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Longtime Radio Shack retail store owner closes doors with mixed emotions

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mingo County native Stan Morgan shut the door on his Radio Shack franchise at the Shops at Kanawha in Charleston on Friday and he said it was like losing a family member.

“I’m both elated and saddened. I’ve done this for 45 years. I have mixed emotions,” Morgan told MetroNews.

Stan Morgan

Morgan, 70, got his interest in electronics from his father who ran a Radio Shack in Gilbert when he was growing up. After graduating from Marshall and a few years of classroom teaching, Morgan opened his first store on Feb. 9, 1978 in the only space that was available in downtown Logan at the time, a former bar.

“We stayed there eight years and then went down to 104 Main,” Morgan said.

He stayed in downtown Logan until 2003. Morgan opened a second location at Fountain Place Mall along Corridor G in 2001. He was there until he came to Charleston more than six years ago.

Morgan said retail is tough and it’s not for the faint of heart.

“Electronics is probably one of the toughest retail businesses there is because you can jump online and buy something from Amazon or anyone for that matter,” he said. “We’ve tried to do it with service. We try to offer better service and better support. I think we did well with that.”

Ultimately Morgan and his wife Sue decided now was the time to close. He said it was a number of circumstances that came together including the end of his lease, a third owner of the national Radio Shack brand in the last 7 years, a couple of bankruptcies at the corporate level and covid.

“The last 7 years have been the most difficult but it’s really, really hard to let go of something when you’ve done it this long,” Morgan said.

Stan and his wife have been making the 2.5 hour round-trip to their home in Logan most every day since moving the store to Charleston and that also has taken its toll.

“It was becoming more difficult for us to do physically. Once I got in the store I was okay,” he said.

He had a liquidation sale Friday and it was busy. He said he should have started it a few weeks earlier but he was holding out hope that someone would purchase the franchise but that didn’t happen.

Morgan said now it’s time to turn the page and do some traveling. He and his wife own an Airstream and are going to go camping. They haven’t had a vacation since 2013.

“It’s been a good run. It’s been a good run. I’m proud of what we accomplished and achieved,” he said.

The last Radio Shack store in the state is located in Moorefield.

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2022 USA Diving Winter Nationals in Morgantown next week

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Aquatic Center at Mylan Park will begin a new era in hosting the 2022 USA Diving Winter Nationals Dec. 14-18.

Aquatic Center Director of Aquatics Jennifer Lainhart said this is an opportunity for the public to come see more than 100 world-class divers and a dress rehearsal for the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials in 2024 that could be coming to the facility.

Jennifer Lainhart

“This is the largest event we’ve hosted to date and we hope to continue moving up that pole because we think we have the facility for these large diving events,” Lainhart said.

Planning for this week has been ongoing for the last several months and spearheaded by Lainhart, USA Diving Event Director Mike Retcher, Visit Mountaineer Country Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and local elected officials.

During a recent conference call, USA Diving President Lee Michaud praised the group effort.

Lee Michaud

“I’ve been really impressed with the enthusiasm, with the integrity and with the actual love and passion for sports that you guys show,” Michaud said. “It’s really coming through and it makes a difference.”

The field of competitors includes several world champions, eight Olympians and many who are making their first splash in a major event. Michaud said spectators have an opportunity to watch the divers in competition as they vie for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Diving Team.

“These are the people you’re going to see diving in the Olympic in six years in Los Angeles. Then you have other folks that are going to be diving in the Olympics in a two years in Paris and you have the people who have spent the majority of their lives training,” Michaud said.

Mike Retcher

The schedule does include a last chance event for divers with close to qualifying scores to make the competition. The facility will host the Winter National Qualifier Dec. 12-13 to add divers for the five-day championship.

The competition begins Wednesday and event championships are held Sunday. Events include men/women spring board and platform events from 1-meter, 3-meters and 10-meters.

“Athletes 10 meters in the air throwing an insane amount of rotations, revolutions, twists and flips so for the public those are the cool events where they’re seeing a lot,” Retcher said.

The bid for the 2024 U. S. Olympic Trials is under review and a final decision is expected early next year. The site selection team has already made a site visit. Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom said Monongalia County is a finalist to host the event.

All-session tickets including the Winter National Qualifier and USA Winter Diving National Championships are $80 for adults, $45 for children 4 to 17-years old and veterans. Single-session tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for children 4 to 17-years old. West Virginia residents can receive one free youth ticket or all-session ticket per paying adult.

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Marshall bound for Myrtle Beach to face UConn

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. —Marshall learned its bowl opponent Sunday when it was announced the Thundering Herd would face UConn in the Myrtle Beach Bowl the afternoon of December 19. 

The 2:30 p.m. meeting will be broadcast on ESPN from Brooks Stadium located on the campus of Coastal Carolina.

In its first year as a member of the Sun Belt Conference, Marshall (8-4) will be making its sixth straight bowl appearance and ninth in the last 10 seasons. The Herd’s bowl record is 12-6.

The bowl bid for the Huskies will be their first since 2015 when UConn happened to lose to Marshall, 16-10, in the St. Petersburg Bowl. UConn (6-6) entered the 2022 season having won just 10 of 50 contests in the six years since that game. The Huskies didn’t play any games in 2020.

Marshall athletic director Christian Spears said this game will be a good experience for the Herd and its fan base.

“We always want to try to prioritize the experience of our student-athletes and fans when it comes to out postseason opportunities,” Spears said in a university release. “We also want to diversify the competition by playing programs we have not traditionally played. Playing UConn fits that goal. We are excited to get down to the grand strand and take in the Myrtle Beach Bowl experience.”

Spears said Marshall’s bowl success speaks for itself and is important with the changes coming to the College Football Playoff in two years when the current field of four will expand to 12.

“We want to prepare our program for long-term success,” Spears said. “When the CFP expands, we want college football to know Marshall does it right and comes to play.”

This will be the third annual Myrtle Beach Bowl, but the first appearance for both the Herd and UConn in the event.

Marshall won its final four games to end the 2022 regular season. Defense has been the calling card as the Herd is in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense (16.2 points a game for seventh) and total defense (292.8 yards per game for 10th).

Marshall is No. 9 nationally in sacks at 3.08 per game. The Herd has 37 to date with Owen Porter leading the way at 9.5.

On offense, Marshall has one of the country’s top running threats in Khalan Laborn, the transfer from Florida State via the portal who has 1,423 yards and 16 touchdowns. Rasheen Ali, the Herd’s all-purpose star a year ago, returned to action two games ago and has flourished. He was injured in preseason.

Jim Mora, first-year coach at UConn, brought his UCLA teams to bowl games from 2012-2015 and went 2-2.

UConn started the season 1-4 with successive losses in September to Syracuse, Michigan and North Carolina State. The Huskies went 5-2 from there and beat Boston College, UMass, Florida International and FCS member Central Connecticut to get to .500.

After finishing the season with a 34-17 loss Army back on November 19, UConn had to wait through rivalry week, wishing losses upon as many 5-6 teams as possible. Enough teams did end up losing and, after Buffalo became the last bowl eligible team with a win Friday over Akron, there were 81 eligible teams for 82 spots. That left the door open for Rice to get in one at 5-7, meaning UConn had clinched with its six victories.

UConn is 3-3 all-time in bowl games.

Tickets for the contest can be purchased through Marshall athletics. Purchasing tickets there benefits the department financially and ensures Herd fans will be seated in Marshall sections. Fans wishing to purchase through the Marshall Ticket Office should do so through HerdZone or by calling 1-800-THE-HERD during office hours (9-4 Monday through Friday).

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Hanshaw retains House speakership

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw retained his position as speaker for the next legislative session in a closed-door caucus of House Republicans Sunday afternoon.

Roger Hanshaw

Hanshaw, R-Clay, withstood a challenge from Del. Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh. Sources told MetroNews the vote total was 53-30 in favor of Hanshaw with five GOP delegates not in attendance.

Hanshaw will begin his third two-year term as speaker when the legislature convenes the second week of January for its 60-day regular session.

Hanshaw was first elected speaker in August 2018 after former speaker Tim Armstead left the House to become a member of the state Supreme Court. Hanshaw defeated then Del. Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, in both the August vote and in the December 2018 caucus. He was reelected for a second term as speaker in December 2020.

Del. Brandon Steele speaking during last month’s special session. (WV Legislative Photography, Photo by Will Price)

Steele announced his candidacy in August.

“I believe our progress is stalled under the current leadership and a new direction and new focus is necessary,” Steele said at the time.

Steele has been Hanshaw’s chairman of the House Government Organization Committee but that’s likely to change along with several other House leadership positions. Those announcements are expected in the near future.

State Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, was also chosen for another two-year team as president. There are now 31 Republicans in the 34-member Senate.

Lawmakers have interim committee meetings Monday and Tuesday at the capitol.

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MetroNews Top Plays (Week 15/Super Six)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Check out the MetroNews Top Plays for Week 15 in the Super Six edition of the weekly segment. Thanks to all the players, coaches, parents and team video staffs for supplying us with videos throughout the 2022 season.

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Man killed in Lincoln County crash

SPURLOCKVILLE, W.Va. — A man died in a Sunday morning truck wreck in Lincoln County.

State police said Trevor Atkins, 18, of Sumerco, lost control of the truck at around 4 a.m. on Bulger Road near Spurlockville. The truck overturned, Atkins was thrown from the vehicle and killed.

Troopers said a passenger suffered minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.

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Smithers looks to hire engineering firm to fix flood damaged sewer lines

SMITHERS, W.Va. — Smithers Mayor Anne Cavalier says her city is moving forward with infrastructure projects following the Aug. 15 flood in Fayette County.

Anne Cavalier

Cavalier told MetroNews repairing damaged sewer lines in the Cannelton Hollow Road area is one of her top priorities with money now flowing in from the federal government.

“Those things that were broken and swept away, such as sewer lines, roads, bridges, those are the very first things we’re addressing,” she said.

Last week, Fayette County was granted public disaster assistance from the Biden administration. Kanawha County, which also experienced flood damage from the same storm, was denied assistance.

The damage to Fayette County’s sewer system in the Smithers area alone far exceeded the county’s threshold, Cavalier said.

“In parts of our city, we still can see the flood damage. We have families that can’t return to house. We have roads that are crippled. We have a creek that is still full of cars, trucks and trees,” she said.

The mayor said the city wants to hire an engineering firm to fix the sewer lines first.

“As soon as that engineer is on board, then their first role will be to assess what the damage is,” she said.

Cavalier said the selected engineering firm will need be approved by City Council at their next meeting set for Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.

Being approved for federal assistance meant a lot to Cavalier because she said it will help her city’s residents recover and prepare for future flooding events.

“It really hit me right in the heart that we can now start addressing all of these problems and find ways to help our community rebuild, regroup and even prepare for the future,” she said.

Kanawha County had originally submitted $974,000 in damages for public infrastructure damage including stream damage on Campbells Creek and Hughes Creek.

Both Fayette and Kanawha were denied individual assistance for homeowners.

The flood in Fayette County also impacted the Scrabble Creek area of Gauley Bridge. In total, more than 100 homes along with roads and bridges north of U.S. Route 60 in Kanawha and Fayette counties were damaged. There was no loss of life.

Cavalier said a temporary bridge has been installed at Carbondale Road and Smithers Creek.

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Photo gallery: Bridgeport defeats Hurricane, 38-32

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Bridgeport’s 38-32 win over Hurricane.

(Photo gallery courtesy of Joey Signorelli/www.BenQueenPhotography.com)

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Marsh: Flu hospitalizations “worst we’ve seen in 10 years”

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There are new variants of COVID-19 that are circulating in West Virginia, on top of a rise in flu cases and continued concerns about RSV among children, according to state health officials.

Clay Marsh

State coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said there’s been a 30 percent increase in flu hospitalizations in the last week.

“The influenza outbreak is the worst that we’ve seen in 10 years related to hospitalizations,” Marsh said on a recent MetroNews “Talkline” appearance.

West Virginia is starting to see subvariants of the Omicron BA.5 virus that Marsh said are “more infectious.”

“These variants are uniquely able to infect people even who have been vaccinated and even who have had COVID before and have recovered from it,” he said.

Marsh said the best way to protect yourself this holiday season is to stay up to date on vaccinations.

“If you compare people that have gotten the Omicron booster shot versus people who haven’t been vaccinated, then we’ve see a 14 times an improvement in the reduced risk of death and hospitalizations,” Marsh explained.

Marsh also said RSV cases in West Virginia are on the decline.

“We are starting to see a bit of a plateauing, but that is still a very dangerous virus for young West Virginians,” he said.

State InterAgency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer, also a recent guest on “Talkline,” said the state needs to do a better job of vaccinating older residents, not just for COVID-19.

James Hoyer

“In a state that is very vulnerable health wise, but more importantly has one of the highest percentages of grandparents raising children in any state in the country, if a young person gets RSV, they’re more likely to pass it to a grandparent,” Hoyer said.

About 74 percent of residents over the age of 18 have had at least one COVID-19 dose. About 84 percent of residents over the age of 65 are considered “full vaccinated,” but only 27 percent of that age group have received their Omicron booster shot.

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting that message out,” Hoyer said.

The state has a vaccine calculator to see when they need their next shot. Residents can also call the vaccine hotline at 1-833-734-0965.

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Air ambulance provider reports EMS worker shortage, seeks legislative help

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The shortage of trained EMS workers in the state is a crisis that now includes air ambulances.

HealthNet Aeromedical Services President and CEO Clinton Burley said just like their ground counterparts, if they have no staff they cannot provide services to the community.

Clinton Burley

“It has reached a point where every day in West Virginia there are ambulances parked because there is no staffing,” Burley said.

For HealthNet, the problem is solved by shuffling assets to maintain coverage but Burley contends the deepening worker shortage will make those efforts less effective and eventually ineffective if a solution is not developed.

“If we have an aircraft that is out of service in one location, the one that is next closest would be moved half-way in between those locations to balance out the coverage,” Burley said.

Gov. Jim Justice earmarked $10 million earlier this year to help work on the problem and as a result the state has five mobile ambulance training vehicles that can conduct education.

“The education is available at no cost and it is available in every local community across West Virginia,” Burley said. “You can make a difference for your neighbors and now is the time to help.”

Burley hopes lawmakers will continue pumping more money into the ailing state EMS system.

“We have the attention of the legislature and the executive of the state as to the needs of EMS,” Burley said. “These leaders are listening and they’re responding.”

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