West Virginia Week in Review - April 19, 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, WVDOT officials celebrate groundbreaking of Coalfields Expressway extension from Mullens to Slab Fork
Gov. Jim Justice held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, with leaders from the West Virginia Department of Transportation, to commemorate the start of new paving work on the Coalfields Expressway (WV-121) in Raleigh and Wyoming counties. This construction is the latest project to get underway as part of Gov. Justice’s Roads to Prosperity program. [View Press Release]


This next phase of roadwork will extend the four-lane section of the expressway beyond its current endpoint at Slab Fork in Raleigh County to the city of Mullens in Wyoming County. This portion of work will span 8.9 miles and will mark the first time ever that a four-lane highway has been built anywhere in Wyoming County.


The project also includes construction of more than one mile of two-lane highway from the Mullens exit of the expressway, into the city. In total, this $33 million project will add 10 miles to the existing network of the Coalfields Expressway, extending its total length to 18 miles.

Gov. Justice announces additional $2.5 million in federal grant funding for various community improvement projects
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice stopped in three communities across central West Virginia, announcing another $2.5 million in federal grant funding has been awarded to go toward broadband and wastewater improvement projects.


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

Town of Burnsville: $1.5 million for wastewater system improvements in the Town of Burnsville (Above) [View Press Release]

Lewis County Commission: $500,000 for broadband development in southern Lewis County (Below Left) [View Press Release]

Nicholas County Commission: $500,000 for broadband development in the communities of Hinkle Mountain and Little Laurel (Below Right) [View Press Release]



Gov. Justice updates progress of secondary roads initiative
Gov. Justice issued an update Tuesday on the amount of secondary road maintenance work that has been completed across West Virginia since he directed the Department of Transportation to make road maintenance its top priority last month. [View Press Release]


Gov. Justice was joined by Transportation Secretary Byrd White and acting Commissioner of Highways Jimmy Wriston to make the announcement. Wriston said it's been one of the DOH's busiest months in memory, as crews have completed more than 2,000 road miles of ditching and blading, poured over 16,000 tons of asphalt for patching and related maintenance work, and more than 150,000 employee-hours have been spent on other types of maintenance. [View Additional Maintenance Statistics]

Gov. Justice announces that improved trout stocking method is in place
Gov. Justice announced this week that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has implemented an improved trout stocking method. DNR will be stocking the same number of trout in the same number of locations. But, rather than dumping the fish in at one point, DNR staff and contractors are now spreading them out over longer sections of stream. [View Press Release]


First Lady Cathy Justice announces $35,000 grant for musical instruments at school in Greenbrier County
On Wednesday, First Lady Cathy Justice visited Western Greenbrier Middle School to announce that their music programs have been awarded a grant of $35,000-worth of free instruments from VH1's Save the Music Foundation, a program dedicated to keeping music education alive in schools. [View Social Post] 


First Lady honors Poetry Out Loud state champion, runner-up
Also on Wednesday, First Lady Justice visited a pair of high schools in Greenbrier County to present the champion and runner-up trophies to the first and second-place finishers of the state Poetry Out Loud competition. [View Social Post]


Governor and First Lady host annual Easter Carnival at State Capitol
On Saturday, Gov. Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice hosted West Virginia's annual Easter Carnival event at the State Capitol. Children were allowed to explore the Capitol grounds, take pictures with the Easter Bunny and West Virginia's First Family. Facepainting, snacks and other prizes were also available. [View Social Post]



West Virginia’s early learning programs rank among top in the nation
On Wednesday, the Department of Education announced that West Virginia’s Universal Pre-K Program was, once again, ranked among the top in the nation, according to the 2018 Yearbook released today by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). NIEER recognizes West Virginia as a leader in pre-K access for 4-year-olds and quality standards. [View Press Release]


The State of Preschool Yearbook is the only national report on state-funded preschool programs with detailed information on enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications and other policies related to quality. West Virginia continues to rank among the top in the nation, ranking sixth in the nation for 4-year-old access and meets nine of ten benchmarks.

Arts Alive event showcases West Virginia students' artistic talents
Last Friday, the Department of Education held its 11th annual Arts Alive event at the Municipal Auditorium in Charleston. The event showcased outstanding arts education programs and student achievements in public schools. The work included in Arts Alive is selected from state arts conferences, festivals and exhibits throughout West Virginia; a competitive submission process; and/or by invitation. [View Video & Photos]



DOT releases list of high-priority maintenance projects as work fixing secondary roads continues statewide
On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation released a list of secondary road maintenance needs that WVDOT officials have identified as high priority projects and intend to complete as soon as possible. [View Project List]


Meanwhile, Division of Highways crews continued their work fixing secondary roads across the state. DOH teams have ditched over 2,000 miles of road shoulders over the past month alone, since Gov. Justice issued a directive to emphasize secondary road maintenance work.

WVDOT leaders meet with Highways district offices across the state
Over the past two weeks, leaders with the Department of Transportation have stopped by each of the 10 district offices for the Division of Highways to meet and discuss the long-term plan to keep up with maintenance projects across West Virginia. [View Social Post]


Additional district meetings will be held through the end of next week.

Work underway on I-77 at multiple locations including Mercer County, Charleston
On Thursday, the WVDOT announced that work is set to get underway on a project to reconstruct I-77 from Bluefield to Princeton in Mercer County. Beginning April 19, crews will begin milling out the existing asphalt on the southbound on and off ramps at Exit 1 on I-77 in Bluefield. [View Press Release]


Meanwhile, last Friday, the WVDOT announced that work would also be getting started on the I-77/I-79 split, replacing decks on three overpass bridges in Charleston. [View Press Release]


West Virginia National Guard identifies, honors soldier who died during training accident
On Thursday, West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, addressed members of the media to identify an Army Guard solider who suffered fatal injuries while involved in an airborne operations training exercise on Wednesday. Maj. Gen. Hoyer identified that solider as Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Sheperty. The 36-year-old was fatally injured while training in Suffolk, Virginia. The cause of the incident remains under investigation. 
[View Press Release]

During his remarks, Maj. Gen. Hoyer honored Sheperty by noting his extensive military background.
[Watch Full Video]


Prior to his service with the West Virginia National Guard, Sheperty served with the Marine Corps Special Operations Command. He enlisted into the United States military in 2002 and served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Navy/Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon, and NATO medal among numerous other awards and decorations. He was a resident of Baltimore City, Maryland, and native Virginian.


Bright Futures Learning Services recognized as U.S. SBA Woman-Owned Small Business of the year
Bright Futures Learning Services hosted several executives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Winfield on Monday. SBA Regional Administrator, Michelle Christian, visited the Bright Futures facility to raise awareness of Autism Awareness Month and recognize local business owner, Jill Scarbro-McLaury. [View Press Release]



-McLaury founded Bright Futures in 2007. She recently expanded the practice and improved the facility with resource made possible by an SBA 504 loan. Bright Futures Learning Services provides behavioral treatment services to help improve the lives of children with autism.


DHHR hosts peer recovery support services conference
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Behavioral Health hosted the West Virginia Peer Recovery Support Services Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday this week in Flatwoods. The event is designed for peer workers who have been successful in the substance use disorder recovery process, and who help others experiencing similar situations. [View Press Release]



Repairs and restoration work continue on Capitol dome as scaffolding goes up
This week, additional scaffolding has gone up around the dome at the Capitol building, as a project to repair and restore the dome ramps up. As part of the $13.52 million project, drain pipes will be replaced, a secondary lining system installed, and the gutter system updated. This work, which will provide new weatherproofing for the Capitol building, is needed to ensure the strength of the building and its structure, as well as its future. [View Press Release]


By the project’s completion date, which is currently projected as early 2021, employees and visitors to the campus alike will notice new interior finishes, new five karat gold-leaf gilding to repair damaged areas of the exterior of the dome, reconfigured portal windows, and clean limestone cornice stones below the dome.


Department of Arts, Culture and History Seeking Entries for the 2019 West Virginia Juried Exhibition
The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History is announcing a call for entries for its 21st biennial West Virginia Juried Exhibition. The show will be on display at the Culture Center in Charleston. Since 1979, the exhibition has celebrated the exceptional talents and creativity of Mountain State artists. Submissions for the exhibit in the form of digital images on CD or USB flash drive will be accepted from Monday, June 3 through Friday, Aug. 2. [View Press Release]



WVDEP holds Water Festival in Nicholas County
On Wednesday, more than 200 grade schoolers from Nicholas County participated in a WVDEP Project WET Water Festival at Carnifex Ferry State Park in Summersville. [View More Photos]


The WVDEP partnered with Concord University, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service to provide a day of hands-on water education.



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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