West Virginia Week in Review - September 4, 2021


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Do it for Babydog Round 2: Gov. Justice announces prize winners in vaccination sweepstakes
Gov. Justice traveled across the state Thursday to surprise some of the biggest winners from the first week of prize giveaways as part of his “Do it for Babydog: Round 2” Vaccination Sweepstakes.

Beth Eaves of Branchland in Lincoln County was presented with the keys to a 2021 BMW M240i coupe.

Matthew Hill of Huntington was presented with the keys to a Bennington pontoon boat, complete with a 50hp Yamaha High Thrust outboard motor and an accompanying trailer.
Gov. Justice provided a life-changing opportunity to two West Virginia students when he and Babydog surprised them at their schools and revealed that they had each won a full-ride college scholarship through the sweepstakes.
In addition to these giveaways, more than 20 additional West Virginians were also announced as “Do it for Babydog” winners. Vaccinated West Virginians have five more chances to win in Round 2 of the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” Vaccination Sweepstakes.

Online registration to be eligible to win in the next prize drawing will remain open until Sunday, Sept. 5, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Winners will be announced next Thursday, Sept. 9.
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Gov. Justice announces new vaccination incentive program for West Virginia Grandfamilies
On Monday, Gov. Justice announced the launch of an initiative that will provide a $150 voucher for back-to-school supplies to all vaccinated grandfamilies in West Virginia. Grandfamilies are families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. West Virginia State University’s Healthy Grandfamilies program will assist in the administration of the school voucher incentive.

Registration for the school voucher incentive will begin next Tuesday, Sept. 7. For information on how to enroll, visit healthygrandfamilies.com.
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Gov. Justice: Number of COVID-hospitalized West Virginians on ventilators reaches all-time high
On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that 111 West Virginians who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 are currently on ventilators; a new record high for the entire pandemic. A total of 714 West Virginians were hospitalized as of Friday with COVID-19; the highest number of hospitalizations in over seven months. Of the patients currently hospitalized, 206 are in the ICU; another number that is rapidly approaching an all-time record high. The number of ICU patients topped out at 219 in January.
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Gov. Justice declares State of Emergency in all 55 counties due to flood threat from Ida
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice has declared a State of Emergency for all 55 West Virginia counties due to the increasing threat of flash flooding and severe storms from now-Tropical Depression Ida. The State of Emergency allows state agencies to coordinate ahead of a possible weather event, including by pre-positioning personnel, vehicles, equipment and other assets. 
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Gov. Justice reports $29.9 million revenue surplus for August 2021
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that West Virginia’s General Revenue collections for August 2021 came in at $29.9 million above estimates. August collections of nearly $383.5 million were 15.7% ahead of prior year receipts. Year-to-date collections of $689.3 million are $58 million above estimates.
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Gov. Justice leads the way: Businesses’ unemployment premiums to decrease by up to 25% next year
Under the leadership and expert financial guidance of Gov. Justice, West Virginia has become one of the first states in the nation to fully repay the unemployment insurance loan that the U.S. Treasury provided to states under Section XII of the federal Social Security Act at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to shore up unemployment trust fund balances.
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Communities In Schools expands to eight new counties; Governor and First Lady announce CIS support from Truist Bank
On Friday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to welcome First Lady Cathy Justice to his briefing to announce that West Virginia Communities In Schools has expanded to eight new counties. The new CIS counties include Gilmer, Grant, Hampshire, Morgan, Preston, Ritchie, Summers, and Tyler counties.

The Governor and First Lady also introduced Bobby Blakley, Regional Vice President of Truist Bank, who presented a $15,000 check from the Truist West Virginia Foundation in support of the CIS program in West Virginia.
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Ascend West Virginia announces inaugural class of remote workers
Ascend West Virginia, the nation’s premiere talent attraction and retention program, announced Thursday its inaugural class will soon pack their bags for Morgantown, the program’s first host city. Founded by West Virginia native Brad D. Smith and his wife Alys, Ascend will provide these pioneers more than $20,000 in incentives – and a path to ‘Almost Heaven.’ The program is now accepting applications for its next host city: Lewisburg.
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Gov. Justice congratulates West Virginia Department of Tourism on national awards
Gov. Justice congratulated the West Virginia Department of Tourism on Monday for winning two national awards from the U.S. Travel Association. The department was recognized with a pair of Mercury Awards – the top honors for state tourism agencies – for both its 2021 Vacation Guide and a social media community building campaign launched last year.
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WVDOT Secretary Byrd White to retire
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Byrd White plans to retire. Sec. White’s last day with WVDOT will be next week.

“He has done a wonderful job,” Gov. Justice said. “Byrd has helped oversee billions of dollars of roadwork all across West Virginia. You see your highways getting improved everywhere. What’s happening with our roads across this state is amazing."
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Gov. Justice, WVDOH announce rehabilitation project for historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge
On Monday, Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Division of Highways announced that a project to repair and rehabilitate Wheeling’s historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge had been awarded. Advantage Steel & Construction, LLC, was awarded a contract for $17,907,147 to make necessary repairs to the historic bridge’s superstructure and substructure, replace any damaged suspension cables, renovate lighting, and clean and paint the span.
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First Lady Cathy Justice presents Rhododendron Award to Cabell Midland head cook Mary Cook
In a virtual ceremony Friday, First Lady Cathy Justice presented her eighth Rhododendron Award to Mary Cook, the Head Cook at Cabell Midland High School in Ona. Cook has been serving children in West Virginia schools for over 30 years and has been head cook at CMHS for the past three years. She is also the President of the School Nutrition Association. Her dedication doesn’t stop at the end of the school day or school year, as she helps with all planning and preparations for weekend and summer food programs.
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Gov. Justice announces over $1 million in STOP Violence Against Women Act grants
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he awarded $1,085,964.00 in STOP Violence Against Women grant program funds to 26 projects across West Virginia. The purpose of these funds is to establish or enhance teams whose core members include victim service providers, law enforcement, and prosecution to improve the criminal justice system's response to violence against women.
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HHOMA takes listening tour to North Central West Virginia
The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) continues its statewide listening tour with stops in Wetzel, Monongalia, and Marion counties. The tour was launched in August to hear what communities need and how the state’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) allocation can help.

The scheduled stops are:

Thursday, Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m. – Wetzel County
Lewis Wetzel Family Center
442 E. Benjamin Dr, New Martinsville, WV 26155

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 6:30 p.m. – Monongalia County
Courtyard by Marriott Morgantown
Liam Conference Room
460 Courtyard St, Morgantown, WV 26501

Thursday, Sept. 30, 6:30 p.m. – Marion County
The Falcon Center at Fairmont State University
3rd Floor Conference Rooms
1201 Locust Ave, Fairmont, WV 26554
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WVDEP accepting submissions for 2022 "Roadsides in Bloom" calendar until September 8th
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is now taking submissions for the 19th Annual West Virginia Operation Wildflower 2022 “Roadsides in Bloom” calendar contest. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, Sept. 8th.
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Also this week:

Supplemental Payment for Low Income Energy Assistance Program Recipients

State Health Officer provides update on contact tracing procedures

WVDEP hosting five tire collection events in September

Moorefield DMV Regional Office is appointment-only through Friday, September 10

Contact Information

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


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