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Reports are starting to pop up that wonder whether Appalachian Power will seek a rate increase from the Public Service Commission. Rates for customers have increased 50 percent in the last four years, but another hike is possible because of the recent storms, and the repair efforts being out of forecasted budgets. A spokesperson says the focus is on the recovery now, and they'll address the cost later.
With the beginning of school approaching many parents are working on getting the kids ready for back to school, and that can mean updating vaccinations. All states let kids skip immunizations for medical reasons, but West Virginia is one of just two states with strict limits on exemptions on religious grounds. A group of parents last month told West Virginia lawmakers they want a religious exemption in West Virginia.
Sunday's storm knocked out power to many in Kanawha County, and some had just had power restored after the June 29 storms. For a time, the number in Kanawha County without power had been reduced to about 7500, then the number spiked to 30,000 with Sunday's storms. As of 9pm last night, that number was back down to about 14,000. Most of the western part of Kanawha County was spared, but there were outages in the north and east and those may remain until sometime today.
Students who attend year-round schools are back in class now, relatively unaffected by the recent storms. Piedmont and West Side elementary are back in session today, and neither of the buildings suffered much storm damage. Students are just returning from a five-week break - their longest of the year. After a nine-week session they'll have three weeks off, then go to school for another nine weeks.
With the power outage problems of the past ten days and the heat continuing through much of that time, pools haven't been an option to cool off. The Kanawha City Community Center and pool stayed closed yesterday after the Sunday storms, and the pool at the North Charleston Community Center has been closed all season. The Cato Park pool has been closed in the past week because of the June 29th storms, and that left one pool open yesterday. The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center pool was open. Once power is restored fully, the pumps will be able to run and places like the Kanawha City Center will open up again.
One of the lingering thoughts from the emergency situation after the storms June 29th, seems to be how to better prepare for emergencies. The director of emergency management in Kanawha County told the Daily Mail that people need to be prepared to take care of themselves for 72 hours, because emergency personnel need that time to get their resources in place. Things to stock up include water, non perishable food, and batteries for flashlights, and that kind of emergency kit should stay readily available at home. Everyone hopes there won't be a next time, but emergency officials want us to prepare just in case.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department is investigating a robbery at a 7-11 early Monday morning. Deputies were called to the Rand 7-11 store at 5425 Midland Driver after the clerk reported a young white male had been loitering in the parking lot, then eventually went to the night service window with a gun, and demanded cash and cigarettes. The clerk complied, and the suspect ran off with cash and cartons of cigarettes. The suspect is described as a white male in his early 20’s wearing a white hoodie and dark pants at the time. Investigators have a suspect in mind, and have recovered some evidence as the investigation continues.
As of 11pm Sunday, there are still more than 73,000 in West Virginia without power. In Kanawha County there are 5700 without electricity, and about 1800 in Lincoln County, and 478 in Logan County. Twenty-one hundered in Putnam County are waiting for the lights to come back on.
Three generators were stolen last week from Frontier Utilities, and West Virginia state police have now made two arrests. Robert Buzzard and Jason Clay have been arrested, and deputies are still looking for two others in the Jeffrey area of Boone County. The generators swiped were being used temporarliy to keep phone service going.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's department had been investigating the case of a missing ATV rider. Deputies say 58-year old Jerry Withrow was riding four wheelers in Quincy with a group of friends when he crashed the ATV. The friends went to get help, but by the time they returned both Withrow and the ATV were gone. Withrow was found alive by crews with the Cedar Grove Volunteer Fire Dept. yesterday just before noon. They saw him walking up the road with a few bumps and bruises, and took him to get medical attention. He's expected to be okay.