West Virginia Week in Review - May 10, 2019





Gov. Justice announces plans to build major rail trail along Elk River and Buffalo Creek
Adventure seekers from across the country will soon have a new opportunity to enjoy West Virginia’s natural beauty, as Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that the state plans to build a major rail trail along the Elk River and Buffalo Creek. The state has signed a letter of intent to purchase the land needed to complete the project, which aims to utilize 72 miles of existing rail lines in Clay and Kanawha counties and either repurpose the tracks for recreational purposes or convert them into trails for walking, hiking, biking and more. [Read More]




The planned trail network has the potential to become the second-longest rail trail east of the Mississippi River.



Gov. Justice presents “Governor’s One Shot Hunt” check to Mountaineer Food Bank for Hunters Helping the Hungry program
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice presented a $50,000 check to go toward Mountaineer Food Bank in their efforts to feed West Virginia families in need through the Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) program. The check was courtesy of the “Governor’s One Shot Hunt” –​ an antlerless deer hunting event that provides a source of fundraising and venison for the HHH program, which provides thousands of pounds of meat to needy families across the state every year. [Read More]




Now in its 12th year, the One Shot Hunt has raised a total of more than $650,000 in support of the HHH program.



Gov. Justice presents more than 200 students with West Virginia’s highest honor
Last Friday, Gov. Justice honored 223 eighth-graders from across the state, recognizing them as Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. This recognition honors students who have earned the highest achievement in knowledge of West Virginia history and culture. The Golden Horseshoe award is considered one of the greatest honors bestowed upon students in West Virginia. [Watch Video]




West Virginia has administered the Golden Horseshoe test each year since 1931 and it is the longest running program of its kind in the United States. The top-scoring students in each county receive the prestigious award. Each county has at least two winners. The exam tests students’ knowledge on citizenship, civics and government, economics, geography, history and current events. [View Photos]





First Lady Cathy Justice visits Cabell County schools as expansion of Communities In Schools program continues
On Thursday, First Lady Cathy Justice visited a pair of schools in Cabell County as the latest expansion of the Communities In Schools (CIS) program continues in West Virginia. CIS is a nationwide organization that specializes in dropout prevention by connecting at-risk students to community resources such as food and clothing, counseling, family engagement, and other life skills and physical health needs. First Lady Justice made stops Thursday at Spring Hill Elementary School and Huntington High School. [Watch Video]




The First Lady has previously announced that, following a $3 million supplemental appropriation from the West Virginia legislature, 49 schools in eight new counties will begin the program in the 2019-2020 school year.



Gov. Justice honors state employees at Public Service Recognition ceremony
Gov. Justice addressed State of West Virginia employees during a ceremony at the Culture Center in Charleston on Tuesday, commending them on careers of service as part of Public Service Recognition Week. The annual ceremony honors those celebrating milestone anniversaries of service, ranging from 30 years and up in 5-year increments. [Read More]




This year, a total of 607 employees reached one of these milestone anniversaries, including six individuals who are celebrating 50 years of service.



Gov. Justice, WVDEP hold ribbon cutting for Muddy Creek Restoration project
Last Friday, Gov. Justice was joined by Department of Environmental Protection leaders in hosting a ribbon cutting celebration for the DEP's Muddy Creek Watershed Restoration Project Friday at the T&T Treatment Facility in Albright. The lower 3.4 miles of Muddy Creek, a tributary into the Cheat River, was devastated by acid mine drainage due to mine blowouts from the T&T Mine Complex in 1994 and 1995. Through collaborative efforts of both state and federal agencies, and a public-private partnership between the DEP and Southwestern Energy, a more efficient and cost-effective approach to water treatment was implemented, which led to the development of the first watershed-based NPDES permit ever issued in the country. [Read More]




This state-of-the-art facility has proven to be a huge success in water restoration and has brought 3.4 miles of dead stream back to life.



Gov. Justice announces $225,000 in federal grant funding for broadband upgrades in Mason, Pocahontas and Wayne counties
Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has secured a combined total of $225,000 in federal grant funding that will be used to improve broadband and high-speed internet connectivity in Mason, Pocahontas and Wayne counties. [Read More]




These funds are just part of the total $13.1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars that have been dedicated for various broadband and infrastructure projects throughout West Virginia this year by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.





Pipestem Resort State Park celebrates grand opening of new zipline tour
Officials with West Virginia State Parks and the West Virginia Office of Tourism unveiled the state’s newest aerial adventure Thursday, holding a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate a new zipline that lets riders soar for more than a mile above the breathtaking Bluestone National Scenic River. [Watch Video]




The zipline is just one part of an $11 million investment at Pipestem Resort State Park. Pipestem is also undergoing extensive improvements to its cabins, lodge, campgrounds, water treatment facility and tram, all designed to improve the visitor experience. Guests can reserve their room, cabin, campsite and zipline tour on the recently launched online booking engine. The zipline is set to officially open for public tours Saturday, May 11.





Annual Mock Prison Riot event brings in global audience
More than 1,200 correctional and law enforcement officers and officials from across the U.S. and around the world converged on the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville this week for the 2019 Mock Prison Riot. Participants from 33 states and 22 countries attended the four-day event. Highlights included extensive training exercises, team and individual skills competitions, and a technology expo. [Read More]




The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation organizes the annual event at the historic former prison, which operated from 1876 until 1995, in conjunction with the non-profit West Virginia Corrections Training Foundation.





WVDE releases education stakeholder input report
The Department of Education released the West Virginia’s Voice final report Tuesday, concluding a two-month process to gather input from stakeholders on education advancement in the state. The report represents concerns, opinions and reflections from those who participated in the process through the recent series of eight education forums and online surveys held ahead of the upcoming special session on education betterment. [Read More]




Feedback from the forums and stakeholder input resulted in four top priorities that provide guidance moving forward. These include providing a pay raise to all school employees; increasing funding for social emotional supports with local flexibility; incentivizing high-performing schools with additional flexibility; and funding supplements to strengthen teachers’ skills in shortage areas with an initial focus on math.






eece assumes command of 130th Airlift Wing
On Saturday, Col. Bryan Preece assumed command of the 130th Airlift Wing from Col. Johnny Ryan during a ceremony at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston. [More Photos]




Preece is the 10th commander of the 130th Airlift Wing. He enlisted in 1993 as an Air Transportation specialist and commissioned in 1999. He has served as the 130th Operations Group commander, the Chief of Current Operations, Instructor Pilot, Chief of Training, as well as Deputy Commander of the 130th Maintenance Group.





West Virginia Dance Festival Scholarship winners announced
The Department of Arts, Culture and History selected three scholarship winners for the 2019 West Virginia State Dance Festival. The recipient of the Friends of West Virginia Culture and History scholarship is Emily Cobb, the recipient of the Jerry Rose Scholarship of Excellence is Autumn Wolfe, and the recipient of the Lorraine Graves Scholarship is Sidonie Ann Taylor. [Read More] 




Award winners performed solo pieces during the evening performances at the annual state Dance Festival at the Culture Center last week.





Students compete in statewide Bridge Design and Build Contest finals
On Saturday, middle and high school students from across the state gathered in Huntington to compete in the finals of the annual West Virginia Bridge Design and Build Contest. The contest promotes STEM education and career exploration by providing middle and high school students with a realistic, hands-on introduction to civil engineering. [Watch Video]





Secondary road maintenance work continues across the state
Once again this week, crews with the Division of Highways continued their work fixing the secondary road system across West Virginia. With an increased emphasis on road repair and maintenance as the top priority of the DOH, crews were able to complete over 500 road miles of ditching and blading work this week alone in addition to many other types of maintenance work. [Read More]







West Virginia small businesses receive honors during National Small Business Week
This week was National Small Business Week and several West Virginia businesses celebrated the occasion by celebrating themselves. On Wednesday, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Office recognized several entrepreneurs during a presentation event in Fairmont. [More Photos]




Most of the honorees were nominated by business coaches from the West Virginia Small Business Development Center. Stories on several of the honored small businesses appeared during National Small Business Week on the WV SBDC website.





DHHR announces request for applications for homeless services
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Children and Families announced a request for applications for entities interested in developing, maintaining, and supervising homeless shelters, services, and programs throughout the state. The goals of this initiative include providing a holistic care approach to homelessness; promoting access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs; empowering and optimizing self-sufficiency; and providing housing to individuals and families while minimizing trauma and dislocation. [Read More]







Fire Marshal's Office recognizes National Arson Awareness Week
This week marked National Arson Awareness Week, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office used the occasion to highlight the dangers of arson in communities across the state. Particularly, the office highlighted the prevalence of vacant building arsons in West Virginia being a common problem, and issued tips for community members to use to help prevent intentional fires. [Read More]







Radiological Emergency Preparedness program conducts drill with Beaver Valley Power Station
The Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) partnered with Hancock County Emergency Management and the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, PA to conduct a drill testing response capabilities in the event of a potential emergency. [Read More]




This specific drill addressed working with the DHSEM Watch Center on operational communications and coordination between DHSEM-REP, Hancock County, BVPS and other state agency partners.



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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