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Highlights: Parkersburg Catholic defeats Magnolia in Mary ‘O’ Classic semifinals

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Highlights from Parkersburg Catholic’s 74-42 win over Magnolia in the semifinals of the Mary ‘O’ Classic at PCHS.

(Highlights by Teran Malone)

Magnolia was led by Mady Winters’ 25-point effort. Holland Estep added 10 points.

The Crusaderettes (2-0) were led by Leslie Huffman’s 28-point performance. Aaliyah Brunny chipped in with 18 points.

Parkersburg Catholic will face Robert C. Byrd (2-0) in Saturday’s championship game.

 

 

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US Senate continues ‘vote-a-rama’ after unemployment amendment causes standstill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate resumed work on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure Friday evening after a disagreement over unemployment benefits halted work for nearly 12 hours.

Democratic leaders and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., reached a deal after the senator objected to an amendment extending benefits to $300 a week until Oct. 4 and providing $10,200 in unemployment tax benefits regardless of income.

The negotiated proposal would continue the enhanced benefits until Sept. 6 and place a $150,000 cap on tax breaks. It would also extend tax rules on business losses through 2026.

“The President has made it clear we will have enough vaccines for every American by the end of May and I am confident the economic recovery will follow,” Manchin said. “We have reached a compromise that enables the economy to rebound quickly while also protecting those receiving unemployment benefits from being hit with unexpected tax bill next year.”

The agreement came to fruition as Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, pitched extending benefits until July 18. The Senate eventually approved the amendment 50-49 — with Manchin joining Republicans — as well as the Democratic amendment 50-49 with Democrats unified; the latter amendment supersedes the Republican provision in the legislation.

“The President supports the compromise agreement, and is grateful to all the Senators who worked so hard to reach this outcome,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “It extends supplemental unemployment benefit into September, and helps the vast majority of unemployment insurance recipients avoid unanticipated tax bills.”

The $1.9 trillion relief bill includes $1,400 relief checks for most Americans as well as funding for coronavirus vaccination and response efforts. The measure also dedicates $350 billion to local, state and tribal governments.

Senators began a “vote-a-rama” on the legislation after 11 a.m. Friday, in which lawmakers can propose various amendments. The Senate voted 58-42 to reject an amendment raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, yet the vote remained open until shortly before 11 a.m. as discussions between Democrats and Manchin took place. Manchin was one of eight Democrats who joined the 50 Republican senators in voting against the proposal.

The “vote-a-rama” is slated to continue into Saturday morning.

The House of Representatives’ coronavirus relief measure includes an additional $400 a week through Aug. 29. The chamber passed its bill last week in a 219-212 vote with no Republicans backing the legislation.

Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill before extended unemployment benefits end March 13.

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Wheeling Central outlasts Charleston Catholic in double OT, 76-69

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Wheeling Central and Charleston Catholic have long been two of the storied Class A boys basketball programs in West Virginia.

With the Maroon Knights now competing in Class AAA and the Irish up to Class AA, a drop-off doesn’t appear to be in store for either team based on Friday’s season opener at the CCHS Athletic Complex.

Central junior guard Ryan Reasbeck scored eight of his team-high 26 points in the second overtime, helping the Maroon Knights create separation and outlast the Irish, 76-69.

“These guys have been waiting a year to get back in the gym and play and to be able to come here and get a big win is big for them,” Central coach Mel Stephens said.

Reasbeck split two free throws with 49 seconds left in regulation to give Central a 60-56 lead, but CCHS point guard Zion Suddeth responded with a conventional three-point play 7 seconds later to cut the Irish deficit to one. After Reasbeck split two more free throws, Charleston Catholic tied the game on a bizarre sequence that saw Suddeth miss a pull-up jumper in the paint, only for the rebound to carom off the Maroon Knights’ Vinnie High and into the basket with 4.9 seconds left.

“We battled through a little bit of adversity and we were behind a little bit,” Stephens said. “Basically tipped one in for them to tie the game, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. My kids battled back from that and didn’t let it get them down. A lot of teams probably would have said, ‘Geez, we just tipped in for them, how are we going to win?’”

Caleb Ratcliffe, who led all players with nine rebounds and keyed the Maroon Knights to a commanding 40-19 edge on the glass, accounted for his only field goal of the night for the first points of overtime.

“He was an animal on the offensive boards and that’s what we needed,” Stephens said.

But that was all the offense Central could muster in the first extra session and Sudeth layup pulled the Irish even and allowed them to force a second OT.

Central led throughout the second overtime as J.C. Maxwell and Reasbeck each made 3-pointers to help put Catholic in a 69-65 hole approaching 1 minute remaining.

Charleston Catholic responded with a layup from Aiden Satterfield, who led all players with 28 points.

However, Reasbeck was fouled beyond the arc on the ensuing possession, and the guard made all three free throws to up the Maroon Knights’ lead to five.

“Ryan really stepped up big for us with some free throws and a couple big steals,” Stephens said.

Following a defensive stop, Michael Toepfer’s two free throws made it a seven-point game and helped seal the victory for Central.

“We told the guys that this game is going to help us in the long run,” Irish coach Hunter Moles said. “Sometimes losing can teach you more than always winning ever could.”

Charleston Catholic guard Zion Suddeth operates in transition against Wheeling Central. Photo by Greg Carey/WVMetroNews.com

Central held a 25-19 first half lead, before Satterfield and Suddeth combined to score 12 points over the remainder of the half, helping the Irish hold a 31-29 lead at the break.

The Maroon Knights erased a 38-33 deficit with a 6-0 surge that featured a Reasbeck three-point play and Maxwell scoring inside. Catholic answered back with a 6-0 run of its own, before the Maroon Knights scored the final five points of the period to send the game to the fourth tied at 46.

Neither team made a field goal in the fourth quarter until Toepfer’s triple with 4:30 left, which gave the Maroon Knights a 52-50 edge.

Maxwell had 22 points and Toepfer scored 17 in the win. Reasbeck grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists.

Satterfield made 12-of-18 field goal attempts and Suddeth scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting in defeat.

“We don’t make a cupcake schedule for a reason,” Moles said. “We have a talented team and could put together a soft schedule and rack the record up. We’re not looking to do that. We want those type of games. We’d rather be in a dogfight than win by 20. We’ll take this game all day.” 

WCCHS jumps back into action Saturday against Winfield as Stephens will coach against his son — Generals head coach Chris Stephens.

“This gives us a little bit of momentum,” Stephens said, “going into the family grudge match tomorrow.”

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Tug Valley outlasts Greenbrier West 75-73 in tightly-contested opener

CHARMCO, W.Va. — Caleb May scored 30 points and drained the game-winning free throws with 3.8 seconds left as Tug Valley collected a quality season-opening win at Greenbrier West, 75-73.

Neither team led by more than six points in the entire game and four points was the widest margin in the fourth quarter. Kaiden Pack led the Cavaliers with 38 points.

“Caleb is a bucket,” said Tug Valley head coach Garland Thompson. “To me, he is probably the best Class A player in the state. That’s not discarding what Mr. Pack did tonight. He is a tremendous basketball player. We couldn’t stop him. It was a nip-tuck fight, a knock down, drag out brawl. I credit Greenbrier West. They were ready to play. We were very fortunate to come up here and get the win.”

Tug Valley’s post players combined for 33 points. Easton Davis scored 16 points while Ethan Colegrove added 17 points.

“They responded very well,” Thompson said. They battled theirs butts off and rebounded the ball, hit some clutch shots and free throws.”

Greenbrier West led 44-39 at halftime before Tug Valley surged ahead to take a 62-59 lead at the end of three quarters.

Tug Valley is coming off a regional championship season while Greenbrier West went 18-5 in 2020.

“We hope to play on (Championship) Saturday, but there’s 31 or 32 other teams hoping the same thing. We’ve got to keep working to get better.

“We haven’t played in 359 days,” Thompson said. “I thought we would struggle up here. I really didn’t think we could come up here and win with all the adversity. We had the flood the other day and some of our kids got flooded out. That shows their heart and I am proud of them.”

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Marshall runs away from Charlotte 75-67

By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W. Va.  – Marshall raced out to a 21-point lead early in the second half and went on to defeat Charlotte, 75-67, in Conference USA men’s basketball Friday night at Cam Henderson Center.

When Andy Taylor nailed a three-pointer with 18:22 left, the Thundering Herd (14-6, 8-5 C-USA) boosted its lead to 52-31. Charlotte (9-14, 5-10 C-USA) could only get as close as the final score as the 49ers suffered their seventh straight loss.

Herd coach Dan D’Antoni joked in the post-game radio show and news conference he needed to work on pregame and halftime pep talks.

Charlotte opened a 9-2 lead early and the Herd once led by 16, then got it to 21 before settling on the final margin.

“It’s not working,” D’Antoni said with a laugh. “Got to change what I’m saying, something. Lead by 16, they get it down to 10. Didn’t finish like we wanted. Andy (Taylor) and Taevion (Kinsey) were spectacular. Jannson (Williams) came through for us.”

Kinsey, the No. 2 scorer in C-USA, led the Herd with 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Taylor made 7-of-12 shots and netted 17 points and got eight boards. Williams finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five of the team’s eight blocks before fouling out late.

Jordan Shepherd paced Charlotte with 15 points. Anzac Rissetto added a career-high 14, Brice Williams 13 and Jahmir Young 12.

Marshall nailed seven of its nine threes in the first half.

“They tried to stop the lob dunks and we found the other side,”  D’Antoni said. “We’ve got a 6-8 kid (Williams) and 6-10 kid (Mikel Beyers) who can shoot that distance. We executed well. Shot like we expected. We’ve got good shooters. When they tried to stop the lobs, it spreads the floor and we’re hard to guard.”

For Williams, it was his first game in double figures since Jan. 15 when he got 19 against Western Kentucky.

Jarrod West, Marshall’s senior guard, played 26 minutes and did not score. D’Antoni rested West and his sore ankle extensively in the second half with the big lead.

“Andy and Taevion stepped up big,” D’Antoni said. “As long as we keep those two guys going, we’ll be tough to beat.”

“Comes with chemistry,” Taylor said about how the team played without West. “Some dudes get hurt and don’t do anything. He’s out cheering us, telling us to do it like he does.”

Stadium carried Friday’s game live. It’s also down to air today’s contest at 2 p.m.  It’s Senior Day for Marshall. The players to be honored include West, Williams, Beyers, Darius George and Luke Thomas (junior who has graduated).

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 protocols, seniors can return for another year if they so choose.

“They’ve got a tough decision,” D’Antoni said. “It will be interesting times.”

Charlotte started well, but the Herd then took over. The 49ers opened a 9-2 lead with 16:21 left in the first half. After that, it was pretty much the Herd and its patented three-point shooting.

Marshall went on a 7-0 run to take a 14-11 lead with more than 13 minutes left in the half. Then it was a jumper by Taylor and dunk by Williams off a pick-and-roll with :39 before the break for a 47-31 lead.

“We had a slow start and picked it up,” Kinsey said. “We were a little too lax in the second half. Didn’t finish like we should.”

Williams and Kinsey each scored 13 points for the Herd in the first 20 minutes.

Young led Charlotte with 10 points. The 49ers hit just  12-of-28 shots from the field, including 2-of-9 from three-point range.

Marshall now leads the all-time series against Charlotte, 12-7. Next week, all C-USA teams head to Frisco, Texas for the league tournament. Competition will start Tuesday. This series was scheduled Jan. 8-9, but got postponed due to COVID-19 and contract tracing in the 49ers’ program. Attendance on Friday was 1,076 due to COVID-19 protocols.

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State investigators looking into Preston County blowout

PRESTON COUNTY, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a blowout at a Preston County mining site.

The department said Friday a blowout from the former T&T Mine Complex has caused large amounts of highly acidic water and sediment to discharge into the Muddy Creek and the Cheat River. The flow peaked Thursday afternoon at 6,200 gallons.

The acidic water was 10 times that of normal concentrations.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the blowout or prior events.

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Men’s MEC Quarterfinals recap

(West Liberty-Concord highlights above)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two teams have advanced to Saturday’s MEC men’s semifinal round at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. All 14 MEC Tournament games will be broadcast at wvmetronews.com. Check out the complete tournament schedule and pairings at mountaineast.org.

Men’s MEC Quarterfinals:

Game 1 – Glenville State 83, Notre Dame College 68

 

Game 2 – West Liberty 102, Concord 68 (Highlights at top of page)

 

Game 3 – Charleston 86, Wheeling 49

Game 4 – Fairmont State 95, WV State 87

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When asked about effects of higher sales taxes, Justice focuses on promises of growth

Gov. Jim Justice says West Virginians who are concerned about how his big tax proposal would affect their pocketbooks should believe the plan will result in population growth.

“We have struggled to generate population growth in West Virginia,” Justice said. “This will do it.”

That was Justice’s answer to a range of questions during his most recent town hall discussion of his tax plan, which would cut personal income taxes by 60 percent but raise a variety of other taxes to make up for it.

An outline of the governor’s plan estimates tax reductions totaling $1,035,650,000 and rebates totaling $52 million — but also tax increases of $902,600,000 to make up for most of those breaks.

In response to a questions about how increasing taxes on soda pop would affect retailers and restaurants depending on those sales, Justice has said population growth would result in more people drinking soda.

Responding to questions about how lawyers, accountants and other professionals would absorb newly-levied sales taxes on their services, Justice said population growth would bring more business.

“People are going to come to the border counties to live,” Justice said.

After releasing a 78-page draft of his tax bill on Thursday, the governor continued selling the concept. Toward the end of the town hall, he advised citizens to call their legislators. And he said he has been talking to legislators themselves.

“A no vote is a vote telling people we do not want you to have more money in your pockets and we do not want you to have more money than you have today,” Justice said at the town hall.

Craig Blair

Senate President Craig Blair said today the income tax cut has his full support.

“I could vote for the governor’s bill as it stands right now,” Blair, R-Berkeley, said on MetroNews’ “Talkline.” “It is going to put more money in the pockets of working West Virginians.”

Blair was less specific about the aspects of the plan that would raise taxes. He said senators in the Republican majority would start gathering today to assess the overall plan.

And he said what the Senate winds up considering could differ from what the governor has put out.

“They’re going to look at it as a collective,” Blair said of his Senate colleagues. “We’re not going to vote in a tax increase on the working people of West Virginia.

“How we go about doing the taxing, though, will change some.”

.@CraigPBlair speaks with @HoppyKercheval about the Governor’s income tax plan. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/XodJ1DZU6m

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) March 5, 2021

Kelly Allen

Kelly Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Center for Budget & Policy, said state residents shouldn’t take promises about the tax plan at face value.

“Based on our own experiences in West Virginia, cutting taxes does not guarantee job or economic growth,” Allen said. “From 2007- 2015 we slashed $425 million/year in taxes and what followed was the worst job growth in the nation.”

She notes that the governor’s plan is built by eliminating income taxes, which tax people based on their ability to pay. But raising sales taxes can inordinately affect lower-income citizens.

“Overall, this plan is a significant tax cut for the wealthiest West Virginians paid for by shifting taxes to the vast majority of families in our state who are low- and middle- income,” Allen said.

The changes also seem destined to affect the state budget, she said.

“As currently structured, the proposal has a $185 million deficit. When combined with the governor’s flat budget which results in a cut by not keeping up with inflation, we are potentially looking at a 5-6 percent cut to public services during a pandemic. And that is before offsetting new costs associated with bills the legislature is passing. It’s important for the governor to clarify exactly what cuts he envisions.”

The governor proposes a variety of changes to offset the income tax cut:

— The state consumer sales tax would increase from 6 percent to 7.9 percent. That would be on top of the sales tax that some municipalities already add on.

National assessments show that 7.9 percent rate would blow past the highest state sales tax in the country.

The increased consumer sales tax is anticipated to bring in an additional $475 million.

— The governor’s plan establishes an additional “luxury” tax. That has a sliding scale of goods above $5,000 being taxed at an additional 3 percent up to goods above a million dollars being taxed an additional 1 percent. The bill describes luxury items as jewelry including watches, clothing including furs, furniture, motorboats, snowmobiles, ATVs, yachts and airplanes.

— Justice proposes increasing the tax on soft drinks. Taxes on tobacco products, beer, wine, and liquor will also be raised. Cigarettes would be taxed at $2.25 a pack.

— Justice’s plan also calls for a tiering system to be put in place for natural gas, oil, and coal severance taxes so that when times are good, “these companies throw a little more in the collection plate, and when times are bad, the state steps up and lowers severance tax so that their critical jobs are protected.”

A composite of what the governor proposes has several tables showing the possible rates.

— Under the Governor’s proposal, professional services, such as legal and accounting services will pay the same tax rate as skilled trades like plumbers and electricians. The consumer sales tax base will be expanded to include computer hardware/software, legal services, accounting services, other professional services, selected advertising, electronic data processing, and health and fitness memberships.

State officials envisioned the new 7.9 percent sales tax rate applying to those economic sectors.

At the same time, the governor’s plan does not apply the income tax break to “Schedule C” businesses — sole proprietors.

A citizen who submitted a question to today’s town hall was particularly concerned about this. “I just read your proposal and it will kill many businesses such as mine,” said the citizen, identified as Greg of Kenova.

Justice responded, “If you’re one of the professionals we’re talking about, putting you into the same category as a plumber or an electrician that pays the tax all the time — just step back and think about it. For the most part, the more wealthy people are using those services more than the poorest people. The more wealthy people are going to more easily be able to afford a slight increase than the people in our lower brackets.

“From the standpoint of the professional services you can pass along the tax we put on the professional services if you choose to do so. Or if you choose to be very, very competitive with your neighbors you can find a way to maybe eat part of that yourself. But the biggest thing that’s going to happen is just this: Where you have X amount of business today, if we do this and bring you a multiple of times of business, are you not going to be better off?”

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New DL coach Andrew Jackson enjoying family atmosphere at West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Six weeks into his tenure as West Virginia’s defensive line coach, Andrew Jackson is gearing up for the start of spring football.

While Jackson has the luxury of guiding a unit that returns several proven and promising players, he will evaluate the group based on the present.

“We’ll see how it goes through spring to get a wholesale evaluation,” Jackson said. “I want to give all the guys a clean slate even if it’s Dante (Stills) or Akheem (Mesidor) and see what they do without me putting pressure on them or making any type of depth chart. Let the guys do the talking with their pads and then make decisions going into the season.”

With Mesidor and Stills returning up front, expectations will be high for the group despite the departure of Darius Stills, last year’s Big 12 Conference defensive lineman of the year. Mesidor was an all-Big 12 second-team pick as a freshman after recording a team-high five sacks, while Stills was all conference honorable mention after leading the team with 10.5 tackles for loss.

“Akheem is a great talent,” Jackson said. “The sky’s the limit for that kid. He could be a blue chipper, have his name on the walls here, set records and do really well for himself at the next level. He’s an extremely driven kid and it’s been a pleasure getting to know him.

“(Darius) is going to be putting the finishing touches on his college career, which he’s getting excited to do. For him, it’s making sure he repeats the same year and gets a little bit better.”

Redshirt seniors Jeffery Pooler Jr., and VanDarius Cowan are also notable returning contributors who should aid Jackon’s group in 2021.

Unlike ShaDon Brown, another recent add to West Virginia’s defensive coaching staff, Jackson didn’t have an extensive past with Mountaineer head coach Neal Brown. But after hearing positive reviews of Brown’s program, Jackson couldn’t pass on the chance to coach at West Virginia.

Andrew Jackson.

He left behind a one year stint as Old Dominion’s d-line coach without coaching a game for the Monarchs, who opted out of the 2020 season as a result of the pandemic. Blake Seiler, WVU’s special teams coordinator/inside linebackers coach in 2019, is the current defensive coordinator at ODU.

“Coach Seiler basically told me this was a huge family environment and a place he loved to have his wife and kids around,” Jackson said. “I have a fiancee and I’m hopefully getting married next summer. He told me that coach Brown does a good job of making everybody’s family feel welcome and taking care of his coaching staff.”

Before going to ODU, Jackson coached the defensive tackles at James Madison in 2019, was a defensive quality control coach at Mississippi State in 2018 and the defensive line coach at Fordham the year prior. He also spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Penn State after starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater of LIU Post and Stony Brook. 

“I wanted to be a school teacher,” Jackson said. “When I finished college around 2011-2012, it was hard to get a job in Long Island. There was kind of an economic downturn and folks weren’t retiring. My college coach Bryan Collins gave me a chance to come back, be a GA and get my masters in counseling or special education to make myself more marketable as a teacher. I got out there in practice that first fall and I’ve been coaching since.”

When Neal Brown altered defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley’s duties to oversee outside linebackers in place of the defensive line, it left a void for a d-line coach on his staff. Brown had heard about Jackson and the two had no shortage of connections through Jackson working with Seiler, Bill Legg while at Mississippi State and Sean Spencer while at Penn State. 

“A lot of guys that I have a lot of respect for and I’m close with spoke really highly of him not only as a teacher, but as somebody that can develop players,” Brown said.

With an extensive past in New York, Jackson will be tasked with recruiting New Jersey into New York City and south of Washington, D.C. into Richmond for the Mountaineers.

“Where he’s recruited and where he’s from, I thought was a really good match for us,” Brown said. “We want to be more involved with New Jersey into New York City and that’s his home area. We have to be more productive in the DC area down into Richmond and those are both areas that he has a lot of experience in. That’s the thought process that grabbed my attention with him and then having the opportunity to spend some time with him, I thought he was a great fit.”

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Miller visits Cabell County COVID-19 vaccination site

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – United States Congresswoman Carol Miller (R-W.Va.) visited the Cabell-Huntington Health Department’s COVID-19 Vaccine Center in Cabell County on Friday as the state begins receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week.

During her visit, Miller toured the facility and met with Dr. Michael Kilkenny, CEO and Health Officer of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, to discuss vaccine distribution in the state and hear how additional vaccine allocations are benefiting West Virginians in the county, a release said.

“I am so proud of our state for its successful distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and am thankful to see first-hand all the hard work that is being done to beat this virus in Cabell County,” Miller said in a release.

“I commend Dr. Kilkenny and his outstanding  team at the Cabell-Huntington Health Department for all they are doing to get as many shots in arms as possible.”

I am thrilled to visit the #COVID19 Vaccine Center in Huntington today! The health care professionals here are doing an incredible job ensuring West Virginians are safe, healthy, and vaccinated.

Keep up the great work! pic.twitter.com/pV9yHPsMQb

— Rep. Carol Miller (@RepCarolMiller) March 5, 2021

According to Friday’s report by the state Department of Health and Human Resources(DHHR), 28,246 total doses have been administered in  Cabell County. That is one of the highest numbers in the state.

Cabell County’s population is 91,945 to equal a population percentage rate administered of 30.7%.

The DHHR reported 208,994 West Virginians have been fully vaccinated and 323,811 first doses have been administered as of Friday.

“We are excited to be able to provide this service with all the partnership and all the assistance of all the agencies to make sure that our public is safe,” Kilkenny said in a release.

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