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Notebook: Herd to open season under the lights against Albany

— By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall’s 2023 football season will begin under the lights at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN announced game times Thursday for two of the Herd’s six home contests in the upcoming season, and Marshall will welcome Albany for a 6 p.m. matchup on Saturday, September 2 to start the season. That contest will be carried by ESPN+.

The Herd will play at least one other night game at home as its Thursday, October 19 contest against James Madison will start at 7 p.m. That contest will be shown on ESPN or ESPN2.

“ESPN and the Sun Belt continue to recognize the impact Marshall football can have nationally,” Marshall Director of Athletics Christian Spears said. “Placing us in Prime-Time slots is a great opportunity for us.”

Those are the only two known start times for the Herd among the 12 games on its regular season schedule.

The Sun Belt also announced its 2023 championship game will start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 2. That contest, which pits the league’s East Division winner vs. the West Division winner, will be carried by ABC or ESPN and hosted at the site of the team with the better conference record.

2023 Marshall Football Schedule

Sept. 2 Albany, 6 p.m. (ESPN+)
Sept. 9 at East Carolina, TBD
Sept. 23 Virginia Tech, TBD
Sept. 30 Old Dominion**, TBD
Oct. 7 at N.C. State, TBD
Oct. 14 at Georgia State, TBD
Oct. 19 James Madison, 7 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)
Oct. 28 at Coastal Carolina, TBD
Nov. 4 at App State, TBD
Nov. 11 Georgia Southern, TBD
Nov. 18 at South Alabama, TBD
Nov. 25 Arkansas State, TBD

** = Homecoming

— — — — —

Memorial Day weekend isn’t only the unofficial start of summer, but it also has special significance for college football fans.

Many college football preview magazines are now appearing on store shelves, full of conference and team previews and preseason honors for top players.

Marshall had nine players picked for Sun Belt Conference preseason all-league teams in the recently-released Athlon magazine.

Four Marshall players were first-team All-Sun Belt picks: Defensive lineman Owen Porter, cornerback Micah Abraham, linebacker Eli Neal and running back Rasheen Ali.

Abraham was an All-Sun Belt First Team selection in 2022 after tying for third in the FBS with six interceptions. Abraham finished with 36 tackles and 10 pass breakups on the season as well.

Porter was also a first team all-conference pick as he finished with 60 tackles and a team-high 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He added nine quarterback hurries and a pair of forced fumbles.

Neal led Marshall’s defense with 98 tackles in 2022. He contributed 9.5 tackles for loss and three sacks to go with nine quarterback hurries, matching Porter for top honors on the team.

Ali missed most of the 2022 season due to a knee injury, but he returned to play in the final two regular season games and won MVP honors in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. In three games, he rushed for 273 yards and a touchdown.

Two Herd players — center Logan Osburn and offensive lineman Ethan Driskell — are second-team all-league picks by Athlon.

Osburn and Driskell started all 13 games last fall and helped the Herd average nearly 210 rushing yards.

Athlon made punt returner Talik Keaton a third-team Sun Belt preseason pick. 

Fourth-team picks were wide receiver Charles Montgomery and offensive lineman Dalton Tucker. Montgomery is Marshall’s top returning receiver after catching 36 balls for 402 yards and a touchdown last fall. Tucker did not miss a start in all 13 Herd games last fall.

Marshall, which finished 9-4 last season, opens the 2023 season at home on September 2 against Albany.

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Carper remains hospitalized after stroke, heart attack and bypass surgery

Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper remains in the hospital recovering from a stroke, a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery, a family spokesman said.

“Still in the hospital, hopefully on the road to repair. It’s just taking longer than what folks had hoped,” said Tom Susman, speaking on behalf of Carper’s family.

Carper had open heart surgery on May 18.

He experienced a stroke in the days just before going into the hospital for quadruple bypass surgery, Susman said today. Carper’s family had already said he had a heart attack early that week.

“It appears he had a stroke either Sunday or Monday before the heart attack,” Susman said, citing medical diagnostic testing by the medical team.

Carper’s health is also affected by a kidney transplant a couple of years ago and diabetes, Susman said.

The next Kanawha County Commission meeting is June 22.

“At this juncture, we do not know whether Commissioner Carper’s health issues will permit him to participate in the meeting. In the meantime, I am serving as President Pro Temp, and Commissioner Wheeler and I are handling all matters before the commission,” Commissioner Ben Salango responded to a MetroNews question about Carper’s official status.

Carper has been the subject of widespread rumors about an indecent exposure incident at Daniel Boone Park on Monday of the week he was hospitalized.

“My father’s illness and his apparent confusion have been misinterpreted as being something inappropriate. My family and I regret this awful misunderstanding,” Carper’s daughter Virginia stated on May 19.

West Virginia MetroNews and other news organizations have filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the City of Charleston and with Metro 911 for incident reports and recordings of 911 calls from Daniel Boone Park from that Monday afternoon.

Each of the FOIA requests has been denied, at least for now, but they resulted in confirmation of an investigation — although they did not specify who is being investigated or any other circumstances.

Asked today if there has been any change of status, Metro 911 executive director John Rutherford referred to a probe by the Charleston Police Department.

“CPD is still investigating. So nothing has changed at this time,” Rutherford replied.

The Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office has discussed recusing itself if a case goes forward. As a commissioner, Carper participates heavily in the annual budgeting process for the prosecutor’s office.

If necessary, the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute would assign a prosecutor from a different county to take the lead.

It wasn’t clear today if any formal steps have been made for a recusal.

Under West Virginia code, an indecent exposure charge is considered a misdemeanor punishable by no more than 90 days in jail or fine no more than $250, or both.

More punishment is possible if the exposure was done for sexual gratification. If that can be proven, the fine is no more than $500 and the jail time is no more than 12 months.

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Federal lawsuit filed over unpaid civil penalties by Justice companies; governor blames politics

The U.S. Department of Justice announced a civil filing over unpaid penalties by more than a dozen companies Gov. Jim Justice and his family.

The filing does not name Jim Justice, but it does name his son Jay and 13 coal companies under the family’s ownership. Since Jim Justice has been governor, he has said the coal companies are under Jay’s leadership.

The federal court filing aims to collect unpaid civil penalties on behalf of the Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, as well as Abandoned Mine Land reclamation fee and audit debts.

Federal prosecutors with the Department of Justice act as an enforcement arm in such cases for other agencies of the federal government.

“Through this suit, the Justice Department seeks to deliver accountability for defendants’ repeated violations of the law and to recover the penalties they owe as a result of those violations,” stated Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

From 2018 to 2022, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement cited the Justice companies for more than 130 violations and issued the companies more than 50 cessation orders. Federal officials say the violations pose health and safety risks or threaten environmental harm.

In addition, federal officials say the Justice coal companies failed to pay required Abandoned Mine Land fees, which fund the reclamation of coal mining sites abandoned or left in an inadequate reclamation status. According to today’s filing, the total amount of the penalties and AML fees, plus interest, penalties and administrative expenses, owed by the Justices is about $7.6 million.

“Over a five-year period, defendants engaged in over 130 violations of federal law, thereby posing health and safety risks to the public and the environment,” stated U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh for the Western District of Virginia.

“After given notice, they then failed to remedy those violations and were ordered over 50 times to cease mining activities until their violations were abated. Today, the filing of this complaint continues the process of holding defendants accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of the public and our environment.”

The filing names Jay Justice along with A&G Coal Corp., Bluestone Coal Corp., Bluestone Oil Corp., Chestnut Land Holdings LLC, Dynamic Energy LLC, Frontier Coal Co., Justice Energy Co., Kentucky Fuel Corp., National Coal LLC, Pay Car Mining, Premium Coal Company, S and H Mining and Tams Management.

Jim Justice, a two-term Republican governor, has dozens of business holdings listed on his annual state ethics disclosures. The governor has not placed most of his family’s holdings in a blind trust but has repeatedly said the responsibility of running the businesses has been passed on to Jay and adult daughter Jill Justice.

For many years, Justice was described as West Virginia’s only billionaire, but Forbes downgraded him after 2021 debt disputes.

Justice has announced a high-profile campaign for U.S. Senate.

During a wide-ranging briefing today, Governor Justice again said he does not control day-to-day operations of the coal companies. “From the standpoint of having real details of the knowledge of this suit that’s filed, I don’t have that,” Justice said.

The governor went on to point toward political motivation because of his U.S. Senate run.

“The Biden administration is aware of the fact that with a win for the U.S. Senate, and everything, we could very well flip the Senate. You know, government agencies can sometimes surely react, and this could be something in regard to that.

“But with all that being said — as I’ve said over and over, and you’ve seen it a thousand, million times — when something comes up and someone rears an ugly head, do we run and jump in a hole and die? We don’t do that. You know, my son and my daughter and our companies will always fulfill obligations, every single one, and absolutely at the end of the day have we not done it and done it and done it?”

In 2019, during the Trump administration, federal prosecutors similarly filed a $4,776,370 lawsuit  against 23 companies headed by Justice. That lawsuit sought payment on 2,297 citations that stacked up from 2014 to the time of the filing under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.

Justice said then, “We’ll take care of our obligations. We always have and we always will.”

The following year, 2020, federal officials announced a settlement with the Justice companies.

“It is our hope that this landmark collection action and settlement agreement sends a clear message that the Department of Justice will aggressively pursue mine-safety violations and hold owners and operators accountable,” Thomas Cullen, a Trump appointee as federal prosecutor in Western Virginia, stated in April 2020.

This month, federal prosecutors from the Western District of Virginia went after Justice companies for failure to make good on four consecutive monthly payments toward making good on that 2020 settlement.

The latest civil filing is a separate matter, but the situation is similar.

Justice today said it’s stressful but again pointed toward political motivations by federal officials.

“At the end of the day we can stand back and throw rocks at Jay and the family and everything, and we’re a big target. I mean, that’s all there is to it. There’s a lot at stake right now. The entire U.S. Senate can be flipped, and that’s what I intend to help make happen.

“With all that being said we’re even a bigger target today. So you’re going to see stuff like this. But at the end of the day I’ll promise you to God above anything about our waters, our environment, in an way, absolutely, our workers, no matter what it may be, we will absolutely take care of it.”

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Spring fire season was rough for Division of Forestry

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Spring Forest Fire Season in West Virginia is coming to a close and for the West Virginia Division of Forestry it couldn’t come soon enough. In addition to an unusually high number of forest fires during the spring months, the agency suffered its first fatality in the line of duty.

Cody J. Mullens, 28, of Mt. Hope in Fayette County, was fatally injured by a falling tree while battling a blaze on Armstrong Creek near Montgomery in April.

“It really affected our agency. Cody was really close to everybody, one of our best employees and really just a young kid. We’re really trying to review the way we operate after that fatality and hopefully some improvements come out of a really terrible situation,” said Jeremy Jones with the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

Jones said on top of the loss of one of their own, they dealt with 787 separate blazes which blackened 11,000 acres of the West Virginia landscape during the period.

“Both of those numbers are higher than what we usually have in a year’s time,” he said.

Jones said the problem was the weather pattern. Through much of the spring the sate got much needed rainfall, but the back end of the front which produced the rain would be packed with warm temperatures and strong winds which quickly dried out the forest and the chances for fire increased again.

“The main factor was all those windy days,” he added.

The higher elevations saw the chances for a forest fire in those locations extended beyond the typical threshold due to an early May snowstorm. The snow put more than a foot on the ground in the higher elevations and slowed the greening of the highest mountain tops for another week or more.

“We greened up fast everywhere else, but up around the Snowshoe area and the mountains that got that late snow it delayed it for a week or two for sure,” he said.

The burning restrictions are now lifted until the first of October when the Fall Forest Fire Season begins.


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Border duty: 50 members of West Virginia National Guard being deployed to Texas

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice is deploying 50 West Virginia National Guard soldiers and airmen to the southern border in Texas to help with Operation Lone Star.

Justice said during his Wednesday media briefing that he recently heard from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Jim Justice

“Governor Abbott wrote several of us and requested help. I certainly want to step up and do our part,” Justice said.

The Guard members will soon begin training and be deployed for at least 30 days in the month of August. Justice said the 50 have volunteered for the service. No specific Guard units are being mobilized.

Justice said the state will have to foot the bill for the deployment. The soldiers and airmen will be assisting the Texas National Guard.

According to the governor’s office the Guard members will help detect, deter, and interdict transnational criminal activity between points of entry.”

“They will take their weapons with them and hopefully that won’t have to be necessary at all,” Justice said.

Justice said what’s happening at the border is “terrible.”

“We know exactly what’s going on–from human trafficking to the potential of terrorists in our nation but more important than anything is the fentanyl outrage,” Justice said.

Fentanyl has been the latest enemy in the state’s continuing battle against the opioid epidemic.

“I mean if you don’t think there’s a serious problem at the border that affects West Virginia you’re out of you’re mind,” Justice said. “I mean the flow of fentanyl for one thing is at an epidemic phase, we’ve got to step up.”

Justice said the Texas deployment will not impact the Guard members who are helping with staffing issues in the state’s regional jails and prisons.

“We have it completely covered,” Justice said. “We do not want to take away from the committment toward Corrections and we won’t. We’re not going to drop the ball on Corrections.”

Justice said he was proud of those who have volunteered to go to Texas.

“I think it’s our part,” he said.

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Hancock County prosecutor reveals motive after teen’s sentencing for murdering family members

NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. — Hancock County Prosecutor Steve Dragisich says he’s hoping a teenage boy who was sentenced this week for murdering his two family members will remain behind bars for the rest of his life.

Steve Dragisich

“I wouldn’t want him living near anybody,” Dragisich said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Connor Crowe, 16, was sentenced Tuesday to 80 years in prison for the Sept. 2020 shooting deaths of his mother Melissa Rowland, 39, and Madison Crowe, 15, who were found dead in their Weirton home. Crowe was 13 at the time of the murders.

Dragisich said he was pleased with the judge’s decision to hand down the maximum sentence due the horrific nature of the crime.

“Denying them the opportunity of the rest of their lives, it was the appropriate sentence, and it was something that we urged the judge to implement,” he said.

Dragisich said the murders were premeditated.

“He thought about doing it two weeks before he actually did it,” he said. “He had a lot of anger toward his sister. She was a very good athlete, very involved in things. He didn’t like that. There was a lot of teasing from his sister and mother.”

The motive offered by Crowe was that he was angry his mother and sister found out he did not compete an online school assignment during the COVID pandemic and that they threatened to tell his stepfather about it.

“He claims that he was concerned about corporal punishment from his stepfather and that was the primary reason he did that,” Dragisich said.

Crowe had also crafted a detailed plan to murder his family members.

“He concocted a story about an intruder that entered the residence and shot his mother and sister. He went even further with that story and indicated that the intruder had the same gun as him because he was sitting there thinking about a ballistics test that would’ve tied him to the crimes,” Dragisich said.

Crowe will remain in the juvenile system until he turns 18. A hearing will be held after his 18th birthday to determine which facility he will be transferred to as an adult.

Crowe will be eligible for parole in 20 years.

“I’m hoping he’s not let out after his parole eligibility, but it’s possible. Our goal is to get the maximum sentence allowable and that what we got,” Dragisich said.

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PSC to hearing evidence over Gauley River PSD

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Public Service Commission will hear evidence Thursday in the case of the Gauley River Public Service District. The PSD is the provider of water and sewer service in the area around Gauley Bridge which includes the Mount Olive Prison. They have been the subject of scrutiny after water service to the prison was lost from December 2021 to February 2022.

“We’re trying to establish if the district can provide water not only to all of its customers, but also to the prison,” said PSC Chairwoman Charlotte Lane.

The hearing will give the PSC a chance to hear from staff investigators who have looked at the current operation of the PSD, as well as representatives of the district to make their case. The Commission will consider the evidence and at a later date rule whether it’s possible the district can improve or if the problems associated with service are so bad a change is necessary to insure the future of quality water service.

“The statute allows us to order another entity, we decide is a capable, proximate utility to take them over. Another option is to work with the district to come up with solutions to their problems and then monitor their progress,” Lane explained. “What we want is to make sure the prison doesn’t lose water at anytime in the future and that the customers of Gauley River continue to get good service.”

A similar process is being undertaken in the case of Kanawha Falls Public Service District which is also involved in providing water service to the prison. Their evidentiary hearing was already held. The PSC has not issued an order in their case.

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Congressman Mooney, R-W.Va., joins those voting no on debt ceiling bill

Congressman Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., is among the hardline Republicans lining up against debt limit legislation negotiated by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“I don’t see how I can vote for this,” Mooney said today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

“It’s another $4 trillion in debt. You know, and I have a thing — this is supposed to go to the Senate. I’m not sure why Biden and McCarthy were dealing with this. We passed a good bill. I was proud to vote for it a few weeks ago. It had a lot of important reforms like work requirements and spending cuts. That bill went to the Senate, and the Senate has not acted on it.”

Congresswoman Carol Miller, R-W.Va., has said she supports the bill. Senators Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, and Joe Manchin, a Democrat, have also expressed support.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote about 8:30 p.m. today on a bill curtailing federal spending by at least $1.5 trillion while raising the federal debt limit until Jan. 1, 2025.

“I’m a no. I’m a no. I don’t see what changes my mind between now and 8 p.m. when we vote,” Mooney said on “Talkline.”

Federal officials have said the United States is expected to reach the x-date, representing the day the federal government runs out of means to pay its existing debts, by early next week. If the United States defaults on its debt, economists warn of dire effects on the economy.

Earlier this month, House Republicans narrowly passed a bill that raises the debt limit while also sharply curtailing future spending growth.

The House proposal would return 2024 discretionary federal spending to fiscal 2022 levels while capping spending growth at 1 percent a year for the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the bill would curtail spending by more than $3 trillion a year over a decade, resulting in more than $4.5 trillion in federal savings once other factors such as interest are considered.

After that bill’s passage, President Biden and administration representatives started negotiating with Speaker McCarthy and his team, announcing a compromise bill this past weekend.

Some House Republicans, especially those associated with the hardline Freedom Caucus, have said they can’t support the compromise bill.

Today, add Mooney to that group.

He said the process should have included Senate consideration of a debt ceiling bill, rather than the talks between Biden and McCarthy.

“Once the Senate passes it, then we give and take between the Senate and House and then it goes to Biden’s desk. I think that would have been a better strategic way for Speaker McCarthy to handle it,” Mooney said.

“But I do think he did the best he could. I mean, there are some good things here. We do cut some on the discretionary said. They feel they did the best they could given the fact that Joe Biden is president and the Senate wasn’t moving anything. I just disagree with them passing another bill when we already passed a good bill a few weeks ago.”

The debt ceiling bill includes expedited approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would cross nine West Virginia counties to transport natural gas to East Coast markets.

Mooney, who is running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, said he supports the pipeline project but can’t vote for the bill that includes the approval provisions.

“I support the pipeline as a separate bill,” he said. “The last bill I voted for three weeks ago not only would have enabled the Mountain Valley Pipeline, it would have had permitting reform to enable other pipelines.”

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Minutemen relishing opportunity that awaits with program’s first state tournament showing since 1986

WESTON, W.Va. — Three teams among the four to qualify for this season’s Class AA state tournament have done so for the first time in at least 21 seasons.

Though it’s been more than two decades since the top two seeds — No. 1 Winfield and No. 2 Keyser — were last on this stage, the wait has been even longer for Lewis County.

The Minutemen, seeded fourth and set to face the Generals in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday, are making their first state tournament showing since 1986.

“Taking it day by day and game by game was the goal from the beginning,” Minutemen head coach Tyler Wood said. “They trusted in themselves and trusted in us. There was a down point, but they trusted in everybody and trusted the process.”

The Minutemen (15-10) suffered through six consecutive losses over a two-week span that stretched into the second week of April. Four of those defeats came on a trip to Myrtle Beach, along with two others against Big 10 Conference foes Grafton and East Fairmont.

At 3-7 overall entering an April 11 matchup with North Marion, the Minutemen have been one of the state’s top teams since. Starting with that 13-7 win over the Huskies, LCHS was victorious in four straight before a 4-1 loss at sectional foe Herbert Hoover. The Minutemen followed it with six straight wins, including three that allowed to claim the Class AA Region II, Section 2 championship. During that stretch, Lewis beat Hoover twice by a combined margin of 25-3.

Lewis’ only two losses over the last five weeks were inconsequential in that both came in tune-ups against University. The two teams battled before regional play to avoid a lengthier layoff, and they did so again Tuesday ahead of appearances in the state tournament.

Over five postseason contests, LCHS has outscored its three opponents, 51-6. The Minutemen have scored at least 11 runs in four of those games, continuing a trend of strong offensive production in which Wood’s team has scored double-figure runs in eight of the last 14 contests.

“We focus on barrels at practice and hitting in the top right and top left part of the cage so they can bring that out to games,” Wood said.

That approach seems to have paid off. Five different LCHS regulars will head to Charleston with averages between .354 and .397. Included in that group are juniors Trenton Hunt and Brayden Carder as well as senior Grant Mealey.

Carder serves as the leadoff hitter. Hunt, who boasts the best batting average on the squad, is slotted in the cleanup spot. 

Yet for the importance of both players to a lineup that features Mealey in the third spot, what Carder and Hunt have done to stabilize the team’s pitching staff is of equal if not greater importance.

In a pair regional victories over Robert C. Byrd that allowed the Minutemen to secure their spot in the state tournament, Carder and Hunt each logged complete games.

Carder helped set the tone for the series by throwing all six innings of an 11-1 victory over the Eagles in Game 1. The next night, Hunt went the distance in a seven-inning affair, limiting RCB to five hits in a 4-1 victory that prevented the series from going the distance.

“It’s such a relief when we have people like Brayden or Trenton on the mound,” LCHS third baseman Grant Mealey said. “We have to get the bats going and play good defense behind them. We know they’re going to throw a complete game or close to it and at worst keep us close in it. We have to get the bats going and thankfully we put some runs up.”

The rate at which the Minutemen have managed to score makes it especially challenging for opponents facing Hunt and Carder. While production has been plentiful throughout the order, the improved play of Mealey, a Davis & Elkins signee, has been especially pivotal.

Lewis County locked up a state tournament spot for the first time since 1986 with a 4-1 win against Robert C. Byrd. Photo by Ben Queen/

Mealey had four hits and drove in eight runs over the two games against RCB. One night after his six-RBI effort in Game 1, Mealey broke a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the fifth inning of the second regional matchup.

“He struggled a little bit early on and we thought it was going to come. He was fantastic the last two years, so we knew the hitting was going to come,” Wood said. “We saw it in practice. It just wasn’t translating to the field. To see him go on a tear to end his senior year is awesome.”

More than a full week has passed since the Minutemen officially made their first state tournament in 37 seasons. While Lewis County has enjoyed the recognition that comes with playing in a state tournament, Mealey says the focus is on the the tough task that awaits against Winfield.

“Our goal is to finish the job,” Mealey said, “and the job is nowhere near finished.”

While Winfield is far closer in proximity to GoMart Ballpark, the Minutemen expect to to play in front of plenty of their fans as well.

That’s been the case throughout the postseason, including in contests at Hoover and RCB, with the latter played off campus at nearby Frank Loria Memorial Field.

“Small towns for you. It’s awesome,” Wood said. “They’ve come out in full force in Weston and we told them keep coming and we need you guys. That was awesome.”

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Bishop appointed new Jefferson County Schools superintendent

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The Jefferson County Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday, with only one item on its agenda, a vote that named William “Chuck” Bishop, Ed.D., the new superintendent of schools.

Dr. William “Chuck” Bishop (Photo Credit: Jefferson County Schools)

In pre-recorded remarks to the board Tuesday evening, Bishop thanked them for the opportunity to wrap things up at his current assignment and tell his current staff about the transition personally before making the announcement public.

“I’m already learning about the amazing things all who have come before me have established in Jefferson County Schools,” Bishop said.  “I cannot wait to build on that as we move forward together.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity and excited to join you all soon,” the new superintendent said.

Dr. Bishop replaces Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson-Learn who was appointed as superintendent of Jefferson County Schools in 2015 and announced her departure in February.

A press release from the county school system detailed Bishop’s work history:

William “Chuck” Bishop, Ed.D., joins Jefferson County Schools with more than 30 years of experience in education. Along with spending 17 years leading school districts as a superintendent, Dr. Bishop has served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal, and assistant superintendent. He most recently completed nine years as the superintendent of Clarke County Public Schools in Virginia. Before that, Dr. Bishop was the superintendent of Augusta County Public Schools and Radford City Public Schools.

Bishop was chosen out of a pool of 17 applicants from across the country.

Board President Kathy Skinner said, “We are excited to welcome Dr. Bishop, but with so many truly qualified candidates we had to make some very difficult decisions. We are confident Dr. Bishop will continue to move Jefferson County Schools forward and will collaborate well with the amazing team we have in place.”

Bishop earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Virginia Tech and his Master’s and Doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Virginia.

Bishop has served as a baseball coach previously and participated with his local Rotary, the American Cancer Society, and the United Way.

The Panhandle News Network’s Al Gaige contributed to this story. 

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