Legislative Update – by – Delegate Brent Boggs - House Majority Leader - 07.09.12
As I pull together this week’s column, Jean and I are in route to meet Jessica and the boys at the halfway point, as Collin and Gavin will be spending the coming week with us and attending Vacation Bible School. We always enjoy their summer visits and it’s especially fun when they can fish, go to the farm, play in the woods with Chuck, spend time with extended family and just do the outdoor kid things they can’t easily do in South Carolina. For kids born and raised elsewhere, they are truly part of these hills we call home. And, when they call us and talk about “coming home to West Virginia” and sing “Country Roads” on our way north on I-77, it’s very, very special, indeed.
On the emergency front, things are continuing to improve since last week, with food, ice and fuel now readily available. However far too many of our neighbors and friends in Braxton, Gilmer and across West Virginia are still without power as we enter the second work week. Additional storms caused some loss of ground gained by utility workers but things appear on track for full restoration of electricity and phones in the next couple days.
With the triple digit temperatures and remaining electrical outages, it was a challenging but successful time for the annual Cedarville Homecoming and Gassaway Days. Despite the sweltering conditions, the festivals were extremely successful and a welcome opportunity to reconnect with family and friends.
As additional services are restored each day, unfortunately the hardship and time without electricity continues to mount for many citizens. In order to assist with the massive local, state and federal relief efforts, our citizens are looking in on and assisting neighbors with food, fuel, transportation or whatever their needs may be. Folks are sharing generators and freezer space in order to safely preserve as much food as possible.
The Mon Power workers and construction workers from across America are laboring around the clock to reach one hundred percent restoration of power.. If you still lack electric service at this writing, please call Mon Power at 1.888.LIGHTSS. As the power grid is restored, Mon Power needs to hear from customers that are still experiencing problems. With outages this extreme in numbers and damage, coupled with many workers coming in from out-of-state that do not have the personal knowledge of where many households are located, it is certainly possible that some pockets of customers could be overlooked. Make sure you call to document your situation with Mon Power.
Another dilemma, potentially more deadly than the storm event is the potential for serious illnesses associated with spoiled food that lacked adequate refrigeration of freezing. I know how difficult it is to throw out food because as it’s contrary to our upbringing and our fundamental respect for not wanting to waste anything. Additionally, food is an expensive commodity and the loss of a refrigerator or freezer full of perishable items can run into the hundreds of dollars. However, it is absolutely not worth taking any chances on something that can cause serious illness or death. I urge each of you to take every precaution and heed the advice and guidelines of local health officials. Dispose of any spoiled or questionable food in the manner provided for by local OES and health department personnel.
In the days and weeks ahead, when we have the opportunity to review the events of June 29 and evaluate the response and coordination of federal, state and local assets, much valuable information will be gained for future events of this magnitude. However, the generosity and genuine caring spirit exhibited by so many of our citizens – freely giving of their time, talents and assets to look out for the needs of others – will be one of the positive highlights of the emergency event response. Community response has been extraordinary.
This cooperation, community spirit, and selfless giving from the heart are traits inherent to West Virginians and especially here in central West Virginia. Accordingly, I can think of no problem, need or concern we experience that cannot be met if we apply this type of community-minded action for the betterment of our communities, counties and state.
How to Contact
Please send address your inquiries to the Capitol Office at: Building 1, Room 226-M, Charleston, WV 25305. Or, call the Capitol office at 304.340.3220 or my Assistant to the Majority Leader, Mr. Tom Bennett at 304.340.3262 or fax to 304.340.3213. If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.
For those with Internet access, my e-mail address is “Boggs34@aol.com”. You also may obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and other information from the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/. If you write or leave a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and state government phone directory may be found at www.wv.gov and on the Facebook site of the West Virginia Legislature.
Remember to thank a veteran for their service to our nation and continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Until next week – take care.