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Williamstown & St. Marys meet in battle of unbeaten teams Friday (Class A preview)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Greg Carey and Joe Brocato set the stage for the best Class A contests coming up in Week 6.

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Crash closes West Virginia Turnpike in Fayette County, detour plan activated

MOSSY, W.Va. — All lanes of Interstate 77, the West Virginia Turnpike, are closed between Mossy and Mahan in Fayette County after a crash and possible hazmat incident.

The tractor trailer rollover occurred at around 6:40 a.m. Thursday in the northbound lanes.

The Turnpike has put into place its detour from Beckley to Charleston and vice versa.

That detour includes directing northbound motorists to U.S. Route 19 at Beckley and then to Interstate 79 near Sutton. Southbound motorists are urged to use I-79 north at Charleston and then to Route 19.

There was no immediate word on how long the highway would be closed.

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MetroNews This Morning 9-28-23

Today on MetroNews This Morning:

–A federal government shutdown continues to look likely, and we’ll talk about some of the impact in West Virginia

–Congressman Alex Mooney talks about the debate centering around the possible closure of the government this weekend

–A lawsuit seeks to kick Donald Trump off the election ballot in West Virginia

–In Sports, WVU will retire the number of another football legend this season.

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 9-28-23” on Spreaker.

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Bradley shows he belongs, bandit brings more depth to WVU defense

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A season ago, West Virginia made numerous defensive additions through the transfer portal that didn’t translate to a unit that played up to the Mountaineers’ standard.

That’s been anything but the case over the first month of the 2023 campaign, with several newcomers having stepped up for a group that is 33rd nationally in scoring defense at 18.5 points per game despite allowing 38 in a season-opening setback at seventh-ranked Penn State.

Among the additions by way of the portal making an immediate impact are bandit Tyrin Bradley, who has a sack and four tackles. Perhaps most importantly, Bradley has helped add depth to a defense that considers it among its strongest traits. 

Despite making a significant jump from the FCS level at Abilene Christian to play in a Power 5 Conference, Bradley has shown the Mountaineers were wise to add him.

“He gives us a little bit different body type and skill set than we’ve had there,” defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley says. “He’s almost 260 pounds playing primarily into the boundary and that’s a lot of times where tight end and big sets like to focus on. We needed somebody to be able to play even in that two-standup package, where we had a little bit in-between defensive lineman/outside backer skill set that was stronger and a little bit bigger. It allows you to still play a lot of the same structures that you still would while having the athletic ability to drop, blitz and rush and do the things he needs to do.”

Bradley recorded a fourth-quarter sack two weeks back in the Mountaineers’ 17-6 win against Pitt.

Most recently, a native of Lubbock, Texas, he helped the Mountaineers defeat Texas Tech, 20-13. Bradley was utilized on 38 defensive snaps against the Red Raiders and finished with one tackle.

“There was talk about how fast the game is played here, but I felt I play the game fast,” Bradley said. “My biggest issue was coming in and being able to learn everything, because it’s a lot different from that level to this level scheme wise. Just being able to learn everything and produce and do my job at a high level as well.”

Bradley 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, but is a former high school quarterback at Monterey High and was once ranked among the top 100 players at that position in Texas.

“Up until the point I switched to defense, I thought I was going to be a college-level quarterback,” Bradley says. “Going into my junior year of high school, I was behind a guy that was a little bit better than me at the time. 

“I was so athletic, my coaches just wanted to get me on the field. That’s when they came up with the idea to just put me out there on defense. I was always a bigger kid. I moved to d-end my junior year of high school, but I still played quarterback as well, so I went back and forth in practice and game situations. After my junior year, I built up a little bit of height playing defensive end, so going into my senior year, that was my primary position.”

Bradley dealt with injuries as a senior and believes they slowed a recruiting process that the pandemic had already hampered.

He ended up 2 hours from home at Abilene Christian. Bradley’s most extensive action came in his second season under then first-year Wildcats’ head coach Keith Patterson, formerly a WVU defensive coordinator. 

Bradley earned first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors after finishing with 49 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and 14 quarterback hurries. 

Tyrin Bradley has made an early impact at West Virginia. Photo by Teran Malone

“I took the opportunity and ran with it,” Bradley said. “I became a starter and ever since then, I played as hard as I could and did what God gave me the ability to do. I always knew I was a big-time football player and wanted to play big-time ball. Entering the portal, my decision was whatever best suited me and wherever the transition was most comfortable and wherever I would get the best opportunity and feel.”

While Bradley fielded other offers upon entering the portal, he felt West Virginia was upfront and felt there was a natural fit within the Mountaineers’ defense.

An approval from his grandmother further helped finalize the decision.

“They let me know what position I would be in right away. I’m a pretty decisive person, so I came with my grandmother and she felt at peace and comfortable with it and I did, too,” Bradley said. “Coach Lesley broke everything down for me and gave me a great understanding of the defense. I really felt like I could make a change and impact here and help these guys do something big.”

Bradley has plenty of traits that make him a natural pass-rusher and having previously played quarterback has also proved beneficial.

“In some situations, I understand what’s going on before it happens as far as reads and drop backs,” Bradley said. “When the ball is being snapped, being a quarterback, you never want the ball unless you’re comfortable with what you see.“

In certain packages, Bradley has played with fellow bandit Jared Bartlett in an effort to give the Mountaineers more pass-rushing prowess and athleticism.

“Me and JB kind of work off of our strengths,” Bradley said. “We’re two of the best pass rushers on the team. Getting us in those situations where we can help get a stop or force a bad throw on those key passing situations.”

That athleticism has proven to aid Bradley in a big way during his transition to the highest level of college football. While there’s plenty of room for growth from the junior, he’s become a fixture on a defense that had 18 different players in for at least 10 snaps during the stellar showing against Texas Tech.

“Tyrin’s a really smart player,” Lesley said. “I don’t know that being a former quarterback trusts him in his rush awareness, because he was a straight option quarterback. Most of the time what that tells you if I’m evaluating a high school recruit, that’s what they have to be at that school offensively. If he’s running that offense, that’s where one of his better athletes has to be. 

“You look at that and think if he’s not a quarterback, what’s something else he could probably do. I wouldn’t think it’d be a 260-pound outside backer, but it worked out well for him and it worked out well for us.”

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Parkersburg wrestles with homelessness

Parkersburg City Council this week approved an ordinance designed to prevent the homeless from camping on public property.  Specifically, the ordinance prohibits sleeping, storing personal property or cooking for habitation purposes in city parks, parking lots, streets, sidewalks or under bridges.

The council approved the measure 7-1 with Mayor Tom Joyce as a strong supporter. He said on Talkline Tuesday that public property “isn’t the place for the homeless to be living or staying. We have two shelters that provide not only shelter, but hot meal programs, personal hygiene options and wraparound support services for those people who are homeless to address some of the root causes and underlying issues.”

The action follows increasing complaints from Parkersburg residents and business owners about the homeless population. However, according to the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, several individuals, including Keith Eddy who works with the homeless, spoke out against the ordinance.

“Vulnerable people will be targeted rather than receive the help they so desperately need,” he said. “Even if this was successful, we would merely be pushing these people away from service providers.”

The Parkersburg debate is happening across the country, as communities struggle to deal with what is a growing and seemingly intractable problem. City leaders and citizens typically do not want to be unsympathetic to the homeless, but they are also frustrated by homeless encampments in public spaces.

Research shows that the primary reasons for homelessness are economic. As Vox News reported in an expansive story about homelessness, “Experts broadly agree the problem is getting worse, and researchers say the primary cause is lack of affordable housing, stemming from both a shortage of units, and from rents rising faster than wages.”

Homeless shelters provide a place where the unhoused can sleep, clean up and access social services. However, that is temporary housing, and some individuals avoid shelters because they do not want to follow the rules.

The homeless issue is further complicated by mental illness, substance abuse and a criminal history. The Atlantic reported on a California study of the homeless that found, “Many people enter homelessness from prison or jail—fully 19 percent of respondents.  What’s more, 67 percent of those respondents were homeless when they went to jail.”

Back to the Parkersburg ordinance. Mayor Joyce told me he has “overwhelming support” for keeping homeless encampments out of parks and off city property. However, his attention to the issue does not stop there. He is searching for long-term solutions.

“If we do not get more people engaged with these wraparound services to address the underlying issues, the homeless will not get on the path to sobriety, employment, (and) mental health care, we will be feeding and clothing them in perpetuity, and our communities will look like those we see and hear about on the national news every night,” he said.

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Godard’s goal lifts No. 1 Marshall to 1-0 win at VCU

— By David Walsh

Marshall’s Theo Godard made an impact on his return to action on the pitch Wednesday night.

Godard, who sat out the Thundering Herd’s 1-0 home win over UCF last Saturday due to a red card received in a September 16 win at James Madison, notched his first goal of the season at 76:59 to give No. 1 Marshall a 1-0 win over VCU at Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond.

Marshall continues with its best start in program history at 9-0. The Herd has outscored its opponents, 27-3. VCU fell to 1-4-4.

This was the Herd’s first road test of the season as the top-ranked team in the nation. Marshall is one of three Sun Belt Conference teams ranked in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25. UCF is No. 3 and West Virginia No. 4. 

On the decisive goal, Joao Roberto and Matthew Bell picked up the assists. Godard’s shot with the right foot went into the bottom left of the goal. 

Bell has 18 points for the season.

Both teams finished with five shots on goal. 

Herd keeper Gabriel Perrotta stopped all five to secure his fifth solo clean sheet to go with a combined one with Gabe Sitler. 

Rams keeper John Ermini recorded four saves.

The match went to halftime scoreless — only the third time the Herd and its opponent have been tied after 45 minutes. The other two were 1-1 against Pitt and High Point.

Marshall, the last team in the nation with a perfect winning percentage, is 12-2-1 in its last 15 matches and allowed just six goals in that span.

Marshall returns to Sun Belt play Sunday against Georgia State in Atlanta. Game time is 7 p.m. 

This was the Herd’s final non-conference match.

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Wheeling businessman indicted on wire fraud, tax evasion

WHEELING, W.Va. — A special grand jury in Wheeling has handed down a multiple-count indictment to a businessman accused of defrauding numerous investors and employees of his real estate development company.

Jeffrey James Morris, 36, has been indicted on 18 counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of failure to pay taxes. He was charged Tuesday.

Morris is a managing member and majority owner of Roxby Development, LLC. He’s accused of encouraging individuals to invest in real estate in Ohio County which included the McClure House Hotel, Mount Carmel Monastery, and Scottish Rite Cathedral.

The indictment alleges that approximately 20 investors were persuaded into investing in these projects that were spearheaded by Morris and Roxby. He received nearly $7 million from the investors, according to the indictment.

Bill Ihlenfeld

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia Bill Ihlenfeld said instead of using the money received from investors into making improvements to the properties, as promised, Morris allegedly used investor funds to pay for credit card transactions unrelated to Roxby renovations.

“This was a sophisticated scheme in which investors from West Virginia and other parts of the country were convinced into investing into projects that appeared to be legitimate,” said Ihlenfeld.

Ihlenfeld said Morris also used the funds to pay personal expenses, other investors and debts of a company unrelated to Roxby.

Morris is also charged with withholding taxes from the pay checks of his employees. He allegedly failed to pay over $252,000 to the Internal Revenue Service to include Medicare and social security taxes.

Ihlenfeld said Morris was able to use his persona to persuade the investors, and even some of his employees, to buy in to the scheme he was conducting.

According to Ihlenfeld, some of those employees believed they would’ve been reimbursed for their contributions to the projects that Morris pitched. They allegedly invested some of their own money.

“The allegations are that he intentionally defrauded investors and he was able to do that because he is a charismatic and persuasive person, which is what we typically see in cases like this,” said Ihlenfeld. “A large number of employees didn’t get their paychecks when the investor money dried up.”

The indictment claims that Morris’ scheme involved trying to get into circles of influence in the city of Wheeling. His scheme allegedly did not just involve the more than 20 investors and multiple employees, but also government officials. Ihlenfeld said Morris would host lunches and dinners to have conversations with such officials.

“He knew who the movers and shakers were and he introduced himself to those people,” Ihlenfeld said.

Morris was arrested and charged earlier this month on one count of wire fraud. Ihlenfeld said they heard that Morris was plotting to leave the country, and that’s when they acted to file a criminal complaint and hold him accountable.

“We didn’t plan to proceed by criminal complaint earlier this month,” Ihlenfeld said. “When we learned that he might be leaving the country, we put together a criminal complaint, charged him, had him arrested, and had him appear before a United States Magistrate Judge.”

According to Ihlenfeld, Morris also had to surrender his passport and he has certain travel restrictions.

Ihlenfeld, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jarod Douglas, are prosecuting the case which was investigated by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-CI.

Morris is currently out on supervised release.

A jury trial is scheduled for November 14 at 9:00 a.m.

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Huntington man arrested in stabbing incident

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Police have arrested and charged a man with one felony count of malicious wounding following an early morning stabbing.

Officers were called to the Huntington City Mission at around 7:40 a.m. Wednesday.

The stabbing allegedly stemmed from an altercation between two men. The victim, a 40-year-old man from Jamaica, New York, sustained non-life threatening injuries after enduring a stab wound to the shoulder with a box-cutter.

Police identified the suspect as Jeremy Smith, 42, of Huntington. Smith was arrested at the scene and is currently being held at the Western Regional Jail.

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Some WVU students learn teach-out guidelines

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Foreign language majors at West Virginia University are learning via email how the teach-out process will be administered.

The World Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (WLLL) is being eliminated as part of WVU’s academic transformation. The WVU Board of Governors voted earlier this month to eliminate approximately 130 programs and more than 140 faculty positions.

When the teach-out is complete in foreign languages, only classes in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and French will remain, but WVU officials have said they are working to develop a partnership with another Big 12 school to offer more in-depth opportunities.

Students will no longer be able to declare majors in any language.

Current students with primary majors in WLLL with 60 credit hours by the end of the fall 2023 semester are the only students with a guaranteed teach-out. Minor or secondary major students are not guaranteed a teach-out but may still pursue WLLL classes as they are available.

Students with declared majors in Chinese or Spanish by or before the fall of 2023 will be given the opportunity to finish their degree work. Students with majors in German Studies or Russian Studies declared by or before the fall 2023 semester will be eligible for the teach out if they have or are pursuing the 60 credit hour mark. These students must also complete a minimum of 30 major credits, including their capstone, by December 2024, or the major will be removed.

Minor students in Arabic Studies, Chinese Studies, French, or Spanish will be allowed to complete work at their own pace. Those with minors in German Studies, Latin American Studies, Russian Studies, Linguistics, Foreign Literature in Translation, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and Slavic and East European Studies must submit their minor course work by December 15, 2024, or the work will be removed from their records. Because there are no Japanese program faculty members, incomplete Japanese Studies minor students’ records will be removed prior to registration in October.

At the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the foreign language requirement will be removed as a degree requirement and removed from the 2024–25 course catalog. The number of general electives required for these students will also be adjusted by the Registrar’s Office.

The WVU Faculty Senate will hold its next meeting on Oct. 9 at 3:15 p.m. at the College of Law.

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Silver Alert issued for man last known to be in Raleigh County

RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. — West Virginia State Police (WVSP) said a man who suffers from Alzheimer’s drove off without his daughter after making a stop in Raleigh County.

On Wednesday, William Heilman was traveling south on Interstate 77. He and his daughter were on their way to Florida from New York.

Troopers said that Heilman stopped at the Tamarack in Raleigh County and then took off in an unknown direction without his daughter. WVSP said Heilman may be in route back to his home in Chaffee, New York.

The vehicle is a 2023 maroon-colored Chevrolet Equinox with a New York registration of KVL 2136.

Troopers are actively searching for Heilman and the vehicle along I-77 and in adjacent area.

If someone finds or knows the whereabouts of Heilman, they are asked to contact the West Virginia State Police Troop 7 dispatch at (304) 926-1908.

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