West Virginia Week in Review - October 24, 2020

10/24/2020

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Gov. Justice providing $25 million to help qualifying West Virginians pay utility bills
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice announced that the $25 million of CARES Act relief funds allocated to assist qualifying West Virginians pay their utility bills are now ready to be distributed. The money will go to local Public Service Districts so they can pass it along to customers. Customers of electric, natural gas, water, and sewer utility companies who have experienced economic hardship and/or uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, causing them to have unpaid utility bills from the period of March 1 – July 31 of this year, may receive financial assistance to pay those bills.
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice, State health experts urge extra caution as cases increase nationwide and colder weather approaches
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice joined State health experts in urging all West Virginians to redouble their efforts to follow the best practices recommended by health professionals regarding COVID-19, as case numbers increase nationwide ahead of the upcoming winter months.

“We cannot drop our guard,” Gov. Justice said. “I know everybody is getting tired of wearing a mask and following all of the guidelines. But we need to really stay on top of it and take care of ourselves.”

“When we look around the country, we see the number of cases is picking up,” West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said. “Yesterday we had 71,000 positive cases in the United States, which is a three-month high."
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice announces West Virginia Methanol Inc. to build $350 million methanol plant, bring high-paying jobs to Pleasants County
Gov. Justice announced Monday that West Virginia Methanol Inc. has selected a site in Pleasants County to develop a plant for producing methanol, which is expected to create approximately 30 high-paying jobs once operational. The $350 million-dollar plant will be owned by West Virginia Methanol Inc. and is designed to produce 900 metric tons of high-purity methanol from natural gas each day. West Virginia Methanol is currently working on permitting and final design details for the site and expects to make a final investment decision in the first half of 2021 with operations expected to commence as early as mid-2023.
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice pledges his full commitment to develop Hobet into economic driver for southern West Virginia
Gov. Justice joined State leaders and other local officials at the former Hobet mine site in Boone County Friday to pledge his commitment to developing the property into an economic driver for the region and to announce that he has directed the West Virginia Department of Transportation to immediately begin the construction process for a bridged intersection on Corridor G and an improved access road to the site, at an estimated $40 million. Gov. Justice also announced that he has directed the West Virginia Department of Commerce to make development of the Hobet mine property a top priority by intensifying efforts to attract companies to the site. In addition to attracting companies for the location, Gov. Justice also announced today that the West Virginia National Guard will resume their activities at Hobet. Gov. Justice also announced that he has directed the National Guard to work with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to further improve the Wildlife Management Area at Hobet and develop the land for public recreational use.
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice announces 6,000 additional pounds of trophy trout for fall stockings
Gov. Justice announced Tuesday that 6,000 additional pounds of trophy-sized trout will be released during West Virginia’s fall stocking season. The announcement comes as the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) prepares to stock 50,000 trout in 39 lakes and streams around the state starting this week. The fall stocking season will last two weeks and these new trout, which come from the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery, will be mixed in with trout raised in state hatcheries. The White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery usually provides 4,000 pounds of trout, but will be sending an additional 15,000 pounds this year at the request of Gov. Justice due to a change in hatchery operations, which resulted in a larger number of surplus brood fish available for stocking. These trout weigh between four and seven pounds.
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice approves award of Berkeley Springs Bypass project
Last Sunday, Gov. Justice joined local officials to announce the bid award for the Berkeley Springs Bypass project, a Roads to Prosperity project, which will improve traffic flow and operations in Morgan County with a four-lane highway with a diamond interchange at the intersection with WV 9. The contract for the road project was awarded to contractor Trumbull Corporation, with an apparent low bid of $59,822,690.44. This new road will allow vehicles to bypass US 522, which sees a current traffic volume of 13,400 vehicles per day, approximately 30 percent of those vehicles are trucks. The new Berkeley Springs Bypass will be a little over three miles long, beginning south of Winchester Grade Road and extending north of Martinsburg Road. The project includes construction of three bridges – one mainline bridge and one overpass bridge – and three new at-grade intersections, plus an interchange with existing WV9/Martinsburg Road.
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice personally paves secondary road in Wood County
Testing out one of the West Virginia Division of Highways' brand-new paving machines, Gov. Justice climbed into one himself while crews were out working on secondary roads in Wood County. The Governor took the wheel in a work zone along West Virginia Route 47, near Leachtown. Gov. Justice drove the paver on a repair to a small slip, while DOH crew members leveled the pavement laid by the Governor. The DOH District 3 crew, managed by Scott Kelly, was fixing several rough sections on WV 47, where drainage issues going back years have caused slips. Roads like WV 47 are the reason why, in March 2019, Gov. Justice directed DOH leaders to make road maintenance its top priority.
Read More Read More
Flickr Flickr
Gov. Justice announces entire state of West Virginia now meeting national air quality standards for the first time since 1978
Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that the entire state of West Virginia is now meeting all the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for the first time since 1978, when the EPA made their initial nonattainment designations under the 1970 Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act required the EPA to establish NAAQS for pollutants that were shown to threaten human health and the environment. Being in attainment with these standards means cleaner air and better health for citizens. The EPA sets NAAQS for six pollutants: carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. With Wednesday’s announcement, West Virginia became just the 16th state in the nation to be in attainment with all NAAQS.
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice highlights over $39 million-worth of improvement projects at four West Virginia State Parks
Last Sunday, Gov. Justice joined West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Steve McDaniel to spotlight over $25 million-worth of improvement work underway at Cacapon Resort State Park. The $25.3 million project is adding 78 guest rooms, a dining room, a lounge, a spa, and an indoor pool. Existing facilities are also receiving major upgrades, including remodeling each existing guest room, creating new conference space, renovating the lobby, and upgrading utility and electrical equipment. Gov. Justice attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the project in November 2018. This work is being funded by bonds financed with excess lottery revenues, which is part of the Governor’s plan to upgrade and modernize aging state parks. The project is expected to be completed early 2021. Paramount Buildings from St. Albans is the contractor.
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice spotlighted millions of dollars worth of upgrades to Pipestem Resort State Park. Under the Justice Administration, Pipestem has welcomed nearly $12 million in infrastructure, lodging, and recreation improvement projects. Improvements include the addition of a new spa, conference room renovations, as well as electrical and telephone upgrades.
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced more than $1 million in improvement projects at Kanawha State Forest, including a new gift shop with West Virginia-made products and new Almost Heaven-branded merchandise. The $1 million in improvement projects will span across three phases of development. More than $160,000 in upgrades have already been completed between the new-look gift shop, ADA-accessible playground, and electrical upgrades at the campground. Additional projects, including a disc golf course, trail kiosks, and bathhouse renovations are currently underway. Future projects include upgrades to the forest’s shooting and archery ranges, access road, restrooms, picnic shelters, and more.
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced more than $1 million in improvement projects at Watters Smith Memorial State Park, including the addition of a brand-new multipurpose event shelter, along with several other enhancements either underway or upcoming at the park. The new shelter, which will come complete with a kitchen and restrooms, will attract reunions, weddings, and family gatherings to the park for many years to come. In his remarks, the Governor announced that the shelter is being dedicated to and named after Rachel Smith Hershey, a descendent of Watters Smith. When she passed away, she generously left her farm of 254 acres to the State, more than doubling the size of the park. She also gifted the park with numerous antiques, which are on display in the Smith Home and in the park's museum.
Read More Read More
Gov. Justice visits Fairmont Medical Center, joins WVU Medicine president to provide progress update
Gov. Justice visited Fairmont Medical Center Thursday, greeting dozens of hospital staff members and joining Albert Wright, President and CEO of WVU Medicine, in providing an update on progress at the facility. In mid-February, prior ownership of the facility – which was known as Fairmont Regional Medical Center – announced plans to permanently close the hospital within 60 days. Later that same day, Gov. Justice pledged to do everything in his power to ensure the continued operation of a community hospital in Fairmont.

Fairmont Medical Center is now home to a full-service emergency department, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, serving an average of approximately 40 patients per day. The emergency department is staffed by board-certified emergency medicine physicians, and is equipped with a fully-functioning lab and imaging suite. Ten acute care inpatient beds are available for admitted patients.
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice: West Virginia National Guard receives FEMA authorization to increase personnel on federal activation status
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that the West Virginia National Guard has received authorization from FEMA to increase the number of personnel on federal activation status to 400 in support of COVID-19 response operations. The federal government will reimburse the state for 75 percent of the related costs for these personnel. Currently, there are 379 members of the WVNG on duty with additional service members available to provide assistance to the state when needed.

As part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic in West Virginia, the WVNG has distributed over 19 million pieces of PPE across all 55 counties, performed over 48,430 COVID-19 tests, conducted 632 vehicle disinfections and 161 facility disinfections across 22 counties, trained 834 businesses, 111 long term care facilities or medical practices, and 4,838 civilians on COVID-19 prevention best practices, and produced 220,639 pieces of PPE to date.
Read More Read More
Photo Album Photo Album
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice awards $17.3 million in Victims of Crime Act grants to 84 agencies across West Virginia
Gov. Justice announced Friday at the beginning of his COVID-19 briefing that he has awarded $17,301,804 in Victims of Crime Act Assistance (VOCA) sub-grant funds to 84 public and private non-profit agencies throughout the state.

“We need to help victims of violent crime in every way we possibly can,” Gov. Justice said. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a rise in the number of West Virginians using our nonprofit agencies for assistance. That’s why they desperately need this funding, and why I am proud to get it to them today.”

The Victims of Crime Act Assistance sub-grant funds will provide such direct services as counseling, personal advocacy, court advocacy, client transportation, and support services to victims of crimes including domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, and elder abuse. The funds will also support assistance to victims as they move through the criminal justice system.
Read More Read More
West Virginia National Guard participates in swift water training exercise
On Wednesday, the West Virginia Swift Water Rescue Team and the U.S. Navy's Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5, based in Norfolk, Virginia, conducted inland water rescue maneuvers on the Kanawha River in Dunbar. The HSC-5 Nightdippers and WVSWRT participated in the joint services training to help build interoperability between services and to further refine and perfect Defense Support to Civil Authorities and Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Recovery operational mission capabilities for both organizations.
Facebook Facebook
West Virginia’s Simulated Workplace receives national recognition for impact on learning
The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Simulated Workplace program is one of 16 innovations to receive national recognition for pushing the boundaries of exceptionality and effective learning models. The program, housed within the Department’s career technical education (CTE) office, is a proven model that merges entrepreneurship and skilled career pathways within the k-12 public education footprint. The distinction is a part of the Learning Forerunners Across America report that highlights 16 innovations that power the most promising learning ecosystems throughout the country. HundrED, in partnership with Remake Learning and The Grable Foundation, released the report which builds upon the success of the previous 2019 release of Spotlight on Pittsburgh. The Learning Forerunners Across America report expands the ambition and scope of the previous Spotlight by focusing on system-level best practices that foster innovation at scale.
Read More Read More
Transportation Secretary and Deputy Secretary issue statements after two WVDOH workers injured in work zone on I-70 near Wheeling
Two West Virginia Division of Highways workers were struck by an automobile in a work zone in Ohio County on the I-70 Westbound, Exit 2A off-ramp on Thursday. Both were being treated at a hospital with injuries that are not considered to be life-threatening. At the time of the accident, the crew was squaring up and patching concrete pavement on the off-ramp when a van hit several caution cones, then knocked down one worker and broke the rake out of the other’s hand before driving off. Police were notified and they caught the suspect. To read the statements released by WVDOT, click here.
Read More Read More
West Virginia Tourism Office releases fourth fall foliage report
The hills of southern West Virginia are showing off brilliant warm colors as the West Virginia Tourism Office releases its autumn forecast to help travelers enjoy peak leaf season. With the exception of some of the Eastern Panhandle counties, the northern part of the state and the mountainous regions have peaked. Most of the remaining color is in southern West Virginia and the Parkersburg area. Areas with color at 70% or more include W.Va. 68 along the Ohio River toward Parkersburg; U.S. 19 in Summersville near the Gauley River National Recreation Area; and Wyoming County, where Twin Falls Resort State Park is located. The Fayette County portion of the New River Gorge is still slowly turning and not quite peak yet.
Read More Read More
Kanawha students create firefly sanctuary at Morris Creek WMA

A group of Kanawha County students have created a firefly sanctuary at the Morris Creek Wildlife Management Area and collected promising data over the summer they hope will help the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources manage lightning bug populations around the state. The project was led by Riverside High School student Lexi Harper and her mother, Tonya, who teaches at Malden Elementary School. Harper, who needed to complete community service hours before starting school this fall, was encouraged to research fireflies when she saw the WVDNR launch a survey to track lightning bug sightings around the state

Read More Read More
YouTube YouTube
Gov. Justice encourages all West Virginians to get a flu shot
Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 this week to remind and encourage all West Virginians to get their flu vaccine. According to health officials, everyone 6 months and older should receive this vaccine.
Read More Read More
Also this week:

Gov. Justice releases application for Eleventh Family Court Circuit vacancy

Medical cannabis Seed to Sale vendor selected (WVDHHR)

Grant brings millions to West Virginia Department of Education and partners to serve children

WVDEP’s REAP approves nine applicants for FY2021 CED recycling grants

Virtual ReFashion Show competition announced (WVDEP)
###

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

Contact

Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

Flag Status

American Flag Full Staff
State Flag Full Staff
 

Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Site Map