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West Virginia's distracted driving law has gone into effect. That means drivers who text could get ticketed. West Virgnia State Police and local agencies have begun the enforcements as of July 1, and drivers can be cited for hands-on cell phone use. It's a secondary offense, so that alone cannot trigger a traffic stop. It becomes a primary offense in mid-2013. You may see signs along highways about the distracted driving law.
53 of West Virginia's 55 counties were affected the weekend storms with power outages and in some cases it will take several days to restore it. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin placed the state under a State of Emergency, and FEMA will send generators and water. Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper says 75% of Kanawha County residents are without power. Hospitals and nursing homes are the first priorities for generators.
Several shelters and cooling stations have been set up this week in the Kanawha Valley as the area waits for the power to come back on. Between 9am and 5pm this week the Kanawha City Recreation Center on Venable Avenue in Charleston is open from 9am to 5pm. Other shelters spots include the Martin Luther King Center on Donnally Street, the North Charleston Recreation Center on Seventh Avenue, the Kanawha County Public Library, and Riverside High School. In Putnam County, the YMCA in Scott Depot is a shelter from 8am to 8pm. There's a 24-hour shelter in Scott Depot at Calvary Baptist Church.
Appalachian Power says it could be as late as this Friday, July 6 before power is completely restored, although the general consensus seems to be it will be earlier than that. In a press release, the company said crews have been out most of the weekend assessing damage to its electrical facilities. More than 50 substations were knocked out and more than 1500 tree removal workers, damage assessment specialists, company line mechanics and outside line contractors have been called in. All power companies in West Virginia are affected, not just AEP, since 85 percent of the state lost power with the storms. Since local power companies can't rely on others across the state for help, the help may come from Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
Appalachian Power says it could be as late as this Friday, July 6 before power is completely restored, although the general consensus seems to be it will be earlier than that. In a press release, the company lists the anticipated restoration date for Kanawha County as July 6th, with more than 75,000 people without power. The company estimates Lincoln County could have power restored by July 3, Logan County by July 5, and Putnam County by July 6. All power companies in West Virginia are affected, not just AEP, since 85 percent of the state lost power with the storms. Since local power companies can't rely on others across the state for help, the help may come from Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority has a proposal on the table for a seven-building, 28-unit housing complex along Washington Street West. That's near two existing public housing projects, and some worry the new project would only segragate a portion of the population that struggles financially and close it off to some extent. The agency may apply for tax credits by the end of July, and construction could be finished by the end of 2013. It's before the West Side City Council now.
A Charleston man is in the hospital after a small plane crash in Ohio. 51-year old Charles W. Stevens of Charleston was a passenger in the small plane that went down in Holmes County with engine trouble. The plane crash landed in a field. Stevens is said to be in serious condition in intensive care at the hospital. 60-year old Floyd Pierson of Milton was the pilot, and is also in serious condition. The plane was apparently on its way to Charleston when it went down.
A Putnam County family law judge is the subject of a youtube video that surfaced this week. Judge William Watkins is seen screaming and yelling at preacher Arthur Hage and threatened him with jail. Hage was in court for a divorce hearing that involved the sale of their home. Watkins accused Hage of leaking a picture of his home to a blogger. Hage denies knowing the blogger. Judge Watkins has recused himself from the case, and Hage says he wants Watkins removed from the bench.
Hiram Lewis can still practice law. The former US Senate and Attorney General candidate is accused of shooting Stephen Bogart earlier this month, and while Lewis works his way through his own court case, the State Supreme Court has withdrawn their petition to suspend Lewis' law license. Lewis says Bogart was breaking into his home at the time of the shooting. Bogart says he lived there. At this point, Lewis can still practice law, but the Office of Disciplinary Counsel continues their investigation.
A member of the Hurricane City Council faces accusations that he solicited a minor. 31-year old Scott Cunningham was arrested Wednesday and charged with two felony counts of soliciting a minor via computer. Reports say sexually explicit text messages were sent to a 13-year old girl whom he was acquanited with. Cunningham resigned from the city council shortly after his arrest, and is free on bond.vvCunningham was elected to Hurricane City Council in June 2011 as a member of the Citizens Party.