GOV WANTS APOLOGY FOR LAMPOONING - Governor Bob Wise is asking the University of Virginia for an apology after the school pep band presented a halftime show at Saturday's Tire Bowl, lampooning West Virginia's hillbilly image.

Wise made the request in a letter to school president John T. Casteen.

The Virginia school's pep band staged a parody of "The Bachelor" with a male Virginia student choosing between two female contestants.

One female was "from" West Virginia. She had blue overalls, pigtails, a talent for square dancing and a big dream to move to Beverly Hills. Tire Bowl Executive Director Ken Haines says he approved a script before the game, but he said the band's performance wasn't what he expected.

TRIPLE DEATHS IN FAIRMONT - A Fairmont man may have killed his 29-year-old wife and 6-year-old daughter before committing suicide. They were found strangled. Fairmont police found their bodies in a bedroom of a house the family shared with the woman's mother.

Police said Matthew Fitzwater, 30, called 911 to apologize for his actions, and his body was discovered later in a burning truck near Pricketts Fort State Park.

Two other bodies, in a seperate incident, were discovered earlier in a shallow grave in Marion County, with a 16-year-old high school girl being charged.

UNIONTOWN BOY MAY HAVE BEEN ACCIDENT VICTIM - A 12-year-old boy, who was shot in the back by two PA state troopers while he was fleeing from a stolen vehicle, may have been shot after one of the officers fell, his gun accidentally firing, and the other firing his weapon in confusion.

The report was not sustained, but it was circulating in the Uniontown PA community over the weekend. The bullet struck the youth's heart, according to a Medical Examiner's report. The youth did not have a weapon. The family will monitor the police investigation closely, saying "We need to know more about the facts."

RETIREMENT SWITCH WILL BE REVIEWED - Officials are asking the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board to reconsider a $75 million change in some State Troopers' retirement plans.

The Board returned 132 troopers to the original plan after the legislature made a change in 1994 to prevent a deficit in the general retirement plan which now totals $300 million.

WHEELING DOCTORS WILL HAVE WALK-OUT - Northern Panhandle surgeons say they are tired of trying to get relief from the high cost of medical malpractice insurance.About two dozen surgeons plan to take leaves of absence from Wheeling Hospital, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Weirton Medical Center and Reynolds Memorial Hospital starting January 1st, forcing hospitals to divert patients to Ohio and Pennsylvania or Morgantown.

Although a complete list of the participants was not available, nine of those on Wheeling Hospital's strike list have cost their previous insurers at least $6.3 million in malpractice claims.

Two of the claims involve Dr. Howard L. Shackleford, who agreed to pay $2 million to a patient over a liver transplant after a surgical clip was left on an artery in a 1997 operation. Shackleford has settled three other malpractice cases for a total of $500,000.

Dr. David Ghaphery was ordered in 1999 to pay $2.8 million by a jury that blamed him for a patient's postsurgical death. Marjorie Verba, 68, reportedly died from a massive infection when Ghaphery sliced into her stomach wall.

Shackleford and Ghaphery are among those participating in the walk-out.

CHURCH OF GOD WILL TAKE "SIN MONEY" - Powerball winner Whittaker has told Tabernacle of Praise Pastor C.T. Matthews he will give the church a $334,000 check, a first installment.

One of the first things Whittaker said last week when he was declared a winner of the $314 million - he was going to tithe 10 percent of the winners to three Church of God pastors.

The churches, among the most outspoken critics of using gambling money to finance state government projects, declaring it a sin, appear to have no problem accepting several million dollars of Whittaker's winnings.

Whittaker says the three pastors will decide how the money will be spent.

After taxes, Whittaker will receive $113.4 million.

CAPITOL STATUE HONORS MACHINES, NOT PEOPLE - An environmental group plans to protest a coal miner statue which was to have honored miners who gave their lives in the Mountain State, now under construction on the grounds of the state capitol.

Members of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition will attend a meeting of the Capitol Building Commission Thursday, protesting the statue which depicts scenes of mountaintop removal. (See earlier Hur Herald story)

The statue appears to be an ad for coal mining, rather than a memorial, according to Vivian Stockman, with the intent of legislature being ignored.

YEAR ENDS WITH ANOTHER COAL TRUCK DEATH - A man was killed last night when his car collided with a coal truck on Cabin Creek. The wreck happened shortly before 10 p.m. Kanawha County ambulance crews said the man who died had severe head injuries. Sources at the scene said the truck appeared to be overloaded.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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