- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:

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March 23

The Register-Herald calls for West Virginia University and Marshall University’s hoops teams to play each other every year:

Gov. Jim Justice likes to tout all of what’s good about West Virginia and, indeed, there is plenty to brag about. The governor knows this and went so far as to request an additional $20 million from the Legislature this past session to fund marketing efforts - to spread the good word about all of what is available for interested vacationers and tourists and prospective businesses.

Unfortunately, the tourism dollars did not materialize in the Legislature’s final budget, falling victim to a long overdue pay raise for the state’s public employees.

But, having watched - along with most every other person in the state - the men’s NCAA tournament round of 32 showdown between the Thundering Herd of Marshall University and The Mountaineers of West Virginia University, one piece of a marketing plan is as plain as the nose on our collective face: Basketball.

We absolutely love the game in our state and the lore of hoops is wide and deep, from Zeke from Cabin Creek to the D’Antonis of Mullens, from the run of single A state prep girls titles in St. Joseph to the annually outstanding girls teams forged in the rural outback of Summers and Wyoming counties.

In hoops, more is better.

Indeed, basketball is an important part of the cultural heritage of our state and we are now in a position to leverage that.

In short: Why can’t our two leading state universities agree to meet once a year, in a December home-and-home series, to battle it out on the hardwoods? You think ESPN would be interested in such a rematch of two in-state tournament teams come the first of next season? Of course it would. And, Justice would know better than most, you can’t pay for that kind of national exposure.

With all due respect to the programs that dotted the Mountaineers’ November-December schedule this season, but Marist, Morgan State, Long Beach State, Coppin State and the New Jersey Institute of Technology just don’t get the juices flowing. They lack the anticipation and appeal of a tilt against that other state university over in Huntington.

We know these teams have played in the past and we know there are animosities on both sides of the debate.

But this goes beyond doing what is best for either team. This is about state pride and advertising the quality of education available within our state’s borders.

We think it is incumbent upon the schools presidents, Dr. E. Gordon Gee at WVU and Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert at Marshall, to draw up a contract and get the game back on the board. Let’s keep politics out of it, please and thanks. The last thing we need is to have a legislative intervention.

We all remember the Capital Classic, the annual game between the two that was played in Charleston. The series came to a close after the 2015-2016 season - and that’s most unfortunate. The contests were mostly competitive even though WVU did win the lion’s share of games, owning an all-time series lead, 33-11. But when the game is played in Huntington? The Thundering Herd is a perfect 5-0.

Moving the game back to campus would be a prerequisite as would scheduling it earlier in the season so as not to become a distraction during the teams’ respective conference slates.

But it needs to be played.

And before some well-known coach starts pleading self-interest and bemoaning the other team’s RPI - essentially, a computer-based ranking system - we will remind one and all that Coppin State came in at No. 343 in those rankings out of 351 schools. Morgan State? 327. Marist? 324.

Marshall? 76.

It could be, it should be, an annual, early season date we could circle on the calendar.

For the good of the state, let’s get this done.

Online: http://www.register-herald.com/

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March 28

The Inter-Mountain on drug companies’ reluctance to talk to West Virginia’s attorney general:

It really is no surprise that the head of McKesson Corp. does not want to talk on the record to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. One wonders how he could explain the firm’s actions in contributing to the opioid abuse epidemic in our state.

How, for example, might McKesson CEO John Hammergren shrug off the fact that between 2005-06, the pharmaceuticals giant delivered nearly 5 million doses of prescription pain pills to a pharmacy in Kermit, W.Va.? Kermit’s population is approximately 400. It is located in Mingo County, population 24,127.

Do the math: That works out to approximately 200 opioid pain pills for every man, woman and child in the county. McKesson made similarly large shipments to other areas of West Virginia.

In 2016, Morrisey’s office filed a lawsuit against McKesson, which since has been targeted by multiple other actions related to its handling of painkiller distribution. The state’s lawsuit alleges the company failed to do anything about unreasonable large pain pill orders from some pharmacies.

Morrisey’s lawsuit is scheduled for trial more than a year from now. Preparing for such actions takes time on the part of both plaintiffs and defendants.

Part of the attorney general’s preparation was to be taking a deposition from Hammergren at his office in San Francisco. But the McKesson chief doesn’t plan to comply, one of its many lawyers told a Boone County judge last week.

The lawyer cited a congressional investigation, insisting it would not be proper for Hammergren to give Morrisey a deposition while that process is going on.

Why not? The two investigations are entirely separate. The Boone County judge should order the deposition to go forward.

If nothing else, a video clip of Morrisey being told by a McKesson security guard to hit the road would be interesting.

Online: http://www.theintermountain.com/

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March 27

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel on flawed FCC data collection that could cost West Virginia counties federal funding:

West Virginians have become used to the folks in Washington, D.C., almost intentionally misunderstanding our state. It can be laughable, at times. But what is not remotely funny is the mistake made in a Federal Communications Commission report that could cost seven West Virginia counties federal funding to build broadband networks in rural areas.

According to the FCC, Barbour, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Randolph and Upshur counties have 100 percent fixed broadband access. Rob Hinton, chairman of the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council, said that data is “not even . close to correct.” The mistakes came when the FCC used census blocks to collect data. That means if one person in an entire - potentially rural -census block has fixed broadband access, the FCC assumes it means everyone in that block is “covered.”

A child can see the flaw in such logic. In fact, the FCC has noted there are shortcomings in its data collection, and that those flaws could overestimate rural access.

Meanwhile, of course, the program meant to improve access for people in regions such as ours is actually so mismanaged it could hamper access. As one Internet provider told another media outlet, “The very data we’re turning in to the FCC that they mandate from a funding standpoint can turn out to be your worst enemy.”

It is enough to make one wonder how many other federal reports are similarly flawed, and doing similar damage.

Online: http://www.newsandsentinel.com/


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