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Preparations begin for curbside flood debris pick up in Kanawha County

CAMPBELLS CREEK, W.Va. — Kanawha County emergency officials will begin collecting flood debris from curb sides Wednesday as residents continue to clean up from Monday’s storm.

Some residents were spared in Campbells Creek, while others like Michael Goff received several feet of water in his home.

“It was four feet in the basement. It tore the door off the hinges,” Goff told MetroNews Tuesday morning as he used a shovel to clear out mud. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Dump trucks will pick up debris from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Matt Skiles lives down the road along Point Lick Drive and was busy raking up brush and collecting trash in his front yard. He said fortunately, he didn’t lose anything valuable.

“Most of it was stuff we haven’t used in a while. It was a couple of power equipment tools that we lost,” Skiles said.

Skiles had about 6 inches of water damage in his garage.

Water markings could be seen along the side of Vicky Casto’s house on Campbells Creek Drive. She and her son were cleaning their basement that received a few feet of water.

“We’re just trying to save what we can,” Casto said. “Fortunately, for me, this was not a living space. It did not get upstairs in my living space.”

Neighbors were seen sweeping and using hoses to water down driveways Tuesday. Stephanie Holstine said there was a lot of uncertainty during the height of the storm early Monday morning. She woke up at around 4 a.m. and said she’s glad the rain stopped when it did.

“It was like a waterfall coming over here,” she said. “We didn’t know if it kept raining, if we would get in our house or not, but fortunately it stopped.”

Kanawha County received nearly 5-6 inches of rain. Flooding occurred along U.S. Route 60 near Hughes Creek, Kelley’s Creek and Rutledge Road too.

The Kanawha County Emergency Management and the Planning Office will travel to the affected areas to complete personal property damage assessments and infrastructure assessments on roads and bridges.

Gov. Jim Justice has declared a State of Emergency for Kanawha and Fayette counties.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said in a Tuesday statement they have money set aside to help out.

“We have over $250,000 set aside in our Emergency Response Fund for situations such as this, and we are prepared to use these funds for debris management to help our affected citizens. We do not have federal funding right now to help with this, but we will do everything we can to help our citizens, regardless of whether we receive reimbursement from the federal government,” Carper wrote.

Residents are asked to report the damage to the Kanawha County Planning and Development Office by calling 304-357-0570.

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DOH working to get roads back open in flood zone

GAULEY BRIDGE, W.Va. — A state of emergency declared by Governor Jim Justice has removed some of the obstacles for road repairs in Kanawha and Fayette Counties from Monday’s high water.

The top priority for the Division of Highways is getting Route 39/16 back open after it was covered with debris Monday.

“There were six large mudslides that came down into the road and there were several other more minor rock falls that you might see after any normal storm,” said Division of Highways District Engineer Jim Moore.

The Fayette County DOH maintenance crew was working from Gauley Bridge toward the county line while the Nicholas County maintenance crew worked in the other direction. As of Tuesday afternoon the two teams were within site of one another on the last major slide. However, punching through proved to be difficult due to the saturation of the soil.

“We had hoped to have a hole in it Monday night, but the more the crews dug the more material would come off the hillside because it was so soupy,” Moore said.

They hoped to have the road back open by Tuesday evening, but full repairs are expected to take six weeks or more.

Crews are also working on secondary roads where there was major damage, particularly to Mount Carbon Road.

“A concrete abutment got washed out from a bridge. We have crews on scene to put in a temporary causeway so our bridge crews can rebuild that bridge,” he said.

Moore added they would also have considerable work to do to rebuild the road along Scrabble Creek where tons of rock and debris washed into the road and rerouted the waterway through the road bed.

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West Virginia American Water completes $25 million upgrade to Kanawha Valley plant

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia American Water has announced the completion of a $25 million upgrade to its Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant in Charleston that is meant to improve safety measures for the company’s employees and customers.

The treatment plant, which serves approximately 85,000 customers in parts of Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Logan, Lincoln, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Roane, Jackson, and Mason counties, will now provide ultra-violet (UV) disinfection and utilizes sodium hypochlorite in lieu of gaseous chlorine.

Megan Hannah, Senior Manager, Government and External Affairs with West Virginia American Water (WVAWC) told MetroNews it took 18 months to complete the project and the upgrades to the plant have been successful operations since Dec. 2021.

“We have effectively now switched our disinfection process from gaseous chlorine, which can be a bit dangerous for own employees and the community. We’ve now totally eliminated the gaseous chlorine and have switched to liquid chlorine for our disinfection,” Hannah detailed.

Construction on upgrades at the treatment plant began in Nov. 2020 following new regulatory requirements from the U.S. EPA for the treatment of cryptosporidium in surface water systems. The Kanawha Valley plant had long been successfully treating water for cryptosporidium, but with the inclusion of UV disinfection, the plant now offers a 99.99% confidence level in removing cryptosporidium from its raw water, a release stated.

The Kanawha Valley water system is now the first in West Virginia to provide UV disinfection as part of its treatment process.

In addition to UV, the Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant also converted from gaseous chlorine to sodium hypochlorite, also known as liquid chlorine, as part of its disinfection process. The conversion was not driven by a regulatory requirement but rather a safety measure for West Virginia American Water’s employees and the surrounding community.

The Kanawha Valley system is the second within West Virginia American Water to convert to sodium hypochlorite, and all systems are planned to be converted to liquid chlorine over the next eight years.

“We have always focused on the health and safety of our customers through rigorous testing of our water throughout the treatment process,” said Billie Suder, Senior Manager of Water Quality and Environmental Compliance at WVAWC said in a release.

“We can confidently say that our finished water had always been free of cryptosporidium, but we are now providing an extra level of protection to our customers through this UV process.”

Hannah said part of the funding for the project came through the customer rate process, putting ‘your water bill at work.’ She said another portion was through shareholder funding. Hannah does not expect any additional rate hikes in the future for this project.

WVAWC partnered with local contractor Oval Construction on the significant upgrades to the treatment plant, and over 50 West Virginia businesses and suppliers were utilized for various aspects of the project.

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Mountain runoff isolates Gauley Bridge community

GAULEY BRIDGE, W.Va. — Gauley Bridge Mayor Bob Cole knew he was going to be a busy man when he climbed out of bed on Monday morning. The rain was falling and kept on coming.

“I woke up to the rain, and I didn’t get out until the afternoon on a four wheeler,” Cole told MetroNews.

Cole lives on Scrabble Creek which was covered in a massive field of rocks and debris. The slide made the hollow inaccessible past the football field.

“Unless you’ve got a four wheeler or a really big four-wheel drive, you’re not getting in our out,” he said.

Homes on Scrabble Creek were okay, for the most part. One home incurred some water damage mainly in the garage area, but the rest were above the flood water as it rose amid the torrential downpour which hit the area late Sunday night and early Sunday morning.

The problem was the creek itself. The bank gave away and the water washed rocks, mud, logs, and other debris out into the road. The debris poured into the roadway and eventually rerouted the stream into what had been he roadbed.

“Scrabble Creek is pretty much impassable up past the football field,” the Mayor explained. “It’s just washed all of the rocks out of the hollow. There’s three foot of rocks and gravel in road,”

About all residents along the creek can do is wait on the Division of Highways. Their attention for the moment is on main arteries in the area which were made impassable Monday by numerous mudslides. Progress there is slower than transportation officials would like.

“Our crews in the Cannelton Hollow Road area in Smithers are working to get access for people, and to get to areas where repairs are needed,” said Jim Moore, P.E., District 9 Engineer. “What they’re running into is a soupy material. The area is so saturated that, as they’re clearing away the debris, it’s like working through mud soup.”

Mayor Cole said meanwhile, there is plenty of work to keep up with inside the Gauley Bridge city limits.

“A double-wide about washed off its foundation over at the campground and a couple of other homes had basement flooding. Right now, we’re trying to get the streets cleared off and the culverts unplugged,” said the Mayor.

The last major flood along Scrabble Creek and in the Gauley Bridge area was 2001 when the creek experienced a nearly identical wash out.

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Photo Gallery: Flooding leaves damage in Kanawha, Fayette counties

Photos taken from MetroNews’ Jeff Jenkins on Monday morning, afternoon from the scene of the flooding in Kanawha and Fayette counties.

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MetroNews This Morning 8-16-22

We have a comprehensive recap of the flooding in the upper Kanawha Valley on Monday and will bring you stories of residents there who were forced to wade rising waters in the dark to escape their homes. Also, the White House Drug Czar pays a visit to West Virginia today to talk about the opioid epidemic. Governor Jim Justice downplays a proposal by the Democrats to put the abortion question on the ballot before voters in November. Also a Maryland couple arrested in West Virginia for selling Navy Secrets will be sentenced today.

Listen to “MetroNews This Morning 8-16-22” on Spreaker.

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Musselman expects to bounce back after fielding young roster in 2021

INWOOD, W.Va. — With 22 new starters on the field and a number of midseason injuries, Musselman endured their first losing season since 2009 last fall. The Applemen went 3-7 and missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

“We had five straight years where we were in the top five and we kind of consider ourselves one of the top teams in the state. Last year to go 3-7, that’s just not acceptable,” said Musselman head coach Brian Thomas. “Having said that and not making excuses, we had some injuries to some key spots that we lost last year.”

Musselman welcomes back an experienced roster at a number of positions. That includes quarterback where senior Bayden Hartman is back for his second season under center.

“Bayden is one of the best players in the state and I don’t think a lot of people talk about him. I call him Brett Favre sometimes. He is not really flashy. He just kind of does his own thing, which is good as long as he operates within the box that we give him. He makes some off-platform throws. We run the read option with him so we put a lot on his shoulders.”

Fellow senior Ray Adames should be a factor at receiver, in the secondary and on special teams.

“Ray is one of the best receivers we have had in the sixteen years I have been at Musselman. Not just his speed but his strength too, he is a really strong kid. And he is a real coachable kid. He runs good routes. He comes out and works on the little details of his game. There’s no doubt we want to get the ball in his hands.”

Shuffling lineups led to a host of different offensive schemes for the Applemen last year. Thomas expects their traditional run-dominated offense to regain its previous form.

“This year we have Logan Shelton and we have Troy Woolaston who are our two big weapons. You want to spread the ball out and get the ball in those guys hands. But at the same time our run game stuff, it is basic and it has kind of been the same. The kids are pretty comfortable with what we have been doing.”

Players from across three different classes will occupy starting and reserve spots on both lines.

“We are looking at about eight to nine guys that are fighting for spots. It is a good mix. I think we have, out of those nine guys, I think we have three seniors, three juniors and three sophomores.”

Last season, the Applemen lost three games by six points or less. Thomas is hoping that his team can respond better to challenges this season.

“Last year we struggled with a little bit of adversity. We got in some close games where we could have made some better plays and we kind of didn’t make those finishing plays.”

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Photo Gallery: Logan-Clay County scrimmage

CLAY, W.Va. — Photo gallery from the Logan-Clay County scrimmage on August 13. Logan will face Wahama in their second scrimmage.

(Photo gallery courtesy of Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography)

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GOP Candidates Find Success in The Big Lie

The Wyoming Primary Election is today and, if the polls are correct, incumbent Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney will lose. Attorney Harriet Hageman, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, is leading Cheney by as much as 29 points.

Cheney’s political downfall is directly attributable to her bulldogged determination to hold Trump accountable for his role in the January 6th riot and his continued false claims about a stolen election.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office,” Cheney famously said in May 2021 when her fellow House Republicans removed her from the position as conference chair.

Cheney’s unrelenting criticism of Trump in her role on the January 6th committee has made her a pariah among Trump supporters and cost her deeply in her home state, where Trump won by 43 points in the 2020 election.

GOP strategist Scott Jennings told The Hill that Cheney’s anti-Trump views were a political death knell. “I do think it’s debatable whether she should have gone out and blown herself up this way, because it’s obviously going to cost her her seat and her platform, but she chose a different path.”

Jennings is right in terms of strategy, but governing is more than just winning the next election. Unfortunately, many of Cheney’s fellow Republicans are putting winning above all. They have glommed on to Trump’s considerable coattails and endorsed The Big Lie.

An analysis by the Washington Post found that “In the 41 states that have held nominating contests this year, more than half of the GOP winners so far—about 250 candidates in 469 contests—have embraced Trump’s false claims about his defeat two years ago.”

The proportion is even higher in the six critical battleground states that decided the 2020 election. “In Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, at least 54 winners out of 87 contests—more than 62 percent of the nominees—have embraced the former president’s false claims,” the Post reported.

Many of those nominees, if elected, will be in positions of power to influence elections, count votes and challenge future elections. For example, Michigan’s Republican nominee for Secretary of State, Kristina Karamo, has made repeated false claims about election fraud in her state and Nevada’s GOP Secretary of State nominee Jim Marchant is a prominent election denier.

Making false claims about election fraud are poll-tested winners within the GOP. Multiple surveys show that about 70 percent of Republican voters suspect fraud in the last election. Politifact reported that, “Focus groups have shown that Trump supporters weren’t swayed by specific pieces of evidence that rebutted his claims.”

The fear going forward is not that Cheney will lose, but rather that a whole cadre of election result deniers will win, ascending to positions where they can further undermine the credibility of future elections.

Republicans are trying to craft their own alternate reality. Liz Cheney may find herself on the wrong side of GOP voters, but if there’s any justice she will be remembered for being on the right side of history.

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Clean-up work underway at Entsorga site months after company fails to secure buyer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Entsorga waste-to-fuel facility in Martinsburg remains closed after the company failed to find a buyer earlier this year, and there is no timeline for when some entity could buy the building.

Estorga closed the facility in April, leaving a building full of trash and other materials used for making fuel.

Plans about the building’s future were complicated after a fire broke out inside the building late last month.

Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority chairman Clint Hogbin said he requested a meeting with multiple stakeholders and the state Department of Environmental Protection officials about the site’s future.

“We just began to develop a game plan, the best we could put together considering the situation,” he said.

Apple Valley Waste was allowed to establish operations at the site to make improvements to the facility. Darren Gruendel with Apple Valley Waste’s parent company Gold Medal Environmental said it had to follow Department of Environmental Protection orders addressing risks and economic stability.

“The first thing is to get rid of the risk,” he explained.

Apple Valley Waste’s immediate goal has been to move the waste out of the facility.

“They hadn’t contemplated a scenario where you’d have to move this amount of tonnage out of the facility in this way,” Gruendel said. “We need to be careful that we don’t create any risk for our people by going in there with heavy equipment or moving too fast.

Efforts to remove trash began last weekend, but Gruendel noted there isn’t a set deadline for when crews will have completely removed the waste from the site.

“Impossible to estimate exactly how long it will take until we can get in there,” he said.

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