West Virginia Week in Review - June 21, 2019





Governor and First Lady Justice celebrate West Virginia’s 156th Birthday with cake cutting ceremony and annual Interfaith Program
For West Virginia Day on Thursday, Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice participated in several West Virginia Day events at the State Culture Center, in celebration of the state’s 156th Birthday. The festivities began with the Governor and the First Lady meeting and speaking with participants of the West Virginia Ambassador’s Camp – an annual educational summer camp for incoming ninth graders from across the state. The students sang “West Virginia Hills” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads” in honor of the state’s birthday and one of the students joined First Lady Justice in the traditional state birthday cake cutting ceremony.​ [Watch Video]




From there, the Governor and First Lady made their way to the Culture Center Theater for the annual Interfaith Program – a prayer service held on West Virginia Day each year for people of all religious backgrounds to come together in saying thanks for the previous year’s blessings and to ask for a successful year ahead. During an address, Gov. Justice highlighted the accomplishments made by the state of West Virginia over the past year. [More Photos]





Gov. Justice wishes West Virginia a Happy Birthday in address
Also on Thursday, Gov. Justice released a video message and a statement, asking the people of West Virginia to join him in celebrating the state's birthday and the successes of the past year. He also called for residents to continue the outpouring of love for West Virginia and to urge friends to explore all of what the state has to offer. [Watch Video]





Gov. Justice supports President Trump's rollback of Obama's war on coal
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice issued a statement in support of President Trump and his administration for signing the all-new Affordable Clean Energy Rule, an Environmental Protection Agency policy that will put an end to Obama-era regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants that devastated West Virginia’s economy and the lives of many of its people. [Read More]





Gov. Justice orders flags flown at half-staff in honor of Master Sgt. Nicholas Sheperty
On Monday, Gov. Justice issued a proclamation ordering that all West Virginia and United States flags at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston and on all State-owned facilities throughout Preston County be displayed at half-staff until sunset on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in honor of the interment ceremony of West Virginia Army National Guard Master Sgt. Nicholas Sheperty, who was fatally injured during a training exercise in Suffolk, Virginia on April 17, 2019. [Read More]




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 decorations.



Gov. Justice discusses auto industry at annual West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association Family Convention
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice addressed hundreds of car and truck dealers from across the state, who gathered in southern West Virginia this week for the 2019 West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association Family Convention. During his speech, the governor thanked attendees for their important contributions to the state’s economy. Annual sales for the state’s new car and truck dealerships total approximately $5 billion, or 19.1 percent of the total retail sales in the state. [Read More]




The WVATDA represents 135 new car and truck dealerships across the state, which employ approximately 13,000 people, either directly or indirectly, with a total annual payroll of $300 million, or $50,000 per person.



Gov. Justice appoints Charlotte Lane as chairwoman of Public Service Commission
Last Friday, Gov. Justice announced the appointment of Charlotte Lane as the chairwoman of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC). The PSC of West Virginia exists to ensure that reasonably priced and reliable utility services are available to all West Virginians. [Read More]




Lane has previous experience in the same role with the PSC of West Virginia, serving as chairwoman from 1997 to 2001. For six additional years, she served as a commissioner for the PSC. Lane has also served as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates on three separate occasions, including as recently as 2018.



Gov. Justice amends special session call to include supplemental appropriations and additional bills
Last Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he would be adding an additional 12 bills to the proclamation calling for lawmakers to convene in special session to focus on education betterment. [Read More]




Included in the governor’s amendment were ten new supplemental appropriation bills, one bill relating to the procurement of construction work performed as part of disaster mitigation or recovery originating from a declared state of emergency, and one bill relating to the Ryan Brown Fund.





HHOMA hosts annual Juneteenth Celebration
On Saturday, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs hosted its 3rd annual Juneteenth Celebration event at the State Capitol in Charleston. The event featured music, dancing, arts and crafts, and much more. [Watch Video]




Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of African slaves throughout the Confederate South. [More Photos]







In the week leading up to West Virginia Day, the Tourism Office organized a social media challenge called the West Virginia Week Challenge, asking people to share their favorite memories and images of the Mountain State, along with the hashtag #AlmostHeaven to inspire the outside world to appreciate all of what West Virginia has to offer. The campaign showcased the state to millions of people from across the world. In celebration of the challenge, and of West Virginia Day, the Tourism Office released a video of some of their favorite posts from the week and other West Virginia highlights. [Watch Video]







History Alive! at West Virginia’s state parks this summer
This week, West Virginia State Parks unveiled its schedule for the History Alive! program. This program features scholars from around the state who portray historical figures at venues including museums, schools, libraries, community centers, and fairs and festivals. These living history performances provide a passage through time for student and adult audiences throughout the Mountain State. You can view the schedule for History Alive! events, as well as all other State Parks events on the Parks web calendar. [Read More]




The History Alive! programs are free to attend and open to all park visitors, overnight guests and the public. The first event happened on West Virginia Day Thursday, as Mark Twain visited Blennerhassett Island.



Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company debuts new beer at Pipestem Resort
In honor of West Virginia Day on Thursday, Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company released its newest beer, 35 Parks WV Pale Ale, at Pipestem Resort State Park. 35 Parks WV Pale Ale is the result of a collaboration between West Virginia State Parks and Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company in recognition of the “Almost Heaven” scenery and outdoor opportunities at West Virginia’s 35 state parks. [Read More]




The beer features a grain bill with 30% unmalted wheat sourced from Hillsboro. It is noted for its rocky head, with robust orange and grapefruit flavors and notes of toasted biscuit and cracker. It is available year-round statewide and featured at select state resorts. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Nature Conservancy’s efforts in West Virginia.





West Virginia Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy graduates 155 cadets
Last Friday, the West Virginia National Guard’s Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy graduated 155 cadets as a part of the program's latest class of students. Of these cadets, 137 of them completed the program with a high school diploma. The mission of the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy is to train and mentor selected at-risk youth in a military environment to become contributing members of society. Throughout the 22-week program, cadets provided more than 9,210 hours of community service through 114 different projects, a recognized value of more than $234,223. [Read More]




Of those graduating, 55 percent (806 cadets) plan to join the workforce, 16 percent (24 cadets) plan to join the military, 17 percent (26 cadets) plan to attend a vocational/technical program, and 12 percent (19 cadets) plan to go onto a four-year college program.



Starbase West Virginia Summer Camps provide STEM learning for military kids
Summer has officially kicked off with Starbase Camps for military children in West Virginia. Starbase, a nationwide Department of Defense education program, helps introduce 5th grade students from local elementary schools to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and career opportunities via week-long STEM academies held throughout the school year. Each summer, Starbase offers several week long summer camps to military member families and the local community that emphasize both STEM education, and shared bonding opportunities. [Read More]




West Virginia is served by two Starbase programs; Charleston and Martinsburg. The Charleston area has one summer camp for children ages 9-14, while the Martinsburg Starbase program hosts numerous camps throughout summer for children from ages 5-14.



D.C. Air National Guard seeks to update training capability, readiness with airspace proposal
The District of Columbia Air National Guard announced this week that it is embarking on a three-year project to potentially modify the Evers Military Operating Area (MOA), an airspace which includes parts of West Virginia and southern Virginia, that would be made available to train aircrews from around the region, including from West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. [Read More]




This proposal would expand the lateral footprint of the Evers MOA from 450 square nautical miles to 3,500 square nautical miles and establish three additional Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspaces. It would enable aircrews to operate in a properly configured military airspace that meets requirements as an integrated, year-round, realistic training environment for combat aircraft to enhance combat capability, as well as support advanced 21st century air-to-air tactical fighters and evolving military training requirements.



Guard engineers support Resolute Castle, forge international relationships in Romania
More than 100 Soldiers from the West Virginia Army National Guard are taking part in Resolute Castle 19 at the Joint National Training Center/Cincu Training Area in Cincu, Romania. Resolute Castle 19 is a multinational joint training exercise that conducts troop construction engineer training projects. These exercises reinforce regional assurance and deterrence, strengthen partnership capacity, assure NATO allies of our continuing commitment, promote continued partnership with host nation forces and provide quality improvements to existing infrastructure, all while supporting Atlantic Resolve, a demonstration of the United States’ commitment to the collective security of Europe. [Read More]




Horizontal and vertical construction engineers and support staff are working in Romania constructing ranges, a gym/multipurpose building and upgrading infrastructure while serving alongside international allies in the region. The group departed in early June.





West Virginia increases national ranking for educators with top teacher certification
The Department of Education’s National Board Certification (NBC) Awareness and Support program brought teachers to the Bridgeport Conference Center in Bridgeport this week for an in-depth look at the process for those considering pursuing their certification. Sustained support of the NBC program in the state has resulted in gains above the national average. [Read More]




National Board Certification is the most respected certification available in K-12 education and West Virginia’s national ranking for the percentage of National Board Certified teachers increased from 17th to 15th since last school year.



Inaugural School Leadership Network held for experienced principals
The Department of Education held the inaugural session of its School Leadership Network for experienced principals this week in Morgantown. Nearly 100 experienced school administrators, with three or more years’ experience, representing 41 counties throughout the state attended the first of three sessions to help build a statewide network of support for all school administrators. [Read More]




During the three-day session, experienced administrators worked in teams with peers, national researchers and national and local practitioners to discuss research-proven strategies that lead to enhanced instructional leadership and greater student achievement. The goal is to provide a network of resources, knowledge and support for each principal that will sustain professional learning, growth and development. 



Cabell County assistant teacher named state service personnel employee of the year
Last Friday, Lionel Hope Jr., an early childhood assistant teacher at Highlawn Elementary School in Cabell County, was named the 2019 West Virginia School Service Personnel Employee of the Year. The annual award recognizes outstanding school service employees who embody exemplary qualities. [Read More]




Hope is an 11-year employee of Cabell County Schools, having worked eight of those years at Highlawn Elementary, where he is a valued resource to teachers, students, and families. He establishes a rapport with his students, allowing him to relate to those facing a variety of challenges and obstacles. A man of many talents, Hope reaches out and connects to students through his music, gardening skills, and many community endeavors. Hope volunteers with the school’s SAVE our Students mentoring program and serves as role model to all students.





Commerce secretary begins statewide business tour
This week, Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch and other leaders from the Department of Commerce visited several West Virginia businesses in Randolph, Tucker, Grant, and Upshur counties. The series of visits were the first of many stops the secretary intends to make as part of a statewide business tour initiative. [Watch Video]




The goal of the statewide tour is to recognize the successes of various businesses that have made West Virginia their home and to promote additional economic growth.



Cyclops Industries celebrates 60th anniversary
Cyclops Industries marked 60 years in business with a Diamond Anniversary celebration. The event was held Wednesday at the company’s manufacturing facility in South Charleston. Cyclops designs and manufactures safety sight glasses, viewport assemblies, sight flow indicators, spray rings, sight lights, and sight glass replacements. [Watch Video]




The company’s products are sold in markets around the world. Over the past several years, Cyclops has received the Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry for exporting to countries from Argentina to Vietnam.



Tasty Blend holds ribbon cutting ceremony
Last week, Tasty Blend – located in Fraziers Bottom – celebrated the expansion of its facility and relocation of a product line. Tasty Blend Foods is a national leader in providing top-quality dry mixes and prepared food products for both food service and retail locations. [Watch Video]







Thousands of volunteers help in annual Ohio River Sweep
This week, the largest annual one-day volunteer river cleanup in the country took place, and West Virginians played a big part in making it happen. The 30th annual Ohio River Sweep was organized by Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. Dozens of volunteers took part in cleanups along the River in Huntington on Saturday, one of nearly 20 cleanup sites along the West Virginia shoreline. Last year, volunteers from the six states bordering the Ohio River removed more than 320 tons of trash. [Watch Video]







Two new members named to West Virginia Parole Board
Gov. Justice has asked a multi-term magistrate and a longtime community leader to share their expertise and experience on the West Virginia Parole Board. This week, Gov. Justice appointed Kim Blair of Putnam County and John Sines of Wood County to complete unexpired terms on the nine-seat board. The governor chose Blair to fill a term ending June 30, 2023, and Sines to one that expires June 30, 2022. The appointments, made Friday, require state Senate confirmation. [Read More]




Part of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, the Parole Board performs a critical role in the state’s criminal justice system by deciding on the conditional release of eligible adult offenders. Hearing cases in panels of three, it contributes to public safety by facilitating the return of offenders to society as law-abiding citizens.



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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