West Virginia Week in Review - August 9, 2019




Gov. Justice approves award of I-70 Bridges Project in Wheeling
On Monday, Gov. Jim Justice and leaders from the West Virginia Department of Transportation announced that the contract for work, upgrading more than two dozen bridges along the Wheeling corridor of Interstate 70, has been awarded, with work soon to follow. The Governor made the announcement during a public event at Heritage Port Park in Wheeling, which overlooks the Fort Henry Bridge crossing the Ohio River; one of 26 total bridges in the greater Wheeling/Ohio County area set to receive work in the project. [Watch Video]


The scope of work for the project includes rehabilitation work on 25 bridges along this section of I-70. The project also calls for the replacement of the Fulton Bridge, which is located just to the east of the Wheeling Tunnel. [More Photos]


Gov. Justice requests funding to jump-start multimillion-dollar project to enhance and develop North Central West Virginia airport area
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that he has requested $20 million needed for work to take off on a historic infrastructure project at North Central West Virginia Airport in Bridgeport, to enhance the airport itself, while also developing sections of nearby land. [Watch Video]


The master plan for the overall infrastructure project consists of several phases of work, including excavation work to build a fresh site for a new terminal that will be located directly off I-279, the creation of approximately 50 additional acres of airport space with direct taxiway access to the airport’s 7,800-foot runway to be used for commercial and industrial use, and for the development of airport property for additional commercial and industrial use.

Gov. Justice continues to promote West Virginia's #1-ranked GDP growth rate to national audiences
Last Friday, Gov. Justice traveled to New York City to continue his efforts to shine a national spotlight on West Virginia’s #1-ranked GDP growth rate in America. The Governor made appearances on several television and radio programs, broadcasted nationwide, to tell West Virginia’s story and to inform business leaders and the public that West Virginia is becoming one of the fastest-growing places in the country to live and work. [Watch Video]


Gov. Justice announces state revenue surplus to provide millions of dollars to Medicaid and Rainy Day Fund
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia’s adjusted FY2019 General Revenue surplus total of $36.8 million will be used to provide a multimillion-dollar boost to both West Virginia’s Medicaid program and the state’s Rainy Day emergency reserve fund. [Read More]


The official surplus for FY2019 totaled $511 million above original budget estimates. This historical accomplishment marked the single greatest year of revenue growth in West Virginia history.

Gov. Justice addresses community leaders from across state for 50th annual West Virginia Municipal League Conference
On Thursday, Gov. Justice spoke with dozens of community leaders from across at the state, who came together this week for the 50th annual West Virginia Municipal League Conference at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington. [Watch Video]


The WVML is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of cities, towns, and villages established in 1968 to assist local governments and advance the interests of their citizens. The League achieves this directive through legislative advocacy, research, education and other services for municipal elected officials. All 231 municipalities within West Virginia are members of the WVML.

Gov. Justice announces that President Trump has granted disaster declaration request for June flooding in eastern West Virginia
On Saturday, Gov. Justice announced that several counties in eastern West Virginia have been approved to receive federal assistance for public recovery efforts after severe flooding that occurred in June. President Donald J. Trump granted a request from Gov. Justice, issuing a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance in Grant, Pendleton, Preston, Randolph, and Tucker counties after storms from June 29 – June 30 caused widespread flooding, landslides, mudslides, and other damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure in the region. [Read More]


The President’s declaration will provide Public Assistance funds to the affected area. Public Assistance is for state and local government entities as well as eligible private nonprofit organizations. It offers reimbursement funding for emergency work and to repair or replace disaster-damaged facilities.

Governor and First Lady Justice issue statement on death of coal mine worker in Kanawha County
After learning of the death of a coal mine worker in Kanawha County on Wednesday, Gov. Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice issued a statement on the incident, which took place at the Blackhawk Mining, LLC, South Hollow Preparation Plant. [Read More]


Gov. Justice orders U.S. and state flags to half-staff to honor victims of tragedies in Texas and Ohio
On Sunday, Gov. Justice issued a proclamation in accordance with the Presidential proclamation ordering that all United States flags and West Virginia state flags on all state-owned facilities throughout West Virginia be displayed at half-staff in honor of the victims of the recent tragedies that took place in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. The flag order remained in effect through Thursday. [Read More]


Gov. Justice establishing state Complete Count Committee in preparation for 2020 U.S. Census
Last Friday, Gov. Justice announced that, as part of ongoing preparations for the upcoming 2020 US Census, plans to establish a Complete Count Committee are being finalized. These CCCs are volunteer committees – established by state or local government officials, other community leaders, or representatives from organizations – with a purpose of increasing awareness for the 2020 Census and motivating residents to respond. [Read More]


These committees typically consist of community leaders, who are tasked with developing and implementing a 2020 Census awareness campaign based upon their knowledge of the local community, to encourage a response. Appointments will be made after the CCC itself is officially established.


Commerce Secretary takes business listening tour to Wood County
On Wednesday and Thursday this week, Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch visited Wood County as part of his continuing series of listening tours focused on West Virginia businesses. Gaunch made stops this week at several businesses in Parkersburg and Davisville. [Watch Video]


These stops are part of a statewide tour the secretary has planned across the state throughout the next several months.



Appalachian String Band Music Festival announces 2019 contest winners
The 30th annual Appalachian String Band Music Festival at Camp Washington-Carver in Clifftop, Fayette County, wrapped up on Sunday, as 20 musicians, 12 bands and 12 dancers took home a total of $7,550 in prize money. [Read More]


More than 3,000 musicians, dancers, fans and friends, representing all 50 states and 10 different countries attended the five-day-event, which features some of the world’s finest string-band musicians and flat-foot dancers.


Historic change of command takes place for West Virginia National Guard’s 77th Brigade
On Saturday, the West Virginia Army National Guard’s 77th Brigade held a historic change of command ceremony, as Col. Michaelle Munger relinquished command to Lt. Col. Tanya McGonegal. McGonegal is the first female African American brigade commander and Munger was the first female brigade commander in the WVARNG’s history. [More Photos]



ngeal was commissioned through the Virginia State Officer Candidate School in 1999 and has served in various leadership positions in the National Guard throughout her career. 

Guardsman, native West Virginian laid to rest
Last Friday, National Guard SSG William "Billy" Friese was laid to rest in Parkersburg. Friese passed away in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, from a non-combat related incident July 18, 2019, while serving in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. [More Photos]


He is the recipient of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Afghanistan Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, West Virginia Emergency Service Ribbon, West Virginia State Service Ribbon, and numerous other awards and decorations. He was a resident of Parkersburg, West Virginia and a native West Virginian. He is survived by his wife, children, mother, sisters and grandparents.


Swift Water Rescue Team performs training exercises
Last week, the West Virginia National Guard's Swift Water Rescue Team held their latest training session along the Cheat River in Preston County. The team practiced hoisting exercises from a helicopter above the waters. [More Photos]


STARBASE Martinsburg offers STEM-based camps to military kids
Last Friday marked the conclusion of the STARBASE-Martinsburg program's latest week-long learning experience for military children in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). This summer marks the 15th year that the program has been offered. [More Photos]


This year, campers’ days were filled with activities such as robotics, owl pellet dissection, a crime scene investigation lab, they made glow in the dark slime and elephant toothpaste, had a water wall challenge and a photo scavenger hunt competition, they made fine-art paintings and solved their way out of a science-themed escape room.


Maintenance spotlight in West Virginia turns to District 6
Last Friday, the Department of Transportation spotlighted the ongoing work on secondary road maintenance that has been completed in District 6, which consists of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, and Tyler counties in West Virginia's northern panhandle. [Watch Video]


WVDOH scholarship recipients recognized for efforts
Last Friday, West Virginia Division of Highways scholarship recipients were recognized by Commissioner Jimmy Wriston, P.E. Recipients of the WVDOH Scholarship are majoring in engineering at universities across the state. [More Photos]


To maintain their scholarship eligibility, students must earn at least 12 credit hours per semester, maintain a satisfactory GPA and work as Engineering Summer Co-Ops with the WVDOH. They intend to work as Engineers in training with the WVDOH upon graduation. This program helps to fulfill one part of Commissioner Wriston’s vision to build the best WVDOH possible.


Hundreds of tires cleaned from Little Coal River
This week, volunteers from Trash Your Kayak, along with help from the DEP's REAP Program worked to remove hundreds of discarded tires from a popular section of the Little Coal River in Boone County. [Watch Video]


94-year-old honored as Volunteer of the Year during Adopt-A-Highway Volunteer Appreciation Day event
On Saturday, the Department of Environmental Protection's Adopt-A-Highway program officials, along with others, named St. Clara resident and 94-year-old Guy Simmons as its 2019 Adopt-A-Highway Volunteer of the Year. Simmons has been a member of the St. Clara Adopt-A-Highway program since its inception in 1989, and has participated in every AAH cleanup. He also cleans a one-mile stretch of road adjacent to St. Clara. [More Photos]


The award was made as part of a celebration of the 30th year of the Adopt-A-Highway program during their annual Volunteer Appreciation Day event at Canaan Valley Resort in Tucker County.


Educators from across West Virginia participate in Teacher Academy sessions
This week, teachers from Wood, Pleasants, and Wetzel counties participated in the Department of Education's Teacher Academy sessions on classroom management and understanding. The attendees participated in activities and learned how to use developmental concepts in managing a classroom. [More Photos]



HHOMA names Ranson as next stop on Listening Tour; announces event date
This week, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs announced that it will be holding its fourth Listening Tour event this year in the City of Ranson. The tour stop will be held Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m. in the Ranson Civic Center. [Read More]


The event is free and open to the public. HHOMA was previously in Ranson in May for the sixth annual Minority Business Expo.

HHOMA announces open registration for exhibitors and attendees at upcoming Minority Business Expo
Also this week, HHOMA announced that it will host its second Minority Business Expo of the year on Tuesday, Oct. 22, in Charleston. The event will be held in the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center and registration is now open to exhibitors, vendors, and attendees. The expo creates opportunities for minorities, veterans, and women business owners to network with business and government leaders. [Read More]


Attendees and exhibitors must register online by Oct. 1. Attendance is free. Exhibit booth space is $100, which is waived for local, state, and federal government agencies and nonprofits.


Gov. Justice applauds boost to Community Corrections program
This week, Gov. Justice honored a husband-and-wife team whose contributions promise to enhance West Virginia’s vaunted Community Corrections program. Peter Ianniciello and Susan Stout received Certificates of Recognition on behalf of the Governor Wednesday during a ceremony in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol. The two helped develop a transparent, objective scoring system for Community Corrections applications, part of a revamped method for weighing those requests. [Read More]


Late last month, Gov. Justice announced $5.4 million in Community Corrections grants awarded to 30 Day Report Centers across the state. These centers provide needed services and supervision to offenders as an alternative to prison or jail.


West Virginia birds of prey at State Parks and Forests
Live birds of prey are coming to West Virginia State Parks and Forests this late summer. The Wings of Wonder – West Virginia Birds of Prey program, which is free and open to the public, introduces attendees to six live birds of prey native to the Mountain State. Each bird is presented on the glove, one at a time, along with a conversation about the history of the animal’s rehabilitation as well as its habit and habitats. [Read More]


The program has eight showings at venues across the state. Dates are available online and run from the second week of August to the end of September.

VIPP picnic for parks fans coming to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park
State Parks also announced this week that fans of West Virginia parks, who are members of the Very Important Parks Person (VIPP) program, are invited to attend the program’s 33rd annual picnic. This year’s event will be held Aug. 24 at Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park in Parkersburg. [Read More]


Advance registration and payment are required and must be received by Aug. 15. The fee is $35 for adults and $30 for youth age 12 and younger and includes a picnic meal, sternwheeler ride, mansion tour, horse-drawn wagon ride and additional activities. The event is open to individuals enrolled in the Very Important Parks Person program before May 31, 2019.


Physical Agility Tests scheduled for West Virginia Natural Resources Police Officer candidates
The Law Enforcement Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has scheduled Physical Agility Tests for Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, for anyone interested in applying for open Natural Resources Police Officer positions. All candidates for these positions are required to pass the test. [Read More]


The tests will be conducted at the South Charleston Community Center. During the test, candidates must complete a 37.5-yard swim, a minimum of 18 push-ups in proper form in one minute and 28 sit-ups in proper form in one minute, and a 1.5 mile run in 14 minutes, 36 seconds or less.


Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@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

Governor's Mansion:

Flag Status

American Flag Full Staff
State Flag Full Staff

Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Site Map