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WVU online course teaches nurses about supportive care for faith communities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia University School of Nursing is offering a new online course that prepares nurses to be able to provide supportive care and advocacy for members of faith communities.

Angel Smothers

Clinical associate professor Angel Smothers told MetroNews the nurses are there to put congregants at ease when it comes to COVID-19.

“They’re really there to answer questions as insiders within their faith communities where congregants may be reluctant to take the vaccine. They’re stepping in to provide support and education,” Smothers said Monday.

The eight week course is called “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing.”

While the program is tailored to nurses, Smothers said it’s open to others who work with faith communities, such as chaplains, pastors, social workers and others.

“A nurse who completes the training can use the title ‘Faith Community Nurse,’ but the course itself is open to different backgrounds,” she said.

The program has been offered for the last several years, but Smothers said their goal this year is to encourage nurses in more rural parts of the state to apply.

“The course is open to anybody, but right now we’re really looking for nurses who may not have heard about the course who would be interested in taking this national training program so that they can integrate what they learned back into their faith community,” she said.

Nurses will learn about the spiritual aspects of care and support. They will also learn how to start a health ministry program within their faith communities where the nurse would be a leader to support congregants with their health related needs.

The course will be held Mar. 7 through April 29 online and will cost $400.

The deadline to register is Mar. 7.

The post WVU online course teaches nurses about supportive care for faith communities appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

City leaders kick off WV Municipal League Winter Conference in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — City leaders across West Virginia are in Charleston this week to meet for the 2022 West Virginia Municipal League Winter Conference.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said it’s a time for mayors, clerks, attorneys, treasurers and others to come together to discuss legislative priorities.

Monday was West Virginia Municipal League Day at the state Legislature.

“Everybody that is engaged in involved in municipal government can meet with your local representatives at the state house to see what bills are going through and talk to your representatives because we’re intimately connected to one another,” Goodwin said “580 Live” heard on MetroNews flagship station 580-WCHS.

The conference is being held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Charleston.

On Sunday, Goodwin said a big topic of discussion was on American Rescue Plan funding. She said the allocation affects all cities, big or small.

“We’re all in this meeting to say what are the rules? What may we spend this money on? Also, to take note of what are you spending your money on and how are you spending it?” she said.

Breakout sessions during the conference also included municipal taxation and best practices in municipal government management.

Goodwin said one of her favorite aspects of the conference is that it is non-partisan.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a pothole on your street and you’re Republican or Democrat. No one cares. This is about good policy and good implementation of policy,” she said.

Relationships formed between city and state leaders during the session can be beneficial in the long run, Goodwin said. The City of Charleston, she said, is in constant communication with lawmakers who represent Kanawha County.

“We have really tight relationships with our senators and delegates. Some folks, and especially those who are new to office here in the league, will be meeting their senators or delegates for the first time,” Goodwin said.

WVML represents 230 municipal governments in the state.

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Source: WV MetroNews

Active COVID-19 cases remain above 21,000 in Monday report

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Active coronavirus cases in West Virginia remained above 21,000 in Monday’s dashboard update by the state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).

On Sunday, the DHHR confirmed 21,717 active cases with 5,256 new cases. Monday’s dashboard confirmed 21,417 active cases in West Virginia.

The DHHR confirmed 36 deaths on Monday, bringing the statewide death total to 5,645 since the pandemic began.

DHHR has confirmed the deaths of a 64-year old female from Ohio County, an 82-year old male from Berkeley County, a 96-year old male from Brooke County, a 50-year old female from Berkeley County, an 83-year old male from Wetzel County, a 79-year old male from Cabell County, a 78-year old male from Grant County, a 75-year old male from Ohio County, an 82-year old male from Monongalia County, a 65-year old male from Mineral County, a 66-year old male from Lewis County, an 84-year old female from Wetzel County, a 79-year old male from Raleigh County, an 87-year old male from Jackson County, a 71-year old female from Mineral County, a 79-year old female from Preston County, a 76-year old female from Putnam County, a 73-year old male from Lewis County, a 77-year old female from Raleigh County, a 72-year old female from Wood County, a 69-year old female from Raleigh County, a 71-year old female from Berkeley County, a 63-year old male from Berkeley County, a 65-year old male from Marion County, a 68-year old female from Ohio County, a 29-year old male from Pleasants County, a 55-year old male from Wood County, a 44-year old female from Kanawha County, a 57-year old male from Mineral County, a 72-year old male from Fayette County, a 64-year old female from Raleigh County, an 80-year old female from Ohio County, a 67-year old female from Cabell County, a 65-year old female from Marshall County, a 71-year old female from Wood County, and a 67-year old male from Raleigh County.

“We will remember each life lost to COVID-19 and our hearts will never be the same,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary in a release. “As we continue to face each day, I urge every West Virginian to be vaccinated and boosted against this deadly virus.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations fell to 976 on Monday. The total was 990 on Saturday. 223 patients are in the ICU, a rise of eight from Saturday.

49 of the state’s 55 counties are red on the COVID-19 county alert, meaning the highest transmission rate.

Current active cases per county: Barbour (125), Berkeley (1,029), Boone (385), Braxton (104), Brooke (155), Cabell (1,297), Calhoun (73), Clay (99), Doddridge (88), Fayette (788), Gilmer (88), Grant (136), Greenbrier (396), Hampshire (183), Hancock (190), Hardy (191), Harrison (721), Jackson (149), Jefferson (440), Kanawha (2,774), Lewis (104), Lincoln (234), Logan (494), Marion (642), Marshall (326), Mason (302), McDowell (215), Mercer (733), Mineral (273), Mingo (277), Monongalia (1,186), Monroe (257), Morgan (161), Nicholas (386), Ohio (388), Pendleton (84), Pleasants (62), Pocahontas (34), Preston (307), Putnam (902), Raleigh (1,163), Randolph (347), Ritchie (75), Roane (163), Summers (177), Taylor (177), Tucker (32), Tyler (122), Upshur (209), Wayne (514), Webster (83), Wetzel (187), Wirt (75), Wood (794), Wyoming (521). To find the cumulative cases per county, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov and look on the Cumulative Summary tab which is sortable by county.

DHHR reports as of January 24, 2022, there are currently 21,417 active COVID-19 cases statewide. There have been 36 deaths reported since the last report, with a total of 5,645 deaths attributed to COVID-19.https://t.co/6Z5yUjMgtf pic.twitter.com/pqKcZKNP9O

— WV Department of Health & Human Resources • 😷 (@WV_DHHR) January 24, 2022

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Source: WV MetroNews

Video, updates: Governor to provide pandemic update at 10:30 a.m.

We’ll provide updates here about how West Virginia is dealing with the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

State officials have directed members of the public to a landing page dedicated to information about coronavirus in West Virginia.

Additional information can be found at CDC’s Situation Summary or at DHHR’s COVID-19 information hotline, 1-800-887-4304.

8:45 a.m. 1/24/2022 Justice plans pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

9:42 a.m. 1/21/2022 Justice plans pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  01/19/2022   Justice plans pandemic briefing at 11:30 a.m. 

10:45 a.m.  12/30/2021   Justice plans pandemic briefing at 11:30 a.m. 

11:00 a.m.  Justice plans pandemic briefing at 11:30 a.m.

9:37 a.m. Justice plans pandemic briefing at 11 a.m. 

10:04 a.m. 12/21/2021 Justice to announce final CARES Act priorities at 1 p.m.

Gov. Jim Justice says he will make a major announcement at 1 p.m. regarding a new initiative to combat staffing shortages in the healthcare industry, which will be funded through a portion of West Virginia’s remaining Cares Act dollars and other funding sources.

West Virginia still has $125.6 million remaining of its original CARES allocation, according to the state Auditor’s transparency site.

The U.S. Treasury issued updated guidance last week, adjusting the requirements of a fast-approaching Dec. 31 deadline. That now means the spending must be obligated, not necessarily immediately spent. The new deadline to actually spend that money is Sept. 30, 2022.

The governor’s priority seems to be investment that could alleviate pressure on hospitals, which have expressed uncertainty about whether staffing is adequate to handle an expected winter surge of covid-19.

9:25 a.m. 12/16/2021 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 11 a.m. 

9 a.m. 12/14/2021 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

9:03 a.m. 12/9/2021 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:01 a.m. 12/7/2021 Governor Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

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8:42 a.m. 12/2/2021 Governor to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m. 

8:47 a.m. 11/30/2021 Governor to lead pandemic briefing at 1 p.m. 

9:38 a.m. 11/24/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m. 

3 p.m. 11/19/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 4:00 p.m. 

10 a.m. 11/17/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 2 p.m. 

11 a.m. 11/15/2021 Justice to lead briefing on covid-19 response

10:30 a.m. 11/12/2021 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

11:00 a.m.  11/10/2021  Justice leads pandemic briefing at 11:00 a.m.

10:30 a.m.  11/08/2021  Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m. 11/05/2021  Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.


11:15 a.m. 11/03/2021   Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11:30 a.m.

10:00 a.m. 11/01/2021  Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 10:40 a.m.

9:18 a.m. 10/29/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m. 

9:54 a.m. 10/26/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

9:42 a.m. 10/22/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m. 

11:33 a.m. 10/20/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at noon

10:40 a.m.  10/18/2021  Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

10:30 a.m.  10/15/2021  Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

10:30 a.m. 10/13/2021  Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

7:26 a.m. 10/11/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

8:19 a.m. 10/7/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

9:55 a.m. 10/4/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

8:36 a.m. 10/1/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11:30 a.m.

9:02 a.m. 9/29/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

9:41 a.m. 9/27/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

9:53 a.m. 9/24/2021 Justice plans pandemic briefing for noon

9:44 a.m. 9/22/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

10:10 a.m. 9/20/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at noon, following summit with health advisers

Gov. Jim Justice is hosting a “breakfast roundtable summit” with his pandemic leadership team this morning at the Governor’s Mansion. The team will discuss and decide ways to keep West Virginians safe and protect hospital system stability as the state nears or crosses the peak of the surge from the COVID-19 delta variant.

This meeting is closed to the public and the media. However, all West Virginians are encouraged to watch the governor’s covid-19 media briefing immediately following the meeting.

7:39 a.m. 9/17/2021 Justice to lead 3 p.m. briefing about pandemic response

10:23 a.m. 9/15/2021 Justice to lead 11 a.m. briefing about pandemic response 

7:41 a.m. 9/13/2021 Justice to lead 11 a.m. briefing about pandemic response

8:24 a.m. 9/10/2021 Justice to lead 10:30 a.m. briefing about pandemic response

9:52 a.m. 9/8/2021 Justice to lead 10:30 a.m. briefing about pandemic response

6:25 a.m. 9/6/2021 Justice to lead 10:30 a.m. briefing about pandemic response

9:14 a.m. 9/3/2021 Briefing at noon over West Virginia pandemic response 

9:08 a.m. 9/1/2021 Justice to lead 11 a.m. briefing

9:51 a.m. 8/30/2021 Justice to lead 11 a.m. briefing

7:52 a.m. 8/27/21 U.S. Education Secretary joins Justice at briefing 

WHO: Gov. Jim Justice, West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team.

United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch will also join the briefing.

WHAT: Governor Justice will provide an update on West Virginia’s COVID-19 response efforts, and make a back-to-school vaccination initiative announcement.

10:14 a.m. 8/25/21 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 11 a.m. 

https://youtu.be/72OqtOj3cIIhttps://youtu.be/72OqtOj3cII

10:10 a.m. Governor leads coronavirus media briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m. Governor leads coronavirus media briefing at 11:00 a.m.

8:17 a.m. Governor leads briefing about pandemic response at 11:30 a.m. 

7:36 a.m. Governor leads pandemic briefing at 11:30 a.m. 

8:56 a.m. Governor Justice to lead 11:30 a.m. briefing about pandemic 

9:44 a.m. Governor Justice to lead noon briefing about pandemic

10:54 a.m. Governor Justice to lead 11 a.m. pandemic briefing

8:12 a.m. Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

9:30 a.m. Superintendent Burch and SSAC chief Dolan join Justice for 11 a.m. briefing

WHO: Gov. Jim Justice, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch, WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan, West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team.

WHAT: Gov. Justice will provide an update on West Virginia’s COVID-19 response efforts and provide an update on back-to-school plans for West Virginia.

LATER: At 2 p.m. the West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will host a press conference to provide details on back-to-school guidance for the 2021-22 school year.

Burch, WVBE Vice President Tom Campbell and Dolan will address the media following Governor Jim Justice’s briefing earlier in the day.

10:15 a.m. 8/02/2021  Governor provides update about covid response at 10:30 a.m. 

8:35 a.m. 7/29/2021 Governor provides update about covid response at 11 a.m.

8:29 a.m. 07/27/2021 Justice provides update about pandemic response at 11 a.m.

11:03 a.m. 07/22/2021 Governor Justice scheduled for 11 a.m. pandemic briefing

12:38 p.m. 07/20/2021 Governor Justice to lead pandemic update at 1 p.m. 

10:06 a.m. 7/16/2021 Governor to lead pandemic briefing at 1 p.m.

11 a.m. 7/13/2021 Governor to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

10:35 a.m. 7/8/2021 Governor to lead pandemic briefing at 10:30

11:25 a.m. 7/6/2021  Governor to lead pandemic briefing at 11:30

9:24 a.m. 7/1/2021 Governor to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m. 

8:53 a.m. 6/29/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 10:30

12:20 p.m.  06/24/2021   Justice pandemic briefing set for 12:30 p.m. 

10:55 a.m.  06/22/2021   Justice pandemic briefing set for 11:30 a.m.

10:50 a.m. 6/17/2021  Justice pandemic briefing set for 11 a.m.

11:05 a.m. 6/15/2021 Justice pandemic briefing scheduled for 11 a.m. 

7:40 a.m. 6/10/2021 Justice waits outside development announcement because of covid exposure

Gov. Jim Justice offered video greetings from his vehicle at an economic development announcement in Morgantown on Wednesday with the governor saying he’d had an unanticipated covid-19 exposure.

Justice has been very public about his full vaccination but said he wanted to set a good example by remaining in the vehicle. Otherwise, he said, he would have needed a rapid test and a mask.

He appeared via streaming video and offered remarks at an announcement for an artificial intelligence company getting established in Morgantown. Clay Marsh, West Virginia University’s executive dean for health sciences, made the opening remarks as a substitute for Justice.

Dr. Clay Marsh

“He would be here standing in my place had it not been for a very unexpected exposure that he had recently to somebody who tested positive for covid-19,” said Marsh, who is also the state’s coronavirus response coordinator.

“And even though the governor is aware that he is fully vaccinated, he is really 100 percent protected against having any kind of problem with this — even with that understanding, and he does understand that well, given his experience we’ve all had with covid-19, he wanted to make sure he was working with an abundance of concern.”

Justice then appeared on a screen for everyone to see, wearing a checked shirt and leaning over to talk into a camera, with the interior roof of the vehicle as his backdrop.

“I landed here about an hour ago. I’m sitting out in the parking lot in front of you right now. I mean, I could throw a rock and hit all of you,” Justice said. “I hate like crazy that I’m out here in the parking lot. Believe me be.”

Offering some background, Justice said he had experienced a covid exposure on Friday and was informed about it on Wednesday.

“When I landed they told me I was exposed on Friday evening to someone. They told me they felt like I needed to be tested. And if that be the case, I don’t think I need to be in there until we know the results of the test. But I’m sure it’s fine. I feel fine, and I hate like crazy I’m not with you.”

7:37 a.m. 6/10/2021 Justice leads briefing about pandemic response at 2 p.m. 

10:20 a.m. 6/8/2021  Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

9:23 a.m. 6/3/2021 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m.

9:22 a.m. 6/1/2021 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

1:59 p.m. 5/27/2021 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 4:30 p.m.

10:20 a.m. 5/25/2021  Justice leads briefing about pandemic response at 10:30 a.m.

12:30 p.m. 5/20/2021 Justice leads briefing about pandemic response at 1:20 p.m. 

12:19 p.m. 5/17/2021 Justice leads pandemic update at 1 p.m.

10:32 a.m. 5/14/2021 Justice leads pandemic update at noon

11:45 a.m.  5/12/2021  Justice leads pandemic update

10:25 a.m. 5/10/2021  Justice leads pandemic update 

9:29 a.m. 5/7/2021 Justice leads pandemic update at 11:30 a.m.

9:16 a.m. 5/5/2020 Justice leads noon briefing about covid response

8:04 a.m. 5/3/2020 Justice provides latest on pandemic response at 11 a.m.

8:04 a.m. 4/30/2020 Justice leads pandemic briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

11:05 a.m. 4/28/2021 Pandemic briefing by Justice at 2:45 p.m. 

12:45 p.m. 4/26/2021  Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 1 p.m.

7:59 a.m. 4/23/2021 Justice to lead pandemic briefing at 11 a.m.

11:55 a.m. 4/21/2021  Justice to address pandemic response at noon

11:55 a.m. 4/19/2021  Justice to address pandemic response at noon.

10:25 a.m. 4/16/2021  Justice to address pandemic response at 10:30 a.m.

10:25 a.m.  4/14/2021  Justice to address pandemic response at 10:30 a.m.

11:54 a.m. 4/12/2021 Justice to address pandemic response at noon 


11:35 a.m.  4/09/2021  Justice to have back to back briefings beginning at noon (income tax/COVID)

10:15 a.m.  4/07/2021  Justice briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  4/05/2021  Justice briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  4/02/2021   Justice briefing at 10:30 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  3/29/2021  Justice briefing at 10:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.  3/26/2021  Justice briefing at 9 a.m.

10:30 a.m.  3/24/2021  Justice briefing at 11:00 a.m.

10:15 a.m.  3/22/2021  Justice briefing at 11:00 a.m.

10:20 a.m. 3/19/2021  Justice briefing 10:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m. 3/17/2021  Justice briefing 10:45 a.m.

11:15 a.m.  3/15/2021  Justice briefing at 11:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m. 3/12/2021 Justice briefing at 11:00 a.m.

10:30 a.m. 3/10/2021  Justice briefing set for 11:00 a.m.

10:15 a.m. 3/8/2021  Justice briefing set for 10:30 a.m.

10:55 a.m. 3/5/2021  Justice briefing set for 11:00 a.m.

This briefing was originally scheduled for 10:30 a.m. but now has been shifted to 11

;

10:32 a.m. 2/19/2021 Justice leads briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

6:52 a.m. 2/17/2021 Justice leads briefing at 10:30 a.m. 

9:30 a.m. 2/15/2021 Justice leads briefing at 10:30 

9:03 a.m. 2/12/2021 Justice to lead briefing at noon

9:30 a.m. 2/10/21 Justice to lead briefing at 11 a.m.

11:58 a.m. 2/8/21 Justice to lead briefing at noon 

9:48 a.m.  2/5/21 Justice to lead briefing at 11:30 

11:05 a.m.  2/3/21 Justice to lead briefing at noon 

9:34 a.m. Justice to lead briefing at noon 

10:34 a.m. 1/29/21 Justice to lead briefing at noon

9:39 a.m. 1/27/21 Manchin applauds federal effort to increases vaccine supply

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a statement about the announcement from the Biden Administration about increasing the weekly supply of COVID-19 vaccinations to states and territories next week. The administration will also increase transparency by giving states a three week forecast of vaccine supplies.

“Today’s announcement by the Biden Administration shows that help is on the way. I thank President Biden for staying true to his word and delivering more vaccine so quickly and will continue to work closely with him to further increase our allocation. West Virginia is leading the country in efficiently and safely distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. Clinics across our state have been operating below capacity because of the vaccine shortage. Now President Biden will ship out at least 10 million doses each week to get more shots in arms as soon as possible. Today’s announcement from the Biden Administration is another step closer to ensuring every West Virginian who wants a vaccine can get one, restoring our economy, and getting back to life as usual. In the last week, I have spoken with President Biden and multiple White House officials who have assured me the number one priority for the Administration is quickly producing and efficiently distributing the vaccine. I’m glad to see them put their money where their mouth is and ramp up vaccine distribution.”

9 a.m. 1/25/21 Justice plans 11 a.m. briefing 

12:07 p.m. 1/21/21 Justice plans noon briefing 

9:56 a.m. 1/19/2021 Justice plans 11 a.m. briefing 

8:51 a.m. 1/13/2021 Justice plans 10 a.m. briefing

here is the livestream https://t.co/i4kQb1qU8N

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 13, 2021

8:49 a.m. 1/11/2021 Justice plans noon briefing

here is the livestream https://t.co/Dw7fbZbuev

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 11, 2021

11:31 a.m. 1/8/2021 Justice plans noon briefing 

livestream here https://t.co/jN45H6LHG6

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 8, 2021

7:54 a.m. 1/6/2021 Justice plans 11 a.m. briefing 

here is the livestream https://t.co/Khcw32yYBv

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 6, 2021

6:59 a.m. 1/4/2021 Justice plans 11 a.m. briefing

here is the livestream https://t.co/6YB4IooQpY

— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 4, 2021

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Source: WV MetroNews

MetroNews This Morning 1-24-22

West Virginia State Police seek a pay raise from the Legislature to help with recruitment. Hospital officials continue to raise concerns about being stretched then with staff as Covid cases continue to rise. Wheeling Fire Department says 2021 was the busiest year in the department’s history. A U.S. Attorney creates a health care fraud strike force. Forecasters say a nor’easter is headed our way and West Virginia will feel the impacts starting tonight. In Sports, there were great games in the NFL this weekend and Kyle Wiggs recaps them this morning. Those stories and more in out MetroNews This Morning podcast.

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 1-24-22” on Spreaker.

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Source: WV MetroNews

Cahill pushes for locality pay for state police

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Police has 40 vacancies and Col. Jan Cahill, West Virginia State Police (WVSP) Superintendent believes a larger number may be on the way as recruiting and retention have slowed.

Cahill appeared in front of the state House Finance committee last week with a budget presentation on the $96.6 million FY 2023 budget. Cahill asked lawmakers to consider an increase for locality pay for troopers in the eastern panhandle. He said that may help with recruiting and retention.

Col. Jan Cahill

The superintendent said WVSP is facing the same issues as many law enforcement departments, saying “there is not the calling for public service there used to be.”

“I know you hear about the labor shortage all the time with doctors, nurses, EMTs, teachers, social workers. The state police, we are not immune to that either. It’s our number one challenge, recruitment and retention,” Cahill said.

Cahill said there are currently 660 troopers in the force and the 40 vacancies are even with a new class beginning recently. He said if WVSP wanted 24/7 coverage in all areas, between 750 and 800 troopers would be needed.

The superintendent told lawmakers in the meeting that WVSP has a hard time recruiting to the state’s busiest attachment — Martinsburg. He said there are 22 people assigned in Martinsburg and 41 people overall in Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

He said the locality pay would begin in the panhandles, with the hope of rising the squad numbers there and retaining those working. According to Cahill, states such as Virginia have locality pay taking into consideration the cost of living.

“We are competing with other states around the panhandles, the federal government and the private sector. We are not having those issues so much in the southern part of the state. When we test, it seems we have a decent compliment of people showing up in the south,” Cahill said.

Cahill hasn’t yet provided details of a locality pay proposal but that’s expected to come some time later in this legislative session.

Del. Jason Barrett, R-Berkeley, who supports locality pay, said WVSP and other state agencies are working on the structure for how locality pay would be set up.

Jason Barrett

He was one of the lawmakers in the meeting with Cahill and told MetroNews the cost of living is higher in his area than most parts of the state and locality pay makes sense — for all state workers there.

“Being able to attract troopers to the Eastern Panhandle is extremely difficult. That’s why we heard the urgency from Col. Cahill. We have the same issue when it comes to teachers and all state employees,” Barrett said.

“I’m going to be supportive for locality pay for all our state employees.”

Another proposal from Cahill for an increase of pay is to give a raise at enlistment of $3,800 a month, the same amount given upon graduation. Cahill said currently, troopers receive $3,210 per month at enlistment/swearing-in day.

“You’re getting it anyway at 25 weeks. I think it would make us a lot more competitive,” Cahill said.

Cahill also told lawmakers he expects a wave of retirements around the corner. He noted 71 members on the force are 50 years of age or older and 146 members between 45 and 49 years old.

The post Cahill pushes for locality pay for state police appeared first on WV MetroNews.

Source: WV MetroNews

Covid Hits Home

Folks, I’ve contracted Covid and am in the 5-day quarantine at home.  My symptoms are mild, much like a bad cold, and I am thankful that I am vaccinated and got the booster.

Dave Wilson will be filling in for me on Talkline Monday and Tuesday.  I plan to be back Wednesday.  Commentaries will return Wednesday as well.

Hop

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Fairmont State hosting Governor’s Honors Academy in 3-year deal

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Fairmont State University will host the West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy beginning this year.

The Governor’s Honors Academy began in 1984, in which current high school juniors are offered opportunities to learn about a variety of issues from multiple educators.

Mirta Martin (Fairmont State University)

Fairmont State University will host the academy through 2024 as part of the agreement with the state.

“Our safe, hilltop campus is the perfect place for young scholars to dip their toes into the college living experience,” institution President Mirta Martin said. “Through interactions with teacher mentors, students participating in the GHA will explore their areas of interest, discover new passions, and most importantly, ignite their curiosity and love for learning. Once ignited, the fire of learning burns bright, and these Academy participants will continue to grow and learn.”

The academy is a three-week session; this year’s program will begin June 25.

“The courses this year will revolve around the theme of ‘The World We Will Inherit,'” coordinator Sherry Keffer said. “They’ll take those classes, and they’re taught by master teachers from all over the state.”

Interested students must have a minimum 3.5 GPA or be ranked in the top 10% of their class.

“We are delighted to offer these outstanding students the pre-college opportunity to live and study on a university campus,” State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch said. “The Governor’s Honors Academy has been changing students’ lives and perspectives for nearly forty years, and we are proud to partner with Fairmont State in its latest iteration.”

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Northern Panhandle, northern counties under winter weather advisory

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Multiple West Virginia counties were placed under a winter weather advisory on Sunday in anticipation of snow.

The National Weather Service reported parts of northern West Virginia and the Northern Panhandle could receive up to two inches of snow in addition to what communities have already received.

Counties impacted by the winter weather advisory include Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Tucker counties.

Parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania are also under a winter weather advisory.

The advisory went into effect Sunday around 10:30 a.m., and it will remain in effect until 7 p.m.

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Active coronavirus cases increase, hospitalizations around 1,000

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Active coronavirus cases in West Virginia have surpassed 21,000, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

The agency updated its statewide coronavirus dashboard on Sunday.

Officials have confirmed 21,717 active cases, of which 5,256 cases are new. The number of deaths related to the coronavirus remains 5,609 as officials did not confirm any additional deaths before publishing Sunday’s report.

The agency also reported 997 hospitalizations related to the pandemic, in which 68.5% of patients are unvaccinated. Officials also noted 216 people in intensive care units and 118 patients on ventilators.

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