It’s a service West Virginians and visitors to the state appreciate.
West Virginia Courtesy Patrol drivers patrol 25 assigned zones totaling approximately 810 highway miles 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. According to the organization’s website, the drivers “assist stranded motorists, remove hazards from the roadways, provide gas or directions, change flat tires and, in general, enhance safety on our state’s highways. To serve the traveling public, 25 well-marked white F-150s patrol the 25 assigned areas of patrol. The areas consist of eight interstates and five corridors in 30 counties throughout the state.”
The Courtesy Patrol “provides two equally important benefits to the state. First, it reduces the number of individuals on welfare in the state of West Virginia through the employment and continuing education of former welfare recipients as Courtesy Patrol drivers. Secondly, this program benefits the traveling public using our interstate highways and corridors for tourism and local commerce.”
The Courtesy Patrol started out as a 24-hour program but was cut back during Gov. Joe Manchin’s administration to 16 hours from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m., in order to save money. The program currently has an annual budget of $4.7 million through the Courtesy Patrol Fund. All that money comes from lottery funds but has to be appropriated by the state Legislature.
Funding for the future, after the fiscal year ends June 30, must still be worked out following the end of the legislative session this month.
The good news is that state officials say the situation will be resolved.
“When the Legislature passed House Bill 101 during the one-day special session, they made some changes to a few of the lottery funds, and one of those lottery funds is set aside for the Courtesy Patrol, among a whole host of other accounts,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s deputy chief of staff Jason Pizatella, a Fairmont native, told The (Beckley) Register-Herald last week.
The Courtesy Patrol has been administered by the West Virginia Citizens Conservation Corps, based in Beckley, since 1998.
“The Legislature will need to come back in before the start of the fiscal year (July 1) and appropriate that money for the Courtesy Patrol,” Pizatella added.
“The governor has no intent to not fund the Courtesy Patrol, and the Legislature has no intent to not fund the Courtesy Patrol. It was purely an accounting issue of moving the money that’s set aside from the lottery for the Courtesy Patrol out of a statute and into the budget bill.
“The governor will ask the Legislature to do that before start of the fiscal year on July 1. The Courtesy Patrol is too valuable of a program for us to not fund it.”
The Courtesy Patrol currently employs 80 workers who cover the entire state.
The Tomblin administration has talked about calling a special legislative session this spring to discuss budget issues.
“If it means a special session to get this resolved. I have the utmost respect and confidence that our legislators will do the right thing,” Courtesy Patrol director Jennifer Douglass told Metro News,
“We’ve been out there for almost 16 years, assisted over 280,000 motorists,” she added. “There’s a huge value in having the program.
“They have a presence as far as safety on the highways, security, peace of mind just knowing that help is right around the corner, all the employment opportunities it provides for our state, the tourism-friendly aspect of it.”
We wholeheartedly agree and are confident West Virginia officials will keep their word to fund the Courtesy Patrol for future years.
It’s a service West Virginians and visitors to the state appreciate.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
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- State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core