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Former Charleston Mayor will close his downtown restaurant

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A fixture for lunch in downtown Charleston won’t be around much longer.

Former Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has announced he’ll close Danny’s Barbecue Stand on Quarrier Street at the end of the year.

“Father time is catching up with me. I have a lot of arthritis and I have a serious medical issue I need to deal with and get tested for, I can’t even straighten out my right leg. I’ve aged so much and gone so far down hill in these three years I know that I need to pack it in,” said Jones in an appearance on 580-Live, a show on WCHS radio he formerly hosted prior to opening his restaurant.

Located on Quarrier Street, the eatery features Danny’s special blend of BBQ sauce over pulled pork, ribs, and chicken. His chili was also a hit with customers along with his house made croutons.

The walls of Jones’ restaurant serve as a makeshift museum of Charleston history. The trappings include the actual and lit-up neon sign from the former Broad Street Hotel and hundreds of plaqued newspaper stories about his work in public service and the restaurant business. Customers always got personal service from Danny himself and usually a lengthy conversation.

“Trust me, I’m going to miss this. When you guys come in it’s a delight. I have so many friends who come in and just say hello. If we’re not busy I sit down and talk to them,” he explained.

Although his health concerns are one issue, the other is family. Jones has a couple of young sons and enjoys spending time with them. He closed down the restaurant during the month of July to accommodate doctors appointments and vacations with his boys.

“You cannot close your business that many times and for that long in a year and expect to just pick up where you left off. It doesn’t work. But I had these two boys and I need to take them on vacation and then I had lots of doctors appointments and when I could I would schedule them for July because that’s when I’m off,” Jones explained.

Prior to opening Danny’s BBQ stand three years ago, Jones was the host of 580-Live. He assumed the position of talkshow host during his final year as Charleston’s Mayor. He served four terms and was the city’s longest tenured mayor.

Jones has always been a public figure. Prior to his service as mayor he served as Kanawha County Sheriff and served in the House of Delegates. As a young man he served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam and worked as a mechanic. He also operated another restaurant in the community of Nitro for years, something which had gotten into his blood as a teenager. He worked in several eateries in downtown Charleston as a high school student, but said the Sterling was the one where he developed a love for the restaurant culture.

“I was a lonely high school kid. School wasn’t working out very well for me socially or academically and at the Sterling, people would talk to me. It’s where I was introduced to the sub-culture of Charleston,” he explained. “I loved it. I loved every minute of it.”

He had hoped to to reestablish the success of his Nitro restaurant in his downtown location, but admitted it was too big of an undertaking at this point in his life.

“Thirty years ago in Nitro I was open seven days a week and open to 9:00. I also had a beer and liquor license. This place doesn’t need a liquor license, but a beer license would work. If I was young and could do it, that’s what I would do here,” he said.

Jones plans to keep his food service license and his company up to date and to be available on a very limited basis to cook for individuals who may hire him for an event. He also suggested his next step may be as a driver for either a local limousine service on a limited basis or for Uber.

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Moore Capito, whose name likely rings a bell, says he’s running for West Virginia governor

Delegate Moore Capito, the next generation of a West Virginia political dynasty, says he’s running for governor.

“I’m running because I have skin in the game like so many West Virginians,” said Capito, who described spending his life in West Virginia and raising children in the state. “We’re going to pass the torch to a new generation.”

Capito, a Republican, made the announcement during an in-studio appearance on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mac Warner released a statement indicating he is strongly considering a run for governor — but he hasn’t made a final decision.

Moore Capito is the son of current U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and grandson of three-time Gov. Arch Moore, also a Republican.

His cousin, state Treasurer Riley Moore, just announced last week his intention to run for Congress.

“I’m a West Virginia conservative,” Moore Capito said today. “I think a West Virginia conservative is a very unique breed, and we’re proud of that.”

Gov. Jim Justice, who is now two years into his second term, is up against a term limit and can’t run for governor again.

Other candidates who have filed already to run for governor in 2024 include automobile dealer Chris Miller, who is the son of Congresswoman Carol Miller plus Republicans Terri Bradshaw of Gandeeville and Rashida Yost of Martinsburg.

Former Delegate Marshall Wilson has also filed to run under America Coming Together.

Moore Capito was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2016. He was named chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in 2020. Much of the non-financial legislation comes through Judiciary, so it is considered a key committee.

“I’m not a big talker, but I like to listen,” Capito said when describing his leadership style.

Mac Warner

Warner, the Secretary of State, released a statement today indicating he might join the race too.

“Since the mid-term election, I have spoken with people across the state, and received very positive reactions to the accomplishments we’ve made in the Secretary of State’s office,” stated Warner, a Republican.

“People want a leader who will continue the serious work which needs to be done to improve education, promote West Virginia energy production, build out infrastructure, and enhance our economy. This is why I am giving every consideration to running for Governor in 2024.”

Warner continued, “Come January, I will make a final decision, and I will make an official announcement of my intentions at that time. I look forward to continuing my life of service, and to working to make West Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family for generations to come.”

Patrick Morrisey

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, yet another Republican, released a lengthy statement this month expressing openness to governor, Senate or a House bid.

“We have a very deep record, as strong as any potential candidate in the nation for either the U.S. Senate or for Governor. I have been asked to consider running for these two positions, as well as the U.S. House in the northern part of the state or stand for re-election as Attorney General,” Morrisey stated.

“I want to give all of these options appropriate and due consideration. But rest assured, I know how important it is to be strong, especially when it comes to taking on a tough incumbent.”

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Keys to victory in the Class AAA championship game

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Greg Carey and Joe Brocato break down keys to victory for the No. 2 Huntington Highlanders (12-1) and the No. 1 Parkersburg South Patriots (12-1). MetroNews will have broadcast coverage of all three state championship games at wvmetronews.com.

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MetroNews Top Plays (Week 14)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Check out the top plays from around West Virginia in the semifinal week of the high school football postseason.

You can win $100 each week by submitting videos using the Twitter hashtag #MNTopPlay. Hudl links are also welcome.

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MetroNews This Morning 11-29-22

Today on MetroNews This Morning:

–A vigil to remember a Greenbrier County woman who was the victim of domestic violence

–Shane Lyons speaks exclusively with MetroNews about his sudden firing at WVU

–The PSC allows for an increase in gas rates for the winter, but well short of what companies sought

–In Sports, getting ready for the state high school football championships this weekend in Wheeling.

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 11-29-22” on Spreaker.

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Keep Neal Brown
Then-athletic director Shane Lyons celebrates with Mountaineer head coach Neal Brown after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia University should keep Neal Brown as the head football coach, and that decision should be made quickly.

It feels as though Brown has been hanging by a thread.  Disappointing defeats and subpar performances in multiple games this year increased the possibility that Brown would be fired after four seasons.

The story took an unexpected turn two weeks ago, when President Gordon Gee fired Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and announced that no decision about Brown would be made until Lyons’ replacement is hired.

It is hard to imagine that a new AD will be able to thoroughly evaluate Brown.  Gee will have a say in what happens to Brown, and my sense is the president wants to keep him.

Brown’s record is 22-25, but that losing record has asterisks.

The previous coach left a mess behind. Recruiting had fallen off and the program was disorganized. Brown returned order to the Puskar Center and refocused attention on recruiting and player development.

Brown’s efforts have been hampered by player departures, said long-time Blue and Gold News editor and publisher Greg Hunter.  “Unfortunately, the player development hasn’t borne as much fruit as hoped to this point because a number of promising young players have left the program just as they seemingly were starting to maximize their talent,” said Hunter.

However, Hunter and others who follow the sport closely believe Brown and his staff are having recruiting success, especially with the 2022 and 2023 classes. “Those players are too young—or are not even here yet—to have a huge impact to this point, but if they stay, they appear to have the talent to lead WVU to better moments in the future,” Hunter said.

Despite the losses and the NIL temptations from other schools, Brown has been able to keep the locker room. That was evident when the Mountaineers played with grit and determination last Saturday, winning on the road at  Oklahoma State.  That says something about Brown’s ability to build strong bonds with his players.

A change now would destroy the most recent recruiting and send even more players to the portal. The program would take steps backward before a new coach could get his feet firmly planted and start the long rebuild.

Then there is always the money. WVU is paying Lyons $2.4 million over the next two years. Brown would be owed $16 million over the next four years, minus anything he would make from his next job. WVU would also owe fired assistant coaches, meaning the University is looking at a problem of over $20 million.

Lyons was openly critical of the on-field performance of the football team. Lyons had candid conversations with Brown, and he would have been willing to make a change if he thought it necessary. However, Lyons said on Talkline Monday that he does not believe WVU should fire Brown.

“I would want to keep him. I think he checks every box that we’re looking for as a head coach,” Lyons said. “Unfortunately, the big box he needs to check is to win more football games. I believe that’s coming in the future.”

That is no longer Lyons’ decision. However, he has been closer to the program over the last four years than anyone else in WVU’s administration. His opinion, even on the way out the door, should count for something.

 

 

 

 

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Ability to overcome adversity has Herbert Hoover in Class AA final

As Class AA No. 9 Herbert Hoover prepares for its first appearance in the Super Six, the Huskies do so as the only team not seeded first or second in their classification that’ll be playing for a state championship.

That’s just fine for third-year Huskies’ head coach Joey Fields, whose team brings a 10-game win streak into Friday’s 7 p.m. matchup with No. 2 Independence at Wheeling Island Stadium. 

“This group went through so much adversity and just continued to respond and play,” Fields said. “The ball bounced our way throughout the season after that 0-2 start. We had a little bit of luck and you gain confidence when that happens. Our guys fed off that and continued to get better, press on and found a way to win.”

Hoover (10-2) has certainly found a way to prevail in the postseason. Following a 63-26 victory at No. 8 Clay County to start the playoffs, the Huskies then avenged one of their two regular season losses by edging top seed Winfield 27-26 on a touchdown with 2 seconds remaining.

That setup a three-and-a-half hour trip to Short Gap to face No. 5 Frankfort in Saturday’s semifinal. After trailing 10-3 at halftime, the Huskies turned things around and pulled out a 17-10 victory.

“Making adjustments is what we do every time,” quarterback/defensive back Dane Hatfield said, “and in the second half our defense plays better because we listen to [assistant coach Tim Meyer] and do what he tells us to do.”

Hatfield, a sophomore, is the focal point of the Huskies’ offensive attack. One week after throwing three touchdowns to Jacob Burns, including a 5-yard scoring strike that erased a 26-20 deficit and led to a one-point win over the Generals, Hatfield did damage with his legs against the Falcons, rushing 36 times for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Herbert Hoover secured its first trip to the Super Six with a 17-10 victory at Frankfort in a Class AA semifinal. Photo by Greg Carey/WVMetroNews.com

“He’s a young kid, but they believe in him and he’ll go make plays,” Fields said. “He’s the first one to congratulate his teammates. He’s a special kid on the field but he’s even better off the field.”

Fields noted continued improvement from the Huskies’ offensive line as one of the team’s pleasant surprises this season and Hatfield credited a tight bond across the roster as playing a large role in Hoover’s success.

“With all the stuff we’ve been through, we know we have to dig deep and never give up,” Hatfield said. “We trust teammates and trust the guy beside us that it’ll all be alright.”

That includes tailback, where junior Randy Hughart has become the Huskies’ top option at that position after sophomore Rocco Frye suffered a torn ACL in the playoff opener against the Panthers.

In the victory over the Falcons, Hughart gained 112 yards on 12 carries. Ten of his rushes went for at least 5 yards and five amassed 13-plus yards.

“A great running back and a great teammate,” Fields said. “His teammates love him. He’s had to step up for us big time. He’ll do what it takes to win. If that’s one or two carries and block the whole way for his quarterback or he has to pack it 15 or 20 times, he’s able to do that as well and catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s a complete back. We lost Rocco Frye in the first playoff game to an ACL tear and Randy stepped up. We’re a different looking team than we were even two weeks ago.”

The Huskies’ defense has also stepped up in a big way and after blanking the Falcons in the second half, it marked the sixth time Hoover has held the opposition to fewer than 20 points this season.

That was accomplished after defensive lineman Gavin Allison, who Fields described as one of the team’s better defensive players and leaders, left the game with an injury suffered in the first quarter.

“Our kids continued to fight and we had a lot of guys in there that are usually second string guys battling in those last couple quarters,” Fields said. “I’m so proud of this team. We believe that we’re a second-half team and they play like that.”

Now a major challenge awaits in the Patriots, who are on a mission to finish the season with a victory after suffering a loss to Fairmont Senior in last year’s Class AA final.

The Patriots (12-0) have recorded six shutouts this season and they’ve yet to allow an opponent to score 20 points.

Independence also possesses one of the state’s most productive and explosive players in tailback Judah Price, who enters with 2,204 rushing yards and 47 touchdowns for a single-season state scoring record.

Save for a 20-12 victory against Bluefield in its postseason opener, Independence has scored 40 or more points in each of its 11 other games.

The Huskies and Patriots have an element of familiarity with one another having scrimmaged in August.

“We can go back and look at that film. It’s not a lot of it,” Fields said. “But [Independence coach John Lilly] has done a fantastic with his program and just like us, he’s not in this position because of what he’s done this year. It’s what he’s done the last three or four years that’s gotten him to this position. It’s a hard thing to do.”

As a result of the seeding, records and Patriots winning 11 games by at least 28 points, Independence will enter as a clear favorite in many people’s eyes.

Yet Fields is well aware that doesn’t mean much, particularly after guiding the Huskies to an unbeaten regular season and No. 1 seed in 2021 before they suffered an opening-round loss to eventual state champion Fairmont Senior.

“When there’s so much success last season and then you have the expectation coming in and drop two off the bat, there could have been a little bit of doubt,” Fields said. “We told our guys last year they told you that you were the best team and you found out you weren’t. This year, they told you you’re not very good. Well they’re wrong again. 

“Our guys kept fighting, leaning on each other and continued to get better in practice. It’s not been an easy season. A lot of adversity in multiple ways, but I’m proud of our guys to fight and be in the position to play for a championship.”

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Friends remember life of Greenbrier County mother, newlywed husband charged with murder

ALDERSON, W.Va. — There was a lot of emotion at a candlelight vigil Monday night in Alderson for a mother of five who police say was murdered by her newlywed husband.

Marissa Dawson (Facebook)

Family and friends of Marrisa Dawson (Marissa Mann-Bennett) gathered to remember her life.

Dawson died Friday morning after what police describe as an all night beating at an Alderson residence.

Investigators have charged Zach Dawson, 34, of Alderson, with murder.

MORE Read criminal complaint here

According to a criminal complaint, Dawson admitted to killing Marissa Dawson during a violent argument that began Thanksgiving night and stretched into early Friday morning. Marissa Dawson’s bloodied body was found by a friend at 9 a.m. Friday.

Zach Dawson (WVRJA)

Police said Marissa Dawson suffered major facial trauma. There was blood found throughout the residence on both the second floor and in the basement, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators said it also appeared Marissa’s body was “thrown through the residence and striking what appeared to be her head on several items in the residence.”

Police allege after Zach Dawson changed his wife’s clothes and attempted to clean-up the residence, he took off in her car. Police found him later Friday along U.S. Route 219 in Lewisburg.

According to the criminal complaint, Dawson “admitted being responsible for her death and takes responsibility for it.” Dawson told police he hit his wife during the argument.

“Zachary Hess Dawson informed the officer he killed his wife,” the criminal complaint said. “Subject stated that after striking his wife he blacked out and when he came to he knew he had messed up. Subject admitted that he changed her clothes to have clean clothes on her.”

Greenbrier County Prosecutor Patrick Via told MetroNews Monday the investigation is in its early stages. He said Zach Dawson’s statement to police will not cause authorities to let up on finding out what happened.

Candlelight vigil set for Monday night.

“Statements taken sometimes are subject to different interpretations later, so it’s critical that we proceed just as if we didn’t have a statement at all, quite frankly,” Via said.

He said there’s a lot of physical evidence including blood and clothing.

“It’s my understanding that there was a very consequential amount of blood at the scene as well as articles of clothing that were gathered by the investigators,” Via said.

The investigation will also include researching the history of the relationship between Zach and Marrisa Dawson. They were married Oct. 24, a month before her death occurred.

“It’s extremely early,” Via said describing the work of investigators. “All of those facts have been or will be gathered by the investigators and supplied to me through briefings as well as through a complete written report of the investigation.”

Dawson is in the Southern Regional Jail without bail.

According to Facebook posts, Marissa Dawson was the mother of five children, including a son who was born in August. She worked as a housekeeping attendant at the Greenbrier Resort.

A news release from the Alderson Police Department said the children were not at home at the time of the beating. They had spent the night at a friend’s house.

Via said four police agencies are working together on the investigation including Alderson Police, Lewisburg Police, State Police and the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department.

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PSC approves interim natural gas rates, tries to lessen sticker shock

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Public Service Commission is trying to lessen the sticker shock of rising natural gas rates for the winter months.

West Virginia Public Service Commission headquarters in Charleston. (Photo/MetroNews)

The PSC announced Monday that it has approved what the commission describes as “much lower interim purchased gas cost rates” for the two largest natural gas utilities, Mountaineer Gas and Hope Gas.

Natural gas utilities are allowed to seek money from customers each year on what it has cost the utility to purchase gas. Those costs, which have been relatively low during the past decade, have shot up in the past year with natural gas prices going up significantly.

The natural gas utilities requested significant increases for the winter in their annual filings a few months ago but the PSC put the brakes on the proposals and asked the utilities to suggest other ways to recover the costs. Monday’s announcement is a result of that back and forth.

Mountaineer Gas originally requested a nearly $10.00 increase per Mcf used for residential customers which would raise the average customer’s bill to nearly $200.000 a month, a 38% increase. Instead, the PSC approved a 15% increase. The average customer’s bill will now be about $166.00 a month, about $22 more a month compared to last winter’s rates.

Hope Gas was seeking a 62% in its purchased gas rate which would raised the average customer’s bill from the current $135.51 a month to $219.50 a month. The PSC instead granted a 28% increase which will add about $38 a month to the average customer’s bill.

The PSC pointed out Monday that the rates it approved are interim rates and will be subject to a “true-up” in future cases.

Moses Skaff

Mountaineer Gas Senior Vice President Moses Skaff told MetroNews earlier this fall the company expected to receive the rest of its increased cost for natural gas next spring.

“What we’re trying to do is to give our customers a break during the high heating seasons that are coming up and then we’re levelizing through the rest of the year,” Skaff said.

The gas distribution companies don’t have a lot of choices, Skaff said.

“This is the best alternative that we could come up because of the price of the gas, the commodity price, that we have to buy at this time,” Skaff said.

Mountaineer and Hope have about 89% of the natural gas customers in West Virginia.

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Three Guys Before The Game – Shane Lyons Speaks – Football Victory – Basketball Rolls (Episode 421)

Outgoing athletic director Shane Lyons has made his first public comments about his departure.

In an exclusive interview with Hoppy Kercheval, Lyons gave his thoughts on why he was dismissed.

In this episode, the “Guys” discuss Lyons’ interview and review successful weekends for WVU football and basketball.

Listener questions and comments complete the show.

The crew returns on Thursday with a preview of Saturday’s Big 12/Big East showdown between the Mountaineers and Xavier.

Three Guys Before The Game is sponsored by Burdette Camping Center Komax Business Systems  — and  Daniel’s Men’s Store.

Don’t forget to check out Three Guys merchandise.

Never miss an episode, it’s free, subscribe below.

                                              

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