Five counties to receive $1M in recovery funding

By: Woody Holdren | Posted: July 11, 2018 | Source: Beckley Register-Herald

Five counties in West Virginia will receive $1 million for residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services from the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund.

In a release, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) said Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas and Roane counties will receive funding.

The Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund mandates that DHHR identify need and allocate additional treatment beds in the state. These beds are intended to provide SUD treatment services in existing or newly constructed facilities.

“DHHR’s mission is to join with communities and families in providing opportunities for citizens to achieve health and independence,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch. “An expansion in SUD treatment services will result in a decrease of overdose deaths as well as a decrease in economic costs to the state.”


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.

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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…


Flood recovery funding still on Kanawha Commission’s agenda

Flood debris is piled outside a damaged house in Clendenin on July 1, 2016. Chris Dorst | Gazette-Mail file photo

By: Rick Steelhammer, Staff Writer | Posted: June 21, 2018 | Source: WV Gazette-Mail

In the weeks and months following the catastrophic flooding that swept across much of West Virginia in June 2016, “I never thought we would still be doing recovery work two years later,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said on Wednesday.

“But here we are, in our last meeting before the two-year anniversary of the flood, still dealing with it,” Carper said, before he and other commissioners voted to provide $15,000 for building supplies for use by volunteers in repairing 75 flood-damaged Kanawha County homes this summer.

“These are the kinds of organizations that get things done,” Carper said. “They were here last year and did good work.”

During a nine-week period this summer, 900 Group Workcamps Foundation volunteers have made commitments to work on flood repairs in the Clendenin and Elkview areas, with followup work to continue for five additional summers, Clendenin Mayor Shana Clendenin told commissioners.

“A lot of people still need things like…


Flood relief efforts to continue despite Kanawha recovery committee’s plans to close

By: Kalea Gunderson | Posted: June 21, 2018 | Source: WCHSTV

Rainy nights like Thursday are still difficult for victims of the 2016 historic flooding that swept across the state killing 23 people and destroying hundreds of homes across several counties. (WCHS/WVAH)

Rainy nights like Thursday are still difficult for victims of the 2016 historic flooding that swept across the state killing 23 people and destroying hundreds of homes across several counties.

Saturday will mark the two-year anniversary, and still, many people are in desperate need of help.

Even though the list of needs is still long, the Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee is running out of money and will soon close, and with many families still waiting on the help they were promised by RISE West Virginia, the recovery committee doesn’t intend for its recovery efforts to stop when the funding does.

The funding is running out and…


Kanawha flood recovery committee phasing out operations

Susan Jack, director of the Greater Kanawha Long-term Recovery Committee, talks with volunteers on a job in Clendenin last year. The committee is phasing out when it runs out of money within a few weeks and Jack will work for a Christian mission organization. Kenny Kemp | Gazette-Mail file photo

By: Lori Kersey, Staff Writer | Posted: June 19, 2018 | Source: WV Gazette-Mail

A committee set up to help Kanawha County recovery in the wake of the June 2016 flood is running out of money and phasing out.

John Ballengee, interim chairman of the Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee, estimates the panel has enough money to handle 10 to 15 more needs in the next 60 or so days, depending on the cases that are presented.

“While we continue to fund unmet needs with the funds we still have available, we’re probably not going to continue that when our funds dry up,” Ballengee said.

Ballengee said that when the committee was very active, about a year to 18 months after the flood, it had volunteers from as many as 40 agencies. It employed a director and some case managers, he said.

The committee’s director, Susan Jack, still intends to continue flood recovery work, though. Jack will work as a consultant for Praying Pelican Missions, a domestic and international Christian missions organization. The group is setting up a space in the former Clendenin Church of God building, Jack said.

Lonnie Maley, the Appalachian region operations coordinator for Praying Pelican, said…


Mayor Clendenin sheds light on letter to Governor Jim Justice

CLENDENIN, W.Va. – Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Town of Clendenin’s mayor, Shana Clendenin to go deeper into the letter she hand delivered to Governor Jim Justice on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. In addition, she copied and hand delivered the letter to the following state officials to inform them of the difficulties the Town of Clendenin had experienced when reaching out asking for assistance from the State of West Virginia.

Below is the two page letter by Mayor Shana Clendenin which provides a detailed account and timeline of her attempt to request help from employees with the West Virginia State Office of Emergency Management including Director Jimmy Gianato, House Speaker Tim Armstead, and members of the Justice Administration over the past year.

I invite you to listen to my interview with Mayor Shana Clendenin where she provides a detailed firsthand background of the challenges she and her administration has been faced with since taking office in July of 2017 as a result of the 2016 Flood. Also, the mayor gives us an update on the 1st Annual Clendenin Homecoming Festival that kicks off on Friday.

Extension Approved for Clay Rails Project

By: Alyssa Meisner | Posted: June 19, 2018 at 5:55 p.m. | Source: WOWKTV


Since 13 News first told you about the issues with the Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad Trail, the State Emergency Management Office has reached out to the Clay County Business Development Authority.

Mitch DeBoard told 13 News the office said the extension for the project has been sent to FEMA and approved. However, the change order was never sent to FEMA and cannot be located in the Emergency Management office.

DeBoard said he hopes the project can start moving forward.


It’s been almost two years since deadly 2016 floods destroyed the Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad trail. But the Clay County Business Development Authority is still struggling to get funding sorted out to repair the area.

The rail line once hauled coal, but now carries kids and tourists to see Clay County. Only 6 of the 18-mile stretch is open because of the serious damage after the 2016 floods.

“The #5 bridge completely destroyed…


After RISE administrative changes, WV flood survivors await help

George Lesson, Jr., of Elkview, stands by the door of his trailer, which was severely damaged by the June 2016 flood. After he denied a new trailer from RISE, he’s been working to repair the old one. Gazette photo.

By: Lori Kersey, Staff Writer | Posted: June 16, 2018 | Source: WV Gazette-Mail

LESLIE — When John Harris and his family moved into their church’s parsonage, it was supposed to be a temporary solution.

The 40-year-old’s home in Leslie, Greenbrier County, was damaged beyond repair during the June 2016 flood. His church took them in last October, and they signed a three-month lease. They expected to be in a new home built by the state’s RISE program soon after.

RISE first told him he’d have a new house by Thanksgiving, Harris said — then by Christmas, then by February. Four months later, in early June, they were still waiting.

“I feel like I’m abusing the usage of my church,” he said at the time. “I really do. And I really feel like that RISE just doesn’t care.”

Last week, though, Harris got some good news. Soon after Gov. Jim Justice…