West Virginia Week in Review - May 3, 2019




Gov. Justice reports April 2019 Revenue Collections in at $53.6 million above estimate
Gov. Jim Justice reported Thursday that April Revenue Collections resulted in a $53.6 million surplus, which was 13% above prior year receipts. This marks the 13th out of the past 15 months that West Virginia’s monthly revenue collections came in above estimate. [Read More]




April’s total collections of $604.7 million added to the year-to-date total collection amount of $3.89 billion, which is $244.9 million above the governor’s original year-to-date estimate and 11.5% ahead of where the total collections were at this time last year.





Gov. Justice, WVDOT officials celebrate groundbreaking on King Coal Highway addition
Gov. Justice held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, along with leaders from the West Virginia Department of Transportation, to commemorate the beginning of roadwork on an addition to the King Coal Highway (US Route 52) in Mercer County. This major construction is the latest roadwork project to get underway as part of Gov. Justice’s Roads to Prosperity program. [Read More]




The project will add on to the existing John Nash Boulevard Connector of US-52, creating 3.8 miles of consecutive highway that connects John Nash Boulevard to Airport Road, providing motorists easier access to the Mercer County Airport and finally utilizing a bridge that had become known locally as the “Bridge to Nowhere” over the years.



Gov. Justice meets with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy to discuss the future of energy production in West Virginia 
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice met with United States Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette at the State Capitol in Charleston to discuss West Virginia's abundant energy resources, the potential those resources could mean for the state economy, and the energy infrastructure issues and needs across the entire Appalachian region. The meeting came on the heels of an Executive Order by President Donald Trump, which directs the DOE to submit a report to the president describing opportunities to promote the economic growth of the Appalachian region, including growth of petrochemical and other industries as well as unleashing the full potential of the United States’ natural resources. [Read More at Energy.gov]




The meeting also marked the second time in the past month that leaders with the DOE visited West Virginia. Three weeks ago Gov. Justice met with Steven E. Winberg, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Fossil Energy with the DOE and others to discuss economic growth opportunities for West Virginia in petrochemicals and next-generation coal-fired power plants, including the feasibility of building a petrochemical complex in the region. [Read More]



Gov. Justice announces online camping reservations now available for all West Virginia State Parks
Last Friday, Gov. Justice stopped by Audra State Park to announce the launching of an upgraded online camping reservation system, which will allow people to reserve campsites at all West Virginia State Parks for the first time. Meanwhile, the governor also announced that $3.5 million in campground upgrades will soon be invested at 16 state parks and forests. [Read More]




In the first three days after launching the new system, state parks saw reservations skyrocket, with more than 4,500 guest-nights booked online from campers across 26 states, including California, Wyoming and Washington and even from outside the U.S. from Ontario, Canada. [Read More & Sign Up]





Gov. Justice addresses students participating in West Virginia History Bowl finals
Gov. Justice spoke with nearly 100 of the state’s brightest young minds Tuesday during the 10th Annual West Virginia History Bowl championship tournament at the state Culture Center in Charleston. During his address, Gov. Justice praised the students’ commitment to excellence and challenged them to continue that commitment long into the future. [Read More]




First Lady Cathy Justice also attended Tuesday's event, meeting and talking with participants. Information on the tournament results can be found below in the "Department of Arts, Culture and History" section. [More Photos]





First Lady Cathy Justice visits schools to kick off Communities In Schools program expansion
On Wednesday and Thursday, First Lady Cathy Justice visited a handful of schools across the state to kick off the latest expansion of the Communities In Schools program in West Virginia. The First Lady announced that, following a $3 million supplemental appropriation from the West Virginia legislature, 49 schools in eight new counties will begin employing the program in the 2019-2020 school year. [Read More]




The Communities In Schools program works to reduce dropout rates by connecting those at-risk students to community resources such as food and clothing, counseling, family engagement, and other life skills and physical health needs.



Gov. Justice addresses Division of Highways workers at maintenance conference
Gov. Justice spoke with more than 130 West Virginia Division of Highways maintenance workers from across the state Tuesday during an annual maintenance conference and training seminar in South Charleston. During his address, the governor highlighted the DOH’s progress in the six weeks since his directive to make secondary road maintenance its top priority and urged these crews to continue their diligent work to repair every single road possible, as fast as possible. [Watch Recap Video]





Gov. Justice meets with Hino Motors CEO, President, other executives
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice met with Hino Motors North America leadership, including CEO Shigehiro Matsuoka, President Takashi Ono and several other executives to discuss their new manufacturing plant in Parkersburg and how their company is contributing to the positive momentum in West Virginia's economy. [Social Post]







West Virginia History Bowl championship goes to South Middle School
On Tuesday, a field 24 teams, made up of 96 eighth grade students from across West Virginia, battled for the 2019 State History Bowl championship at the Culture Center in Charleston. The competition lasted all day and tested students on their knowledge about the history and culture of West Virginia and more. In the end, the championship crown was won by a team from South Middle School in Morgantown. Runner-up honors went to a team from Peterstown Middle School. [Watch Full Video]




Members of the championship-winning team each took home prizes of $500, while the tournament MVP won an additional $250 prize. In total, these students learned more than 2,000 facts about the state of West Virginia in studying for this competition.



WVDACH holds annual West Virginia Dance Festival
Over this past weekend, the Department of Arts, Culture and History hosted the annual West Virginia Dance Festival at the Culture Center in Charleston. The event showcases the talents of West Virginia dancers each spring who come to the Capitol to perform and take classes from nationally-acclaimed dance instructors. [Watch Recap Video]







WVDOT releases secondary roads maintenance update
This week, the Department of Transportation released its weekly update on road maintenance data across West Virginia. Work this week included clearing 92,288 feet of pipe culverts and ditchline obstacles. Work also included the ditching of nearly 400 road-miles and much more. [Read More]




The road maintenance update also includes cumulative data on the amount of work that has been completed since Gov. Justice issued his directive in mid-March to refocus the Division of Highways as a maintenance-first organization.



Speed limit to be reduced on West Virginia Turnpike in Mercer County
Last Friday, acting commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Highways, Jimmy Wriston, signed a Commissioner’s Order to reduce the speed limit to 60 miles per hour on the West Virginia Turnpike along a six-mile stretch from Camp Creek to Flat Top in Mercer County. [Read More]




The state Parkways Authority has also increased State Police enforcement, installed flashing chevrons and changeable message boards, and brought on an additional Public Service Commission Enforcement Officer to deal, primarily, with truck traffic, all in an effort to reduce the circumstances that have led up to a number of crashes in the area.





West Virginia selected for national pilot project battling addiction
This week, the DHHR announced that West Virginia has been chosen as one of five states to partner with Shatterproof — a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation of addiction — on the development and implementation of a rating system for addiction treatment programs. [Read More]




During the 24-month pilot program, the DHHR will work with Shatterproof to align the rating system with ongoing initiatives in West Virginia to improve the quality of addiction treatment by ensuring care is delivered using evidence-based best practices.





Reverse Job Fairs continue to open opportunities for students
This week, the West Virginia Department of Education once again teamed up with the West Virginia Development Office to hold another set of Reverse Job Fairs at the Carver CTE Center in Kanawha County and the Spring Valley CTE Center in Huntington. Instead of companies waiting for job seekers to visit their booths, work-ready students set up the fairs to showcase their skills and attract employers. [More Photos]




Several more of these Reverse Job Fairs will be held through the end of next week.



WVDE hosts West Virginia Social Studies Fair
On Friday, the West Virginia Department of Education held the 2019 state Social Studies Fair at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, where hundreds of students from grades 3-12 gathered to show off presentations on a variety of social studies-related subjects. [More Photos]







DMAPS officers honored for providing special courtroom security
On Wednesday, 22 deputies and officers with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Capitol Police were honored at the Governor's Reception Room inside the State Capitol. These men and women were tasked with providing special security to a short-staffed courthouse in Calhoun County during a high-profile multi-defendant murder and armed robbery trial from November 2018 through February 2019. During Wednesday's ceremony, DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy presented certificates of appreciation and the department’s Freedom Pin to each individual. [Read More]







DHSEM and State Fire Marshal's Office update digital arson database
In a collaborative effort, members of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Geographical Information Systems section, the Watch Center and the State Fire Marshal’s Office created a new data collection system to replace the outdated arson database used by the state to report and collect arson information. The new system aims to streamline the reporting process. [Read More]





DHSEM partners up to host training session teaching first responders the best ways to assist people with autism
On Monday, DHSEM and several partners, including the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition and Marshall University, hosted a training session to help first responders recognize and assist someone on the autism spectrum by providing tools to help with communication and sensory issues. [Social Post]







Soldiers and airmen vie for the title of Best Warrior in West Virginia
Twenty-two soldiers and airmen from the West Virginia Army National Guard, West Virginia Air National Guard, and the District of Columbia National Guard took part in the 2019 West Virginia Best Warrior competition at Camp Dawson in Kingwood, West Virginia. last weekend. The annual Best Warrior competition tests the physical abilities, leadership skills, teamwork and critical thinking of Soldiers and Airmen as they complete basic and advanced core warrior competencies. [Read More]




Events such as a six-mile ruck march, stress fire, obstacle course, swimming, and night and day land navigation test a warrior’s physical conditioning, while board interviews, public affairs interviews, and essay completion tests mental preparedness. Additional competencies included radio communications, grenade and claymore deployment and use, gas mask and personal decontamination operations, medical assessments and treatment, and detainee operations.





WVDEP holds Adopt-A-Highway Statewide Spring Cleanup
Thousands of volunteers and community groups cleaned up more than 1,000 miles of West Virginia’s roadways Saturday in the annual Adopt-A-Highway Statewide Spring Cleanup. Co-sponsored by the WVDEP and the state Division of Highways, the Adopt-A-Highway program encourages individuals or groups to pick up trash on almost any state-maintained road, back road, or main route.




Since the program’s inception in 1988, state citizens have cleaned up close to 70,000 miles of state highways and roads.



WVDEP recognizes National Air Quality Awareness Week
The Department of Environmental Protection recognized this week as National Air Quality Awareness Week, encouraging all West Virginians to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) to find the best time of day to be active outdoors. The AQI calculates health effects for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act – ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.  For each of these pollutants, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has established national air quality standards to protect public health. [Read More]







WVDVA participates in Joining Community Forces Veterans Resource Fair
At the end of last week, leaders from the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance participated in the 2019 Joining Community Forces Veterans Resource Fair in Parkersburg. The event brought together groups supporting veterans from across the state all into one place to give veterans information on the types of resources available to them.




WVDVA officials were on hand to answer questions and assist veterans with federal and state veterans claims for benefits such as VA service-connected disability, Vocational Rehabilitation, VA home loans, and education programs.  




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