West Virginia Week in Review - March 8, 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 calls special session focusing on education betterment
On Thursday, Gov. Jim Justice issued a proclamation calling for the West Virginia Legislature to convene in special session to focus on education betterment. This special session will begin as soon as the current session ends, and the Legislature will recess immediately so they can go out and listen to teachers, parents, community leaders, and all those with a vested interest in making education better in West Virginia. The Governor also released a statement, explaining his decision was made to follow through on his promises to the public. 
[View Governor's Statement] 


Gov. Justice announces major broadband investment through Facebook collaboration
On Monday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia’s internet infrastructure is expanding through a collaboration with Facebook. The social media company, through its subsidiary Middle Mile Infrastructure, is planning to build a high-capacity fiber optic cable network crossing a portion of West Virginia as part of the company’s ongoing larger network infrastructure build stretching from Virginia to Ohio. [View Press Release]


The State plans to maximize the benefit of this advanced internet infrastructure by using excess bandwidth on the fiber to expand connectivity into West Virginia communities.

Gov. Justice announces February revenue collections continue to show strong growth
For the seventh month out of eight so far this fiscal year, monthly revenue collections came in above estimate, as Gov. Justice reported Monday that February revenue collections resulted in a $12.2 million surplus; 11.3% above prior year receipts. [View Press Release]


Year-to-date the General Revenue Fund has collected almost $2.96 billion, which amounts to a $53 million surplus; 12.4% ahead of prior year receipts.

Governor issues proclamation for National School Breakfast Week in front of WV students
Gov. Justice issued a proclamation Monday morning, officially designating this week as National School Breakfast Week in West Virginia. The Governor made the proclamation in front of more than a dozen students and service personnel in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol. [View Press Release]


The proclamation comes two weeks after West Virginia was named the top performing state in the nation for school breakfast participation for the fifth year in a row. [View Governor's Full Photo Album]


Governor seeks statewide nominations for volunteer awards
Gov. Justice announced Thursday that citizens can submit nominations to Volunteer West Virginia for the 2019 Governor's Service Awards. The Governor’s Service Awards, the state’s most prestigious volunteer award, honors individuals and organizations who roll up their sleeves to solve community problems in an innovative way. [View Press Release]


Gov. Justice proclaims Aviation Day in West Virginia
Gov. Justice celebrated West Virginia's achievements in flight Thursday, signing a proclamation that officially designated March 7, 2019 as West Virginia Aviation Day. Chief of Staff Mike Hall read the proclamation to a group of onlookers from the Governor's Reception Room, including members of the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission. [View Press Release]


Gov. Justice appoints pair of judges to fill Circuit Court vacancies
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced his appointment of Debra Scudiere, of Morgantown, to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court, which serves Monongalia County. Scudiere previously served as President of the West Virginia State Bar and she fills the seat vacated by Judge Russell M. Clawges Jr., who retired in January.
[View Press Release]


Gov. Justice made another judicial appointment Wednesday, naming Debra McLaughlin, of Berkeley Springs, to the 23rd Judicial Circuit Court, which serves Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties. McLaughlin has prior experience in this role as she previously served on the bench of the 23rd Circuit. She fills the seat vacated by Judge Christopher C. Wilkes, following his retirement. [View Press Release]


Gov. Justice signs Hunger Free WV Day proclamation
In recognition of the efforts being made across the state to end hunger in West Virginia, Gov. Justice issued a proclamation Tuesday, designating March 5, 2019 as Hunger Free WV Day. [View Press Release]


West Virginia Housing Development Fund announces Moody's Aaa credit rating
Moody’s Investor Service has once again affirmed West Virginia Housing Development Fund’s “Aaa” issuer credit rating. This qualification is Moody’s highest ranking and the Fund is the only state housing finance agency to receive this distinction.
[View Press Release]


Governor proclaims West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Day
On Monday, Gov. Justice issued a proclamation, officially designating March 4, 2019 as West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Day in the Mountain State. The Governor’s proclamation noted the overall impact of the WVSOM, highlighting that it is first among all medical schools in the United States graduating physicians who practice in rural areas. [View Press Release]


First Lady reads to classes of Raleigh County students
Last Friday, First Lady Cathy Justice visited two schools in Raleigh County to read to classes of students on National Reading Day. The First Lady made stops at the Kids of Harmony Pre-School in Beaver, WV and at Cranberry-Prosperity Elementary School in Beckley, WV; the same school the First Lady attended as a child. [View Press Release]


First Lady Justice kicks off Women’s History Month with speech and proclamation
First Lady Cathy Justice addressed a packed house inside the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol last Friday, as one of the keynote speakers at an event celebrating Women’s History Month in West Virginia. [View Press Release]


Also during the event, a proclamation signed by the Governor was presented to the crowd, officially designating March 2019 as Women’s History Month in West Virginia.

Gov. Justice signs proclamation for Red Cross Month in West Virginia
In honor of those West Virginians who support the American Red Cross’ mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies, Gov. Justice issued a proclamation last Friday, officially designating March 2019 as Red Cross Month in West Virginia. [View Press Release]



Manufacturers talk business with West Virginia suppliers at Auto Supply Chain Expo
Automotive manufacturers with operations in West Virginia met face-to-face with local suppliers Thursday at the West Virginia Automotive Supply Chain Expo. The event, which was presented by the Robert C. Byrd Institute, Advantage Valley and the West Virginia Development Office, took place at the Valley Park Conference Center in Hurricane. The expo introduced manufacturers such as NGK Spark Plugs, Sogefi and Toyota to prospective suppliers based in West Virginia. [View Press Release]


Division of Natural Resources announces weekend trout stockings return to WV parks this spring
This week, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced weekend trout stockings are set to return to West Virginia State Parks beginning on March 15. The WVDNR posted a full schedule of the planned stockings, organized by park, online. [View Full Schedule]


Division of Forestry celebrates 25 years using bloodhounds to assist in investigations
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Division of Forestry Investigative Unit using bloodhounds to help track down arsonists, missing children and lost hikers. In that time, West Virginia's renowned bloodhound teams have also traveled to assist law enforcement agencies in other states, tackling assignments as far as California, Arizona and North Dakota. [View Press Release]



West Virginia reports major progress with national Sexual Assault Kit initiative
West Virginia is pursuing justice for victims of sexual assault and other crimes through its continuing and successful role in the national DNA Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. The Mountain State is on track to finish testing the nearly 2,400 sexual assault evidence collection kits inventoried as part of this multi-year effort. Many of these kits had never been submitted to a lab, remaining instead at hospitals or law enforcement offices. [View Press Release]


The ongoing testing has so far contributed nearly 300 profiles to the Combined DNA Index System or CODIS, the national DNA database overseen by the FBI. The West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory administers the state’s participation with CODIS.


West Virginia Air Guard welcomes newest general officer
The West Virginia Air National Guard welcomed its newest general officer to its ranks Sunday, during a formal promotion ceremony for Brig. Gen. Ray Shepard held at the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg. [View Press Release]


Shepard will be stepping into the role of Chief of Staff for the WVANG, serving under Brig. Gen. Christopher "Mookie" Walker. As the Chief of Staff, Shepard is the deputy commander of the WVANG and provides command and control over the headquarters staff.

National Guard firefighters rescue man from burning vehicle
On Saturday, five 167th Airlift Wing firefighters responded to an early-morning car accident, pulling the driver from his burning vehicle. Within five minutes of being dispatched, Staff Sgt. Michael Frye, Staff Sgt. Ryan Trochimowicz, Staff Sgt. Jason Smith, Airman 1st Class Levi Taylor and Airman Garrison Huggins arrived on the scene less than a mile from the air base in Martinsburg, WV. The man who was rescued ended up sustaining only minor injuries. [View Press Release]


Three more homes completed through RISE WV rehousing program
Last week, two mobile home units in Greenbrier and Nicholas counties and one stick-built home in Nicholas County passed final inspections by the WVNG’s Quality Assistance/Quality Control team and are now considered “construction complete.” With the completion of these three projects, the RISE WV program, as administered by the National Guard and the West Virginia Development Office, has now finished a total of 47 homes. 
[View Press Release]



HHOMA announces first stop of statewide listening tour in Huntington
On Friday, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs announced the first of a four-stop statewide listening tour will take place Tuesday, March 12 at the A.D. Lewis Community Center in Huntington. The event is free and open to the public and is meant to be a forum for citizens and community leaders to voice their concerns and raise awareness of issues that affect residents. [View Press Release]


Subsequent listening tour events will take place in Dunbar, Piedmont, and Ranson. More details will be announced closer to those event dates.


WVDEP participates in STEM Festival
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with West Virginia State University, participated in a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Festival for Black Diamond Girl Scouts Saturday on the campus of West Virginia State University. [View Press Release]



West Virginia students compete in Poetry Out Loud state finals
Last Friday, 51 students from across West Virginia competed in the Poetry Out Loud state finals at the West Virginia Culture Center, reciting works by dozens of classic and contemporary poets that the students had committed to memory. Brett Napier (Right), from Greenbrier East High School, won first prize in the competition and will represent West Virginia at the 2019 National Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, D.C. this spring.  
[View Photo Album]


Tia Walkup (Center), from Greenbrier West High School, finished as the state runner-up.



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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