is obligated to explore the situation.

“We’re not taking this lightly,” Couch said. “The commission agrees that we have a moral and ethical duty to do whatever we can to sort this out.”

Members of the Wood County Deputy Sheriff’s Association recently voted that they had no confidence in Stephens. In a letter detailing the vote, the association calls Stephens a “tyrant” and “an oppressive dictator” in connection with how he runs the office he’s held since early 2017.

Stephens has also been named along with the county commission in a civil lawsuit filed by a former deputy. The lawsuit claims negligent training under Stephens and makes other allegations.

Couch said seeking to remove an elected official is purposely difficult. He said state code gives the county commission the authority to seek the removal through a three-judge panel.

“The bar will be very high,” Couch said.

He added the county commission doesn’t yet know if the allegations against Stephens reach the level of removal. That’s why they’ll be seeking outside counsel.

“There’s part of us that says whether we are successful or not we still have a duty,” Couch said. “It’s very important for our sheriff’s department to operate at a high level and we’re getting concerns that it isn’t.”

Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens (Facebook)

There have been a lot of allegations made against Stephens but not many on the record, Couch said.

“Some deputies that came in to our administrator or our prosecuting attorney and each time we’ve asked them to reduce it to writing but they haven’t. Maybe in an interview process with someone who is not connected to Wood County they may be more forthcoming–we just don’t know,” Couch said.

Couch plans to speak with law firms located outside of Wood County Friday to see if they would be interested in assisting the county. He said there’s a lot of work to do.

“If the accusations prove true–more than just a ‘he said, she said’ argument, we need to find that out,” Couch said.

Stephens did not attend Thursday’s county commission meeting.

MetroNews reached out for comment from Stephens and is waiting on a response to this story.

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College soccer player wants a say in federal case over transgender athletes

A women’s soccer player at West Virginia State University is seeking to intervene in a federal case about the state’s new law affecting transgender athletes.

Her attorneys include a prominent Republican state lawmaker and representatives of a conservative Christian nonprofit advocacy group that has participated in clashes over LGBTQ policy across the country.

Lainey Armistead

Lainey Armistead, a college junior from Owensboro, Ky., filed the motion to intervene with the support of lawyer Brandon Steele, chairman of the House Government Organization Committee, along with lawyers from the national Alliance Defending Freedom.

Her motion says she seeks to defend the new law, which defines male and female “based solely on the individual’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” That definition doesn’t take gender identity into account.

“Allowing Armistead to intervene ensures a full-throated defense of the Sports Act,” her motion states.

“This Court deserves to hear from the very parties most protected by the Sports Act, most affected by attempts to eviscerate its protections, and most motivated to aggressively defend the law,” wrote lawyers for Armistead.

This year, West Virginia joined dozens of states placing restrictions on transgender athletes’ participation on sports teams.

West Virginia’s law says “any student aggrieved by a violation of this section may bring an action” against a county board of education or college “alleged to be responsible for the alleged violation.”

Becky Pepper-Jackson

A federal lawsuit was brought earlier this year on behalf of Harrison County middle schooler Becky Pepper-Jackson, supported by lawyers from ACLU-West Virginia and Lambda Legal. They argued that the new law unfairly would have prevented her from participating on the girls cross country team at her school.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin granted a preliminary injunction in July, but the broader issues in the case are ongoing. Similar lawsuits are playing out in other states like Florida. 

The lawyers for Becky Pepper-Jackson contend that the case’s train has already left the station — that a scheduling order has already kicked off depositions and discovery — and that allowing an intervention now would unnecessarily complicate matters.

“In sum, given how far this case has progressed, the prejudice that Armistead’s delayed intervention will likely cause, and Armistead’s failure to offer any satisfactory reason for her tardiness, Armistead’s intervention motion fails for the independent reason that it is untimely,” wrote the lawyers for Becky Pepper-Jackson.

Moreover, they wrote, the case is framed specifically by how application of the law would affect the middle school cross country runner. It challenges West Virginia’s new law, but ultimately seeks to allow Becky Pepper-Jackson to participate on the girls cross country team.

“As a third-year college student at West Virginia State who plays soccer, Armistead cannot plausibly argue that she would ever compete with or against B.P.J., an eleven-year-old girl at Bridgeport Middle School who runs cross country,” wrote the lawyers for Becky Pepper-Jackson. “The ultimate relief in this case will be ‘confined’ to B.P.J. and will have no direct impact on Armistead.”

Even if Armistead were to prevail, they contend, that wouldn’t guarantee what she seeks to stop: having to compete against women who are transgender. Because she is on an intercollegiate athletic team, games could be scheduled against teams in other states that comply with the NCAA’s rules permitting women who are transgender to play on women’s soccer teams.

“Armistead will therefore continue to face the prospect of competing against women who are transgender irrespective of H.B. 3293’s legality or whether any relief runs beyond B.P.J.,” wrote the lawyers for Becky Pepper-Jackson.

Armistead’s attorneys contend her position doesn’t fully overlap with the current defendants, who are state and local officials.

“This Court deserves to hear from the very parties most protected by the Sports Act, most affected by attempts to eviscerate its protections, and most motivated to aggressively defend the law,” wrote the lawyers for Armistead.

Her lawyers did not contend Armistead currently faces competition from transgender athletes seeking to compete on her soccer team. Instead, they pointed to examples in states like Connecticut and Montana to suggest a possibility of that happening.

“Even one girl displaced from the women’s podium, or the field, or the team by a male individual takes away an opportunity from a woman,” wrote lawyers for Armistead.

If the West Virginia law were overturned, the lawyers wrote, Armistead could face a choice of competing on her team against a transgender athlete or not competing at all.

“This litigation could eviscerate Armistead’s ability to compete fairly and safely and to participate in a system designed to protect women,” her lawyers wrote.

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West Virginia in for a wet start to the Halloween weekend

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Mountain State could be in for a wet Halloween weekend with off and on showers on the way.

The storm could dump about 1-2 inches of rain in low lying areas beginning Thursday afternoon with the heaviest amount expected Friday night into Saturday.

Ray Young, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said an umbrella will be handy for outdoor activities such as trick-or-treating or football games at West Virginia University or Marshall University.

“We’ll have rounds of rain all the way through the beginning of the weekend. It won’t be pulling out until Sunday morning,” Young said. “It won’t be raining the entire time, but it will be off and on during that time period.”

The northeastern mountains could see up to three inches of rainfall. No flood watches, warnings or advisories have been issued as of Thursday afternoon, but forecasters said that could change.

Young said there are concerns for flooding, especially for this time of year as the temperature drops.

“We’re already saturated from previous rains and we’re moving into the the time of year where the sun is not that strong, so it doesn’t evaporate off the ground as much. Most of the rain we get will run off fairly quickly and that’s why some place that can get up to three inches could have some issues with water problems,” he said.

East of Beckley up through Pocahontas County are at risk of getting the most rain.

“That’s mainly because they’ll have wind flow into the mountains which can exaggerate the rainfall,” Young said.

Young encouraged drivers to be careful on the roads.

“Slow down, use extra caution, leave a little extra time to get to your destination as water pouring on the roads can cause some hydroplaning issues,” he said.

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Brad Smith selected as next president of Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The next president of Marshall University is a familiar face to the campus community and West Virginia.

The Marshall University Board of Governors passed a resolution to appoint Brad D. Smith as the university’s next president during a meeting Thursday. Smith, an alum of the institution and former Intuit CEO, will be the 38th president of Marshall.

During Smith’s introductory press conference Thursday afternoon, he said he has three mindsets to bring to the position including to dream bigger, deliver faster and define excellence.

Brad Smith taking questions from the media Thursday.

“We can and should be the standard on which all other colleges and universities measure themselves,” Smith said.

Smith will succeed Dr. Jerome Gilbert, who came to Huntington in January 2016. Gilbert announced during the BoG meeting that he will terminate his presidency in December, but will remain at the university in a different role to help the transition with Smith. His contract as president was set to expire July 2022.

Gilbert said he is going to miss everything about Marshall but said the institution will be in good hands.

“When I made the decision to step away from the presidency, I knew it would be difficult,” Gilbert said. “I love Marshall University, I love the students, I love the faculty, I love the staff. I want nothing but the best for Marshall.”

“With President-Elect Smith at the helm, I know Marshall University has a bright future ahead of it.”

Smith then thanked Gilbert for his service to the university.

“President Gilbert, I want to thank you and Leigh. Your collective leadership exemplified the passion, purpose and the profound commitment that you hold in your heart for all of our students, faculty, staff, our community, and for me and Alys,” he said.

“I will tell you that no one will ever fill your shoes but it will be a privilege to walk in your path and to build on the foundation that you’ve left at Marshall University.”

Smith, a Kenova native, was the only finalist of the five that did not have experience in higher education. He said Thursday that after stepping down as CEO of Intuit in 2019, he figured out the purpose in his life was to come back to West Virginia and serve others.

“My why is to level the playing field of opportunity in West Virginia and Appalachia and to invest in those who invested in me. I see Marshall University and the education that it offers as the great equalizer,” Smith said.

Smith has a background in philanthropy, leadership and entrepreneurship with substantial credentials in Silicon Valley. He served as the CEO of Fortune 500 company Intuit for 11 years. He is the executive chairman of the board of Intuit, chairman of the Nordstrom board and a board member of Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey). He formerly served on the board of Yahoo as well.

As MetroNews’ Hoppy Kercheval wrote in his commentary Thursday, Smith’s success in Silicon Valley has made him very wealthy. Smith and his wife have given back to Marshall and West Virginia.

He is a well-known donor to Marshall giving multiple gifts of millions of dollars including a $25 million gift for the college of business in 2018. In recognition of the Smiths’gift, the college of business named its undergraduate and graduate schools the Brad D. Smith Undergraduate School of Business and the Brad D. Smith Graduate School of Business, respectively.

The Smiths most recently co-founded the Wing 2 Wing Foundation that supports education, entrepreneurship mentoring, and investment to showcase West Virginia for the nation. The foundation most recently developed the Ascend West Virginia program, paying talented individuals to move to the Mountain State.

Smith stated he understands some of the criticism that has come from him being the only non-traditional finalist for the position. He said he has a background that makes him unique and one that he believes can make a difference.

Additionally, Smith thanked those who did not support his candidacy.

“It was your courageous conversations, it was your constructive debate, it was your willingness to challenge my qualifications and my track record that exemplified the civil discourse we need to have at Marshall University and the diversity of thought that makes every outcome better,” he said.

“I will assure you, you made me a better candidate and I will be a better president because of your prescriptives.”

Smith earned his bachelor’s degree from Marshall University and his master’s degree in management from Aquinas College in Michigan.

His first order of business may be to decide an athletics conference affiliation for the Thundering Herd. Interim Athletics Director Jeff O’Malley stated Thursday that they want to give the new president a chance to look over the issue and have input on a decision.

Marshall, a current member of Conference USA, has long been rumored in a move to the Sun Belt Conference. Conference USA has lost several institutions in recent weeks.

Smith told the Herald-Dispatch Thursday afternoon he is excited for the opportunities ahead with the athletics department but did not detail those opportunities.

WVU President E. Gordon Gee tweeted out his support for Smith following his selection:

I am so pleased to welcome my friend Brad Smith into West Virginia’s family of higher education institutions as the next president of Marshall University. Brad’s love for this state and his passion to move it toward a brighter future is unmatched.

— E. Gordon Gee (@gordongee) October 28, 2021

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice tweeted out his support for Smith, as well:

I am thrilled to congratulate and welcome Brad Smith as the new president of @marshallu! I know he will lead my alma mater to even more greatness. What an exciting day for West Virginia and the Thundering Herd! 💚🦬🤘

— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) October 28, 2021

Cabell County Commissoner Kelli Sobonya told MetroNews the community should rally around Smith.

“I think he will bring a fresh perspective that will be beneficial for Marshall,” she said. “I think we should give him the opportunity and rally around him. I wish him well and I think you’ll see good things. I am very optimistic.”

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With Mathis’ emergence at TCU, Mountaineers hope they’ve found reliable second tailback

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Along the way to its best showing of the season in last Saturday’s 29-17 win at TCU, West Virginia not only kept alive legitimate bowl aspirations, but hopes it discovered solutions in several areas that plagued the Mountaineers over their first six games.

A defense that had struggled to generate takeaways came up with all three of the game’s turnovers in the second half, enabling WVU to build on its three-point advantage and blank the Horned Frogs over the final two quarters.

An offense that had failed to produce 100-plus rushing yards in three straight contests and four of six overall got its ground game in gear with a season-best 229 rushing yards.

Featured tailback Leddie Brown had nearly half of that output with 111 yards and three touchdowns, but for the first time this season, the Mountaineers had another reliable option in  the backfield outside of second-string quarterback Garrett Greene.

Sophomore running back Tony Mathis Jr. finished with 12 carries for 48 yards after entering with 25 yards on nine attempts.

“Tony stepped up,” WVU quarterback Jarret Doege said. “He took some hits off Leddie and I’m really glad to see him shine on Saturday, because he is one of the hardest workers on our team.”

Mathis had runs of 10, 7 and 5 yards on a 15 play, 94-yard drive that featured 10 runs and ended with Brown scoring his first of the team’s three TDs.

“Tony Mathis came in and gave us some quality snaps where [Leddie] felt OK taking a break, which hadn’t been the case up until this point this year,” West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said.

Prior to his performance against TCU, seven of Mathis’ nine carries this season came in a 66-0 win over Long Island.

Although West Virginia’s coaches were hopeful Mathis, a redshirt sophomore, could spell Brown somewhat consistently this season, that hadn’t been the case until the team’s seventh game.

An injury in preseason camp forced him to miss the season opener at Maryland, and Mathis was also not in action during the team’s loss to Texas Tech in its only home game in Big 12 Conference play to this point.

“Just happy for him, because we really felt like going into the year that’s what he deserved and had gotten himself to as a player,” WVU offensive coordinator Gerad Parker said. “It was unfortunate he kind of had a setback with the injury. It took him some time to get there. Before having to get a little work done there, that’s how he was running.

“Really just happy for him to get to that point where he was running like he was during fall camp. He had earned that right. The players and guys around this building respect him a lot, so it was good for him to get that moment.”

West Virginia’s coaching staff also displayed no shortage of faith in Mathis down the stretch. With WVU leading by 12 and attempting to preserve the victory, Mathis had six carries for 18 yards on the Mountaineers’ final offensive series, allowing them to take off nearly 4 minutes of the 5:15 that remained at the start of the possession.

One of Mathis’ six totes on the final series was a gain of 17 to the TCU 2, but a holding penalty on wide receiver Sean Ryan turned it into a 4-yard run and moved the ball back outside the red zone.

Still, that half of Mathis’ 12 carries came with West Virginia trying to keep the ball away from TCU in the late stages was a display of confidence in him from both Neal Brown and Parker.

“We all have to trust each other we’re working in the right direction and have faith,” Parker said. “Even though the result sometimes it wasn’t what we want, that doesn’t mean we still can’t believe in him. It was a good message for him. I gave Sean a hard time. I’m not being mean, but he took away a moment from him. That’s why our perimeter blocking is crucial.

“You talk about [what could’ve been] a cool moment for us to finish a 4-minute and change drive and end it in a touchdown, but we really did a nice job. Tony ran hard, and we really strained and took 4 minutes off the clock at the end of the game, which was good to see.”

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DHHR adds 63 COVID deaths, 44 weren’t originally reported

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Health and Human Resources posted 63 COVID-19 related deaths in Thursday’s report.

The DHHR said 44 of the 63 deaths were added after death certificates were checked. The deaths weren’t originally recorded as COVID deaths through county health departments.

Overall deaths are now at 4,409.

There were 19 deaths from recent days reported Thursday including a 51-year old female from Lewis County, a 71-year old female from Mercer County, an 89-year old female from Upshur County, an 84-year old female from Tucker County, a 76-year old male from Mineral County, a 72-year old male from Mercer County, a 49-year old female from Wood County, a 50-year old male from Marshall County, an 80-year old male from Tucker County, an 88-year old female from Tucker County, a 69-year old female from Fayette County, a 66-year old female from Mercer County, a 60-year old female from Mercer County, a 51-year old male from Kanawha County, a 43-year old male from Marion County, a 74-year old female from Marshall County, a 59-year old female from Pendleton County, a 58-year old male from Kanawha County, and a 65-year old female from Morgan County.

The DHHR listed the reconciliation deaths include a 90-year old female from Greenbrier County, a 77-year old male from Braxton County, a 54-year old male from Cabell County, a 57-year old male from Boone County, a 72-year old female from Preston County, a 74-year old male from Harrison County, an 80-year old female from Wetzel County, a 74-year old male from Gilmer County, a 70-year old male from Boone County, a 42-year old female from Kanawha County, an 82-year old male from Ohio County, a 36-year old male from Mercer County, a 54-year old male from Hampshire County, a 55-year old male from Harrison County, a 59-year old female from Upshur County, a 77-year old female from Kanawha County, a 77-year old female from Lewis County, a 49-year old male from Monroe County, an 85-year old female from Boone County, a 70-year old male from McDowell County, a 69-year old male from Randolph County, a 44-year old female from Braxton County, a 55-year old female from Ritchie County, a 74-year old male from McDowell County, a 42-year old female from Putnam County, an 81-year old female from Raleigh County, a 66-year old male from Wetzel County, a 54-year old female from Marion County, a 90-year old female from Marshall County, a 72-year old male from Tyler County, a 72-year old male from Mason County, an 86-year old female from Gilmer County, a 70-year old female from Nicholas County, a 52-year old male from Upshur County, a 74-year old female from Marshall County, a 75-year old female from Monongalia County, a 51-year old female from Raleigh County, a 57-year old female from Jackson County, an 82-year old male from Lincoln County, a 75-year old female from Boone County, a 70-year old male from Greenbrier County, a 50-year old male from Logan County, a 62-year old male from Marion County, and a 68-year old male from McDowell County. These deaths range from August through October 2021.

The DHHR also reported 951 new cases of COVID-19 across the state. Active cases are now at 7,532. Hospitalizations have dropped to 605.

DHHR reports as of October 28, 2021, there are currently 7,532 active COVID-19 cases statewide. There have been 63 deaths reported since the last report, with a total of 4,409 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

— WV Department of Health & Human Resources • 😷 (@WV_DHHR) October 28, 2021

Active cases per county include: Barbour (68), Berkeley (530), Boone (172), Braxton (36), Brooke (68), Cabell (318), Calhoun (44), Clay (32), Doddridge (101), Fayette (137), Gilmer (24), Grant (76), Greenbrier (102), Hampshire (82), Hancock (127), Hardy (85), Harrison (347), Jackson (92), Jefferson (115), Kanawha (661), Lewis (57), Lincoln (122), Logan (101), Marion (322), Marshall (88), Mason (56), McDowell (71), Mercer (210), Mineral (98), Mingo (141), Monongalia (649), Monroe (22), Morgan (61), Nicholas (156), Ohio (104), Pendleton (17), Pleasants (18), Pocahontas (19), Preston (190), Putnam (299), Raleigh (370), Randolph (82), Ritchie (21), Roane (73), Summers (49), Taylor (122), Tucker (29), Tyler (15), Upshur (89), Wayne (101), Webster (49), Wetzel (84), Wirt (15), Wood (286), Wyoming (129).

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Berkeley County’s clerk is indicted over her predecessor’s storage unit

Berkeley County Clerk Elaine Mauck has been indicted on charges related to alleged theft from a storage unit that had belonged to her predecessor.

A grand jury indicted Mauck on Wednesday on a total of five felony counts.  They include one count of petit larceny and four counts of burglary/non-residential.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Catie Wilkes Deligatti says the case is being handled by a special prosecutor out of Morgan County.

This past April 26,  the 74-year-old allegedly was present when locks were broken off a storage unit that belonged to the estate of former, longtime County Clerk John Small, Jr. and took items including memorabilia.  The indictment indicates Mauck directed county employees to assist her, although those employees are not named.

John Small passed away in February at the age of 87.  Mauck had been appointed to the position in January when Small stepped down because of declining health.

At the time of her original arrest, Mauck indicated to investigators that she believed Small’s widow had no interest in the items.

Investigators collected three boxes of items that were valued at less than $1,000.00.  The items included pictures, memorabilia, mail, a helmet and several books.

Mauck previously served as a county council member before her appointment to the clerk’s position.  She is a former educator and known as a historian and collector of memorabilia.

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