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Communication outage disrupts W.Va. DMV, other agencies

August 15, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Residents in need of vehicle registrations and license plates were turned away from the Martinsburg and Kearneysville offices of the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Thursday morning when a communication circuit problem surfaced, officials said.

"Hopefully, we won't have any issues with it (today)," DMV manager Eleanor Zoe Bender said.

Bender said the problem involving a main line used by state offices was being fixed by the agency's service provider, but could not immediately verify exactly what caused the system failure.

"We first knew (something was wrong) this morning when we came in," Bender said.

Bender said the outage also disrupted services in the Eastern Panhandle provided by the Department of Health and Human Resources, and she believed other state agencies that use the communications line also were affected in the Eastern Panhandle, but couldn't confirm that.

Frontier Communications spokesperson Karen Miller said tests were conducted on their portion of the line and they didn't find a problem.

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Miller said Verizon Communications "had opened up a trouble ticket and they're working it from their end."

Rich Talbott of Gerrardstown, W.Va., said he and at least 20 other area residents were turned away at the DMV offices in Martinsburg when it opened about 8:30 a.m.

Talbott then drove to the Kearneysville DMV office only to discover service was disrupted there, too.

"I gave up and went back in the hayfield," Talbott said.

Talbott said local DMV employees were apologetic about the circumstances, but said the state could have tried to alert people that services were unavailable through the media.

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