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Honors Doled Out by WVWC During Academic and Leadership Banquet

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Honors Doled Out at Annual Academic and Leadership Awards Banquet

Students, faculty, and staff members were honored on Saturday, April 23 during West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Academic and Leadership Awards Banquet, held in the French A. See Dining Center on the Buckhannon campus.

Listed below are the awards and their recipients.

 

Student Senate Award – Faculty: Jeanne Sullivan, associate professor of biology

Student Senate Award – Staff: Jessica Vincent, leadership & service program assistant

Greek Woman of the Year – Keana Bertocci (Alpha Xi Delta; Perryopolis, PA)

Greek Man of the Year – Joshua Loptiz (Theta Xi; Leonardtown, MD)

International Student Ambassador  Julia Uchoa (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award – Erin Hudnall (Ansted, WV)

The Mary Mildred Sullivan Award – Shawna L. Clayton (Clarksburg, WV)

2015 Newman Civic Fellows Award – Mark Leadingham III (Sharpsburg, MD)

John Wesley Do All the Good You Can Award – Amadu Bah (Laurel, MD) and Ashley Cooper (Rupert, WV)

Wesleyan Values Award – Elaine Ashman (Newton, WV) and Keana Bertocci (Perryopolis, PA)

Outstanding Peer Leader Award – Kayla Hinkley (Hurricane, WV)

Outstanding Community Outreach Awards – Angelica Harvey (Buckhannon, WV)

 

ART

Outstanding Senior Award – Haley Chambers (Jumping Branch, WV)

Outstanding Junior Award – Reno Swiger (Shinnston, WV)

Outstanding Sophomore Award – Kelsey Acree (Mt. Nebo, WV)

Outstanding Freshman Award – De’andre Brown (Baltimore, MD)

 

BIOLOGY

Outstanding Senior – Rebecca Davis (Mechanicsburg, PA), Rebekah Honce (Bridgeport, WV), and Langely Salyers (Moorefield, WV)

Outstanding Research Student – Rebekah Honce (Bridgeport, WV)

Outstanding Junior – Evan McLanahan (Red House, WV)

Outstanding Sophomore – Kelsey Acree (Mt. Nebo, WV)

Outstanding Freshmen – Mary Catherine Bandak (Charleston, WV), Mason Lee (Wheeling, WV), and Erick Trent (Point Pleasant, WV)

Outstanding Student Assistant – Dillon Wagman (Mahopac, NY)

 

DANCE/THEATRE

Outstanding Senior in Dance Lydia Krimmel (Mineral Wells, WV)

Outstanding Theatre Arts Students – Elizabeth Clever (Inwood, WV) and Emily Jenkins (Albright, WV)

 

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Outstanding Senior – Jeremy R. Davidson (Buckhannon, WV)

Outstanding Junior – Thomas Anderson (Rock Cave, WV)

Outstanding Sophomore – James DeMarco (Vanderbilt, PA)

Outstanding Freshman –   Viola Donegia (Belington, WV)

Outstanding Research – Emma Malcomb (Buckhannon, WV) 

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS

Outstanding Accounting Student – Jessica Hardman (Buckhannon, WV) and Alex Pugh (Buckhannon, WV)

Outstanding Business Administration Student – Tyler Gray (Buckhannon, WV)

Outstanding Economics Student – Hannah Gurtis (Morgantown, WV)

Outstanding International Business Student – Abigail Hensley (Huntington, WV)

Outstanding Management Student –Soeren Doessing (Denmark) and Sydney Pettit (Sand Fork, WV)

Outstanding Marketing Student – Keenan Moreta (Bayfield, CO)

Outstanding Sport Marketing Student – Nicole Friedemann (Canby, OR)

Outstanding 5-Year MBA Student – Kayla Hinkley (Hurricane, WV)

 

CHAPEL

Sheridan Watson Bell Award – Jeremy Lambson (Buckhannon, WV)

 

CHEMISTRY

Outstanding Senior – Asa Nichols (Saint Marys, WV)

Outstanding Junior – Aaron Kessler (Cowen, WV)

Outstanding Laboratory Assistant – Kelsey Krantz (Elkins, WV)

Outstanding Chemical Hygiene Officer Assistant – Angelica Harvey (Buckhannon, WV))

 

COMMUNICATION

Overall Most Outstanding Senior – James Young (Hurricane, WV)

Excellence in Applied Learning – Kelsie Andrews (North East, MD)

Excellence in Writing – Timothy Nelson (Charleston, WV) and Mattison Swartz (Lewisburg, WV)

Excellence in Speaking – Joshua Lopitz (Leonardtown, MD)

 

CRIMINIAL JUSTICE

Criminal Justice Award – Ryan Rado (St. Augustine, FL)

 

EDUCATION

Academic Achievement Freshman Award – Mary Ambuul (Martinsburg, WV)

Academic Achievement Sophomore Award – Leah Casarano (Aurthurdale, WV) and Andrew Kinkead (Stuarts Draft, VA)

Academic Achievement Junior Award – Kathalyn Maxson (Ravenswood, WV) and Logan Tucker (Ravenswood, WV)

Academic Achievement Senior Award – Holden Akers-Toler (Beckley, WV) and Emily Jenkins (Albright, WV)  

Dr. Ruth Mansberger Shearer Education Award – Samantha Swann (Owings, MD)

The Dorie McHugh O’Brien ’64 Education Award Chad Gradisek (Mount Pleasant, PA)

 

ENGLISH

Outstanding Senior English Major – Joseph Keener (Buckhannon, WV)

Outstanding English as a Second Language Student – Shin Fujikawa (Japan) and Kohtaroh Kusunoki (Japan)

 

EXERCISE SCIENCE

Outstanding Senior in Athletic Training – Devon Brosh (Petersburg, WV)

Freshman with Highest GPA for Athletic Training – Hannah Pulley (Lusby, MD)

Delta Psi Kappa/David E. Reemsnyder Award – Lauren Graham (Bessemer City, NC)

Sam Ross Athletic Scholars – Tanner McGrew (Buckhannon, WV) and Rebekah Honce (Bridgeport, WV)

 

HISTORY

Outstanding Senior History Majors – Sarah Campbell (Saint Marys, WV) and Stephanie Frazer (Alum Creek, WV)

Outstanding Junior History Majors – Tori Badaway (Canada) and Richard Baisden (Clarksburg, MD)

Outstanding Senior International Studies Major – Rebecca Davis (Mechanicsburg, PA)

 

HUMANITIES

Pamela Thorn Humanities Award – Morgan Carter (Fredericksburg, VA)

 

MATHEMATICS

Hallam Awards – Zachary C. Abbot (Carmel, IN), Stacie M. Baumann (Gahanna, OH) Jacob W. Coleman (Belington, WV), Andrew R. Kinkead (Stuarts Draft, VA), Mark P. Leadingham (Sharpsburg, MD), Jericho A. Norris (Vienna, WV), Daniel R. Plaugher (Salem, WV), and Trevor T. Williams (Buckhannon, WV)

 

MUSIC

Outstanding Senior Music Awards – Holden Akers-Toler (Beckley, WV) and Julia Uchoa (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

 

NURSING

Outstanding Senior Nursing Awards – Chelsea Bennett (Jane Lew, WV), Jessica Frolo (Belle Vernon, PA), and Tracey Gregory (Craigsville, WV)

 

PHYSICS AND ENGINEERING

Outstanding Seniors – Lauren Cronise (Hagerstown, MD), Cody O’Meara (Charles Town, WV), and Corey Rhodes (Seneca Rocks, WV)

Outstanding Freshmen – Kaylee Burdette (Cross Lanes, WV), Rebecca Davis (Blakeslee, PA), Allison Haertter (Reading, PA), Emily Kearney (Ranson, WV), Bobbi Mitchell (Scott Depot, WV), Mackenzie Robatin (Uniontown, PA), Olivia Rycroft (Elkins, WV), and Zachary Whiting (Ashland, WI)

 

POLITICAL SCIENCE

Outstanding Senior – Robert Brosh (Charles Town, WV)

 

PSYCHOLOGY

The Kelly Lynn Martin Memorial Psychology Award – Erin Hudnall (Ansted, WV)

 

RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Outstanding Senior in Religious Studies Jeremy Lambson (Buckhannon, WV)

 

SOCIOLOGY

The John Warner Memorial Sociology Award – Jordon Barr (Buckhannon, WV)

The Vijaya Rao Global Awareness Award – Erin Hudnall (Ansted, WV)

Outstanding Senior in Sociology – Erin Hudnall (Ansted, WV)

Wesleyan Spirit Awards

Freshmen – Maya Eberhart (Brooklyn, NY) and Jacob Sullivan (White Sulphur Springs, WV)

Sophomores – Tobi Carter (Baltimore, MD) and Lucas Trovato (Mogantown, WV)

Juniors – Reno Swiger (Shinnston, WV) and Peyton Teets (Elkins, WV)

Seniors – Allie Browne (Charleston, WV) and Soeren Doessing (Denmark)

 

Outstanding Seniors – Keana Bertocci (Perryopolis, PA), Kayla Hinkley (Hurricane, WV), Erin Hudnall (Anstead, WV), Cody O’Meara (Charles Town, WV), and Sydney Pettit (Sand Fork, WV)

 

Academic and Leadership Awards – Leah Bailey (Baden, PA), Chloe Bland (Dunmore, WV), Megann Boone (Frametown, WV), Devon Brosh (Petersburg, WV), Robert Brosh (Charles Town, WV), Morgan Carter (Fredericksburg, VA), Shawna Clayton (Clarksburg, WV), Alberta Crawford (Wellsburg, WV), Lauren Cronise (Hagerstown, MD), Rebecca Davis (Mechanicsburg, PA), Nicole Friedemann (Canby, OR), Tracey Gregory (Craigsville, WV), Rebekah Honce (Bridgeport, WV), Mikaela Hutchinson (Charleston, WV), Emily Jenkins (Albright, WV), Jeremy Lambson (Buckhannon, WV), Tanner McGrew (Buckhannon, WV), Gregory Strader (Moon Township, PA), Samantha Sunshine (Blacksburg, VA).

 

Senior Who’s Who Among Students in America – Elaine Ashman (Newton, WV), Victoria Crise (Natrona Heights, PA), Carson Cunningham (Buckhannon, WV), Paula Gyamfi (Beltsville, MD), Bethany Jordan (Scott Depot, WV), Danielle Lancaster (Millstone, WV), Danielle Nehilla (South Park, PA), John Prentice (Elkins, WV), Kirsten Reneau (Grafton, WV), Corey Rhodes (Seneca Rocks, WV), Catherine Riggleman (Beverly, WV), Nathan Ropelewski (Richmond, VA), Telena Sanson (Summersville, WV), Scott Stoeckle (Buckhannon, WV), Philip Summers (Charleston, WV), and Jordan Tate (Charleston, WV)

 

Junior Who’s Who Among Students in America – Jackson Carey (Follansbee, WV), Katherine Casey (Canton, OH), Audrey Chefan-Kemseu (France), Kimberly Culver (Culpeper, VA), Jordan Danko (Ravenswood, WV), Jessica Engels (Kingwood, WV), Kortney Frame (Troy, WV), Taylor Germain (Oakland, MD), Thomas Haines (Green Spring, WV), Wilson Harvey (Weston, WV), Madison Ovies (Franklin, TN), Sarah Petitto (West Milford, WV), Kaitlyn Romain (Bridgeport, WV), Aurora Snyder (Royersford, PA), Destinee Tunstall (Indian Head, MD), and Mason Winkie (Bridgeport, WV)

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GSC Athletics Takes Part in Little Kanawha River Trail Cleanup

Glenville, WV – This past Saturday, April 23rd several Glenville State student-athletes took time out of their day to help participate in the Little Kanawha River Trail cleanup which took part in downtown Glenville on Brooklyn Drive along the river bank.

“It was great working with the community to help clean up the City of Glenville especially so close to Earth Day. It’s important to take care of our environment not just for us but also for the future,” said GSC Lady Pioneer Brittany Jackson.

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The newly-formed Little Kanawha River Trail also had help from several community volunteers as well other groups and organizations at Glenville State College. Members of the GSC Science Fiction and Fantasy Guild helped clean up the river near Sand Fork, GSC Forestry students Michael Pracht and Zach White tested the water and provided a chemical baseline, and GSC Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Jeremy Keene floated the river to perform an analysis. Additionally, the GSC Kayak Club allowed helpers the use of their kayaks and canoes.

“It is a great opportunity to not only help clean up the city of Glenville but to also help clean up the state of West Virginia; two things that are really important to the Athletic Department and all of our teams. It also helps our athletes enjoy the great outdoors and teaches them about giving back to their communities,” stated GSC Athletic Director Marcal Lazenby.

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Overall, 560 pounds of waste were collected on Saturday including 23 bags of trash, 13 tires, a rusty sewing machine, a heavy tent, and a hospital bed complete with motors.

The Little Kanawha River Trail has been developed for non-motorized boaters allowing users to enjoy the natural, historic, cultural, and scenic resources of the Little Kanawha River watershed. Using multiple entry sites along the river, boaters can view visual guides to learn about the area and access local businesses.

 

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Speaker: To Boost Public Health, Count The ACES

CHARLESTON, WV – To improve public health, count the ACEs – the Adverse Childhood Experiences. That’s the message coming to a social workers’ conference in Charleston.

Virginia social worker Allison Jackson comes backed with a lot of new research and a compelling personal story.

She says a list of 10 kinds of childhood trauma, such as violence, abuse or addiction in the home, can predict health problems.

Jackson says of the 10, she survived eight. No surprise, she was institutionalized repeatedly. And she says she might not have made it, but for a mental health worker who befriended her and visited her once after a serious suicide attempt.

“I couldn’t talk because I had really hurt myself,“ says Jackson. “And he said, ‘Please don’t give up Allison, before you know what you can become. Because I’m going to hold hope right here until you are strong enough to grab it.‘“

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Jackson says she pays that kindness forward in part by talking about how much damage childhood trauma can do.

For more than 30 years, the National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) West Virginia chapter has hosted a spring conference. It’s now the largest event of its kind in the country.

Jackson says the great news she’s bringing to the conference is that a high ACEs score is not a death sentence, although, untreated, it is a serious threat to public heath.

“The CDC has linked over 70 physical and mental health conditions to Adverse Childhood Experiences,“ she says. “At a score of a six instead of a zero, you’re more likely to die 20 years younger than your counterpart.“

Jackson says with an ACEs score of four, a person is 15 times more likely to attempt suicide, five times more likely to become an alcoholic, 11 times more likely to use intravenous drugs, and much more likely to have mental health issues. But she stresses that we know how to treat childhood trauma.

“Most of us know that texting while driving is a major public health issue,“ says Jackson. “There is no commercial about Adverse Childhood Experiences. We’re not talking about it, we don’t hear about it – and yet, it significantly affects our health.“

She’ll be speaking and hosting workshops at the Charleston Civic Center over the next three days.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

United Health Foundation Donates $50,000 to Teen Challenge

Bridgeport, WV –What began as teenage experimentation smoking cigarettes eventually led Mike Stewart into a downward spiral with a life out of control, fueled by drugs and alcohol. He flunked out of college, was unemployed, looking at becoming homeless. He’d lost his friends; his family didn’t know how to help.

Fast forward 16 years . . . Mike Stewart now directs Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge and is working on bringing a new facility to the Clarksburg area. He’s been there, done that —and can relate better than anyone who’s in what used to be his shoes.

After entering and even completing many programs, his turnaround began when he discovered Teen Challenge, which for more than 50 years has offered Christ-centered, biblically based ministries to help people with life-controlling problems.

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(L-R) Mike Tillman, CEO of United Hospital Center; Ted Lopez, board member of United Health Foundation;
Mike Stewart, director of Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge and
Tom Gorrell, chairman and board member of United Health Foundation.


The work — and success — of Teen Challenge has so impressed United Health Foundation that it has donated $50,000 to the local Teen Challenge. As Bridgeport physician Jonathan Stanley, D.O., infectious diseases, explained, West Virginia faces a statewide epidemic in illicit drug abuse, making the work of Teen Challenge especially relevant.

UHC takes care of young addicted adults with life threatening illnesses due to their habit.  Now that Teen Challenge is in the area it will offer a discharge plan after hospitalization, with a chance to cure the underlying opioid addiction.  These patients often need long term antibiotics and cannot be discharged. 

“Specifically, the increase of intravenous drug abuse has led to so many new cases of both Hepatitis B and C that West Virginia nearly leads the nation in new diagnoses. This epidemic has also led to increases in life-threatening infections resulting in prolonged hospitalizations and even death.  Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge will give people healthy avenues to get the help they need,” Dr. Stanley said.

Through Teen Challenge, Stewart learned he couldn’t do things on his own. “That first week I lay awake in my bunk and thought about my life,” Stewart said of joining the faith-based program. “I remember how it felt like I was being scrubbed from the inside out.” Stewart went through the year-long program, which centered on following Jesus Christ and changing your life, and he hasn’t touched drugs or alcohol since.
The Bridgeport native graduated from the program, went to college working toward a degree in business marketing when he felt a calling to go into the ministry. He joined Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge in 2009 as executive director and is looking to open the Clarksburg center hopefully this year debt-free, serving up to 22 boys ages 12 to 17.

Now he finds joy helping others who are going through the same thing he did. “I’m an open book. I share where I was and where my life has taken me today and what’s caused that change,” said Stewart, who speaks at schools and churches.

For more information on Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge, call 304.933.3209 or go to wvteenchallenge.com.

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Did You Know?

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INVESTIGATORS LOOKING INTO WHETHER PRINCE DIED OF OVERDOSE

Among other threads in the probe, prescription drugs were discovered at the superstar musician’s home where he was found dead, an official tells the AP.


WHO’S ECHOING TRUMP’S COMPLAINT THAT SYSTEM IS RIGGED

As Bernie Sanders’ path to the White House becomes all but impossible, some of his supporters are lashing out at a system they believe was engineered against them from the start.


EX-U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER UNLOADS ON CRUZ

John Boehner, during a talk to college students, characterizes the Texas senator as “Lucifer in the flesh.“


WHERE AID AGENCIES ARE WARNING OF LOOMING HUMANITARIAN DISASTER

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has again been turned into a major battleground with the collapse of a two-month cease-fire in the civil war.


BILL WOULD REQUIRE US WOMEN TO REGISTER FOR MILITARY DRAFT

The measure passed by a House committee comes just months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units.


‘BOMB’ HOOKED TO MAN PROVES FAKE

The young man claiming to have a bomb is shot and wounded by police after walking into a Baltimore TV station dressed in an animal costume.


RESCUERS SEARCH FOR SURVIVORS AT GUATEMALAN GARBAGE DUMP

A massive slope of trash at the dump collapses, killing at least four people.


U.S. GDP EXPANDS PALTRY 0.5 PERCENT IN FIRST QUARTER

The negligible growth shines a light on the American economy’s fitful recovery during a presidential election year.


WHICH TV LEGEND HAS DIED AT 87

Philip Kives created K-Tel, and his commercials implored viewers to “wait, there’s more!“ while selling everything from vegetable slicers to hit music compilations on vinyl.


QBS GOFF, WENTZ TOP TWO PICKS OF NFL DRAFT

It’s the second straight year that two quarterbacks are the first names off the board, and the seventh time it’s happened in the modern era of the draft since 1967.

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In West Virginia….

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►   Rockefeller legacy exhibit open at West Virginia University

MORGANTOWN, WV — The West Virginia and Regional History Center is chronicling the legacy of former Senator Jay Rockefeller in Wise Library’s Rockefeller Gallery at West Virginia University.

The center’s assistant curator and congressional and political papers archivist Danielle Emerling is curating the exhibit, using the Rockefeller Legacy Memos, a collection of 12 memos, to show Rockefeller’s work in the areas of health care reform; West Virginia jobs, economy and industry; children, families and education; and veterans’ affairs.

Items on display come from Rockefeller’s papers donating his 30-year tenure in the Senate. He donated the collection to the West Virginia University Libraries in 2014.

Jay Rockefeller: A Legacy of Leadership can also be seen online at rockefeller.lib.wvu.edu .


►   ‘The Mine Wars’ film being shown at May Day event Sunday

MATEWAN, WV — The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is offering a screening of a new documentary for public television about miners in southern West Virginia and their fight for civil liberties.

The film, “The Mine Wars,“ will be shown at a May Day event that begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at the United Mine Workers of America Local 1440 Union Hall on Mate Street in downtown Matewan. Also featured will be snacks and musical performances.

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is open noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays just up the street from the union hall.

The film is based on James Green’s 2015 book, “The Devil is Here in These Hills,“ from Atlantic Monthly Press. Several West Virginia Mine Wars Museum board members assisted in the production of the film.


►   West Virginia auditor to head white collar crime center

CHARLESTON, WV — The auditor of West Virginia will be the next president and CEO of the National White Collar Crime Center in Richmond, Virginia.

Glen Gainer will oversee day-to-day operations at the center starting May 15.

The organization provides training to law enforcement officers across the nation. Gainer will spend much of his time at the organization’s Fairmont satellite.

He had served as the group’s board chairman for 18 years. The organization announced Tuesday in a news release that Christopher Cotta has been selected to replace Gainer as the new chairman of the board.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is expected to name a new state auditor by May 14.


►   Tomblin: $50M More in Reserves to Patch Gap

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin expects to take about $50 million more from reserves to cover a pressing budget hole.

The Democrat said Wednesday that the Rainy Day Fund money would help West Virginia get through the current fiscal year ending June 30. Tomblin used reserves and cuts to cover a 2016 gap of about $353 million.

Last week, revenue officials said they expected a bigger gap.

Falling revenues from the diminished coal industry and low-priced natural gas have fueled West Virginia’s budget problems.

Tomblin said that largely because of natural gas prices, withholding tax dollars on royalties are about 70 percent below revenues this time last year.

Tomblin and the GOP-led Legislature still haven’t crafted a 2017 budget short by $270 million. They’re negotiating tax increases, cuts and use of reserves.


►   Manchin and Capito Introduce Jessie’s Law

Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito introduced Jessie’s Law Wednesday.

The legislation is inspired by Jessie Grubb. Jessie’s father David Grubb shared Jessie’s story of heroin addiction with President Barack Obama when the President visited Charleston in October. The President was in West Virginia to host a town hall discussion about the opioid epidemic.

Jessie passed away earlier this year when she was prescribed opioids after having surgery. The new legislations would ensure that medical professionals have full knowledge of their patient’s previous opioid addiction history when consent is given. David Grubb joined Manchin and Capito on a conference call announcing the legislation. Grubb said the new legislation would make sure the addiction history is prominently displayed in the medical records and not buried a couple pages in.

“If he had known, he would not have prescribed oxycodone, he would not have done that and I think that’s the tragedy here,“ Grubb said. “So we’re hoping that this, that Jessie’s life can have meaning in the sense that it will save lives in the future and I think Jessie would think that was pretty good, pretty cool.“

Manchin and Capito hope to get the legislation passed before the end of the year.


►   Public Comments on Hospitals’ Merger Overwhelmingly Negative

None of the 18 letters sent to the West Virginia Attorney General’s office recently were in favor of a proposal to merge two Huntington hospitals.

News outlets report that during the 10-day comment period, which ended April 18, all of the comments, including one from the Federal Trade Commission, expressed concerns over Cabell Huntington Hospital’s proposed acquisition of St. Mary’s Medical Center.

The comments argued the merger would create a monopoly, thereby eliminating competition in Huntington and leading to higher prices.

The West Virginia Health Care Authority and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are now tasked with weighing the potential loss of competition with the benefits that hospital officials say the merger will bring to the community.

The authority and Morrisey have until June 08 to issue a written decision.


►   Friends turn foes for justice’s re-election in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV - Ex-coal baron Don Blankenship spent $3.5 million in 2004 to elect West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin in a race that inspired a John Grisham novel.

Blankenship’s company, Massey Energy, had a $50 million case before the court. Benjamin won the election and joined two other justices ruling in Blankenship’s favor in the case, saving Massey a payout.

Now, Blankenship is headed to prison for a mine safety conspiracy. And Benjamin faces his first re-election - and opposition from his former supporters.

Benjamin says he wasn’t Blankenship’s buddy and the outside money didn’t influence him. He is now using public campaign financing and condemning special interest outside groups.

He faces four other candidates in a race that will be decided May 10.


►   WV Senate finance chair says $150 million in budget cuts may be needed

CHARLESTON, WV — State lawmakers would have to cut the state budget by as much as $150 million next fiscal year if they decide against tax increases, according to state Senate Finance Committee Chair Mike Hall.

Hall, R-Putnam, a guest on MetroNews “Talkline”, said those cuts would have to be to the base budget not just one-time reductions.

“This isn’t just some little academic discussion,” Hall said. “There are people our there that are going to be injured and hurt. This is going to have a big reach. What I’m trying to do is I’m trying to educate.”

Lawmakers are staring at a $270 million budget hole for next fiscal year because of revenue collections devastated in large part by the collapse of the coal industry. The Tomblin administration has discussed tax increases but that may be difficult to do so the discussion has to turn to up to $150 million in base budget cuts, Hall said.

“We can’t talk in the abstract anymore and make the political speeches. The election will be over in a week or two,” he said. “It’s now time for us to sit down and dig deep and make the tough decisions.”


►   Kessler, Goodwin respond to Justice’s ‘two peas in a pod’ ad

CHARLESTON, WV — New political ads from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice attack fellow candidates state Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler and former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

The ad names both Kessler and Goodwin calling them “two peas in a pod” who are “career politicians who have never built anything or created a single job.” The ad also says the pair want to raise taxes.

Both of them reacted Thursday.

“Despite his pledge early on Justice is going negative,” Kessler said during a news conference in Charleston. “My experience is when a candidate starts to go negative their candidacy is in trouble and they’re in a free fall.”

Goodwin said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline” the things the ad says about him are false.

“I’ve never run for political office in my life,” Goodwin said. “It says I want to raise taxes. I don’t want to raise taxes for goodness sake.”

Goodwin later said everything should be on the table when considering the state’s budget problems.

Justice campaign spokesman Grant Herring released the following statement about the new ad:

“Jim is campaigning everyday speaking to hundreds of West Virginians each day listening to their concerns. The people, and the polls, clearly show that Jim is the only candidate who can create jobs and turn this state around as governor.”

Both Goodwin and Kessler criticized Justice Thursday for outstanding tax payments owed by his companies.

“He should have been using (the money spent on the ad) to pay his bills,” Goodwin said.

Kessler also questioned Justice’s “commitment to governing the state on a full-time basis” given his many business interests.

“He needs to come clean with the people of the state,” Kessler said. “What’s going to come first if he becomes governor? Will it be running his companies or will it be focused on putting West Virginia first? Being governor is a full-time job.”

Kessler also criticized comments Justice recently made about plans not to campaign with anyone if he wins the Democratic Party’s nomination.

“He came out and said he will not campaign with Hillary Clinton. He will not campaign with anybody. Sounds like to me he’s already abandoned the party’s ship,” Kessle said. “That’s a very strange platform for a Democrat seeking the Democratic nomination.”

Donald Trump

Prince Wrote a Song About Donald Trump and It’s a Real Doozy

Prince was famously prolific, writing possibly thousands of songs that were never released and penning tons of music for other artists. That includes a recently remembered track called Donald Trump (Black Version), which was recorded by the Time, R&B legends in their own right.

As Buzzfeed notes, Prince biographer Matt Thorne cited the song as originally intended for the Time’s unreleased Corporate World album, which had “the theme of a black rewrite of Wall Street.” When that album was shelved by the label, Donald Trump (Black Version) was instead included on the group’s 1990 album Pandemonium.

The song is a syrupy ballad that falls somewhere between quiet storm and parody, which is fitting, since the Time straddled comedy with real musical chops. In any case, Time singer Morris Day’s over-the-top persona is a perfect match for Donald Trump, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine he might say some of these lines if he were your love-ah, which, gross.

Have a listen to the song, below, then check out the lyrics beneath.

 

Honey baby, you truly know it. You truly know it.

You look good. Tryin’ your best to show it.

If I were you, I would. True love and affection.

These are nice, so nice but when a money man walks in the room, girl, you look more than twice.

You look once, you look twice. Can I rap to you sugar tonight?

(chorus)

Donald Trump (black version), maybe that’s what you need.

A man that fulfills your every wish, your every dream.

Donald Trump (black version), come on take a chance.

A 1990’s love affair, the real romance.

Honey baby, you are the finest. I have seen.

And your disposition’s so kind you’re never mean.

Girl, you’re to good to be true. But last night when you were asleep, you slipped big time.

I heard you. You said your favorite color was green.

So guess what?

(repeat chorus)

Now look here baby. I ain’t tryin’ to be 90 proof.

But a super strong woman. She needs a super strong dude.

Sweet words of love are helpful.

But what goes a lot farther than that?

A hundred dollar dinner at Adriano’s?

A brand new coat or a brand new hat?

Yes, I can do this!

... Donald Trump (black version), maybe that’s what you need.

Come on, come on take a chance.

.... A man that fulfills your every wish, your every dream.

I can fill your every dream, baby.

.... Donald Trump (black version), come on take a chance.

You and me, baby… and me!

.... A 1990’s love affair.

So many things.

... The real romance.

So many things.

.... Diamonds and pearls.

I wanna buy you things.

.... (Oooooh, I can hear you talkin’ to me baby)

.... Maybe that’s what you need.

‘cause I want all the other girls to bug.

.... A man that fulfills your every wish.

My name is Morris, baby.

.... Your every dream.

And I dig you. And when I dig somebody.

.... Donald Trump (black version).

They stay dug.

.... Come on take a chance.

They stay dug baby.

.... A 1990’s love affair, the real romance.

I… I… I… I got what you need baby.

Come on baby, come on take a chance.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►   2-Year-Old in Backseat Shoots, Kills Mom

A young mother of three was fatally shot while driving with her kids on Tuesday. But this was no road-rage shooting, and the bullet came from the seat behind her. Patrice Price, 26, was driving her boyfriend’s car on Highway 175 in Milwaukee around 10:30am when she suffered a single gunshot wound to the back, WISN reports. Price’s father says her boyfriend, who is a security guard, left a gun in the backseat where Price’s 2-year-old son found it and fired into the seat ahead. Price was able to pull the car to the side of the road where bystanders soon gathered.

They pulled Price from the car, which appeared to have two young boys inside, and “started to resuscitate her on the ground,“ a witness tells Fox 6. “People were panicking and you could tell people were generally trying to help.“ Another witness tells WTMJ that he saw “a blue sedan that had its door open and it was stopped in the middle of the freeway. And I saw a body lying outside of that.“ Price was dead when police arrived. “I have a knot in my chest. They won’t even let me see my daughter,“ says Price’s father. “I wanted to hold my daughter for one last time.“


►   Guy Jumps From Brooklyn Bridge, Then a Stroke of Luck

A man jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday, but he’s alive because two witnesses happened to see the plunge. His luck: Those witnesses also happened to be NYPD officers on boat patrol in the New York Harbor, reports the New York Post. The 31-year-old took the 135-foot leap about 9:15am in the midst of rush-hour traffic. “He was going straight down, hands at his side,“ officer Rosario Roccasalvo tells the Daily News. “I couldn’t believe it.“ Partner Eugene Bebenista kept his eyes on the spot and guided Roccasalvo, who was operating the boat. “You get goosebumps seeing someone coming off the bridge like that,” says Bebenista. “You just want to get there as quickly as possible and render assistance.”

They did so by tossing a life line to the man, who by that point was flailing and yelling, “Help me!“ in the dangerous current. The officers say he was actually reluctant to grab the line at first, but eventually did so and was brought aboard. The man was being evaluated at the hospital, and the Daily News reports that he’d made some bizarre claims on social media, such as being the author of the Harry Potter books. Though his rescue was a remarkable stroke of luck, he is at least the fourth person to survive a jump from the bridge since 2004. He should “take this second chance and enjoy it,“ says Roccasalvo. “Do something with it.“


►   Employee Found Dead at Apple HQ

An employee was found dead in a conference room at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, on Wednesday morning, the San Jose Mercury News reports. According to KGO-TV, authorities found a gun near the employee’s body. But the Mercury News reports police aren’t confirming the presence of a weapon. Police are calling it an “isolated incident” and say there is no threat to the public. The male employee hasn’t been identified. The coroner’s office will determine a cause of death. On Tuesday, Apple announced its first quarterly revenue decline in 13 years, according to the Los Angeles Times.


►   Tennessee Law Allows Therapists to Reject Gay Patients

Mental health therapists and counselors in Tennessee can now turn away gay patients or others whose “goals, outcomes, or behaviors” conflict with their “sincerely held beliefs.“ Republican Governor Bill Haslam signed Bill 1556 into law on Wednesday, saying it doesn’t “address a group, issue, or belief system,“ though opponents say it is a troubling attack on gay rights, CNN reports. The bill was created in response to the American Counseling Association’s 2014 change to its code of ethics, which required counselors to avoid imposing their own values on clients, the Tennessean reports.

The ACA says the Tennessee legislation, which is the only such law in the country, is an “unprecedented attack” on the profession, the AP reports. ACA spokesman Art Terrazas says the group is “extremely disappointed” that Haslam has ignored the backlash to similar “religious freedom” bills in states like Georgia “and has elected to sign this dangerous bill into law. Plain and simple, this bill codifies discrimination.“ The final version of the bill removed references to religion and added requirements for therapists to treat people who are in immediate danger of harming themselves or others, and to refer rejected clients to other therapists or counselors.


►   Lawsuit Claims Snapchat Filter Responsible for Car Crash

A Georgia man claims the car accident that left him with permanent brain damage was caused by a teen too busy taking selfies to pay attention to the road, NBC News reports. Now he’s suing the teen, Christal McGee, and Snapchat. The lawsuit filed this month claims McGee was using Snapchat’s speed filter at the time of the crash last September. According to New York Daily News, the filter adds a user’s speed to their photo, and Snapchat awards them with a “trophy” for posting how fast they were going. Lawyers for Wentworth Maynard says McGee, 18, admitted to trying to get her Mercedes Benz up to 100mph in order to post a photo using the speed filter, CNN reports. When she crashed into Maynard’s car, she was going about 107mph—nearly double the speed limit.

Maynard spent five weeks in the hospital following the crash, according to the lawsuit. He lost 50 pounds, requires a wheelchair or walker to get around, can’t work, and can’t take care of himself. And his lawyers say McGee wasn’t done with the app even after the crash. They claim she took a selfie with blood dripping down her face and the caption “lucky to be alive” immediately after the accident (that photo can be seen   HERE ). Maynard is seeking unspecified damages to cover his medical bills. “The issue really is about distracted teenage drivers,“ his lawyer tells NBC. “It’s about Snapchat encouraging teenagers to drive at fast speed for social status.“ A Snapchat spokesperson says it discourages drivers from using its speed filter with an in-app warning message.


►   For Sale: Seattle’s Mystery ‘Spite House’

From the front, a half-million-dollar home on the Re/Max website looks like a quaint Spanish Revival in the heart of Seattle. Head to the side for a different perspective, and you’ll see appearances are deceiving. You’re looking at what Yahoo says locals call the “Montlake Spite House,“ an 860-square-foot sliver of a house that’s legendary even among tiny houses. The front of the pie-shaped home built in 1925 is just 15 feet wide, while the back comes in at under 5 feet wide, KOMO reported in 2013, the last time the house was up for sale. Eugene Smith, a retired professor at the University of Washington who wrote a book on area history, says the wedge-like residence “was certainly the oddest of all the bungalows” in the area. “It was the smallest, most peculiar shape,“ he told KOMO. And the story behind its supposedly spiteful construction is just as strange as its shape.

Yahoo dug up a few origin tales, including that it may have been built by an enraged landowner to spite a neighbor for a lowball offer on the land, per the Stranger. It also may have been a revenge move by a long-ago owner, said to have given permission for someone to build a home while he was traveling, as long as there was room left for his own house, which … there wasn’t, really, Quirksee has reported. But one of the catchiest stories, offered by the Oregonian, claims a divorce judge awarded the original, larger home to the husband, and a tiny portion of land to the wife, who then built this minuscule abode to be up in her ex’s face. These days there’s a law on the books against such a “malicious erection,“ which involves building a structure to purposely “spite, injure or annoy” neighbors by blocking their view, access, or light.


►   Study Names Worst State for Drunk Driving

Be careful on the roads in North Dakota. The state is the most dangerous in the country when it comes to drunk driving, according to an analysis by CarInsuranceComparison.com. It considered five factors: a state’s drunk-driving-related deaths and arrests in 2015, its penalties and laws, and its cost per fatality; each measure was then weighted, with fatality rank being the most prominent factor (see full methodology   HERE ). North Dakota was followed by Montana, Idaho, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and South Dakota. Why? Tyler Spraul, the study’s director, cites “higher than average alcohol consumption,“ for one.

Indeed, USA Today flags a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that found North and South Dakota, Idaho, and Wisconsin were among 2009’s biggest alcohol consumers. Spraul further tells USA Today “a higher chance of running into dangerous driving conditions with sleet, snow, and ice during the winter months could [also] be the reason that we’re seeing so many of those northern states rank poorly.“ Potentially undermining that argument: The wintry states of Alaska and Minnesota ranked 46th and 47th, respectively. They were followed by Georgia, Indiana, and Florida, with Utah 51st (the District of Columbia was included). See where your state ranks   HERE .


►   Female Ranger Grad Makes History Again

She made history once. Now she’s done it again. Kristen Griest, one of the first female soldiers to earn a Ranger tab, has become the US Army’s first female infantry officer after the military overturned a ban on women in combat positions, reports the Army Times. “Like any other officer wishing to branch-transfer, Capt. Griest applied for an exception to Army policy to transfer from military police to infantry,“ says a rep from Fort Benning in Georgia. “Her transfer was approved by the Department of the Army [on Monday] and she’s now an infantry officer.“ She’ll be eligible to hold a command position when she graduates from the two-month Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning on Thursday, per ABC News.

“I am proud of Capt. Kristen Griest, not because she is the first, but because she is following her heart,“ Lisa Jaster, who graduated from the Ranger course two months after Griest and Shaye Haver, tells the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “She is a leader of soldiers who puts her whole self into her job and will continue to make sacrifices in order to make our Army stronger.“ Griest could be the only female infantry officer for months, though a military official says she likely won’t take command of her infantry unit until next spring or summer, per NBC News. Around that time, at least nine other women are expected to enter the Army’s infantry branch after completing training. Thirteen women have been approved to enter its armor branch.

McDonald’s Tests McNuggets without Artificial Additives

NEW YORK — Like the indestructible Twinkie, Chicken McNuggets are practically a culinary punchline, a symbol of hyper-processed fast food with a list of ingredients that reads like a chemistry exam. But now McDonald’s wants to take at least some of the mystery substances out.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain says it is testing a version without artificial preservatives.

It’s the latest move by McDonald’s to try to catch up with changing tastes and turn around its business, which has lost customers in recent years.

The new McNugget recipe is “simpler,“ and “parents can feel good” about it, the fast-food company said.

The Free Press WV


While McDonald’s did not give full details about what is or isn’t in the test recipe, it said the new McNuggets do not have sodium phosphates, widely used food additives that the company has said can keep chicken moist. Also, the McNuggets will not be fried in oil containing the artificial preservative TBHQ.

Chicken McNuggets have become an often-mocked symbol of heavily processed fast food since they were introduced in the 1980s. The breaded and fried nuggets are made of ground-up chicken rather than intact chunks of meat and are delivered to stores frozen.

The company said it began testing the new recipe in about 140 stores in Oregon and Washington in March. The test was first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business.

As people pay closer attention to food labels, companies across the food and drink industry have adjusted recipes to remove ingredients that may sound unappetizing.

Last year, for instance, McDonald’s changed its grilled chicken recipe to replace sodium phosphates with vegetable starch and to remove maltodextrin, which was used to increase browning.

The McNugget test reflects the sensitivities of parents of young children in particular. McDonald’s has long targeted families, with its Happy Meals and Ronald McDonald mascot.

McDonald’s said it is getting feedback from customers with the McNugget test, and did not say when it might launch the new recipe nationally.

Last week, McDonald’s said sales rose 5.4 percent at established U.S. locations during the first three months of the year. The results were boosted at least in part by higher prices and the closing of underperforming stores.

McDonald’s Corp., based in Oak Brook, Illinois, has more than 14,000 locations in the U.S.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►   Hot Fashion for S. Korea’s Olympic Team: Zika-Proof Attire

South Korea’s Olympic committee on Wednesday unveiled Zika-proof long-sleeved shirts and pants it says will help protect the country’s Olympic athletes from the mosquito-borne virus at this year’s games in Rio de Janeiro, the AP reports. The sets of clothing will be impregnated with mosquito-repellent chemicals and will be worn by athletes during ceremonies and training and at the athletes’ village, the Korean Olympic Committee says. The committee notes it couldn’t make changes to the uniforms worn during competition because of strict rules and performance concerns, although athletes will be allowed to use spray during competitions.

Brazil has been fighting to stem the spread of the Zika virus, which is known to cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than normal. The threat of Zika has emerged as a major concern in the buildup to this year’s Olympics, along with construction delays and the political turmoil in Brazil. A team of South Korean government and Olympic officials visited Rio earlier this month to inspect Olympic venues and local hospitals that could treat the infected. The KOC says it expects to soon provide guidelines to Olympic athletes and others traveling to the 2016 Games about how to protect themselves from Zika. Meanwhile, on Wednesday the US team revealed its outfits for the closing ceremonies outfits, and it doesn’t seem as worried: The men and women will wear shorts.


►   Biden Makes Surprise Trip to Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad on Thursday on a surprise visit intended to help Iraqi leaders resolve a political crisis that has hindered efforts to defeat the Islamic State. Biden landed at midday after an overnight flight from Washington. He was expected to meet with government officials and stress the need for unity, although the White House did not disclose his itinerary, reports the AP. Because of concern for Biden’s security, his trip was not announced in advance. Journalists traveling with Biden had to agree to keep it secret until he arrived.

Protests and demands for political reforms have paralyzed an Iraqi government already struggling with a troubled economy and violent extremists. The Obama administration has stepped up the US military role with more troops and equipment, but the US worries that infighting in Baghdad is jeopardizing hard-fought gains with President Obama set to leave office in January. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is a Shiite whom the US considers a welcome improvement over his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki. Yet al-Abadi’s failures to deliver on long-promised reforms and manage sectarian tensions have threatened his ability to lead.


►   Aleppo’s Last Pediatrician Killed in Airstrikes

A wave of overnight airstrikes hit a hospital in Syria supported by Doctors Without Borders and nearby buildings in the rebel-held part of the contested city of Aleppo, killing at least 27 people. The strikes hit the well-known al-Quds field hospital, according to opposition activists and rescue workers, and the city’s last pediatrician was among those killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says, per Reuters. Syria Civil Defense, a volunteer first-responders agency, tells the AP that the al-Quds hospital and adjacent buildings were struck in four consecutive airstrikes; it adds victims are still buried under the rubble and rescue work continues. An agency video posted online shows a number of lifeless bodies, including those of children, being pulled out from a building and loaded into ambulances amid screaming.

The UN envoy for Syria appealed early Thursday for the US and Russia to help revive the peace talks and a ceasefire, which he said “hangs by a thread.“ The February 27 ceasefire has been fraying in the past weeks as casualty figures from violence mount, particularly in Aleppo and across northern Syria. Airstrikes earlier this week also targeted a training center for Syria Civil Defense, leaving five of its team dead in rural Aleppo. Since April 19, nearly 200 people have died, including at least 44 in an airstrike on a market place in a rebel-held area in northern Idlib province, as well as dozens of civilians in government-held areas from rebel shelling.

Gift from WVU Grad Dr. Chad Westfall Creates Dentistry Endowment In West Virginia….

West Virginia University School of Dentistry alumnus Dr. Chad Westfall has established a new family endowment by pledging $25,000 to the School of Dentistry.  Dr. Westfall’s new fund, the Westfall Family Dental Endowment, supports the Departments of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Orthodontics.

“I completed a general practice residency at the WVU School of Dentistry in 2009 and worked closely with the oral surgery program,” Dr. Westfall said. “My professor, Dr. Bryan Weaver, acted as a mentor to me during my residency, which greatly influenced my experience and time with the School.”

The Free Press WV
(L-R) Dr. Bryan Weaver, Dr. Chad Westfall, Dr. Peter Ngan

Dr. Westfall is also a proud graduate of the WVU Orthodontics program and calls department “one of the best in the country.” He said Dr. Peter Ngan, chair, and Dr. Tim Tremont, clinical associate professor, are both taking the program in the right direction.

“It is the support from alumni like Dr. Westfall that allow our School to keep moving in the right direction and lend support to our students, faculty, and patients,” said Dean Dr. Tom Borgia. “We are constantly striving to have WVU remain among the best dental schools in the country and appreciate any and all support from our alumni to maintain this level of excellence.”

A dedicated alum and Mountaineer, Dr. Westfall received his doctor of dental surgery degree in 2008, then completed a one-year general practice residency in 2009.  He was awarded a masters in orthodontics in 2013. Dr. Westfall currently has his own orthodontic practice in Abingdon, VA where he resides with his wife, Caitlin, and son, Jack. His endowment also honors his father, Dr. John Westfall, who earned his DDS from the WVU School of Dentistry in 1975, and his mother, Patricia Westfall, who received her masters in speech pathology from WVU in 1978.

“The education and degree I received from WVU has provided me and my family a wonderful opportunity,” Dr. Westfall said. “The least I could do is to give back.”

This donation was made in conjunction with _A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University.”  The $1 billion fundraising effort being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.

Semi-Finalists Announced for West Virginia Scholar Program

The Free Press WV

MetroNews, in conjunction with West Virginia Wesleyan College, is pleased to announce the fifteen semi-finalists for the 2016 West Virginia Scholar Program.  Semi-finalists are competing for a full scholarship valued at $125,000 to Wesleyan.

Semi-finalists include:

  • Madison Bowles, Herbert Hoover
  • Justin Brinkmeier, Tyler Consolidated
  • Erin Burks, Ravenswood
  • Jayson Chappell, Oak Glen
  • Luke Cox, Bridgeport
  • Zachary Halterman, Keyser
  • Thomas Hugart, Nicholas County
  • Emma Locarnini, Washington
  • Madison Matheny, Parkersburg South
  • Bailey Mcinturff, Woodrow Wilson
  • Madison Robinson, South Charleston
  • Amber Sturgill, Shady Springs
  • Gavin Surbaugh, Webster County
  • Taylor Walroth, Hurricane
  • Chase Webb, Roane County

These students will participate in a one-on-one interview, and finalists will be announced May 23.  At that time, online voting for winners will begin.

Second place prize is a four-year, $5,000 scholarship, while third place prize is a four-year, $2,500 scholarship to Wesleyan.  All awards begin with the 2017 fall semester.

In addition to MetroNews and Wesleyan, sponsors for the 2016 West Virginia Scholar Program include the Culpepper Scholarship, the West Virginia Hospital Association, the Home Builders Association of West Virginia, ZMM Architects and Engineers, the High Technology Foundation, Friends of Coal, and the West Virginia Forestry Association.

Winners will be announced during an on-campus luncheon on Wednesday, June 22.

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