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  • State News

    West Virginia & Virginia State News

    48 news in this category

    1. State News


      Governor Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice led a series of West Virginia Day celebrations, from the State Capitol in Charleston to Independence Hall in Wheeling, marking the state's 161st birthday with a variety of events that highlighted the state's rich heritage and community spirit.
      "I’m honored to celebrate West Virginia's 161st birthday surrounded by so many great people," Gov. Justice said. "We have so much to be proud of in the Mountain State. The world is catching on to all the greatness West Virginia offers. It truly is the greatest state to live, work, and raise a family. I am beyond proud of what we have accomplished together, and I know the future for West Virginia will be just as bright."
      State Capitol Mural Dedication
      The day began with the dedication of four new murals in the Capitol rotunda. These artworks depict significant scenes from West Virginia's history, including the Battle of Philippi, the Shiveree of Seneca Rock, Harpers Ferry in 1859, and the West Virginia State Seal. Additional murals are being installed and are expected to be completed by November 2024.
      "Our State Capitol is already one of the most stunning in the nation, and today, with these new murals, it's even more beautiful," Gov. Justice said. "I've always said that the arts are at the heart and soul of West Virginia—they're a part of who we are. These beautiful murals tell our story, showcasing our rich history and what makes our state truly special."
      During the ceremony, the West Virginia Ambassadors campers sang the National Anthem and "West Virginia Hills," and Brody Hammers, a student from Cabell Midland High School, performed "Take Me Home, Country Roads" on the piano.
      West Virginia Hot Dog Sauce Contest
      Following the mural dedication, First Lady Cathy Justice announced the winner of the West Virginia Birthday Hot Dog Sauce Contest at the West Virginia Culture Center. Paige Toney of Grantsville won with her recipe, 'Calhoun Band Booster,' a beloved sauce used for decades to raise funds for the Calhoun County High School band.
      “Our hot dog sauce contest had a tremendous response,” First Lady Justice said. “What’s more West Virginian than a great tasting chili to put on your hot dog? There were some really unique recipes along with more traditional ones, and they were fun to read through. I hope everyone enjoys the hot dogs, punch, and cake today!”
      The event also featured the West Virginia Hot Dog Guys, Jay Silverman and Joel Bennett, who were honored with a proclamation declaring July as West Virginia Hot Dog Month.
      As part of the festivities, First Lady Justice cut the official West Virginia Blackberry Walnut cake and served it with the signature Mountain Mama fruit punch. Attendees had the chance to sign an extra-large West Virginia Birthday Card on display.
      Toney received a $500 gift card and an honorary first-place certificate. Her recipe was chosen from three finalists, judged by a panel including the First Lady, Gov. Justice, Chief of Staff to the First Lady Vicki Shannon, Liaison to the First Lady Joslyn Barnhart, WV Governor's Mansion Executive Chef K.D. Jones, and Cabinet Secretary Randall Reid-Smith.
      Second and third place went to Selina Burke's "Smiley Face Chili" from Charleston and Miriam Weber's "Homestead Venison Maple Medley" from Green Bank, winning $300 and $100 gift cards respectively. All finalist recipes will be posted on First Lady Cathy Justice's Facebook page.
      Arthur I. Boreman Statue Unveiling
      The day's events concluded with the unveiling of a statue honoring Arthur I. Boreman, West Virginia's first governor, at Independence Hall in Wheeling. Boreman, who served from 1863 to 1869, was instrumental in navigating the state through the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. The statue commemorates his leadership and the unique circumstances of West Virginia's statehood during the Civil War.
      “Today is such a great day for all West Virginians, and I hope everyone had a chance to celebrate accordingly,” Gov. Justice said. “We are so blessed to have four incredible seasons and the greatest people on the planet. It’s been a real honor to be your Governor. Thank you for all you do, West Virginia.”

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    2. State News


      On June 18, 2024, Governor Jim Justice announced the awarding of $5,532,553.00 through the West Virginia Community Corrections Grant program to fund 30 projects across the state. These grants aim to support the establishment and continued operation of community corrections programs, offering the judicial system alternatives to institutional custody for offenders requiring lesser sentencing.
      Administered by the Justice and Community Services (JCS) Section of the West Virginia Division of Administrative Services (DAS), the program empowers local communities to develop and maintain these correctional alternatives.
      Greenbrier County Highlight
      Greenbrier County Commission received $270,000.00 to support its community corrections program. This funding will be instrumental in maintaining and enhancing the county’s efforts to provide effective correctional alternatives and support local judicial processes.
      Key Grant Awards to Other Counties
      Berkeley County Commission: $244,000.00 Logan County Commission: $475,000.00 for Logan, Boone, Lincoln, and Mingo Counties. Marshall County Commission: $300,000.00 for Marshall, Brooke, Hancock, Ohio, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties. Harrison County Commission: $100,000.00 Jefferson County Commission: $155,000.00 Kanawha County Commission: $155,000.00 Marion County Commission: $120,000.00 Mercer County Commission: $287,500.00 Monongalia County Commission: $197,893.00 Raleigh County Commission: $192,277.00 Summers County Commission: $161,962.00 for Summers and Monroe Counties. Additional Funding Awards
      West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services: $150,000.00 for a statewide Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) project coordinator. West Virginia CASA Association: $100,000.00 to support resources, assistance, and technical support to 10 local CASA programs across the state. These grants reflect the state’s commitment to providing effective alternatives to incarceration, promoting rehabilitation, and ensuring public safety. The full list of grant awards underscores the widespread impact of this initiative, which reaches every corner of West Virginia.
      For more information on the West Virginia Community Corrections Grant program and its impact on local communities, visit the West Virginia Division of Administrative Services website.

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    3. State News

      Gov. Jim Justice has ordered all United States and West Virginia flags at the Capitol Complex and state-owned facilities in Randolph and Pocahontas counties to be displayed at half-staff from midnight until sunset on Saturday, June 15, 2024, in commemoration of the distinguished life and service of former West Virginia Delegate, Joe Martin.

      Martin was elected as the Mayor of Elkins in 1977. He then served in the West Virginia House of Delegates for 22 years, representing the people of Randolph and Pocahontas counties.

      Martin would later be appointed as Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, now the Department of Homeland Security.

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    4. State News

      Gov. Jim Justice announced today that the Town of Alderson in Greenbrier County has secured a significant boost in funding to enhance its water infrastructure. The West Virginia Water Development Authority (WDA) has approved an $800,000 Economic Enhancement Grant Fund (EEFG) grant to replace Alderson's water treatment plant. This critical project has a total cost of $10,054,000.
      This funding is part of the WDA’s ongoing initiative to improve water and sewer systems across West Virginia, which has awarded 174 grants totaling over $427 million since April 2022. The program was established following Gov. Justice's call for a special legislative session, securing an initial $250 million to launch the Economic Enhancement Grant Fund.
      For Alderson, the upgrade of the water treatment plant is a significant development, promising to enhance water quality and reliability for the town’s residents. The new plant will replace outdated infrastructure, ensuring a more efficient and effective water treatment process.
      The replacement of Alderson's water treatment plant is not just an investment in infrastructure; it’s an investment in the health and well-being of our community. This project will provide residents with better water quality and support the town’s future growth.
      Gov. Justice highlighted the broader impact of the WDA’s initiatives, which have affected over 607,000 West Virginians by addressing critical infrastructure needs. The success of the Economic Enhancement Grant Fund program is evident in projects like Alderson’s water treatment plant. These grants are making a tangible difference in communities across the state, improving lives and fostering economic growth.
      Following the WDA’s June meeting, which approved the latest round of funding, the Authority celebrated its 50th anniversary. The event commemorated five decades of dedicated service to improving West Virginia’s water infrastructure. Deputy Chief of Staff Ann Urling presented a Certificate of Recognition to the WDA on behalf of Gov. Justice, acknowledging its outstanding commitment to public health and infrastructure development.
      WDA Executive Director Marie Prezioso expressed pride in the Authority's achievements and future goals. "We are incredibly proud to celebrate this milestone and look forward to continuing our work in the years ahead."
      The approval of the $800,000 grant for Alderson marks a significant step forward for the town, ensuring a safer and more reliable water supply for its residents. This development is a testament to the collaborative efforts of state and local governments to invest in essential infrastructure, fostering a brighter future for West Virginia communities.

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    5. State News

      In a significant fiscal milestone, Governor Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia recorded a $63.7 million surplus in May, boosting the state’s year-to-date surplus to a remarkable $701.1 million. With one month remaining in the fiscal year, this achievement underscores the state's robust economic performance and effective fiscal management.
      Governor Justice shared a special message celebrating this month's surpluses, emphasizing its significance to the people of West Virginia. In his address, he highlighted the economic resilience and strategic financial planning that have contributed to this surplus.
      In May, the total General Revenue Fund collections exceeded $397.3 million, bringing the cumulative year-to-date collections for Fiscal Year 2024 to an impressive $5.1 billion. As the fiscal year concludes in June, these figures demonstrate sustained economic growth.
      Key revenue streams contributed to this surplus:
      Personal Income Tax: May collections totaled over $138.3 million, with year-to-date collections surpassing $2.003 billion. This figure is nearly $183 million above the original estimate, despite a 21.25% reduction in tax rates last year. Corporation Net Income Tax: May collections reached approximately $9.9 million, exceeding the original estimate by $3.6 million. Year-to-date collections stand at $402.6 million, which is $226.6 million above the original estimate and 16.7% higher than the previous year. Consumer Sales Tax: May collections totaled $164.3 million, with cumulative collections reaching $1.607 billion. Monthly collections were six percent higher than last year's May receipts. Year-to-date collections surpassed the original estimate by $34.4 million and were 3.5% ahead of last year. Severance Tax: May collections amounted to $32.9 million, $8.5 million above the original estimate. Cumulative collections nearly hit $331 million, which is $58.9 million above the cumulative original estimate. For more detailed information, the monthly revenue and cash flow reports from the West Virginia State Budget Office are available for review.
      This fiscal success is a testament to the state's strategic planning and economic resilience, setting a positive outlook for the remaining fiscal year and beyond.

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    6. State News

      Governor Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 1002 today, securing an additional $150 million in supplemental highway funding for the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH). This funding, dedicated exclusively to paving projects, aims to enhance road infrastructure across the Mountain State.
      Governor Justice advocated for this supplemental budget during the first special legislative session in May, emphasizing the necessity of this funding alongside the $190 million received from federal highway funds.
      “Signing this bill is a huge win for our roads, our people, and West Virginia,” Governor Justice declared. “With federal funds only stretching so far, this additional $150 million means our hardworking Division of Highways crew can roll up their sleeves and tackle even more roads. I am beyond proud we got this across the finish, and I thank the West Virginia Legislature for prioritizing our roads. Now, we can keep the momentum going and continue to improve every corner of our state.”
      The $150 million will significantly enhance the WVDOH's ability to pave roads statewide, ensuring that everyday routes for West Virginians are better maintained and safer to travel.
      “Once again, our Governor has led from the front,” said Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E. “He has demonstrated time and again that investing in our infrastructure pays dividends for our citizens. By calling the Legislature back for a special session to appropriate surplus funds for highway paving, our great people will continue to reap the rewards of a highway system that serves them well.”
      Governor Justice’s administration has made highway maintenance and construction a cornerstone since 2017, with initiatives like the $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity program and the Secondary Roads Initiative addressing long-standing underinvestment in the state's highway and bridge infrastructure. These efforts have transformed West Virginia’s highway system, with over $816 million in surplus funds allocated to the WVDOH for road repairs and improvements.
      Recognizing the limitations of federal highway funding, Governor Justice has consistently sought additional legislative support for state road projects. This year's supplemental budget appropriation, earmarked solely for paving, will cover 499 projects spanning more than 973 miles of road not included in federal funding.
      Key projects funded by the $150 million appropriation will cover portions of 55 different roads in Kanawha, Boone, Clay, Mason, and Putnam counties; 83 roads in Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, and Wayne counties; and 51 roads in Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt, and Roane counties. Other notable projects include roads in Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor, Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan, Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Tyler, Wetzel, Barbour, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Upshur, Webster, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker, Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers, McDowell, Mercer, Raleigh, and Wyoming counties.
      Travel Plaza Update
      Governor Justice also provided an update on the renovations at the Beckley and Bluestone travel plazas on the West Virginia Turnpike, which are set to open by Thanksgiving. Paramount Builders LLC of St. Albans was awarded a $122.8 million contract in February 2023 to demolish the existing plazas and construct new, state-of-the-art facilities with enhanced amenities.
      “When we pull the rope, we make things happen,” Governor Justice remarked. “We are spending over $122 million on the travel centers, and think how that’s going to promote West Virginia to all of these people traveling to our amazing state. These are so important because they are part of every visitor's great experience as they visit West Virginia. I am so impressed with the current construction, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.”
      The travel plaza improvements include expanded and separate parking for cars and trucks, designated bus parking, RV dump stations, picnic areas, expanded restrooms, new restaurant options, a drive-through at Beckley, 24-hour convenience stores, and expanded tourist information centers.
      Jeff Miller, executive director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority, praised the initiative: “This is another example of Gov. Justice's vision to promote West Virginia to the nation. By the end of this year, motorists along the West Virginia Turnpike will be able to enjoy new, modern travel plazas that will provide the public a wonderful service experience and a safe area to rest, all while enjoying expanded food offerings and fueling before getting back on the road.”
      As summer paving and construction season approaches, Governor Justice urges all West Virginians to stay vigilant in work zones, adhere to posted signs and restrictions, and keep their eyes on the road to ensure the safety of both workers and drivers.

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    7. State News

      Gov. Jim Justice has issued a proclamation, ordering that all United States and West Virginia flags on all State-owned facilities be displayed at half-staff from dawn until noon on Memorial Day – Monday, May 27, 2024 – to honor the memory of the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice defending the United States of America. The Governor’s order also requests that all citizens display any United States and West Virginia flags at their homes at half-staff from dawn until noon on Memorial Day.

      Additionally, the Governor’s order asks all West Virginians to unite in prayer for permanent peace at 11:00 a.m. and observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 p.m.

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    8. State News

      In celebration of West Virginia’s 161st birthday, First Lady Cathy Justice and Governor Jim Justice are excited to host a hot dog sauce contest, inviting West Virginians to showcase their culinary talents by submitting their best hot dog sauce recipes. This unique event aims to honor the Mountain State's rich culinary heritage and will culminate in a grand celebration on West Virginia Day, Thursday, June 20, 2024.
      The contest not only celebrates West Virginia’s statehood but also highlights a beloved local delicacy—hot dog sauce. The competition promises to be a delicious and spirited affair, with West Virginians competing for top honors and cash prizes. The first-place winner will receive $500, the second-place winner will take home $300, and the third-place winner will be awarded $100.
      "West Virginia Day is a special occasion for all of us to come together and celebrate our state's history, culture, and traditions," First Lady Cathy Justice said. "What better way to do that than through a contest showcasing our beloved hot dog sauce? I'm excited to see the creativity and delicious recipes from our talented home cooks."
      Participants are encouraged to submit their special step-by-step hot dog sauce recipes by June 10, 2024. The winning recipes will be revealed and celebrated on West Virginia Day, June 20, 2024. Details on the WV Day event will be posted soon.
      To participate in "The Great West Virginia Hot Dog Sauce Cook-Off," submit your detailed recipe through the provided Google Form. Ensure your recipe includes all ingredients, measurements, and step-by-step instructions. This is an opportunity for West Virginians to display their culinary skills and contribute to a cherished state tradition.
      This event promises to be a highlight of the West Virginia Day celebrations, bringing together communities through a shared love of food and tradition. Don't miss out on this chance to be part of a new and flavorful chapter in West Virginia’s history!

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    9. State News

      Gov. Jim Justice has ordered all United States and West Virginia flags at the Capitol Complex and state-owned facilities in West Virginia to be displayed at half-staff from midnight until sunset on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day, which is part of National Police Week in West Virginia.

      The members of West Virginia's law enforcement agencies play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of our people. It's crucial for everyone to acknowledge and respect the immense responsibilities of these men and women who courageously put their lives on the line to provide this public service.

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    10. State News

      In a recent statement from the Office of Governor Jim Justice, the Governor emphasized the critical need for a recurring resiliency fund aimed at aiding West Virginians affected by natural disasters. During his weekly administration update on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reiterated sentiments previously highlighted in his 2024 State of the State address, underlining the necessity of such a fund.
      Expressing disappointment in the West Virginia Legislature's failure to allocate $50 million to the West Virginia Flood Resiliency Trust Fund during the most recent legislative session, Governor Justice announced plans to push the issue forward. He intends to urge the Legislature to address this matter promptly and will include it on the agenda for an upcoming special session, alongside other crucial budgetary concerns.
      While acknowledging the leadership of the Speaker and input from legislators, Gov. Justice asserted that more could have been done during the session to support West Virginians in times of emergency. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that the people of West Virginia have access to necessary assistance, drawing attention to the lack of recent appropriations for emergencies.
      Highlighting the utilization of funds in the past, Governor Justice referenced instances where earmarked funds were intermittently used during the pandemic to aid the National Guard and other state agencies. Remaining funds are currently allocated for outstanding balances related to school reconstruction in Kanawha and Nicholas counties.
      Addressing the Civil Contingent Fund, the Governor clarified its intended purposes as outlined by the Legislature, including economic development, infrastructure projects, higher education capital improvements, and maintaining correctional facilities. He emphasized that no instance exists where direct payments to the public for natural disasters were distributed from the Governor's Office, underscoring the necessity of funding the resiliency account to provide authorization for such actions.
      In response to the ongoing crisis, Governor Justice assured that multiple state agencies are actively engaged and maintaining communication with impacted communities to meet their needs effectively.
      Governor Justice expressed his readiness to utilize other contingency funds as a down payment if lawmakers support such actions. He also extended willingness to negotiate full funding for the resiliency account and announced plans to engage with legislative leadership in the upcoming weeks to establish a clear plan of action, ultimately benefitting the people of West Virginia.
      As the state continues to navigate challenges, Governor Jim Justice remains steadfast in his commitment to providing essential support and resources to West Virginians during times of need.

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    11. State News

      Governor Jim Justice shared uplifting news today as he announced that First Lady Cathy Justice underwent a successful hip replacement surgery at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.
      Governor Justice expressed gratitude for the positive outcome, stating, "Our family is very thankful Cathy's surgery went extremely well. I want to thank Dr. Dietz and all of the amazing folks at WVU Medicine for their great work and professionalism. I also want to thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers, and above all else, I thank God for today's outcome."
      First Lady Justice is currently resting and in good spirits following the procedure. She eagerly anticipates resuming her duties in serving the people of West Virginia.
      The surgery's success comes as a relief to many, and the Governor's message of appreciation extends to the medical team and everyone who offered support and well-wishes during this time.
      As the First Lady recuperates, the Justice family and the state of West Virginia remain grateful for the skill and care provided by the medical staff at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital. Updates on First Lady Justice's recovery will be provided as she progresses towards full health.

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    12. State News

      In a decisive move, Governor Jim Justice vetoed House Bill 5105 today, effectively maintaining stringent vaccination requirements for students attending virtual public schools and preserving uniform standards across private and parochial institutions in West Virginia.
      The bill, which sought to decentralize vaccination mandates, faced widespread opposition from the state's medical community and educational institutions. Governor Justice underscored his decision in a detailed veto letter, citing concerns about jeopardizing childhood immunity and the potential resurgence of preventable diseases like measles and mumps.
      "Since this legislation was passed, I have heard constant, strong opposition to this legislation from our State’s medical community," the Governor stated in his veto letter. "The overwhelming majority that have voiced their opinion believe that this legislation will do irreparable harm by crippling childhood immunity to diseases such as mumps and measles."
      He emphasized the critical role of vaccines in maintaining public health, highlighting West Virginia's robust vaccination requirements as instrumental in safeguarding communities. Drawing attention to the recent outbreaks in neighboring states with less stringent vaccination protocols, Governor Justice stressed the need for prudence in public health policy.
      Moreover, the Governor acknowledged the concerns raised by private and parochial institutions across the state, emphasizing the potential divisiveness and adverse repercussions of the bill's enactment.
      "I have always and will always defend our freedoms as West Virginians and as Americans," Governor Justice affirmed. "But I must follow the guidance of our medical experts on this subject."
      He underscored the significance of prioritizing the health and safety of West Virginia's children, echoing the sentiments of the medical community, whose expertise he deemed indispensable in decision-making.
      "West Virginia is way ahead of the pack in protecting our children from preventable diseases like measles," Governor Justice reiterated. "Accordingly, I hereby disapprove and return Enrolled Committee Substitute for House Bill 5105."
      With this decisive action, Governor Jim Justice reaffirmed West Virginia's commitment to robust immunization practices, prioritizing the well-being of its youngest citizens and ensuring the continued protection of public health statewide.

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    13. State News

      The anticipation is mounting as West Virginia braces for the Statewide Tornado Drill scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 20, at 11:00 AM EDT. This annual event serves as a vital opportunity for residents across the state to hone their tornado safety protocols, ensuring readiness in the event of severe weather.
      Designed to simulate the conditions of a real tornado emergency, the drill encourages participation from individuals, families, schools, and workplaces. Whether you're at home, in school, or at your place of employment, this exercise provides a valuable chance to practice your response to a potential tornado threat.
      While the specifics of the drill vary depending on your location and the resources available, the overarching goal remains the same: to foster preparedness and awareness within the community. By familiarizing themselves with evacuation procedures, shelter locations, and communication protocols, participants can mitigate the risks associated with tornadoes and enhance their chances of staying safe.
      One of the key components of the drill is the activation of various alert systems, including the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and outdoor warning sirens. These systems play a crucial role in disseminating timely and accurate information to the public during emergencies, helping to minimize confusion and facilitate swift action.
      However, it's important to note that not all counties or municipalities have outdoor warning sirens, and the activation of these systems may vary depending on local protocols. Similarly, while most NOAA Weather Radios will activate during the drill, other forms of broadcast, such as local TV and radio stations, may not be triggered due to test coding.
      In the event of inclement weather on the day of the drill, organizers will exercise caution and may opt to cancel or reschedule the event to ensure the safety of participants. Additionally, participants are reminded to adhere to any directives issued by local authorities and to prioritize their personal safety above all else.
      As the Statewide Tornado Drill approaches, residents are encouraged to take proactive steps to prepare themselves and their families. This may include reviewing emergency plans, conducting drills at home, and ensuring that emergency supplies are well-stocked and easily accessible.
      Ultimately, the Statewide Tornado Drill serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of preparedness in the face of natural disasters. By equipping themselves with the knowledge and resources necessary to respond effectively to tornadoes, West Virginians can better protect themselves and their communities from harm.

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    14. State News

      Warm temperatures bring relief to West Virginia's roadways as asphalt plants across St. Albans, Princeton, and Morgantown fire up to supply the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) with the essential material for permanent pothole repairs.
      Governor Jim Justice and the WVDOH have wasted no time in capitalizing on the unseasonable warmth, launching Operation R.I.P. Potholes on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. Since its inception, WVDOH road crews have been working tirelessly, patching an impressive 28,336 potholes along 4,011 miles of road.
      As crews hit the pavement, they're encountering varying degrees of pothole prevalence, with some stretches requiring numerous patches while others remain unscathed.
      Scheduled roadwork on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, spans several counties, including Boone, Clay, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam, Cabell, Lincoln, Wayne, Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor, Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, McDowell, Mercer, Raleigh, and Wyoming. This extensive list underscores the magnitude of the pothole problem facing the state and the comprehensive approach being taken to address it.
      Operation R.I.P. Potholes is far from over, and the WVDOH pledges to keep the public informed through regular press updates. As the wheels of progress turn, West Virginia's roads are on track for smoother journeys ahead.

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    15. State News


      State Police - Elkins has issued a Silver Alert for David G. Sharpes of Marlinton, 74 years old, 5'08" tall, 210 lbs, brown eyes, grey hair, and walks with a cane. Last seen around 5PM on 02/25/2025 - traveling on foot on Rt 28, Browns Creek Rd. Heading south towards Huntersville. Last seen wearing a faded blue denim jacket, grey pants.
      Update: 10:18 am 2-27-24
      SILVER ALERT CANCELLED - Subject has been located and is in good health. Thank you to everyone who shared our post. Your assistance is greatly appreciated! -Pocahontas County 911

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    16. State News


      Since Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) announced Operation R.I.P. Potholes on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, WVDOH road crews have patched 17,047 potholes along 3,474 miles of road. Justice and the WVDOH have been taking advantage of unseasonably warm weather to get a head start on the spring pothole patching season.   Asphalt plants in Poca, Princeton, and Morgantown remain open the week of Monday, February 19, 2024, allowing the WVDOH to make permanent pothole repairs with hot asphalt.   Roads scheduled to be milled and filled on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, include:   WV 85 and Riverside Road, Boone County. WV 4, Clay County. US 119, WV 817, WV 622, WV 61, and Indian Creek Road, Kanawha County. Jerry’s Run Road and Poindexter Road, Mason County. WV 817 and WV 62, Putnam County. US 60 and Weavers Road, Cabell County. Buffalo Calf Road and Salem Long Run Road, Doddridge County. Interstate 79, WV 131, and Marshville Road, Harrison County. WV 218, Little Mill Fall Road, and Paw Paw Creek Road, Marion County. US 119 and WV 7, Monongalia County. WV 72 and WV 24, Preston County. Berry Run and Buck Run Road, Taylor County. WV 16, Fayette County. WV 12, Greenbrier County. WV 122 and WV 12, Monroe County. WV 20, Summers County. WV 83, McDowell County. Red Sulphur Turnpike, Mercer County. Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh County.   As Operation R.I.P Potholes continues, the DOT will keep the public informed through regular press announcements.

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    17. State News


      In a heartfelt announcement today, Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice revealed that their cherished furry family member, Babydog, will undergo ACL surgery on one of her hind knees tomorrow, February 13th. The surgery will take place at the esteemed Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
      Babydog, the lovable English Bulldog, has endeared herself to the people of West Virginia, becoming a familiar presence not only in the Governor's office but also at public gatherings throughout the state. With her infectious charm and affectionate demeanor, Babydog has won the hearts of many, spreading joy wherever she goes.
      Governor Justice expressed his deep concern for Babydog's well-being, stating, "It's heartbreaking to see Babydog in pain." He remains optimistic that the surgery will provide her with the relief she needs to resume her role as a faithful companion and ambassador for the state.
      The surgery comes as Babydog faces challenges with both of her hind knees, with plans for the second surgery slated within the next 2-4 months. The Justice family is relying on the support and prayers of the community, believing in the power of collective goodwill to aid in Babydog's successful surgery and speedy recovery.
      As West Virginians unite in their love and concern for Babydog, updates on her condition will be shared following the surgery, offering reassurance to all those who hold her dear.
      UPDATE: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2024, AT 4:15 P.M.

      Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice are happy to announce that their cherished English Bulldog, Babydog, has successfully undergone ACL surgery today.

      “While today was really tough, Babydog has always been tough, too,” Gov. Justice said. “Babydog says ‘One ACL surgery down and one more to go!’ We are immensely grateful for the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received. Cathy and I ask for continued thoughts and prayers for Babydog going forward.”

      The surgery was performed by Dr. Otto I. Lanz, DVM, DACVS, at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

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    18. State News


      In a celebration of artistic talent and the natural beauty of West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice proudly unveiled the winners of the 2024 Almost Heaven Governor’s Art Exhibition today. The competition, aimed at highlighting the creativity of the state's students, featured unique postcard designs depicting the enchanting experience of star gazing in West Virginia's parks or public lands.
      This year's theme not only encouraged artistic expression but also served a practical purpose, as selected postcard artwork will be utilized by the Department of Tourism to extend personal invitations to travelers to explore the wonders of Almost Heaven.
      Awards were distributed across three divisions: Elementary School, Middle School, and High School, with recognition for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Each recipient will receive Blick Art Materials gift cards, valued at $100, $50, and $25, respectively.
      The winning pieces will be proudly displayed just outside the Governor's Office at the State Capitol, offering visitors a glimpse into the remarkable talent nurtured within West Virginia's educational institutions.
      High School Division Winners:
      Best in Show
      1st Place: Emily Garrett - “Stargazing at Blackwater Falls” - Braxton County High School
      2nd Place: Jaiden White - “Calvin Price State Forest” - Riverside High School
      3rd Place: Ada Griffith - “A Day in West Virginia” - Tolsia High School
      Middle School Division Winners:
      1st Place: Natalie Garrett - “Camping at Tomlinson Run State Park” - Braxton County Middle School
      2nd Place: Raley Cochran - “Stargazing at Lindy Point” - Lincoln Middle School
      3rd Place: Ashton Bailey - “The Night Look of Seneca Rocks” - Lincoln Middle School
      Elementary School Division Winners:
      1st Place: Madeline Bazzie - “Almost Heaven Under the Stars” - Shady Spring Elementary School
      2nd Place: Josef Roselius - “Stars in the Night Over Coopers Rock” - Big Elm Elementary School
      3rd Place: Teeghan Payne - “Starry Barn” - Arts in Action
      In addition to the winners, the exhibition also features a virtual gallery showcasing additional remarkable artwork from students across the state. West Virginians are invited to explore the online gallery and marvel at the creativity of their peers.
      For those eager to experience the winning pieces in person, the exhibition promises to be a treat for the senses, offering a visual journey through the scenic wonders of Almost Heaven.
      For more information and to view the virtual gallery, visit Almost Heaven Governor’s Art Exhibition.

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    19. State News


      West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has issued a stern call to President Joe Biden, urging the administration to end what he perceives as an "all-out war" on the state by federal agencies. In a press conference today, Governor Justice expressed his concern over what he sees as targeted actions, impacting various sectors crucial to the state's economy and the well-being of its residents.
      "At the heart of this issue is a blatant and unjust assault on West Virginia by federal agencies," Governor Justice declared. "We are not asking for special treatment, only fairness and consistency in the decisions made by these agencies that directly affect our state, economy, and the livelihoods of hardworking West Virginians."
      One major casualty of these federal decisions is the temporary closure of the State Wildlife Center in French Creek. The abrupt decision by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to no longer recognize a long-standing variance for a secondary containment fence has left the center unable to exhibit animals. Consequently, the annual Groundhog Day Ceremony scheduled for February 2 has been canceled.
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has also raised concerns regarding West Virginia's Trout Stocking Program. Discussions surrounding the renewal of hatchery operations grants have led to the USFWS instructing the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to cease trout stocking in waters with known populations of federally threatened Candy Darter, Guyandotte River crayfish, and Big Sandy crayfish. The DNR contests the impact of trout on these species and plans to conduct a study to evaluate the effects.
      Moreover, road infrastructure projects, such as the Parsons to Davis section of Corridor H, have been delayed due to the discovery of the Rusty Patched Bumblebee in the Monongahela National Forest. The West Virginia Department of Transportation (DOT) is submitting a report to USFWS, assuring minimal impact and proposing pollinator zones along Corridor H.
      Governor Justice expressed dismay over the delays caused by what he perceives as a lack of experience on the part of USFWS in dealing with specific species. Projects like the Coalfields Expressway and the third bridge on the north fork of the Cherry River are among those facing setbacks.
      "The closure of the State Wildlife Center, restrictions on our Trout Stocking Program, and delays in crucial road infrastructure projects are deeply disappointing and detrimental to West Virginia's well-being," Governor Justice asserted. "I will work with our Senators and explore alternative avenues to cut through this red tape, but these decisions are unjust and require immediate attention."
      The Governor emphasized the importance of these programs to West Virginia's tourism industry and expressed concern about the impact on local businesses, outfitters, hotels, and other entities that depend on the state's wildlife initiatives. As West Virginia grapples with these challenges, Governor Justice vowed to pursue solutions and protect the interests of the state and its residents.

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    20. State News


      Today, West Virginia proudly celebrates Tourism Day, shedding light on its transformation from a hidden gem to a global destination for outdoor adventure. Senator Jack Woodrum, representing the 10th Senatorial District, emphasizes the state's remarkable journey and the significant economic benefits derived from its flourishing tourism industry.
      West Virginia, once a well-kept secret, has become a magnet for visitors from around the world, drawing attention to its natural beauty and adventure offerings. Senator Woodrum expresses his pride in the state's evolution during a speech at Tourism Day, stating, "We were once the best-kept secret in outdoor adventure, and the secret is out!"
      The senator goes on to highlight the substantial impact of tourism on West Virginia's economy. The industry contributes over $7 billion in revenue annually, generating 887 million in tax revenue. Additionally, it has spurred the creation of over 60,000 jobs, providing a significant boost to the state's employment sector.
      One of the key catalysts for this surge in interest is the addition of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The park has not only attracted nature enthusiasts but has also brought in new businesses, further fueling West Virginia's economic growth. Senator Woodrum acknowledges this positive development, noting, "People are now looking at us. It's also brought business into our state."
      As the senator addresses the residents of the 10th Senatorial District, he encourages them to appreciate the unique opportunities and natural wonders available in their region. He emphasizes the importance of not taking for granted the exceptional environment and lifestyle that West Virginia offers.
      In conclusion, Tourism Day stands as a testament to West Virginia's success in positioning itself as a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. With Senator Jack Woodrum leading the charge, the state celebrates its thriving tourism industry and looks forward to welcoming even more visitors to experience the wonders it has to offer.


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    21. State News


      As the latest winter weather event blankets West Virginia, the state's Division of Highways (WVDOH) remains in full swing, working tirelessly to ensure road safety across all 55 counties. The winter storm, which commenced on Monday, January 15, 2024, prompted a Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service (NWS) for central and southern West Virginia, persisting until midday Tuesday, January 16, 2024.
      With ongoing advisories, watches, and warnings in effect, WVDOH crews are employing a comprehensive strategy to address the challenges posed by snow and ice. Statewide, the division boasts a formidable fleet of over 1,000 trucks equipped with plows and salt-spreading capabilities. The inventory includes a stockpile of more than 231,000 tons of salt, strategically positioned to combat treacherous road conditions.
      Highlighting their commitment to uninterrupted service, each plow truck operates with dedicated drivers on 12-hour day and night shifts, ensuring a constant presence on the road 24 hours a day. Joe Pack, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of District Operations, emphasized the team's dedication, stating, "Our operators are assigned to continue to perform SRIC (snow removal and ice control) operations until all roads are addressed - on a 24-hour, 7-day per week basis."
      WVDOH has classified all roads under its care into four priority levels. Priority 1 routes encompass major arteries like Interstates, Expressways, National Highway System, and high-traffic US and WV routes. Priority 2 routes include school bus routes not covered in Priority 1, while Priority 3 routes cover the remaining non-park and non-forest routes. Priority 4 routes are reserved for park and forest routes.
      As the crews tackle Priority 1 routes, they are poised to shift their focus to Priority 2 and 3 routes once the former are deemed accessible. However, the unpredictable nature of winter weather means that, as snow returns, WVDOH operators promptly return to prioritize the critical Priority 1 routes.
      WVDOH issued a reminder to motorists to exercise caution, urging them to slow down in winter weather and provide ample space for snowplow drivers to carry out their essential work.
      For those seeking the latest updates and information on local travel conditions in West Virginia, the WVDOH recommends visiting wv511.org. Residents are encouraged to report snow-covered roads in their areas by calling 833-WV-ROADS.
      As the winter storm persists, WVDOH remains at the forefront of efforts to keep West Virginia's roads safe and navigable, showcasing their dedication to public safety in challenging weather conditions.
      Source: https://transportation.wv.gov/communications/PressRelease/Pages/WVDOH_crews_continue_to_treat_roads_during_snow_ice_event.aspx

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    22. State News


      In a strategic move to enhance the financial well-being of West Virginians, Governor Justice has introduced a comprehensive tax cut package during his State of the State address. The proposed reforms target critical areas affecting seniors, families, and childcare, with the overarching goal of making West Virginia a more affordable place to live, raise a family, and retire.
      Governor Justice emphasized the significance of these tax cuts, stating, "These proposals demonstrate my commitment to putting real money back in people's wallets, helping families raise their kids, seniors stay in their homes, and everyone breathe a little easier."
      The plan aims to benefit over 50,000 senior households by removing the current income cap on excluding Social Security income from taxation. If passed, this change will be effective retroactively to January 1, 2024. The move is expected to reduce the tax burden for many low- and middle-income seniors, bringing West Virginia in line with 40 other states that don't tax Social Security. Notably, the proposal has received support from AARP-WV.
      Designed to benefit over 16,000 West Virginia families, this reform creates a state tax credit equal to 50% of the allowable federal child and dependent care credit. The proposed change, effective retroactively to January 1, 2024, is aimed at making childcare more affordable for families. By aligning with the existing federal credit, the state aims to simplify understanding and compliance. The maximum childcare credit ranges from $300 to $525 for one child and from $600 to $1,050 for two or more children, depending on out-of-pocket expenses and income level.
      Targeting seniors with homestead property taxes and federal adjusted gross income below 200% of the federal poverty guideline, this reform seeks to increase the maximum credit amount by 50%. Additionally, it aims to expand eligibility by an additional 50% of the federal poverty guideline. If approved, these changes will be effective retroactively to January 1, 2024. The benefits include a reduction in property tax burden for eligible seniors and the inclusion of more

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    23. State News


      In a recent State of the State Address, Governor Jim Justice unveiled ambitious plans to further expand West Virginia's elk population, a move aimed at boosting wildlife tourism. However, the announcement has sparked controversy, with concerns raised over the state's already high rates of vehicle-animal collisions and the subsequent impact on rising auto insurance costs.
      Governor Justice, a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation and a lifelong sportsman, celebrated the success of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) in restoring and managing the state's elk population. Since 2018, the WVDNR has introduced 57 elk, increasing the population from 22 to the current count of 110, with plans to add 40 more from Kentucky in 2024.
      The governor's vision includes not only expanding the elk population but also creating a visitors center and observation tower in Logan County. These additions aim to cater to wildlife enthusiasts and tourists eager to witness the majestic animals in their natural habitat.
      WVDNR Director Brett McMillion highlighted the success of the Elk Restoration Project and credited the collaborative efforts of partner agencies. However, as the state celebrates its wildlife success story, dissenting voices have emerged.
      Some critics argue that introducing more elk could exacerbate the issue of vehicle-animal collisions, an ongoing problem in West Virginia. The state already grapples with one of the highest rates of such incidents in the country. Concerns about the potential consequences on auto insurance costs have fueled skepticism regarding the governor's plan.
      The 40 new elk, set to arrive from Kentucky later this month, will undergo evaluation before being released into the wild. Guided elk tours, initiated by the WVDNR in 2018, have been a popular attraction, offering participants the chance to learn about the state's elk history and witness these majestic creatures in their natural environment.
      In addition to the elk introduction, plans for an elk viewing tower and visitor center are underway. The project, funded by $2.5 million in Abandoned Mine Lands grants awarded by Gov. Justice, aims to provide an immersive experience for visitors, researchers, and staff. The facilities will include displays, conference areas, and offices, with a significant section dedicated to the history of the elk program and the areas where they have been introduced.
      As the WVDNR reviews bids for the construction of these facilities, the controversy surrounding the elk introduction plan persists. Critics urge a comprehensive examination of the potential impact on road safety and insurance costs, calling for a balanced approach that ensures the well-being of both wildlife and residents.
      For more information on the WVDNR's elk restoration program and the Elk Management Plan, visit WVdnr.gov/elk and WVdnr.gov/publications-and-guides.

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    24. State News


      West Virginia's Governor Jim Justice presented his eighth and final State of the State address, addressing various issues and outlining key proposals for the fiscal year 2024 budget. The speech covered topics ranging from corrections and education to infrastructure and economic development.
      Governor Justice began by acknowledging the critical role the National Guard played in emergency status in the state's jails and prisons, with over 350 guardsmen and women deployed. He highlighted ongoing efforts to downsize and expected the National Guard to conclude its involvement in corrections by the end of the summer. The Governor also stressed the need for addressing the high school transfer rule, emphasizing that changes were necessary.
      A significant portion of the speech focused on economic development and infrastructure. Governor Justice announced a surplus budget and proposed allocations, including $20 million to senior centers, $15 million to state parks, and $2 million to state veterans' homes. The funds aim to enhance community services and support vital programs across the state.
      The Governor expressed concerns about the current state of high school sports in West Virginia, urging stakeholders to find solutions to avoid detrimental consequences. He emphasized the importance of preserving the integrity of high school sports and called upon the collective wisdom in the room to address the challenges.
      Highlighting the success of the Roads to Prosperity program, Governor Justice commended the Department of Highways for completing 485,000 miles of roadwork and 1,200 projects. He urged the continuation of efforts, particularly emphasizing the importance of completing the Coalfield Expressway and the King Coal Highway, which could bring economic opportunities to Southern West Virginia.
      The Governor recognized the importance of tourism and applauded Secretary Chelsea Ruby for her contributions. He urged continued investments in tourism, emphasizing West Virginia's natural beauty and the economic benefits it brings. The addition of 40 more elk to the state's wildlife was celebrated, despite a humorous incident involving a tranquilizer dart.
      In a heartfelt moment, Governor Justice shared a letter from a former basketball player who credited the "sawing the wood" philosophy learned in sports with helping him persevere through challenges in the military and business. He urged West Virginians to continue "sawing the wood" and striving for progress.
      As the Governor concluded his address, he asked West Virginians to imagine a state booming with job opportunities, vibrant communities, and boundless natural resources. He called on residents to keep working towards making West Virginia a better place for everyone.
      Governor Justice's final State of the State address served as both a reflection on accomplishments and a call to action for the state's continued progress.

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    25. State News


      In anticipation of an impending weather system set to strike early on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, Governor Justice has declared a State of Preparedness for all 55 counties in the Mountain State. The State of Preparedness declaration will be officially posted on the Governor's Website tomorrow morning.
      The move comes as the National Weather Service issues a comprehensive weather watch, warning, or advisory for all West Virginia counties. These alerts encompass a range of potential hazards, including high wind warnings, winter weather advisories, and flood watches, heightening the risk of power outages and flooding across the region.
      According to the National Weather Service, a robust weather system is expected to track northwest of West Virginia on Tuesday, ushering in primarily rain. However, the mountainous regions may experience slick conditions in the morning as precipitation initially commences as a wintry mix, accompanied by gusty winds. Subsequently, the weather will transition to rain, with locally heavy rainfall anticipated. Given the existing snowpack, there is a potential for water-related issues, particularly in the mountains, with power outages also looming due to the anticipated high winds.
      The State of Preparedness declaration empowers the West Virginia Emergency Management Division (WVEMD) to strategically position personnel and resources for swift response to any emergency that may unfold. Coordinating agencies have been placed on standby, prepared to report to the State Emergency Operations Center should the need arise.
      Governor Justice, alongside the WVEMD, urges all West Virginians to remain vigilant and stay informed about weather conditions through local media reports. Furthermore, citizens are strongly encouraged to adhere to any instructions issued by emergency officials to ensure their safety.
      For the latest updates on severe weather conditions, residents are advised to monitor local forecasts, follow guidance from emergency management officials, and ensure they have a reliable way to receive weather alerts, especially during nighttime hours. As the state braces for potential challenges, unity and preparedness are key to navigating this weather event safely.
      Source: https://governor.wv.gov/News/press-releases/2024/Pages/Governor-issues-State-of-Preparedness-for-all-55-counties-ahead-of-high-winds,-potential-flooding.aspx

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    26. State News


      Over the past several days, the dedicated first responders in our community have been tirelessly working to keep the public safe in the face of various challenges.
      On Thursday morning, a structure fire was reported on "Big Draft Road" in White Sulphur Springs. Thanks to the swift response of first responders, the residents managed to evacuate with no reported injuries. In a heartwarming twist, firefighters heroically saved the family's pet tortoise, Tank, from the flames.

      However, not all incidents had such positive outcomes. On Friday morning, tragedy struck Lora Boone and her family of four when a fire broke out in their home, destroying it and claiming the life of their pet cat. Although there were no reported injuries, first responders had to close portions of Church St and Anjean Rd from 6:30 AM to 11 AM, disrupting the normal flow of the community. Now, the Boone family is reaching out to the community for support and donations to rebuild their lives.
      As severe weather moved into the area over the weekend, first responders faced additional challenges with reports of vehicle accidents due to black ice. An incident involving a tractor-trailer rollover near mile marker 157 on I-64 was particularly perilous. Emergency crews had to abandon the trailer at the scene due to the dangerous conditions, as highlighted in a statement by the Greenbrier County Homeland Security & Emergency Management on social media.

      Unfortunately, tragedy struck again in Hardy County on Saturday morning. Hardy County 911 received a distress call around 5:00 AM reporting a house fire near the community of Mathias. Regrettably, one adult and four children perished in the fire, with ages ranging from one to five years old. The sole survivor has been taken to the hospital. The cause of the fire remains undetermined due to the extensive damage, and no smoke alarms were found among the debris.
      Governor Jim Justice expressed deep sadness, stating, "Cathy and I are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Hardy County. Our hearts go out to the affected family, and we ask for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

      These recent events highlight the vital role our first responders play in our community, sometimes facing heart-wrenching circumstances, and also underscore the resilience and unity of our community in times of need.


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