Thursday, May 26, 2016

THIS JUST IN: Coach Steven Nutter Leaving Webster County

Coach Steven Nutter with hoopster Dalton Gray.

Track, cross country, and boys' basketball head coach Steven Nutter announced today that he will be leaving Webster County High School for a cross country coaching position at St. Mary's, his hometown.

Here is the announcement he posted on Instagram:

"Blessed to have spent 6 amazing years in Webster County... During this time I had the opportunity to work with some of the best student athletes in the state of WV, their accomplishments speak for themselves!!! The support from administration, staff, parents, and community is beyond words and greater than I could have ever dreamed!!! The athletes that I have coached the past 6 years have been MY KIDS and each has touched my heart in a special way!!! Thank you WEBSTER for all the memories, if has been a pure JOY... I'll forever be indebted to you!!! At the end of the school year I will be going home to St. Marys... I have accepted the position as Cross Country coach and look forward to having the opportunity to touch the lives of youth in my hometown!!!"

Coach Nutter has been one of the best multi-sport coaches in the school's history, and an even finer individual.  In just the past year and one-half, Coach Nutter mentored 2014 Cross Country State Champion Brettley Harris, 2016 1600 Meter State Champion Austin Hayes, and put Highlander basketball back on the map with an incredible 17 win, five loss season this past year.  

In general, coaches end up being judged by their "win-loss" performance.  Coach Nutter clearly exceeded expectations and leaves with a very positive coaching record.  In all other respects, from the perspective of those he coached, those he worked with, and those he befriended in the community, Coach Nutter is a clear winner.  

We wish him continued success in his coaching career and we will truly miss him.  We also want to thanks his parents who showed great support and friendship to us fans here in Webster.

Video of Austin Hayes Championship Run in 1600 Meter State Finals

Thanks to Josh Weekley of, here is a video of Austin Hayes' championship run in the 1600 meter state finals at Laidley Field in Charleston on May 21, 2016.

Listen to the comments made as Austin rounds the final turn and into the final stretch:
"All right Hayes, good for you."
"That's a great, great run for Hayes."
"Wow, Hayes!"

Full official results below:
Boys 1600 Meter Run AA
  State Meet: @ 4:17.54  1993        Mikey Cox, Athens                         
    Name                    Year School                  Finals  Points
  1 Hayes, Austin             12 Webster Co.            4:20.11   10   
  2 Reed, Jackson             11 Nicholas Co.           4:23.90    8   
  3 Frailey, Ian              12 Bridgeport             4:25.92    6   
  4 Chapman, Matt             10 Berkeley Sp.           4:29.85    4   
  5 Deem, Hunter              12 Ritchie Co.            4:30.35    2   
  6 Shetler, Steven           10 Berkeley Sp.           4:32.59    1   
  7 Lacaria, Jimmy            11 Bridgeport             4:35.72  
  8 Price, Brady              11 Berkeley Sp.           4:39.74  
  9 Ellis, Mark               10 East Fairmont          4:41.64  
 10 Gorby, Tanner             12 Oak Glen               4:43.23  
 11 Saymansky, Aaron          11 Fairmont Senior        4:45.66  
 12 Cochran, Justin           11 Westside               4:50.01  
 13 Adkins, Mason             12 Wayne                  4:54.29  
 14 Baldwin, Daniel           10 PikeView               5:07.47  
 15 Tanner, David             10 Clay Co.               5:13.88  
 16 Wilson, Adam              10 Independence           5:21.80  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Threat of State Government Shutdown Increases

The West Virginia Legislature has one mandatory duty each year, and that is to pass a state budget (which by law must be a balanced budget).  Everything else the Legislature does is optional.

During its regular 60 day session, the Republican controlled Legislature failed to submit and/or pass a state budget.  Now the Legislature has been called back into special session to pass a budget.

At a cost of at least $35,000.00 per day in special session, the Legislature has already squandered seven days without passing a budget.  And based on a vote today to defeat an increase in the tobacco tax, the likelihood of passing a budget anytime soon diminishes and the likelihood of a state government shutdown on July 1 increases.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin proposed filling the $270 million budget shortfall with a combination of tax increases, budget cuts, and a small dip into the State's rainy day fund.  The only realistic tax increase that might be passed was a 45 cent increase in the tobacco tax (which was estimated to raise about $70 million annually).

The Senate narrowly passed the Governor's tobacco tax increase with all but one Republican actually supporting the tax increase and all but one Democrat opposing it.  Today, the House defeated the tobacco tax 44 votes for and 55 votes against.  All but one Democrat opposed the tax along with about 20 Republicans.  The 44 favorable votes came from all Republicans except for one Democrat supporting it.

If people think Congress in Washington, D.C. is in gridlock, they need to take a close look at the West Virginia Legislature.  Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the State Senate and a super majority in the State House, have failed to pass or even propose a budget during the regular session and now in this costly special session. 

Republicans have a majority but cannot get their members to agree because of the far right, Tea Party wing who will not go along with any tax increases even to the point of shutting down state government.

Across the aisle, Democrats are holding out for larger tax increases than what Democratic Governor Tomblin proposed for the special session (and that is why they voted against the 45 cent tobacco tax increase).

So, voters need to ask these questions of the Legislature:

Republicans, you have a majority and can pass a budget if you get your members together; why are you unable to do so?

Democrats, you want higher taxes than even your own party leader the Governor proposes; how do you think that will play out this Fall?

While both parties continue to point fingers at each other, no budget is being passed and the threat of a state government shutdown on July 1 increases every day the Legislature burns over $35,000.00 per day squabbling.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sex Offender's Appeal Denied

In a unanimous opinion issued on Monday, May 23, 2016, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the decision of Judge Jack Alsop that convicted sex offender Gary R. Butler was not entitled to a reduction of his sentence.

According to the opinion, "In January of 2014, petitioner [Gary R. Butler] was arrested for viewing child pornography on a computer located at the Webster County public library. He was later indicted on seventeen counts of possession of material depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and one count of a prohibited person in possession of a firearm."  The opinion further states that "in May of 2014, pursuant to the plea agreement, petitioner pled guilty to three counts of possession of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In September of 2014, following his guilty plea, the circuit court sentenced petitioner to a term of incarceration of two years for the each of the three counts to which petitioner pled guilty, to be served consecutively, followed by thirty years of supervised release."

Butler then asked Judge Alsop to reduce his sentence, alleging he was an “adequate candidate” for probation and outpatient sex offender counseling, and that because of his medical condition that home confinement would save the taxpayers the expense of his medical treatment.  Judge Alsop denied the reduction in sentence noting that Butler, prior to his Webster County crimes, was convicted in Maryland on three felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

By order dated April 1, 2015, Judge Alsop reasoned that public safety concerns outweighed concerns about the cost of petitioner’s incarceration and medical treatment, and denied Butler's request to reduce his sentence.

The high court ruled that "the circuit court clearly considered petitioner’s extenuating factors and determined that petitioner was previously convicted of child sexual offenses, placed on probation, completed sex offender treatment, and re-offended. The circuit court soundly concluded that its central concern was the public’s safety and determined that the parole board was “better suited to determine [petitioner’s] suitability for release.” Given the facts of the case, we find that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioner’s motion for a reduction of sentence.

Click Here for Full Text of Court's Opinion

Drug Defendant's Appeal Denied

Mary Ann Hamrick
On Monday, May 23, 2016, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals denied Mary Ann Hamrick's appeal of her sentence on three drug related offenses.

In early 2015, Hamrick pled guilty to one count of  of possession of methamphetamine precursors and two counts of conspiracy.  In May, 2015, Judge Jack Alsop sentenced her to a combined sentence of a minimum of four years and a maximum of 20 years.  Hamrick appealed that sentence.

In a very short opinion, the high court stated that if a Judge sentences a person within the allowable sentencing guidelines, that sentence will not be disturbed on appeal unless it was based on impermissible factors.  Hamrick alleged that she had a limited criminal background which did not justify the sentence handed down by Judge Alsop.

The high court ruled that Hamrick "was sentenced within the applicable statutory guidelines and her sentence is not reviewable on appeal.  This is especially true in light of the fact that petitioner does not allege that the circuit court based its sentence on any impermissible factor," the Court concluded.

Click Here for Full Text of Court's Opinion

Sunday, May 22, 2016

WV Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Former Cowen Mayor

In a unanimous decision handed down on May 20, 2016, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that former Cowen Mayor Junior Cobb is entitled to be reimbursed by the Town of Cowen for taxes paid by Cobb personally for employment taxes owed by the Town on its employees.

In January, 2014, Cobb sued the Town for reimbursement of payroll and withholding taxes he personally paid to the IRS on behalf of the Town.  It was undisputed that both Cobb and the Town failed to see that those taxes were paid.  A Magistrate dismissed the case and Cobb appealed to the Circuit Court.

In a trial before Circuit Court Judge Jack Alsop in March, 2015, it was determined that both Cobb and the Town Council knew that the required taxes were not being paid.  The IRS held Cobb personally responsible and he then personally paid over $5,000.00 of his own money to the IRS on the Town's behalf. 

Judge Alsop ruled that Cobb was entitled to be reimbursed by the Town for $1,070.43 of the $5,000.00 paid by Cobb.  Judge Alsop found that the IRS only applied $1,070.43 to the delinquent taxes, and that the balance was penalties and interest.  The Judge further ruled that because both the Town and Cobb knew the taxes were not being paid, Cobb was not entitled to be reimbursed for the penalties and interests as he was equally at fault for the non-payment of the taxes.  Judge Alsop ultimately ruled that the Town would be unjustly enriched in the amount of $1,070.43 and that Cobb should be reimbursed that sum.

The Town appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court could find no errors in Judge Alsop's reasoning or in his calculations of the reimbursement amount.  In its failed appeal, the Town was represented by Dan Hardway.  Dara Acord and Howard Blyler represented Cobb.

Click Here for Full Opinion of the Supreme Court

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day 2 State Track Meet Results for Webster Athletes

Austin Hayes with Coach Steven Nutter shortly after Austin
received his first place medal for winning the 1600 meter run.
As reported below on this blog, the big news of the second day of the state track and field finals for the Highlander track athletes was the first place performance by senior Austin Hayes.

Hayes not only won the Class AA 1600 meter run, but his time of 4:20.11 was the fastest time turned in by any competitor in the other 1600 meter Class A and AAA races, making Hayes a true statewide champion.

About four hours after his win in the 1600, a tired Hayes competed in the 800 meter run, but placed a distant 10th out of the 16 competitors.  Shortly before Austin's 800 meter race, Courtney Treadway ran in the girls' 800 meter run, placing 11th out of the 16 runners.

Earlier in the morning, senior Ben Cochran finished 8th in the high jump, with a jump of five feet, eight inches.

Webster track coach Steven Nutter says he is still on "cloud nine" and is extremely proud of the efforts all of the Webster track athletes put forth this year and at the state finals.