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GOP Candidates Find Success in The Big Lie

The Wyoming Primary Election is today and, if the polls are correct, incumbent Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney will lose. Attorney Harriet Hageman, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, is leading Cheney by as much as 29 points.

Cheney’s political downfall is directly attributable to her bulldogged determination to hold Trump accountable for his role in the January 6th riot and his continued false claims about a stolen election.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office,” Cheney famously said in May 2021 when her fellow House Republicans removed her from the position as conference chair.

Cheney’s unrelenting criticism of Trump in her role on the January 6th committee has made her a pariah among Trump supporters and cost her deeply in her home state, where Trump won by 43 points in the 2020 election.

GOP strategist Scott Jennings told The Hill that Cheney’s anti-Trump views were a political death knell. “I do think it’s debatable whether she should have gone out and blown herself up this way, because it’s obviously going to cost her her seat and her platform, but she chose a different path.”

Jennings is right in terms of strategy, but governing is more than just winning the next election. Unfortunately, many of Cheney’s fellow Republicans are putting winning above all. They have glommed on to Trump’s considerable coattails and endorsed The Big Lie.

An analysis by the Washington Post found that “In the 41 states that have held nominating contests this year, more than half of the GOP winners so far—about 250 candidates in 469 contests—have embraced Trump’s false claims about his defeat two years ago.”

The proportion is even higher in the six critical battleground states that decided the 2020 election. “In Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, at least 54 winners out of 87 contests—more than 62 percent of the nominees—have embraced the former president’s false claims,” the Post reported.

Many of those nominees, if elected, will be in positions of power to influence elections, count votes and challenge future elections. For example, Michigan’s Republican nominee for Secretary of State, Kristina Karamo, has made repeated false claims about election fraud in her state and Nevada’s GOP Secretary of State nominee Jim Marchant is a prominent election denier.

Making false claims about election fraud are poll-tested winners within the GOP. Multiple surveys show that about 70 percent of Republican voters suspect fraud in the last election. Politifact reported that, “Focus groups have shown that Trump supporters weren’t swayed by specific pieces of evidence that rebutted his claims.”

The fear going forward is not that Cheney will lose, but rather that a whole cadre of election result deniers will win, ascending to positions where they can further undermine the credibility of future elections.

Republicans are trying to craft their own alternate reality. Liz Cheney may find herself on the wrong side of GOP voters, but if there’s any justice she will be remembered for being on the right side of history.

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Clean-up work underway at Entsorga site months after company fails to secure buyer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Entsorga waste-to-fuel facility in Martinsburg remains closed after the company failed to find a buyer earlier this year, and there is no timeline for when some entity could buy the building.

Estorga closed the facility in April, leaving a building full of trash and other materials used for making fuel.

Plans about the building’s future were complicated after a fire broke out inside the building late last month.

Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority chairman Clint Hogbin said he requested a meeting with multiple stakeholders and the state Department of Environmental Protection officials about the site’s future.

“We just began to develop a game plan, the best we could put together considering the situation,” he said.

Apple Valley Waste was allowed to establish operations at the site to make improvements to the facility. Darren Gruendel with Apple Valley Waste’s parent company Gold Medal Environmental said it had to follow Department of Environmental Protection orders addressing risks and economic stability.

“The first thing is to get rid of the risk,” he explained.

Apple Valley Waste’s immediate goal has been to move the waste out of the facility.

“They hadn’t contemplated a scenario where you’d have to move this amount of tonnage out of the facility in this way,” Gruendel said. “We need to be careful that we don’t create any risk for our people by going in there with heavy equipment or moving too fast.

Efforts to remove trash began last weekend, but Gruendel noted there isn’t a set deadline for when crews will have completely removed the waste from the site.

“Impossible to estimate exactly how long it will take until we can get in there,” he said.

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Frontier officials promise improvements are coming

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Frontier Communications acknowledges its shortcomings in West Virginia, and it’s vowing to make improvements.

The promise comes more than a year after Frontier emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, yet amid concerns about the company’s presence in West Virginia as exhibited in a recent complaint to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia.

Allison Ellis, Frontier’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs, said Monday on “MetroNews Talkline” the period of “financial distress” made it difficult for the company to modernize its network. Frontier completed its restructuring efforts in May 2021, in which the company eliminated $10 billion in debt.

“We are a new company. We have new leadership at the board level and our executive management level,” she said. “With our healthier balance sheet, we’re now able to invest in communities across West Virginia in the way that we have been wanting to for years but really, frankly, didn’t have the financial capability to do.”

Frontier’s investments include upgrades to its existing network. Jason Fields, the company’s senior vice president of operations, said Frontier is investing $200 million toward improving networks in West Virginia.

“We started building that new network at the end of last year, and we’re aggressively pursuing it this year,” he added. “It’s the number one opportunity for us to improve the service and the ability for broadband, voice and other services we can transport across that network.”

The state Public Service Commission is furthering its investigation into Frontier’s services in Kanawha County. The Kanawha County Commission submitted the original formal complaint on July 12 following phone and internet outages on Laurel Fork Road. Frontier restored the services and apologized to the Kanawha County Commission for the problem.

Fields said the company has increased its efforts to address service issues in West Virginia, noting an increase in the volume of calls.

“This year has been dramatic. We’ve seen a 30% increase,” he said. “I’ve got people from out of state that came in, helping us catch up because we’re behind.”

Frontier is hiring technicians to provide services in West Virginia as the crews build the new network.

Questions regarding Frontier additionally follow the Public Service Commission’s handling of a case involving Altice USA subsidiary Suddenlink, now known as Optimum. The commission issued a fine surpassing $2.2 million for the company’s failure to provide adequate services to West Virginia customers.

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Officials want West Virginians to consider becoming poll workers for upcoming election

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner is encouraging West Virginians to consider becoming poll workers for this fall’s election.

The push as Tuesday will mark National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. According to state officials, as many as 8,000 poll workers are necessary to ensure West Virginia’s elections can operate with few issues.

“When we talk about confidence in the election, I can guarantee you, if you work at a poll, you will see all the checks and balances,” Warner said on Monday’s “MetroNews Talkline.”

“You’ll come out of there with a much better feel for the elections and being a part of the community and doing your job to keep this democracy operating with the full confidence of the people.”

The responsibilities of poll workers include reviewing addresses and helping voters find their assigned polling place. They additionally serve as guides through the provisional ballot process to ensure votes are legally cast following Election Day. Poll workers can work up to 14 hours when polls open, and counties provide compensation to these people.

“Typically, $150 to $230 depending on the county, and that is left up to the clerks in the counties,” Warner said. “You don’t get rich, but it is compensation for a long day.”

Poll workers must be registered to vote, possess English comprehension skills, and be available to work on Election Day. They cannot be a candidate for office or have an immediate family member participating in the election.

Harrison County Clerk John Spires said his office wants to identify interested people so officials can schedule training events quickly.

“We need them to be engaged to help us out with the election process,” he told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM. “It’s a great way of strengthening our democracy, and we could not do it without poll workers.”

Election Day is Nov. 8.

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Milum ‘comfortable’ with move to left tackle, ready to take next step as a sophomore

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A common theme centered around West Virginia’s football program throughout the offseason was change.

The Mountaineers wasted no time hiring a new offensive coordinator in Graham Harrell, and one month later, brought in Tony Washington to assume the role of wide receivers coach.

They’re assured to have a new starting quarterback as well, with former USC and Georgia signal-caller JT Daniels the assumed frontrunner.

Yet for all of the outside additions, there has also been change within the program, including moving Wyatt Milum from left tackle to right tackle ahead of his second collegiate season.

“Better on the left side, because he’s left-handed,” WVU offensive line coach Matt Moore said. “He feels more comfortable on the left side, so it’s really nice to move him over there and see him take to it the way he’s done in the offseason, spring and summer.”

Milum started eight of the 12 games he appeared in as a true freshman while splitting time with Parker Moorer before Moorer entered the NCAA Transfer Portal at the conclusion of the regular season.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play college football, so when I got here, I wanted to start,” said Milum, a Kenova native and graduate of Spring Valley High School. “The hardest thing transitioning to college was definitely the technique you have to use. It’s a lot different from high school. You can’t use the wrong technique and block somebody in college.”

Milum, who missed last season’s loss at Baylor with an injury, took on an expanded role on the right side as his true freshman campaign progressed.

Milum was named West Virginia’s offensive lineman of the week for his performance in a late October victory against Iowa State and was in for 90 plays in the Mountaineers’ win over Texas.

West Virginia quarterback Garrett Greene (6) celebrates with  offensive lineman Wyatt Milum (64) after a touchdown against Long Island at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

“There were some reality checks,” he said. “I definitely made some mistakes and I still make mistakes today. I was growing as an offensive lineman and I had to learn a lot.”

After playing last season at what he estimated was between 295 and 300 pounds, Milum has added weight. He’s listed at 6-foot-6, 308 pounds, although during his first media session as a WVU player, Milum said Saturday he’s at 311 pounds.

“I can definitely tell that I’ve gotten stronger on the field this year,” Milum said.

Milum will now see how he measures up at left tackle and likely assume responsibility for the quarterback’s blind side, so long as it’s a right-hander, which each Mountaineer at that position is save for true freshman Nicco Marchiol.

Milum’s had all offseason to grasp the concepts that come with being on the left side, though he will enter the September 1 season opener at Pitt without ever having played a snap at the position.

“I would definitely say I’m more comfortable. The game has definitely slowed down for me,” he said. “I understand what’s going on more. Transitioning to left tackle wasn’t that hard. I’ve never played on the left side before. Learning the kick step and pass pro were the only difficult things to do really.”

As Milum has increased his strength and grown familiar with what it takes to be successful at this level, more is expected of him in his second season.

“He’s really making a lot of progress. The offseason was big,” Moore said. “He came in as a true freshman last year, played in and out early and took over the job halfway through the year, but still physically, he wasn’t where we wanted him to be.

“He has a great motor and plays really hard. He’s matured, better and stronger. He’s a super competitive kid and totally different kid on the field than he is when he’s sitting here talking to you guys. That’s one thing I really like about him. When he crosses that line, he’s out for blood and he plays really hard.”

A standout baseball player in high school between his days at both Wayne and Spring Valley, Milum says he hasn’t done anything baseball related for several years.

However, Moore believes Milum’s best attribute is his athleticism.

“He can stay on his feet. He does a phenomenal job with his hands,” Moore said. “Huge baseball background, so really good eye-hand coordination.”

Now Moore hopes to see Milum take the next step in his development, which won’t come easily as he settles into his new spot.

“That’s the thing with those guys that are good early — what you’ve been is not good enough,” Moore said. “You have to keep pushing them and finding things they have to fix and continue to work hard.”

With the added strength, Milum hopes to continue displaying improvement and the play one of the more decorated in-state recruits over the last decade will be pivotal to the offensive line’s success as a whole.

“I put pressure on myself because I don’t want to let my teammates or team down. I wouldn’t say the expectation has really changed,” Milum said. “I know what I have to do and I want to do it to my best ability.”

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Flood damages home of Hughes Creek woman and new husband

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. — An eastern Kanawha County woman says she’s happy to be alive after flood waters damaged her home that she just moved into with her new husband.

Brooksanna McGary got married three weeks before Monday’s flood in Kanawha County. Photo by Jeff Jenkins

Brooksanna McGary, who lives along Hughes Creek, just got married three weeks ago and was ready to start her new life, but Monday’s storm stalled those plans for now.

“I opened my front door and my porch was submerged. I went to bring in my dogs and then all the water pretty much came rushing in,” McGary told MetroNews.

The force of the water separated at least two bridges along Hughes Creek Road, one that is owned by her family.

“It got a phone call by mom that said it was flooding because some relatives of ours’ bridge was under water,” she said.

A couple feet of water got into McGary’s home. She said it was unexpected since a flood hasn’t happened in her community for years.

“The last time this happened was the 1970s, so a 50 year flood literally,” McGary said. “These things usually don’t happen.”

Hughes Creek was out of its banks for a while before the water started to recede later on Monday morning.

When McGary was asked what she plans to do now she responded, “I don’t know. Buy a big sponge? I don’t know. Try to go at it one bite at a time.”

Other areas of Kanawha County on U.S. Route 60 received flooding including Kelley’s Creek and Campbell’s Creek.

Some areas of the county saw record rainfall totals. As much as 6 inches of rain fell in a short time Sunday night into Monday morning, according to county officials.

More than 100 homes have been damaged in the Campbells Creek area.

The Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center opened overnight. As of 9 a.m. Monday, Metro 911 had answered more than 500 emergency calls and dispatched 130 calls for service, including 25 water rescue calls.

Boyd Poff with the St. Albans Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team was in Hughes Creek Monday morning where they had to save a woman from her home.

“Originially the woman was out here screaming for help. When we got here, the water was actually going down, so we just had her stay where she was at and we went around and made access through the back way,” Poff said.

The water was so powerful, Poff said he’s surprised no one was seriously injured.

“It’s pretty dangerous. If somebody gets in that current they could sweep them away real fast,” he said.

The National Weather Service extended a Flash Flood Warning for Kanawha, Fayette and Greenbrier counties through 2:30 p.m. Monday.

MetroNews’ Jeff Jenkins contributed to this story.

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Monongalia County superintendent discusses proficiency

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — While test scores in Monongalia County Schools have declined alongside other systems, Superintendent Eddie Campbell notes the district continues to trend above state averages.

The West Virginia Department of Education released data on education proficiency last week; the report shows West Virginia’s students have a lower proficiency compared to the years preceding the coronavirus pandemic, although there was a slight increase compared to the prior year.

Eddie Campbell (File)

Compared to the pre-pandemic assessment in the 2018-2019 period, the rate of proficient Monongalia County students has decreased by around 5% in math, about 1% in reading and about 3% in science.

Proficiency among Monongalia County students is nearly 10% higher across multiple subjects compared to state averages in the same fields.

“We didn’t see the same effects as many of our colleagues around the state as well, but we definitely saw a drop-off,” Campbell told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM.

According to Campbell, methods used to rank all 50 states for proficiency are not fair.

“If people really truly wanted to compare states and how they test across the board, they could come up with some more consistency in that process,” he added. “That doesn’t mean we’re not looking at these numbers and saying we can’t do better.”

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona issued guidance for all states regarding tests in 2021, but the agency gave each state the authority to shorten testing for any pandemic-related concerns.

Campbell said the district performance at the state level has always been a point of pride for staff and faculty. When teachers arrive on Aug. 18 to prepare for the school year, the work to implement improvements from the prior year will begin.

“We know people judge us by those numbers, and we understand we want to get better, and we have to get better,” Campbell added.

Monongalia County Schools’ first day of instruction is Aug. 23.

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Fayette County residents face days of clean-up following flash flooding

CANNELTON HOLLOW, W.Va. — Residents along Smithers Creek on Cannelton Hollow in Fayette County are facing several days of clean-up after Monday’s flash flooding.

A 4.5 mile stretch from Smithers to Marty Mountain just south of Mount Olive State Prison was hit hard by a relatively narrow but slow-moving storm system that sent the creek out of its banks at around 5 a.m. Monday.

The raging water pushed, pulled and upended vehicles, tore apart a key sewer line and left behind tons of mud and debris in homes and yards.

The storm system was very isolated with the heaviest rain reported on the north side of the Kanawha River causing flash flooding from just east of Charleston in Kanawha County to Gauley Bridge in Fayette County. Gov. Jim Justice has placed both counties under a state of emergency.

MORE See gallery of photos from Monday’s flash flood

Fayette County Commissioner Allison Taylor told MetroNews she’s most thankful that it appears no residents were seriously injured. She is concerned about how soon their houses will be livable. She’s also concerned about infrastructure issues including the damaged sewer system that has cut off sewer service to most residents on Cannelton Hollow.

“The pipes are either destroyed, washed out or need to be bore out. There are miles worth of repairs that have to be done to those sewer pipes,” Taylor said.

There was at least one bridge destroyed and a few others damaged.

The area does have water service.

Taylor is also concerned about sections of Gauley Bridge including Scrabble Creek where two bridges were compromised Monday. State Route 39 heading out of Gauley Bridge was expected to be blocked until at least Monday night.

MORE Kanawha County newlyweds face flash flooding

Cannelton Hollow resident Jennifer Willis leaned over a bridge and watched a piece of heavy equipment remove debris Monday afternoon. A few hours earlier she had received a phone call from a friend who told her to get up and get out because the creek was flooding.

“She said it was flooding at her mom’s house, which is her’s—and (she said) we probably need to check our stuff and when I went outside–we have two cars and we barely got them out on time. We were asleep and it just came,” Willis said.

She was fortunate. There are a number of residents who lost their vehicles in the flood. Some of them were pushed against trees and under decks. The water even turned over a camper trailer.

Willis said it only took about 20 minutes for the water to rise and create a scary situation.

“We had a flood back in 2000 but it was nothing like this. This is 10-times worse. It just happened–quick,” Willis told MetroNews.

Hutch’s Wrecker Service owner James “Bear” Black escorted MetroNews up Cannelton Hollow in his side-by-side. He noted damage to homes and vehicles.

“Lot of houses and vehicles. Some of (the vehicles) are in creeks and some of them in yards,” Black said.

The Fayette County town of Smithers is at the end of Smithers Creeks. The high water from Cannelton got 12 feet high in a bowl like area behind the McDonald’s on U.S. Route 60. Mayor Ann Cavalier said everything in the town’s maintenance garage was likely destroyed.

“It looks like we’ve lost some trucks. The whole back-end of the garbage packer was in water, probably every weed eater we own is gone,” Cavalier said.

Cavalier said in a summer of storms there was something different about the one that occurred Monday morning.

“It rained all night but there was a period of time there, about 40 minutes to an hour, where it was just coming down so hard and if you’re familiar with Cannelton Hollow, it’s just a very narrow hollow and there was just no place for that water to go but down to the creek bed and flow out to the river and everything in between got in its way,” Cavalier said.

Commissioner Taylor watched the efforts on Cannelton Hollow turn from search and rescue earlier Monday to mitigation by Monday evening. She said there’s one top priority.

“Figure out how we can take care of our people and get, for those who can return home, their services restored and for those who can’t (return home), some place to live,” Taylor said.

There are few shelters set up in Fayette County including one at Valley Middle School and another in a building near the mouth of Cannelton Hollow.

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Photo Gallery: Flooding leaves damage in Kanawha, Fayette counties

Photos taken from MetroNews’ Jeff Jenkins on Monday morning, afternoon from the scene of the flooding in Kanawha and Fayette counties.

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Three Guys Before The Game – School Bells Ringing (Episode 393)

School bells are ringing for the Mountaineer football team.

Classes begin this week on the WVU campus, which means preseason practice will move from morning to afternoon sessions.

In this episode, the “Guys” focus on the WVU offensive line through the eyes of assistant head coach Matt Moore.

Is that unit ready to excel? How has Wyatt Milum transitioned to his new position at left tackle? Just how deep in the offensive line?

Brad, Hoppy and Tony also answer listener questions and open two special gift packages.

Three Guys Before The Game is sponsored by Burdette Camping Center and Komax Business Systems.  Don’t forget to check out Three Guys merchandise.

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

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