www.wvgazettemail.com http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2017, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: May 23, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT01/305239967 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT01/305239967 Tue, 23 May 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Bika, Orbit Ray 5 p.m., Rainelle United Methodist Church, Rainelle.

Byus, Terry 11 a.m., Deal Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Dean, Daniel 11 a.m., Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, South Charleston.

Durst, Nancy 4 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Evans.

Ellis, Delano, Jr. 11 a.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Ewing, Rosalie Noon, Wilson

Goins, Tom 1 p.m., Maryetta United Baptist Church, Verdunville.

Meade, Dawnevyn 11 a.m., Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Nester, Bobby Lee 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Norman, Warren 2 p.m., Arnet Cemetery, Tipton.

Price, Charles 10 a.m., Ellyson Mortuary Inc., Glenville.

Roberts, Yolanda 2 p.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.

Swiney, Rebecca 11 a.m., Matics Funeral Home Inc., Clendenin.

Thomas, Norma Noon, White Funeral Home, Summersville.

Dennis F. Adkins http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT/305239988 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT/305239988 Tue, 23 May 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Dennis F. Adkins, 67, of Cedar Grove, died Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Hubbard Hospice House, Charleston.

Born May 17, 1950, in Riverside, he was the son of the late Lila Adkins Hudnall and step-father, William Hudnall. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Dennis F. Adkins II.

Dennis is survived by his two sons, William (Patty) Adkins and Arthur "Ed" Adkins (Nikki), all of Cedar Grove. He is also survived by the light of his life, his grandson, Dennis Gage Adkins, and his former wife and soulmate, Sandra Bass Adkins.

Per his wishes, he will be cremated and his ashes placed in the family plot at Holly Grove. You may share memories of Dennis with the family at AffordableCremationsofWV.com.

The family would like to thank the Cedar Grove and Kanawha County Ambulance Services, Amedisys and the staff of Hubbard Hospice House for all they have done for Dennis.

Cremation services are being provided by Affordable Cremations of WV, 413 D Street, South Charleston.

George Adkins http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT/305239996 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT/305239996 Tue, 23 May 2017 00:01:00 -0400 George Edgar (Sonny) Adkins, 85, of Rainelle, passed away Friday, May 19, 2017, in the Meadow Garden Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Rainelle.

Born February 18, 1932, in Rainelle, he was the son of the late Edgar LaFayette and Hazel Pearl Frounfelker Adkins.

George (Sonny) was a 1950 graduate of Rainelle High School. He began work at Imperial Smokeless Coal Co., Westmoreland, at the preparation plant in Levisay, August 7, 1951. He took early retirement at age 55 after 33 years of employment. During this time, he was called to serve three years in the army during the Korean War. George attended the army's foreign language school in Monterey, Calif., to learn to be an interrogator of Chinese prisoners. In his retirement, he enjoyed working on the farm and raising beef cattle and harvesting hay. Later, he and Carla raised miniature horses. He especially loved to harness one of the horses to a cart and take children and adults for rides or let them hold the reins and drive. This was a special time for the students of Rainelle Christian Academy when they would visit the farm.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his daughter, Marsha Catherine Adkins Mead; one sister, Katherine Jean Adkins Griffis; a step-son, Jeffrey Gilkeson; and a step-grandson, Steven Bailey.

Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Carla Thornton Adkins; two sons, Eddie Adkins (Jeff) of Washington, D.C., and Mark Adkins (Marsha) of Fayetteville; their mother, Doris Groves of Rainelle; one step-son, Larry Gilkeson (Kathy) of Mineral Wells; one step-daughter Linda Gilkeson Bailey (Buzz) of Beverly; five grandchildren, Rachel Archer Collins (Chris), Matthew Archer (Meredith), Jeannie Adkins, Laura Mead Aylor (Josh) and Zach Adkins; seven great-grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; and eight step-great-grandchildren.

The body was cremated and there will be no service at this time.

Online condolences at www.smathersfuneralchapelinc.com.

Arrangements by Smathers Funeral Chapel, Inc., Rainelle.

Donna Andrade http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT/305239972 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT/305239972 Tue, 23 May 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Donna June Andrade, 63, of Rixeyville, Va., passed away May 20, 2017. Service will be held 1 p.m., Thursday, May 25, at Greene-Robertson Funeral Home, Sutton, W.Va. Friends may call one hour before the service at the funeral home.

Orbit Ray Bika http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT/305239995 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/OBIT/305239995 Tue, 23 May 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Orbit Ray Bika, 65, of Rainelle, passed away Friday, May 19, 2017. A memorial service will be 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 23, in the Rainelle United Methodist Church. Arrangements by Smathers Funeral Chapel, Inc., Rainelle.

WV groups hope study leads to end of mountaintop removal http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ01/170529836 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ01/170529836 Tue, 23 May 2017 17:33:48 -0400 Ken Ward Jr. By Ken Ward Jr. LOGAN - West Virginia environmental groups on Tuesday urged a National Academy of Sciences panel to look carefully at the public health impacts of mountaintop removal, saying they hoped more scrutiny of the issue will ultimately lead to a ban on the mining practice.

"We have a serious health problem here," said Vernon Haltom, executive director of the group Coal River Mountain Watch. "I hope we are going to end this process, not just kick it down the road."

Haltom was among several panels of citizen group representatives, industry officials and state regulators who spoke to and took questions from the National Academy committee that is investigating a series of previously published studies that revealed coalfield residents living near mountaintop removal operations face increased risks of a variety of illnesses and premature death.

Tuesday's meeting is part of an effort by an 11-member committee from various fields - ranging from epidemiologists to mining engineers and medical experts to regulatory decision-makers - to examine existing studies, identify research gaps and look for "new approaches to safeguard the health of residents living near these types of coal-mining operations," according to the project's study plan.

The national scientific review follows a series of more than two-dozen peer-reviewed papers - mostly led by former West Virginia University researcher Michael Hendryx - that raised serious questions about increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and premature death among coalfield residents living near large-scale surface coal-mining operations.

The effort to examine mountaintop removal's public health effects comes after then-West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman surprised citizen groups in March 2015 - on the eve of a protest planned at his agency's headquarters - by publicly saying that the health studies needed to be more closely examined by regulators, and the commitment less than a week later by Huffman and state Public Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta for a review of the issue. After Huffman and Gupta asked the U.S. Department of Interior for help on the issue, Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement provided $1 million to fund the National Academy of Sciences study.

The project was announced in August 2016 and funding was in place before the Trump administration - which has promised to roll back regulations on the coal industry - took office.

West Virginia political and governmental leaders have mostly either ignored the growing body of science on mountaintop removal's health effects or tried to belittle the work. Coal industry officials have likewise attacked the studies, funding a large effort to discredit the work.

Jason Bostic, a vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, stayed mostly away from discussion of the health studies when he addressed the National Academy panel on Tuesday. Instead, Bostic explained that the huge drop in state coal production over the last few years is a major cause of the West Virginia state government budget crisis that panel members may have read about in the local papers during their visit to the coalfields.

"The coal industry is the only economic force of any consequence in these communities," Bostic said. "And the coal industry is the broad-shouldered Atlas of the state's economy."

Bostic did say that he believes public health problems in the region are more complicated than mining opponents are portraying them, and that the downturn in the local coal economy certainly doesn't help provide basic health services to mining communities. But, he said, surface mining has taken a particularly hard hit and "large-scale mountaintop removal operations ... are a thing of the past."

In mountaintop removal, entire ridges are blasted apart with explosives, to uncover valuable coal seams underneath. Leftover rock and dirt is shoved into nearby valleys, burying streams. Scientists have increasing warned that the practice has damaged rich Appalachian forests, buried hundreds of miles of streams, and severely damaged downstream water quality.

Cindy Rank, mining chairwoman for the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, told the National Academy panel that an earlier study of mountaintop removal's environmental effects - conducted as a result of a citizen group lawsuit and published in the mid-2000s. - should have provided an early warning of the human health effects that more recent research has found.

"It should have been a red flag," Rank said. ":These bugs are dying, the fish are deformed, is anything happening to the people," Rank said.

A group of DEP officials who spoke at Tuesday's meeting had few clear answers for detailed questions from the National Academy panel. When panelists would ask what sorts of pollutants the DEP conducted sampling for near mining sites, agency officials would respond that it depended on which mining sites the panel's scientists were specifically asking about. DEP officials provided an overview of the basic laws the agency enforces, but repeatedly said they would need a clearer explanation of what the scientific panel was trying to find out before it could give more specifics about monitoring, citizen complaints, or enforcement efforts.

Russ Hunter, a lawyer with DEP's Division of Mining and Reclamation, told the panel that agency officials couldn't readily provide the National Academy with data about how many complaints the state had received about things like blasting from coal mines. Hunter also said that DEP hasn't really performed any sort of in-depth examination of how strip mining affects public health of nearby communities.

"There is no quantification of any type of health impacts or speculation as to what those may be," Hunter said.

Tim Carroll of DEP's Division of Air Quality explained that the agency has a statewide network of 21 or 22 air-monitoring stations, but only when pressed did Carroll explain that those stations monitor only certain pollutants, and not necessarily the same ones that might be a concern for residents near strip mining operations.

Eventually, Carroll was specifically asked for information about the locations of those monitoring stations, relative to strip mine sites. He said that DEP previously had a station in Beckley, but closed it in 2015. Asked how close that location was to a strip mine operation, Carroll said, "I don't know."

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kward@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1702 or follow @kenwardjr on Twitter.

On last day for Kanawha students, 'summer slide' a concern http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0114/170529837 GZ0114 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0114/170529837 Tue, 23 May 2017 17:22:11 -0400 Kayla Asbury By Kayla Asbury Becky Ryder bids her students goodbye on Wednesday, the last day of school for most Kanawha County students. When they return after summer vacation, Ryder knows, she could spend six weeks trying to get them back to the reading level they were at the beginning of the summer.

The "summer slide," a term coined by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, occurs when students lose up to two months of mathematical and reading skills over the course of the summer.

"You see them leaving and you think 'oh they're doing so well,'" said Ryder, a Title I teacher at George C. Weimer Elementary School in St. Albans. "You see them work so hard and make such gains during the school year. Then they don't read during the summer and they come back and you can tell they're behind where they were when they left."

Mary Kay Bond, the executive director of Read Aloud West Virginia, compares reading to running. If runners stopped training for two or three months, they would fall behind, Bond said. Similarly, students lose reading skills when they stop practicing for the summer.

"The sad part about that is teachers have to spend valuable class time just working to bring them up to the point that they left school the previous year," Bond said.

Most students don't receive formal education in the summer. So, Bond said, it's up to family members to help their children maintain or improve their reading skills.

Parents can encourage their kids to read by taking them to the library, enrolling them in summer reading programs and reading aloud to them, Bond said.

"We make time to go to baseball games and we make time to go to the pool with our kids," Bond said. "We can make time to go to the library."

But the best way to encourage children to read is to make it fun and appeal to their interests, Bond said.

The sentiment was echoed by Ryder, who said reading with games and goals will make it more fun and manageable for family members.

"If they don't have some kind of plan, it's not going to happen," Ryder said.

Parents and other adults can show children different people to read to and places to read. Reading can be made into a game by using different checklists or bingo cards that can be found on Pinterest, Ryder said.

"It's going to be in the hands of the parents a lot because that's who they're with all summer," Ryder said.

She said teachers at her school provide books to students monthly, and are hosting two neighborhood events to encourage reading this summer.

"One of my main goals has been getting books in their hands," Ryder said. "That's what we're trying to do."

Reach Kayla Asbury at kayla.asbury@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5100 or follow @kasbury_ on Twitter.

Boil-water advisories: May 24, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0112/170529839 GZ0112 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0112/170529839 Tue, 23 May 2017 16:55:36 -0400 n West Virginia American Water has issued a boil-water advisory for customers in the 1400 block of 11th Avenue in Huntington. The advisory follows a water main break.

n West Virginia American Water has issued a boil-water advisory for customers on Woodcliff Road in Charleston. The advisory follows a water main break.

n West Virginia American Water has issued a boil-water advisory for customers on 95th Street in Marmet. The advisory follows a water main break.

n West Virginia American Water has issued a boil-water advisory for customers on Parkway Drive in Dunbar. The advisory follows a water main break.

n The Hartford Water Department has issued a boil-water advisory for the entire town water customers. The advisory follows a pump failure.

Customers in these areas are urged to boil their water for at least one full minute prior to use until further notice.

n West Virginia American Water has lifted the boil-water advisory for the Civil Air Building at Yeager Airport.

n West Virginia American Water has lifted the boil-water advisory for 54th Street, Noyes Avenue and Staunton Avenue in Kanawha City.

n Beckley Water Company has lifted the boil-water advisory for Alvin Street in Beckley.

Prior to vote, public weighs in on Shawnee Multi-Sports Complex http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ01/170529840 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ01/170529840 Tue, 23 May 2017 16:53:50 -0400 By Caitlin Coyne Staff writer By By Caitlin Coyne Staff writer The final public hearing for the proposed Shawnee Multi-Sports Complex in Institute brought dozens of Kanawha County citizens out to share ideas, suggestions and air concerns before the County Commission's vote tonight.

Several members of recreational sports organizations showed up to tell commissioners how, specifically, this project could help their athletes and programs flourish in a sometimes troubled area.

"I took a bit of a risk coming to Charleston [to start Football Factory], but I saw a lot of potential and it's paid off for me," said Adam Arthur, owner of Football Factory and director of the Charleston Football Club. "Charleston is trying to grow, develop and catch up to big cities. I'm excited what [Shawnee Multi-Sports Complex] could bring for this community."

Several coaches, representatives, directors and presidents from various soccer leagues in the Kanawha County area spoke of their experiences attending and hosting tournaments across the state and nation, and all were vocal about the opportunities this complex would provide to the area.

The complex would feature four collegiate-sized turf baseball/softball fields, six collegiate-sized turf soccer/lacrosse fields, several grass practice fields, a community building, new playgrounds with shelters and parking lots.

It would be run under an executive director, employed by the Kanawha County Commission, and a board to oversee operations, County Commissioner Ben Salango said.

It would cost approximately $15.2 million to construct.

Based on a preliminary feasibility survey, Salango said the complex would bring in $859,231 annually, and cost $391,900 to operate. These numbers do not account for the economic impact on the surrounding community (hotels, restaurants, etc), which case studies from other areas have suggested could be in the millions.

The vote this evening will occur before the commission sees finalized economic feasibility numbers for the facility, however Salango said they will not break ground on the complex before seeing these and results on groundwater contamination.

By voting today, Salango and County Commission President Kent Carper plan - if the complex is approved - to put in a bid to host a 250-300 team soccer tournament in 2019. Bids for the tournament - which has been held in Barboursville the last two years - are due June 30.

Some community members also brought new ideas to the table for the complex, like Leah Barker, 49, of Dunbar, who suggested using the community center part of the complex to house educational and art-based classes for both the youth and seniors in the area.

"We also need to look at things to help the community other than sports," Barker, who said her child does not participate in sports, said. "We have a crime and drug problem in Dunbar ... if we do this right we may be able to have an affect on those numbers."

Barker specifically wanted to utilize resources from West Virginia State University, which lies right next to the proposed area for Shawnee Multi-Sports Complex, to offer tutoring, art and educational resources for children who may not be inclined to play soccer or baseball. Salango and Carper both seemed open to Barker's suggestions.

While many spoke in favor of this complex, several expressed concerns, including Donna Willis, who has lived in Institute for 62 years. Willis' concerns mostly focused on the safety of the area, including the drug and crime incidents from the surrounding community and neighborhoods.

According to documents provided by the Kanawha County Sheriff's office, there have only been 27 emergency phone calls made at Shawnee Park in the last five years, and 76 at the neighboring State campus.

No information was provided on the greater Institute area.

Willis' other worry had to do with the potential of a chemical spill from the Dow Chemical Plant, which sits right next to Shawnee Park.

At an open house for the complex last week, Metro 911 said it had an alert system in place that would notify all people with Sprint, Verizon, AT&T or Ntelos cell phone carriers of an emergency. Also, all landlines would be targeted. The company, however, did not share any evacuation plans, saying that would be local law enforcement's priority.

Dow Chemical is currently facing a lawsuit from WVSU for allegedly contaminating the groundwater underneath the university. Dow Chemical has agreed to pay for groundwater testing at the proposed site for the Shawnee Multi-Sports Complex, but no specifics have been released pertaining to the tests.

Salango said, to his knowledge, the tests have not started yet.

While they are still awaiting the finalized results for the feasibility study and results for the groundwater contamination tests, the county commission will vote on the Shawnee Multi-Sports Complex at its meeting tonight at 5 p.m.

Taste-of-ALL again giving chefs chance to savor sweet taste of victory http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0502/170529842 GZ0502 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0502/170529842 Tue, 23 May 2017 16:33:00 -0400 Jennifer Gardner By Jennifer Gardner There are two schools of thought when it comes to culinary events that involve more than one chef. The first is a nod to the notion that "everyone's a winner." The second one, though, wonders, "What's cooking without a little competition?"

It's that second concept - apparently encouraged by several participating restaurants, as well as members of the public - that has prompted organizers of this year's Taste-of-ALL to bring back the awards the contest has long been known for.

"Some of them like the bragging rights, but I think a lot of them just like the competition," Emily Wall, director of Taste-of-ALL said. "They trash talk for fun."

Twenty restaurants and food vendors - at least a few of them talking a little good-spirited trash - will line Kanawha Boulevard in front of the Four Points by Sheraton hotel from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday to serve up a taste of what their chefs have to offer.

"We really want to do it as an economic boost," Wall said. "Hopefully, we'll get someone to try something and then they'll go to the restaurant."

Taste-of-ALL has been a longstanding tradition in Charleston for more than 30 years, but this will be its second year at the Four Points by Sheraton. The event was previously hosted in the Civic Center.

Brick Salt Bar+Kitchen sous chef Phillip Bricker is one who truly missed the competition last year.

It "gets a lot more of the chefs revved up," Bricker said. "We're ready to take home the trophy."

He has participated in several past Taste-of-ALL events and was in charge of creating the menu for his restaurant this year.

"We're going to be serving what's called the chef's specialty sandwich," Bricker explained. "It's a slow-roasted beef brisket on sourdough. Then, we caramelize some balsamic marinated onions and we serve it with some brie cheese."

Brick Salt will also serve samples of its Barbecue Shrimp Grits, and for dessert, Bricker has chosen to serve his ricotta cheesecake with strawberry ginger jam and waffle bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce.

Brick Salt will also have a peach and wildflower honey agave fresca to taste.

Each recipe is original and almost all ingredients are collected locally, Bricker noted.

For the People's Choice Award, vendors will have the opportunity to compete in four areas: appetizer, entree, beverage and dessert.

The public will receive a voting card with their Taste-of-ALL menu when they purchase their ticket, and the votes will be tallied by an outside group to ensure fairness.

Additionally, chefs will compete for the Delmer Robinson Food Critic award, which will be judged by Gazette-Mail food columnist Steven "The Food Guy" Keith and former columnist Judy Grigoraci.

Each People's Choice winner will receive a glass plate, and the Food Critics' Award winner will receive a crystal plate.

While the competition may add to the fun of the event, FestivALL Director Brittany Javins said they've tried not to make it the main focus.

"It's really a chance to get a taste of our area all in one spot," Javins said. "It's just fun to work together."

The event is presented by Mardi Gras Casino and Resort and will take place both inside the hotel and at Haddad Riverfront Park. Guests can enjoy live music by the Dividend and Vinyl Village as they dine outside.

A free trolley will run between Taste-of-ALL and the Vandalia Gathering all day on Saturday for those interested in attending both events. The shuttle will run on a continuous loop, stopping at the corner of Virginia St. and Capitol St. and at the bus stop at the state Capitol Complex.

Target, states reach $18.5 million settlement on data breach http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ03/170529845 GZ03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ03/170529845 Tue, 23 May 2017 15:22:40 -0400 By Anne D’Innocenzio The Associated Press By By Anne D’Innocenzio The Associated Press NEW YORK - Target Corp. has reached an $18.5 million settlement over a massive data breach that occurred before Christmas in 2013, New York's attorney general announced Tuesday.

The agreement involving 47 states and the District of Columbia is the largest multistate data breach settlement to date, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office said. The settlement, which stipulates some security measures the retailer must adhere to, resolves the states' probe into the breach.

Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck said in a statement that the company has been working with state authorities for several years to address claims related to the breach.

"We're pleased to bring this issue to a resolution for everyone involved," she said.

West Virginia's share of the settlement is just over $200,000, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a news release.

Target had announced the breach on Dec. 19, 2013, saying it occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 of that year. It affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and exposed contact information for more than 60 million customers.

The breach forced Target to overhaul its security system and the company offered free credit reports for potentially affected shoppers. Target's sales, profit and stock price all suffered months after the disclosure as shoppers were nervous about their security of their credit cards. The breach also contributed to the departure of Target's then-CEO, chairman and president Gregg Steinhafel, who resigned in May 2014. CEO Brian Cornell took the helm in August 2014.

Target's data breach was the first in a series of scams that hit other retailers including SuperValu and Home Depot. It forced the retail industry, banks and card companies to increase security and sped the adoption of microchips into U.S. credit and debit cards.

An investigation by the states found that in November 2013, scammers got access to Target's server through credentials stolen from a third-party vendor. They used those credentials to take advantage of holes in Target's systems, accessing a customer service database and installing malware that was used to capture data, including full customer names, telephone numbers, email and mailing addresses, credit card numbers, expiration dates and encrypted debit PINs.

The settlement requires Target to maintain appropriate encryption policies and take other security steps, though the company has already implemented those measures. Reck said the costs of the settlement are reflected in the reserves that Target has previously disclosed.

Elijah Macon leaving WVU basketball to turn pro http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0201/170529846 GZ0201 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0201/170529846 Tue, 23 May 2017 15:03:45 -0400 Staff report By Staff report West Virginia University men's basketball player Elijah Macon will not return for his final season of eligibility and will pursue a professional career.

Macon made the announcement on his Facebook page, thanking WVU head coach Bob Huggins and assistant Erik Martin "for believing in a young 15 year old boy growing up from the Southside of Columbus, (Ohio) losing my mother and still having you guys push me to be the man I have become."

Huggins, in a statement released via WVU sports information, said he respected the decision.

"Elijah is in the process of completing classes during this summer school period that ends June 2 and will graduate with a bachelor's degree in August," Huggins said. "I respect his decision to become a professional basketball player and to go make money to support his family. He had a great four years with us, and we wish him nothing but the best."

Macon, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward from Columbus, Ohio, averaged career highs in minutes (16.0 per game), points (6.3 per game) and rebounds (4.2 per game). He started 27 of the 35 games in which he played last season. Six of his seven double-digit scoring performances and all three of his double-digit rebounding games last season came in the final 11 contests, the best being a 17-point, 12-rebound night in a double-overtime win versus Texas Tech.

Macon's departure also clears up WVU's scholarship situation. The Mountaineers signed five in the 2017 class - Brandon Knapper, Derek Culver, D'Angelo Hunter, Teddy Allen and Wesley Harris - and lost just four scholarship players to graduation - Nathan Adrian, Tarik Phillip, Brandon Watkins and Teyvon Myers. With Macon going pro, the Mountaineers are even in terms of scholarship slots.

The announcement comes on the heels of WVU's leading scorer, Jevon Carter, saying he would withdraw his name from NBA draft consideration and return to WVU next season.

Lida Shepherd: Health care cuts a vote for premature death in WV http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0405/170529848 GZ0405 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0405/170529848 Tue, 23 May 2017 14:46:44 -0400 By Lida Shepherd By By Lida Shepherd I love West Virginia, but sometimes I have to ask myself whether West Virginia and her elected leaders love me back.

And if you're a person working a minimum-wage job, a person with chronic health issues or a person struggling with drug addiction, the question is even more critical. So critical that the question could be worse: Does my state want me to die an early death?

This might sound a bit dramatic, but recent evidence that perhaps I am not paranoid can be found in a report conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, which outlines the huge gap in life expectancy between wealthy and poor counties across the country.

Disparities in life expectancy is not a new discovery, but what is most alarming about the research published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine is that life expectancy in many places in this country is declining and, therefore, the gap has widened. So that, today, if you travel from Marin County, California, to McDowell County, West Virginia, life expectancy drops 14 years.

One reason why many people in West Virginia cannot expect to live as long as people in other parts of the country is because we have elected officials who consistently vote for wealthy special interests, instead of for what is best for the health and well-being of everyday West Virginians.

Case in point was May 4, when all three of our representatives in Congress, Evan Jenkins, Alex Mooney, and David McKinley, voted for the American Health Care Act, which would slash programs that help people get health coverage while giving high-income households and corporations tax cuts.

In a state where over 170,000 people have benefited from Medicaid expansion, whose lives have literally been saved because of access to preventive care, critical health procedures or opioid addiction treatment, our congressional representatives still voted to cut Medicaid by $400 million a year over the next few years.

Putting this harmful bill in the context of the state's current budget impasse and $450 million revenue hole, we can be sure that if the Senate also passes the AHCA, the cuts to Medicaid will force our state to respond to the loss of federal funding by imposing deep cuts in services and care for seniors, children and people with disabilities.

This is also true if the Senate passes any per capita caps on Medicaid, since a cap on what the federal government will pay each state for its Medicaid enrollees would mean fewer dollars for people's access to care.

No state has more to lose than West Virginia from per capita caps on Medicaid. Talk about death panels.

This political drama is putting real people's lives at risk. And if our U.S. senators don't stand strong against these changes to our health care system - and if our leaders continue to bow down to the interests of the wealthy few at the expense of everyone else - we will continue to see inequality and health disparities growing, and people in our state dying far too young.

Lida Shepherd works with the American Friends Service Committee.

The Food Guy: Red Fire Asian Grill anything but red hot http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/DM0601/170529849 DM0601 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/DM0601/170529849 Tue, 23 May 2017 16:30:00 -0400 Steven Keith By Steven Keith Oh, Red Fire, what am I to make of you?

When I heard word that this funky new sushi-bar-meets-hibachi-grill was opening at Southridge Centre - and it was going to be owned and/or managed by the same genius responsible for my beloved Su-Tei in Kanawha City - I couldn't have been more excited.

Then I went.

While Red Fire Asian BBQ Grill may share the same ultra-hip modern vibe, it is no Su-Tei by a longshot. And I've since heard Su-Tei owner Andri Purwanto is no longer a part of Red Fire, which would explain a lot.

Over the course of several months, I popped in often. But just like Forrest Gump and his big box of chocolates, I never knew what I was going to get.

I've had really good food and some subpar offerings. I've had pretty competent and friendly service, but also some that's been severely lacking. I've had one animated hibachi chef, but most just seem to be going through the motions - and rather unenthusiastically, at that.

All in all, Red Fire has been up, down and everything in between.

It's that inconsistency that makes me worry about its future. Not that a hibachi restaurant at Southridge really needs The Food Guy's stamp of approval to succeed, because mediocre restaurants seem to thrive out there anyway.

But over time, only the strong will survive. Red Fire is not in that category right now.

Interestingly enough, though, most of the problems I've experienced there have little to do with the food, which ranges from decent to pretty good - depending on when you visit.

The Kobe Roll (which you have to ask for, a waitress told me, because it's not on the menu) is fantastic. Featuring thinly sliced kobe pepper steak rolled with asparagus and crunchy shrimp inside, scallions with a spicy sauce drizzled on top, and a shredded spicy crab salad on the side, it's easily the best thing I've had in 10 visits.

I've also heard good things about the Nagasaki Roll's blend of spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, Japanese mayo, chili sauce, sliced jalapeno, spicy mayonnaise, scallions and black tobiko with seared salmon on top.

The chicken satay skewers I had were perfectly cooked (just lacking that garlicky, peanut punch) and the hibachi dinners are fine.

Service and management issues, however, have been prevalent.

One time, there was no hostess available and I waited a good 15 minutes before a server finally came over to seat me. One time, I sat down at the bar and waited just as long for someone to come see what I wanted. (I was the only soul at the bar, too, so this wasn't a crowd issue.)

One time, we were seated at a hibachi table FOREVER - making uncomfortable conversation with the strangers around us - with no waitress, manager, hibachi chef or anyone, for that matter, acknowledging we were even there. When service finally came, it was glacially slow all night.

When I walked out that evening - some two hours later - I said, once again, "never again." And I really thought I meant it.


But then I got excited earlier this year when Red Fire announced it was opening the state's only Korean barbecue room, where you actually order and cook your own food on small grills at the center of each table.

This could be cool. This should be cool - a really neat "experience" you can't get anywhere else around town. But our first time trying it was a hot mess.

As soon as we were seated, a waitress came over wanting to take our order without explaining how the concept works. As first-timers, we had no idea what to order, how much food we would need, if we were cooking everything ourselves or only some items, if someone be on hand to guide us, and so on.

They just turned on the grill, brought us plates of raw food and handed us a bottle of oil. Finally realizing we were on our own, we drizzled a little oil on the grill, loaded it with meats and veggies - and nearly burned the place down. No kidding.

Our grill started smoking so badly that the waitress had a coughing attack and a manager rushed over to pull our charred grill-top away, replacing it with a clean one from another table.

Yet, still, there was no advice, so we really poured on the oil and started cooking again - this time with far better results.

Although the "galbi" (Korean short ribs) were tough and a bit of a letdown, the lamb chops we grilled were fantastic. The steak and salmon were nice and we enjoyed plenty of fresh grilled vegetables.

Don't get me wrong, we had a nice time laughing at our own misadventures and managed to make a fun night of it. But I think most people would've walked away pretty disappointed that the special meal they were expecting didn't come close to living up to the hype.

Based on my experiences so far, I'm not a big Red Fire fan at the moment. There are just other far-better restaurants to choose from (Su-Tei, Ichiban, even Taste of Asia maybe) if you're in the mood for some great sushi or pan-Asian fare.

I am, however, still curious about the outdoor cabanas they offer at Red Fire, which do look pretty chic. I may very well check them out - but probably just for cocktails.

IF YOU GO: Red Fire Asian BBQ & Grill is located at 2815 Mountaineer Blvd. in Charleston. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 681-265-9146 or visit www.redfireasianbbqgrill.com.

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/foodguy/. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by email at wvfoodguy@aol.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as "WV Food Guy" and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as "WVFoodGuy".

Marshall puts pair on All-C-USA baseball teams http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0202/170529850 GZ0202 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0202/170529850 Tue, 23 May 2017 14:42:32 -0400 Staff report By Staff report The Marshall baseball team put two players on the All-Conference USA baseball teams, announced Tuesday. Outfielder Sam Finfer was named to the first team, while pitcher Wade Martin was named to the second team.

A senior, Finfer leads Conference USA with 18 home runs and a .692 slugging percentage. His homer total is tied for the fifth-best in a single season in Herd history and ranks eighth in the NCAA this season. Finfer finished the season hitting .338, while holding a team-high 68 hits, 17 doubles, 51 RBI, 139 total bases and a .410 on-base percentage. A sophomore, Martin pitched a team-high 87 innings and had 77 strikeouts. He finished with a 3-4 record and a 4.24 ERA.

Marshall finished ninth in Conference USA this season with a 25-29 (12-18 C-USA) record.

Big 12 honors 12 WVU baseball players on all-conference teams http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0202/170529855 GZ0202 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0202/170529855 Tue, 23 May 2017 14:07:50 -0400 Staff report By Staff report The West Virginia University baseball team was well represented on the All-Big 12 teams announced Tuesday. A program-record 12 were honored.

Braden Zarbnisky was the Mountaineers' first-team selection, finding a spot in that group as a utility player. A pitcher and outfielder, the Marietta, Georgia, native is batting .333 on the season with 11 stolen bases in 11 attempts. On the mound, he's 5-1 with a 2.67 earned run average with 41 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings pitched.

Second-team honorees were outfielder Kyle Davis and pitchers Michael Grove and B.J. Myers. Infielders Cole Austin, Jackson Cramer, Jimmy Galusky and Kyle Gray, outfielder Darius Hill, pitcher Sam Kessler and outfielder/pitcher Brandon White all received honorable mention. Pitcher Alek Manoah was named to the Big 12's All-Freshman team.

The Mountaineers (32-22, 12-12 Big 12) begin the Big 12 tournament with a 10 a.m. Wednesday game versus Baylor.

WV Gov. Justice adds seven bills to special session http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0101/170529857 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0101/170529857 Tue, 23 May 2017 11:02:02 -0400 Phil Kabler By Phil Kabler Gov. Jim Justice added seven bills - included the long awaited budget bill - to the special session agenda Tuesday morning.

Some legislators have been critical of the absence of a budget bill, which spells out appropriations to state agencies and programs, during the first eight days of the special session, while Justice said he wanted the Legislature to approve a plan to raise revenue first.

"Now that we have action on the revenue legislation in motion I've sent up the budget plan," Justice said in a statement Tuesday. "There is still much work to be done. Once all of the bills are passed, most importantly the roads bills, then the budget is ready to be the last thing to be passed."

The bills were not immediately available Tuesday morning, but the Justice budget plan totals $4.357 billion, or more than $100 million more than the revenue proposal backed by the House of Delegates (HB107).

With major changes being made to that bill in the Senate, the bill likely is headed to a House-Senate conference committee to try to reconcile differences.

Justice chief of staff Nick Casey said Justice's budget bill reduces general revenue spending by 1.4 percent from the current 2016-17 base budget, but does not make additional cuts beyond those initially proposed by Justice in the regular session.

Other bills to be introduced Tuesday, according to Justice's statement, are:

n Relating to the Department of Health and Human Resources and the Health Care Authority. A bill to eliminate the HCA's certificate of need process failed in the Senate in the regular session.

n Authorize the sale of DHHR operated hospitals. During the regular session, bills to permit the sale of Jackie Withrow and Hopemont hospitals were lost in the final hours of the session.

n Relating to physician assistants. Justice vetoed a bill to expand authority of physician assistants, including expanding their ability to prescribe drugs.

n Relating generally to tax procedures.

n Relating to county levy rates and public school support. Legislation that would have cut the state appropriation to the School Aid Formula by $79 million, while automatically raising county property tax levy rates to make up the difference, passed the Senate in the regular session, but died in the House.

n Relating to volunteer fire fighter Workers Compensation.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazettemail.com, 304 348-1220, or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.

Crash closes northbound lanes of WV Turnpike http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0118/170529858 GZ0118 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0118/170529858 Tue, 23 May 2017 10:56:10 -0400 Staff reports By Staff reports Officials expect the northbound lanes Interstate 77 near the Mossy/Oak Hill exit to reopen around 5 p.m. this evening, "barring any unforeseen circumstances as a result of this hazardous materials accident," according to a news release.

A tractor-trailer overturned there Tuesday morning, spilling a corrosive material and shutting down the northbound lanes.

A Fayette County dispatcher said the truck was hauling batteries.

An emergency detour is currently in place:

n Take Exit 48 and continue north to the Exit 57, Interstate 79/Route 19 interchange.

n Proceed south on Interstate 79 to the Exit 104 interchange.

n Continue north or south on Interstate 77, if need be.

A 14-foot width restriction prevents oversize loads from traveling on the New River Gorge Bridge, according to a news release.

Trump budget theme: working to qualify for welfare benefits http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0101/170529859 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ0101/170529859 Tue, 23 May 2017 09:46:30 -0400 By Caitlin Dewey and Tracy Jan The Washington Post By By Caitlin Dewey and Tracy Jan The Washington Post For a period last year after he lost his food stamps, Tim Keefe, an out-of-work and homeless Navy veteran, used his military training to catch, skin and eat squirrels, roasting the animals over an open fire outside the tent he pitched in frigid Augusta, Maine.

The additions to Keefe's diet resulted from a decision by state authorities to tighten work requirements for recipients of the social safety net - forcing Keefe, who lost his job at a farm equipment factory because of an injury, off the food-stamp rolls.

"I was eating what I could find, and borrowed from friends and strangers," the 49-year-old said in testimony to the Maine legislature. "There were many times . . . when I would go two or even three days without food. If one was inclined to lose a lot of weight, I could recommend this diet wholeheartedly."

Now, the Trump administration, in its first major budget proposal, has put forth more stringent work requirements - similar to those in effect in Maine and other states - to limit eligibility for food stamps and other benefits as part of sweeping cuts to anti-poverty programs.

The White House budget proposal, due to be unveiled Tuesday, would reduce spending on anti-poverty programs, from food stamps to tax credits, by $274 billion over a decade, largely by tightening eligibility for these programs, according to administration officials.

Making low-income Americans work to qualify for welfare programs is a key theme of the budget.

"If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said during a White House briefing Monday.

He estimated that there could be 6.8 million additional people put back to work under the strengthened requirements.

"There is a dignity to work," Mulvaney said.

The White House did not offer details Monday about how the work requirements would be implemented, other than saying that they would be "phased in" for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

"We believe in the social safety net. We absolutely do," Mulvaney said. "What we have done is not to remove the safety net for folks who need it, but to try and figure out if there's folks who don't need it."

The White House estimated that the combined overhauls to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps, would generate nearly $193 billion in savings over a decade.

In addition to SNAP changes, President Donald Trump will propose taking the earned income tax credit and child tax credit away from undocumented immigrants working in the United States, many of whom pay taxes or have American-born children. That change alone would save $40 billion over a decade, according to the White House.

Anti-poverty advocates say the White House could implement its desired changes to SNAP in two ways: require recipients to work more than the current minimum of 20 hours a week, or cut the unemployment waivers in areas with high joblessness rates.

The influential Heritage Foundation, as well as a number of House conservatives, have championed a crackdown on waivers, leading many anti-poverty advocates to conclude that is the most likely way the White House would implement its proposed changes.

Critics say such a change could endanger people such as Keefe, a veteran who has been unable to find a job after injuring his wrist on the job at a plow factory in Rockland, Maine. As a result, Keefe is medically unable to lift more than 25 pounds - which disqualifies him from other work in manufacturing.

The Navy veteran was one of several thousand former food-stamp recipients who lost benefits when Maine, in 2015, declined to renew its waiver and reinstated statewide work requirements. He has spent much of the past year living in a tent.

"I don't want to worry no one," said Keefe, who recently testified to Maine's Committee on Health and Human Services about the effects the work requirement had on him. But, he added, "I hope they understand that people fall through the cracks."

Suspending employment waivers would hit hard in areas with high unemployment such as Southern California and central California, where the unemployment rate can spike as high as 19 percent, as well as cities such as Detroit and Scranton, Pennsylvania, where joblessness remains rampant.

The change would also hit hard in large portions of New Mexico, Oregon, Washington state, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Idaho and Michigan.

"It's unconscionable, cruel and ineffective," said Josh Protas, vice president of public policy at Mazon, a national anti-hunger organization. "I'm honestly not sure what their goal is."

Critics say the changes in unemployment waivers would be devastating for Native American families living on reservations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona and Montana, where there is chronic poverty and high unemployment.

"The President's budget proposal will force kids in rural America to go hungry while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on misplaced priorities like a wall that won't keep us safe," Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said in a statement to The Washington Post. "Parents in Montana and across Indian Country should not have to choose between food for their tables, gas for their cars, and shoes for their kids."

Anti-hunger advocates argue that, generally speaking, SNAP benefits are too small for people to subsist on them without working. The average food-stamp benefit was $465 a month for a family of four in 2015. The maximum monthly benefit for a family that size is $649 - which equates to about $5.40 worth of food a day for each family member.

"The notion that people would prefer not to work to get that benefit - give me a break," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., a longtime anti-hunger advocate. "This is a lousy and rotten thing to do to poor people."

By requiring people to work who might not have access to jobs or training, the government would essentially be imposing a three-month time limit on the benefit, advocates said. Those who still are not in training or working after that time would be cut off and ineligible to reapply for three years.

In Kansas, for instance, which reinstated the requirements in October 2014, 40 percent of unemployed adults were still unemployed a year after being kicked off SNAP. Among those who found jobs, the average annual income was only $5,562, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability, a right-wing think tank based in Florida.

Progress also has been hotly debated in Maine, a state that conservatives regularly hold up as evidence that stricter work requirements are effective. When the state dropped its waiver in 2015, the number of unemployed adults in the program immediately fell by nearly 80 percent.

But a May 2016 report by the state found that nearly 60 percent of those affected individuals did not report any income in the year after they left the program, suggesting that they were still unemployed or underemployed a year later.

UK bombing suspect IDed; Islamic State claims responsibility http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ01/170529860 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170523/GZ01/170529860 Tue, 23 May 2017 08:27:17 -0400 By Griff Witte and Karla Adam The Washington Post By By Griff Witte and Karla Adam The Washington Post MANCHESTER, England - The Islamic State claimed Tuesday that one of its "soldiers" carried out an apparent suicide bombing in Manchester that killed at least 22 people, including teenagers and others streaming out of a pop concert.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins named the suspected attacker as 22-year-old Salman Abedi but declined to provide other details.

A senior European intelligence official said the attacker was a British citizen of Libyan descent. The official said the suspect's brother has been taken into custody.

The Islamic State's claim came as British investigators intensified their search for possible accomplices and police teams fanned out across the northern city after the worst terrorist strike in Britain in more than a decade.

The Islamic State did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out late Monday. Its statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites.

The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous claims have not been proven.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called the carnage a "callous terrorist attack."

"This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives," she said, speaking outside her Downing Street offices, where flags were lowered to half-staff.

May later visited Manchester, meeting with local authorities and signing a condolence book honoring the victims.

Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, expressed her "deepest sympathies."

"The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert," she said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

Condemnations also poured in from other leaders around the world.

In Washington, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Tuesday that despite the Islamic State's claim of responsibility for the Manchester attack, "we have not verified yet the connection." He noted in a Senate hearing that "they claim responsibility for virtually every attack."

The casualties included children as young as elementary school students. Police said that among the 59 people injured, a dozen were younger than 16.

Among those killed, Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old student, was the first victim to be named. British media also reported that an 8-year-old girl, Saffie Rose Roussos, could have been the youngest fatality.

"We believe at this stage the attack last night was conducted by one man," Hopkins said at a televised news conference. "We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity."

In a later appearance, Hopkins said the priority for police was to "establish whether [the assailant] was acting alone or as part of a network."

During a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, President Donald Trump pledged "absolute solidarity" with Britain and called those responsible for the attack "evil losers in life."

The bombing appeared intended to inflict maximum bloodshed on the young concertgoers - many in their early teens - who were making their way out of the Manchester Arena, one of Europe's largest indoor venues, with a seating capacity of 21,000.

The blast occurred about 10:30 p.m. Monday, minutes after pop star Ariana Grande had finished her set and many fans were gathered in the foyer to buy concert merchandise.

The explosion set off a panic as fans struggled to flee and parents and teens searched for one another amid the carnage. Parents who had lost contact with their children posted desperate pleas for information on social media using the hashtag #ManchesterMissing.

Charlotte Campbell told the BBC that she was "phoning everybody," including hospitals, trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter on Monday night at the concert.

"She'd just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go," Campbell said in an emotional interview.

The attack occurred near one of the exits of the arena, in a public space connected to a bustling train station.

Jake Taylor, a former security guard at the arena, said its layout makes absolute safety impossible.

"You can't stop people from getting through the train station," Taylor said.

Mark Harrison, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter to the concert from Cumbria in northern England, said there were no metal detectors or body checks at the arena's entrance, though bags were inspected and items such as water bottles had to be discarded.

"There was definitely a security presence, but anyone can come through the train station," Harrison, 44, said.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, called it an "evil act" but praised the "spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together."

Manchester is "grieving today, but we are strong," he said.

On Tuesday evening, a large crowd gathered in Manchester's Albert Square for a solemn vigil honoring the victims.

The Monday night attack was the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said late Monday that there was "no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States" but added that Americans may see "increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions."

In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks over the past year, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of "a threat which is more present than ever before."

Organizers of the Cannes Film Festival denounced the Manchester bombing as an "attack on culture, youth and joyfulness" and observed a minute of silence Tuesday. Cannes is 15 miles from Nice, where an attacker driving a truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in July, killing 86 people.

Britain has been on high alert for a major attack for several years, with authorities saying that a mass-casualty attack was likely.

Grande, who is wildly popular both in Britain and the United States, was not injured in the attack. She expressed her sorrow in a tweet hours after the explosion, saying she was "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so sorry. i don't have words."

A father told the BBC that he was leaving the arena with his wife and daughter when the blast blew him through a set of doors. Afterward, the man, identified as Andy, said he saw about 30 people "scattered everywhere. Some of them looked dead."

Separated from his wife and daughter, he said, he "looked at some of the bodies trying to find my family."

He later found them, uninjured.

Karen Ford, a witness, told the BBC that "there were kids outside, crying on the phone, trying to find their parents."

The scenes of bloodied, panicked concertgoers running for safety brought to mind similar images at the Bataclan theater in Paris in November 2015.

The concert hall became the scene of carnage after gunmen burst in during a show by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal and began shooting. That attack - for which the Islamic State later asserted responsibility - killed 89 people and injured hundreds, becoming the deadliest event on French soil since World War II. In all, 130 people were killed that night in coordinated attacks.

Monday night's blast came two months after a speeding driver left four people dead on London's Westminster Bridge, then stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament.

Monday also was the fourth anniversary of the killing of Lee Rigby, a British soldier who was attacked with a machete on the streets of southeast London. Two assailants, who were later convicted of murder, said they were acting to avenge the killing of Muslims by British soldiers.

In just over two weeks, Britain is scheduled to hold a national election. Campaigning was suspended Tuesday, and perhaps beyond. Security has not featured as a prominent part of the debate, although that may change when campaigning resumes.