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Walker out as director of ACLU-WV

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After less than six months on the job, the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia has parted ways with executive director Danielle Walker.

MetroNews has confirmed Walker, a former member of the House of Delegates from Monongalia County, is no longer with the organization.  

“We are unable to provide comment at this time, as this is a personnel matter. We can confirm that Eli Baumwell has been serving as the interim executive director since Sept. 15,” said Anne Farmer, president of the ACLU-WV Board of Directors in a statement to MetroNews.

Danielle Walker

Walker was announced as the new executive director of the ACLU-WV on April 1, becoming the first black woman to lead the organization. At the time, Walker called her selection a “humbling honor.” 

Requests for comment from Walker were not returned. 

Walker’s predecessor, Joseph Cohen, praised her selection and described her as a visionary leader. 

“She is committed to the ACLU’s principles, and she will inspire the next generation of leaders in West Virginia. I could not imagine a more perfect person to take over the organization that I love so much,” Cohen said.

Walker resigned from her seat in the House of Delegates and resigned from her role as vice-chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party to take the job with the ACLU-WV. 

Walker was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2018 and became one of the chamber’s most outspoken, progressive members. During her time in the legislature, she referred to the ACLU-WV as a “steadfast and fierce advocate.” Walker led protests at the capital against abortion bans as well as bans on gender-affirming care for children. 

Baumwell served in the same role prior to Walker’s appointment in April. He did not seek the permanent job earlier this year. 

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West Virginia State’s land grant was underfunded millions and millions over 30 years, federal officials say

Federal officials say a state funding gap for West Virginia State University added up to almost $853 million over three decades.

“These funds could have supported infrastructure and student services and would have better positioned the university to compete for research grants,” wrote the U.S. secretaries for Education and Agriculture in a letter to Gov. Jim Justice.

“West Virginia State University has been able to make remarkable strides and would be much stronger and better positioned to serve its students, your state, and the nation if made whole with respect to this funding gap.”

Similar letters from U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack were sent to 15 other states concluded to have allowed a funding gap for many of the nation’s land grant institutions. Altogether, they assessed, land grant institutions at Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been shorted by $13 billion over 30 years. 

West Virginia State is one of the nation’s historically Black colleges established with the intention of primarily serving African Americans. It was established as the West Virginia Colored Institute in 1891 under the second Morrill Act that provided for land grant institutions for Black students that had segregated schools.

The financial comparison being made by federal officials is to a separate category of land-grant institutions, the ones established in those states for white students in 1862. Those first land grant institutions were established by the first Morrill Act for institutions teaching teaching military tactics, engineering and agriculture. West Virginia University was the state’s first land grant.

“West Virginia State University, the 1890 land-grant institution in your state, while producing extraordinary graduates that contribute greatly to the state’s economy and the fabric of our nation, has not been able to advance in ways that are on par with West Virginia University, the original Morrill Act of 1862 land-grant institution in your state, in large part due to unbalanced funding,” the federal officials wrote to the governor.

Federal officials used a data set from 1987 to 2020 to calculate the amount institutions would have received if their state funding were equal to that of their 1862 counterparts.

“These funds could have supported infrastructure and student services and would have better positioned the university to compete for research grants. West Virginia State University has been able to make remarkable strides and would be much stronger and better positioned to serve its students, your state, and the nation if made whole with respect to this funding gap,” the federal officials wrote.

One challenge of assessing what West Virginia State’s land grant funding should have been over all those years was that the land grant status — contingent on state matching funds — lapsed over an extended period.

In 1957, West Virginia State’s land grant status was lost when state officials voted to end the state funding required for the matching federal land grant aid. The university, under longtime President Hazo Carter, later went through a long process to try to get the land grant designation restored.

That effort culminated in 1991 when then-Gov. Gaston Caperton signed a bill to recognize the land grant status on the state level. U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd was then at the center of successful efforts at the federal level to restore land grant status at the federal level in 2001.

In recent years, leaders at West Virginia State have continued to push the Legislature to fully fund West Virginia State at the levels required by the federal match.

In 2019, university leaders celebrated finally receiving a full state match.

Anthony Jenkins

“This is a historic moment. We get our full state match for the first time in the history of this institution,” then-President Anthony Jenkins said that year. “We have been fighting this battle for more than 20 years. After years and years of failed attempts, I am honored and proud we got it through this year.”

Jenkins had lobbied regularly at the Capitol for a full state match. The state allocation of $2.9 million finally meant West Virginia State would be able to draw down $2.9 million in federal support that year.

“This is federal law, and the state cannot purposely and knowingly violate federal law,” Jenkins said in 2019. “We felt that was somewhat the case because you were funding one land grant institution as you should and underfunding the other, which is us.”

Now, West Virginia State officials say they are aware of underfunding issues over the years. But in a statement responding to the recent federal letter, West Virginia State officials said they appreciate West Virginia’s current support.

Ericke Cage

“Their letter to Governor Jim Justice speaks for itself and lays out what we have known for some time and that is historically our country’s 1890 land-grant universities, including West Virginia State University, have been underfunded,” stated the current president at West Virginia State, Ericke Cage.

That lack of funding through the years has led to a significant loss of opportunities for our students, faculty and staff, who have had to do more with less.”

But Cage’s statement said West Virginia State is focused on the future, saying legislators and the governor have been supportive of funding for the land grant mission.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the executive and legislative branches to continue to move West Virginia State University and the Mountain State forward,” Cage stated.

The letter from the federal officials suggested that additional state support would be welcome.

“Given the large amount of state funding that is owed to West Virginia State University, it would be ambitious to address the funding disparity over the course of several years in the state budget. It might very well be your desire to do so, which we wholeheartedly support,” wrote Cardona and Vilsack.

“Yet, if an ambitious timetable is not a possibility, we suggest a combination of a substantial state allocation toward the 1890 deficit combined with a forward-looking budget commitment for a two-to-one match of federal land-grant funding for these institutions in order to bring parity to funding levels.”

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Cabell Midland and Princeton post impressive victories in Week 5 (Class AAA preview)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Greg Carey and Joe Brocato discuss the top Class AAA matchups in Week 6 and put a wrap on the significant Week 5 contests.

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Evaluation of flood damage ongoing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It may take a little longer before West Virginia is ready to seek a federal disaster declaration from the White House.

FEMA, the SBA, and state and local emergency officials took a look at damages on the ground in the hardest hit parts of the state from the August 28th flash flood. Kanawha County Emergency Services Manager C.W. Sigman said the damage was about what they expected, but admitted there were a number of homes impacted which they were not aware of until they paid a visit.

“We found a significant number of houses with severe damage. Not as many as we originally thought were a total loss, but there were a significant number of homes that were not on the list that had a lot of damage,” he said.

The damages fall into two separate categories, public infrastructure and private property. According to Sigman the public infrastructure damage often drives a disaster declaration, but in this case the higher level of damage may have been to private property. However, there is still an assessment happening on a major sewer system in eastern Kanawha County which could tip the scale.

“Kanawha Public Service District does have a lot of damage to the sewer system and they’re evaluating that. They’re running robot cameras and getting an engineering firm to take a look to clearly determine how much damage they have,” Sigman explained.

The PSD has been given an extension on the deadline to report their damage information and FEMA and state officials are assisting with the assessment of the sewer damages.

Meanwhile, what is known from the assessment in Kanawha County is that three homes were a total loss. The report also found 22 homes with major damage, 54 with minor damage, and 24 more homes which were affected in some way. Kanawha County Emergency officials said the documentation also revealed an estimated cost for homeowner assistance and other needs from the flood is $759,671.51. The estimated figure is before the PSD evaluation.

Officials said the state will compile data from Kanawha and several other counties and submit an application for disaster assistance to the Biden Administration.

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Police identify body of woman found over a guardrail near state capitol in February

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Police have identified the body of a woman discovered in February on the other side of a guardrail on Greenbrier Street in Charleston.

Tamber Bernelle Johnson

Charleston Police Chief of Detectives Lt. Tony Hazelett said DNA from the woman was submitted to an FBI database. He said information returned last week from Florida identified the woman as Tamber Bernelle Johnson, 31, of Falling Waters, West Virginia.

Her body was found by a work crew that picking up trash along Greenbrier Street between the state capitol and West Virginia International Yeager Airport. A blanket was over the body.

Hazelett said they’ve been able to learn in recent days that Johnson had some ties to the Dunbar area but was known to be transient.

“According to some families we spoke to, she actually an apartment down there at one time,” Hazelett said. “According to the family members, she was transient. The family said the last they heard from her was that she was in Florida. They didn’t hear from her very often and that’s why they didn’t report her missing.”

Tony Hazelett

Hazelett said investigators still don’t know why Johnson was along Greenbrier Street but they believe her death was not a murder.

“All indications from the ME (medical examiner) and the investigation that this is not a homicide, no foul play suspected, no broken bones or anything like that,” Hazelett said. “But we are still waiting on the medical examiner’s final report.”

Hazelett said police also don’t believe Johnson’s body was dumped in the area after her death somewhere else but there remain some unanswered questions.

“We just got the name last week. We’re still trying to follow-up with associates and friends about how she got back from Florida to Charleston. There’s still some investigation we need to do,” Hazelett said.

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WVU men’s basketball schedule for 2023-24 season

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Big 12 Conference have announced the 2023-24 men’s basketball schedule.

The schedule will feature 19 games at the WVU Coliseum.

WVU will open the regular season at home on Monday, Nov. 6 against Missouri State. The Mountaineers will play nine regular season non-conference games at home, including the Big East-Big 12 Battle against St. John’s and the Backyard Brawl against Pitt.

Other highlights of the non-conference schedule include the Fort Myers Tip-Off against SMU and either Virginia or Wisconsin, the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic against UMass and a neutral site contest against Ohio State in Cleveland.

WVU will play its first Big 12 game on the road at Houston on Saturday, Jan. 6. The Mountaineers will have their first home conference game against K-State on Tuesday, Jan. 9. WVU will conclude the Big 12 schedule on the road at Cincinnati on Saturday, March 9. The Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship will be held March 12-16 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Mountaineers will play a charity exhibition game against George Mason at home on Friday, Oct. 27.

WVU will hold Mountaineer Madness at the Coliseum on Friday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. Fans will get to see and interact with the new WVU coaching staff and student-athletes in the free event.

To order 2023-24 men’s basketball season tickets, visit or call 1-800-WVU GAME. Mini-packages and single game tickets will go on sale at a later date.


11/6 vs Missouri State, 7 p.m.

11/10 vs Monmouth, 7 p.m.

11/14 vs Jacksonville State, 7 p.m.

11/20 vs. SMU, 8:30 p.m. $

11/22 vs. Virginia or Wisconsin, 6 or 8:30 p.m. $

11/26 vs Bellarmine, 5 p.m.

12/1 vs St. John’s, 7 p.m. ^

12/6 vs Pitt, 9 p.m.

12/9 vs Drexel, 4 p.m.

12/16 vs UMass (Springfield, MA), 6:30 p.m. *+

12/20 vs Radford, 7 p.m.

12/23 vs Toledo, 1 p.m.

12/30 vs Ohio State (Cleveland, OH), 7 p.m. *

1/6 at Houston, 2 p.m.

1/9 vs Kansas State, 7 p.m.

1/13 vs Texas, 6 p.m.

1/17 at Oklahoma, 8 p.m.

1/20 vs Kansas, 4 p.m.

1/23 at UCF, 7 p.m.

1/27 at Oklahoma State, 2 p.m.

1/31 vs Cincinnati, 7 p.m.

2/3 vs BYU, 6 p.m.

2/10 at Texas, 3 p.m.

2/12 at TCU, 8 p.m.

2/17 vs Baylor, 6 p.m.

2/20 vs UCF, 7 p.m.

2/24 at Iowa State, 2 p.m.

2/26 at Kansas State, 7 p.m.

3/2 vs Texas Tech, 6 p.m.

3/6 vs TCU, 9 p.m.

3/9 at Cincinnati, 2 p.m.

3/12-3/16 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship (T-Mobile Center, Kansas City)

* – neutral site game

+ – part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic

$ – Fort Myers Tip-Off

^ – Big East-Big 12 Battle

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WVU women’s basketball schedule for 2023-24 season

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the women’s basketball team, in conjunction with the Big 12 Conference, released the 2023-24 league schedule on Tuesday.

With the release of the full slate of contests this season, new season tickets are now on sale to the general public online at and at the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum.

Season tickets are just $65 for reserved seating and $40 for general admission. To order 2023-24 women’s basketball season tickets, visit or call 1-800-WVU GAME.

WVU will face five Big 12 opponents twice and eight conference foes once. Opponents were selected based on a combination of geography, historical results and a poll of the coaches to best balance the schedule in terms of travel and competitiveness.


11/7 vs. Loyola (Md.) (7 p.m.)

11/11 at Pitt (2 p.m.)

11/19 vs. Youngstown State (4 p.m.)

11/23 vs. George Washington, 1:30 p.m. *

11/24 vs. Charlotte, 11 a.m. *

11/25 vs. Southern Illinois, 11 a.m. *

12/2 vs. St. Bonaventure, 2 p.m.

12/4 vs. Penn State, 6 p.m.

12/10 vs. Delaware State, 2 p.m.

12/18 vs. Wright State, 10 a.m.

12/21 vs. Niagara, 2 p.m.

12/30 at Kansas (TBA)

1/3 vs. Cincinnati (7 p.m.)

1/6 vs. Texas (2 p.m.)

1/10 at Iowa State (TBA)

1/13 at UCF (TBA)

1/17 vs. Houston (7 p.m.)

1/20 at Cincinnati (TBA)

1/27 vs. Iowa State (2 p.m.)

1/30 vs. UCF (7 p.m.)

2/3 at BYU (TBA)

2/6 vs. Texas Tech (7 p.m.)

2/10 at Baylor (TBA)

2/13 at TCU (TBA)

2/17 vs. Oklahoma (2 p.m.)

2/21 at Kansas State (TBA)

2/24 vs. Baylor (1 p.m.)

2/27 at Oklahoma State (TBA)

3/2 vs. TCU (1 p.m.)

3/7—3/12 Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

*- Part of San Juan Shootout in San Juan, P.R.

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Ordinance to ban camping on public property to be considered by Parkersburg City Council

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Parkersburg City Council is expected to vote Tuesday night on an ordinance that would ban camping on public property including city parks.

The ordinance would prohibit sleeping, storing personal property or cooking for habitation purposes on property including streets, sidewalks, parks, parking lots, public rights of way and under bridges.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce

Violators of the ordinance would be required to pay a fine of $100 to $500.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said even though the city doesn’t currently have a lot of people sleeping in public places, he continued to express his support for the ban on Tuesday morning’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“It hasn’t been a problem for a few years for us, but we certainly don’t want it to become a problem,” Joyce said. “This isn’t the place for homeless to be living or staying.”

The mayor has been candid about the city’s homeless problem in recent years citing the large amount of drug treatment facilities and support services the city offers compared to other municipalities in the state. He said people need to take advantage of those services.

“We have two shelters that provide not only shelter, but hot meal programs, personal hygiene options and wraparound support services for those people who are homeless to address some of the root causes and underlying issues,” he said.

Joyce said the city is currently finishing up a new multi-use trail along the riverfront. He wants to discourage people from setting up camps there in the future.

“We’ve got three new miles of public space and a public park that is designed for bicycling, walking, jogging, etc. It’s not the place for a homeless person,” he said.

Parkersburg City Councilwoman Wendy Tuck previously spoke out against the ban and asked where the homeless should go instead.

Joyce responded to Tuck’s concerns and recommended the two shelters are available with plenty of beds and said there are two full-time city staff members that work to connect those on the streets with resources.

“We got to do better,” the mayor said. “We’ve got to get away from this 24 hour need which is often time shelter and food and really encourage and maybe compel folks to do what’s necessary, so they are not needing to sleep in a park or sidewalk,” he said.

City Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to consider the ordinance.

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Hope Gas seeks PSC approval for Monongalia County pipeline

Story by David Beard/The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Hope Gas has asked the state Public Service Commission for its OK to build a new 30-mile pipeline from Wadestown in western Monongalia County eastward to the edge of Morgantown and then northwest to a site near Osage.

Hope proposes the project to meet increased demand in the Morgantown area, it said in its Friday filing seeking a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project. “The project is needed for Hope to maintain reliable natural gas service to its existing customers in the Morgantown area, and is not being undertaken to specifically serve a new customer or new customer project.”

All the dollar figures in the public copy of the filing are redacted and referred to as confidential. But Hope says that in this filing it is not seeking to change any rates or impose any surcharges. It would recover costs in future base-rate and purchased gas adjustment proceedings.

Hope is seeking a PSC order by June 18, 2024. It says it will begin construction no later than Nov. 1, 2024, to fit within narrow legal windows for certain tree clearing activities, and in order to have the new facilities come into service by Nov. 1, 2025 — the beginning of that winter’s heating

Additional restoration and cleanup would continue to the second quarter of 2026.

Hope projects the project to generate about 600 construction jobs, “the majority of which will be West Virginia based labor.”

Spelling out the background for the project, Hope says it serves about 112,000 customers in 35 counties. Regarding Morgantown, its “economic growth and necessity for reliability has increased the need for Hope’s gas sales and transportation services.”

The new line would begin at Hope’s interconnect with a Columbia Gas line near Wadestown. Using new and existing Hope right of way, it would run 25 miles to the western edge of Morgantown to connect with other proposed Hope facilities (a measurement and regulation station called Black Night) west of I-79 and Harmony Grove. Hope says about 5.5 miles of that right of way is in northern Marion County.

From Black Night, the line would use existing and new third-party rights of way to go five miles northwest of Granville to a station called Mineral northwest of Osage.

Hope notes that about 14.5 miles of the project is parallel to existing Hope right of way or to other lines, to allow for grouped utilities and making the most of an existing corridor. “This route was selected considering proximity to homes and buildings, topography suited for the size of the pipeline, sensitive resources and the associated crossings, and tie-in locations at Wadestown, Black Knight, and Mineral.”

The project would include 30 miles of 16-inch diameter steel gas line and “uprating” of 5.6 miles of existing 12-inch line to accommodate the increased pressure and new gas supply.

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MetroNews This Morning 9-26-23

Today on MetroNews This Morning:

–Jim Justice reveals his financial picture in his required U.S. Senate campaign finance report

–The UAW strike extends to the GM Parts plant in Martinsburg

–Senator Capito weighs in on the potential for a government shutdown

–In Sports, WVU and Marshall prepare for the next game up on their schedules

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 9-26-23” on Spreaker.

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