Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

YesterdayDecember 1, 2023

Former Southern Regional Jail officers charged in inmates death

On February 28, 2022, 37-year-old Quantez Burks was brought to the Southern Regional Jail near Beckley on a charge of wanton endangerment. The following day, he was dead. A private autopsy determined Burks died of a heart attack after sustaining a severe beating. The story from correctional officers at the jail was that the injuries

ThursdayNovember 30, 2023

PAC attacks Jim Justice

The Club for Growth political action committee has kicked off its effort to try to help Representative Alex Mooney catch up to Governor Jim Justice in the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. The conservative, pro-business PAC is spending $1.2 million to air an advertisement on TV and digital media called “Proof.”  The

WednesdayNovember 29, 2023

The ‘dirty’ job to green job myth

The number of coal mining jobs continues to decline. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, nationally there were about 90,000 coal miners in 2012, but that number has fallen to below 50,000 over the last decade. The number of miners in West Virginia has fallen from 23,000 to fewer than 12,000 during the same period.

TuesdayNovember 28, 2023

New weight loss drugs are promising, and expensive

West Virginia has a weight problem. Forty-one percent of state residents are clinically obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30.  (18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal.) And West Virginians are not alone. The national obesity rate has increased 37 percent since 2004, while the youth obesity rate

MondayNovember 27, 2023

Neal Brown earns his keep

The biggest question going into the WVU football season was whether head coach Neal Brown would be able to keep his job. His record through four years was below .500 (22-25) and three of his four seasons ended with losing records. Yet there was this consistent desire by the University’s Director of Athletics to find

WednesdayNovember 22, 2023

JFK: May 29, 1917-November 22, 1963

  For West Virginians old enough to remember, today is a tragic anniversary. It was on this day, November 22, 1963, that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Kennedy is more closely associated with West Virginia than any other President because of his famous 1960 campaign here. The young Senator from Massachusetts with

TuesdayNovember 21, 2023

We are losing an important voice in our communities

The pace at which community newspapers are going out of business is increasing. Axios reports, “The decline of local newspapers accelerated so rapidly in 2023 that analysts now believe the U.S. will have lost one-third of the newspapers it had as of 2005 by the end of next year—rather than 2025 as originally predicted.” Axios

MondayNovember 20, 2023

The Great Middle will be difficult to corral

Joe Manchin’s plans to travel the country to see if he can tap into the great middle of America that is fed up with the extreme politics of both parties will be an interesting exercise. Polls indicate there is a large portion of Americans who think, as Manchin does, that they no longer fit in

FridayNovember 17, 2023

Thank you, Coach Nehlen

West Virginia University is honoring former head football coach Don Nehlen this weekend. There is a reception for him tonight and tomorrow his name will be placed along with other Mountaineer greats on the Diversified Energy Terrace. This is an appropriate honor for the individual who, more than anyone, is the patriarch of the modern

ThursdayNovember 16, 2023

Another Warner prepares to run for statewide office

The contest for the Republican nomination for West Virginia Secretary of State is getting even more crowded, and that is because a Warner is getting into the race. No, not Mac Warner. The current two-term Secretary of State is not running for re-election. Instead, he is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. This candidate

WednesdayNovember 15, 2023

Justice’s enviable poll numbers

Another poll, and another indication that Republican Governor Jim Justice is the dominant frontrunner in the race with Representative Alex Mooney for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat. That seat comes open in 2024 now that Senator Joe Manchin has announced he is not running for re-election. This independent poll of likely West

TuesdayNovember 14, 2023

Jefferson County prosecutor files to remove absent commissioners from office

Jefferson County Commission business has been at a standstill for the last two months because two commissioners—Tricia Jackson and Jennifer Krouse—refuse to go to the meetings. Their absences mean the remaining two commissioners—Steve Stolipher and Jane Tabb—cannot conduct meetings because they lack a quorum. The issue is a vacancy on the commission and President Stolipher’s

MondayNovember 13, 2023

Joe Manchin’s quest

Joe Manchin is looking for something. The Democratic Senator from West Virginia said he is going to travel around the country in search of the Great Middle, which he says is missing from divisive and tribal Washington politics. “I know our country isn’t nearly as divided as Washington wants you to believe,” he said last

ThursdayNovember 9, 2023

Eight quick takes on Joe Manchin’s announcement

Eight quick takes on U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s announcement that he is not running for re-election: Why isn’t he running for re-election?  Manchin’s nature is to try to work together to achieve goals and he is famously fed up with the increasingly polarized politics in Washington. He believes the country is being pulled apart by

WV First Foundation begins the long, hard struggle to combat the state’s opioid crisis

The members of the West Virginia First Foundation gathered for the first time this week in Charleston, and newly elected chairman Matt Harvey said it was evident the board has serious work ahead. Harvey, who serves as prosecuting attorney for Jefferson County, said on Talkline this week that ensuring hundreds of millions of dollars in

WednesdayNovember 8, 2023

Bills keep piling up for Justice family businesses

The Gazette-Mail’s Mike Tony reported this week that BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company has asked a federal court to fine one of Governor Jim Justice’s coal companies $2,500 a day for failing to comply with a court order to pay a one-half million dollar debt. Just a few days earlier, the newspaper reported that a workers’

TuesdayNovember 7, 2023

Biden’s cereal problem

President Biden has two significant challenges heading into his 2024 re-election campaign—his age and the price of cereal. Let me explain his cereal problem first. Author and academic William Galston wrote about it in the Wall Street Journal last month under the headline, “$8.99 Cereal Could Rock the Globe.” Galston quoted an Illinois house cleaner

MondayNovember 6, 2023

Mayors are on the front lines

Last week, I attended the Southern Municipal Conference at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling. The meeting, which was put on by the West Virginia Municipal League, brought together mayors and city officials from a half dozen southern states. I spent Wednesday evening and part of the next day with them, listening and learning about the challenges

WednesdayNovember 1, 2023

Federal judge blasts WV corrections officials for destroying, losing evidence

Judicial orders are often a dry read—technical and sprinkled with references to relevant court cases. Naturally, they are meaningful to the lawyers involved, but to a layperson, me included, court rulings are not exactly the stuff of a John Grisham novel. That is why the order this week by U.S. Magistrate Omar Aboulhosn stands apart.

TuesdayOctober 31, 2023

Two Jefferson County commissioners need to show up for work

The Jefferson County Commission is scheduled to meet Thursday morning at 9:30. However, unless something changes between now and then, there won’t be enough commissioners for a quorum. There is a vacancy on the five-member commission and a deep division among the remaining four over who should be appointed to fill the seat. Commission President