Government

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear how one court program that helps bring families back together is adapting in this time of social distancing. And we explore some tips on how to get outside and learn some new history.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Updated Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 4:55 p.m.

Four people working in Kanawha County day care facilities have tested positive for the coronavirus. The ongoing testing of day care staff is part of an effort to reopen West Virginia’s economy, but will now be mandated under an executive order. 

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia has scaled back its plan to lift coronavirus restrictions to gauge how current reopenings will affect the state's caseload, officials said Tuesday.

Monday marked the first day some businesses across the state could begin to reopen after weeks of being closed because of the coronavirus. But some say they don’t feel ready to open their doors. We explore the tough decisions facing the state’s small businesses.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he is once again revising the list of COVID-19 “hot spot” counties. Those changes come as state officials relax a stay-at home order and businesses begin to reopen under Justice’s plan. 

Jesse Wright / 100 Days in Appalachia

A federal inmate has tested positive for the coronavirus after being transferred to a facility in West Virginia. The transfer of federal prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic has been increasingly criticized as those facilities have seen outbreaks across the country. 

Corey Knollinger WVPB

At the Rambling Root restaurant in Fairmont, the lights have been dimmed and chairs and tables are stacked in the corner. The bar, usually crowded with locals sipping craft beer, is empty. 

Since the state closed all nonessential business due to COVID-19, sales are down by more than 40 percent, said owner D.J. Cassell. He’s had to lay off 10 of his 12 staffers, and a few have already said they won’t be able to come back.

“It sucks, because I am doing everything I can right now to keep the lights on and the doors open here, but if I don’t get some help then —  if we close down, I don’t know if we’ll ever open back up,” he said. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we bring you our final story on how the coronavirus crisis is affecting small businesses in the state. Nearly all businesses in West Virginia are considered small, and research shows small businesses help drive change and innovation in the economy. We also bring you a special report from Us & Them host Trey Kay.

On this West Virginia Morning, we continue our focus on small business issues with a look at long term impacts the coronavirus crisis may have on communities in southern West Virginia that rely on tourism. Also, in today’s show, we hear how churchgoers in West Virginia are staying connected through the pandemic, and we hear a review on a new book titled “The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia” by Emma Copley Eisenberg.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice clarified some aspects of his plan to reopen the state and addressed concerns over what capabilities the state might have to trace a second wave of the coronavirus should it reappear. Justice said that the state will need to “find a way to live with the virus” as the economy reopens.

In a Tuesday virtual briefing, Justice said Week One of his reopening plan — which allows professional medical boards to reopen outpatient health care — is already underway. He also said Week Two would begin early next week.

On this West Virginia Morning, business owners share their efforts to get emergency SBA loans during this coronavirus crisis. And Gov. Jim Justice lays out his plans to begin reopening the state.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

This is a developing story and may be updated.

West Virginia’s rates of new coronavirus cases are trending down, and as a result, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has announced a plan to reopen the state’s economy.  The plan, which is expected to roll out over the course of the next three to six weeks, calls for ramping up testing, contact tracing and increasing supplies of protective gear. The plan also includes some guidelines on how businesses will reopen and vague contingencies should an increase in cases be detected.

This week on West Virginia Morning, we explore how small businesses across the state are coping as the coronavirus pandemic keeps many people at home. We also bring you a story on ways the region is adapting procedures for the primary election, and we bring you the latest in state coronavirus news.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gives a speech during a Department of Tourism conference Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, at the Morgantown Event Center.
Jesse Wright / WVPB

A federal judge in Kentucky has ordered companies owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to pay more than $1 million in fees and expenses in a lawsuit that accused them of defaulting on a mining contract.

Hazelton
U.S. Bureau of Prisons / U.S. Department of Justice

Updated Friday, April 24, 2020 at 8:45 p.m.

Hundreds of inmates currently housed in jails in the nation's capital are set to be transferred to the Hazelton Federal Corrections Center in Preston County. A union representing corrections officers at the Hazelton facility is calling on the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to stop the transfer.

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how to stay connected to one’s faith while houses of worship are closed. We also bring you a few moments of Zen, courtesy of the West Virginia Botanic Garden, and we listen to this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Gov. Jim Justice speaks to the public and reporters in a virtual press conference held Thursday, April 23.
Office of Gov. Jim Justice

With response to the coronavirus translating to a projected shortfall in the state budget of about $500 million, Gov. Jim Justice remains optimistic that West Virginia will be able to get federal aid to backfill losses in revenue. That’s despite federal guidelines released Thursday from the Trump Administration that dictate how states can use funds. 

According to guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury, states are not allowed to use funds from the CARES Act to backfill revenues lost as a result of the pandemic. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story was published on March 18. On March 19, WVPB made the decision to unpublish the story from our website in order to allow the reporter to spend more time reporting and seeking comment from lawmakers whose emails were cited in the story. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused our readers and regret the error. 

Teddy Bear, Child Abuse, Abuse, Fear
Adobe Stock


Since stay-at-home orders were issued by Gov. Jim Justice on March 24, domestic violence calls are up in West Virginia. But advocates have seen fewer referrals for child abuse cases, and they think that will change once social distancing ends.

Kay Dartt, 3D fabrication manager, and Chase Molden, theater technical director, show the West Virginia National Guard how to cast an N95 respirator mask using silicone molds. The design comes from a 3D printed model developed by Dartt and Molden.
Shepherd University


As the coronavirus continues to spread in West Virginia, the need for personal protective equipment, or PPE, has increased as well. But more than two dozen organizations across West Virginia are working to provide this critical equipment to frontline workers.

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore the dark side of social distancing. The stay-at-home order has resulted in an uptick in domestic violence calls in West Virginia. Also, in today’s show we hear from one researcher who has studied how global pandemics have shaped our history.

Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs / http://www.clarksburg.va.gov/

 A woman is suing the federal government over the 2018 death of her husband from a wrongful insulin injection at a West Virginia veterans hospital.

Norma Shaw's lawsuit is the second one filed against Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie in the past month involving the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. Both suits allege a “widespread system of failures” at the hospital.

Shaw filed the federal lawsuit Monday in the death of her husband, George Nelson Shaw Sr., an 81-year-old retired member of the Air Force.

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice announced schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year. But being out of the classroom comes with its own set of challenges. We also bring you a story about an initiative in West Virginia to 3D print face masks for frontline workers.

The West Virginia Supreme Court chamber.
West Virginia Judiciary

The West Virginia Supreme Court has upheld a so-called right-to-work law and handed a defeat to labor unions which had sought to preserve workers' union dues.

In an opinion released Tuesday, the justices granted summary judgment to the state and overturned a February 2019 ruling by a lower court judge who had sided with the unions.

On this West Virginia Morning, we continue our series on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the state’s youngest residents, including how one county is making sure thousands of students are fed while schools are closed.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

On Monday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice issued an executive order allowing hospitals to resume elective procedures that are currently halted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The order calls on hospitals to be reviewed by state officials before these procedures could resume. 

The announcement is the first step Justice has made to reopening the state’s economy since non-essential businesses were closed on March 24 and a stay-at-home order was issued the following day.

All this week on West Virginia Morning, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is featuring stories about how kids are being affected by the coronavirus pandemic – including some of the state’s most vulnerable.

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit Charleston’s historic Triangle District, a community forever changed by urban development. We also bring you an update from the Ohio Valley region on unemployment claims filed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

As President Donald Trump and governors around the United States make plans to reopen the nation as the threat of the coronavirus pandemic wanes but still lingers, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and his advisors say they continue to try to find a path to reopening the state in a “safe and responsible way.”

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Updated Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and other officials continued to say the state is trending in the right direction in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic but continue to hold off on lifting orders that have brought everyday life to a screeching halt. 

In a virtual news conference held Tuesday, Justice cited a map of the United States that represented confirmed COVID-19 deaths. He noted that West Virginia reports fewer deaths than neighboring states, as well as most other states. 

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