West Virginia Week in Review - February 3, 2024


West Virginia Week in Review
Gov. Justice, West Virginia State Wildlife Center obtain clearance to host Groundhog Day celebration despite federal pushback
Despite initially canceling festivities because of federal pushback from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Gov. Justice announced the State Wildlife Center in French Creek had obtained one-day clearance to host its annual and much-beloved Groundhog Day Ceremony, which it did on Friday.
Watch the entire Groundhog Day Ceremony here
The best news is that French Creek Freddie, West Virginia's weather-predicting groundhog, did not see his shadow, suggesting an early spring for the Mountain State. Gov. Justice joined the ceremony virtually to thank the Wildlife Center and Division of Natural Resources for their efforts to make the event happen on short notice.

Due to the ongoing relicensing process for animal exhibition, which requires inspection approvals, the Wildlife Center cannot exhibit animals and will remain closed until a new license is secured. WVDNR staff are actively collaborating with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to expedite relicensing, with a commitment to notify the public once the Wildlife Center reopens.
Photos Photos
Watch Watch
Gov. Justice calls on Biden Administration to cease war on West Virginia by federal agencies
Gov. Justice called on the Biden Administration to cease the war being waged by his federal agencies against West Virginia, shutting down our wildlife center, crippling our trout program, and stalling Corridor H construction. 
Click here for more details
“I’m calling on President Biden to stop this all out war on West Virginia by his federal agencies,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s so blatantly targeted at our state and our people because we happen to disagree on political issues. It’s just plain wrong. 

“We aren’t asking for special treatment, just fairness and consistency in the decisions by these agencies that have the power to affect our state, our economy, and the livelihoods of hardworking West Virginians.”
Read More Read More
Gov. Justice announces FY 2024 revenue collections $458 million ahead of estimate
Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia’s General Revenue collections for January 2024, the seventh month of Fiscal Year 2024, came in at $531 million, which is $52.3 million above the official estimate. Cumulative collections for Fiscal Year 2024 of more than $3.297 billion stand at $458.7 million ahead of the cumulative estimate.

"West Virginia's economy continues to defy expectations,” Gov.​ Justice said. “Even after historic tax cuts, our January revenue collections shattered estimates by over $50 million, pushing our total surplus to an incredible $458 million. This momentum proves our investments in diversification and responsible budgeting are paying off as we build a brighter future for every West Virginian."

Even after a 21.25% personal income tax cut, the largest tax cut in state history, this month’s cumulative surplus was again led by a strong performance from personal income taxes and interest income collections.
Read More Read More
Gov. Justice welcomes Kevin O’Leary aka “Mr. Wonderful” to West Virginia 
Gov. Justice announces West Virginia named top global travel destination yet again
National Geographic selects West Virginia’s whitewater for prestigious 2024 “Best of the World” list
Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Department of Tourism announced that West Virginia has been selected as one of National Geographic’s “Best of the World” Top 20 Travel Experiences for 2024.

The internationally acclaimed publication has selected whitewater rafting in the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve as one of the world’s top wonders to experience this year. 

“If the world didn’t know before about the beautiful state we get to call home, they surely do now,” Gov. Justice said. “I’ve been saying for years that West Virginia is a diamond in the rough. Well, now we’re shining for all to see, and it’s much deserved. We’ve worked hard to change our image and it’s made all of the difference for tourism in the state. I’m so proud and I can’t wait for new visitors to experience Almost Heaven because of honors like this one.”

Each year, National Geographic releases its "Best of the World" list, celebrating travel experiences that illuminate the world and the diversity of communities and people within it. The list is selected and written by National Geographic global editors from around the world, in collaboration with National Geographic experts and expedition leaders. Rafting in West Virginia made this year’s list along with highly acclaimed experiences such as an eclipse in Niagara Falls and glacier treks in Chile.
Read More Read More
Gov. Justice and WVDNR welcome 17 new elk to West Virginia
A second transport of nearly two dozen more to take place in February
Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) announced the successful transport of 17 elk to the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan County. The elk will be evaluated and held for a short period of time before being released into the wild, bringing the state’s growing elk population up to 127.
Click here for photos and video of elk transfer
“As Governor, I'm thrilled to announce that West Virginia's elk population has reached an incredible 127 animals,” Gov. Justice said. “Since our reintroduction efforts began several years ago, these majestic creatures have returned to grace our state, enriching our ecosystem and offering unparalleled outdoor experiences. This achievement is a testament to the tireless efforts of our dedicated DNR staff, whose commitment to conservation is truly commendable. We remain committed to further expanding our elk population, fostering tourism, and ensuring a vibrant future for these iconic animals in West Virginia.”
Read More Read More
Gov. Justice and WVDNR announce West Virginia bear harvest increases 64 percent in 2023
Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) announced black bear harvests in West Virginia dramatically increased in 2023.

“I couldn’t be more proud because this is further proof that West Virginia is a hotspot for bear hunters,” Gov. Justice said. “The success of this program is a testament to the hard work of our WVDNR team and everyone who is making our state a hunting destination. Keep up the great work.”

During the 2023 archery and firearms seasons for black bear, West Virginia hunters harvested 2,830 bears, which was a 64 percent increase over the 1,727 bears harvested in 2022.

Hunters harvested 1,898 bears during the firearms season and 932 bears during the first segment of the 2023 archery and crossbow season, from September 30 to November 19.

Hunters harvested 470 bears with vertical bows and 462 bears with crossbows. The top five counties for archery harvests were Fayette (83), McDowell and Wyoming (71), Nicholas (62), Raleigh (59) and Greenbrier (55).
Read More Read More
Gov. Justice visits Frankford Elementary to present over $6.7m for additions and renovations
Gov. Justice presented a check for $6,707,058 to Greenbrier County Schools to be used for additions and renovations at Frankford Elementary School.

In December, as Chairman of the West Virginia School Building Authority, Gov. Justice led a vote to approve an award of $111,687,534 to 19 counties for Fiscal Year 2024. The Governor delivered Greenbrier County its share of funding as part of that $111m.
Photos Photos
Gov. Justice celebrates Marshall Day at the State Capitol
The talented “3rd Avenue” a cappella group performed an excellent rendition of Country Roads
Photos Photos
Gov. Justice, WVDEP announce second phase of Reclamation of Abandoned and Dilapidated Properties Program
Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) announced that 69 communities will receive over $15.6 million in grant funding as part of the second phase of the State's Reclamation of Abandoned and Dilapidated Properties Program (DLAP). 

The funding represents a significant step forward in the state's ongoing efforts to address and mitigate the challenges posed by abandoned and dilapidated properties across West Virginia.

In this ambitious second phase, a total of 69 communities, including towns, cities, and counties, have been approved for grants amounting to $15,662,250.

"These funds are helping move West Virginia in the right direction," Gov. Justice said. "Let's be clear: West Virginia is on the rise. We're attracting visitors and businesses from all over the world, and our future is brighter than ever. This funding provides the rocket boost needed to propel us forward, because we are tearing down what's holding us back and making way for what's to come. I thank the WVDEP for their incredible work to get this second phase across the finish line."

This funding will reimburse the communities for expenses related to the demolition of 1,290 targeted structures, marking a substantial increase in the program's reach and impact compared to its pilot phase.
Read More Read More
Also this week:
Gov. Justice unveils 2024 West Virginia Vacation Guide

SBA Offers Disaster Loans for August 2023 Flooding

Gov. Justice and WVDOH announce Operation R.I.P. Potholes

Gov. Justice appoints Stephen Green to 36th District in House of Delegates

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

Governor's Mansion:

Flag Status

American Flag Full Staff
State Flag Full Staff

Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Site Map