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All the lights in Kanawha County are not on yet, but much progress has been made after the early week effects of Hurricane Sandy. Both AEP and First Energy have been repairing damaged power lines and transmission stations, but still 108,000 customers in West Virginia are without power. After a peak of about 44-thousand in the dark in Kanawha County, AEP's website says that number has been whittled down to near 10-thousand. Nicholas County remains among the hardest hit in the state, with well over half of the county without electricity. AEP hopes to have power restored to nearly all customers by midnight Sunday. First Energy spokespeople predict power should be restored to all customers by the middle of next week.
Mountaineer Gas had requested a 4.9 percent, or $12.2 million, base rate increase for its residential and small commercial customers. On Wednesday, the Public Service Commission approved a 2.5 percent, or $6.3 million hike, or roughly half of what Mountaineer Gas had been seeking. Here's the twist. Despite the base rate increase, Mountaineer Gas customers can expect lower bills because the price of natural gas has declined since last year.
The Logan County Sheriff's Department is investigating Wednesday morning's accident that left an 18-year old girl dead. Investigators say the grl was driving along Interstate 10 near Hanging Rock Road when she lost control and crashed into a Hillside. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Another accident happened not far from that one in Logan County around the same time although the driver and passenger were both able to walk away from that crash.
You have the weekend to see the replicas of the Pinta and Nina. The replicas of the historic ships have extended their stay at Haddad Riverfront Park through Sunday and will leave Monday morning, since Superstorm Sandy abbreviated the time that the public can tour them this week. The Pinta and the Nina were part of Columbus' fleet when he sailed to the West Indies in 1492. This week in Charleston, the replicas ended up with four inches of snow on their decks.
A West Virginia legislative candidate was killed in an accident related to superstorm Sandy. George Rose tells The Associated Press that his 60-year-old father, John Rose Sr., was checking fences on his deer farm in Barbour County on Tuesday when he was struck by a falling tree limb. He was a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates.
First the roofs of homes collapsed in Nicholas Country from the weight of the snow. On Wednesday, the total rose to eight after an apartment complex and four businesses caved in. Seventy-two people had to evacuate Summersville Manor after the roof of the apartment complex collapsed. Businesses with collapsed roofs include three grocery stores and a hardware store. Officials of course have a watchful eye on the situation in case there are others.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office offers some general Halloween safety tips as you head out tonight. Houses that are passing out candy should have porch lights on, and trick-or-treaters should approach only those houses. Some costumes are dark, so wear reflective clothing too and carry a flashlight. Parents should inspect candy before the kids eat it. The Sheriff's office also encourages kids to travel in groups with trusted adults and stay in well lit areas, because unfortunately, sexual predators can be an issue on Halloween.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office sends the reminder that there are extra Halloween Patrols on the roads. An extra 24 deputies are on patrol through today and they're in areas historically prone to Halloween vandalism. They will be in both marked and un-marked vehicles as well as on foot, and the sheriff's office says they have orders of "Zero Tolerance" for would-be vandals. Those found breaking the law will be arrested.
Throughout the state, a total of 26 shelters are open in Berkeley, Greenbrier, Jefferson, Kanawha, Monongalia, Morgan, Nicholas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Upshur and Wyoming counties. And food is on the way. FEMA is bringing in 700,000 meals and 1.4 million liters of water that will be distributed across the state. In Kanawha County there are several shelters set up, Including Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Sissonville, Salvation Army at Roane and Tennessee Avenue in Charleston, and the Kanawha City Rec Center, all of which will be overnight shelters. The Hansford Center in St. Albans is also open as a shelter.
Some in West Virginia have power, but no internet. Frontier Communications, West Virginia's largest phone and Internet service provider, says it received more than 8,400 reports from customers about outages and other problems in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. There are crews working on the problems now, and they're facing down trees and poor road conditions which complicate matters. But they're working to get the internet service restored as quickly as possible. Frontier has half a million customers in West Virginia.