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Takubo details COVID-19 experience on ‘Talkline’

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo says he is not sure where he contracted COVID-19.

Takubo, R-Kanawha, appeared on Tuesday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ and said that it’s good news that his family members have tested negative for the virus but does raises questions as to where he got it to test positive over the weekend.

Tom Takubo

“I’ve been extremely careful and tried to take precautions. My family is all negative so I am not sure how I got it,” he said.

Takubo, the co-owner and founder of Pulmonary Associates Of Charleston, said he and his colleagues have taken care of 85% of the critical COVID-19 cases in the Charleston area. He said he may have contracted it at work but said he has taken every precaution there.

According to him, symptoms began last week with aches on Thursday. Other symptoms for Takubo included a high temperature, weakness and decreased appetite.

“By Thursday evening, the aches were something viral. I was hoping it was an early fall seasonal virus. I canceled my office on Friday, went to get tested to make sure and sure enough I was positive,” he said.

Senator @DrTomTakubo, Republican, Kanawha, talks with @HoppyKercheval about recovering from Covid-19. WATCH:

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 22, 2020

Takubo noted he is in the minority of those who have contracted the virus and have expressed symptoms. He said around 60% of those who have tested positive in the state are asymptomatic.

The state senator believes the majority of West Virginians will contract COVID-19 at some point.

“West Virginia is getting hit hard now because we didn’t get hit hard several months ago. I think overall West Virginia did a great job of keeping everybody at bay by keeping distance and closing down. But all that does is leave us vulnerable for now,” he said.

Takubo added he is taking Decadron, a steroid, to recover from the virus.

He was elected to the Senate in 2014, was re-elected in 2018 and became the majority leader that year. Takubo is the second West Virginia legislator to publicly acknowledge a case of coronavirus.

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Supreme Court considers reach of Consumer Credit and Protection Act in Catholic Diocese case

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court have two questions to answer following arguments on a case out of Wood County involving state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

At the heart of the lawsuit is Morrisey’s contention that the Diocese failed to protect children from sexual abusers by not disclosing credible accusations of abuse against members of the clergy prior to the past few years.

Specifically, the claim is that, going forward, when the Diocese promotes educational and recreational services to the public, it should be meeting requirements in the Consumer Credit and Protection Act (CCPA).

“The Diocese can do whatever it wants to when it comes to particular safety practices or training or background checks,” said Lindsay See, solicitor general.

“But as soon as it includes some of those things as a factual matter in its advertisements to the general public when it’s selling its services, it just has to be true. If the Diocese says that everyone must pass a background check, that has to be a true fact.”

James Gardill, an attorney for the diocese, disputed that.

“This case is an unprecedented misapplication of the CCPA (Consumer Credit and Protection Act) and an extraordinary intrusion and prior restraint on free exercise,” Gardill said.

Wood County Circuit Judge J.D. Beane previously dismissed the case, at the request of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, before issuing a stay on that ruling pending answers from the state Supreme Court to the two questions which were argued Tuesday.

1. Do the provisions of Article 6 of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act, respecting unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, apply to religious institutions in connection with their sale or advertisement of educational or recreational services?

2. Does the cumulative impact of the entire relationship between church and state arising from the attorney general’s application of the Act constitute an excessive entanglement of church and state prohibited by the constitutions of the United States and the State of West Virginia?

As MetroNews previously reported, Judge Beane was a “no” on Question 1 and a “yes” on Question 2 when the questions were initially submitted to the state Supreme Court last fall.

“The Court is taking up threshold legal questions with implications far beyond this particular complaint,” See said.

“What matters now is that the CCPA means what it says when it says that unfair, deceptive practices in the conduct and advertising of educational and recreational services are prohibited.”

Gardill urged the state Supreme Court to proceed carefully.

“We’re talking about the state using the Consumer Credit and Protection Act, which is designed for ordinary cash and credit transactions and to avoid excessive terms, unfair terms in agreements — loan agreements and otherwise — to enforce a church policy,” he said.

“They’re going to interpret how we comply with our own policy. It’s extraordinary.”

Judge Beane saw potential issues with applying the Consumer Credit and Protection Act potentially to other entities.

“The list is inexhaustible; the powers of the Attorney General almost boundless and effectively would grant his office profound influence over every aspect of the state’s economy,” Beane wrote.

“It is inconceivable that this was the Legislature’s intent in enacting the Consumer Credit and Protection Act.”

Court officials said Justice Margaret Workman, who was not physically present for Tuesday’s arguments, was monitoring arguments online and would participate in the court decision on the questions which was expected later this year.

MetroNews Statewide Correspondent Brad McElhinny contributed to this story.

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Three counties in ‘red’ on latest DHHR COVID map

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three West Virginia counties are in the ‘red’ category for COVID-19 cases in numbers released Tuesday morning by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Kanawha, Putnam and Mingo counties are all averaging more than 25 daily COVID-19 over a 7-day period per 100,000 population. Mingo County leads that list at nearly 30 average cases.

Monongalia, Fayette, Boone and Logan counties were all ‘orange’ Tuesday while Jackson, Pocahontas, Nicholas, Summers, Wyoming, Wayne and Cabell counties are in the ‘gold’ category that allows for in-person school instruction with additional COVID-10 mitigation efforts. The rest of the counties are either ‘yellow’ or ‘green.’

The DHHR reported 213 new cases Tuesday morning with a daily positive test rate at 4.78% The state added five COVID-19 deaths Tuesday including an 89-year old male from Harrison County, a 50-year old female from Fayette County, a 66-year old male from Mercer County, an 82-year old female from Kanawha County, and a 72-year old male from Kanawha County. There have been 317 deaths since the pandemic began.

Hospitalizations are listed at 164 with 58 patients in ICU and 28 being treated on ventilators.

.@WV_DHHR reports as of 10:00 a.m., September 22, 2020, there have been 522,329 total confirmatory laboratory results received for #COVID19, with 14,384 total cases and 317 deaths.

— WV DHHR (@WV_DHHR) September 22, 2020

Overall confirmed cases per county include: Barbour (48), Berkeley (948), Boone (200), Braxton (10), Brooke (112), Cabell (737), Calhoun (24), Clay (35), Doddridge (18), Fayette (577), Gilmer (32), Grant (152), Greenbrier (120), Hampshire (102), Hancock (144), Hardy (82), Harrison (342), Jackson (252), Jefferson (422), Kanawha (2,377), Lewis (38), Lincoln (156), Logan (585), Marion (258), Marshall (160), Mason (138), McDowell (80), Mercer (404), Mineral (165), Mingo (366), Monongalia (1,936), Monroe (147), Morgan (53), Nicholas (92), Ohio (358), Pendleton (52), Pleasants (16), Pocahontas (59), Preston (149), Putnam (521), Raleigh (479), Randolph (237), Ritchie (10), Roane (48), Summers (46), Taylor (119), Tucker (17), Tyler (15), Upshur (61), Wayne (361), Webster (7), Wetzel (50), Wirt (12), Wood (352), Wyoming (103).

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Capito supports considering Supreme Court nominee, a shift from her 2016 position

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., says she favors consideration of a Supreme Court nominee by President Donald Trump.

Capito announced her position in a statement this morning. Controversy has swirled over proximity to the upcoming General Election, as well as the Senate GOP majority’s refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court in 2016.

This morning, Capito said, “President Trump and the Republican Senate, both elected by the American people, should act to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg’s passing.

“The Constitution authorizes the president to name a nominee, and it gives the Senate the power to approve or disapprove of that nomination. West Virginians and the American people expect us to exercise that responsibility.”

The vacancy occurred following Friday’s death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a progressive icon.

President Trump has signaled he will go forward with a nomination to fill the seat, announcing his pick as soon as Saturday.

I will be announcing my Supreme Court Nominee on Saturday, at the White House! Exact time TBA.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2020

Only two members of the 53-member Senate GOP majority — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have said they oppose moving forward with consideration of President Trump’s nominee. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah today said he would support a floor vote.

Capito’s statement indicates support for moving forward with that process, although it does not say whether a vote should occur before or after the General Election.

“I support the choice to move forward with the confirmation process and will consider President Trump’s nominee on her merits as West Virginians would expect me to do,” she stated. “In these trying and polarized times, it is important to exercise our constitutional authority and move forward with the process.”

Voting for the General Election has already started in some states. West Virginia’s early voting period begins Oct. 21.

After Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13, 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on March 16, 2016.

Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the Senate’s GOP majority did not have any hearings on Garland’s nomination.

“Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, we believe that the American people should seize the opportunity to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate the next person for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court,” McConnell wrote in a 2016 op-ed with then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

“It is today the American people, rather than a lame-duck president whose priorities and policies they just rejected in the most-recent national election, who should be afforded the opportunity to replace Justice Scalia.”

On March 16, 2016, Capito said the election cycle should be concluded before the Supreme Court nominee was considered.

“Before a Supreme Court justice is confirmed to a lifetime position on the bench, West Virginians and the American people should have the ability to weigh in at the ballot box this November. My position does not change with the naming of a nominee today,” Capito said in 2016.

At that point, Capito concluded, “With just a few months until the election, West Virginians should have an opportunity to express their views and elect a new president who will select the Supreme Court justice.”

Today, speaking on MetroNews’ “Talkline,” Capito said the situation has changed since 2016. She mentioned the “bruising” confirmation fight over Brett Kavanaugh, as well as the Senate’s expanded GOP majority after the 2018 elections.

“While there are differences in my statements most certainly, I think the circumstances that have changed really compel us to move forward and to make this decision this year,” she said.

Capito’s General Election challenger, Paula Jean Swearengin, criticized the shift in Capito’s position.

“We knew this hypocrisy was coming,” said Swearengin, a Democrat. “We knew we couldn’t trust Shelley to even uphold her OWN words.

2016 vs. 2020
We knew this hypocrisy was coming.

We knew we couldn’t trust Shelley to even uphold her OWN words.

Why? Because she isn’t beholden to the people. She and Mitch McConnell serve their corporate donors every. single. time. #NoMooreCapito #VoteThemOut

— Paula Jean Swearengin (@paulajean2020) September 22, 2020

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Caresource MetroNews Top Plays – Week 3

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Check out the best plays from around West Virginia in the third week of the 2020 high school football season.

You can send your plays every week using the Twitter hashtag #MNTopPlay. The winning play each week receives a $100 prize. Hudl links are also acceptable.

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MetroNews This Morning 9-22-20

Governor Jim Justice and state health officials want to see a sharp increase in the number of Covid 19 tests administered in West Virginia–especially in those counties designated with high spread of the virus. The State Senate Majority leader has Covid 19. A Beckley Pharmacists admits to bilking millions of dollars from friends and investors in two of her companies. A hunch by an experienced riverman ultimately saves a man’s life in the Kanawha River. Frost is near and in sports WVU and Oklahoma State prepare for Saturday. Those stories and more in today’s MetroNews This Morning podcast.

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 9-22-20” on Spreaker.

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Bluefield-Princeton rematch highlights Week 4 slate

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Greg Carey and Joe Brocato break down the best matchups on the Class AAA schedule in Week 4.

  • Bluefield (2-0) at Princeton (1-1)
  • Spring Mills (3-0) at Frankfort (3-0)
  • Linsly (2-1) at Wheeling Park (2-1)

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Talcum Powder Lawsuits Mounting in West Virginia

Recent news headlines reveal that manufacturers of talcum body powders are under fire, facing charges that their talc products contain carcinogens.

Since 2016, lawsuits linking use of baby powder for feminine hygiene to an increased risk of ovarian cancer have been mounting by the thousands. Plaintiffs charge that manufacturers failed to warn consumers of the increased health risk.

Evidence of the dangers of talcum powder surfaced more than ten years ago when an analysis conducted by the American Cancer Society found a 30% increase in ovarian cancer risk among talc users. More recently, researchers looked at data collected from eight separate studies and concluded that 24% increased risk could be caused by asbestos-tainted talcum particles traveling into a woman’s ovaries and creating inflammation, leading to an environment that allows cancer cells to thrive.

Lawsuits have been continuing to mount against the manufacturers of talcum body powers for the past few years as evidence comes to light indicating that the products are potentially cancerous. Despite the possible link to cancer, talc powder manufacturers failed to place warnings about this risk on their products. Plaintiffs claim that awareness of these potentially serious risks would have prevented them from using the product and thus developing ovarian cancer.

Now, hundreds of West Virginia ovarian cancer victims and their families are asking if their diagnosis is linked to their years of baby powder use.

Baby Powder use could be linked to an ovarian cancer diagnosis if you can check these 3 boxes:

  1. Regular use of Baby Powder or Shower Powder for 4+ years as a feminine hygiene product
  2. An ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2006 or later
  3. Associated talcum powder use must have occurred before menopause

Baby Powder lawsuits continue to increase

One manufacturer now faces more than 20,000 talc lawsuits, claiming that talc contaminated by asbestos caused Plaintiffs’ ovarian cancer.

As awareness of these cases continues to grow across the country, the women and families of West Virginia are beginning to take action, and specialized legal groups like Segal Law Firm are prepared to help them take a stand against the corporations who have manufactured these talcum powder products.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with ovarian cancer? Segal Law firm offers a free, no obligation consultation. There are no upfront costs and Segal Law Firm is only paid by winning your case.

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Today’s Governing: ‘You Reap What You Sow.’

I would have told you last week that I could not imagine our country any more polarized.  But that was so yesterday.

This week we now know the split is even greater because of the controversy over how and when the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be filled.

President Trump said he will name a nominee by Friday or Saturday.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his colleagues in a private memo to keep their powder dry.  “This is not the time to prematurely lock yourselves into a position you may regret.”

However, McConnell has already publicly said “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.” But he did not specify a timeline.

Democrats are apoplectic. They are still steamed about McConnell’s refusal to take up President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the high court before the 2016 election, and now it appears McConnell has flipped his position.

McConnell may be a political contortionist, but the award for pretzel logic goes to Lindsey Graham. Four years ago, the South Carolina Republican demanded to be on the record as promising not to act on filling a court vacancy if the primary process for the next election had already started.

Graham now says he had a change of heart over the way Democrats behaved during the nomination hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. “They (Democrats) chose to try to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s life to keep the Supreme Court seat open,” Graham tweeted.  “You reap what you sow.”

Democrats are not immune to hypocrisy. They have now pivoted to demanding that the appointment wait until after the election even though four years ago, they held the exact opposite position.

Granted, some of the circumstances are different now than 2016 and each side will use whatever nuance they can find to justify their position.  Democrats and Republicans are quickly fine-tuning their talking points for the upcoming battle royal.

But I will subscribe to Occam’s Razor—the simplest explanation is most likely to be correct. Republicans will try to force through a nominee because they have the opportunity. I suspect Democrats would do the same if given the chance.

We can point out the hypocrisy, but when our leaders can lie without shame, then the result is that the rest of us become more cynical and angrier.

Let us go back to Graham’s comment: “You reap what you sow.”  Is revenge now the substitute for governance?  If so, and it certainly feels like it, then we are in for even more tribalism.




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Charleston Catholic’s Aiden Satterfield selects West Liberty

— Story by Taylor Kennedy

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Charleston Catholic basketball rising senior Aiden Satterfield has verbally committed to West Liberty. Satterfield becomes the first commit in the Class of 2021 for the Hilltoppers. 

Satterfield, 2020 Class A All-State captain, announced via his Twitter page that he will be heading to the northern panhandle after high school. Satterfield’s ultimate reasoning behind choosing West Liberty was not because of the facilities, instead it was the relationships he had built over time. 

Thankful and blessed ! 🙏🏽

— Aiden Satterfield (@aidensatt1) September 21, 2020

“They’ve been recruiting me for more than two years now. The relationship I’ve built with the coaching staff is great. I really like those guys. Also, they are one of the best Division II programs in the country year in and year out,” says Satterfield. 

Satterfield held two other official offers one being from Mountain East Conference opponent University of Charleston, and the other came from the University of Rio Grande.

Satterfield felt that immediate connection with West Liberty’s coaching staff, which also made his commitment easier. 

“I knew once I talked to those guys, they were genuine. They always kept it real with me, and that means a lot to me,” says Satterfield. 

Satterfield recalls the first time that he and fourth-year head coach Ben Howlett met, and he felt comfortable around Coach Howlett the moment they met. 

“It was great. It was back in January after they had watched the [Wheeling] Central game. I played really well, and Coach Howlett let me know about the program, how they operate, and how I could help,” says Satterfield. 

Satterfield still has one more season with the Charleston Catholic Irish, but he and Coach Howlett have discussed how he could make an impact in year one. 

“Working as hard as I can. Coach told me nothing will be handed, and that’s just how I want it. I know if I work hard and buy into the system I can help out the team in numerous ways. Not just scoring, but defensively as well. It’ll take time, for sure, but that’s a part of the process,” says Satterfield. 

Satterfield helped the Irish capture their first regional championship since 2014, which earned them the No. 2 seed in the Class A state tournament, which was eventually cancelled. 

Satterfield led the Irish in scoring last season averaging 19.5 points per game. 

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