West Virginia Week in Review - July 26, 2019



Gov. Justice personally delivers first of 10 new Gradall excavators coming statewide to fix more roads; provides update on road conditions
Driving a flatbed tractor-trailer, Gov. Jim Justice personally hauled a brand new Gradall excavator – a top-of-the-line machine for road maintenance – to the Division of Highways’ District 6 Headquarters in Moundsville on Wednesday. The special delivery marked the first of 10 new Gradall machines that Gov. Justice announced will soon be coming to all corners of the state, as part of his commitment to provide more resources to fix West Virginia’s secondary road system. [Watch Video]
During Wednesday’s event, the Governor also provided an update on the amount of secondary roadwork that has been completed in the four months since he directed the DOH to make maintenance its top priority. Since asphalt plants reopened this spring, crews have paved more than 1,000 miles of fresh road and patched more than 7,000 miles-worth of road statewide. [More Photos]
Gov. Justice: West Virginia racks up more #1's
On Thursday, the United States Department of Commerce announced that West Virginia is the #1 state in the country in another category of economic growth, with the release of a report saying that West Virginia led the nation in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the 1st Quarter of 2019, with a 5.2% growth rate. [Read More]
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross tweeted a congratulatory message to the state and the Governor on the accomplishment. [Read More]
Secretary Ross reported last month that West Virginia also led the nation in personal income growth for the 1st Quarter of 2019, with a 5.6% growth rate.
Gov. Justice introduces bill to save Pleasants Power Station in amended special session call
Last Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he would be adding multiple bills and resolutions to the proclamation calling for lawmakers to convene in special session. Included among the new bills was one designed to save the First Energy-Pleasants Power Station on Willow Island from closing by eliminating a tax – unique to the Pleasants County plant – that makes it uncompetitive in the market against all other area power plants, which do not have to pay the tax. This week, the Legislature passed the Governor's bill and Gov. Justice has announced that he intends to sign the bill, saving many jobs in the process. [Read More]
The Legislature also passed two resolutions, introduced by Gov. Justice last week, authorizing the purchase of $800 million in State Road Bonds to be issued, over the next several years, in conjunction with the Governor's Roads to Prosperity program.
Gov. Justice announces intent to fund new U.S. Customs building at Yeager Airport during celebration of State-backed runway safety system
Last Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he has requested $2 million from the West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs Development Council to help fund the construction of a new United States Customs building at Yeager Airport. Gov. Justice made the announcement during an event at the airport celebrating the completion of a revitalized EMAS runway safety system; another project partially funded through money secured by the Governor. [Watch Video]
Leaders with the IJDC must review the request and give final approval before the funds can be officially transferred for use on the project. A customs building would allow Yeager Airport to facilitate international travel among private or cargo aircrafts.
Gov. Justice approves award of WV Route 10 improvement project in Mercer County
On Thursday, Gov. Justice and leaders from the West Virginia Department of Transportation announced that the contract for the last phase of operational and safety improvements on WV Route 10 in southern West Virginia has been awarded. This particular phase of work includes 14 miles of enhancements on WV-10, from the Wyoming/Mercer county line to US Route 19 near Kegley. [Read More]
This will be the fifth and final leg of overall WV-10 improvements – spanning a total of more than 70 miles – from Man in Logan County to Kegley in Mercer County. All five phases of work are part of the Gov. Justice's Roads to Prosperity program.
Gov. Justice's Administration providing assistance to World Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel Reserve
With West Virginia welcoming tens of thousands of scouts from across the entire world this week for the 24th World Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, several State agencies are on-hand to assist in the operation of the two-week-long event. [Read More]
This year’s World Scout Jamboree, which officially began on Monday, July 22 and will run through Friday, Aug. 2, marks the first time in more than 50 years that the event will be held in the United States. It is being tri-hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada. With attendance reaching approximately 44,000 scouts, the Summit Bechtel Reserve temporarily has a population larger than all but two West Virginia cities and larger than 42 of the state’s 55 counties. As such, extensive planning on a state level has been underway for months leading up to the Jamboree.
Gov. Justice orders United States and West Virginia state flags at half-staff in honor of John Paul Stevens
On Tuesday, at the order of Gov. Justice, all United States and West Virginia flags displayed at the Capitol complex in Charleston and all state facilities throughout West Virginia were lowered to half-staff in honor of the day of interment for John Paul Stevens, retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. [Read More]
Tourism Office welcomes visitors from around the globe for World Scout Jamboree
This week, officials with the West Virginia Tourism Office spent time at Yeager Airport in Charleston, welcoming thousands of domestic and international travelers to West Virginia for the 24th World Scout Jamboree, which is being held in Glen Jean. The Tourism staff was on hand to provide participants with literature and tips on the countless ways they can enjoy West Virginia during their stay and to encourage return visits to the Mountain State in the future. [Watch Video]
National Guard provides around-the-clock support for World Scout Jamboree
This week, hundreds of members of the National Guard in West Virginia and several other states, worked around-the-clock in Glen Jean, providing various types of support for the World Scout Jamboree. Before the scouts arrived, the Guard hosted a training exercise allowing hundreds of participants, from several emergency response organizations, to practice response and preparedness plans as well as interagency coordination for a simulated large-scale medical event. [More Photos]
Members of the National Guard also worked alongside St. Mary's Medical Center and the American Red Cross to assist in the facilitation of a major blood donation to the Jamboree, in the case of an emergency. [More Photos]
West Virginia National Guard identifies Army casualty
On Saturday, the West Virginia National Guard announced that Sgt. William Friese, of Parkersburg, passed away in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, from a non-combat related incident on July 18, 2019, while serving in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Friese was a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 821st Engineer Company. He joined the West Virginia Army National Guard in 2008 and was on his second deployment. [Read More]
During his 12-year career, he received 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 native West Virginian.
Holly River State Park hosts second Farm-To-Table Dinner of 2019 summer season
West Virginia State Parks held their second Farm-To-Table Dinner event of the summer on Thursday at Holly River State Park. The Farm-To-Table Dinner series is a partnership between State Parks, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the West Virginia Farmers Market Association to encourage the use of locally grown produce. [Watch Video]
Members of the public are invited into each hosting park to enjoy the atmosphere and a delicious locally sourced meal. The series of dinners is being held from June to September at a variety of parks across the entire state. Thursday’s meal at Holly River State Park marked the second of nine total Farm-To-Table Dinners this year, with the next scheduled for Friday, Aug. 16 at Twin Falls Resort State Park.
HHOMA holds third event of community Listening Tour in Keyser
On Thursday, leaders with the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs hosted their third event on their statewide community Listening Tour. The event was held at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Keyser and allowed for residents to have a chance to speak directly with HHOMA leadership about how the organization can benefit their communities. [Watch Video]
Proposed premium reduction projected to save West Virginia Employers millions
Last Friday, the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, under the Department of Revenue, announced that the National Council on Compensation Insurance – West Virginia’s rating and statistical agent – has filed a proposed workers’ compensation loss cost decrease of 1.6% effective November 1, 2019. This premium reduction results in a projected $3 million in savings to West Virginia employers. [Read More]
Since the workers’ compensation program was privatized in 2006, the market has experienced approximately $401 million in premium savings.
DHSEM, WVNG, first responders take part in training class for responding to bombing incidents
On Tuesday, more than 50 public safety professionals from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, West Virginia National Guard, and regional law enforcement agencies attended a class on how to handle bombing incidents. The class, held in Dunbar, was led by instructors from New Mexico Tech. [More Photos]
The classes, provided free to the state through FEMA funding, include training on how to plan for, recognize, and respond to bombing and explosive threats to public buildings, schools, and public events, emphasizing the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Suicide Bomber Improvised Explosive Devices (SBIEDs).
Maintenance progress on back roads continues throughout the state
This week, the Department of Transportation announced that in addition to having paved 1,000 miles of fresh roadways throughout West Virginia this year, crews have also now patched 7,000 miles-worth of potholes. Transportation Secretary Byrd White issued a video statement to discuss further progress that has been made across West Virginia as well. [Watch Video]
Meanwhile, last Friday, the Department of Transportation spotlighted the work on secondary road maintenance that has been completed in District 5, which consists of Grant, Hardy, Mineral, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties in the state's eastern panhandle. [Watch Video]
DNR seeks big bucks and trophy fish for National Hunting and Fishing Day display
On Wednesday, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced they are asking hunters and anglers to enter showcase pieces for the big buck and trophy fish display at the National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration at Stonewall Resort State Park on Sept. 21-22. Mounted trophy white-tailed bucks with a Pope and Young or Boone and Crockett score of 140 or greater that was legally harvested with a bow or gun may be entered in the display. DNR also is seeking fish that meet trophy citation guidelines. [Read More]
The display is limited to the first 30 qualifying trophy bucks. Only 25 qualifying trophy fish, chosen by a selection committee, will be displayed. No more than five fish of any species will be accepted for the display. Each hunter and angler who displays their trophy deer or fish at the two-day event will be entered in a drawing for several valuable prizes.
Decreasing eastern mallard populations force regulatory change for the 2019-2020 waterfowl hunting season
On Monday, the Division of Natural Resources announced that decreasing eastern mallard populations are forcing Atlantic Flyway states to change their regulations for the 2019-2020 waterfowl seasons. Hunters will not see a change in the total waterfowl daily bag limit or season length, but there will be a reduction in the mallard daily bag limit from four to two birds, of which only one can be a hen. [Read More]
While the mid-continent breeding population of mallards is stable, the breeding population in northeast United States has declined by about 38% since 1998. The northeastern population of mallards makes up 60% of the mallards harvested in the Atlantic Flyway. This translates into about 40% fewer mallards being harvested in the Atlantic Flyway in 2016 than in 1998.
WVDEP Partners with Trout Unlimited and Girl Scouts of America to Promote STREAM Girl Patch
On Monday, the Department of Environmental Protection's Project Water Education for Teachers announced it is partnering with Trout Unlimited and the Black Diamond Girls Scouts to hold an event to help girl scouts receive their STREAM patch, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Ritter Park in Huntington. Trout Unlimited partnered with Girl Scouts of America to create the new patch, which stands for Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Arts, and Math. This watershed experience combines STEM training with recreation and arts to explore a local stream.
A total of 15 girl scouts troops will attend the event, and complete stations that include a STREAM Walk, fly casting, macro-invertebrate surveys, fly tying, and STREAM Stations and bracelets to earn their patches.
Peachtree Falls cleanup event held in Naoma
On Saturday, nearly 20 volunteers got together for the 7th annual Peachtree Falls cleanup in Naoma. The cleanup, hosted by the Coal River Mountain Watch-Tadpole Project, started on the Big Coal River and worked its way up Peachtree Creek to the falls. Volunteers were pleasantly surprised that there was much less trash this year than in years prior. [More Photos]

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov


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