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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.
As power is restored and the recovery effort continues, insurance claims are being filed, in some cases in overwhelming numbers for insurance companies. West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Michael Riley declared an "insurance emergency" and issued two emergency proclamations last week that give insurance companies extra time to respond to claims. And this also grants insurance adjusters from out-of-state the chance to get temporary emergency licenses to help with the claims. Those homes with the most damage are on top of the priority list.
There have been many reports about today's computer threat. The virus is called DNS Changer, which modifies the setting on your computer to direct you to a fake website. The FBI has control of the hackers' website and is shutting it down, but any computers that have already been affected can be knocked offline today. The percentage of computers affected is small worldwide, but if you've kept up your antivirus software you should be okay. Smart phones are not expected to see any impact from the virus.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is still investigating a Friday death in Malden. When EMS arrived, 31-year old Jeffrey Cook was lying on his back and two people were performing CPR. Paramedics took over, but Cook couldn't be revived. The brother, 28-year old Jason Alan Cook became beligerent during that time, according to the sheriff's office, and pushed a deputy backwards. He was eventually handcuffed and taken to South Central Regional Jail. The cause of death remains under investigation, but does not appear to be suspicious.
There's no open burning right now in West Virginia. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued the burn ban Friday, saying a combination of dry conditions, scarce water supplies, and emergency personnel focusing on the recovery effort all went into the decision. The ban will continue until West Virginia's state of emergency is lifted.
A looter has been arrested after taking copper and aluminum wire from a storm ravaged area. Boone County Deputies arrested 22-year-old Robert Graham Powers, of Seth, after finding stolen wire at his home. Damaging a public utility is a felony that can lead to one to three years in prison and up to a $5000 fine. Deputies reported finding several hundred pounds of copper and aluminum wire at Powers' home. Workers from Appalachian Power confirmed it belongs to them.
More than 220,000 in West Virginia are still without power, and that's including the 20,000 or so that lost power after the latest round of storms Thursday. More than 40,000 in Kanawha County are still in the dark, with the estimate to have power restored still Sunday, July 8. It will be tomorrow before the power is back on for over 4000 in Logan County. Lincoln County still has more than 4000 in the dark too. The power should come back on today in Putnam County. AEP has the latest outage information on their website.
West Virginia is getting money that will go toward healthcare. The state gets more than $7 million in federal funds for health care and public health preparedness, which is part of a $971 million package awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to all states. About a third of West Virginia's share will go to the Hospital Preparedness Program for health care systems. The rest supports preparedness of state and local public health systems
Much of the damage from last Friday's storms is still being assessed as folks wait for the power to come back on. Damage to schools has sort of been under the radar since school is out for the summer, but we do know shingles were torn off some school roofs, and any food that was stored in freezers has rotted. One school in Harrison County suffered serious damage to its roof, but it looks like for the most part schools in Kanawha, Putnam, Logan, and surrounding counties have been spared. Wind did take the roof off the concession stand at the Nitro High football field.