West Virginia Week in Review - April 12, 2019


Each week, Gov. Jim Justice's Communications Office will release a recap of the prior week's events and press releases from across all state agencies within the executive branch.


Gov. Justice announces nearly $8 million in federal grants for various improvement projects in West Virginia communities
Over the past week, Gov. Jim Justice made stops in five communities across West Virginia, announcing nearly $8 million in federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that had been awarded to various counties and municipalities throughout the state to go toward water, wastewater and broadband improvement projects.

On Thursday, the governor held one of these events in McDowell County, where he announced three separate grants within the county, totaling $3.43 million. Two of them were for wastewater system upgrades in the towns of Bradshaw ($1.5 million) and Iaeger ($1.3 million). The third grant – awarded to the McDowell County Commission – is worth an additional $630,000 and will go toward adding fiber lines to improve internet connectivity near the Bull Creek and Isaban areas. [View Press Release]


Gov. Justice also made stops to announce the following grant awardees:

Fayette County Commission: $1.5 million for water system improvements in Powellton and Deep Water [View Press Release]
City of Ronceverte: $1.5 million for water system improvements in the City of Ronceverte [View Press Release]
Wyoming County Commission: $1.39 million for a water line extension in Upper Huff Creek, Brush Fork and Road Fork areas [View Press Release]
Mercer County Commission: $155,000 for broadband development at Cumberland Industrial Park [View Press Release]


The grants awarded this week are part of the $13.1 million in total CDBG funds that have been dedicated to West Virginia for this year. The governor will announce more of the state's 19 total grant recipients over the coming weeks.

Gov. Justice meets with U.S. Department of Energy officials to discuss expanding West Virginia's energy industry
On Monday, Gov. Justice met with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) officials in Charleston to discuss economic growth opportunities for West Virginia in petrochemicals and next-generation coal-fired power plants, including the feasibility of building a petrochemical complex in the Appalachian region. [View Press Release]


According to those DOE officials, industry analysts estimate that a petrochemical complex, if built, would bring more than $30 billion into the region over the coming decade, creating as many as 100,000 jobs in the process.

Governor and First Lady Justice read to elementary students as part of Let’s Read West Virginia Day
Gov. Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice each stopped by elementary schools in southern West Virginia on Thursday to read to classrooms full of young students as a part of Let’s Read West Virginia Day, which celebrates literacy and the joy of reading.​ Gov. Justice read to a class of fourth grade students at Pineville Elementary School in Wyoming County and talked to the class about the importance of a good education. [View Press Release]


Later in the day, First Lady Justice visited Lewisburg Elementary School in Greenbrier County to read to a class of second grade students. 


Gov. Justice hosts family of fallen soldier for bill-signing ceremony to allow military funerals in schools
On Monday, Gov. Jim Justice hosted the family of a fallen solider and West Virginia native at the Governor’s Mansion for a private ceremony as he ceremoniously signed a bill that will allow public school facilities to be used for funeral and memorial services for members of the military. [View Press Release]


As Gov. Justice signed Senate Bill 154, he was surrounded by the mother, godparents, and brother of Army Specialist Nicholas Jividen. The graduate of Poca High School died in November at age 21 as a result of injuries sustained in a training exercise at Fort Irwin in California. Jividen’s death highlighted that state code did not include a formal policy allowing public schools to host funeral or memorial services. With Gov. Justice signing SB 154, county school boards will now be required to allow school facilities to be used for these types of services for certain community members, such as members of the military or first responders.

Gov. Justice releases March 2019 Revenue Collections, estimates still trending toward significant FY 2019 surplus
Gov. Justice reported Tuesday that at of the end of the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2019, cumulative collections remain nearly $191.3 million ahead of original estimates for the year. March Revenue Collections were more than 98.8 percent of estimates for the month, which was 11.2 percent ahead of prior year receipts. [View Press Release]



Go Orange Day held to encourage safe driving in DOT work zones
On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation held Go Orange Day, encouraging DOT employees and others throughout West Virginia to wear orange as a reminder to the public to drive slowly and safely through road work zones as construction season ramps up this spring. Several DOT maintenance workers shared close calls they’ve experienced in work zones and urged the public to slow down in these areas. [View Video]


Wednesday’s event was held as a part of Work Zone Safety Week in West Virginia, a full week meant to remind drivers to drive with extreme caution with more roadwork scheduled in the coming months. [View More Photos]


Statewide maintenance work on secondary roads continues
This week, crews from the West Virginia Division of Highways continued recent efforts to complete as much secondary roadwork and maintenance as possible across all areas of the state, as ditching, patching and mowing work continued in several counties throughout West Virginia. [View More Photos]


Start date announced for final phase of I-64 rehab project
On Tuesday, the DOH announced that the final resurfacing work of the I-64 rehabilitation project will begin next Monday, April 15. The work is necessary to put the final “wearing surface” on the section between US 35/Crooked Creek exit and the Hurricane exit. [View Press Release]


Work will begin on the US 35 flyover and will be done at night.

DOT leadership begins initiative to visit all DOH districts to discuss maintenance plans
This week, Secretary of Transportation Byrd White and Acting Commissioner of Highways Jimmy Wriston, P.E. visited several DOH district offices across the state to conduct detailed discussions of secondary road maintenance plans in each area with district managers and engineers. [View Social Post]


The initiative is expected to take two weeks to complete and will provide a clearer picture of the maintenance needs in each district as springtime work ramps up.


Inaugural West Virginia Manufacturing Summit held in Morgantown
On Monday, The West Virginia Development Office joined the West Virginia Manufacturers Association and West Virginia University’s Mining and Industrial Extension for the Mountain State’s inaugural Manufacturing Summit in Morgantown. The event gathered industry representatives and manufacturers to discuss needs for continued progress and ways to remain a global leader in the diversifying industry. [View Press Release]


The summit focused specifically on small to mid-sized manufacturers. This focus gave those small to mid-sized companies an opportunity to network with large manufacturers to share resources and learn best practices as they continue to expand and develop their existing operations in West Virginia.

Marcellus and Manufacturing Conference gathers state and national experts to tout West Virginia’s continued expansion in the industry
On Tuesday, the West Virginia Development Office partnered with the West Virginia Manufacturers Association for the 8th Annual Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference, held in Morgantown. This growing event hosted companies interested in locating new facilities or expanding existing Marcellus and Manufacturing operations in the state.​ [View Press Release]


Started in 2011, the Marcellus and Manufacturing Conference was created to provide companies and industry leaders the opportunity to gain an expanded understanding of the potential for ethane and ethylene- related product development in West Virginia. 

Commerce Secretary speaks at Future Business Leaders of America conference
Secretary of Commerce Ed Gaunch spoke at a gathering Thursday of the Future Business Leaders of America, commending the members of the organization for representing the future potential of West Virginia. [View Press Release]


The West Virginia chapter of FBLA helps prepare children, grades 6-12, for college and future careers.

Steve Johnson selected as deputy director of West Virginia Small Business Development Center
Steve Johnson was named deputy state director of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center on Wednesday. Before taking his new post, Johnson served as network coordinator for the statewide program. He joined WV SBDC in 2013 as a business coach and has more than 25 years of small business ownership experience. [View Press Release]


The WV SBDC operates a network of business coaches located throughout the state. The coaches assist small businesses at all stages of development.


State superintendent appoints Mullins to Logan County Board of Education
On Thursday, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine appointed Barry Mullins to the Logan County Board of Education. A graduate of Chapmanville High School and the Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical Center, Mullins works for Arch Coal and is actively involved in his local community and is from the Harts Creek area. [View Press Release]


Mullins will fill the seat vacated by Paul Hardesty, following his appointment to the State Senate in February. Mullins will complete Hardesty’s term, which is set to expire on June 30, 2020.

State Board of Education reviews results of online survey asking for educators input on school conditions
The West Virginia Board of Education reviewed initial findings Wednesday from a recent online survey, which solicited input from classroom teachers, counselors, principals and assistant principals on teaching and learning conditions in their schools. One unifying theme emerged from survey responses – West Virginia schools dutifully attempt numerous strategies aimed at achieving continuous improvement and better student outcomes but too often need sustained support and greater flexibility to effectively implement and fulfill the potential of these activities. [View Press Release]


More than 7,000 classroom teachers and counselors completed the survey and nearly 500 principals and assistant principals completed the survey representing response rates of 34 percent and 41 percent respectively.

Milken Family Foundation Award winner honored
At Wednesday's regular state Board of Education meeting, the WVBE recognized 2018 Milken Family Foundation Award winner, Jennifer Reaves, who took time to address the board, speaking about the power of technology in the classroom. [View Social Post]


The Milken Family Foundation is a national organization that recognizes educators across the country for teaching excellence. First Lady Cathy Justice also passed along a message recognizing Reaves' accomplishment.


Change of command ceremony held at Martinsburg air base
At a ceremony Saturday, Command Chief Master Sgt. David Stevens relinquished responsibility as command chief of the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, yielding that role to Chief Master Sgt. Troy Brawner. As the wing’s eighth command chief, Brawner is now the principal advisor to the wing commander on matters of health, welfare and morale, professional development, and the effective utilization of more than 900 enlisted airmen. [View Press Release]





Division of Forestry bloodhounds train in annual West Virginia K-9 Association Conference
On Wednesday, bloodhounds from the West Virginia Division of Forestry were trained in narcotics, bomb detection, and apprehension as a part of the annual West Virginia K-9 Association Conference in Sissonville. [View Recap Video]



Second stop of statewide listening tour held in Dunbar
On Tuesday, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs made the second stop on its 2019 statewide listening tour in Dunbar. The event was held at the James C. Wilson University Union at West Virginia State University, and provided residents an opportunity to hear from agency representatives including the WV Women’s Commission, WV Bureau of Senior Services, Governor’s Office of Constituent Services, Division of Corrections and more. [View Full Video]



DEP staff cleans over one ton of trash along MacCorkle Avenue as part of multiple spring cleanup events
On Thursday, more than 2,000 employees from the Department of Environmental Protection fanned out across the Kanawha City neighborhood of Charleston and collected over one ton of trash along MacCorkle Avenue as part of the annual Adopt-A-Highway spring cleanup event. Each year, thousands of volunteers across the state take time in the spring to clean sections of highways with equipment provided by the DEP. [View Recap Video]


Also, this past Saturday, the DEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan worked in conjunction with the City of Charleston on the East End to host the first cleanup of the “Team Up to Clean Up” – a city-wide initiative that holds cleanups for the four neighborhoods of Charleston throughout the month of April. 

Save Our Streams program teaches volunteers about stream monitoring at Kanawha State Forest
On Saturday, the DEP's Save Our Streams program and the West Virginia Rivers Coalition put on a workshop at Kanawha State Forest, to teach volunteers about stream monitoring and benthic macroinvertebrates. [View More Photos]



Submissions being accepted for quilts exhibition at Culture Center
Within the past weeks, the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History has begun accepting submissions for its annual West Virginia Quilts and Wall Hangings Juried Exhibition. This is the 38th year for the exhibition, which is held in the state Culture Center. The deadline to submit quilts to be considered for the display is April 26. [View Social Post]



Public Safety Telecommunicators Week proclaimed
In honor of the hundreds of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to West Virginia’s citizens, Governor Justice signed a proclamation designating April 14-20, 2019, as West Virginia Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. [View Press Release]




Contact Information

Butch Antolini, 304-890-2945, Butch.Antolini@wv.gov


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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