CHARLES TOWN — The deaths of three thoroughbreds at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has caught the attention of an animal protection group.
The horses died within a 10-day span, including back-to-back nights last week, news sources reported. According to Equibase, Venetian Drive and Don’tmesswithbull were both fatally injured. Best Shot “chased the pace inside and raced at the rail through the turn then showed no response to riders’ urging.’’ All three horses were euthanized.
“The continued rampant horse deaths at Charles Town are inhumane and unconscionable, and 2021 looks to be no different than years past,’’ Marty Irby, the executive director at Animal Wellness Action in Washington, D.C., said. “As veterinarians continue to inject horses with performance-enhancing cocktails, the body count continues to climb at one of the most dangerous tracks in America.’’
Erich Zimny, vice president of racing operations for Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, said the track takes safety of the horses seriously.
“Over the past few years, our rate of fatal breakdowns for racing has improved each year, and the fatality rate we saw in 2020 would have been lower than the annual national average six of the past 10 years there’s been a national number reported,’’ Zimny said.”`That doesn’t happen if we don’t take promoting a safe environment seriously.’’
The track is three-quarters of a mile long and holds more than 200 races every year.
Irby thinks the Dec. 27 passage of the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act could help protect horses. It bans the use of drugs on horses on race days and creates a national standard for drug-testing and enforcement, which is to be overseen by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The act must go into effect by July 1, 2022, at the latest.
president to head state development
CHARLESTON — A former West Virginia Senate president who was defeated in the Republican primary last year will become the state economic development director, Gov. Jim Justice said last week.
Justice said Carmichael “can be a terrific asset’’ as the head of the state Development Office.
Justice said that the state must work constantly on economic development and diversification and expanding tourism.
Carmichael, a Jackson County Republican, lost in the June Senate primary to elementary school teacher Amy Nichole Grady, who went on to win the general election.
State seeks partners for summer child
CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Education is looking for organizations to help feed children and provide supervised activities during the summer.
County boards of education, local government agencies and other nonprofit groups can participate in the federal Summer Food Service Program. It ensures that children in lower-income areas continue to receive free meals.
The department said 785 sites provided summer meals to kids last year.
“Supporting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things you can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer,’’ said state schools Superintendent Clayton Burch.
This year’s sites will be announced in June. Organizations interested in participating can contact the state Office of Child Nutrition at 304-558-3396.
Teen joins inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts
MORGANTOWN — A West Virginia teenager has joined the nation’s inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts.
Frannie Kitzmiller of Morgantown earned the distinction last week, the Morgantown Area Council of the Boys Scouts of America said in a news release.
The statement said Kitzmiller is West Virginia’s first female Eagle Scout and among hundreds nationwide. Girls were allowed to join the Boys Scouts of America in 2019.
Eagle Scout is the program’s highest rank. To earn the title, an individual must earn at least 21 merit badges, take on leadership roles within their troop and their community, and complete a large community service project.
Kitzmiller’s brother is also an Eagle Scout.
“Earning the rank of Eagle Scout takes hard work and perseverance, and we are honored to recognize Frannie for this significant accomplishment,’’ said Scott Hanson, the Mountaineer Area Council’s Scout executive and CEO.
WVU to allow
more fans at men’s
MORGANTOWN — West Virginia will allow more spectators to attend the men’s basketball game against Oklahoma on Feb. 13.
The West Virginia athletic department said that attendance will be boosted to 2,800 fans, or 20% of the arena’s capacity, for the game between the 17th-ranked Mountaineers and ninth-ranked Sooners.
Attendance was limited to 1,000 fans for the Jan. 30 Florida game and will be boosted to 1,500 for Saturday’s game against No. 23 Kansas.
No public sale of tickets will be held for men’s basketball games. Priority will be given to families and guests of the players and coaching staffs, along with a limited number of West Virginia students and fans.
Parking is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All spectators must wear face coverings inside the WVU Coliseum, except when eating and drinking.