Seven homes now complete after two years of long-term flood recovery

Shauna Johnson/
Clendenin’s main street as it looked two days after the flood.

By: Brad McElhinny | Posted: July 13, 2018 | Source: WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Rise West Virginia program has completed seven homes during the two years after hundreds of West Virginians lost their homes in devastating floods.

That’s the bottom line in an update today by Adjutant Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard.

West Virginia’s long-term flood recovery program has been beset by delays and frustration. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which approved the state’s use of $149 million in disaster relief grants on Feb. 20, continues to label the state a slow spender.

HUD has labeled West Virginia a slow spender at the beginning of July, June, May and April.

On June 4, after simmering controversy over the…


With new school construction in Kanawha County, neighbors might have to move

By: Lauren Talotta | Posted: July 12, 2018 | Source: WVAH

Plans are moving forward for the construction of a new school for students who previously attended Clendenin Elementary School and Bridge Elementary School.

Plans are moving forward for the construction of a new school for students who previously attended Clendenin Elementary School and Bridge Elementary School. But neighbors near Wolverton Mountain Road are up in arms after they were informed that their property might be considered for development, forcing them to move.

Jack Swiney has lived on Fairwater Road since 1962. His family has owned the property even longer.

“This was my grandparents’ home built around 1890,” Swiney said.

Then came the flood of 2016.

“I had about 18 inches in my house; four-and-a-half feet in the garage,” Swiney said.

Thousands of dollars later, Swiney moved back into his renovated home where he and his family intended to spend the rest of their days – until they received a letter from Kanawha County Schools.

“This is absolutely the worst part of my job,” said Charles Wilson of Kanawha County Schools. “Eminent Domain is defined…


Private bridges dedicated in Clendenin

Photo Courtesy: West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Two bridges were dedicated Wednesday.

By: MetroNews Staff | Posted: July 11, 2018 at 9:19 p.m. | Source: WV MetroNews

CLENDENIN, W.Va. — Two private bridges in Clendenin were dedicated Wednesday as part of the efforts to recover from the 2016 floods.

The bridges were the latest projects of West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, in which the organization has completed 56 private access bridges since the June 2016 flood happened.

Ben Cisco, bridge project manager at West Virginia VOAD, said the projects and related reaction never gets old.

“It’s always a great feeling to be able to give a family that has a hard time just to get to their house,” he said. “It’s very rewarding, what we do.”

The bridges are paid with…


WV Legislature Issues Two Subpoenas in Failed Flood Aid

By: Mark Curtis | Posted: July 11, 2018 | Source: WOWKTV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The controversial “RISE West Virginia” flood relief program is back before the legislature. The joint house-senate committee on flooding convenes again at 9:00 Thursday morning. Members are trying to find out why millions of dollars in federal aid under the RISE program was never handed out to many victims of the 2016 floods. The Department of Commerce was managing “RISE” but a number of key employees have resigned. One has now been subpoenaed to testify before the committee Thursday.

“Of course, very much outraged. It’s just unconscionable that we’ve allowed some of our citizens to languish in agony when we have these dollars to spend and help is available,” said State Sen. Ed  Gaunch, Co-chair, (R) Joint Flooding Committee.

Because of the problems at RISE, other agencies and volunteer groups had to jump in to help.


Flood committee subpoenas senior official with RISE WV

By: Jake Zuckerman, Charleston Gazette-Mail | Posted: July 11, 2018 | Source: WV Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In a show of force, the Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding has issued its first subpoena as its probe into a stalled flood recovery program advances.

The committee announced in a news release that it would meet Thursday and has issued a subpoena to the Department of Commerce’s former director of community advancement and development, Mary Jo Thompson, a senior official with RISE West Virginia.

Emails show Thompson confirmed to a Senate analyst that she would appear for the committee’s June 26 meeting but failed to do so. Legislators indicated at the meeting that they were stood up, and Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, immediately began discussing subpoena power.

Read the entire article:

See more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail

Former P.O.W. Jessica Lynch Supports Clendenin’s Mayor and Flood Survivors

Photo Courtesy: John Himelrick/Getty Images

By: Jennifer Abney | Posted: July 6, 2018 at 10:47 a.m. | Source: WOWKTV

Jessica Lynch sits down with 13 News Anchor Jennifer Abney to share how her West Virginia roots and lifelong friendships here in the Mountain State helped her to not only survive but thrive on her long road to recovery.

Families move into RISE mobile homes

By: Ashley Bishop | Posted: June 28, 2018 | Source: WVAH

Elkview moves into new RISE home. (WCHS/WVAH)

Home sweet home. That is what an Elkview man who is also a RISE recipient is saying after getting the keys to his new mobile home.

“You know the old saying miracles do happen, well they do happen,” Steve Strickland said.

Strickland and his disabled wife are finally moving into their new mobile home. Last month, we introduced you to the couple while they were living in a 27-foot camper and their new mobile home from the RISE program sat on the lot locked and not hooked up to utilities.

“Last Thursday we got the keys to the trailer, and we moved in,” Strickland said.

It’s something families have been waiting on…


Clendenin Celebrates Two-Year Flood Recovery

By: Haley Kosik | Posted: June 24, 2018 at 11:57 a.m. | Source: WOWKTV

CLENDENIN, WV (WOW) – Most can recall the horrors of the “Thousand Year Flood” that took place in June 2016. Yesterday officially marked the two-year anniversary, and one West Virginian small town looking on the bright side.

Flood waters nearly drowned the little town completely. Homes were lifted off their foundations, drifting away. Everybody’s personal belongings and memories buried under muck and mud.

Two years later, the town hosts their first-ever Clendenin Homecoming Festival, a community-based event that celebrates their perseverance and accomplishments through a tough time.

Flood survivor, Janet Rollyson explained…


Elkview Crossings Mall: Two Years Later

By: Lily Bradley | Posted: June 23, 2018 at 11:23 p.m. | Source: WOWKTV

KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A busy shopping center forced to rebuild, after the 2016 flood completely wiped away the only road to get there.

Now two years later, the bridge has been rebuilt. Just like the community and the local businesses that call the Elkview Crossing Mall home.

The Elk Valley Branch of the Kanawha County Public Library System was forced to close it’s doors after the flood.

Library employee Sara Caswell told 13 News that…


‘Clendenin Strong’: community reflects on two-year anniversary of flood

By: Lauren Talotta | Posted: June 23, 2018 | Source: WCHSTV

The town of Clendenin is bouncing back two years after the 2016 floods.

Saturday marks two years since the devastating June 2016 floods. For many families, the evening of June 23 felt like a nightmare.

For the people of Clendenin, the images will forever remain in their minds.

“It was a very tragic day for our family, as well as for everyone,” said Holli Hess.

Across the state, 26 lives were lost just two years ago and several more in the aftermath.

“My mother-in-law passed away. She had an injury on her ankle and became septic,” said Hess.

But with every tragedy comes hope. The town of Clendenin, which was…