West Virginia Week in Review - February 5, 2022

2/5/2022

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Gov. Justice announces first cases of BA.2 Omicron sub-variant identified in West Virginia
During Friday’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia health officials have identified the state’s first cases of the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant – also known as “Stealth Omicron” – in Berkeley and Ohio counties.

“As always, when these variants pop up in West Virginia, we shouldn’t be surprised, but we need to take action and protect ourselves by getting our shots,” Gov. Justice said. “If you’re fully vaccinated and you still haven’t gotten your booster shot, I just don’t get it.”
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Gov. Justice announces addition of Greenbrier East & Greenbrier West high schools to WV GameChanger Opioid and Substance Misuse Prevention Program
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice joined local and state education leaders, along with several other officials, for an event announcing Greenbrier East High School and Greenbrier West High School as the latest additions to the new, student-powered WV GameChanger Opioid and Substance Misuse Prevention Program.

“I am so happy to announce that GameChanger is coming to these two excellent schools,” Gov. Justice said. “I’ve said many times that our children are the greatest treasure we have in West Virginia. They are our future. Through this program, we are going to make sure that all of our students in these schools are on the right pathway toward maximizing their potential.”
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Gov. Justice: West Virginia surpluses keeps breaking record after record
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that revenue collections in West Virginia continue to make history – breaking several all-time state records in January.

West Virginia’s General Revenue collections for January 2022 came in at $573.3 million – a whopping $136.8 million above estimate and 29.4% ahead of prior year receipts.

Seven months through Fiscal Year 2022, year-to-date collections of $3.093 billion are $530.6 million above the YTD estimate; breaking the all-time record for total surplus through the month of January.

The $136.8 million surplus for the month of January is also believed by state revenue officials to be the highest January surplus ever recorded in state history.
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Gov. Justice receives letter of resignation from Supreme Court Justice Evan Jenkins
On Friday, Gov. Justice received a letter from Supreme Court Justice Evan Jenkins indicating that he will be resigning from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, effective Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, to return to private practice.

“Evan has devoted his entire life to public service and, on behalf of all West Virginians, we thank him,” Gov. Justice said. “It was one of my highest honors to appoint Evan to our Supreme Court in 2018 and, since then, he and his colleagues have restored honor and integrity to our court. I look forward to appointing a new justice who can fill his shoes and carry the torch of honor and integrity well into the future.”

The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission will immediately begin the process of filling this vacancy with an appointee to serve as a justice until the people of West Virginia elect a new justice.
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Gov. Justice: “Without that booster shot, you are becoming very exposed again.”
During Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Justice continued to double down on his calls for all eligible West Virginians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get their booster shot when the time comes to do so.

“Our deaths are growing once again, especially with our elderly people,” Gov. Justice said. “Without that booster shot, you are becoming very exposed again.”
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Gov. Justice announces winners of 2022 Almost Heaven Governor’s Art Exhibition
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice, along with the West Virginia Department of Tourism and the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, announced the winners of the fourth annual Almost Heaven Governor’s Art Exhibition. 

Awards were given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in three divisions: Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. Winners will receive Blick Art Materials gift cards in the amounts of $100, $50, and $25, respectively.
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Gov. Justice: West Virginia requests waiver from federal vaccine mandate for rural healthcare workers
During Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he would be joining with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, sending a joint letter to the U.S. Administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, calling on CMS to grant a limited waiver of its vaccination requirement at rural or state-run facilities due to severe staffing shortages.

“We understand that the Supreme Court has ruled that this mandate can go into effect, but it is putting an additional level of strain on our rural hospitals that is just destroying us,” Gov. Justice said. “Maybe that works for more-populated areas. But in rural West Virginia, we can’t afford to have all these folks terminated because of their vaccination status. It’s just going to make it tougher and tougher for us to provide care in our rural hospitals."

On Thursday, Governor's Office staff had a productive call with CMS and the Virginia Governor’s Office. During the call, West Virginia was able to share its concerns about staffing at the state’s rural healthcare facilities and how the mandate would cause serious staffing issues.

CMS officials explained the rule as it currently stands and offered to take the request back to their people for consideration.
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West Virginia Wildlife Center hosts Groundhog Day celebration
West Virginia’s Groundhog Day celebration took place as French Creek Freddie predicted six more weeks of winter.

The 2022 Groundhog Day activities included live music performed by the French Creek Elementary School Choir, free hot chocolate and cookies, special activities and opportunities to tour the Wildlife Center, which features nearly 30 different species of West Virginia mammals, birds and reptiles.
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2022 Wild Boar Firearms Season opens Feb. 4
West Virginia’s resident-only wild boar firearms season will be open in Boone, Logan, Raleigh and Wyoming counties Feb. 4-6.

To hunt wild boar, hunters must possess a Class X, XP, XP3, XS, XJ, AH+BG+CS, AHJ, AB-L, A-L or A+BG+CS license or be exempt from purchasing a license. Hunters may harvest boar of either sex, but only one boar may be taken in a year. Hunters also must electronically register their boar within 24 hours of harvest.
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WV Division of Highways holds flash hiring event
The West Virginia Division of Highways held a flash hiring event on February 2nd to fill a variety of positions.

Types of positions included Human Resources Specialists and Associates, Division Managers, Training and Development Specialists and Associates, Highway Business Operations Specialists, Office Assistants, Community Development Specialist Trainees, Highway Systems Analyst Trainees, Highway Engineers, and Highway Program Managers. Postings are updated continually on WVDOT's webpage, and there are many other types of job available statewide.
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Work is underway to restore historic Carrollton Covered Bridge, WVDOH announces
Work is underway to restore the historic Carrollton Covered Bridge in Barbour County, the West Virginia Division of Highways announced.
 
Contractors for Span 1, LLC are currently installing scaffolding and rigging to replace the bridge’s wooden siding and portions of the upper superstructure.
 
“While it’s been a long time coming for community members, it’s been a top priority for the Division of Highways since day one,” said District 7 Engineer Brian Cooper, P.E.
 
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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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