State News

WV MetroNews

The Voice of West Virginia

West Virginia Poll: Democratic primary is up for grabs, with most still undecided

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — “Not sure” is the current frontrunner in West Virginia’s Democratic primary race for governor.

In other words, 42.3 percent of likely Democratic voters are undecided five months before Election Day, according to the latest MetroNews West Virginia Poll.

From there, three candidates are practically tied.

Activist Stephen Smith is at 21.4 percent, state Senator Ron Stollings is at 18.6 percent, and Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango is at 17.7 percent.

The poll could have an overall statistical error of +/- 4.4 percentage points, so those results are close enough to be shuffled.

Rex Repass

“So it is essentially a three-way tie based on support as of December, 2019, with an election roughly five months away,” said pollster Rex Repass, president of Research America Inc., which conducts the West Virginia Poll.

With so many people still undecided, there’s ample opportunity to emerge from the pack.

“The three are in a dead heat and there’s a lot of opportunity to pull ahead,” Repass sad.

Back in August, the last round of polling looked at a possible gubernatorial run by Joe Manchin, among the state’s best-known political figures. But Manchin opted to return to the U.S. Senate, opening the door to lesser-known candidates.

“It is relatively early,” Stollings said in a telephone interview this week. “With Senator Manchin still kind of equivocating until Labor Day it delayed us getting out of the chute.”

Name recognition remains a challenge for each Democratic candidate.

Stollings, who has been in the state Senate since 2006, has the most name recognition in the Democratic field, but only 13 percent say they know “a great deal” or “a lot” about him.

Sixty-nine percent say they know “very little” or “nothing at all” about Stollings.

Smith has 8 percent saying they know “a great deal” or “a lot” about him, with 76 percent saying they know “very little” or “nothing at all.”

Salango has 7 percent saying they know him well and 76 percent saying they barely know him.

“In a race like this when there’s not a known statewide candidate you’re going to see a large number of undecideds this early,” Repass said.

“It will decrease in the natural order of things, but these three candidates — and there are others too – while they may be well known in their communities they aren’t necessarily known well at all statewide.”

A few other Democratic candidates do register somewhat with likely voters.

When asked “Is there anyone else you would support who hasn’t been mentioned?” four respondents named Cecil Silva, who is a Boone County resident, three mentioned Jody Murphy, an economic developer in Pleasants County, and one mentioned Edwin Vanover of Bluefield.

“You have to be known before you can be considered, and that is their biggest challenge,” Repass said.

Stephen Smith

Smith, former director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, has been campaigning for months.

Based largely on small-dollar donations, the Smith campaign had raised $452,692.34 through the first campaign finance reporting periods. The next reporting deadline comes after the end of this month.

“We didn’t start this campaign with a bunch of millionaires behind us,” Smith said. “We had to work for every little bit of us.”

The campaign, called “West Virginia Can’t Wait,” has had dozens of town hall meetings across the state.

Smith spoke on the telephone on Thursday evening while on his way to Morgantown to the campaign’s 145th town hall.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said, “but we’ve got a people’s political machine to get there,”

The campaign hasn’t purchased mass media advertising so far, and it’s not clear whether it will.

“We think there is nothing more valuable in politics than one on one, face-to-face conversations,” Smith said.

Ben Salango

Salango, who has been a Kanawha County commissioner since 2017, got into the race this fall — too recently to have filed a campaign finance report. Salango has not yet advertised.

“It’s not a surprise that we’re in a statistical tie. My campaign is just getting started,” Salango said on the telephone this morning.

“At the time the poll was run, we had only been campaigning for less than 60 days. We have strong fundraising support. And there are a lot of undecided voters who have not heard my message.”

The Charleston plaintiffs attorney has landed several endorsements from local unions. This week, Salango hired Grant Herring, who had been a spokesman for Manchin, to manage his campaign.

Salango was in Huntington on Thursday evening, the latest of a series of meet-and-greet events. He’ll be in a Christmas parade tonight.

“This race is going to come down to who can beat Jim Justice,” he said, referring to the current incumbent Republican governor who was elected as a Democrat. “So we’re out meeting voters, attending events and raising money.”

Ron Stollings

Stollings, a doctor from Boone County, also joined the race in late summer and hasn’t yet filed a financial report. He has an advertisement that describes his early life growing up with a single mother who died of cancer, with Stollings benefiting from the support of his community.

Contacted on the telephone on Thursday, Stollings was driving to the Eastern Panhandle (and speaking on a hands-free call, he pointed out) for political events including the Jefferson County Democratic Dinner, a legislative update before the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce and a meet-and-greet at Shepherdstown’s Bavarian Inn.

Stollings has made West Virginia’s fight against drug addiction the focus of his campaign, describing the plight of 10,000 students considered homeless and 7,000 children in foster care.

“We’re applying to be the CEO of the state of West Virginia, and I hope people can look at the resumes to see who might have the best chance to move us forward,” Stollings said.

Repass said the candidates will have to work to become better known to the public before one emerges as the nominee.

“We know that awareness for these candidates is very low. So what needs to be done is, whether it’s retail campaigning or media, introducing or building on name recognition is critical for those who happen to be in the plurality position at this time,” Repass said.

“There is opportunity but it will take the grassroots effort, more media, alignment with other sin the party and a lot of work between now and May.”



WV Poll 12 13 Release (1) (Text)

Methodology Statement

Results of this edition of MetroNews West Virginia Poll are based on interviews conducted between Dec. 4 to 10, 2019, with a sample of 500 West Virginia registered voters who are likely to vote in the May 2020 primary, including registered Democrats, Republicans, Libertarian, Mountain Party, and unaffiliated or independent voters. Data collection was completed online and by telephone with purchased sample of registered voters who are likely to vote in primaries.

Registered likely voters in all 55 West Virginia counties were sampled for the survey and modeled to the number of registered voters based on data from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.

When using sample of registered voters and hybrid data collection (online and telephone) it is not appropriate to apply a probability-based margin of error to interviews completed. However, applying statistical tests of significance to each question asked at the 95 percent confidence interval yields an overall statistical error of +/- 4.4 percentage points based on the 500 interviews. The 95 percent confidence interval varies by question.

The purpose of the West Virginia Poll is to provide a snapshot of opinion and timely voter views in the Mountain State. The media sponsor of the West Virginia Poll is MetroNews Radio Network.

Rex Repass is director of the West Virginia Poll and president of Research America Inc. Repass is responsible for questionnaire design, the respondent screening and selection process, data tabulation, statistical analysis, and reporting of results.

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll is a non-partisan survey of public opinion conducted by Repass and Research America Inc. The West Virginia Poll has been directed by Repass and conducted periodically since January 21, 1980. The name The West Virginia Poll is a trademark owned by Research America Inc., all rights reserved.

The post West Virginia Poll: Democratic primary is up for grabs, with most still undecided appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

Three Guys Before The Game – Austin Peay Review (Episode 164)

Things get really loose on what was supposed to be the Austin Peay Review episode.

In a highly caffeinated show, the “Guys” do talk basketball, but also manage to broker a coaching search, deal with a power outage, invoke the names of lawmakers, reveal WVU’s true recruting ranking, and unearth details on an unknown West Virginia coaching legend.

All of that and listener questions plus an invitation to Saturday’s first-ever Three Guys meet-up.

Brad, Tony and Hoppy return Monday with a recap of West Virginia against Nicholls and more.

Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google.

 

 

The post Three Guys Before The Game – Austin Peay Review (Episode 164) appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

Martinsburg’s Juwan Green hopes for pro career after excelling at Albany

Thinking back on the fall of 2015, Juwan Green can only be thankful.

Ahead of his senior season at Martinsburg High School, Green had a basketball-first mentality before deciding to step on the gridiron.

“I wasn’t playing AAU basketball that fall,” Green recalled. “I didn’t want to sit around so I looked into football.”

The decision would likely be considered the best one Green’s made.

A Class AAA second-team all-state selection as a wide receiver, Green had 552 receiving yards and nine touchdowns for the Bulldogs in 2015.

Green, who also ran track two years at Martinsburg, went on to play at one of the top junior college football programs in the country in Lackawanna College. While there two years, his passion for football continued to increase.

“The more I played, the more I loved it,” Green said. 

He caught 38 passes for 743 yards in his second season at Lackawanna. That allowed him to be the Falcons’ team MVP in 2017 before moving on to play at Division I FCS Albany.

His junior season and first at Albany gave Green an idea of what high-level college football was like. 

Green finished with 23 catches for 429 yards and four touchdowns, but felt something was missing as the Great Danes struggled through a 3-8 season.

“Looking at the bigger picture, I knew if this was something I wanted to do as a career that I had to take it more serious my senior year,” Green said. “That included everything from practice to walk throughs, lifting, summer conditioning and school work.”

The approach paid off in a big way for Green, who recently completed his senior season at Albany with team bests of 83 catches, 1,386 yards and 17 touchdowns. Green’s TD reception total leads all FCS players, while he’s fourth in yards and tied for ninth in catches.

“All the expectations I had coming into this season were surpassed,” he said.

Along the way, Albany finished 9-5 and won its first playoff game in program history — a 42-14 triumph over Central Connecticut.

“Everybody wants to leave their mark and that’s what this year’s team did,” Green said. “We set the bar high for years to come. It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of something so special.”

In the Great Danes’ season-ending 47-21 loss at Montana State last weekend, Green had a highlight-worthy 58-yard touchdown reception early in the game. It was featured on ESPN’s ‘You Got Mossed’, a segment dedicated to the better catches in football from the previous week.

After entering the end zone, Green had a familiar celebration in dedication to his hometown.

“I never forget about West Virginia,” he said. “I scored 17 times and I held up ‘304’ 17 times. I always show love and support to where I came from. Not many make it out of West Virginia.”

Green’s dad, Dean, was a wide receiver at Maryland and is also a Martinsburg native.

Although Green (6-foot, 187) didn’t end up at a Power 5 school, things worked out just fine.

“It’s definitely a story to tell. I made it to the top of the college football level. Everybody has dreams to play at an Alabama or LSU. Or if you’re from West Virginia, it’s West Virginia University. 

“In my case, I had to take the longer way. No matter where you end up, it’s possible to make it out. If you ball, they’ll find you. Talent pops up on the radar no matter the location.”

Green said he hopes to have an agent in the near future as he pursues a professional football career.

He has invitations to play in the NFL Draft Diamonds Dream Bowl as well as the College Gridiron Showcase.

“I’m open to everything. It’s been a short amount of time, but I enjoy playing football,” Green said. “I’m blessed to play at the next level whether it’s the NFL, CFL or any other league. I just want to ride this wave until the wheels fall off.”

The post Martinsburg’s Juwan Green hopes for pro career after excelling at Albany appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

WVU OL Colton McKivitz named to Walter Camp All-American team

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia offensive lineman Colton McKivitz was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America second team, the organization announced Thursday.

McKivitz, the 2019 Big 12 Conference Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year, is the 24th Mountaineer to be named to Walter Camp’s All-America team. He also became WVU’s 41st overall All-America selection since 2002. The program now has 106 All-Americans in total.

With McKivitz earning these honors, WVU offensive linemen have earned All-America honors in three of the past four years. McKivitz is the ninth since 2000 and the 30th All-American offensive lineman in school history.

A 2019 All-Big 12 First Team honoree, McKivitz played in 50 career games and started 47. He started all 13 games in 2019 and finished his career at TCU on Nov. 29, ranking No. 3 all-time for the most career starts in program history.

McKivitz already has accepted a Senior Bowl invitation for the Jan. 25, 2020, game in Mobile, Alabama. He saw action on 792 of West Virginia’s 801 offensive snaps this season. According to Pro Football Focus, McKivitz ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 for highest pass-blocking grade, No. 4 for highest run-blocking grade, tied for sixth for fewest sacks given up (1) and No. 5 for lowest pressure rate (3.1 percent).

McKivitz finished the 2019 season with zero missed assignments in six games and registered a team-leading 13 great blocks and 34 knockdowns. His best game of the season came against Iowa State, where he tallied eight knockdown blocks, did not allow a sack, did not have a negative play and didn’t have a missed assignment.

This is the 130th All-American team named by the Walter Camp organization – the nation’s oldest All-America squad. In all, 32 different schools from eight conferences (including independents) were represented on the All-America first and second teams with a total of 51 players selected.

LSU, Clemson and Wisconsin each have three first-team honorees. Ohio State has five All-Americans (2 first team, 3 second team), while LSU has four (3 first team, 1 second team). Overall, the Big Ten Conference had the most honorees (15), followed by the Southeastern Conference (13) and Pac-12 (7).

The post WVU OL Colton McKivitz named to Walter Camp All-American team appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

Justice maintains big lead among Republicans, Independents

Poll numbers show Governor Jim Justice holds a distinct advantage to win nomination by the Republican Party in the May Primary Election. The MetroNews West Virginia Poll released this week finds that if the election were held today, 56 percent would support Justice compared with 21 percent for Woody Thrasher and 11 percent for Mike Folk.

(Read more about the poll results here.)

Justice’s numbers have improved slightly since our August poll, when 53 percent of Republicans and Independents supported him.  Thrasher’s numbers have improved from 19 percent to 21 percent, while Folk has dropped a point.  However, with a margin of error of 4.4 percent, none of the changes are statistically significant.

It is clear, however, that the challengers have a long way to go to catch Justice by the May 12 election, just 150 days from today.

The poll shows Justice has a decided edge in name recognition.  Seventy-nine percent of likely voters have heard “a great deal” or “a lot” about Justice.  Just 18 percent know that much about Thrasher and only nine percent have significant familiarity with Folk.

Justice can generate news nearly every day because he’s the Governor.  Just showing up for an event is likely to get covered.  Thrasher and Folk have a much more difficult time generating earned media, which means they must spend even more money and time just to get their names out.

However, despite his lead Justice also has vulnerabilities.

Morning Consult lists Justice as among the least popular Governors in the country.  His approval rating is just 42 percent, while 47 percent disapprove of the job he is doing.  That’s a problem for the Justice campaign and it suggests that some of those who say today they would vote for Justice might be soft in their support.

Also, his primary opponents have not yet turned their full attention to Justice’s record.  The often-heard criticism of the Governor is that he does not live in Charleston and his companies don’t pay their bills.  You can bet his challengers will make sure voters hear that.

West Virginia voters don’t often turn out incumbent Governors, but it does happen.

In the 2000 election, incumbent Republican Governor Cecil Underwood lost his re-election bid to Democrat Bob Wise, 50 percent to 47 percent.  Incumbent Republican Governor Arch Moore was defeated by Democrat Gaston Caperton in 1988 59 percent to 41 percent.

Of course, those were General Elections, not primaries. It is even more difficult to convince members of a party to replace their candidate. But Justice is vulnerable here, too. Remember, Justice ran and was elected in 2016 as a Democrat and then he switched parties, so he is running for the nomination of the Republican Party for the first time.

Meanwhile, the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor is wide open.  We’ll reveal the MetroNews West Virginia Poll numbers in that race later this morning on Talkline and on our website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Justice maintains big lead among Republicans, Independents appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

State looks to receive additional millions in federal funds to battle opioid epidemic

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Attorneys Mike Stuart and Bill Powell will join a top U.S. Department of Justice official Friday morning to announce the awarding of nearly $38 million in grants to the state in connection with the opioid epidemic.

A news release announcing the 10 a.m. news conference said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan will join Stuart and Powell at the news conference to be held at the Byrd Federal Courthouse in Charleston. There will also be Justice administration officials on hand.

The state has already received millions of dollars in the battle against opioids.

A September announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services included $7.4 million for the state from the Centers for Disease Control and $28 million in grant funding. An October announcement said the state was getting a $6.5 million grant from the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program (COAP). The program supports innovative ways to encourage substance abuse treatment and recovery.

The post State looks to receive additional millions in federal funds to battle opioid epidemic appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

Buonamici shines in North Marion’s 72-63 win over Fairmont Senior

Greg Carey/WVMetroNews.com

Fairmont Senior’s Marley Washenitz looks to score in traffic against North Marion.

 

RACHEL, W.Va. — Taylor Buonamici has long been a key piece of North Marion’s girls basketball team.

However, as one of two seniors and the only one in the starting lineup, Buonamici is being asked to do more than usual this season.

Judging by her performance Thursday night against Fairmont Senior, it’ll be a smooth transition for the returning Class AA second-team all-state selection.

Buonamici scored a game-high 34 points, came down with nine rebounds and dished out seven assists to lead North Marion to a 72-63 victory over defending state champion Fairmont Senior.

“She did everything for us,” Huskies’ head coach Michael Parrish said. “She scored, rebounded and handled the ball when she had to. She played all five positions at some point. She plays hard and she’s a good weapon to have.”

The Polar Bears (3-1) put together their best stretch of the night in the opening quarter. Marley Washenitz scored 12 of her team-high 31 points and the Polar Bears closed with six unanswered to hold a 23-17 lead entering the second.

Washenitz, however, was forced to the bench with 6:19 to play in the opening half after picking up her third foul.

The Huskies (2-0) outscored FSHS, 17-8, over the remainder of the half to turn a three-point deficit into a 38-32 halftime lead.

Buonamici scored 12 of those 17 points, making all six of her free throw attempts in addition to three field goals. She consistently attacked the basket and helped North Marion turn its defense into offense as the Huskies forced 17 first-half turnovers.

“(Washenitz) is a really good player, so whenever she’s out of the game you have to take advantage of it as much as you can,” Buonamici said. “We saw gaps and we hit them and everyone was finishing. It was a good job by everyone all around.”

Washenitz was back on the floor to start the second half, but North Marion immediately went ahead by 13 after a 7-0 run to begin the third quarter. Kiley Brown connected on a 3-pointer before Buonamici produced back-to-back baskets to give the Huskies their biggest lead of the game at 45-32.

“We started to rebound in there and got some good outlet passes, which led to some easy baskets in transition,” Parrish said. “We wore them down a little bit by getting easy baskets. We were getting tired too, but when you’re getting easy baskets, you’re not having to work as hard.”

The Polar Bears stayed within 14 for the remainder of the quarter and cut the deficit to 10, before Buonamici’s runner gave the Huskies a 58-46 advantage entering the fourth.

North Marion’s Katlyn Carson opened the scoring in the fourth with a high post jumper and it was a sign of things to come. Carson came through with eight of her 11 points in the final period, including a pair of free throws followed by a leaner that stretched the advantage to 69-52.

But Washenitz answered with nine points during an 11-0 Polar Bears’ run, including a conventional three-point play with 1:09 to play that allowed the Polar Bears to trail by just six.

Fairmont Senior, however, never scored again and ultimately suffered its first loss in a contest between the AA state champion each of the last three years. The Huskies won the title in 2018, while the Polar Bears claimed it in 2017.

“We played hard the whole game and you have to play 32 minutes when you’re playing Fairmont Senior,” Parrish said. “I told them before the game we have to match their intensity if we want to have a chance to win.”

Brown and Karlie Denham each added eight points in the win, while Olivia Toland and Carson joined Buonamici with nine rebounds.

Washenitz and Kiara Cosby had 10 boards apiece in defeat, while Emily Starn scored 11 points to give the Polar Bears a second player in double figures.

Fairmont Senior made only 20-of-71 shots for 28 percent shooting and committed 25 turnovers.

The post Buonamici shines in North Marion’s 72-63 win over Fairmont Senior appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

West Virginia cruises to 84-53 win against overmatched Austin Peay

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  In the wake of West Virginia’s turnover-filled first loss of the season at St. John’s last Saturday, coach Bob Huggins placed a heavy emphasis on better passing heading into the Mountaineers’ Thursday night game with Austin Peay.

Literally heavy.

The Mountaineers started a recent practice with a deflated ball to prevent them from falling into their pesky habit of dribbling too much.

“They had a ball with air later on. We just started practice with one [with no air],” Huggins said. “It had air, it just didn’t bounce.”

West Virginia had no problem bouncing the visiting Governors, moving the ball around far more crisply for an 84-53 win.

Most of the better passes came from some unexpected sources.

Mountaineer forwards Gabe Osabuohein (5), Derek Culver (3), Emmitt Matthews Jr. (2) and Oscar Tshiebwe (2) combined for 12 of West Virginia’s 21 assists as Huggins used the high post to his team’s advantage.

“We did the things [tonight] that we worked on [this week],” Huggins said. “We’ve been so stagnant. We wanted movement. That’s the first time we’ve really ran any kind of motion offense. We’ve been running sets trying to take advantage of our size, and we’ve played a lot of people who have basically packed it back in.

“I thought that part of it was good.”

Game Highlights

West Virginia found itself with plenty of easy shot opportunities, finishing 34 of 67 (50.7 percent) from the field. Matthews and Tshiebwe were the biggest beneficiaries, each finishing with double-doubles. Matthews had a team-high 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Tshiebwe added 14 points and 10 boards.

Matthews was effective no matter the distance, throwing down an alley-oop dunk to go along with hitting two of his three attempts from three-point range. For the season, Matthews has already matched last season’s total with 14 threes, but on 26 fewer shots.

“He shot it really well, just like in the first four or five games,” Huggins said. “Guys like him are much better when he can use his length, use his athleticism. He’s not the thickest, strongest guy. Guys like him need space to be able to move. I thought [the scheme] helped him out a lot.”

Austin Peay (4-5) did not shoot it very well. The Governors ended the game on a 6-0 run to finish 34.5 percent from the field (19 of 55), but their fate was already sealed after firing just 25 percent from the field in the first half. They also lacked the outside firepower to overcome their size disadvantage, finishing 1-for-14 from three-point range.

Austin Peay forward Terry Taylor, who came in averaging 22.5 points per game, scored a game-high 19.

West Virginia’s size advantage over the Governors was made obvious by the game’s rebounding margin, which ended up 50-28 in the Mountaineers’ favor. WVU also outscored Austin Peay 46-28 in the paint.

West Virginia committed five turnovers in the first six minutes, but settled down until another spate of turnovers late in the game brought them up to 14. The Mountaineers had 22 turnovers in their 70-68 loss at St. John’s on Saturday.

“At times, our ball security is not what it needs to be,” Huggins said. “Until we get better at that, we are going to struggle like we did early in the game. If you don’t turn it over and you get out in transition, then we are a different team.”

Bob Huggins postgame press conference

By the numbers

West Virginia struggled again at the free-throw line, finishing 10-for-16 (62.5 percent) from the charity stripe. However, the Mountaineers closed the game with a relative flourish, hitting five straight free throws after misfiring on six of their first 11 attempts. WVU finished the St. John’s game 5-for-12 from the line… Guard Sean McNeil added nine points and four rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. West Virginia finished with a plus-20 point differential with McNeil on the floor. Only Tshiebwe fared better in that regard with a plus-22 in his 21 minutes

Next up

It’s a quick, NCAA tournament-like turnaround for West Virginia. The Mountaineers host Nicholls State on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The post West Virginia cruises to 84-53 win against overmatched Austin Peay appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

Former delegate announces campaign for 11th Senatorial District

ELKINS, W.Va. — A former Randolph County delegate is running for West Virginia Senate, almost four years after running for the same seat.

File

Former Delegate Denise Campbell

Denise Campbell, a Democrat, announced Thursday her campaign for the 11th Senatorial District. The district includes Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Upshur and Webster counties, as well as part of Grant County.

Campbell served three terms in the House of Delegates. She ran against Republican Sen. Greg Boso in the 2016 election. Boso, who was appointed to the seat in January 2015, won the contest.

Boso resigned from the seat this September because of a new job.Gov. Jim Justice appointed John Pitsenbarger in October to serve the remainder of Boso’s term.

The post Former delegate announces campaign for 11th Senatorial District appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

Kanawha-Charleston health board looking to ban vaping in public places

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health is moving forward with a proposal that would ban the use of electronic cigarettes and similar devices in public places.

The board on Thursday agreed to open a public comment period on the proposal, which would treat e-cigarettes like cigarettes and similar tobacco products under the county’s Clean Indoor Air Act. If the proposal is enacted, vaping would be prohibited in places such as restaurants, retail stores and most businesses.

The proposal comes amid increased scrutiny over vaping; according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 2,400 cases of hospitalization and 52 deaths related to vaping. State Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, wants the state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, writing a request to Gov. Jim Justice in November.

“Initially, when vaping became more popular, it was used as a means to deliver nicotine but supposed to be safer than cigarettes,” said Dr. Sherri Young, the executive director and health officer of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. “What we’re finding over the past year is that there have been so many illnesses related to this, that is has become a public health crisis.”

Under the proposal, if someone is caught vaping in a place where prohibited, they will be asked to stop. County sanitary officials will additionally check if restaurants are removing patrons who vape as well as have signs asking people to not to vape in their businesses.

The public has until Jan. 16 to submit written comments to the board on the proposal. The body will hold a meeting that day to vote on the policy, and the public will be allowed to make comments before the vote.

Comments can be sent to the Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health, P.O. Box 927, Charleston, W.Va. 25323; or emailed to kanawhalhd@wv.gov.

The post Kanawha-Charleston health board looking to ban vaping in public places appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews