CHARLESTON — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he does not have plans to bring back restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the more contagious delta variant begins spreading in the state.

There are 19 confirmed cases of the delta variant in West Virginia so far, according to state data.

“It’s moving really slowly ... It’s coming, and you absolutely need to be vaccinated,” he said.

West Virginia lags behind all five bordering states in total vaccine doses administered per 100,000 people, according to federal data. The more transmissible delta variant is leading to a nationwide rise in cases again after months of decline.

State data show that 58.2 percent of all residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Justice set a new goal this week of vaccinating 85 percent of residents 50 and older, a group that currently has 81.5 percent coverage. He also wants 90 percent of those age 65 and older to receive a shot, while 88.7 percent currently have one.


State awards 4th $1M vaccination prize


FAIRMONT — Timothy Jackson is the latest million-dollar winner in West Virginia’s vaccination sweepstakes.

Gov. Jim Justice visited Jackson’s office at West Virginia University’s Robotic Technology Center in Fairmont last week to present the prize, according to a news release. Justice was accompanied by his pet English Bulldog — Babydog — who is the mascot of the “Do it for Babydog” vaccination sweepstakes.

The Governor presented Jackson, of Bridgeport, with a ceremonial check for $1 million. He is the 4th person to win the million-dollar prize, one of 50 prizes announced last week.

Justice also surprised Thomas Sowers, an assistant football coach at Riverside High School, and Grace Fowler, who lives in the community of Nettie in Nicholas County, presenting each of them with a brand-new custom-outfitted truck.

Liam Cox, of Weston, and Christopher Ellis, of Bruno, each won a 4-year scholarship to any public institution in the state. Other West Virginians won lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, custom hunting rifles, custom hunting shotguns, and weekend getaways to West Virginia State Parks.


Highway cleanup volunteers to be

honored next month


BECKLEY — The West Virginia residents who remove trash from state highways each year will be honored at a daylong event next month.

The 32nd annual Adopt-A-Highway Volunteer Appreciation Day will be held Aug. 7 at the Tamarack Convention Center in Beckley. The event gets underway at 9 a.m. with bingo, broom making, a painting class, children’s games and other activities, the Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release.

A catered lunch will be served, and afterward awards will be presented and service pins and safety vests will be given to those volunteers who have 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service.

To register, call 800-322-5530 or email dep.aah@wv.gov by Saturday.

Adopt-A-Highway volunteers remove 4 million pounds of trash from state highways each year, recycling tons of glass, plastic and aluminum. There are currently 40,000 volunteers in the program.


Board of Education approves fully online charter schools


CHARLESTON — Fully online education and other changes for charter schools have been approved by the West Virginia Board of Education.

The board also approved policy changes that allow an unelected board to open charters and make way for 10 new charters every 3 years, instead of 3 every 3 years, according to news sources.

The board, which had banned fully online charters in an earlier policy, did not go against lawmakers, who passed a law this year making the changes regarding charters.

Debra Sullivan cast the only vote against the changes, out of the 9 board members. Daniel Snavely said he left the room to take an emergency call and was the only member absent.

Board member Stan Maynard noted that starting in January, the board had mandated that public schools offer some amount of in-person learning in response to problems with online education. But the changes approved last week open West Virginia to fully online charters.

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