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Matt Campbell is engineering Iowa State’s best season in over a century

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia fans are patiently trusting, ‘The Climb’ in Neal Brown’s second season in Morgantown. Matt Campbell’s blueprint he has authored in Ames shows the steady, incremental progress can to a program to the top of the Big 12.

The No. 12 Cyclones (7-2, 7-1 Big 12) are all but certain to play in the league championship game later this month. A win against West Virginia this afternoon will officially clinch a spot in the title game.

“We have become an instant gratification society,” Campbell said. “Everybody wants success and everybody wants it now. Unfortunately, that is not how the world works and that is not how success works. It is the ability to teach those things and the ability to check your ego at the door and understand our whole process here is, how do we get each young person and each collective team to become the absolute best version of itself that it can be.”

Campbell’s first recruiting class in 2016 endured a 3-9 record. Fifth-year seniors are now part of the winningest class in program history.

“This senior class from day one has been really special here. This is a group that came on hope and have really given back hope to everyone else around this program. For me to watch our sixteen seniors go through their last home football game here in Jack Trice Stadium is really special for myself, our coaching staff and hopefully everyone involved knowing the heart and character that this group has displayed from the day they stepped foot on campus.”

Campbell credits his players for their work in the initial stages of the pandemic when they were away from the team during the spring and early summer months.

“You have three months where we really weren’t in our strength and conditioning program per say back here. This is where the credit must go with our players. For three months, they were accountable to their success. They were accountable to themselves for getting in great physical shape. They really had to believe that football would be played and they had to be ready.

“We talk about winning in the dark. Literally, they were in the dark for three months.”

Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell gives a thumbs up as he leaves the field (Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports)

Iowa State’s season opened with a 31-14 loss to Louisiana. But the Cyclones have won seven of eight in Big 12 play, including a 37-30 triumph over Oklahoma on September 30. Their only loss in the league was a three-point defeat at Oklahoma State.

“The old rule is you are getting better or you are getting worse and you are never staying the same. That is found in the group’s ability to go back to the drawing board, what did we do well? What didn’t we do well? And how do we get better? I think this group has grown each and every week and it has been fun to watch.”

Last season, the Cyclones lost three games by two points or less (Iowa, Oklahoma and Baylor). This year, the Cyclones are 4-1 in games decided by seven points or less.

“The young players and the older players in this program took the lessons we learned a year ago, navigated the landscape and then said, where can we continue to grow and improve? I think all of us have improved.”

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Former WVU professor sentenced for fraud

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A former faculty member at West Virginia University will spend three years on probation for fraud linked to travel for his job.

Dr. Qingyun Sun, 58, of Morgantown, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court after entering guilty pleas in July to a two-count information that accused him of wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

Federal prosecutors said Sun was a Chinese national who had worked as a WVU associate professor and associate director of the United States-China Energy Center based at WVU.

Along with those roles, he also acted as an assistant to West Virginia’s governor on China affairs through the West Virginia Development Office and operated a consulting business called Energy United with Peabody Energy as one of his clients.

Additionally, Sun was an employee of Synfuels Americas Corporation, an energy conversion technology provider.

Synfuels Americas is headquartered in Beijing, China and specializes in coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids energy conversion processes and also has a location in Sterling, Virginia.

In general, Sun was accused of using his various positions to bill multiple times for the same expense.

For example, in 2015, investigators said he booked two tickets for travel to China for prep work for a trip from West Virginia officials and only used one ticket but requested reimbursements for both WVU and Synfuels Americas.

In 2014, the allegation was the joint income tax return he filed with wife “grossly overstated his business-related travel expenses” since most of those travel expenses were paid for with a state purchasing card or reimbursements from WVU and Peabody Energy.

There were also issues with his disclosures about financial accounts in China, according to federal prosecutors.

As part of his sentence, the first four months of probation for Dr. Sun will be spent on home confinement.

Sun has also agreed to pay $6,233 in full restitution to WVU, his former employer.

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One killed in Cabell County shooting

CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. — A deadly shooting in Cabell County was under investigation.

Deputies with the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department said one person was killed on Friday before 7 p.m. near Barboursville.

The shooting scene was in the area of East Pea Ridge.

No other details were available as of Saturday morning.

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February sentencing set for suspect in fatal carjacking in Berkeley County

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County man has entered a guilty plea for first-degree murder in the 2018 fatal carjacking of Joan Marian Staubs, 86, in Martinsburg.

The Journal was reporting Adam Lee Domer, 38, of Martinsburg entered the plea Friday morning.

Adam Domer

As part of the plea agreement, he could be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 15 years.

Domer admitted to stealing the victim’s car September 2, 2018 and, while doing so, striking her with the car door as he backed away from the scene.

Joan Staubs

The injuries resulted in Staubs’ death on Sept. 7, 2018.

Domer had faced felony charges of murder, first-degree robbery and assault during the commission of a felony.

The robbery and assault charges were dismissed as part of the plea.

Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 22, 2021 in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

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Law enforcement officers join early morning procession through Charleston for fallen city police officer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Blue lights from law enforcement vehicles lit the streets of Downtown Charleston in the early morning hours Saturday as a procession with the remains of Charleston Police Patrolman Cassie Johnson left Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital.

Officer Cassie Johnson

The first stop for that procession was the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Officer to be followed by a later trip to Parker-Cunningham-Johnson Funeral Home ahead of a scheduled Tuesday funeral for Johnson at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

MetroNews’ Alex Thomas reported first responders representing multiple agencies were along the route.


The procession passed the Charleston Police Department.

Officer Johnson, 28, died Thursday, Dec. 3, two days after she was shot while responding to a parking complaint on Charleston’s Garrison Ave.

The procession of Charleston Police Patrolman Cassie Johnson taking place this morning. Johnson’s body was transported to the state Medical Examiner’s Office.

— Alex Thomas (@AlexHouseThomas) December 5, 2020

Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford has said Johnson was shot once.

The suspect in her shooting, Joshua Marcellus Phillips, 38, of Charleston, was shot twice in the torso, according to Sheriff Rutherford, and remained hospitalized at CAMC General at the close of the week.

On Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said first-degree murder was one of the charges Phillips would face.

First responders from across the area accompany the body of fallen Charleston PD Officer Cassie Johnson to the Medical Examiner's Office. The procession occurred early Saturday morning. The funeral for Officer Johnson will be on Tuesday in Charleston.

— WVState Fire Marshal (@WVFireMarshal) December 5, 2020

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Persistence pays off for hunter in Greenbrier County

RENNICK, W.Va. — There was a time in West Virginia when the Monongahela National Forest was the premium destination if you wanted to kill a deer in the Mountain State. Much has changed since the early 1970’s for deer hunting in West Virginia. However, for Fred Lambert of Oceana, it really hasn’t.

He’s been hunting the same part of Greenbrier County every buck season since 1973.

“We were just looking for a place to go hunting really with the rifle season closed in Wyoming County. When I was a young man, I wanted to go deer hunting with a rifle and this is where I hit the ground,” he said in an interview of West Virginia Outdoors.\

Listen to “Fred Lambert of Oceana, W.Va. talks about killing his National Forest 10 point buck on W.Va. Outdoors” on Spreaker.

During the nearly 50 years he’s hunted the area a lot has changed. Lambert said the number of hunters has dropped a lot, but so have the number of deer and turkey he sees. During the early 1970’s when he started hunting the area, there weren’t many deer or turkey anywhere in West Virginia but the concentration of whitetails was largest in the National Forest. During the many years he’s hunted there he had only killed one other good sized buck.

“The first one I ever killed, I thought he was a spike and I was at the top of the ridge and he was at the bottom of the hollow,” Lambert shared.

It turned out that buck was an eight pointer many years ago. Lambert said when he’s buck hunting, he gets too excited to count points and instead looks for antlers.

“I get too excited to stare at them,” he laughed.

During the 2020 rifle season, Lambert has disproved several myths often shared among hunters. One is the fallacy there are no good bucks left in the second week of rifle season and second he has refuted claims there are no big bucks left in the National Forest.

Monday morning in the second week of the gun season the forecast called for heavy rain. Lambert told his youngest son he was going to try and hunt a little closer to the road so he could quickly return to his truck if conditions became too miserable. He walked up a drain he knew well, but almost instantly saw another hunter. He turned and headed the other direction and soon ran across another hunter.

“That’s the most people I’ve seen in there in years. I don’t like to hunt near people, so I headed to another part of the area up a fire service road,” he said.

Lambert with his big 10 point buck which took three hours to retrieve from deep in in the Monongahela National Forest

At age 70, Lambert can still outwalk most hunters, but admits he’s not as agile as he used to be.

“I can’t go like I used to. I just can’t walk as far,” he laughed.

He also admitted as he was walking deeper in to the wilderness, he was having a conversation with himself.

“I said, ‘Fred what are you going to do if you kill one back in here, you can’t pull it out yourself,'” he explained.

Undaunted he kept going and soon found himself in a conversation on the phone with his brother who was at Kroger and checking on what supplies might be needed at camp.

“At the end of the conversation I told him, ‘Bring me a ten-pointer.'” he explained.

A short five minutes later–the delivery was made.

Lambert heard a deer snort just as he got off the phone and saw a doe bolting up the hollow below. Behind her was a buck, which stopped at about 60 yards away with his head behind a large poplar tree. A third deer, another doe, snorted and bolted out of site.

“All I had was a little brown spot to shoot at because I knew if he came out from behind that poplar he was gone. So I aimed right at that little brown spot, cut his back in two and he hit the ground,” Lambert said.

Just like his eight point buck from many years earlier which he thought was a spike, Lambert was in for another surprise when he retrieved his buck. It was a ten pointer just like he had ordered from his brother at Kroger minutes earlier. He had no idea.

“It’s probably the second largest deer I’ve ever killed,” he said.

His son was within cell range and arrived to help out. Soon, Fred’s biggest buck since the early 1970’s was hung on the game pole at the foamily hunting camp where many memories have been shared over the years. Now the ten pointer he ordered from Kroger in 2020 will be added to the camp stories for many years to come.

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Man dies in Wayne County standoff

WAYNE, W.Va. — A suspect in a Wayne County standoff is dead.

The West Virginia State Police on Friday identified the suspect as 34-year-old Randy Ward. Authorities received a call Friday morning about a man armed with an AR-15 rifle in a camper on Whites Creek Road in Wayne.

Troopers said Ward refused to leave the camper. He fired a shot at officers before his death.

Troopers said using deadly force was necessary.

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MetroNews Player of the Year Nominees from Class AA

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The MetroNews Player of the Year will be announced on Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval Monday at 11:45 a.m. This video highlights some of the top contenders for the award from Class AA. A panel of broadcasters and sportswriters from around the state will vote for this award.

Offensive full-season statistics have been distributed to each voter. Players do not need to be included on this nominees list to be considered. Only one player per team is on the nominees list. Martinsburg’s Jarod Bowie won the 2019 award.

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Funeral services for Johnson scheduled for Tuesday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston city officials on Friday announced funeral services for Patrolman Cassie Johnson will take place on Dec. 8.

Johnson died Thursday from injuries sustained during a parking complaint call earlier in the week. According to Mayor Amy Goodwin, Joshua Marcellus Phillips, 38, of Charleston, will be charged with first-degree murder.

Patrolman Cassie Johnson (File)

The services will be held at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center on Tuesday, in which the visitation will go from 10 a.m. to noon with the funeral beginning at noon.

Facial coverings will be required and social distancing rules will be in place. Current and retired law enforcement officers are invited to attend.

WSAZ-TV, WCHS-TV and WOWK-TV will broadcast the services.

The funeral procession will go from the facility to Floral Hills Memorial Gardens.

Multiple streets will be closed because of the procession:

— Quarrier Street and Truslow Street.
— The northbound lanes of Clendenin Street at Virginia Street East.
— Clendenin Street between Quarrier and Lee streets.
— The right lanes of Lee Street between the bridge and Clendenin Street.

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US surgeon general focuses on COVID-19 pandemic in presentation at Marshall

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The nation’s doctor spoke directly to the Marshall University community Friday on a variety of health topics including the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university’s Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum hosted U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams in a virtual presentation as West Virginia continues to set pandemic highs in nearly every daily report by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).

On Friday, the DHHR reported a pandemic high of 632 hospitalizations in the state associated with COVID-19. Of those patients, 169 were in intensive care and 92 on ventilators. The agency also added 1,147 new cases bringing the total number of active cases to 17,716 statewide, another pandemic high.

As health officials are predicting the continuation of a surge due to Thanksgiving activity, Adams told the virtual crowd that they need to be patient and follow guidelines in the midst of the holiday season. He spoke about ‘virus fatigue’ but to focus on what works.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

“Keep gathering in small groups, limited to immediate family members,” he said. “If you plan to gather with those people outside of your immediate family, try to hold events outdoors when you can, make sure you have proper ventilation when you can’t and always try to maintain social distancing and mask-wearing.”

On Friday, Gov. Jim Justice detailed more of the state’s plans for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The state targeted receipt date for the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine is Tuesday, Dec. 15. Justice noted that he’s hoping most West Virginians can be vaccinated by March.

Adams said during his presentation that he needs help to promote vaccine confidence.

“We have a high degree of confidence that these vaccines will be safe. I will get it as soon as they tell me I can get it,” Adams said.

“Given the preliminary results saying they are more than 90-percent effective, we can stop this virus in its tracks but only if people get vaccinated.”

Another aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic that Adams spoke about was the mental side. He said there is psychological harm in self-isolation, quarantines, and the force to change normal routines. He told the crowd to reach out to someone if they are struggling.

“It’s important that we get COVID under control. It’s important that we not forget about all the other things going on out there. They work together to really harm us and that’s why we need to work together to get through this,” Adams said.

WATCH: The entire presentation by Dr. Jerome Adams

Adams is the nation’s 20th surgeon general. He earned bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley, a release said. Adams studied medicine and earned his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine, and is a board-certified anesthesiologist.

He had been invited by the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum in February as part of a series of Black History Month events, but Adams could not attend because of flight problems.

He rounded out his appearance speaking on understanding and addressing the root causes of existing disparities and advancing health equities in communities of color. Adams spoke on what it means to be an African-American in his role.

Adams also mentioned his October call to action of bringing the nation’s blood pressure under control.

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