Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

November 7, 2012

21K W.Va. homes, businesses still without power

(Continued)

Officials are still delivering some 2,000 meals a day, Hamilton said, or serving them at Red Cross feeding stations in eight communities, including Terra Alta, Aurora, Rowlesburg and Fellowsville.

In Barbour County, Commission President Phil Hart said only about 20 percent of residents are still without power. Most water service had been restored, but authorities were delivering supplies and handing out bottles at staging areas for those who rely on wells.

The shelters have no overnight occupants anymore, but Hart said they're still serving a few hundred hot meals a day — fewer as the power comes back.

Last week, Hart said, National Guard crews in Black Hawk helicopters were flying over cut-off parts of the county to check on people still stranded by deep snow, and downed trees and power lines. In places where they saw no vehicles, the teams hovered until someone came outside.

When they failed to rouse the couple at one isolated home, Hart said, the soldier rappelled down. He found the pair well supplied with food and water, and in no danger.

"But they did have one request," Hart said. "They wanted him to take their absentee ballots to the post office for them so they could vote." The guardsman did.

"You hear a lot of sad stories," Hart said, "but it's nice to hear a good one, too."

Hart said his main concern now is the economic impact on small businesses and the county's volunteer first responders.

"People aren't going to have the money to support them to help them get back on their feet," he said.

Some businesses had insurance to cover part of their losses, but not all.

"And their employees, if they're not working they have no money coming in," Hart said. "Everybody's in the same situation."

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