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The Voice of West Virginia

WVU Police hope to fill immediate openings with recruiting event

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  The WVU Police Department has immediate openings and will be talking to potential candidates Monday at the Erickson Alumni Center from 9 a.m. until noon.

Sgt. Brock Armstrong, training coordinator, said campus police officers have a variety of assignments that put them in contact with a wide range of people in terms of age, ethnic background, and origin.

Sgt. Brock Armstrong

“You’re also affecting people from all over the country and all over the world, so you can change perceptions of police work all over the world just by being a police officer here at WVU,” Sgt. Armstrong said.

One of the nuances of campus police work is the residential component. Officers are expected to regularly patrol buildings and work among the campus community to build reports and relationships. Open communication paves the way for seamless cooperation between officers and community members in times of emergency.

“We need to be out within our community and out in the buildings so when they (students and families) see us, they feel comfortable with us,” Sgt. Armstrong said. “They should know we’re not only there when bad things happen, but we’re there day-to-day to interact as part of our campus and community.”

Potential recruits will be able to ask questions about the qualification process and participation in the state law enforcement academy. Equipment will also be on display, including opportunities to try a police simulator that tests decision-making ability in stressful situations.

“We’re hoping to have our K-9s there that are explosively trained detection dogs that work and do a lot of stuff with our stadium at the Coliseum or any kind of mass gathering and day-to-day things that keep our campus safe,” Sgt. Armstrong said.

Armstrong said the job of a campus police officer is demanding and constantly changing. Duties can range from assistance calls, investigations, security details, and working with area agencies on an as-needed basis.

“We work a lot of hours, whether it’s basketball, football, or some of the other smaller events, so we do work together a lot and become a family,” Sgt. Armstrong said. We’re a tight-knit group that makes sure we keep our community safe, and our community is the WVU campus.”

According to Armstrong, pay and benefits are competitive, and incentive bonuses are offered for candidates who come to the university as certified police officers. Officers are eligible for in-service raises, paid sick and vacation time, tuition reimbursement, and scholarship opportunities for dependents.

“The university believes in giving us enough training and enough resources to go out and do our job effectively and have those resources to do our job the right way,” Sgt. Armstrong said. “I believe all of our officers are out there to do the right thing, help our community stay safe, and set everybody up for success.”

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Reorganization details for WVU Libraries, Teaching and Learning Commons released

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons reorganization details were released Friday.

Maryanne Reed

WVU Provost Maryanne Reed said within the Libraries there will be nine voluntary separations and seven other workers who will either work until the end of the 2023-24 academic year or the 2024 fiscal year, depending on their eligibility. The adjustment will save 5.8 percent of the annual budget or an estimated $790,000.

Reed said students and faculty will not experience a drop in service due to the reorganization.

“The resources and support provided by our Libraries are critical to the success of students, faculty, staff and the community, so we worked closely with Dean Karen Diaz as she and her team created a plan that reflects our continued commitment to quality services,” said

The mission of the Teaching and Learning Commons will shift slightly to focus on the development and support of teaching across all modes of instruction, continuous faculty training and training for graduate teaching assistants in the delivery of instruction and assessment of student learning, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

As a result, nine non-classified staff members will move to WVU Online to begin support functions and instructional design and micro credentialing efforts. Seven non-classified staff members will transition to WVU Information Technology Services to support classroom and other technology functions. One classified staff member will transition to Academic Affairs to provide support to the Testing Center and nine other non-classified staff members will be employed through the end of the current fiscal year.

Reed said Academic Affairs, faculty will design the new unit and manage its operations.

“With strong faculty engagement and an emphasis on the classroom experience, the redesigned center will focus on the comprehensive promotion of excellence in teaching and student learning — with the ultimate goal of improving student success outcomes,” Reed said.

Next, a faculty committee, chaired by Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Culture Melissa Latimer will determine the functions of the reimagined unit, leadership and staffing structure. The new unit will launch by the Fall 2024 semester.

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Mountaineers fall short of ultimate goal, but foundation has them set up for future success

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the aftermath of a 1-0 loss Friday Night to Clemson, the feeling from West Virginia men’s soccer coach Dan Stratford was that his team played well enough to advance to Monday’s National Championship, but ultimately never broke through.

A goal from the Tigers’ Shawn Smart, a sophomore defender who Stratford was familiar with from trying to recruit him to Morgantown, made all the difference in what was mostly an evenly-matched affair.

“We played an outstanding team that are absolutely worthy of being in the Final Four,” Stratford said. “I’m just so proud of the fact that I think we were the better team and gave such a good account of ourselves.”

The result for West Virginia, making its first College Cup appearance, will sting for some time. 

Sergio Ors Navarro and Marcus Caldeira had the Mountaineers’ two best scoring chances, but couldn’t deliver as West Virginia (17-3-4) was shutout for the third time in 24 matches.

There was also a controversial no call with about 12 minutes remaining when WVU’s Jake Ross fell inside the 18-yard box as a result of what Stratford clearly felt was a foul on the Tigers that would’ve led to a penalty kick and prime opportunity for an equalizer.

Because there was no call, the play could not be checked by VAR (video assistant referee).

“We had chances all the way up until the end of the game. Obviously it’s frustrating, but this is a Final Four,” WVU senior midfielder Ryan Baer said. “We’re not going to let our heads fall down when we miss a chance. We’re just going to try to the next one. Unfortunately it didn’t come today, but on a different day, we could stick three or four past them.”

West Virginia’s Otto Ollikainen (8) and Luke McCormick embrace following the Mountaineers’ 1-0 loss to Clemson in a national semifinal. Photo by Greg Carey

So as Clemson, unbeaten over its last 13 matches, moves on to Monday in search of its fourth National Championship against Notre Dame, the Mountaineers now begin reflecting on their best season in program history. The 17 wins are a single season program record and West Virginia had never before appeared in a College Cup.

In defeat, WVU made a strong impression on Clemson head coach Mike Noonan, who helped guide the Tigers to a recent National Championship in 2021.

“We’re very pleased to be advancing. Give a lot of credit to an excellent West Virginia team. They had an outstanding season and they’re a superb team,” Noonan said. “I feel fortunate to be moving forward, but we have a superb team, too. We’ve endured the tournament. Coming from the ACC Tournament straight into this tournament is probably one of the hardest things to do in the country.”

Leading up to Friday’s matchup, Stratford mentioned that West Virginia’s program was an aspiring Clemson when noting how the Tigers were appearing in their 10th College Cup.

While plenty appreciative of what his team accomplished and its performance in defeat Friday, Stratford acknowledged he hoped the 2023 season was simply the start of something special for a program he wants to see become a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament and compete at a College Cup level.

“We’d love to have 10 Final Fours and three National Championships. The intent is to be in the Top 10 and whereabouts every single year and give yourself an opportunity to win a National Championship,” Stratford said. “I hope the quality of what we showed throughout this season and even today, I don’t imagine I’m going to watch this game back and not feel we didn’t deserve at the very least to go to overtime if not win the game. 

“I want to get to work right now and right the wrongs of today. I hope that fire burns in a place that we can return. We continue to reinforce what’s been a quality culture this season and the new additions can help us to where we don’t have a season like 2022 where we don’t make the tournament and we’re back here again next season.”

There’s no telling when the Mountaineers second appearance in a national semifinal comes, but with Stratford guiding the program, there’s plenty of cause for optimism.

A native of London, England who enjoyed a decorated playing career at WVU from 2004-07, Stratford is 103-20-20 in seven seasons as a head coach. The first three of those came at the University of Charleston, where the Golden Eagles compiled an astounding record of 61-4-5 and won two National Championships under Stratford’s watch.

The winning ways have continued at WVU, where Stratford has led the Mountaineers to a national quarterfinal and semifinal in two of the last three seasons.

“He does everything and puts the belief in us as players. He makes our rules very clear as players,” said Baer, whose career at WVU began in Stratford’s first season as head coach. “From a management perspective, he’s great. I feel so blessed that I’ve had four years with him. I can’t tell him what he’s done for me these four years. He’ unbelievable. That’s all I have to say.”

As is the case every season, the Mountaineers will say goodbye to at least several key players, including midfielder Luke McCormick, who was unable to play against Clemson after suffering an ankle injury in an Elite Eight win over Loyola Marymount.

In the era of the NCAA Transfer Portal, there’s sure to be other losses and additions to the roster, but the foundation is setup for future success.

“We have some of the best fans in the nation and we had hundreds of fans all the way in Louisville,” junior midfielder Otto Ollikainen said. “It’s massive. It helps about the soccer culture that’s building in our school and we want to continue this legacy and make it bigger and bigger every year.”

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St. Albans fisherman knew they’d be biting on a warm December day

APPLE GROVE, W.Va. — Friday’s weather forecast was enough to convince Michael Drake to take a day off from work and head to the Ohio River.

“With a cold front coming in, I thought they might start feeding up,” said Drake who spends a lot of time and effort chasing trophy sized catfish on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers in West Virginia.

He settled on a spot near Gallipolis, OH and anchored up after charting some fish deep on his electronics.

“I was anchored up in about 30 feet of water. I came through and marked a big pile of them on my fish finder. I threw out and in about 15 minutes I hooked up and the rest is history,” he explained in a conversation for West Virginia Outdoors.

He wasn’t kidding, it was an historic catch. He tied into a blue catfish which wound up being the largest one ever caught in West Virginia. Drake, who is from St. Albans, is well versed on the record because he’s been chasing it for quite a while.

“I’ve come very close before and caught some in the 50 pound range,” he explained.

But this one was well over that and was crowding 70 pounds. He got the fish in the boat, put it in the livewell, and made some calls to people he knew at DNR. Soon he had arranged to meet Biologist Ryan Bosserman from the Apple Grove Fish Hatchery on the riverbank. Bosserman showed up with his certified scales and measuring board to make the all important physical weight an length measurements. When he was done, Drake held the weight record, but the length record still stands.

This fish was officially 69.45 pounds which shattered the previous record of 67.22 pounds. He narrowly missed the length record by a couple of tenths of an inch. Drake’s big cat was 50.51 inches, the record still stands at 50.7 inches.

Biologists from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources record the official weight to certify Mike Drake’s blue catfish as the new West Virginia record for weight. PHOTO: Submitted

Drake was glad he didn’t pass up the opportunity. He ended up catching another blue cat which weighed around 22 pounds.

“I was alone. My fishing partner had to work, but I decided to go alone and low and behold it happened,” he laughed.

Soon after Bosserman certified his measurements and more than a few pictures were taken, the giant catfish was gently released back into the water to potentially be caught again. Drake, who is a dedicated catfish angler, said that was of upmost importance in his mind.

“That’s one of the big things to me is the health of the fish. You chase these things all the time and they don’t just grow to that size overnight. So I did my best to take care of it and get somebody here so we could quickly get it back in the water,” he explained.

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One dead and one arrested in Lincoln County murder case
Chris Taylor

HAMLIN, W.Va. — State Police say a Charleston man is dead and a Lincoln County man has been charged in his death.

Troopers were called to a home in Lincoln County Friday afternoon. There Peyton Cox, 27, of Charleston, W.Va. was found dead of apparent stab wounds. Troopers believe the stabbing occurred at the home on Walnut Street in Hamlin, W.Va.

After an investigation, troopers found evidence which led to the

arrest of Chris Taylor, 25, of Hamlin, W.Va. He’s lodged in the Western Regional Jail charged with first degree murder.

The investigation continues.

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Former Hazelton inmate found guilty in prison murder

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A former inmate at the Hazelton Federal Prison in Preston County has been convicted of the murder of another inmate.

The jury found Stephen Crawford, 44, guilty Friday of assault of voluntary manslaughter, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault resulting in serious bodily harm. Court documents said Crawford used a prison-made weapon to stab the victim multiple times. The inmate later died of his injuries.

Crawford faces up to 15 more years in federal prison for the manslaughter charge and faces up to 10 years for each of the assault charges. A federal district court judge will carefully determine the sentence.

The trial lasted for five days.

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Class AAA all-state football team

The Class AAA All-State Football Team as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association

First Team


QB – Chance Barker, Princeton, (Soph.)

QB – David Parsons, Parkersburg (Sr.)

RB – Curtis Jones, Cabell Midland, (Sr.)

RB – Gage Wright, Parkersburg South, (Sr.)

RB – Zach Rohrig, Bridgeport (Sr.)

WR – Dom Collins, Princeton (Sr.) (CAPTAIN)

WR – Mykel Davis, Wheeling Park (Sr.)

OL – Eli Campbell, Princeton (Sr.)

OL – Robby Martin, Huntington (Sr.)

OL – EJ Hendrix, Martinsburg (Sr.)

OL – Daron Parks, Hurricane (Soph.)

OL – Wes Brown, Bridgeport (Jr.)

K – Jonny Aya-ay, Huntington (Sr.)

UTL – Murphy Clement, Martinsburg (Sr.)

UTL – Noah Vellaithambi, Hurricane (Jr.)


DL – Rashad Reid, Martinsburg (Sr.) (CAPTAIN)

DL – Xerxees Yancey, Martinsburg (Sr.)

DL – Beau Ford, Bridgeport (Sr.)

DL – Michael Lunsford, Cabell Midland (Sr.)

DL – Kiyou Jackson, Huntington (Sr.)

LB – Cannon Lewis, Cabell Midland (Sr.)

LB – Nick Busky, Martinsburg (Jr.)

LB – Turner Garrettson, Parkersburg South (Sr.)

LB – Nolan Meehlib, Jefferson (Sr.)

DB – Bobby Powell, Morgantown (Sr.)

DB – Keyshawn Robinson, Jefferson (Sr.)

DB – Zah Jackson, Huntington (Jr.)

P – Tayveon Wilson, Huntington (Soph.)

UTL – Max Anderson, Spring Mills (Soph.)

UTL – Jalyn Abercrombie, Spring Valley (Jr.)


Second Team 


QB – Abe Fenwick, George Washington (Sr.) (CAPTAIN)

RB – Marquel Lowe, Princeton (Jr.)

RB – Josh Love, Bridgeport (Jr.)

RB – Koi Fagan, Martinsburg (Jr.)

WR – Ethan Jackson, University (Jr.)

WR – Tyshawn Dues, Hurricane (Jr.)

OL – Aiden Ellis, George Washington (Sr.)

OL – Wes Hancock, Martinsburg (Sr.)

OL – Ryan Jones, Bridgeport (Sr.)

OL – Tyler Wise, Brooke (Sr.)

OL – Derek Croghan, Wheeling Park (Sr.)

K – Casey Stanley, Parkersburg (Senior)

UTL – Keegan Sack, George Washignton (Jr.)

UTL – Robert Shockey, Cabell Midland (Sr.)

UTL – Malik McNeely, Huntington (Sr.)


DL – Aaron Clark, Hurricane (Sr.)

DL – Trey Woolaston, Musselman (Sr.)

DL – Aidan Sparks, Bridgeport (Sr.) (CAPTAIN)

DL – Kalum Kiser, Princeton (Soph.)

LB – Matthew Stalnaker, Parkersburg (Sr.)

LB – Aydin Flemming, Hedgesville (Sr.)

LB – Jaylon Hill, Morgantown (Sr.)

LB – Brock Kehler, University (Jr.)

LB – Adam Long, Oak Hill (Sr.)

DB – Cale Culicerto, Bridgeport (Sr.)

DB – Malachi Lewis, Oak Hill (Sr.)

DB – Jared Marsh, Wheeling Park (Sr.)

DB – Andrew Stalnaker, Parkersburg (Sr.)

P – Connor Fitzpatrick, John Marshall (Sr.)

UTL – Anthony Valentine, George Washington (Jr.)

Honorable Mention

Bradley Anderson, Ripley; Xavier Anderson, Spring Mills; Drew Banks, Lincoln County; Eli Bartley, Parkersburg South; Brae Booth, Spring Valley; Sam Booth, Spring Valley; Brennan Brinker, Hampshire; John Coleman, University; Caleb Conrad, Hurricane; Avonte Crawford, Huntington; Aiden Davis, Wheeling Park; Isaiah Delauder, Washington; Michael Diacomo, Princeton; Seth Dravar, University; Buzz Dover, Martinsburg; La’Ron Dues, Hurricane; Levi Faircloth, Hedgseville; Garrett Fauble, Washington; Dylan Fleak, Parkersburg South; Cole Ferguson, Spring Valley; Gunner Flores, George Washington; Hunter Giacomo, George Washington; Quinton Goins, Jefferson; Elijah Gray, Oak Hill; Bryce Green, Riverside;  Prophet Guillaume, Spring Mills; Chase Hackett, Buckhannon-Upshur; Brody Hamric, Greenbrier East; Tucker Hammond, Spring Valley; Dylan Harich, Jefferson; Wayne Harris, Huntington; Tanner Hathaway, Bridgeport; Luke Hudson, University; Anthony Ice, Parkersburg; Nycere Jacobs, Jefferson; Tim Jeffress, Bridgeport; Amare Johnson, Wheeling Park; Mikey Johnson, Huntington; Landon Jones, Woodrow Wilson; Ryan Kelley, Buckhannon-Upshur; Greyson Kuhn, Preston; Maverick LeMasters, John Marshall; Ethan Likens, Preston; Jacqai Long, Hurricane; Malik M’Boyo, Morgantown; Cam Martin, Bridgeport; Demonte Martin, Hedgesville; JD Mauritz, Oak Hill; Jameson Maynard, Wheeling Park; Myles Meadors, Cabell Midland; Collen Moore, Ripley; Gavin Moore, Brooke; Wyatt Morris, Buckhannon-Upshur; Brad Mossor, Princeton; Sirod Musgrove, Martinsburg; Landon Nida, Cabell Midland; Caleb Nutter, Morgantown; Xavier Patterson, St. Albans; Drew Phares, Morgantown; Zavier Pollard, Musselman; Tyler Radford, Woodrow Wilson; Mason Ramsey, Cabell Midland; Elijah Redfern, Woodrow Wilson; Cookie Rivera, University; David Robinson, Capital; Zander Robinson, Hampshire; Tay’Shaun Roper, Jefferson;  Logan Sponaugle, Lincoln County; Aiden Stire, Morgantown; Josiah Stratton, Lincoln County; AJ Thomas, Morgantown; Wiz Tye Jr., Huntington; Cam Veazy, Huntington; Triston Walker, Parkersburg South; Tyson Wagoner, Parkersburg South; Elijah Waller, Woodrow Wilson; Garrett Wagoner, Spring Valley; Anthony Williams, Spring Mills; Donovan Williams, Bridgeport; Jason Williams, Parkersburg; Walter Williams, Huntington; Tavion Woods, Riverside; Caleb Yates, John Marshall.

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Marshall looks to score road win against Ohio

— By Bill Cornwell

Despite a 2-6 record, Marshall basketball coach Dan D’Antoni says he saw progress from the Thundering Herd in an 85-72 loss at home to Duquesne on Wednesday evening.

“That team I can coach,” D’Antoni said. “The way we played last Saturday (79-74 loss to Miami Ohio) was difficult, but we had a “come to Jesus” meeting and played some different players and I thought we at least played harder.”

After two straight home games, Marshall is back on the road with two visits to Mid-American Conference schools, starting at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ohio.

The game can be seen on ESPN+.

The MAC road swing for Marshall continues next Wednesday at Toledo.

Ohio is coming off a home loss Wednesday to Youngstown State, 78-72.

The Bobcats are 5-3 this season, picking up victories over Troy, Detroit Mercy, Middle Tennessee, Brown and Delaware and suffering losses to Cleveland State, George Washington and Youngstown State.

Jeff Boals, a former Marshall assistant, is in his fourth season as head coach at his alma mater. Boals has an 82-48 record with the Bobcats.

Four Bobcats average scoring in double figures, led by senior guard, Jaylin Hunter at 16.4 points per game. The other top scorers are graduate guard Shereef Mitchell (14.4 ppg), sophomore guard Elmore James (13.4 ppg) and junior forward A.J. Clayton (10.9 ppg).

Ohio’s top rebounder is James at 6.5 per game.

The Bobcats shoot better than 46 percent from the field, almost 34 percent from the 3-point line and 69 percent from the foul line. Ohio has protected the ball well and averages 9.5 turnovers.

Junior forward Obinna Anochili-Killen leads four Marshall players scoring in double figures at 14 points. The others are: Graduate guard Kevon Voyles (13.1 ppg), junior forward Nate Martin (12.1 ppg) and senior guard Kamdyn Curfman (11 ppg). Redshirt sophomore guard Cam Crawford’s scoring average took a jump to nine points after he scored a career-high 20 in the Duquesne loss.

Martin is the Herd’s rebounding leader at 9.8 on average.

The Herd is shooting just below 40 percent while struggling with a 25.5 percent percentage from the three-point line. Marshall is shooting 71.6 percent from the foul line.

“This team’s going to develop and if we keep playing this way, we’ll have a good ball club,” D’Antoni said. “The fans need to hang in there because we’re gonna play hard for them. We’ll know where we are when we get into conference play. 

“I’m not counting us out. We can do some damage in this conference and we’re going to get better in each of these next five games before we begin conference play. When we hit our stride, we’ve got a chance against anybody.”

Marshall and Ohio have met 107 previous times, with the Bobcats holding a 57-50 series record. The teams played in Huntington last season, when Marshall picked up an 83-69 win.

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Noted philanthropist and business leader Bob Shell Jr. dies
Bob Shell Jr.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A philanthropist and trailblazer in industry in West Virginia has died. The family or Robert L. Shell Jr. says he died December 6th in Huntington at the age of 80.

Bob Shell Jr, as he was known to many, was Chairman and CEO of Guyan International and Permco. Shell helped lead the company which set new standards in the area of hydraulic manufacturing. Shell helped expand Permco into an international leader in the industry with more than 500 employees across the U.S., Africa, Switzerland, and China.

He was also a trusted political advisor to many in West Virginia and played prominent roles in the transition of power with five West Virginia governors, most notably Joe Manchin and Bob Wise. He was also a trusted business advisor to many in West Virginia politics.

Shell was a longtime benefactor to Marshall University. He previously served as Chairman of the Marshall Board of Governors. He was also a strong supporter of the city of Huntington , the United Way, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Shell’s significant philanthropic efforts were recognized through prestigious accolades, including inductions into the Huntington Wall of Fame and the Business Halls of Fame at both Marshall University and WVU.

Among his survivors are his wife Lena Ji Shell and his five children. Funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, December 14, 2023, at Christ Temple Church, Huntington, W.Va. entombment will follow at Spring Hill Cemetery.

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Solid start lifts Grafton over Tucker County, 51-44

GRAFTON, W.Va. — Highlights and photo gallery from Grafton’s 51-44 win over Tucker County.

(Highlights and photo gallery by Teran Malone)

Tucker County (1-1):

  • Ethan Rosenau – 17 points

Grafton (1-0):

  • Jacob Maier – 25 points

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