www.charlestondailymail.com http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: October 21, 2014 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT01/310219970 OBIT01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT01/310219970 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:43 -0400 Bell, Bobby D. 2 p.m., Crooked Creek Church of Christ, Crooked Creek.


Cox, Drema K. 1 p.m., Broyles


Gagnon, Lettie F. 2 p.m., Harvest Time Church of God, Charleston.


Lilly, Zane 2 p.m., Pivont Funeral Home Chapel, Hinton.


Loftis, Scott 3 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.


Ray, Charles 2 p.m., Bethel Baptist Church, South Charleston.

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Frances M. Allen http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219991 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219991 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:31 -0400 Frances Mildred Woodson Allen, 89, of Charleston, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family on Oct. 17, 2014.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Gatha Mae and James R. Woodson; younger brothers, Emmett and John Edward; and baby sister, Rowetta.

She is survived by her beloved sister, Margaret Jane Wallace of Stone Mountain, Ga.; beloved daughters, Shelia Allen Marinette of Ashburn, Va., and Beverly Elaine Hall of Scott Depot; along with sons-in-law, Rudolph Marinette and Edward Hall. She was the beloved grandmother of Lance Edward Cullen of Austin, Texas, and Heather Elaine Buzzard of Manassas, Va., and husband, Randall Buzzard. She was the beloved great-grandmother of Luke Austin Buzzard and Gunner Lance Buzzard of Manassas, Va. She will be greatly missed by many nieces, nephews and dear friends.

She was a Kanawha County elementary school teacher for many years and enjoyed gardening and other creative pursuits. Every life she touched was made brighter and she will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Tyler Mountain Funeral Home, 5233 Rocky Fork Road, Cross Lanes, WV 25313. Interment will follow in Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens.

Visitation will be from noon until service time.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to the American Stroke Association or American Diabetes Association.

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Harry Leslie Ashley http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219998 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219998 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:20 -0400 Harry Leslie Ashley of Akron, Ohio, passed away Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 at home surrounded by his family.

Harry was born May 12, 1929 in Clendenin, W.Va., the seventh child of the late Ira Leslie and Eva Forrest Armstead Ashley. He served in the Army during the Korean conflict. In 1953 he married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Eloise Hershberger. Harry worked at Goodyear Aerospace for 27 years before retiring as supervisor in Wheel & Brake in 1979. He attended Cornerstone Church.

Harry was preceded in death by siblings, John Pershing Ashley, Viola Elizabeth Nichols, Wilma Virginia Young, William Burl Ashley, Lena Irene Nichols, Clara Bea Drake, twins Emma Dora and Emma Jean Ashley, Benjamin Ray Ashley, Carolyn June Zornes, Mary Jane Graham, Ruby Etta Ashley and Patricia Ann Pettit.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joyce; children, Reggie (Denny) Watson and Neal Ashley; grandchildren, Nate (Debbie) Watson and Laura (Dave) Andrew; great-granddaughter, Claire Andrew; and brother, Ernest Edward Ashley of Lincolnton, N.C.

Harry enjoyed fishing and working in his woodshop. He loved making bird houses, bird feeders and tissue boxes to give to friends and family. These passions kept him going through his 13-year battle with prostate and bone cancer.

The family would like to express heartfelt gratitude to Summa at Home Hospice Services and Charlotte of Senior Sitter Services.

A funeral was service held on Monday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m., with Pastor Dwayne Cummings officiating, at Anthony Funeral Home, Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz Chapel, 1990 S. Main St., Akron, where the family received friends from 4 to 7 p.m.

Interment will be at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery on Tuesday, Oct. 21; a procession to the cemetery will begin at the funeral home at noon.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Summa At Home Hospice, P.O. Box 2090, Akron, OH 44309.

Anthony, Akron, 330-724-1281, anthonyfh.com.

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John Barron http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219982 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219982 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:35 -0400 John Barron, 69, of Charleston, passed away at Hubbard Hospice House, Charleston, on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 after a short illness.

He was a Vietnam veteran and served proudly with the United States Air Force and United States Army with the 5th and 19th Special Forces Group.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Opal Barron; brother, Robert Barron; son, Brian Barron; and granddaughter, Lauren Swann.

Surviving are his wife of 48 years, Sharon Barron; sons and daughters-in-law, John and Alice Barron and Bobby and Kelly Barron; grandchildren, Ashly Hardin, Christopher Jackson, Jacob Barron and Landon Swann; and two great-grandchildren.

Memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Loudendale Freewill Baptist Church with the Rev. Burt Hall officiating.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hubbard Hospice House, 1606 Kanawha Blvd. W., Charleston, WV 25387.

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home has been entrusted to handle the arrangements.

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James Robert Campbell http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219976 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219976 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:39 -0400 James Robert Campbell died Saturday evening, October 18, 2014, at home surrounded and embraced by family. He was the cornerstone of strength in the foundation of a beautiful family. He had an increasingly rare combination of strong character, humble demeanor and core values that exemplify what it means to be a "good man." The unique features making up this man were forged in the furnace of a difficult childhood at a time when the lines between right and wrong were crystal clear and people believed in family, friends, community and something bigger than themselves.

He was born in the midst of the Great Depression on Flag Day in 1930. It was a time when there were no social safety nets and many of the common comforts we consider a necessity today were only considered a luxury and distant dream. Like many of his surrounding neighbors in Charleston West Virginia his parents were struggling to put food on the table. Unfortunately, his father suffered a brain hemorrhage a few weeks before he was born. He was the only son in the family and quickly learned the value of hard work, often telling stories of delivering newspapers at 4 o'clock in the morning during elementary school. He did multiple jobs to help his mother make ends meet.

His childhood did not have television, Internet, iPods, iPhones, air-conditioning, closets full of clothes, etc. He learned firsthand that sacrifice, hard work and resolve, coupled with a focus on making a contribution to society as well as giving to others is what really matters. While we may never see the world in similar focus, because we lack the lens of these life experiences, we are all better off having known him.

Like many of the men in his generation, he did not blame the country for his childhood challenges. In fact, he was a true patriot and volunteered to join the Air Force, later becoming a decorated veteran of the Korean War. He also was proud to be a Charlestonian and West Virginian. He had an astounding knowledge base related to West Virginia history and knew the destination of nearly every back road and highway throughout the Mountain State.

Most outside the family knew Jim as a brilliant engineer who worked his way up to a leadership role in the West Virginia Department of Highways. Later his expertise was called upon by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in response to natural disasters all over the U.S., including U.S. territories like American Samoa. He was also a pillar in his church, dropping everything to be there for any of the church members or family in crisis. Indeed, when he met Betty (his wife) and subsequently married in 1972, his focus on hunting, fishing, golfing and the overall man's man persona quickly shifted to the focus of family. He loved his wife with all his heart and frequently walked in the door with a handful of roses, the most recent time a couple weeks before he got sick. He was so proud of his two twin sons (James and John) who later became respected physicians in the community. One of his major passions was his engineering school alma mater, West Virginia University. He never missed watching or listening to WVU basketball or football games.

He was a selfless man who dedicated his life to his family and those around him. During his final days he reminded us that the most important legacy we could ever leave in our lives is through the investment we make in our family. Through his life he held true to this axiom and imprinted his core values on all the young people in the family, even going out of his way to do so for an ever-growing extended family. He opened his home to several family members and extended family through the years, and each time, whether they stayed for weeks or years, they felt embraced and at home.

His sense of humor, kindness, compassion and dedication to family will be missed. His parents, Gladys Hanshaw Taylor, Cameron Bernard Campbell and stepfather, William Taylor; sister and brother-in-law, Margaret and Joe Halstead; and his sister, Karen Taylor, preceded Jim in death. He is survived by his wife, Betty Erwin Campbell; his sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Robert Kinder; as well as his children and daughters-in-law, Dr. James Robert Campbell II and Dr. Yolanda Campbell as well as Dr. John Erwin and Amanda Campbell. His legacy lives on in the hearts of his grandchildren, Cameron, Rachel, Claire, Luke, Katie and Caleb Campbell.

The family would also like to recognize the following: Mark Cline Bates II and Dr. Mark Cline Bates, who were both like sons to him. They were both at his side providing around the clock support alongside his wife, children and daughters-in-law through the last week-and-a-half of his life. In addition, over the last few years Mark II has been a blessing for Jim and Betty as he selflessly assisted with anything they needed on a daily basis — thus the legacy continues.

Funeral service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, October 22, at Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane, with Pastor Mark Ayers officiating. Burial will follow in White Chapel Memorial Gardens, Barboursville.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. You may visit www.chapmanfuneralhomes.com to share sympathies with the family.

Chapman Funeral Home, family-owned and located at 3941 Teays Valley Road, Hurricane, is honored to serve the Campbell family.

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Carmela "Lena" Cobb http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219988 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219988 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:33 -0400 Lena Cobb, 94, of Cross Lanes, passed away Oct. 17, 2014 at CAMC General after having suffered a massive heart attack.

She was born Carmela Greco in a little village outside of Salerno, Italy, and worked as a governess for military families, teaching herself English. She married her husband, Earl Richard Cobb, in 1963 in Naples, and he is grieving his loss after almost 52 years of marriage. He was a Navy man with three children who needed a mother, and God provided such a wonderful mother in Lena, who loved children throughout her long life, being available to babysit grandchildren and great-grandchildren full time if needed, and would have gladly watched her great-great-grandchildren if she could.

Nothing made her happier than to have company eating in her home; Italians truly love cooking and food. She comforted herself by reading her Bible daily, and always had visitors in and out of her home, since she could no longer care for her bed-ridden husband alone.

Her parents, Giuseppe and Maria Rosa Greco, are gone; she was a middle child, and her sisters, Sofia and Mariantonia, are gone as are her brothers, Mauro, Raffaele, Gaetano and Asuiello, although her great-great-niece, Angela Rispoli, in Salerno will be notified, as well as her close Italian friends here in the states.

She was a great friend and she would give special thanks to Tammy Martin, a faithful friend at the time of her illness and a help to the family. Her son, Rick Cobb, and daughter, Linda Cobb Racer (of Cross Lanes), are heartbroken, and her daughter, Beverly Cobb Gattuso, in Pennsylvania is heavy hearted, for she had plans to visit her soon.

Her beautiful granddaughters, Amber Pontier, Nicole Casto, Tori Cobb, Carly Racer, Lina Carmela Racer and Alexus Danaluk, could light up her day by visiting, which they did often, and she was proud of her grandsons, Shane Cobb, Ryan Danaluk and Jacob Racer. Her great-granddaughters came to see her regularly: Mindy and Alyssa Bailey and their little sisters, Brooklyn and Haley, as well as Alaina Danaluk, whom she saw almost every day.

She was vivacious even at 94, and will be missed by all those who knew her frankness and ability to see and speak truth.

Service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at Tyler Mountain Funeral Home, 5233 Rocky Fork Road, Cross Lanes, WV 25313, with visitation from noon until service time. Interment will be at Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery at a later date.

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Berchie Felton http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219979 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219979 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:37 -0400 Berchie Sawyers Harmon Felton, 77, of Beckley, died Oct. 19, 2014. There will be no funeral or visitation, per the family's wishes. Arrangements by Wallace & Wallace of Rainelle.

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Lettie F. Gagnon http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219999 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219999 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:18 -0400 Lettie Frances Gagnon, 74, of Charleston, passed away Oct. 18, 2014 at St. Francis Hospital.

She was a waitress in several area restraunts, a homemaker and a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Preceding her in death were her parents, Evette and Edith Nancy Brock Bowe; husband, Bob Mooney; sister; Sylvia Shaffer; and granddaughter, Kayla Ford.

Surviving her are children, Robert Mooney and wife, Janice, of Charleston, Tim Mooney of Maryland, Jeff Mooney and companion, Teresa, of Dunbar, David Mooney of New York and Patricia L. Mooney of Charleston; sister, Norma Bain of Wisconsin; 6 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren, who are also left to mourn her passing.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, at Harvest Time Church of God, 1704 Washington St. W., Charleston.

Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home is serving the Gagnon family.

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Jaime Lynette Hanna http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219986 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219986 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:34 -0400 Jaime Lynette Hanna, 38, of Craigsville, died Oct. 18, 2014. Per her request, she was cremated. No services are being held at this time. All arrangements by Simons-Coleman Funeral Home, Richwood.

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Brenda Lee Harte http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219985 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/OBIT/310219985 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:02:34 -0400 Brenda Lee Thompson Harte, 56, of Dry Creek, died Oct. 19, 2014. Service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Armstrong Funeral Home, Whitesville. Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the funeral home.

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MARSHALL FOOTBALL: ESPN to pay a visit to Herd practice http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM03/141029749 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM03/141029749 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:35:34 -0400 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall's football team will enjoy even more of the spoils of a standout season.

ESPN will arrive in Huntington on Wednesday and follow around the 23rd-ranked Thundering Herd for the day as it prepares for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. home game versus Florida Atlantic University (Fox Sports 1). The "All-Access" segment will air on ESPNU on Tuesday.

Wanting to keep practice week as free as possible of distractions, Marshall coach Doc Holliday considered telling the camera crews to stay away. Yet he reflected on past experiences and changed his mind.

"I thought back on when we were at Florida and really good and had some really good teams," he said. "That's what happens to good teams. You get that kind of press and you get people wanting to talk to you and you get people coming in. And that's not a bad thing. That's a great thing."

The buzz began in the preseason, when Marshall (7-0, 3-0 Conference USA) was picked by conference coaches to win the East Division and quarterback Rakeem Cato and defensive lineman James Rouse were named preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively. Through a seven-game stretch where its defeated opponents by 30.8 points per game, the Herd has reached the top 25 for the first time since the 2002 season.

It had been one of Holliday's goals to bring Marshall back into the national spotlight, and he's very happy the Herd is there.

"It's great, because, hell, three years ago, nobody even wanted to talk to us," he said. "It's great for our university and great for our community, and anytime we have people talking about us and wanting to find out our story, it's a hell of a deal."

At the same time, he remains cautious of distractions, especially since the Owls (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) had the Herd on the ropes until Justin Haig's 41-yard field goal with time running out gave Marshall a 24-23 win last season.

"Along with all this stuff that's happening for them comes responsibility," Holliday said. "And if we don't go to work every day and get better as a team, then we're going to get beat and all those goals and expectations go out the window pretty quick.

"We embrace it," he added, "but we've also got to be able to handle it."

*

THE HERD finally was able to take advantage of its new digs Tuesday, the new indoor practice facility. The cold, drizzly weather spurred the team to take practice indoors for the first time.

"We could've gone outside today, to be honest, but I kind of wanted to change things up a little bit," Holliday said. "We're in the eighth week of the season, and I thought we had a great practice."

Marshall christened the building the Chris Cline Athletic Complex, in honor of Cline, a prominent Marshall benefactor, during a September ceremony. On top of the 120-yard indoor practice football field, the facility soon will have a Hall of Fame, an academic center, and the Marshall University Sports Medicine Institute.

*

FAU COACH Charlie Partridge made a pretty lofty comparison when discussing Herd running back Devon Johnson.

"The last time I'd seen someone with his stature was when I was at Wisconsin with a guy named John Clay," he said.

Clay was the 2009 Big Ten offensive player of the year and the finalist for the 2010 Doak Walker Award for the nation's best running back, rushing for 1,517 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2009 and 1,012 yards in an injury-shortened 2010. Standing 6-foot-1 and 255 pounds, Clay spent the 2011 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It's not just size that makes the 6-1, 245-pound Johnson similar, said Partridge, former defensive assistant for Bret Bielema at Wisconsin and Arkansas. It's the ability, too.

"He's averaging over 130 yards for a reason," Partridge said. "He made some breakout plays last week that helped them get going against Florida International. For us to think we'll be able to get him down one-on-one without great pursuit, we'd be fooling ourselves."

*

FRESHMAN TIGHT END Ryan Yurachek will have his name nestled in Marshall - and national - record books as the guy who caught Rakeem Cato's record-breaking touchdown pass, giving the quarterback a scoring throw in 39 straight games.

"I was wide open and it was like a beach ball coming at me," he said. "I'm just glad that I caught it."

That catch was one of eight he has so far this season in his growing role as a reserve tight end. He's been a special teams contributor since the season began, but Herd coaches started using him more and more in the offense. Yurachek has gained 74 yards on those eight catches with one touchdown.

Once the Myrtle Beach, S.C., saw Deon-Tay McManus move from tight end to receiver, freeing up more playing time behind senior starter Eric Frohnapfel, he knew it was serious.

"Me and Tay battled all the way through camp for those second tight end reps," he said. "Obviously, when they moved him, he's done a tremendous job outside. I feel that's where he belongs. It really started hitting me when he moved there that the coaches really trusted and that's when it kind of hit me."

*

CAPTAINS FOR the FAU game are tight end Eric Frohnapfel, offensive tackle Clint Van Horn, defensive lineman Jarquez Samuel and corner Corey Tindal. It is the second selection this season for Frohnapfel, Van Horn and Tindal and the first for Samuel. ... Holliday said running back Remi Watson, who injured his shoulder against Florida International, would "practice a little" Tuesday, but Steward Butler would be ready for more carries if needed. Butler gained 76 yards on six carries and scored his first touchdown since scoring two against Rhode Island.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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Authorities offering drug treatment to battle heroin scourge http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM02/141029750 DM02 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM02/141029750 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:33:03 -0400 By Ashley B. Craig A handful of those rounded up last week during a warrant sweep targeting heroin dealers were offered a rare second chance by authorities.

And a few of them took the offer.

Police in Kanawha and Putnam counties arrested 35 people Thursday as part of a warrant sweep.

The prescription drug epidemic has morphed into a heroin problem, said Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.

"It's a public health problem, it's a law enforcement problem, it's an overall community problem," Goodwin said. "Another problem is that the heroin today is so much more potent than it used to be, so much more difficult to overcome."

Goodwin announced a partnership between law enforcement and the Prestera Center to offer addiction treatment to non-violent offenders in hopes of turning around their lives.

On hand at the announcement Tuesday were law enforcement officials, including Brent Webster, Charleston's police chief, Kanawha Sheriff John Rutherford and Charleston Lt. Eric Johnson, who commands the Metro Drug Unit.

The offer for treatment was extended to about a half dozen individuals Thursday as they were being booked, Goodwin said. Three people took them up on it. The three were screened then and had their first appointment with addiction specialists from Prestera Center the next day, Goodwin said.

"They were given a clear choice, if you get help immediately we're not going to put you in jail," Goodwin said. "Now that's an extraordinary second chance ... Make no mistake they're not going to get a third chance if they continue to engage in their old ways."

The offer was only made to non-violent offenders who appeared only to be selling drugs to feed their own addiction. It's a new idea that has shown some effectiveness in places like Seattle and Prince William County, Va., Goodwin said.

The referral program is similar to the Drug Market Intervention initiative, where the worst offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and the lower-level non-violent offenders can see their charges dismissed if they take the offer of a second chance, with addiction treatment, therapy and job counseling.

"This is not a soft on crime, just kind of laissez-faire sort of thing," Goodwin said of the treatment referral program. "This is recognizing that we can't arrest our way out of this problem. We must do something a little bit different with some of these folks."

Goodwin said there are solid criminal cases for each of those involved with the program but that those charges will be held back if they go through treatment.

Karen Yost, Prestera chief executive officer, said the center was proud to be part of the new program.

"It's important for people to understand that treatment is effective and we do have evidence based treatment here in the area," Yost said. "It is making a difference in people's lives everyday. Addiction is a very individualized disease and the path to recovery is very individualized also."

The road to recovery is long and difficult and each path is different, Yost said. Treatment could mean anything from intervention to inpatient care, depending on what the individual needs.

"What we have to do first is get people engaged in treatment," Yost said "The longer you keep people engaged you're more likely to have positive outcomes."

Staff members assess the person to try to determine what the person needs and then match them to the appropriate services, she said.

Goodwin said it costs $35,000 per year to house one inmate in federal prison. Yost said treating the addiction is cheaper. Goodwin said those who opted into the program had insurance that would pay for treatment.

He said people who need help don't need to deal drugs or be arrested to get treatment, which is available in communities around the state.

Those interested in finding help for an addiction can start at the Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities website at http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/bhhf/pages/default.aspx .

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4850.

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WV Supreme Court to decide punishment for Randolph County circuit judge http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM02/141029751 DM02 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM02/141029751 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:32:41 -0400 By Andrea Lannom It's up to state Supreme Court justices to decide whether a three-year suspension and a $20,000 fine is an appropriate punishment for a Randolph County circuit judge who had an affair with a former community corrections director.

In August, the Judicial Hearing Board recommended Jaymie Godwin Wilfong to be censured and suspended for three years without pay, which goes beyond her term in office. The board also recommended a $20,000 fine and $8,000 in court costs. Wilfong appealed that recommendation last month.

Wilfong's attorney, Harry Deitzler, argued Tuesday that the punishment is too severe and it's the equivalent of a "death sentence" for her career. He said even if she won a bid for re-election after her term ends in 2016, Wilfong couldn't serve because she still would be under the three-year suspension.

Deitzler, who said a 60-day suspension would be more appropriate, said the fine would be devastating. He said Wilfong barely can make her house payments.

Representing the Special Judicial Disciplinary Counsel, Rachael Fletcher Cipoletti said Wilfong's punishment could have been worse. She mentioned Wilfong could have been suspended for 11 years and fined $55,000.

Cipoletti said as a judge, Wilfong is held to a higher standard of personal and professional conduct and said Wilfong's affair became part of the bench when she involved courthouse personnel and members of the bar to keep her secret.

The Judicial Investigation Commission filed ethics charges against Wilfong earlier this year for the nearly two-year affair she had with North Central Community Corrections Director William Travis Carter.

Wilfong, who served as a circuit judge since January 2009, also served as a non-voting board member of the North Central Community Corrections program, which court documents described as a community-based alternative sentencing program.

The commission said Wilfong "performed sexual acts" with Carter in her chambers between court proceedings and sent sexually explicit emails and texts to his county-issued phone and computer.

Wilfong previously said her relationship ended before she voluntarily reported it to the commission last year.

Cipoletti said justices should adopt the hearing board's recommendation because Wilfong should be held to a higher standard.

"The illicit sexual relationship is inconsistent with that high standard," she said. "Particularly when that relationship intertwined members of the bar and happened on court property. Other people she worked with were placed in a compromising position to keep her secret."

Justices questioned whether a suspension beyond the term would affect the voters' will if they choose to re-elect her.

Justice Menis Ketchum asked Cipoletti whether the three-year suspension would essentially be a death sentence. Justice Brent Benjamin echoed this question, asking if Wilfong is suspended beyond her term in office, then would that take away people's rights to choose her if she ran for re-election.

Cipoletti countered that nothing is preventing Wilfong from being on the ballot and said as soon as she finished the suspension, she could serve.

Benjamin also asked Cipoletti how the affair affected Wilfong's job. Cipoletti mentioned the number of text messages and other messages using the court's instant messaging system. She said the number is "astounding."

She also said Wilfong made the affair part of the bench.

"The argument can be made that an affair, while lacking in morality, if you didn't intertwine it in the court system, there would be no reason for us to be here," Cipoletti said. "We may be in another courtroom but before ethics or this court talking about judgeship."

Deitzler said no one ever said Wilfong wasn't a fair judge or couldn't hear cases appropriately. He said the affair didn't affect anything in the judicial system and she didn't give special treatment to Carter.

Justice Margaret Workman asked about Wilfong involving judicial staff, an assistant prosecutor and at least one attorney in facilitating the relationship.

"I'm not concerned so much of the affair as involving court people and lawyers appearing before her," Workman said.

Deitzler said two people involved were Wilfong's friends and allowed her to use their homes. Upon further questioning from Workman, he said the assistant prosecutor did appear before her in court but said he didn't think the affair impaired the day-to-day operations of the courthouse. He said they only performed sexual conduct at the courthouse twice.

Deitzler also said Wilfong was seduced.

"I'm not using it as an excuse. The perception unquestionably is she was seduced and taken advantage of," he said.

He also argued the fine is unfair.

"If you compared it to what NFL players are fine, it's in the price range of what they can afford," he said. "This is a judge. You know what they make. She can barely make payments to her house. You add on another $20,000 plus the costs of the proceedings, not only have you removed her from office but you've devastated her financially."

Deitzler told justices there was "no question she should be sanctioned" but said the current punishment is not fair.

"To take her job away, her ability to support her family and a fine in an amount that is catastrophically devastating and to say she can't run for office again, which should be a citizens right ... I don't think it's fair."

Contact writer Andrea Lannom at Andrea.Lannom@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5148. Follow her at www.twitter.com/AndreaLannom.

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Investigation into policeman continues http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM02/141029752 DM02 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM02/141029752 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:08:07 -0400 By Ashley B. Craig An investigation into the conduct of a Charleston police lieutenant continues a month after the officer was placed on paid leave.

Lt. Shawn Williams was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 22 after a complaint about his conduct was filed with the Charleston Police Department.

Investigators with the department's Professional Standards Division have been taking statements from witnesses and those involved since the allegations were made. A statement was taken Tuesday, said Brent Webster, chief of police.

Webster said he could not comment on the specifics of the investigation because it is a personnel matter. He said investigators are moving along quickly but also are being thorough.

Williams is allegedly being investigated over racially charged comments made on a video that showed his daughter wearing parts of a Charleston police uniform while dancing to a song that references the Ku Klux Klan, according to media reports. The child was being asked questions on the video by a man believed to be Williams.

Sources told the Daily Mail that racial epithets were used in the video in reference to a black officer. The video in question is not available to the public or press.

A veteran of the department with 16 years of service, Williams is currently the commander of the city's patrol division. He formerly led the traffic division and the community services division.

Lt. Chad Napier, who runs the investigative services bureau, has been helping run the patrol division in Williams' absence. Napier formerly commanded the Metro Drug Unit.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4850.

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Student carried gun at George Washington High School http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/GZ01/141029753 GZ01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/GZ01/141029753 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:06:57 -0400 By Erin Beck Staff writer A 16-year-old sophomore at George Washington High School in Charleston had an unloaded handgun at school on Monday, police say.

Another student saw the .380 caliber handgun in the pocket of the student's jacket then alerted the school prevention resource officer, Cpl. Gary Daniels, according to Charleston Police Sgt. Paul Perdue.

"The school resource officer was able to go directly to the student and detain him," Perdue said.

Once the student was detained, he was taken to Highland Hospital. Perdue said authorities thought taking the student to Highland Hospital would be an appropriate action because the student has a pre-existing mental health condition.

Police have filed a juvenile petition for the student's arrest, Perdue said.

The student faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon and having a gun on school property. The student will also face an expulsion hearing through the school board. Perdue said the gun was "supposedly found in a yard." He didn't know whether it was the student's own yard or another yard. He said he was not aware of the student making any threats. He was not brandishing the gun either, he said.

"It was just observed by another student on his person," Perdue said. No bullets were found, and the school did not have to go into lockdown.

"He was able to go contain it before it had to go on lockdown," Perdue said.

Kanawha County school board member Becky Jordon - whose daughter attends GW - said the situation was handled appropriately by school administration.

"Even though guns are dangerous, it wasn't a dangerous situation," Jordon said. "It was taken care of early enough so that no one was put at any risk."

Perdue asked any students or others with more information to please come forward and contact Daniels.

"It's still under investigation," he said. No other students have come forward with information so far, he said.

Staff writer Mackenzie Mays contributed to this report.

Reach Erin Beck at erin.beck@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5163 or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.

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GW student caught with pistol at school http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM02/141029754 DM02 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/DM02/141029754 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:03:12 -0400 By Ashley B. Craig A George Washington High School student is facing possible expulsion and a criminal charge after bringing a pistol to school.

It happened at the beginning of the school day Monday. A student at the Charleston school saw what appeared to be a gun in the jacket pocket of another student, a 16-year-old sophomore, said Charleston Sgt. Paul Perdue, commander of the department's Community Services Division, which oversees student resource officers.

The student reported seeing the weapon to the Charleston police officer who works out of the high school. The officer found the 10th grader and detained him.

The officer found a .380 pistol in the boy's jacket pocket, Perdue said. The gun was not loaded.

The boy told police he found the gun in his yard and brought it to school, officer said.

Police are working to determine where the gun came from. The gun was not brandished inside the school.

The student, to the officers' knowledge, did not threaten any students or staff members.

The school was not placed on lockdown because the officer was able to quickly find the student and detain him.

The student, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, is being held at Highland Hospital. He'll remain there for a week, Perdue said.

A juvenile petition charging the boy with carrying a concealed weapon was filed.

The boy also will face an expulsion hearing with the Kanawha County school board, Perdue said.

Many high schools in Kanawha County have a prevention resource officer in the building. These officers are there to prevent students from committing crimes and provide a safe learning environment. The officers often have an office in the school and hold discussions on juvenile law, domestic violence, the dangers of drugs and other topics.

The matter remains under investigation.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4850.

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Prep football notes: Burgess fitting in at Buffalo http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/WH02/141029755 WH02 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/WH02/141029755 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:53:58 -0400 By Rick Ryan Buffalo coach Mike Sawyer knew he had a good quarterback coming into the season in Ethan Burgess.

Just how good? Well, Sawyer really didn't know because Burgess was only a freshman and untested in varsity play.

It's turned out favorably, though, for the Bison (5-2), who take the No. 14 ranking in Class A into Friday's home game against Fayetteville (2-5).

The 6-foot, 167-pound Burgess has been a factor both running and throwing the ball for Buffalo. Through the air, he's completed exactly 50 percent of his passes (36 of 72) for 612 yards and 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions.

The bonus has been his legwork running the ball. Burgess has carried 50 times for 217 yards and three scores. He's also thrown for a pair of 2-point conversion passes and run for another, helping keep defenses honest and not totally ganging up on all-state running back candidate Jordan Tucker (1,169 yards, 15 TDs).

"We didn't know Ethan can run the ball like he does in games,'' Sawyer said, "because you can't tell that in practice. Everything's faster and quicker in games, and you don't know for sure until you get there.''

Sawyer lauds Burgess for being a student of the game, which he thinks helps Burgess succeed.

"He's just a young kid,'' Sawyer said, "but he's very smart for his age. He has a good football mind for a freshman. He's very athletic and makes good decisions.

"For the most part, he can run with the football and throw the football, so it makes him kind of an all-around threat.''

Herbert Hoover went into last week's big date against Class AA power Wayne minus one of its top cogs in senior fullback-linebacker Colton Thomas, who sat out with a shoulder injury.

The 5-10, 200-pound Thomas has not only served as the lead blocker for Shaun Dotson - the top rusher in the Cardinal Conference with 1,082 yards and 14 TDs - but has been a reliable second option running the ball with 441 yards and five TDs, averaging a healthy 8.2 yards per carry.

"Colton Thomas has stepped up and played real well for us in several games,'' said Huskies coach Tim Meyer. "Colton a lot of times gets overlooked, but he's been a great running back for us.

"He takes on some hard hits. As the dive back in the veer [offense], you're always getting hit whether you've got the ball or not, and that takes its toll on you. He's lost some weight from the beginning of the season.''

It's unknown whether Thomas will be able to suit up for Friday's important game at Roane County (3-4), which like Hoover (4-3) is battling the odds for a Class AA playoff spot.

In his place last week, the Huskies started Brody Thomas (5-9, 200), his sophomore brother. Brody Thomas ran 11 times for 36 yards.

Point Pleasant (8-0, No. 2 in AAA) is one game away from wrapping up its second straight unbeaten regular season and stretching its regular-season win streak to 23 in a row.

The Big Blacks host Shady Spring (2-5) on Friday before going into hibernation for a while, since they are idle the final two weeks of the regular season before embarking on another playoff run.

But with all the good vibes going on in Mason County, Point hasn't forgotten how it ended last year with a 28-7 loss to Wheeling Park in the playoff quarterfinals at home.

The Big Blacks trailed in that game 14-7 in the final minute of the third quarter and seemed to have momentum on their side when they stopped the Patriots on downs at their own 32. But an attempted screen pass by Aden Yates was picked off by Elijah Bell, who brought it back 31 yards for a touchdown, breaking the game open a bit.

"That game was a lot closer than what everybody realizes,'' Point coach David Darst said recently.

"I threw a pick-six, and that's what changed the game. We had momentum and I called for a swing pass into the flat that I never should have called, and their kid ran it back. Our kids haven't forgotten that, and I know I haven't. I want them to remember.''

Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazette.com.

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Ratings: Bridgeport No. 1 in AA, Capital still first in AAA http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/WH01/141029756 WH01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/WH01/141029756 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:53:34 -0400 Bridgeport No. 1 in AA, Capital still first in AAA

Bridgeport has taken over as the No. 1 team in the SSAC's Class AA football playoff ratings, bumping previous front-runner Frankfort to a tie for second with Wayne.

The rest of the top five finds Bluefield and Mingo Central.

In AAA, Capital remains at the top, followed by Point Pleasant, University, Cabell Midland and South Charleston. St. Marys continues to lead Class A, with Clay-Battelle second and Tug Valley third.

State playoff ratings

The SSAC playoff ratings, with the top 16 in each class qualifying for the postseason:

Class AAA

Pos-School W-L Rtg Prv

1. Capital 6-0 16.00 1

2. Point Pleasant 8-0 13.63 2

3. University 7-1 13.50 5

4. Cabell Midland 7-1 13.13 6

5. South Charleston 7-1 13.00 t3

6. Martinsburg 7-1 12.88 t3

7. Spring Valley 7-1 12.13 8

8. Wheeling Park 6-1 11.71 9

9. Jefferson 5-2 10.57 7

10. Hurricane 5-2 9.86 t12

10. Parkersburg South 5-2 9.86 11

12. Lewis County 6-2 9.75 10

13. Huntington 4-3 8.71 16

14. Buckhannon-Upshur 5-2 8.57 t14

15. Preston 5-2 8.57 t14

16. Musselman 5-3 8.38 17

17. George Washington 4-3 8.00 t12

18. Woodrow Wilson 3-3 6.83 t18

19. Greenbrier East 4-4 6.25 23

20. John Marshall 4-3 6.00 24

21. Hampshire 3-4 5.71 t25

21. Parkersburg 3-4 5.71 t18

23. Morgantown 3-5 5.00 20

24. Spring Valley 3-4 4.86 21

25. Princeton 3-5 4.75 -

Class AA

Pos-School W-L Rtg Prv

1. Bridgeport 7-1 11.63 2

2. Frankfort 7-0 11.57 1

2. Wayne 6-1 11.57 t3

4. Bluefield 6-1 11.00 6

5. Mingo Central 6-1 10.29 7

6. Nicholas County 6-1 10.00 8

7. Keyser 6-2 9.88 10

8. Westside 6-2 9.75 5

9. Ravenswood 6-1 9.57 t3

10. Weir 7-1 9.50 9

11. Robert C. Byrd 5-2 8.71 12

12. Scott 6-2 8.63 11

13. Fairmont Senior 5-2 8.43 13

14. Liberty Raleigh 6-1 8.14 14

15. Liberty Harrison 5-3 6.75 17

15. Wyoming East 5-3 6.75 21

17. Sissonville 4-3 6.57 20

18. Herbert Hoover 4-3 6.00 15

19. Clay County 4-3 5.86 16

20. Chapmanville 4-4 5.38 18

21. Independence 5-3 5.13 19

22. Roane County 3-4 4.71 24

23. Grafton 3-4 4.43 22

24. Ritchie County 3-5 4.25 23

25. James Monroe 3-4 4.00 25

Class A

Pos-School W-L Rtg Prv

1. St. Marys 7-0 9.14 1

2. Clay-Battelle 7-0 9.00 2

3. Tug Valley 7-1 8.38 4

4. Meadow Bridge 7-1 8.13 t5

5. Doddridge County 6-1 7.86 t7

5. Notre Dame 5-2 7.86 t7

7. Greenbrier West 5-2 7.57 3

8. Man 5-2 7.00 12

8. Pendleton County 6-2 7.00 t5

8. Tyler Consolidated 5-2 7.00 11

11. Williamstown 5-2 6.86 10

12. Moorefield 5-2 6.71 t7

13. East Hardy 6-2 6.38 15

14. Buffalo 5-2 6.14 14

15. Valley Wetzel 5-2 5.86 13

16. Wahama 5-3 5.75 17

17. Bishop Donahue 5-2 5.57 16

18. South Harrison 4-3 5.43 18

19. Wheeling Central 4-4 4.50 20

20. Valley Fayette 4-3 4.14 19

21. Pocahontas County 4-4 3.63 23

22. Tucker County 3-4 3.57 -

23. Van 4-4 3.38 24

24. Paden City 3-4 3.00 21

25. Gilmer County 3-4 2.71 25

25. Magnolia 2-5 2.71 22

Standings

Mountain State Athletic Conference

Pos-School Conf All Rating

1. Capital 6-0 6-0 16.00

2. Cabell Midland 7-1 7-1 13.13

3. South Charleston 7-1 7-1 13.00

4. Spring Valley 7-1 7-1 12.13

5. Hurricane 5-2 5-2 9.86

6. Huntington 4-3 4-3 8.71

7. George Washington 3-3 4-3 8.00

8. Woodrow Wilson 2-3 3-3 6.83

9. Parkersburg 1-4 3-4 5.71

10. Princeton 2-4 3-5 4.75

11. Ripley 2-3 2-5 3.71

12. Winfield 1-5 2-5 3.57

13. St. Albans 2-5 2-5 3.43

14. Nitro 0-6 1-6 1.29

15. Riverside 0-8 0-8 0.00

NOTE: MSAC champ determined by SSAC rating.

Cardinal Conference

Pos-School Conf All

1. Wayne 5-0 6-1

2. Scott 5-1 6-2

3. Mingo Central 4-1 6-1

4. Herbert Hoover 3-3 4-3

4. Sissonville 3-3 4-3

6. Chapmanville 1-4 4-4

7. Poca 0-4 0-7

8. Tolsia 0-5 1-6

Other schools

School (Class) Rec

Point Pleasant (AAA) 8-0

Tug Valley (A) 7-1

Nicholas County (AA) 6-1

Ravenswood (AA) 6-1

Buffalo (A) 5-2

Man (A) 5-2

Wahama (A) 5-3

Clay County (AA) 4-3

Valley (A) 4-3

Greenbrier East (AAA) 4-4

Roane County (AA) 3-4

Webster County (AA) 2-5

Braxton County (AA) 2-6

Logan (AAA) 2-6

Sherman (A) 1-7

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Oklahoma State's Hill has game-breaking speed http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/GZ02/141029757 GZ02 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/GZ02/141029757 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:48:25 -0400 By Dave Hickman MORGANTOWN - Tyreek Hill's statistics aren't going to jump out at anyone.

Shoot, he's not even listed as a starter on offense for Oklahoma State, but instead the backup to Desmond Roland at tailback.

His size - 5-foot-11, 185 pounds - isn't daunting. He averages just 35.4 yards per game rushing and has had but two runs longer than 17 yards. He's the Cowboys' second-leading rusher and third-leading receiver. He's dangerous on punt and kickoff returns, yes, but he averages fewer yards per kick return than does WVU's Mario Alford and just 8.4 yards per punt return - good, but not great.

So why in the world are the coaching staffs of every team Oklahoma State plays this season scared to death on the junior from Pearson, Ga?

"Who, Tyreek the Freak?'' asked West Virginia safeties and special teams coach Joe DeForest. "He's the fastest guy on the face of the earth.''

Well, not quite. But he's in the same broad neighborhood.

When No. 22 West Virginia (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) faces Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1) Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Hill will be a primary focus of both WVU's defense and special teams. That's one of the reasons his numbers aren't any better than they are - because he's a focus of every defense and special teams.

"You watch the tapes and you'll see guys [on defense] pointing and yelling, 'There's 24 [Hill's jersey number], there's 24,' " Gibson said. "And you have to because he lines up in a bunch of different spots.''

How fast is Hill? Well, he's not Usain Bolt fast, but he's right there at the next level.

In high school in 2012, Hill ran a 10.19 100 meters and 20.14 in the 200. His time in the 200 was the second-fastest ever by a high school athlete and would have placed sixth at the London Olympics later that summer. He also ran in the IAAF World Junior Championships that summer in Spain.

After spending two years in junior college because of his grades, he chose Oklahoma State in large part because the school had just completed a new $10 million track facility. After he enrolled in January of this year he won the Big 12 indoor 200 meters and finished second in the 60 meters and the Cowboys won their first-ever league title.

That's why he scares opposing teams.

"He's as dynamic as anybody in the country,'' WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "He ran right by Florida State and he won the game for them at Kansas.''

Indeed, while Hill's rushing, receiving or return numbers aren't off the charts, add them all together and he leads the Big 12 and is No. 11 nationally in all-purpose yards, averaging 154.1 per game. He had 278 all-purpose yards in OSU's opener against defending national champion Florida State and after being kept out of the end zone the first three weeks of the season had a 50-yard touchdown reception against Texas Tech and then back-to-back games with a kickoff return for a score against Iowa State and Kansas.

The one against Kansas was stunning. The Jayhawks had tied the score at 20-20 in the fourth quarter and for some reason then elected to kick off to Hill. Ninety-nine yards later Oklahoma State had a 27-20 win.

"As we all know, we have to focus hard on our coverage units,'' said Holgorsen, whose team has given up both kickoff and punt return touchdowns this season.

In many ways, Hill is like - and Oklahoma State uses him like - Tavon Austin. When Austin was at West Virginia he played receiver, tailback and returned punts and kicks, and even if he wasn't breaking free he was affecting how defenses played.

"It's very similar,'' Holgorsen said. "You see him in the backfield a good bit, you see him in the slot going downfield and then the kick and punt returns.''

Football over the years is littered with sprinters who tried their hand at the game with varying degrees of success, from Bob Hayes to Willie Gault. Some had football backgrounds and others were just speedsters. Hill has a football background.

"He's not just fast, he's shifty, too,'' Gibson said. "It's not just straight-ahead speed and that's rare.''

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.

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Mitch Vingle: National, Big 12 and WVU basketball http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/GZ02/141029758 GZ02 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141021/GZ02/141029758 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:46:38 -0400 I interrupt your regularly scheduled football programming to bring you this very important public service basketball announcement.

OK, so it's not "very" important.

But I've been immersed in basketball research this week and, hey, I'm sharing. (It's just the kind of guy I am.)

I've been immersed in basketball research because I've been appointed West Virginia's representative this season for the Associated Press hoops poll.

As you know, I always take the work seriously with these votes and do my own research. I don't run to the nearest supermarket magazine rack and copy what's in a preseason mag. (I do, however, occasionally write for one.)

Yet in the case of No. 1 there is no choice but to agree with the herd. Kentucky's basketball team is (cue Ron White voice) loooaaaaddded.

Part of my research is to chart potential NBA players or, at least, draft picks.

And my chart says Kentucky has 10 of those. You read correctly. Ten. One more than nine.

It's truly astounding. No other program, regardless of how strong, has a number close to that. Yet I'll tell you two teams to watch that have about half of Kentucky's haul.

They reside in the Big 12: Texas and Kansas.

"The Big 12 could legitimately have two top-five teams in Kansas and Texas," said WVU coach Bob Huggins.

Bill Self, of course, has built a powerhouse at Kansas. Freshman guard Kelly Oubre could be a top-five pick in next year's NBA draft. KU guard Wayne Selden and forward Cliff Alexander could be top-10 picks. Yet Texas coach Rick Barnes won the services of five-star big man Myles Turner, who could end up being drafted before all of KU's stars. Barnes also has a veteran team back.

I sought Huggins' opinion on some teams' personnel, but also picked his brain to set up the season. I asked what WVU fans should watch for within the Big 12.

"Texas," he said. "I think Texas is talented, very, very good. [Turner] is very good. Most [coaches] believe he's the second-best freshman in the country."

He's considered second, by the way, to Duke's Jahlil Okafor, a 6-11 center who should be the first pick in the next NBA draft.

Anyway, Huggins said there's one other Big 12 team that Mountaineer fans should keep an eye on: TCU. Yes, the TCU team that went 0-18 within Big 12 play last season.

"Watch the emergence of TCU," Huggins said. "Those players were hurt last season. Recruited very well."

The Horned Frogs had just four players remain healthy throughout last season. At one point coach Trent Johnson was so desperate he played a 6-foot-2 walk-on in the post. Now, Johnson has a couple of nice seniors and some big-name transfers, like Chris Washburn formerly of UTEP. Sophomore post man Karviar Shepherd turned down the likes of Kansas and UCLA.

Nationally?

Huggins said look to a team within the Big Ten.

"Wisconsin may challenge to be one of the top two or three teams," he said. "Kentucky is clearly No. 1, but where do you go from there? Wisconsin could be up there."

Huggins then made the remark about the Big 12 possibly having two top-five teams.

Yes, while he was on the line, I asked about the Mountaineers. One name we haven't heard much of this preseason is Jonathan Holton, expected to be WVU's double-double machine.

"He's playing quite well," Huggins said. "He'll make us one of the better rebounding teams in the Big 12. Plus, he can score without us having to run plays for him."

Another name we haven't heard much on is former four-star forward Elijah Macon. (If you go online, by the way, there's a YouTube highlight video of Macon from when he was at Brewster Prep. The editor of the video says in a cutline that Macon has "signed to play for Bob Huggins at West Virginia in a Mountaineers uniform then [is] heading to the league." So there ya go.)

"He's playing well," Huggins said. "He had a tough go for a while but has come back."

Macon has had academic problems, wrist surgery and a disorderly conduct charge, the latter last year on this date.

As for standout Juwan Staten's ankle problem, Huggins said the guard "hasn't gone much" of late in regard to practice.

Oh, and if you're wondering, here is my five-man preseason All-America ballot: Duke's Okafor, Wisconsin's Sam Dekker, Kentucky's Aaron Harrison, WVU's Staten and Louisville's Montrezl Harrell.

Others considered included North Carolina's Marcus Paige, KU's Oubre and Alexander, Michigan's Caris LeVert, Arizona's Stanley Johnson, Texas' Turner, Kentucky's Karl Towns and Wichita State's Fred VanVleet.

My top 10: 1. Kentucky, 2. Texas, 3. Arizona, 4. North Carolina, 5. Kansas, 6. Florida, 7. Louisville, 8. Duke, 9. Wisconsin, 10. Wichita State.

The Gazette will run my entire ballot when the poll comes out.

Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.

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