West Virginia Week in Review - October 3, 2020


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Gov. Justice holds grand opening ceremony for Coalfields Expressway
Gov. Justice and leaders of the West Virginia Department of Transportation held a grand opening ceremony Thursday to officially open the new section of the Coalfields Expressway (WV 121) from Slab Fork in Raleigh County to Mullens in Wyoming County. This new stretch of road spans 8.9 miles and is the first-ever four-lane highway in Wyoming County. This project also included the construction of more than one mile of two-lane highway from the Mullens exit of the expressway, into the city.
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Gov. Justice: $10 million revenue surplus for September caps record-setting first quarter of Fiscal Year 2021
Gov. Justice announced Thursday that West Virginia’s revenue collections for September 2020 came in at about $10 million above estimates, putting a positive finishing touch on a first-quarter that saw multiple all-time state revenue records broken. Year-to-date general revenue collections are $90.4 million above estimates and 12.8% above prior year receipts. Additionally, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia has accumulated a $298.7 million cash surplus through the first three months of Fiscal Year 2021.
For comparison, the cash flow at the end of September last year was $120.1 million, nearly 2.5 times less than the cash surplus recorded so far this year despite the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state’s economy. West Virginia’s end-of-Q1 cash flow is the state’s best such mark since Fiscal Year 2009.
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Gov. Justice announces Aggressive Testing initiative curbing spread in West Virginia
On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that new free testing sites, established through the Governor’s “Aggressive Testing” initiative, have helped curb the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia. In Kanawha County, a total of 2,054 tests have been conducted so far this week, resulting in the discovery of several asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers of the disease.
Several additional free testing events are scheduled in the upcoming weeks for many counties all across West Virginia. This testing is available to all residents in selected counties, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is not required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times and more details
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Gov. Justice gets flu vaccine during live briefing, encourages West Virginians to get one
In order to encourage all West Virginians to be vaccinated for the flu this year, Gov. Justice took time out of his briefing on Friday to receive the flu vaccine live on-air.

“I encourage everybody to go out and get your flu shot,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s really easy and it’s more important than ever this year.”

According to health officials, everyone 6 months and older should receive this vaccine. In addition to personal protection, the vaccine also reduces the burden on hospitals and healthcare systems.
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Gov. Justice, higher education leaders announce resources being provided for additional testing at colleges and universities
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice was joined by Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC), who announced that Gov. Justice is providing the necessary resources to allow for all of West Virginia’s public two-year and four-year institutions, as well as the state’s not-for-profit private institutions, to conduct surveillance testing on 10 percent of their students and staff each week. Dr. Tucker added that the HEPC has coordinated with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) to develop a solution where the institutions will be able to administer saliva-based PCR tests themselves.
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Gov. Justice offers prayers to President Trump, First Lady
Gov. Justice began Friday’s briefing by offering his prayers and well-wishes to President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, who announced in the early morning hours Friday that they had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Our Bible teaches us to offer prayers for our leaders all the time,” Gov. Justice said. “I’d like for us all, no matter our differences, to come together today as Americans and offer up a prayer for our President and First Lady.

“Cathy and I wish them both a speedy recovery from this terrible disease,” Gov. Justice continued. “And also, I would offer up a prayer to God above, for the 355 West Virginians we’ve now lost.”
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Gov. Justice, Woody Williams unveil new sign dedicating Gold Star Families Memorial Highway
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice joined Hershel “Woody” Williams for a ceremony to unveil a new highway sign, dedicating a portion of the West Virginia Turnpike as the “Gold Star Families Memorial Highway.” The Gold Star Families Memorial Highway will run from the I-77/I-64 split in Beckley to the Chuck Yeager Bridge in the Kanawha City area of Charleston. A sign designating the roadway will be installed at each end of the highway. This stretch of highway will forever honor the memory of West Virginia’s Gold Star servicemen and women – those who paid the ultimate price by giving their life in defense of America – while also honoring the families of the fallen and the challenges they continue to face in the absence of their loved ones.
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Gold Star Monument dedicated on Woody Williams' birthday
Gov. Justice announced that a virtual dedication ceremony was held Friday for the new, completed Gold Star Monument on the State Capitol grounds in Charleston. The monument will forever honor the memory of the West Virginians who have paid the ultimate price by giving their life in defense of America, while at the same time recognizing and honoring the families of the fallen, and the challenges they continue to face in the absence of their loved ones. Friday’s dedication ceremony coincided with the 97th birthday of American war hero, Medal of Honor recipient, and West Virginia native; Hershel “Woody” Williams. The driving force behind the completion of the monument, the Hershel Woody Williams Congressional Medal of Honor Education Foundation honors Gold Star children, families, and relatives who have sacrificed a loved one in the service of their country.
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Gov. Justice celebrates completion of $2.8 million paving project on major roadway connecting Parkersburg and Vienna
Gov. Justice joined leaders with the West Virginia Department of Transportation for an event Tuesday to celebrate the completion of a $2.8 million paving project on the main roadway connecting the cities of Parkersburg and Vienna. West Virginia State Route 14 – also known as Murdoch Avenue in Parkersburg and Grand Central Avenue in Vienna – is a seven-lane roadway, carrying an average of 37,900 vehicles per day. The project, completed by contractor Kelly Paving, included 2.99 miles-worth of paving, spanning from 26th Street in Parkersburg to 28th Street in Vienna. Roadwork began on July 24, 2020, lasting just over two months.
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Gov. Justice: North American Millwright opens new facility in Berkeley County, creating 20 new jobs
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that North American Millwright Services, Inc. (NAMS) has expanded with a new facility in West Virginia. The company opened the expansion, October 1, 2020. The latest expansion comes on the heels of North American Millwright’s hyper-growth over the last five years and with the addition of new manufacturing plants in the Martinsburg region. The new facility is located in Berkeley County at 151 Business Park Drive, in Inwood, and is comprised of a 10,000-square-foot assembly area. The staff will be made up of some of the most talented Millwrights in the region and will house the equipment and materials to handle every need of all manufacturing plants in West Virginia.
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Gov. Justice approves award of Colonel Ruby Bradley Bridge Project; a major Roads to Prosperity project in Roane County
Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Division of Highways announced Wednesday that bids have been awarded for several Highways projects, including the Colonel Ruby Bradley Bridge; a major Roads To Prosperity project in the Roane County city of Spencer. The contract for the Colonel Ruby Bradley Bridge project was awarded to in-state contractor Rock Forge Bridge Co., of Amma, with an apparent low bid of $5.8 million. Over $1 billion-worth of major infrastructure improvement projects through Gov. Justice’s Roads To Prosperity program have either been completed to date or are currently underway. The WVDOH has also awarded contracts for Kenova Signing +1 in Wayne County and East Fork of 14 Mile Creek Bridge in Lincoln County. The Kenova Signing +1 project, in Wayne County, was awarded to Green Acres Contracting Company, Inc. for $337,837.50. The East Fork of 14 Mile Creek Bridge, in Lincoln County, was awarded to Turman Morton, Inc. for $1,569,398.99.
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WVDE names WV Teacher, School Service Personnel Employee of the Year
During a virtual program on Tuesday evening, the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Board of Education announced the winners for the 2020-2021 West Virginia Teacher of the Year and School Service Personnel Employee of the Year. Upshur County’s Erin Anderson was named WV Teacher of the Year. Anderson teaches fifth grade at Tennerton Elementary School.
Susan Kirkpatrick, a bus operator from Gilmer County, is this year’s winner of the West Virginia School Service Personnel of the Year Award. West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch, and WVBE President Miller Hall made the announcement as part of the celebration.
Teacher of the Year Teacher of the Year
School Service Personnel of the Year School Service Personnel of the Year
First Lady Cathy Justice announces sale of “River Music” giclée to benefit Communities In Schools

First Lady Cathy Justice announced Tuesday that West Virginians now have the opportunity to support the Communities In Schools program, benefitting children across the state, by purchasing a limited edition giclée by world-renowned artist and West Virginia native, Max Hayslette. Giclée is a printing process by which artworks are reproduced by spraying ink onto fine-quality archival paper or canvas in such a way that the ink is absorbed into the paper, giving the piece a look very close to the original. Each of the 500 limited edition prints available through this special offer have been personally approved, signed, and stamped with a printed monogram by Hayslette himself.

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Emergency Medical Services modifies legislative rule regarding EMS workers

On Wednesday, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) announced that they planned to file an emergency amendment on Thursday to modify a legislative rule which allows certified fire departments that provide rapid response services to operate under an affiliation agreement with an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency. EMS licensure requirements for certified fire department rapid response agencies will be temporarily suspended for the duration of the declared State of Emergency due to COVID-19. Legislative Rule 64CSR48 outlines the requirements that EMS agencies must meet to provide emergency medical services treatment. These rules set the protocols followed by DHHR’s Office of Emergency Medical Services.

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West Virginia Tourism Office releases first fall foliage report of the season
The higher elevations of West Virginia are starting to show the first signs of fall color, just in time for the West Virginia Tourism Office to release its annual autumn forecast to help travelers enjoy peak leaf season. The forecast, prepared with assistance from the West Virginia Division of Forestry, is the first in a series of fall foliage updates the Tourism Office will release over the next few weeks. Reports will include the percentage of color change across the state and suggested travel routes through peak areas. Those looking to see the fall color from the comfort of their own home will have the opportunity to do so this year. The Tourism Office will be taking users on the weekly road trip on social media. Follow @WVtourism on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join in the virtual fall fun.
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West Virginia Emerging Artists Juried Exhibition now on display at Culture Center
The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History unveiled the 2020 West Virginia Emerging Artists Juried Exhibition in the Commissioner’s Gallery of the West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. The exhibition is free and open to the public. This year’s exhibition features 42 creative pieces representing the talents of 30 West Virginia artists from 15 counties.
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West Virginia remains among national leaders in census response rate
Gov. Justice again asked all West Virginians this week to participate in the 2020 United States Census. West Virginia remains tied atop the national standings with the #1 best Census response rate in the country: 99.9 percent. For perspective, during the last Census in 2010, the state’s final response rate was just 74 percent.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.
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Also this week:

Performing Arts Project Support Grants available (WVDACH)

WVDEP previews virtual Youth Environmental Conference scheduled for next week

WVDEP highlights two groups helping to clean up trash and tires from WV rivers

Medical Cannabis growers announced (WVDHHR)

WVDNR helping hunters prep for upcoming buck firearm season


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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