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After reviewing Governor Jim Justice’s proposed fiscal year 2024 budget, Commissioner Kent Leonhardt released the following statement:
“I’m thrilled to finally see a line-item for laboratories within the budget bill, but I am disappointed that it’s only a soft commitment through the surplus section. With the Legislature looking to push historic policy changes, including record tax breaks, we need the same kind of enthusiasm towards rebuilding our labs.
“I am worried as we increase the overall budget by $200 million, spend down our ARPA dollars and pass these tax cuts, we will miss a once-in-a-generation chance to build state-of-the-art laboratories,” said Commissioner Leonhardt.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) conducted a study through ZMM Architects and Engineers in 2019 to determine the best location for a new WVDA laboratory.
Since, Commissioner Leonhardt has been advocating for funding to be allocated to complete the project. The cost of the project has risen from $32 million to $74 million.
“We all agree that the conditions of our laboratory buildings are atrocious. That is why it is confusing, despite making it a part of his State of the State, the governor put laboratory funding behind $250 million of surplus priorities. I am calling on the governor and Legislature to appropriate funding through general revenue or a supplemental. We need to tackle this issue now before we see another crisis,” Leonhardt said.
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The Intelligencer (Wheeling)
Both state Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, appear to understand that it’s going to take careful maneuvering this legislative session to handle just how to allocate the expected $1.8 billion in excess tax revenue.
There are many variables involved, such as the possibility the surplus looks much bigger because estimates used to craft the current fi scal year’s budget were lowballed, the possibility that natural gas prices will slip back down, and the number of bureaucrats and public officials who will have their hands out.
While those will be factors, here’s today’s reality: West Virginia is sitting on nearly $2 billion in surplus funds, and as the Legislature gavels in for the 2023 session, meaningful tax reform needs to be on the agenda.
West Virginia has the highest personal income tax rate in the mid-Atlantic region. We continue to force businesses to pay taxes on equipment and inventory. And we require residents and business to pay annually for the privilege of owning a vehicle or other personal property.
These taxes and others have held the state back for generations. The time for meaningful tax reform to take place is now, when it can be done from a position of financial strength. Lawmakers and the governor should not waste this opportunity.
As Corridor H nears completion, residents fight state highway officials to route it around their towns
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By Alexa Beyer
Mountain State Spotlight
It was the quiet hour before Sirianni’s Pizza Cafe opened, and Walt Ranalli was rushing from the dining area to the storage room, carrying boxes that a supplier had left earlier that morning. The wood-paneled walls of the restaurant are decked with framed professional ski posters from the ‘80s and a portrait of Tucker County High School’s Mountain Lion of the year.
In a few hours, every table at Sirianni’s would be full. Tourism in Canaan Valley is thriving, even in the off-season and even without a highway exit nearby.
“If the powers that be want us to look like ‘everywhere- else America,’ I guess that’s how we’re gonna end up looking,” Ranalli said. He tapped the table for emphasis: “They don’t realize that that’s not why people come here. People come here because it doesn’t look like everywhere- else America.”
That’s why Ranalli is worried about Corridor H.
The long-planned project will stretch from I-79 near Weston, to the Virginia state line, across Tucker, Grant and Hardy counties. It is part of a network called the Appalachian Development Highway System that has been in the works since 1965 to better connect Appalachia with the rest of the country. Of the 24 highways in that system, Corridor H is one of the last to be completed. It’s also the one that West Virginians have argued about for decades.
Until recently, people in the region were divided about whether the highway should exist at all. Environmental groups and some area residents opposed the construction, saying the highway would destroy some of the most beautiful parts of West Virginia, fragmenting forests and changing the character of the small towns in the area for the worse.
But now, everyone seems to know the fourlane highway is coming. Most of Corridor H — stretching 117 miles — is open to traffic. So the fight is instead over where the most controversial, 10-mile section of the road will go. West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston is set on the state’s long-preferred route, which would take the road directly between the towns of Davis and Thomas — and he doesn’t seem to be wavering from it.
“The completion of Corridor H is inevitable, we’re going to build that road,” he told lawmakers in September.
But many residents and business owners — previously not always on the same page when it came to Corridor H — have joined to press the state for an alternative, one that would divert the segment to the north of Davis and Thomas. They say this route would preserve the uniqueness that attracts people to the community in the first place, unlike the DOH’s plan.
“I think it’ll just ruin the whole flair of what we’ve been able to create here,” Ranalli said.
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ODD COUPLES MIXED LEAGUE
TEAM STANDINGS: Vetter’s Guns & Ammo 49 – 31, Strike Force 48 – 32, WELD 45 – 35, Split Happens 44.5 – 35.5, Terminators 44 – 36, Empire Strikes 29 – 51, Country Cars & Trucks 29 – 51, Lucky Strikes 28.5 – 51.5.
MEN: HIGH GAME (SCRATCH): Michael Hedrick 274, Troy McGreevy 263, Don Himelright and Richie Burgess 247. (HANDICAP): Troy Mc- Greevy 282, Michael Hedrick 278, Richie Burgess and Kevin McDonald 263.
HIGH SERIES (SCRATCH): Michael Hedrick 661, Richie Burgess 650, Don Himelright 646, Troy McGreevy 642. (HANDICAP): Troy McGreevy 699, Ed Turner and Richie Burgess 698, Ed Wompler and Michael Hedrick 673.
HIGH AVERAGE: Jon Hedrick 204.93, Terry Wratchford 203.33, Richie Burgess 201.28, Ed Wompler 200.
WOMEN: HIGH GAME (SCRATCH) : Dee Anna McDonald 230, Carissa Michael 205, Sarah Earle 193, Emily Stark 191. (HANDICAP): Dee Anna McDonald 266, Emily Stark 240, Carissa Michael 238, Rachel Stark 233.
HIGH SERIES (SCRATCH): Carissa Michael 585, Dee Anna McDonald 580, Emily Stark 502, Flecia Brockway 457. (HANDICAP): Dee Anna McDonald 688, Carissa Michael 684, Flecia Brockway 661, Emily Stark 649.
HIGH AVERAGE: Carissa Michael 179.45, Sarah Earle 177.87, Dee Anna McDonald 176.32, Tonya Keplinger 160.72.
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The Potomac Valley Muzzleloaders hosted a novelty shoot event on Jan. 1 at Turner Park. A total of 14 shooters participated in the event.
Winners during the event were: Randal George (matches one and seven), Terry Mulligan (matches two and six), Jerry Oates (matches three and five), James Helmick (match four) and Joe Martin (match eight).
Aggregate winners were: Terry Mulligan and James Helmick with 10 points each and Dave Lambert with seven points.
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By Clay Fritz
Earlier this month, 17 teams from across the state gathered along I-79 in Flatwoods for the Braxton County Invitational.
The tournament, which was held on Jan. 13-14, is one of the premier mid-season bracketed tournaments in the state. The Vikings traveled light with only four wrestlers competing.
At 132 lbs, Zeke Landis finished 2-2 picking up wins over Braxton County and Calhoun County but ultimately fell one match short of placing. Lukas Wolford had a strong showing, finishing 4-1 to capture third place on the weekend in the 138 lb class. The freshman picked up wins over Herbert Hoover, Ravenswood, Berkeley Springs and defeated Riley Pillus of Moorefi eld in the third place match. Competing at 144 lb for the Vikings, Alex Halterman picked up a win over Calhoun County to fi nish 1-2. Landon McGinnis finished the weekend 1-2 with a win over Calhoun County.
As a team the Vikings finished 14th with 35 points.
The young Vikings continue to show progress but have plenty to work on as the season rolls closer to regionals. The Vikings will be back in action on Jan. 27-28 when Petersburg will host the annual Viking SMASH.
Come out and support the team, action begins on Friday at 3 p.m. and at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
It promises to be a competitive weekend with lots of local teams competing.
The Viking Middle School wrestling team traveled to South Harrison Middle school for a Quad on Wednesday, Jan. 11. Teams in attendance included South Harrison, Elkins, and Washington Irving. In the first round, the Vikings matched up with Washington Irving. Josh Lahman (86 lbs), Blake Alt (94 lbs), Ryan Kessel (123 lbs) and Solomon Rohrbaugh (171 lbs) all picked up wins. Next up was South Harrison. Lahman, Garrett Dolly (116 lbs), and Kessel were victorious. The last match of the nigh saw the Vikings take on Elkins Middle School. All the matches were very competitive but only Rohrbaugh emerged with a hard-fought, come from behind victory to end the night. The middle school will be back in action Friday, Jan. 20 at Preston Middle School.
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Randall Riggleman (1991), Brandon Bennett (2004), Matthew VanMeter (2020), Marcus Hahn (2010), Derek Miller (2009), Slade Saville (2022), Jace Shanholtz (2016), Lane Huffman (2020), Shawn Riggleman (2010), Justin Tawney (2005), Shawn Hedrick (2009), Josh Evans (2011), Kahner Turner (2020), Charlie Moomau (2021), Ian VanMeter (2022), Adam Nesselrodt (2021) and Justin Mullenax (2012).
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Suenette Kuykendall (class of 1987), Angela VanMeter (1992), Medea Harvey (1998), Elizabeth Day (1998), Tonya Rohrbaugh (1999), Alicia VanMeter (1999), Tabitha Funk (2003), Joy Hinkle (2003), Kasey Evans (2011), Madison Evans (2012), Kelsey Miller (2022) and Sara Roy (2022).
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Final: WVU Potomac
Penn State Beaver 0
Records: WVU Potomac
State (9-5-0) | Penn State
Location: Stayman Field |
Raegan McKenzie, Nevaeh Hamborsky, and Morgan Pyles each scored 2 goals apiece to lead the Potomac State offense in a non-conference win over Penn State Beaver last month, at Stayman Field.
The Catamounts took the lead in the 28th minute when McKenzie score her first goal of the day.
Hamborsky made it a 2-0 game just 21 seconds later with the assist from Maggie Slocum.
Potomac State increased its lead with a goal from Pyles in the 30th minute, assisted by Hamborsky. The Catamounts struck again in the 43rd minute when Hamborsky scored her second of the day assisted by Elizabeth Layton.
In the second half, McKenzie got her second goal in the 59th minute, assisted by Slocum. Just over a minute later, Adrianna Guindon scored her first goal of season to make it 6-0.
Pyles wrapped up the Catamount scoring, getting her second of the game in the 62nd minute.
Potomac State outshot Penn State Beaver, 43-0. Kelsey O’Neal and Hamborsky split time in net during the shut out.
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Strike Force 16 – 4, Vetter’s Guns & Ammo 15 – 5, Terminators 11 – 9, WELD 10 – 10, Empire Strikes 9 – 11, Split Happens 8 – 12, Country Cars & Trucks 8 – 12, Lucky Strikes 3 – 17.
MEN: HIGH GAME (SCRATCH): Larry Ware 237, Troy McGreevy 229, Tyler Halterman 223, Richie Burgess 220. (HANDICAP): Larry Ware 264, Tyler Halterman 256, Troy McGreevy 249, Jeff Sullivan 248.
HIGH SERIES (SCRATCH): Troy McGreevy 600, Larry Ware 599, Richie Burgess 587, Trey Wratchford 586. (HANDICAP): Trey Wratchford 688, Larry Ware 680, Troy McGreevy 660, Jeff Constable 657.
HIGH AVERAGE: Terry Wratchford 208.20, Jon Hedrick 202.80, Richie Burgess 202.00, Larry Walp 197.87.
WOMEN: H I G H G A M E (SCRATCH) : Sarah Earle 196, Dee Anna McDonald 192, Emily Stark 191, Carissa Michael 188. (HANDICAP): Emily Stark 243, Flecia Brockway 241, Tonya Keplinger and Sarah Earle 235.
HIGH SERIES (SCRATCH): Sarah Earle 569, Dee Anna McDonald 538, Emily Stark 520, Carissa Michael 509. (HANDICAP): Sarah Earle 686, Emily Stark 676, Tonya Keplinger 662, Flecia Brockway 654.
HIGH AVERAGE: Dee Anna McDonald 182.07, Sarah Earle 177.56, Carissa Michael 165.87, Denise McGreevy 160.00.
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Grant County Adult Education enrolls students for their High School Equivalency and does TABE testing for the DHHR every Friday from 8:30 am-12 noon. Call 304-257-1277 to schedule or request information.
Cancer Support Group for cancer patients and caregivers, meets the first Monday of every month, 5 p.m. at Living Hope Baptist Church, 1 Veach St., Petersburg. Refreshments.
Cookies & Fellowship, third Thursday of every month, 6:30 p.m. at Maysville Bible Brethren Church. Grief can be difficult. Come for a time of fellowship.
Grant County Board of Education meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the board office on Jefferson Avenue.
Grant County Commission meets every month on the second Tuesday at 9 a.m. and the fourth Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in the lower level conference room. For the agenda check grantcountywv.org
Grant County Historical Society meets the third Tuesday of each month, 6 p.m. at the old courthouse. Anyone interested in local history is welcome to come.
GMH board meetings will now be held on Grant Memorial Hospital’s campus in the administrative conference room on the fourth Monday at 5:30 p.m.
New Beginnings Community Outreach, Thursday, 6-9 p.m. at First Baptist Church.
Petersburg City Council meets the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Gary Michael building on South Main St.
T.O.P.S. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets at 6 p.m. every Tuesday at Living Hope Baptist Church on South Main Street in Petersburg. Call Wendy DeiCas at 304-257-2349 for more info.