West Virginia Week in Review - April 20, 2024


West Virginia Week in Review
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Gov. Justice issues statement following waiver approval from U.S. Department of Education
Gov. Justice issued a statement after the U.S. Department of Education announced it had approved West Virginia's maintenance of effort waiver request, and no federal funds will need to be returned.

As I said all along, I knew this was not going to be a problem. 

So, while we are all pleased the U.S. Department of Education accepted our waiver because we made it clear that education is a top priority in West Virginia, this announcement came as no surprise and was never a real issue.

When confronted with this same issue last year, our request was approved following a detailed explanation of our education spending, including salary increases for teachers, funding for our thriving Communities In Schools West Virginia program, and a $50 million allocation to the School Building Authority.

Given this precedent, my administration remained very confident this year's waiver would again be approved because we only increased our educational commitments, implementing another pay raise for teachers and school personnel, furthering support for Communities In Schools West Virginia, and allocating a historic $150 million to the School Building Authority.

We've made substantial improvements to our education system. These investments are exactly what the U.S. Department of Education was looking for during their review, and I'm genuinely thankful these funds are directly benefiting our schools, teachers, and students instead of going back to Washington, D.C. 

Additionally, these investments have also sparked hundreds of construction jobs across our state as we work on building and repairing schools. All in all, we're creating jobs, nurturing our students, and supporting our educators.

However, I have one more point. The potential of a 'clawback' should never have been used to scare anyone. That narrative only distracts from the positive progress we have made as a state. Let us put this issue to bed and continue making West Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.
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Gov. Justice announces West Virginia State Wildlife Center reopens to the public
Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) announced that the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in French Creek has reopened to the public after completing a federal relicensing process.

"We faced numerous challenges and overcame several obstacles, but we fought tirelessly to reopen our center," Gov. Justice said. "It's truly amazing to see our doors open again, inviting visitors from around the world to experience one of West Virginia's treasured attractions."

The Wildlife Center had been temporarily closed due to a relicensing procedure through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). As part of the relicensing agreement, the WVDNR has enacted conservation measures at the Wildlife Center while staff works on completing a perimeter fence around the facility.
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Gov. Justice announces first-ever Governor’s School for Tourism program details
Encourages students to apply for once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
Gov. Justice released details for the first-ever Governor’s School for Tourism, a 10-day summer academy for students interested in learning more about West Virginia’s growing tourism industry.

Those selected will tour nearly 1,000 miles of West Virginia, learning about tourism and hospitality through hands-on experiences. Students who are currently high school freshmen and sophomores during the 2023-2024 school year must apply online before Friday, April 26, 2024.  

“The Governor’s School for Tourism is going to be really special. High school students will get to travel all across our great state for 10 days and learn about what makes West Virginia’s tourism industry one of the top in the world,” Gov. Justice said. “Tourism has quickly become a growing part of West Virginia’s economy, and I want to make sure our talented students are aware of the variety of career pathways available to them. This program is something these students will never forget.”
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Gov. Justice presents $2.1M abandoned mine land grant to Clendenin to create Gravity Adventure Park 
Gov. Justice announces Jessica Lynch as an ambassador for the WV Department of Veterans Affairs Women Veterans Program
Watch Watch
First Lady Justice introduces newest Friends With Paws therapy dogs at Nutter Fort Primary School and West Fairmont Middle School
First Lady Cathy Justice introduced West Virginia's newest therapy dogs through the Friends With Paws program at Nutter Fort Primary School and West Fairmont Middle School.

The therapy dogs were announced during assemblies celebrating their arrival. 
Eli, a male Golden Retriever, was placed at Nutter Fort Primary School. 

Opera, a female Labrador Retriever, was placed at West Fairmont Middle School.
“Eli and Opera will be a tremendous addition to both Nutter Fort Primary and West Fairmont Middle,” First Lady Cathy Justice said. “We have been able to see firsthand what these therapy dogs are capable of, and the benefits are beautiful to witness. Whether it be better reading skills, increased attendance rates, or an overall morale boost for the students and faculty, these dogs are here to help.”
The Friends With Paws program places certified therapy dogs in several schools across the state, providing companionship and comfort for students needing a boost. Friends With Paws has placed 25 therapy dogs in schools across the state.
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Gov. Justice announces $1.1 million for water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades; Department of Transportation awarded $3.3 million
Gov. Justice announced the allocation of nearly $1.1 million in non-federal match funds to enhance water and wastewater infrastructure in five West Virginia counties.
Click here to view awarded projects
Additionally, the West Virginia Department of Transportation was awarded nearly $3.3 million through the PROTECT grant to reconstruct a portion of State Route 39 and raise the roadway outside of the flood zone of the Cherry River.
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Also this week:
DoHS and WVDE Announce Launch of Summer EBT Program for West Virginians

DoHS Announces Emergency Energy Assistance Program for Low Income Residents

West Virginia Among Top Four in Nation for Providing Early Childhood Education

The West Virginia Department of Education welcomes 14 high school teams to the 2024 Academic Showdown finale


C.J. Harvey
Director of Communications 

Rachael Harper
Communications Specialist 

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