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Candids from HS Speaker Series VIP reception

WELCOME — A VIP reception was held Oct. 23 at the YWCA of Steubenville to welcome Matthew Charles prior to his presentation at Steubenville High School’s auditorium as the guest presenter in the Herald-Star Speaker Series. With Charles, center, are Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce representatives Tricia Maple-Damewood, left, president, and Janet McLaughlin, chamber investor-to-investor relations coordinator. -- Janice Kiaski

Today’s community page features some candids from the VIP reception held Oct. 23 at the YWCA of Steubenville for Matthew Charles prior to his evening presentation at Steubenville High School as part of the Herald-Star Speaker Series.

Convicted of selling crack cocaine, Charles served 21 years of a 35-year sentence before his early release from prison in 2016. When it was ruled that the court had made an error in his release, Charles was sent back to prison in May 2018.

On Jan. 3 of this year, however, Charles finally received his freedom after the First Step Act, which included a provision that reduced sentences for crack cocaine-related offenses, became the law of the land.

One of the first people to be released under the law, Charles is an advocate on behalf of those who are still in prison.

Series sponsors included Eastern Gateway Community College, the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Trinity Health System and WTRF-TV. Special support was provided by the Best Western Plus University Inn, Piergallini Catering, Steubenville High School, Newbrough Photo, Hertz-Thrifty Car Rental and the YWCA of Steubenville.

Other candids are in today’s print edition.

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