West Virginia Week in Review - May 31, 2019



Gov. Justice announces best job rate in West Virginia in 11 years
Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that job numbers for April 2019 show the state's unemployment rate has dropped to 4.2 percent – the best rate seen in West Virginia since 2008. The numbers, compiled by WorkForce WV, show that job rates improved in 54 of the state’s 55 counties in the month of April. [Read More]


Gov. Justice attends unclaimed veteran interment ceremony
On Memorial Day, Gov. Justice joined leaders from the Department of Veterans Assistance at the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery in Dunbar to help provide a proper sendoff to three unclaimed veterans from the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. The governor provided remarks for the ceremony, honoring these West Virginians for their service and sacrifice, while also reminding those in attendance that these veterans are no longer unclaimed, but are forever claimed by those of us in West Virginia. [Watch Video]


Members of the West Virginia National Guard Honor Guard also participated in honoring these veterans. Members of the Honor Guard performed a 21-gun salute, played Taps, and performed a ceremonial folding of American flags for each of the veterans in reverence of their sacrifices. [More Photos]


Gov. Justice honors West Virginians who have made the ultimate sacrifice on Memorial Day
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice directed all US and state flags at the Capitol and at all state-owned facilities be displayed at half-staff. Additionally, the governor honored those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom in a video message. [Watch Video]


Gov. Justice signs series of bills from 2019 Special Session
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice signed a series of 17 bills passed by the West Virginia Legislature last week as part of the 2019 Special Session. These bills were among a group of bills originally introduced during the regular legislative session this spring but were vetoed by Gov. Justice for purely technical reasons. After working with lawmakers, the technical errors were corrected and the bills were submitted for reconsideration. [Read More]


Storage tank fire in Tyler County extinguished after Gov. Justice orders state resources to fight blaze
This weekend, emergency crews from Tyler County spent several hours fighting a fire at a 1 million gallon natural gas condensate storage tank owned by Dominion Resources near Friendly, WV. On Saturday afternoon, lightning struck the tank and, in response, Gov. Justice ordered that all state resources necessary to fight the fire be made available, including personnel with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the West Virginia National Guard. [Read More]


The fire was eventually extinguished in the early-morning hours Sunday. No product was reported to have been released due to the fire. [Read More]

Gov. Justice appoints Kornish as judge for 8th Judicial Circuit serving McDowell County
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced the appointment of Edward J. Kornish of Welch, WV to the 8th Judicial Circuit Court, which serves McDowell County. Kornish is set to fill the seat that will be vacated by Judge Booker T. Stephens upon his retirement from the bench today. [Read More]



nish has practiced law in McDowell County for 29 years and also has 30 years of honorable service in the United States Army and the Army National Guard, including several deployments overseas, under his belt.

Gov. Justice appoints Jean Kranz as director of CHIP
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced the appointment of Jean Kranz as director of the West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). West Virginia CHIP is a partnership between the federal government and West Virginia to provide low-cost health care coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid and have no other source for health care coverage. The program serves 32,000 children annually. [Read More]


Kranz has been in the health care industry for more than 25 years, most recently as the West Virginia Family Health Plan's director of Medicaid operations.


West Virginia artists showcase talents at annual Vandalia Gathering
Last weekend, hundreds of artists and spectators from across West Virginia came together in Charleston for the 43rd annual Vandalia Gathering, an exhibition and competition including traditional Appalachian music, dancing, pieces of artwork and more. [Watch Video]


Awards were handed out to recognize the top finishers in several competitions throughout the weekend. West Virginia’s champion competed for top honors on Saturday, May 25, during the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History’s 43rd annual Vandalia Gathering. Throughout Saturday and Sunday old-time fiddle, bluegrass banjo, mandolin players, classic cookie bakers, old-time banjo, lap dulcimer, flatpick guitar musicians and liars vied for awards. [Read More]


The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History also unveiled the annual exhibition, Quilts and Wall Hangings 2019, in the Great Hall of the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, and announced the winners of the juried exhibition. [Watch Video]



Patriot Guardens uses agriculture training to expand opportunities for recovering West Virginians
The West Virginia Military Authority’s Patriot Guardens program, a component of the National Guard, is helping to assist West Virginians with substance abuse disorders on their path to recovery and new lives. The integrated agriculture and economic diversification program is piloting a partnership with Recovery Point WV, a non-profit organization that offers recovery services at no cost to citizens across the state. Each week, Patriot Guardens staff visit the 92-bed residential facility for women located in Charleston to teach Recovery Point clients about agriculture and gardening. [Read More]


Patriot Guardens personnel have assisted residents in planting tomatoes, strawberries, different varieties of lettuce, radishes, eggplant, and a host of other vegetables, with a goal of helping those in the program learn new skills and get them excited about positive opportunities and growth.


t Guardens also providing agriculture lessons to school students

Officials with the Patriot Guardens program also recently visited a group of students at Franklin Elementary School in Parkersburg for an annual event, teaching students about the fundamentals of planting vegetables, in efforts to help foster healthy lifestyles by providing students hands-on lessons about nutrition and gardening. [Read More]


National Guard team trains in preparation for WVU football season
On Wednesday, the West Virginia National Guard’s 35th Civil Support Team took part in Operation Rough Ride, a full-scale exercise with West Virginia University training various emergency response agencies in preparation for the upcoming WVU Mountaineers football season. New technologies were tested during the exercise, including the use of drones by civilian responders for safely viewing potentially congested or blocked areas, and incident management software. [Read More]


Adjutant General pays tribute to fallen military members and their families for Memorial Day
On the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Major General James Hoyer, released a video message in honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending the state of West Virginia and the country, all members of the armed forces, and their families. [Watch Video]


Contractors Association of West Virginia visits National Guard training to provide advice, opportunities
Last Friday, members of the Contractors Association of West Virginia visited West Virginia National Guard Soldiers going through a heavy equipment operator job training course at Camp Dawson, West Virginia. The WVCA was able to see the Soldiers in action and discuss potential career opportunities in the industry throughout the state. [Read More]



Dunbar Intermediate School holds Expo Day to teach students value of project-based learning
Dunbar Intermediate recently hosted an Expo Day, bringing families and the community to the school. Expo Day is part of the school’s innovation program that focuses on project-based learning. Groups of students chose an issue which they researched and provided a workable solution. [Watch Video]


This year’s Expo Day projects included building sun shades for students waiting on the bus to prevent damage to the skin; providing fun activities at field day that students with varying levels of ability may enjoy; water conservation; robotics and others.


Sixteen West Virginia college students moving on as quarterfinalists in the SANS Institute's Cyber FastTrack program
The SANS Institute announced recently that 16 West Virginia college students are one step closer to national recognition and a share of $2.5 million in scholarship money. Earlier this spring, the SANS Institute kicked off Cyber FastTrack, a new program for college students, which identifies individuals who excel in cybersecurity and inspires them to consider a future in the field. [Read More]


Of 94 participants, 16 moved on to become quarterfinalists for the second stage of the program. In other words, more than 5% of West Virginia’s participating students solved the most difficult challenges, putting them in the “Highly Adept” category of participants. One student achieved a perfect score in the Assess Stage.


WVDEP's Shaffer named United Way Campaign Coordinator of the Year
Department of Environmental Protection staffer Leigh Ann Shaffer was presented with the inaugural United Way Campaign Coordinator of the Year Award by the United Way of Central West Virginia at a luncheon at its headquarters Thursday. Shaffer, who took over as the WVDEP United Way Coordinator in 2018, helped the WVDEP raise just over $20,000 this year alone – almost half of the $50,271 raised by all state agencies, and up $7,300 from last year. [Read More]


The newly-established award recognizes a specific campaign organizer for their outstanding efforts over the campaign year and their willingness to go above and beyond in raising funds for the United Way.

REAP program announces tire collections for June
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) is hosting several tire collection events around the state in the month of June and has several additional tire collection initiatives ongoing across the state. The full schedule of events is posted online. [Read More]


Residents may dispose of up to 10 tires per person with a valid West Virginia ID for the county in which the tire collection event is being held. The tires must be off the rims, and only car and light truck tires will be accepted.

Elementary students awarded for recycling efforts in Charleston
This week, DEP officials presented Charleston Montessori’s upper elementary students with the DuPont Plastic Recycling Award for their work this past year in leading the school’s TerraCycle program and participating in clean up efforts through WV Make It Shine and the City of Charleston’s Team Up to Clean Up. The students have helped divert more than 3,000 pounds of materials from landfills and collected over 100 pounds of materials from landfills and collected over 100 pounds of trash from Charleston parks, Magic Island, and the North Charleston Rec Center. [More Photos]




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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