Governor Jim Justice began the briefing on Friday, June 12 offering his condolences to the family of the latest death in West Virginia. Once again, he advised people not to take these fatalities lightly and asked them to offer thoughts and prayers for the family.
As the state reopens, the Governor stated these are guidelines from the state. They are not requirements and people should only do what they are comfortable.
A program which caught the attention of First Lady Cathy Justice, Communities in Schools, showed outstanding results despite the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 120 schools in 15 counties at this time. At 10 of 13 high schools in the program students exceeded the overall graduation rate. On top of that, 8 of 13 schools had 100-percent graduation rate. In Raleigh County, Woodrow Wilson High School had a 92-percent graduation rate. The program is working to expand to all 55-counties.
So far the state has sent $2.6 million to cities and counties. There are 61 applications.
The Governor stated there are a large number of fraudulent unemployment claims coming in to WorkforceWV. He stated those claims are slowing down the process for those who legitimately need the help.
Scott Atkins, the Acting Commissioner of Workforce WV stated the agency received 35,000 fraudulent claims since June 1, 2020. Many of these claims were for the Pandemic Unemployment Assitance (PUA) program which is intended for self-employed people who normally do not have access to unemployment benefits. He added that this is not local to West Virginia and is being seen across the United States.
Workforce WV is working with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate claims. Adkins said several people in the Charleston, WV were already identified and will be aggressively prosecuted. If you know of a case of unemployment fraud you are asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The weekend of June 13 and 14 are free fishing days in West Virginia. There is no license needed and the Governor encouraged people in the Mountain State to get out and enjoy the beauty of the mountains and streams.
“This is the perfect time to take your son, daughter or grandchild to your favorite fishing spot and get them hooked on fishing,” said Mark Scott, assistant chief in charge of fisheries for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). “Free fishing weekend is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.”