West Virginia Week in Review - January 30, 2021

1/30/2021

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Gov. Justice: West Virginia becomes first state in nation to complete vaccinations at all nursing homes, assisted living facilities
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has become the first state in the nation to complete its second round of COVID-19 vaccinations at all nursing homes and assisted living facilities statewide. To-date, 17,763 residents and 19,836 staff members at each of West Virginia’s 214 long-term care facilities have chosen to be vaccinated.
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Gov. Justice: More than 133,000 West Virginians pre-register to be vaccinated after launch of new online system
On Monday, West Virginia became the first state in the nation to launch an online COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system, available to the public through vaccinate.wv.gov.

The new digital tool allows West Virginians to add themselves to a statewide list of people who are interested in being vaccinated and will notify those who sign up about the availability of vaccine doses to help streamline vaccination efforts. As of Friday morning, more than 133,000 West Virginians have signed up to be added to the pre-registration list.
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Gov. Justice: West Virginia remains among national leaders for vaccine distribution
Once again Friday, Gov. Jim Justice reported that West Virginia remains among the national leaders in the rate of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. As of Friday, West Virginia boasts a first dose administration rate of 101.9 percent. This number exceeds 100 percent due to extra doses being extracted from vials of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, West Virginia had a second dose administration rate of 59.9 percent Friday; the best such rate of any state in the nation.

To date, West Virginia has administered 183,390 first doses and 59,047 second doses, totaling 242,437 doses administered overall statewide.
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Gov. Justice addresses vaccinations for teachers, school service personnel
On Friday, Gov. Justice took time to address what he called “wrong information” circulating throughout West Virginia, which incorrectly claimed that all vaccinations for teachers, service personnel, and school employees were being stopped. Gov. Justice reiterated that all teachers, service personnel, and other school employees who are interested in being vaccinated, but who have not yet received the first dose, should register at vaccinate.wv.gov.

“If you’re 50 or older and you passed on getting the shot at first, but now you’ve changed your mind, or if you’re under 50 and you’re interested, I would tell you to go register,” Gov. Justice added. “Again, you have always been, and still are considered essential.”

The Governor went on to add that West Virginia’s new, online pre-registration system through Everbridge allows for those signing up to list their occupation and place of work. West Virginia is the only state in the country to prioritize school employees as essential, moving them to elevated status to receive the vaccine.

While receiving the vaccine was not mandated for school employees to return to work, Gov. Justice made vaccinations available for the “super-prioritized” category of school teachers, service personnel, and other employees age 50 and older. Dozens of vaccination clinics, specifically for such school employees, were held in the month of January.

“As of 5 p.m. today, all school employees age 50 and above who had requested a vaccine during the first round will have received it,” Gov. Justice said Friday. “And let me be perfectly clear: all school employees who are scheduled for a second dose will absolutely get their second dose, and will receive them at the school where they received the first dose.”
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Gov. Justice, Clearway Energy Group announce start of construction on Black Rock Wind project
Gov. Justice and Clearway Energy Group announced Monday that construction has commenced on the Black Rock Wind project; a 115-megawatt wind farm that spans Grant and Mineral counties. During construction, Black Rock Wind will create at least 200 jobs and generate millions of dollars of spending in the local community. The project will have a total of 23 turbines supplied by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and construction is being led by Reed & Reed and Bechtel Corporation. 

Once Black Rock is operational, Clearway will be among the leading taxpayers in Grant and Mineral counties, with Black Rock paying $5.7 million in property taxes to the counties and $9 million in Business & Occupation taxes to the State over the life of the project. Clearway has also established the Black Rock Community Benefit Fund, which will donate $50,000 to local nonprofits every year throughout the project’s lifespan.
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Gov. Justice celebrates vaccine partnership with Monongalia County, Mon Health Department, Mon Health System, and WVU Medicine
Gov. Justice made remarks during a joint announcement Monday afternoon by elected leaders in Monongalia County, the Monongalia County Health Department, Mon Health System, and WVU Medicine, that all of these entities will be combining resources to maximize vaccination efforts in North Central West Virginia. The new partnership will unite community vaccination efforts utilizing the existing clinic that WVU Medicine established last week at the Morgantown Mall.
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Gov. Justice recognizes food banks across West Virginia for service during pandemic
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice recognized the two most prominent food banks in the state – Facing Hunger Food Bank and Mountaineer Food Bank – for their efforts to help ensure all West Virginians have access to food, even in the face of the pandemic. Collectively, these two food banks have distributed over 34 million pounds of food since the beginning of the pandemic 10 months ago. This resulted in more than 26 million meals being provided to West Virginians across all of the state’s 55 counties.
In honor of the Governor’s contributions to creating a hunger-free West Virginia, Kirkheart and Morrison surprised Gov. Justice during the briefing, honoring him with the “Hunger Hero” award for 2019-2020.
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Gov. Justice attends funeral of late Veterans Assistance Secretary Dennis Davis
On Monday, Gov. Justice attended the funeral of his late Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance, Dennis Davis. During the funeral, Gov. Justice presented Davis’ family with the Distinguished West Virginian Award in his honor.

“It was just amazing what his commitment was to our Veterans and what a great job that he did, and, boy, what a wonderful friend,” Gov. Justice said. “I can tell you, from my standpoint, I really miss him.”
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West Virginia Teacher of the Year receives awards and new car
West Virginia Board of Education President Miller Hall, Member Debra Sullivan and State Superintendent W. Clayton Burch welcomed the 2021 West Virginia Teacher of the Year Erin Anderson to the State Capitol Complex on Monday to receive awards of more than $13,000 and the use of a new Toyota RAV-4 SUV. Anderson is a fifth-grade teacher at Tennerton Elementary School in Upshur County and a 20-year veteran of the profession.
Anderson will represent West Virginia on several national platforms, many of which will be held virtually this year. Within the state, she plans to continue mentoring new teachers while actively promoting the teaching profession.
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Gov. Justice makes three position appointments
This week, Gov. Justice made three appointments, filling position vacancies.

On Wednesday, Gov. Justice appointed Joshua Booth of Kenova to the West Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 19th District. The district covers part of Wayne County. Booth is Vice President of Highway Safety Inc., a traffic safety control, signage, and striping construction firm in Huntington. Booth fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Derrick Evans earlier this month and will serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

Also Wednesday, Gov. Justice appointed G.E. McCabe as Director of the West Virginia Division of Emergency Management. McCabe has been Deputy Director of Operations at the recently-reorganized agency, which is part of the new West Virginia Department of Homeland Security. But his career of public service extends back more than three decades.

On Friday, Gov. Justice appointed Matt Irby as Acting West Virginia State Tax Commissioner. In August 2020, Irby was appointed as Deputy Tax Commissioner. For the past six years, Irby has served as the Director of the Tax Account Administration Division.
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WVDOT posts immediate job openings for engineer trainees and other positions
With billions of dollars-worth of roadwork taking place under Gov. Jim Justice’s Roads To Prosperity highway construction program, the West Virginia Department of Transportation is aggressively recruiting new employees for several positions within its Division of Highways. A particular emphasis is being placed on hiring engineer trainees at this time. Engineer trainees are engineers who have graduated from college, but who still need several years of on-the-job training before they can get their engineering licenses. In addition to engineering jobs, current career listings available include attorneys, bridge safety inspectors, county administrators, crew chiefs, equipment operators, resource specialists, supply specialists, transportation workers, and more. Listings are updated throughout the week as they become available, and there are job openings in all parts of the state.
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West Virginia Department of Education seeks organization partners to feed children this summer
The West Virginia Department of Education is seeking partnerships with organizations across the state to help feed children and provide supervised activities this summer. When school is out of session during the summer months, community programs and organizations are vital to ensuring children in West Virginia are still receiving the nutrition they need, especially in low-income areas. County boards of education, local government agencies and other nonprofit organizations can participate in the Summer Food Service Program, which ensures children in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer.
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West Virginia Division of Highways Bridge Design Contest available online for middle and high school students

Middle and high school students only have a few weeks left to participate in the 2021 West Virginia Bridge Design and Build Contest. Students from all parts of the Mountain State have until 11:59 p.m., Friday, Mar. 12, 2021, to register for the contest, download their bridge design software, and come up with a design for a proposed bridge. There is no cost to participate in the competition, which teaches students about engineering in an interactive way. Finalists will be notified by Tuesday, March 16. The final competition, which will be held virtually due to COVID-19, will take place on Saturday, Mar. 27, 2021.

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Virtual ReFashion Show winners announced
The Recycling Coalition of West Virginia has announced the winners of its 2020 virtual ReFashion Show, conducted entirely online earlier this winter. Typically, the show is staged at the Charleston Town Center Mall every November but went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 23 models. Under ReFashion Show rules, designers/models can win cash prizes by creating outfits made from recyclable or reused materials.
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Also this week:

Tax Commissioner Dale Steager announces his retirement

DHHR announces extended application period for Low Income Energy Assistance Program

Medical Cannabis Dispensary Permits announced, patient registration available next week

W.Va. Guard highlights COVID-19 Response for January

2021 Groundhog Day celebration at WV State Wildlife Center cancelled
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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

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