The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 10, 2012

ROAD TO RECOVERY

Sunday’s storm, the fourth major thunderstorm system in less than a week and a half, has again pushed back restoration efforts for Appalachian Power.

The cities of Beckley and Hico and surrounding areas in Raleigh and Fayette are expected to be restored today while Bluefield, Pineville and Rainelle areas should have been up and running Monday night.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, APCO had 53,407 customers without power, including 6,800 in Fayette County, 1,500 in Greenbrier, 604 in Nicholas, 4,000 in Raleigh, 380 in Summers and 156 in Wyoming.

Appalachian reported around 20,000 customers lost power Sunday after the most recent storm; however, the power company now reports the number who lost power in that storm number closer to 30,000.

Monongahela Power still had 21,000 customers waiting restoration, including 3,000 in Greenbrier County, 602 in Monroe, 1,600 in Nicholas, and 1,400 in Summers.

Sgt. Anna-Marie Ward, public affairs officer with the West Virginia National Guard, confirmed 750 guardsmen remain on duty to help residents clean up and recover from the derecho.

Generators, fuel, water and food continue to be distributed to communities and individuals in need.

In addition to distributing these basic needs, 80 Health and Wellness teams are going door-to-door in communities checking on West Virginia’s citizens and identifying what their needs are, she said.

Officials with The Greenbrier said Monday that all items from the Saturday meals served in Rainelle (City Hall), Renick (firehouse across from cemetery) and Alderson (football field), including fresh produce from the Greenbrier Farms, were left for disbursement on a first-come, first-serve basis at those three locations in Greenbrier County. Check with officials at those three sites for updated information and availability of aid items.

The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin joint Preliminary Damage Assessments to evaluate damages from the recent power outages today.

FEMA is conducting these assessments at the request of the state and will use these them to determine if the state is eligible to request federal disaster assistance.

Individuals, businesses and cities can only pursue compensation for damage from FEMA if the area is deemed a federal disaster area at the request of the governor.

Rep. Nick Rahall has been working to facilitate the possibility of that request by talking with President Barack Obama and other officials.

- - -

Many West Virginians are struggling to recover great losses after the storms.

For those who lost food purchased with food stamps, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services has extended the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP program, deadline until July 30, confirmed Marsha Dadisman, director of communication.

Families who lost food during the month of June are eligible.

Dadisman said federal funding has not yet been approved to replace food lost in outages in July.

The SNAP application is available online at http://www.wv dhhr.org/bcf/family_assistance/fs.asp.

Health and Human Resource’s Women’s and Infants Child (WIC) program participants are able to received replacement benefits, too.

Current participants may contact their local WIC offices for detailed information about replacement benefits.  

- - -

The Greenbrier County Emergency Management Office is still operating an alternate EOC and cannot receive calls at the 304-645-5444 number. Al Whitaker, director, asks for residents to call 304-646-5627 instead.

Rend Trail, which stretches from Minden to Thurmond through the New River Gorge National River, will remain closed until further notice, reported Robin Snyder, National Park Service spokesperson.

A number of trees are down across the trail and there has been damage to one of the bridges which needs to be assessed, she said.

Most areas in the park are now open and all visitors centers will re-open today.

- - -

New River Community and Technical College announced that although power is still off at the Greenbrier Valley Campus in Lewisburg, classes will still be held.

Barbara Elliott, director of public relations, said officials have been told power may not be restored on campus until July 16.

On Monday, classes resumed at New River’s Jefferson Office Park location with power but without water.

By the end of day, water had been restored, but Internet lines are still down.

Although phones are not working in Greenbrier Hall, some staff members are at the campus to provide limited services to walk-ins. They have one laptop with Internet access and can assist students at the front desk thanks to a generator and wireless box. Anyone who wishes to apply for fall classes can still come in to fill out an application.

Students should report to Greenbrier Hall to find out where classes are being held.

Faculty will work with their classes to ensure that the lost instructional time will be made up by one or more of the following options: extend the class time each day, class meet on Friday(s), or extend the end of the semester by two days, said Elliott.

Online courses will have revised timetables for assignment due dates and test dates.

As developments occur, updates and announcements will be placed on the college’s website, www.newriver.edu, and the New River Facebook page, http://www.facebook. com/NewRiverCTC.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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