West Virginia Week in Review - June 14, 2019




Gov. Justice announces best revenue year in West Virginia history; state has second-highest growth rate in America
On Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice announced that revenue collections for this fiscal year have set an all-time West Virginia record and are among the very best for any state in the country. The state is on pace to reach about $500 million in revenue growth for this fiscal year alone, an all-time best for any single year in West Virginia history. For perspective, in the entire decade before Gov. Justice took office – from 2007 to 2017 – combined revenue growth reached only $314 million. [Watch Video]


Additionally, over the first 10 months of this fiscal year, the general revenue growth rate came in at a staggering 11.5 percent. Only five out of the 50 states across the country can boast double-digit revenue growth rates. West Virginia’s 11.5 percent is the second-best such rate in America this year. [More Photos]


Gov. Justice, WVDOT officials celebrate breaking ground on next phase of WV Route 10 enhancement projects in Wyoming County
On Thursday, Gov. Justice held a ceremony at Wyoming East High School, along with leaders from the West Virginia Department of Transportation, to celebrate the start of more than 50 miles of paving and other road enhancements coming to WV Route 10 in Wyoming County. [Watch Video]


The work in Wyoming County consists of three separate projects: the widening and paving of 23 miles from the Logan/Wyoming county line to Pineville, the widening and paving of 27.5 additional miles from Pineville to the Wyoming/Mercer county line, and the rehabilitation of the Ken Shadrick Bridge.

Gov. Justice, energy industry leaders denounce Bloomberg’s attack on working West Virginians
Gov. Justice and leaders from across West Virginia’s energy industries banded together on Monday at the State Capitol, denouncing former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent vow to devote $500 million on efforts to close all of America’s coal-fired power plants and to stop the construction of natural gas power plants within the next decade. [Watch Video]


Gov. Justice announces West Virginia Social Media Challenge
This week, Gov. Justice announced that beginning Friday, June 14 and continuing through Thursday, June 20, the Governor's Office and the Tourism Office will be leading the first-ever West Virginia Week Challenge. It’s a seven-day social challenge designed to drive engagement and inspire travel to West Virginia through daily themes and the hashtag #AlmostHeaven. Tourism attractions around the state have donated vacations as giveaways for lucky participants. [Read More]


To participate, social media users are asked to follow along with the themes each day and publicly post their photos and memories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #AlmostHeaven. 

Governor and First Lady Justice unveil special edition Father’s Day Blenko Glass piece
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice unveiled a special edition Father’s Day Blenko Glass piece during a special ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston. All of the pieces made before have always honored the state’s first lady. But the new piece that was unveiled Wednesday is the first ever to be created in honor of a governor. [Watch Video]


Over the years, the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History has worked in collaboration with Blenko Glass Company in Milton to develop several special edition pieces in honor of West Virginia’s first family.

Governor and First Lady Justice honor History Bowl champions
Governor and First Lady Justice hosted the 2019 West Virginia History Bowl champions from South Middle School in Morgantown at the Governor's Mansion on Wednesday, congratulating the team and their teachers on their accomplishment. First Lady Justice honored the winning team by presenting them with the History Bowl trophy. [Watch Video]


The South Middle School team showed incredible resolve in winning the state title, as they became one of the only teams in the history of the competition to lose one match and still go on to win the double-elimination tournament.


ABCA debuts new DUI simulator

On Monday, the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration unveiled a brand-new DUI simulator machine at the State Capitol in Charleston. Educational sessions with DUI simulators have been in high demand in recent years. Since 2010, the ABCA has attended more than 600 events and more than 54,000 people, mostly students, have experienced this life-saving program. This new, more technologically advanced model will allow for more of these important demonstrations to continue across the state.


The program provides youth with the opportunity to experience various driving conditions, hazards and scenarios while safely using a simulation system. The program mimics the difficulties drivers will encounter at various blood alcohol content levels. The program also includes a classroom lecture and collects relevant statistical information to aid in prevention programming.

Sunday Brunch hours go into effect statewide
This past weekend, a new law went into effect, allowing certain types of businesses to serve alcohol to customers on Sundays, beginning as early as 10 a.m. statewide. The change is a result of the passage of Senate Bill 561, which was signed by Gov. Justice in March during the legislative session. [Read More]



Childhood hunger addressed through Summer Food Program
The Department of Education kicked off its Summer Food Service Program at Overbrook Elementary School in Charleston on Monday. The program supports child nutrition during the summer break when thousands of the state’s school children suffer from heightened food insecurity. The theme of this year’s program is Try Something New, encouraging children to eat foods they love as well as a few new menu options. [Read More]


The program is critical in West Virginia, where an average of 208,000 children depend on free and reduced-priced meals during the school year. Last summer, 550 sites served an average of 21,000 meals each day. In all, more than one-half million meals were served. This summer, approximately 125 agencies will participate in more than 450 feeding sites throughout the state.

First-ever Career Signing Day gives students exciting opportunity to celebrate employment
On Tuesday, six students from West Virginia’s nationally recognized Career Technical Education Simulated Workplace program participated in the first-ever Simulated Workplace Career Signing Day at Dutch Miller in South Charleston. Recent automotive technology graduates signed symbolic employment letters with the company. The signing represents the ongoing partnership between the Department of Education and Dutch Miller Auto Group to provide employment opportunities for students who meet the automotive industry’s demand for skilled workers. [Read More]


The Simulated Workplace program creates industry-standard learning experiences within each CTE center across the state. With the support of business and industry, CTE classrooms and shops are transformed into real-world workplace environments that mirror industry workforce standards including random drug testing, professionalism, attendance, and safety.

WVDE hosts 2019 KidStrong Conference
Beginning on Thursday, the Department of Education hosted its annual KidStrong Conference at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center. The conference offers participants more than 100 sessions over multiple days, focusing on topics ranging from social and emotional wellness, the opioid epidemic, physical education, and more. [Read More]


State superintendent receives Superior evaluation; teachers recognized for service
During a meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education on Wednesday, it was announced that the board has given State Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine a "Superior" evaluation for his job performance. Currently in his second year since returning to the position in March 2017, Paine has given direct focus to increasing math achievement, leadership capacity within the school system, and to the social and emotional support for West Virginia students. [Read More]


Also during Wednesday's meeting, the Board of Education recognized employees who have worked within West Virginia's school system for anywhere from 20 to 40 years. The picture below represents nearly 700 years of service to West Virginia students.




ation Deputy Secretary tours progress on interstate bridge deck replacement project in Charleston
On Thursday, Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E. toured the Westmoreland Bridge Deck Project on Interstate-77, near the interstate split in Charleston. Crews with the Division of Highways are making substantial progress, replacing the decks on a total of three overpass bridges in the vicinity and completing an overlay on one other bridge. [Watch Video]


So far, crews are 26 days through the 100-day project. The work in the northbound lanes is expected to last approximately 50 days. From there, crews will mirror that same work in the southbound lanes, which is expected to take another 50 days.

WVDOT removes pieces of fallen Silver Bridge from Ohio resident's yard
From Monday to Wednesday this week, crews with the Division of Highways retrieved several pieces of the old Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant from the yard of an Ohio resident, more than half a century after the bridge tragically collapsed on December 15, 1967. The resident approached WVDOT officials during the 50th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony in 2017 and, once the proper permits were acquired to do the work across state lines, West Virginia Highways crews got to work cleaning the site and gathering these important pieces of history. [Watch Video]


These pieces of the bridge will be displayed by the City of Point Pleasant, the River Museum, and the Division of Highways District 1 office, serving as a reminder for future generations of bridge inspectors about the importance of the work they do.

Progress fixing West Virginia's roadways continues in District 3
Over the next several weeks, the WVDOT will be updating their progress fixing roadways in each of the state's ten districts. This week, crews in District 3 kept up their diligent work; paving, patching, and otherwise upgrading roads in need of repair. District 3 consists of Wirt, Ritchie, Roane, Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, and Wood counties and residents are sharing their experiences. [Watch Video]



State employees take part in safety preparedness exercise
Through the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, state officials are developing a new Closed Point of Dispensing (C-POD) so medicine or other assistance can be distributed quickly to government employees and their households in the case of an emergency. Nearly 50 state employees representing 13 agencies took part in a recent C-POD practice exercise, to test how this precautionary resource would guide employees and provide them the necessary medication. [Read More]



WVDEP and volunteer groups removed more than 590,000 pounds of litter during spring cleanup events
Last Friday, the Department of Environmental Protection reported that more than 590,000 pounds of litter were removed from West Virginia’s public roads, highways, and streams thanks to volunteer efforts this spring as part of the state’s Adopt-A-Highway program, and the WVDEP's Make It Shine program.


Numbers were recently finalized for the Make It Shine and Adopt-A-Highway cleanups. Both events rely heavily on volunteer efforts for their success and this spring, more than 9,500 volunteers participated in cleanups that yielded almost 300 tons of trash.

Annual Ohio River Sweep event date announced
Volunteers in 11 West Virginia counties are gearing up for the 31st annual Ohio River Sweep, set for Saturday. The massive cleanup is organized by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission with help from several states' environmental protection and natural resource agencies.


More than 21,000 volunteers from six states – West Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania – come together each year to remove more than 20,000 tons of trash and other debris from the banks of the Ohio River and its tributaries. The cleanup encompasses the entire length of the river, from its origin in Pittsburgh to its end in Cairo, Ill., and covers more than 3,000 miles of shoreline.

Project WET program holds wetland workshop for Kanawha County students
Recently, the WVDEP's Project WET partnered up with Kanawha County Schools and the Ward Hollow Wildlife Habitat staff to hold a workshop called Wonders of Wetland, or WOW! Educators attended the workshop, learning about wetland functions, plant and wildlife communities, wetland soils and much more. [More Photos]



Office of Energy hosts annual Energy Efficiency Conference
The West Virginia Office of Energy held its annual Energy Efficiency Conference this week at Canaan Valley Resort. This year's theme was Connecting Communities through Energy and attendees included energy industry experts, economic developers, trainers and educators who all shared ideas, programs and opportunities to help West Virginia become a more energy efficient state. [Social Page]



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

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