West Virginia Week in Review - February 24, 2024


West Virginia Week in Review
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Governor and First Lady announce Communities In Schools officially in all 55 West Virginia counties
In a landmark announcement, Gov. Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice proudly announced that Communities In Schools (CIS) is now operational in all 55 counties of West Virginia.

Nicholas and Pleasants counties represent the final additions to the Communities In Schools program, with dedicated site coordinators already in place and the program fully implemented since the start of the semester.

"Investing in our children is the best investment we can make in West Virginia's future," Gov. Justice said. "That is why I'm so incredibly proud to see Communities In Schools reach every corner of our state. From one county when I took office to all 55 today is a testament to the incredible teamwork of our dedicated site coordinators, educators, families, the Department of Education, the Legislature, and all our community partners. Most importantly, the dedication from Cathy and her team has been remarkable. Without them, this program would be a fraction of what it is. We're already seeing the data reflect positive graduation rate changes, test scores, and overall student well-being. The bottom line is that CIS works."
Click here to learn more about CIS West Virginia
"I am so happy to witness the expansion of Communities In Schools to every corner of our beautiful state," First Lady Cathy Justice said. "This program has the power to transform lives by providing the needed support to our students. An enormous amount of credit is due to all our site coordinators who are our 'boots on the ground,' as they play a pivotal role in identifying, connecting with, and helping the students who need the extra boost in academics and all-around basic needs."

Communities In Schools is the First Lady’s primary initiative, and first took root in West Virginia in 2018. The program's initial phase focused on three pilot counties: Berkeley, McDowell, and Wyoming. These counties served as a springboard for the innovative approach that has now flourished across the entire state. 
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Governor and First Lady announce the next six therapy dogs to be placed throughout the state
Gov. Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice announced the next six therapy dogs that will be placed in Communities In Schools sites across West Virginia as part of the First Lady’s Friends With Paws initiative.

Adding these six dogs to Friends With Paws will bring the total number of therapy dogs placed in West Virginia through the program to 25.

“These therapy dogs will bring friendship, love, and support to their schools,” First Lady Justice said. “It’s incredible what benefits these dogs bring, not just for the students but for the whole faculty. I look forward to welcoming each one and seeing the amazing work that they do for our students.” 
Click here to learn more about FWP Class of Winter 2024
First announced in March 2022, the Friends With Paws program places certified therapy dogs in various CIS schools across the state, providing companionship and comfort for students in need of a boost.

"Having witnessed the incredible impact of the Friends With Paws initiative throughout our state, I'm thrilled to announce its continued growth,” Gov. Justice said. “This initiative is more than just a program; it's become a reason for our students to look forward to coming to school. These dogs are the true heroes and joy-bringers in our schools. These new additions will absolutely enhance the lives of the schools they become a part of."
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Gov. Justice extends prayers to Liberty High School community amidst tragic loss
Gov. Justice welcomes Kawasaki to Hatfield-McCoy Trails
Major brand debuts brand new RIDGE® Side x Side on the trails
Gov. Justice welcomed the Kawasaki team to West Virginia, home of one of the largest off-highway vehicle trail systems in the world.

The brand chose the Hatfield-McCoy Trails in southern West Virginia as the backdrop to debut their new RIDGE® Side x Side. This week, more than a dozen top tier media will travel to the trails to experience the company’s newest machine and the world-class off-roading trails. 

“I’m beyond excited that Kawasaki chose West Virginia to show off their new machine on our Hatfield-McCoy Trails,” Gov. Justice said. “These trails are a huge driver for tourism in West Virginia. I’m so proud of the hardworking folks running Hatfield-McCoy and all the small business owners along the trail; they’ve created the success responsible for this week’s tour. It’s truly an honor to have Kawasaki here.”

The Kawasaki team and journalists who write for publications such as Men’s Journal, Gear Junkie and Dirt Sports Magazine will take the RIDGE® Side x Side on the Bearwallow and Rockhouse trail systems. 

“West Virginia is home to some of the greatest off-road trails in the country,” Ken Essex, Kawasaki’s Sr. Manager of Public Relations said. “To launch the all-new Kawasaki RIDGE side x side we built a great Super Bowl ad. And when we were looking where to bring the media, there was no better place than the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system. The endless miles of trail and scenic rolling hills provide an unforgettable experience and with the premium enclosed cabin on the Kawasaki RIDGE you can enjoy riding year-round.”
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Gov. Justice announces Water Development Authority approves over $19 million in economic enhancement projects
Gov. Justice announced the West Virginia Water Development Authority (WDA) has approved 10 new Economic Enhancement Grant Fund (EEGF) projects worth $19,872,189.00.
Click here for a list of the approved projects
In April 2022, Gov. Justice called a special session to fund the Economic Enhancement Grant Fund, at the time securing an initial amount of $250 million. Since then, the program has seen exceptional success, and the WDA has approved EEGF projects worth $400 million, impacting over 582,440 West Virginians. All in all, these projects will affect residents statewide.

The WDA manages the EEGF, which provides matching grants to municipalities for upgrading infrastructure such as water, sewer, economic development, commerce, and tourism projects.
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Also this week:
Operation R.I.P. Potholes update: more warm weather means patching continues

WVDOH drawing up plans to demolish Aetnaville Bridge in Wheeling

W.Va. Department of Health Says Public Health Risk Low Following First Case of Avian Influenza in Backyard Flock

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov; CJ Harvey, cj.harvey@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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