Trinity gets fourth shot at Irish in state quarterfinals 220

MORGANTOWN — Trinity Christian has come down with a severe case of March Madness.

The Warriors are preparing for their first trip to the WVSSAC Class A State Basketball Championships in six years, and, according to head coach John Fowkes, it’s a “special time up on this hill.”

“The atmosphere has been great. The superintendent and school board voted to cancel school on Friday so the fans can come down and support us [March 15] at 9 p.m.,” he said. “That wowed us man. The kids think it’s cool, I think it’s cool.”

But it’s not just the administration that’s getting behind the state-bound squad. The entire community is pouring in support for the Warriors, who have sparked a fire of excitement at the school.

“The Trinity community, just so our kids experience a first class trip, the parents and the community came up with everything we need,” Fowkes said. “The kids are going to be able to go down there and not worry about anything except for playing basketball. We’re going to have a lot of people coming from that little school.”

To earn the ultimate prize, the Warriors will have to win three games in three days, while going through a gantlet of the toughest teams in the state. First up for Trinity will be Notre Dame, which handed three losses to the Warriors already this year.

“I think we have to play with the confidence we had the last two times we played them, and in the fourth quarter, play like we did in the first three and finish,” Fowkes said. “We can’t worry about what happened in the previous games.”

Notre Dame has done an exceptional job of doubling down on the post against the Warriors this year, working hard to keep junior Daniel Woods and senior Jo Zini from being factors inside.

Fowkes said he needs his squad to combat that effort with consistent guard play to open up the floor and have a shot at the win.

“We have to attack their defense for four quarters,” he said. “We talked to the guys about needing some guards to hit shots to take off some of the pressure on Jo Zini and Daniel Woods.”

Fowkes expects his team to rise to the challenge though, as they enter the tournament 6-2 in their last eight games and fully healthy for the first time in weeks.

“We look pretty good right now. Everyone is healthy. We’re running into this thing with everyone available, no injuries. We’re ready to go full-throttle,” Fowkes said.

With the atmosphere surrounding the state tournament, as well as the excitement at the school, Fowkes wants to make sure his team doesn’t get too caught up in the hype.

“A lot of teams go down and get caught up in the pageantry of the state tournament. I told my guys we’re not going down there to hang out at the mall and eat together; we’re going to play basketball,” he said. “The kids have had a laser focus in practice and that tells me a lot.”

As the Warriors prepare to take the court tonight, they are as ready as Fowkes believes they can be. Despite the fact that his team still has its fair share of doubters, he insists that the Warriors could be the dark horse of the weekend.

“I believe that the cards just fell in the right direction, and we’re not going down there to soak up the environment,” he said. “We’re going down there to make a run at this thing and try to win it.”

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Mylan announces layoffs, about 500 affected 2265

MORGANTOWN — Mylan on Friday announced layoffs affecting about 15 percent of its Morgantown workforce, primarily in operations.

Mylan spokeswoman Christine Waller said the current workforce is about 3,500 and after the layoffs it will stand at about 3,000. “Following the layoffs, we will remain one of the largest employers in West Virginia,” she said.

The layoffs are tied to “right-sizing” the plant, which was built out over the decades, Waller said.

Mylan elaborated on that in a statement: “We believe our plant in Morgantown is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in the world. As the industry has changed and regulatory expectations have continued to evolve, we’ve realized that our Morgantown plant needed to be rightsized to be less complex.

It continued, “The right-sizing is consistent with discussions we are having with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is necessary in order to position the site as best we can for continued operations. We remain committed to a U.S. manufacturing base and plan to continue making the majority of the medicines we supply to the U.S in the U.S.”

Asked if reports tying the layoffs to FDA inspections of the plant, as mentioned in a Friday story on a union meeting regarding the layoffs, Waller said the action is focused on the size and complexity of the site.

The layoffs are effective immediately, Waller said. Mylan is also in discussion with the union — United Steel Workers Local 8-957 — regarding a separation package offer for more senior union members.

The union held a mandatory meeting on the topic Friday morning. Early Friday afternoon, leaders were still in meetings and could not be reached for comment.

Mylan concluded its statement saying, “For nearly 60 years, Mylan has been a proud corporate citizen in West Virginia, and we remain so today. Mylan’s commitment to its employees and the community is to ensure that our company remains built to last and always positioned to serve patient needs as effectively as possible.”

Fox News to host GOP primary debate in Morgantown 297

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Fox News Channel plans to stage a Republican primary debate for U.S. Senate candidates in Morgantown, the network announced Thursday.

Anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will co-moderate the debate May 1 at the Metropolitan Theatre in Morgantown from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The debate will include any candidate who polls above a 10-percent threshold in the Fox News poll set to be released next week. The event kicks off a Fox News series called “America’s Election Headquarters 2018” leading up to the midterms.

A separate U.S. Senate debate is slated for Monday at Wheeling Jesuit University’s Troy Theater. starting at 6:30 p.m.

That 90-minute debate, sponsored by The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register, will air live statewide on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s main channel as will be streamed at wvpublic.org.

Participating candidates in the Wheeling debate include:

— U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins

— West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

— Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship

— West Virginia National Guard Maj. Tom Willis

— Former coal miner Bo Copley

— U.S. Navy veteran Jack Newbrough

Mighty Mothers comes to Brookhaven Elementary 125

MORGANTOWN — Brookhaven Elementary School hosted an event called Mighty Mothers.

The purpose of the event was to foster closer relationships and create  bonding time for children and their mothers by doing various crafts and activities.

The event was sponsored by Monongalia County Schools Parent Educator Resource Center (PERC).

Last year, PERC piloted one Mighty Mothers event and decided to continue  this year in hopes of expanding their efforts.

In the past two weeks, PERC has visited four area elementary schools. Next year, the organization hopes to add additional schools and events.

Patricia Stemple, an organizer of the event said, “We’ve had very good response, and everyone is really excited about it. We hear from the Mothers that it’s so nice that now there’s something for mothers.”

When asked about the future of the event, Julie Parsons, another event organizer, said, “We hope that next school year additional elementary schools will be interested in this.”

Parsons and Stemple will  contact elementary schools in the fall to ask  about their interests in the program.