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Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV


Fit + Active Schools Face-off returns to State Culture Center

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Six elementary schools and three middle schools around the state are facing off to see who’s the fittest.

The West Virginia Department of Education held its Fit + Active Schools Face-off Friday at the State Culture Center for its third year.

WVDE Physical Education Coordinator Josh Grant said the groups of elementary and middle schools compete in an eight exercise and four round workout routine for the event.

“It puts them against other schools to see what schools are the fittest and they’re judged on their form, their rhythm, their intensity, their stamina and their transitions,” Grant said.

Trinity Hill and Kendall Long were two students competing with their team from Peterstown Middle School in Monroe County.

“It’s a pretty cool experience to be here,” said Hill.

“Yeah, we worked hard to get here,” Long added.

They explained what all they were doing as part of the face-off.

“We do pushups, butt kicks, planks, jumping jacks, plank rolls, butterfly crunches,” they said.

Grant said the competing schools were selected to participate in the event by submitting a virtual entry of them doing the exercises and they trained throughout the semester to get there.

Along with Peterstown Middle, the other schools taking part in the face-off included: Frametown Elementary School in Braxton County, Overbrook Elementary and Richmond Elementary in Kanawha County, Roosevelt Elementary in Mason, Teays Valley and West Teays elementary schools in Putnam, Roosevelt Middle School in Mason County, and Teays Valley Christian Middle School in Putnam County.

In addition, students got to watch a performance by the Village of Barboursville Magic Jump Rope Team.

Grant said the focus of the event is on promoting children’s wellness, health, and team-building initiatives.

“A neat thing about this event is that it shows students that once they compete here they can be active for life,” Grant said. “I think we need to showcase wellness in our state and just encourage students to be healthy and active, and this is just a great way to show what it takes to work as a team, and they have what it takes inside of them to be fit and healthy for life.”

Judges from SHAPEWV, CrossFit Coal, the West Virginia Grind Basketball Team and West Virginia University were scoring the team’s on their performances during the face-off.

Grant said both groups of elementary and middle schools would be receiving first, second, and third places within their categories.

He explained what was in it for the winning schools.

“It’s going to come with monetary prizes, all of the students get a t-shirt, gold, silver, bronze medals, a banner to hold in their gym and a trophy,” said Grant.

First place winners Friday were Frametown Elementary from Braxton County and Teays Valley Christian Middle School from Putnam County.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Yeager Airport, American Water team up to bring water bottle refilling stations to the airport terminal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A sustainable way to fill up your water bottle has come to the busiest and largest airport in the state.

As a commitment to sustainability and passenger convenience, West Virginia International Yeager Airport partnered with West Virginia American Water to install a number of water bottle filling

Dominique Ranieri

stations at all passenger gates throughout the terminal.

Officials from both services came together at the airport Friday morning for an unveiling ceremony of the new filling stations.

Yeager Airport President and CEO Dominque Ranieri said when it comes to helping reduce plastic waste and support the planet’s health and well-being through the placement of these stations, CRW is happy to take the lead.

“Here at CRW we know how important it is to concentrate on the environment and sustainability, and all airports really need to focus on that moving forward to be good stewards of our planet,” Ranieri said.

West Virginia American Water President Robert Burton said the initiative to bring water bottle filling stations to organizations, schools, parks and other public places has been their focus for a few years now throughout American Water’s service areas across the state.

He said they felt they would be a significant benefit at the airport as well, as they continue to expand their sustainability efforts.

Robert Burton

“One, it’s important to get out the message of safe, reliable drinking water at your tap, but also it’s important to protect our environment, remove plastics as much as possible by the way stream,

and this is a great partnership here at the airport in this regard,” said Burton.

Ranieri said passengers now have access to three water bottle filling stations post-security as well as one in the ticket lobby and throughout the gate areas of the airport.

She explained what to expect when coming through the terminal with the empty bottles.

“You can come to the TSA checkpoint with an empty water bottle and once you pass through security you can fill your water bottle at any of the West Virginia American Water refill stations, also at each station is some beautiful artwork by a renowned photographer here in West Virginia,” she said.

Ranieri said at each filling station there is a counter which keeps track of exactly how many plastic water bottles they are avoiding by having passengers utilize the stations.

Burton said ecotourism was a driving factor that also led them to bring the filling stations to the airport as people seek out ways for a more sustainable life and eco-friendlier travel options.

He said the ultimate goal– decrease the usage of plastic water bottles that potentially leave long-term, damaging affects on the environment.

“The majority of plastics take many years, decades, sometimes centuries to bio-degrade, there’s a major issue of plastic in our water streams, within our rivers, within our lakes and within our oceans, so anything we can do collectively together to remove plastics out of our way stream is really important and this is a very sustainable way to do that,” Burton said.

Ranieri said as American Water aims to expand its sustainability efforts by providing the filling stations to its partners around the state, it only made sense for them to come to CRW as the initiative will reach a lot of people there.

Yeager Airport’s Wildlife Life Canine Hercules, American Water’s Puddles the Duck

“We know that we have half a million people passing through our airport each year, and it’s a great opportunity to share their initiatives and help people have drinking water wherever they are,” Ranieri said.

Yeager Airport’s Wildlife Patrol Dog, Hercules and American Water’s mascot Puddles the Duck were both on hand for Friday’s ceremony as well. They helped greet passengers and distribute reusable water bottles and pilot-themed rubber ducks as people were leaving or coming in.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Kanawha County Commission meets Monday to begin filling Carper’s vacant seat

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission will meet Monday to discuss next steps on filling a vacant seat created by the departure of former longtime Commissioner Kent Carper.

Ben Salango

Carper, a Democrat, resigned last week after a series of medical issues and an investigation that involved allegations of lewd behavior at Daniel Boone Park in Charleston.

The commission will begin canvassing votes from Tuesday’s election at the Voter’s Registration Office. It will be followed by a special meeting of the commission beginning at 12 p.m.

Commission President Lance Wheeler and Commissioner Ben Salango will discuss the application process.

“We’re going to announce the deadline to submit application and resumes to fill the spot,” Salango said on Friday’s “580 Live” with Dave Allen heard on 580-WCHS.

Salango said candidates must meet certain qualifications to apply. The applicant must be a registered Democrat and must live in District 1 or 4. Salango represents District 2 and Wheeler represents District 3.

If Salango, a Democrat, and Wheeler, a Republican, cannot reach a decision, the Kanawha County Democratic Executive Committee will step in and submit names.

“The Democratic Executive Committee, since that is the party where the vacancy is, they submit three names. Now, since I’m the senior commissioner, I would strike out a name and then Lance would strike out a name and whoever is left is the commissioner,” Salango explained.

Salango said he would like it to be a closed interview process. He said filling Carper’s position won’t be an easy task and that he’s looking for stability on the commission more than anything.

“I want someone with a level head. I don’t want it to be political,” he said. “We’ve been through a lot, and I want things to be calm for a while.”

Carper underwent quadruple bypass surgery in May 2023. The allegation that Carper exposed himself to a woman at the park came the same week as his strokes and heart attack.

Carper’s name still appeared on Tuesday’s Primary Election ballot even though he dropped out of the race against former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant days before that. Tennant won the Democratic nomination for county commissioner and will face Republican nominee Chris Walters in November.

Whoever is elected in the General Election will assume office in Jan. 2025. Salango said they need someone to fill Carper’s seat until then. He said it won’t be an easy task given Carper’s legacy in Kanawha County.

“It’s some big shoes to fill,” Salango said. “He was an advocate for law enforcement, for public safety, many of the things that we now see in routine Kent had worked on for years and decades. He had really done a wonderful job.”

Carper served on the commission since 1996, many of those years as president. Earlier this year, he stepped aside from the president’s role.

The commission will hold a special meeting on May 30 to fill the vacancy.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Crit racing excites fans on Charleston’s downtown streets

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — USA Cycling’s criterium racing on Thursday on the streets of Downtown Charleston was a huge hit and is returning Friday.

Competitors from both Men’s and Women’s Junior and the U-23 Men competed in Thursday’s “crit racing” as part of this week’s schedule of events with the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships. Women U-23, Elite and Men Elite will hit the roads Friday afternoon for crit racing.

Junior Women kicked things off with a 45 minute looped race that included passes on Court Street, Summers Street and to the start-finish line on Kanawha Boulevard. Landrie McLain was the first to the line in that race against 25 other competitors.

Junior Men followed with a 60 minute run of the downtown course. Alejandro Che came out victorious in a race with over 70 cyclists.

In the nightcap, Men U-23 ran an hour and 15 minutes under the lights with Gavin Hlady finishing ahead of everyone which was also about 70 athletes.

President of the Charleston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Tim Brady said the atmosphere downtown with the hundreds of fans in attendance to watch the cycling was something special.

“It’s just fun to see the city of Charleston embrace something like this that’s new,” he said.

This is just year one with USA Cycling. The city will have this week of events for the next four years too. Brady said they’re loving what they’re seeing this year so far.

“That’s our goal, to make this bigger and better every year,” said Brady. “You figure out where the kinks are in year one and then make it better for year two and so on.”

Every closed-off street was packed with fans Thursday. Some were there to support certain racers. Others were just Charleston residents excited to be downtown to witness a unique event to the city. Charleston resident Tom Gibbs was one of those.

“I am so happy this is here,” he said while watching from Summers Street.

Tom, a casual biker himself, said he usually watches any and all types of bike races on TV, so to see bike racing in action in his hometown was a joy to him.

Another Charleston local, Rick Hardesin, said he’s no stranger to watching criterium races in person.

“I had seen a criterium years ago and so when I saw that this was coming I thought I better come out,” he said.

Hardesin said he was proud of the city for bringing an event like this to Charleston.

Saturday and Sunday will feature all groups participating in the road race. Men U-23 will be the first to compete on the 148 km course at 7 a.m. Saturday.

The rest of the schedule for the USA Cycling Pro Road Nationals can be found here.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Improvements made to Laidley Field in Charleston expected to start in June

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Board of Education has agreed to enter into a contract with a construction company to begin making upgrades to Laidley Field in Charleston in preparation for the state football championship games next Fall.

Renovations will be made to the University of Charleston Stadium press box and concession areas starting in mid-June. The lowest responsible bidder, Swope Construction, will conduct the work for a total of $2.875 million.

Andrew Crawford, Facilities Planning Executive Director for Kanawha County, said there’s already been progress made on the locker rooms.

“The north side is getting very close to complete,” he said. “We’ve been epoxying floors, repairing roofs and hanging new doors and frames.”

Old lockers have been thrown out. Crawford said the new lockers should be arriving sometime in July. The south side will get attention after work on the north side section is complete.

The WVSSAC Football Championships will return to Charleston and be there for at least the next three years. The City of Wheeling had hosted the state championship games since 1994.

The WVSSAC Board of Directors granted final approval to the City of Charleston back in February. The city had the winning bid among other proposals that included Wheeling Island Stadium, Bluefield’s Mitchell Stadium, and a combined bid from Huntington’s Joan C. Edwards Stadium and Morgantown’s Milan Puskar Stadium.

Paving is expected to begin sometime between June 16 and August 1 at Laidley Field. Crawford said June 16 is also the earliest start date for crews. Minor work may still be done by crews on site into August, but an estimated date for when the facility will be made functional is for around August 9.

The main parking lot will also be repaired. Areas underneath the bleachers will be resealed according to Crawford.

UC Stadium is the home to the Capital High School football teams. Crawford said work at Laidley shouldn’t affect Capital football practices and the facility should be ready for sure by the first game in August.

Laidley Field also hosts the WVSSAC Track and Field Championships.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Fine Arts instructor recognized as Educator of the Year in Kanawha County

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — This year’s Educator of the Year for Kanawha County Schools is Mark Davis.

Davis is the Fine Arts Curriculum Specialist for Kanawha County Schools. He was recognized for the award this week by the Kanawha County Board of Education.

“He wears many hats in that role as well as many hats in his personal and professional lives,” said Superintendent of Kanawha County Schools Dr. Tom Williams.

Davis does bear many responsibilities. He supervises both Art and Music positions in Kanawha County while being an adjunct instructor at the University of Charleston. He’s also responsible for the annual majorette festival, art show, all-county chorus and all-county band just to name a few.

Art means a lot to Davis and the impact is there on the state of West Virginia.

“I have a stat in my office that says art contributed $1.3 billion to West Virginia’s economy last year,” he said. “That’s college and career ready.”

Davis was actually a former student for board member Jim Crawford at St. Albans High School. Dr. Williams was also a former teacher there.

“We have some of the best in the business in Kanawha County Schools,” said Davis.

Davis possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from WVU as well as a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

City art piece dedicated in memory of the late Martha B. McKee

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A newly-dedicated art piece is commemorating a longtime community staple in the Capital City.

Charleston’s Office of Public Art came together with Bill McKee, husband of the late Martha B. McKee who served as the first full-time Executive Director of the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta as they dedicated the piece entitled “JOY•STX•4•U•2•N•JOY” in her memory on Thursday afternoon.

Bill McKee said his wife, who died three years ago, was very involved in the arts and the community. While he now lives in Florida, he still has a strong connection with Charleston and he said he wanted to do something special not only for her, but for everyone who lives here.

“I wanted to do something to honor her and I wanted to give something back to the city, too, Charleston has been very good to me, I miss it a lot, I know a lot of people here,” he said.

Many of his friends and fellow-community members joined him and the city representatives, including Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin in dedicating the piece Thursday.

The local artists involved in the project also came out to take part in the dedication. While the piece was created by artist George Snyder, the base of it was fabricated by Jeff Fetty and Craig Hinchman.

It’s a colorful art piece that lights up at night and it’s now located on the corner of Court Street and the Kanawha Boulevard. McKee said he was astounded by the piece upon first seeing it.

“It is unbelievable, people had sent us a couple of pictures, we flew in and got here Monday evening, we’re staying at the Marriot and we walked up here and gosh, we stayed here a while, took all kinds of pictures, walked around, it’s just amazing.

Mayor Goodwin said they were happy to dedicate the piece in memory of such an amazing woman and they wanted the over 8,000 cars that travel the Kanawha Boulevard on a daily basis get to see a reflection of the vibrancy that Martha gave to the city.

“Martha McKee was one of the most vibrant and dynamic people this city has ever experienced, this art piece totally reflects that about her personality and that’s why her husband Bill wanted to put it here, why we wanted to put it in this particular place is so everybody could see it,” Goodwin said.

McKee said George Snyder designed the piece using elongated colorful tubes.

He said his wife would have been very proud of the piece.

“She loved George Snyder’s work, and she actually bought the one that I have at my house, so we have one of his tubes that he did and people are always amazed, we just have one, it’s beautiful,” McKee said.

Along with serving on the Regatta Commission and various city boards over the years, Martha McKee also served as Deputy Secretary of Arts and Education for the State of West Virginia.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

American Heart Association, Link Transportation come together for new ‘Ride with Heart’ campaign

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — People will gain more insight into how to spot a stroke during a two-month-long campaign.

The American Heart Association has partnered with the Charleston-based ride-sharing service, Link Transportation for the launch of the “Ride with Heart” program. It will help educate the community about the signs and symptoms of a stroke, how to perform hands-only CPR, as well as the importance of keeping blood pressure in check to improve health outcomes.

American Heart Marketing Communications Coordinator Kevin Pauley said they wanted to do something special in celebration of 100 years of bringing health awareness to the community.

“This is the centennial year for the American Heart Association, so we are always trying to find new community partners and new ways to think outside of the box as far as how we can get messaging to more people,” Pauley said.

Pauley said the American Heart Community Impact Director Holly Mitchell got inspired to pair up their organization with Link after seeing how the service gets people to non-emergency medical appointments on a daily basis, and felt that it would be a really good way to reach important health information to those on their way to those appointments, or to wherever they are going.

Through the new partnership, riders with Link will now get to see information about stroke prevention and awareness by scanning a QR code on the back of their head rests.

Pauley said they feel it’s a beneficial way to expand such information during two major health promotional months for the American Heart Association.

“Being able to have that, you know, we got them as a captive audience, this just gives them a chance to learn a little bit,” he said. “May is America’s Stroke Month so they’re going to learn about the signs of a stroke using the acronym FAST, and then in June for CPR Awareness Week they’re going to have the ability to learn how to do hands-only CPR while sitting in the back of a car.”

Link Transportation CEO Jeb Corey said the head rest covers containing this information will be in all 30 of their vehicles they operate throughout the Kanawha Valley area, and that they typically transport about 2,000 people a week, so the campaign will reach a wide audience.

He said he’s hopeful it will leave a lasting impact.

“We just want people to learn about their health and things they can do to be healthier, you know, heart disease is obviously one of the big killers in the United States, so if we can do anything to further educate people that’s the number one thing,” said Corey.

Pauley said strokes are in fact number 5 of the top killers in the U.S. and they continue to be a leading cause of disability.

He said having the awareness about strokes is key to saving a life.

“We want people to be aware, we want them to know the signs and symptoms, because odds are, if you come across someone who’s having a stroke it’s most likely going to be someone you know and you would definitely want to know what to do for that person, whether it’s a loved one, a co-worker, someone you go to church with, whoever that is, we want you to be prepared, know those signs and symptoms, and know how to help out,” Pauley said.

Pauley said they want to make sure everyone is aware of the acronym FAST– F for face drooping, A for arm weakness, S for slurred speech, and T for time to call 911. He said time is of the essence when having a stroke as every minute lost is brain functioning also being lost, so how quick one responds is crucial.

Along with the campaign, Link and American Heart will host two events in May and June.

On May 29 they will host a cardiovascular health clinic with medical services provided by West Virginia Health Right. Patients will be able to receive blood pressure and glucose screenings along with follow-up care information.

The clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Link Transportation’s North Charleston facility located at 312 21st Street West. Corey encourages everyone to take advantage of it.

“We want as many people to come here on that day because there’s no cost in doing that, it’s a great way to learn about your body, learn about your health, and maybe pick up some information that will help you down the line,” Corey said.

Attendees of the clinic will also be able to receive hepatitis C screenings as well as rapid HIV tests.

Then, on June 5 they will come together again to host a Hands-Only CPR training clinic.

For transportation to the clinics, you can contact Link on their website.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Skaff says pain continues from snake bites

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Secretary of State candidate and former House of Delegates member Doug Skaff is hospitalized after being bitten by two copperhead snakes while removing campaign signs.

Doug Skaff is being treated at CAMC.

Skaff, who is being treated at CAMC, said he was taking down the signs near Danville in Boone County Wednesday when he stepped on something. He said he didn’t know what it was at first.

“I just felt like something sharp and then I grabbed my sign and it knocked me back. It may take couple days till they get all this venom out to relieve the pressure on my muscle .Left leg from knees down completely swollen can’t touch it,” Skaff said.

He was picking up one of his bigger signs along U.S. Route 119 with his 7-year-old son. He said the first bite landed on the small toe of his right foot, the second was the calf of his left leg.

“I get bit right there on my leg and it shocks me,” Skaff said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline”. “I look down and there are two copperhead snakes. There was a baby snake and a bigger snake. I may have stepped on a nest or something.”

Skaff told MetroNews Thursday he’s in a lot of pain with persistent swelling.

“It hurts more than I’ve had anything hurt me in my life,” Skaff said.

He said the foot was still tingling Wednesday morning but the pain from the calf bite seemed to be heading up his leg.

“It’s more like a throbbing thing. We’re going to do another round of his venom reversal medicine. I’m going to go down to ICU and do it again,” he said.

Skaff said he’s thankful there were people close to where he was taking down the sign and came over and helped him and called for medical assistance.

Skaff, a former minority leader in the House, was defeated in Tuesday’s election in his run for Secretary of State.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV

Cross Lanes fire destroys passenger vehicle

The car was full of flames when firefighters arrived. (Photo/Nitro Fire Dept.)

CROSS LANES, W.Va. — Firefighters don’t know what caused a car to catch on fire Thursday morning in Cross Lanes.

Crews were dispatched to an area just off of Cross Lanes Drive. The car was full of flames when crews arrived on scene.

Firefighters from Nitro Station 80, Engine 853 and Chief 801 were on the scene.

There were no exposures and no injuries, authorities said.

Source: Local News – WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV