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Gov. Justice plans visit to Elkins


The Inter-Mountain

ELKINS, W.Va.  — Gov. Jim Justice is scheduled to meet Thursday with seniors as part of a statewide tour promoting his highways construction program and budget proposals.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice visitedthe Coalfields Expressway project on Route 121 on the first stop of Justice’s “Save our State” tour in February. Justice plans to visit the Randolph County Senior Center in Elkins Thursday.

Justice plans to attend lunch at the Randolph County Senior Center at 11:45 a.m., according to his staff, and the event is open to the public.

State leaders are working to prepare various budget proposals as West Virginia faces an estimated deficit of at least $500 million, and the governor has created his own versions that feature a mix of funding cuts, fee changes, tax increases and job creation.

Justice said in a briefing this week his “Roads Plan” would create 48,000 jobs and double the state’s maintenance fund from $150 million to $300 million for repairing roads, potholes and bridges. It would be funded by increasing the toll on the West Virginia Turnpike from $2 to $4 for out-of-state motorists, increasing the gasoline excise tax by 4.5 cents a gallon and adding $20 to the annual fee for license plate vehicle stickers.

Laura Ward, the executive director of the Randolph County Senior Center, said she and many local residents are eager to meet with Justice and hear what his plans are, especially in relation to funding for senior programs.

“Seniors are interested — and they vote,” Ward said Tuesday. “They are generally a lot more involved politically than younger populations.”

She said the so-called “silver tsunami” of an aging population means more and more people are in need of the services that senior centers offer — including programs designed to keep people healthy and in their own homes longer, rather than in hospitals or assisted living facilities.

“Everything we do keeps people well or at-home,” she said, “and the cost of not keeping them well or in a nursing home is huge.”

The Randolph County Senior Center is located at the corner of 5th Street and Railroad Avenue in Elkins. More information is available by calling 304-636-4747.

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