AUGUST 8, 2003

         BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner

         In the middle 50’ the battleship U.S.S. Missouri was returning to Norfolk after a long sea voyage. According to reports the captain, a four striper named Brown, had been on the bridge for many hours, hence he was resting in his quarters when the giant ship, apparently skippered by the executive officer, pulled into port. An unexpected navigational foul up stranded the Missouri on a sandbank. After many hours, multiple tugboats managed to release her for docking. For this mishap Captain Brown, who had been high on the list for promotion to admiral, found himself and his military career in limbo. The captain of a naval vessel assumes full responsibility for whatever happens to his ship no matter what the cause. There is confusion about where the “uck stops.” This is military-think in its purist essence.
                 In the realm of politics, considering recent events, we are led in the inevitable direction of the following analogy, however obvious, the infamous sixteen words in Bush’ State of the Union speech. This is an administration that refuses to let itself be deterred by something as insignificant as mere facts. Evidence me damned! Americans are a trusting lot. They will believe what we tell them to believe. A man as cynical and pragmatic as Bush’ “oy genius,”Karl Rove probably dismisses [behind closed doors] the public as ignorant as well as lazy. The ominous document specifying that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger was so obvious a forgery that an Italian newspaperman who first saw it would not even allow it to go into print. Moreover, it was signed by an official who had been out of office for a decade. These minor details did not hold back Condolezza Rice, who passes as the administration intellectual, from making public statements about “ushroom clouds.” This, and other questionable assertions caused a tempest in the media, which continues, at least, to be partially free:
                 Despite the seemingly endless civil [the word not used in the “olite”sense] war between the F.B.I., C.I.A., and the National Security Agency, some of G.W.’ loyalists leaped into the task of damage control. George Tenet, like the noble Roman he is, fell on his sword. He offered his resignation, which Bush, famous for his loyalty, refused. Tenet, by the way, got his job from Bush 1. In the grand old political tradition of “ou scratch my back I’l scratch yours,”Tenet managed to have the C.I.A. building named after George W’ daddy, a princely gift, considering that grandfather Bush had spent only one year as director of the C.I.A. Loyalty as we all know, is a beautiful quality. We may wonder, however, where lies W’ loyalty to Tony Blair whose stalwart backing of the U.S. administration has left him twisting in the British wind, his political future in jeopardy? A little publicized fact is that there are two British citizens imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. The British government has requested that they be released for judgment in the U.K., but have been denied.
                 In what has become in increasingly familiar maxim philosopher George Santayana [1863-1952] wrote: “hose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This truism it seems can be applied to almost any era. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan their control of the region devolved into a fortified occupation of Kabul, and little else. After years of slowly being bled by various warlords the Russians folded their tents and went home, leaving behind billions of dollars worth of munitions. It is not too much of a stretch to suggest that the situation is much the same with our forces. More than one historian has maintained that the unhappy adventures of the French in what was then Indochina brought us nothing-thus Vietnam. In an earlier footnote to imperialistic ambitions the British army entered into what is now called Iraq in 1915. In three years 51,800 men were lost. With the Great War [WWI] underway on the continent the demand for oil was enormous, a strategic consideration. It is a curious and interesting fact that according to David Wood of the News House News Services and the U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. military officers are not required to learn about Britain’ disastrous 1915-16 campaign. The subject is also missing from the military-curricula at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Army’ Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and at the U.S. War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Retired British Air Vice Marshall Rod Dick, a military historian and author wrote: “he suffering of the troops was appalling”and that the British army “losed ranks”against any investigation of the campaign. Major General Charles Townshend, commander of the invading force ended his days in England, a peaceful and comfortable retirement. Just last year the British government shipped 500 new head stones to Baghdad to replace those broken and corroded by weather. DEJA VU?
                 British author George Orwell, the pseudonym of Eric Blair [1903-1950] in Animal Farm, a satire of totalitarianism, presents a scene which, after the animals take over the farm a slogan appears on one of the buildings: “wo legs bad; four legs good.” Judging by the right wing avalanche in today’ media, the translation here is not surprising in its application. Two legs [liberal] bad, four legs [conservative] good, the black and white world of George W. Bush and the neocons. Later in Orwell’ story the animals come out one morning to see a new message: “ll animals are equal to all other animals.” So far so good: but, on another day the newly emancipated beasts notice a not-too-subtle addition to the Jeffersonian sentiment. “ll animals are equal to all other animals, but some animals are more equal than others.” Considering the flaws in our justice system and the pervasive myth [lie?] that we live in a classless society, one can only resort to the noble, classic and poetic depth of the Cowardly Lion’ remark: “in’ it the truth?”
         Wisdom of the sages politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman. -Margaret Thatcher-
         …History will absolve me. -Fidel Castro-
         …We keep saying old people are square. Then when they suddenly aren’ – we don’ like it! - Peter Shaffer-
         …It is a sobering thought when Mozart was my age he had been dead for two years. -Tom Lehrer-
         …I refuse to accept the cynical notions that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear destruction. - Martin Luther King, Jr.-
         “’ world-famous,”Dr. Parks said, “ll over Canada” - Mordecai Richler-
         Suicide…is about life, being in fact the sincerest form of criticism life gets. -Wilfrid Sheed-
         It’ not that I’ afraid to die. I just don’ want to be there when it happens. -Woody Allen-
         Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger -Abbie Hoffman-
         None of us really understands what’ going on with all these numbers -David Stockman- [economist]
         There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance. -Socrates-
         Felix qui nihil debet [Happy is he who owes nothing]                                                                                         Cur
                 Holy Moses! Is anyone ever going to address the recent flooding from some logical, realistic point? We have listened to the media moan, groan and act astonished over the fact that when it rains the water runs off into creeks and rivers. We have sadly had to listen to tales of people being washed away or losing everything to the floods. Brace yourself because I've got some hard things to say.
                 One, this state, every county and every municipality is required to have a flood-control plan and a person designated to enforce that plan. The principal portions of these plans reflect two things. The first is to assure that nobody builds in the known floodplain - the area that will flood if it rains. The second part is to assure that nobody does anything that will cause more water to be sent downstream that what has historically been sent. Where are these enforcers? I haven't heard a word about them or the plans that they are supposed to be enforcing.
                 Has or did anyone ever go upstream to see if there was any new clear-cutting or stripping of the topsoil and vegetation going on? If they did it was kept very quiet. In the case of people that have built their new homes in the flood prone areas, what can be said to these people? Getting flooded beside a creek is like being surprised that a car hits you while walking down the middle of the road.
                 If the amount of water that fell isn't a fifty or hundred year record but the amount of water in the streams is higher than what those levels of rain usually produces, what can the problem be? Duh? Could some major political contributors be not quite in compliance with the laws and regulations? Probably so. Is the flooding hurting them? Probably not. It's all running off and harming people downstream.
                 Some of this flooding wiped out little communities that have been there for at least a hundred years. For the water to hit them so hard there had to be something changed upstream. Why isn't our government looking into the causes of this flooding instead of trying to create a big old "donate to the needy" type situation? Maybe they can tap into more federal money for relief than they can for enforcement.
                 Why, it couldn't be our blessed employers fault. It couldn't be our contractor’ fault. It's not the fault of the people that built down beside that charming, tinkling little stream. It had to be an act of nature, that's what it was! I hate it that anybody was harmed or any lives lost but let's get real here. It wasn't just an act of God. The fault lays on the people that live in the floodplain, the people that change the runoff and the people that don't enforce the regulations.
         The Greenleaf Report By Eric Greenleaf
         Greenleaf’ big news for this edition of the paper is about the town council meeting that I attented on Tuesday, August 5, 2003. I went to this meeting by myself - it’ a weird feeling going into a place where you don’ know hardly anyone. And the thought that goes through your head is, “mmm… even though none of these people know me they’e going to give me a hard time when I tell them that I work for the Communicator”
         The agenda for the meeting only had a few things on it. First thing was, Telford’ Chevrolet wanting the town to put up a street light on the far corner of his parking lot near the alley, so that people would be less likely to steal the wheels off of his vehicles. Second on the list was something that I didn’ understand. Third, we had sewer operation hours. They got into a major discussion about this. See, the sewer plant only has two workers, one has his Class II operators and the other is an OIT (pretty sure that means Operator In Training), and there several days ago the Class II operator (Larry) went on vacation and left the OIT (Allan) there by himself to run the plant – ILLEGAL. The law states that a Class II operator is to be on premises at all times. But this was not the case on this occasion, Allan was there running the place by himself and when he needed help he would call Larry and that would be his supervision. Can you provide adequate supervision over the phone? I don’ think so. What if he was to have pressed the red button instead of the green one, or what if he was to fall into something, who would be there to help him? Certainly not the Class II supervisor, because for all he knows the OIT has already gone home! This discussion lasted about 20 to 25 minutes. But this wasn’ what the discussion at hand was supposed to be about – it was supposed to be about the way that the hours were being put on their time sheets.
         The last thing on the agenda was ‘pgrade on the Water Plant’ They decided to give the go ahead to research products for the plant. That was it on the agenda but several things were said in between discussions. Here are a few things said about the sewer plant: “he sewer is going down” “ne reason it’ going under is because of high bills” and, they mentioned several houses that are in direct violation of the Clean Water Act of 1984.
         Editor’ note: 17 year old CCHS student Eric Greenleaf is serving a summer internship with the Communicator through HRDF.
         I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving the country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I just can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country.   If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.   If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed In action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable. Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry.   And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt. Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.   We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well. You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?   However, our own U.S. Congress just voted themselves a raise, and many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month, and most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They also do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system. If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, you may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed you in harm's way receive a pension of $15,000 per month. I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.   This must be a campaign issue in 2004. Keep it going. SOCIAL SECURITY: Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years. Our Senators and Congressmen do not pay into Social Security. Many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan. In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it. For all practical purposes their plan works like this. When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die, except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments. For example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000 -- that's Seven Million, Eight Hundred Thousand), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives. This is calculated on an average life span for each.   Their cost for this excellent plan is $00.00. These little perks they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Fund--our tax dollars at work! From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into -- every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer) --we can expect to get an average $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one month to equal Senator Bill Bradley's benefits!   Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. And that change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us and then watch how fast they would fix it.
         ED Note: The above editorial has been circulating around the web the past few days and is presented to our readers.
         Patriotism Isn’… By Jim Chafin
         (Continued from last addition of the Communicator)
         “BUSINESS CROOKS – No end to scandal, trumpet the headlines. “his culture of deceit, that lying is permissible to boost profits and executive salaries, costs America dearly and casts suspicion on all honest firms that play fair,”says the Charleston Gazette. Names of prominent people and corporations we know and support with our consumer dollars look like a book on ‘ho’ Who’ They parade across our news channels in an endless stream of indicted and sentenced felons, and to those who are counting costs, each case represents another “ailure”of the system to operate within the rules of civilized society. And with each new revelation, pilfered money, goods and services, represents another notch upward on the index of consumer prices. It costs jobs that support people and fuel the economy. It costs taxpayers billions to investigate and prosecute, or to bail out distressed companies and to support displaced workers. It costs the country confidence in its institutions, which also wounds the economy. All because greedy corporate heads didn’ learn a lesson they should have learned in nursery school – DON’ LIE.
                 But we must hasten to add: this sort of thing goes deeper and farther, it is a blow to the heart of this economic system known as the United States of America. Patriotism, it definitely is not!!!
         You had a good reason for doing what you did. You thought. A CEO got wind of some troubles looming on the horizon that would knock the props from under those rosy annual profit reports that most certainly cause company stock prices to drop like a rock – so he sold his stock options and walked away with a cool fortune. He did want he thought was necessary, even though the company and its employees took a bath in the market. Business people are under tremendous pressure to produce a rising profit margin, and anywhere there is competition there is someone who tries to play the odds one step further than his chief competitor, take shortcuts, cut back on product quality. Says Bob Ivry of the Record, “heating is everywhere…in business, politics, sports, academics. No pillar of American society stands immune.”Alan Rosethal, a Rutgers public policy professor, says, “ometimes you feel like a schnook if you don’.” ImClone founder Sam Waksal admitted he cheated and lied and was slammed with seven-year prison sentence. Well-known Martha Stewart stands indicated for related offenses of selling stock on the basis of “nsider information.”        They all have good excuses, or so they think. Sammy Sosa, the home-run king, says it was an accident. The three kids who got bounced from New Jersey’ Dwight-Englewood High School in January for cheating on the SAT thought they had a good reason also. When asked if they had ever cheated on exams, 4,500 high school students told Don McCabe of Rutgers that 75 percent of them did. When asked if any had cheated on their homework, now hear this: Ninety seven percent admitted that they had.
         You think this is a new affliction brought about by new age circumstantial thinking? Definitely, not so!! Genesis 27 records the misdeeds of Jacob who, in conspiracy with, guess who, his mother, robbed Esau of his father’ blessing. Jacob got a big ‘eg up’out of that incident. And Esau lost his heritage. This very nearly caused a war between the two brothers and did leave lasting animosities, which linger to this day. “hat more corporate culture demands results in quarterly earnings, the more likely people will take shortcuts,”says Phyllis Davis, author of E2: Using the Power of Ethics and Etiquette in American Business. “heating can pay,”so says Wayne Eastman, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney.
                 There’ the former Enron chief financial officer, who used ‘ variety of clandestine transactions’to mislead investors. There’ Dennis Koslowski of Tyco who is charged with looting his company out of $600 million, and the State of New York $1 million in sales tax. And the little fish - they’e eating each other. Cheating, supported by pervasive lying is a cancer in the soul of commercialism, and we, the consumer, pay a heavy price for our placid acceptance of the practice. “very athlete looks for an edge,”says Charles Maher, Cleveland Indian team psychologist… “hey want a competitive advantage.” Maher estimates that 15 percent of major leaguers are cheaters, up from 10 percent five years ago.
                 As the fine line between exaggeration and lie grows fainter, trying to distinguish fact from fiction is growing increasingly difficult. First, “e will get Osama bin Laden…we shall not tire or grow weary,”says Bush. Then, not finding Osama, the administrations attention turned to ‘he evil’Saddam Hussein and his purported weapons of mass destruction. Now, with Americans in charge in Iraq, and chaos mounting, the media – you know, the one who played the part of cheerleader for Bush’ emasculination of the Iraqi dictator - that media is now clamoring for ‘’to deliver on his knowledge (you know, that information which he possessed which we, the public, did not have) and the certainty of the WMD’ for which the taxpayers have become responsible for $400 billion in new debt, as of this date. No more surplus, the Social Security lock-box’ lid blown off its hinges, and the Medicare Trust Fund depleted of its reserves also.
         Lies have become standard operating procedure for a government system whose so-called ‘eaders’proclaim to the high heavens their religiosity, their piety, and their certainty of God’ sanctification of their deadly schemes. But in my thoughts I hear scripture saying: You trust in lying words… you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely… and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, “e have authority (license) to do all these abominations…”(Jer.7).
         “hen he said unto me…. Is it a light thing that they commit all these abominations… for they have filled the land with violence… therefore will I also deal in fury… and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”(Ezekiel 8). Immorality cannot be patriotism!!
                 Friday night, Aug 1 2003 Procious Water Plant operator Bobby Burdette came to work as usual.. got the plant up and running, checked the chemicals, do the paperwork and such. The humdrum of employment except this night would be different.
                 According to Clay Roane PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait (they own and operate the Procious Water Plant) around 3 am, operator Bobby Burdette left the plant running and in operation and skedaddled for around 5 hours. That’ five hours of treating drinking water and five hours without anyone checking to see if the water was fit to drink! Postelwait got a tip of the happenings and went over to investigate. Yelp, no Bobby. Postelwait called in Chief Water Operator Jennifer Traub followed by fellow Boardster Gary Whaling.
                 When Burdette finally returned after sunrise, around 7:30am, needless to say Postelwait was ready to go postal as they say in the big towns. Burdette explained that he hadn’ been gone long and had left to check tanks and get some breakfast at home. Having been on site for 5 hours, Postelwait had caught Burdette in a big fat fib.
                 Did we mention that seriousness of no operator on site? Big time issue as far as the WV Public Service Commission and the WV Dept of Health are concerned. Rules are very specific and clear, if the operator leaves the plant, the plant MUST be shut down. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Pesky little issues of water safety might be behind the rule.
                 An emergency Clay Roane PSD meeting was called for Saturday Aug 2nd. All Boardsters were present. After secret time where Traub first went in followed by Burdette, long time water operator Bobby Burdette was suspended without pay for three days and 5 more hours of suspension for claiming work while goofing off somewhere other than the plant. Burdette had been caught. Burdette was also warned, one more slip up and you’e out the door!
                 Three months ago, Burdette was made Chief Water Operator and put on day shift. That didn’ last long. After a written reprimand for insubordination to a Boardster, Burdette was removed from the higher paying slot but kept on day shift. Sometime somehow in the last few weeks, Burdett managed to finagle the night shift back.
          Maybe now we know why Burdette wanted the night work so strongly!                                AW
          Little has been spoken on the subject of tourism as a source of economic development in this county. Occasionally someone brings it up only to be over spoken by people still after a Toyota plant for the area.
                 Over the years, individuals have voiced pipe dreams of the old BC & G railroad line being converted into a tourist train like Cass or the newer Greenbrier River RR. Others have idly chatted on biking and or hiking trails crisscrossing the county, trails that would lure rich Northerners into our locale where we could fleece them of their reserves and then merrily send them on their way a several dollars lighter.
                 Unknown to many in the county, consultant John L Lewis Jr was hired by the CAEZ in June to take a gander at the Elk River and speculate on the possibilities and hindrances to turning it into a more commercial money making scheme. Maybe something along the development lines of the New River where thousands travel the rapid waters at $150 a pop and dine in top dollar eateries with mellow tunes playing in the background as the overhead fans whirl.
                 During the most recent CAEZ meeting, first public mention was made of the report. This week, the same report was circulated at the Clay County Business Development Authority meeting. During both encounters, few details were given and even less discussion was carried on.
                 The following is the $250.00 Lewis feasibility study of the Elk River dated July 10, 2003.
                 CAEZ of WV contacted John L Lewis Jr., guide and owner of Last Chance Outfitters, to conduct a feasibility study on the Elk River from Frametown, WV to Clay WV. This area covers a span of approximately 25 miles of river. The study was to address the following issues: accessibility to the river, type and population of fish, the availability of camp sites and the possibility of conducting fishing trips on the Elk River.
                 On Wednesday June 25 2003, John Lewis and Jackie Bowens (guide) fished the above mentioned 25 mile span of river and the following conclusions were made:
         1 ACCESSIBILITY; The number one problem.
                 The trip started at Duck and while there was public access, a trailer could not be backed completely to the river’ edge. We moved on down the river to Ivydale. As advised by a local person, we checked Chilton Park which was located a few miles South. The area had no access. However, a little farther down river we located Public Access # 4. This as a narrow road leading to the river which had a small spring flowing across the bottom of the road. A quarter mile below PA #4 was located another road that had no markings but was called Public Access #5. PS #5 was the better of the two roads but had a slick and muddy access road leading to the river.
          Lewis was referring to one of the first ( and for that matter about the only completed project)         BDA project worked on 6 summers ago. BDA members contacted land owners and erected signs notifying the public of public access points. 6 such points were established in addition to assisting the DNR locating the two new concrete public access points at King and Queen Shoals.
         The report continued. We moved on down river to Clay, WV. An access road was located across from Go Mart beside the bridge. However, this road contained a big ditch about a foot wide and a foot deep. This ditch was located on the last 50 feet of this access road from the river.
                 After searching unsuccessfully for a boat ramp from Duck to Clay, we traveled back to Frametown, WV. We were able to locate a boat ramp under the bridge. However, this ramp had a padding of thick mud and would create a problem launching boats large enough to guide fishing trips. In conclusion, all the ramps located could be upgraded with several tons of gravel and a little time. From the water’ edge to 10 feet up the ramp, rough concrete could be poured to prevent future washouts and allow vehicle traction.
         2 TYPE OF FISH POPULATION: While we were unable to fish the 25 mile span from Duck to Clay, we spent a couple of hours walking the banks observing the river. The three areas of consideration: the holding of fish; cover; and, current.
                 From Ivydale to Clay, we saw the above mentioned concerns and became frustrated when we were unable to get the boat into the river to fish. Finally, we were able to get the boat in the water above Frametown. However, some of the current was lost. We fished for 8 hours. We saw a few school of baitfish. We used Bandit 100 Series crank bait in black and pearl, Rapala in a Shiner, Spinner baits with chartreuse/white and black skirts. We also used black and silver tubes an white grubs to imitate the natural forage. We caught approximately 30 fish: small mouth, rock bass and trout. This number constitutes about half of what we would normally catch in the same span of time in an older river. Considering the size of the Elk River, this was a fair day of fishing.
         3 AVAILABILITY of CAMP SITES: the best camp site was located on the left upon entering Ivydale going South on Rt 4. This is an baseball field. This area is located about 6 miles down river from Duck. Traveling South on Rt 4 from Ivydale to Clay 2 fields were located about 6 miles down the river from Duck. Traveling South on Rt 4 from Ivydale to Clay, 2 fields were located that appeared to be level enough and close enough to the river to be considered as possible camp sites. Should these site be deemed acceptable, they will need the following: small shower houses, toilets and electric hook ups. However, primitive camping has been used in other places.
         4 POSSIBLITY of CONDUCTING FISHIN TRIPS: If the following recommendations were followed, the possibility of conducting fishing trips would be greatly improved. A ramps need to be repaired to allow boat trailers to back into the water; B establish a slot limit of catch an release as accessibility improves, fishing pressure will increase; C Use of proper type of boat: 14 foot cataraft which allows for straddling rocks in shallow places or even dragging across some places.
                 In conclusion, the Elk River has some potential for offering guided float trips. A lot of work needs to be done. Floats need to be timed between ramps, the river needs to be surveyed for the number of shallow shoals you will have to float or drag over and the number and quality of fish will have to be checked on the lower section around Chilton Park and Clay
                 Drawing from 10 years of experience fishing on the New River(4 of which I have served as professional guide) and traveling West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, I have learned what to look for to promote quality access and fishing for the public. My experience has qualified me to evaluate the Elk River.
There it is in its entirety readers, $250 worth of work. In addition to the report, CAEZ tourism development Director Connie Lupardus commented during the recent BDA meeting: She was exploring other tourism opportunities like horse bike riding, hiking and bicycling paths, and even exploring the often talked about excursion train notions. Lupardus also spoke on: the need to attract out of state visitors as a source of revenue; how local businesses could spring up as a result of increased tourism, and on the need to use our existing natural attractions ( Mountains and river) as a draw.
                 We’e got a group of people in the Lizemores area of the county that have worked with dogged determination to get municipal water service. They met again Aug 5th at Lizemore Methodist Church to see where they stood. With around 20 in attendance including County Commissioners Jimmy Sams and Peter Triplett, explanations came. John Humphries served as moderator.
                 For the last 8 years, the plan has been for Clay County PSD to build the new water lines down the main road and hook up those living right along the main drag. Federal loan regs require that 80% of the areas’residents sign up for service before any project can go be advertised for construction. For this project , known as Phase 1, 240 new customers have to be found. As of meeting time and according to Clay County PSD Office Manager Cindy Schoolcraft, 7 more newbees have to found. The search for the 240 customers has been ongoing for over 7 months.
                 Schoolcraft explained to the We Want Water folks, they are having trouble getting signatures for a multitude of reasons. Stuff like: locals have been promised and lied to so much over the years, they don’ want to sign up now and; residents in the Fola Rd area are mad at the coal company for destroying their water supply ( wells) and want the coal company to pay for the water service. Mention was also made that many people paid water connection fees years ago and are now refusing to sign the forms.
                 For the most part the crowd was quiet. They had heard all the muckity muck over and over. Cathy Schuler,”how long do we have to wait!!!!!!!!!!”After more explanations, Schuler,”Is there any other way?”Schoolcraft”I can’ make them sign up..”Questions came on the cost of water. Schoolcraft came back with $30.12 as the minimum bill and $34.02 as the charge for using 3000 gallons. No mention was made of the cost for the WV average usage of 4500 gallons per month.
                 Senior Charles Knotts asked about seeking water from Gauley Bridge instead of from Clay County PSD which buys from the Town of Clay or from WV Water.
                 Remember last edition of this paper when WV Water made a presentation to the County Commission, that they would be willing to provide water service to all or part of the county? Remember when this ace cub reporter commented that the CCC appeared to be finally opening their eyes and maybe just maybe, it was a new day for Clayberry? Forget that notion and line your bird cage with that last edition.
                 Replying to Mr. Knots question, Commission President Sams came back with, “No way…. This is the only way, coming from Clay…”Sams with Commissioner Triplett at his side and quiet, explained that he felt WV Water would be at least 5 years away from providing water to this county. Others in the crowd remembered a few months back when Gauley Bridge PSD came to Clay asking to buy surplus water supplies. Sams advised Knotts to go ahead and sign up for water now! In reply to Sams urging to quickly sign up for service, Knotts, “Well we’e waited 8 years on this!” Knotts did not sign up
                 Another fellow offered to sign a second user agreement for service if that would help garner the needed 7 additional signatures. Somewhere in there, Cathy Schuler apprised the group of more cancer cases in that area of the county. Schuler expressed an opinion that the cancer was related to drinking pond scum water and worse.
                 NOTE: 10 years ago, Gauley Bridge PSD Chair Red Derring came to the Lizemores areas and almost instantly had 500 signatures for water service. Clay PSD only needs a total of 240 to go to bid. Back when Derring was doing the footwork, our County Commission told him to take a hike and Clay would provide for Clayonians. Derring did as he was told and gave the 500 back their deposits.
                 The fight continues readers for clean safe drinking water in the richest country on Earth. For Lizemore and beyond, the forgotten section of Clay County, the norm is to haul drinking water in the back of pick ups, the norm is to use a Laundromat because the local ground water supply is laden with iron and sediment, and the norm is to talk with the neighbors about all the lies passed, over the years, of the day when affordable, potable water is available.
                 With just 7 more signatures needed, the dream of safe water may be here soon. An old school teacher once wrote in my year book, Be careful which dreams you clutch because dreams oft come true.                AW
          Under Section 215 of the Federal U.S. Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56), (1) records of the books and materials you borrow from a public library may be obtained by federal agents and (2) that federal law prohibits librarians from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you.
             Anybody with your publicly listed phone number can obtain a free, detailed map directly to your front door using MapQuest (owned by Google).  To test whether your phone number is mapped, or to block Google from divulging this information, go to, type your phone number in the search bar (with or without dashes) and hit enter.  Click on the phone icon next to your phone number.  You will see a link where you can REMOVE your number and make it just a little bit more challenging for every psycho on the internet to know exactly how to get to your house!
                 As a campaign tactic, Commissioner Jimmy Sams nailed a big plastic Ten Commandment plaque on the Commission room wall during his last bid for office. Right after doing so, regional TV and news crews came and once again, Clayberry made lead status in the news cycle. At that time, Commissioner Sams said he didn’ care if it was illegal or not, he was keeping the plaque on the wall. He went on to say there wasn’ anything religious in the Ten Commandments. Of course the issue in the media was Separation of Church and State.
                 Last week, Federal Judges made a decision in a similar matter. In Montgomery Alabama, Judge Roy Moore was ordered to remove his huge Ten Commandment monument from a government building. The Feds gave Moore 15 days to remove the violation of church and state and said failure to do so would result in stiff fines.        
                 Such court cases are expensive. In Alabama, all the before discovery, seven days of trial time, followed by appeals, and attorney fees on top of all else. No one has commented on the cost to taxpayers for the escapades of elected officials like Moore and Sams, but most there and here, feel taxpayer dollars could better be spent than in court. As was said four years ago in a public meeting here in Clayberry, religion only counts and works when it is in the heart and not on some government building wall.
                 Last month the folks working to secure an FM radio station for the county received official notification of the FCC’ decision to grant a construction permit to Clay FM, 101.7 on the dial. This month the group received their call letters, WYAP. Can’ you hear it now,”We’e yacking on YAP radio!” or “apping on YAP!”or “Let’ YAP it up!” Don’ turn to the dial yet, the group still needs a costly transmitter, cabling, antennae and such before they can even practice broadcasting on the terrestrial airwaves. Beginning August 11th, the group will begin live broadcasting over the internet air waves . Listen in around 9am daily for the latest. To check out Clay FM or WYAP – LP as they will soon be known, head over to their web site
         It’ the norm for our school system to boast each year of marked improvement within the system. You know the routine, Scores are up, kids are brighter, teachers are working harder and longer. That changed this year. There was no glowing school system article on the front page of that little paper over in Clay. On Aug. 5th , on our web site,, we provided links to the WV School Board where 5 Clay County Schools were reported as failures. The five schools were Ivydale Elem, HE White Elem, Clay High , Clay Middle, and Valley Fork Elem. That was Aug 5, 2003. 24 hours later we got a call from administrator Joe Paxton who said the State house gang had made some miscalculations and both HE White and Ivydale should NOT have been listed on the failing list. Sure enough we checked the State Ed web site, and POOF, now we have just 3 schools listed as failures, CMS, CCHS, and Valley Fork Elem.
                 Next time you talk to a school official, you might want to ask them: How did Clay County’ SAT 9 scores rank state wide. Go ahead and ask them
                 Last Monday Darlene Morris’ beauty salon was robbed of nearly $2000.00. The thievery took place at noon time and in broad daylight. The Salon, Hair Happenings, is located in the basement of the IGA store on Main Street and shares space with the Laundromat. Morris was real peed at local law enforcement’ efforts to catch the thugs. According to Morris, they didn’ even take finger prints!
                 So what happened to Clay Mt Housing? Use to be located on Main Street. A few months back a new non profit agency , Dream Homes, took over the reigns of the debt ridden Clay Mt housing just as long time Director Cathy Britt took retirement. The Main Street office now contains a used furniture store.
          With school about to reopen, Clay Elem students are going to be amazed at the new additions at the school. Contractors have been installing a new central air conditioning system. Not just any A/C unit but one that takes up bunches of class room space for duct work. Big things. Big ugly metal things blocking visibility and taking up much needed floor space. When the new duct work and plumbing are completed, and with greatly reduced floor space, watch for the big boys to say: We need to float another Levy because we don’ have the room needed to properly educate the future of America.
         STUMBLER OF THE WEEK #1 By Andy Waddell
         The following was in last month’ phone bill on one of those pesky other little stuffer sheets:
                 Effective July 1, 2003, the Federal Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) for single line business, ISDN BRI, multi line business and Centrex lines and ISDN PRI may increase. The FCC Non Presubscribed Line Charge (PICC) for multilane customers has been eliminated. The Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF) surcharge may increase. The FUSF surcharge which is authorized by the FCC and reviewed quarterly, provides funding for programs to keep local telephone rates affordable…. Additionally, you may see a one time charge representing the FCC’ additional FUSF assessment on the LNP charges on PBX lines and trunks. Beginning this month, an FUSF surcharge also applies on PIC change charges.
Here’ the kicker. On the other side of the notice came chirpy happy wording of how Verizon Telephone Co was making billing so much easier to understand and access.
         07/09/03: Belt – James C. Rogers, arrested 07/01 for wanton endangerment, preliminary hearing – probable cause found, bound to the Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County.
         07/10/03: Slack – Jesse Lee Dwier, 03/26/03 warrant for escape from custody, file to Circuit Court – indicted by Grand Jury 07/07; Bailey – Mark A. Stone, 06/12/03 breaking and entering, file to Circuit Court – indicted by Grand Jury 07/09; Bailey – Allen G. McClain, arrested 06/13/03 for possess, manufacture, deliver methamphetamine, file to Circuit Court – indicted by Grand Jury 07/09; Bailey – Lori A. McClain, arrested 06/13/03 for manufacture, possess, deliver methamphetamine, file to Circuit Court – indicted by Grand Jury; Belt – Johnny R. Neff, arrested 06/22/03 for driving under the influence-3rd offense, probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury.
         07/14/03: Light – Glenn W. Tanner, 07/07 warrant for grand larceny, arrested, ROB.
         07/17/03: Bailey – Dencil Pritt, 06/12/03 warrant for breaking and entering, arrested, ROB 07/21, preliminary hearing continued by DEF to 08/19; Elswick – Dencil Ray Pritt, 06/23/03 warrant for breaking and entering, arrested, ROB 07/21, preliminary hearing 07/24 – probable cause found, bound to Circuit Court.
         07/21/03: Slack – Jerry Collidge Howell, unlawful wounding, arrested, ROB 07/24, trial – probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County.
         07/23/03: Slack – Donna Wilmoth, grand larceny, arrested, ROB.
         07/28/03: Ellyson – Emmett R. Ramsey, arrested 07/02 for DUI-3rd offense, preliminary hearing – case dismissed by State, Def. plead to misdemeanor DUIA 1st offense.
         7/24/03: Gino’ – Maria D. Thorne, worthless check complaint, arrested, ROB, condition of bond - def. agrees to have check and costs paid on or before 8/21/03.
         7/23/03: Gino’ – Jason R Stalnaker, WC complaint, warrant, arrested 7/30, ROB, to appear 8/8/03; Gino’ – Rhonda Nichols, WC complaint, warrant, 7/29 def. pd wc + cost of notice - had been on vacation and hadn’ received notice in time warrant issued; Clay Primary Care – Kathryn J. Eagle, worthless check, warrant, 7/24 def. paid check and cost; case d/m; Bailey – John P. Proctor, domestic battery, warrant, appeared 7/28, ROB, trial 8/19/03.
         7/25/03: Nichole Grose – Sandra Eagle, worthless check, warrant; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Dean Nichols, worthless check, warrant; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Dean Nichols, worthless check, warrant; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Judith A Myers, worthless check, warrant, arrested, 8/4 pd. wc + costs, d/m; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Judith A Myers, worthless check, warrant, arrested, 8/04 pd. wc + costs, case d/m; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Judith A Myers, worthless check, warrant, arrested, 8/04 pd. wc + costs, case d/m; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Judith A Myers, worthless check, warrant, arrested, 8/04 pd. wc + costs, case d/m; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Judith A Myers, worthless check, warrant, arrested, 8/04 pd. wc + costs, case d/m; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Judith A Myers, worthless check, warrant, arrested, 8/04 pd. wc + costs, case d/m; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Judith A Myers, worthless check, warrant, arrested, 8/04 pd. wc + costs, case d/m; Cunningham Motors, Inc – Judith A Myers, worthless check, warrant, arrested, 8/04 pd. wc + costs, case d/m; Gino’ – Judith A Myers, WC complaint, arrested, 8/04 paid wc + costs, case d/m.
         7/28/03: Daniel Grindo – Emmett R. Ramsey, DUI, appeared, def plead guilty, sentenced to 72 hrs jail, assessed fines + costs.
         7/29/03: Bailey – Bobby E. Woods, battery, summons; Clay Supermarket – Donnie Welch, WC complaint, warrant, def. paid check & costs; Clay Supermarket – Donnie Welch, WC complaint, warrant, def. paid check & costs; Bullard’ Exxon –Tabitha M. Parsons, WC complaint, warrant; Bullard’ Exxon – Andrew C Slaughter, WC complaint, warrant; Bullard’ Exxon – Andrew C. Slaughter, WC complaint, warrant; Belt – Joyce Holcomb, battery, warrant; Belt – Cassandra Dennis, battery, warrant; Ellyson – Anita K. Summers, failure to keep right, appeared , ROB.
         7/30/03: State of WV – Mitzi Eagle, contempt of court, warrant; Sizemore’ IGA – Judith A Myers, WC complaint, warrant, 8/04 pd. wc & cost, case d/m; Sizemore’ IGA – Judith A Myers, WC complaint, warrant, 8/04 pd. wc & cost, case d/m; Sizemore’ IGA – Judith A Myers, WC complaint, warrant, 8/04 pd. wc & cost, case d/m; Ellyson – Edward Lee Adkins, domestic battery, arrested, ROB 7/31.
         7/31/03: Robert Lewis, CCHA – Jennifer Curry, MGR, violation of provisions of the NPDES permit, summons.
         8/01/03: Belt – Joseph Edward Deal, DUI, arrested, ROB.
         7/23/03: Nichols Furniture & Appliance – Tommy W. Smith, money due, subpoena; Nichols Furniture & Appliance – Bridgette Poteet, money due, subpoena; Clay Supermarket – Matthew Triplett, money due, subpoena; Clay Supermarket – Andrew Cash, money due, subpoena.
         7/28/03: Samuel C. Mullins - John F. Joe Johnson, breech of contract.
         7/29/03: Laura Jane Sizemore – Angela Bartsch, breech of contract, 8/5- judgment for PLF., def. to be off of property no later than 9/01; Laura Jane Sizemore – Carol Brown, money due, subpoena; Henson & Judy Legg – Rebecca Neff Morris Holcomb, money due, subpoena.
         7/30/03: Harry Dobbins Jr. – Chance M. Towner, money due, 7/31 summons to Braxton sheriff.
         7/31/03: Rachelle Duffield – Cynthia Coulter, money due; Clay Co. PSD – Rita Kuhl, money due; Clay Co. PSD – Charles Keenan, money due.
         8/01/03: Josie Erskine – Suzie May, money due, subpoena.
         8/04/03: Mary June Adkins – Vera Vance, money due.
         8/05/03: Carol Starcher – Kathy Smith & Tommy Smith, wrongful occupation, subpoena.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued -
         7/23/03: Clay Co. Middle School – Cathy Stutler, paid 8/01.
         8/01/03: Clay Farm Cooperative – Diana Taylor and Jerry Boggs.
         8/04/03: Kings Trucking & Wrecker – Judith a Myers, paid 8/04; IGA – Mary E. Shafer and Donna D. Ice; King’ Trucking & Wrecker – Michael L. Holcomb; Connie Brown – Richard E. Sandy X 4 and Gary E. Nelson; Roebuck Agency – Chester E. Boggs Jr.; J&S Grocery – Sherry Jo Mullins X 2.
         Citation Register
         7/18/03: State Police – Metheney, Anthony D. - no POI, MVI, registration violation.
         7/20/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Dancy, Adam Joe - speeding, no POI, MVI, seat belt violation, operator’, registration violation, possession under 21.
         7/21/03: State Police – Hall, Timothy J. - MVI, no POI, registration violation, operator’; Summers, Anita Kay - failure to keep right.
         7/22/03: Sheriff’ Dept.– Gould, James B. - registration violation and no POI; State Police – Stapleton, Peggy M. – speeding; Vickers, Troy D. – speeding.
         7/27/03: Sheriff’ Dept.– Stalnaker, Jason R. – registration violation and MVI; Williams, Walter G. -registration violation.
         7/29/03: State Police – Smith, Jerry L. - shooting with in 500ft of a dwelling.
         7/30/03: State Police – Knipp, Pat - no POI; Pierson, Darrell Leo – speeding.
         7/31/03: State Police – Cobb, Matthew Ray – speeding; Mayes, Bradley Ray – speeding; Tempio, Linda L. – speeding; Young Tommy Edward – operator’ and no POI.
         8/01/03: Sheriff’ – Deal, Joseph E. - DUI
         What started out as the future for Clay County then turned into a laughing matter has nearly made it’ full course. All the filter making equipment from the failed Filcon Inc endeavor was publicly auctioned off August 7, 2003. For many, Filcon was a big embarrassment they couldn’ be shaken away quick enough.
                 Four years ago Commissioner Tim Butcher made the first public announcement, a relative of his from out of town was working for a filter making outfit in upper New York state and the company wanted to relocate to Clay County. Butcher working along with the Central Appalachia Empowerment ZONE (CAEZ) promoted the company, Filcon Inc. Butcher announced 300 jobs were coming to the area. Some locals were big eyed while others immediately grew skeptical. The owner Manfred Kuentzer came to town. The red carpet was rolled out, a luncheon was held, hands were shook, and promises were made.
                 Somewhere along in there, Kuentzer asked for $200,000 to cover moving expenses. Our Clay Business Development Authority asked for a report from CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore as to the out of town operation. The BDA was considering helping lure Filcon to Clayberry. At BDA expense, Sizemore made a road trip to NY to tour the operation. Upon return, Sizemore reported to the BDA that seven people were working in NY, the equipment Kuentzer owned was easily worth over a million dollars, maybe more, and basically Sizemore gave the county and the BDA the thumbs up for Filcon Inc. Shortly there after came the request from Kuentzer for $200,000 to cover moving expenses for the heavy duty equipment. CAEZ coughed up $140,000.00 of the requested $200,000 in the form of a low interest loan.
                 More background in a minute but basically, that loan, Kuentzer absconding with the CAEZmoney, and trying to regain some of the loss, is the background for the Aug 7th public auction.
                 The morning of the 7th was rainy and sticky at the old Newton Fire Dept building in Roane County where the Filcon machinery and supplies were stored. 30 people milled around looking, gawking, and talking. By 11:30 am auctioneer Jeanne Davis got into gear. CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore explained what each item was and what else he knew about it. At first, Davis called for high starting bids. How about $500.. how about an opening bid of $300?????? OK, How about $100???? Ten minutes into the sale, she was begging for an opening bid of $1. To get anything out of the sale, Davis would have to work it hard. Even with that in mind, total returns from the sale netted less than $2500.00 (we think) For the most part, the seized equipment was old, tired, greasy, non OSHA approved junk.
         Seized? Yelp seized. Back to the history of Filcon.
         Filcon set up shop in the fall over three years ago in the old Rite Aid building in downtown Clay. Other than one teeny tiny shipment of filters, produced elsewhere, Filcon never manufactured a thing in Clay. After months of no rent payments owed to Clintoooon Nichols, Sheriff Harald Fields seized the property for back rent. Fields stored the stuff at Maysel. In Dec 2002, Sheriff Fields held an Auction to sell the seized collateral. CAEZ bought the Filcon equipment back for the cost of storage, moving expenses and advertising expenses. Somewhere around $6000.00 was the price.
         Later the equipment was shipped over to the old empty Newton Fire House owned by Clay Roane PSD. The PSD rented the space at a cheaper rate to CAEZ. There, in Roane County , the Roane County Sheriff auctioned off the Filcon empire and once again, CAEZ bought it back, this time for $201.00. Why so much buying of the same equipment? Some speculate that the iron clad lien against Filcon by CAEZ was less than iron clad and closer to being no lien period.
         As far as the equipment itself, there was a bunch of it and lots of tonnage as well. 3 phase electric motors galore along with big time lathes, metal punches, taps, dies, heaters, dryers, conveyor systems and more. With 30 or so standing around the auction site, only 13 were registered to bid including the auctioneer and clerk. Director Sizemore said that the auction was for what you see with no warranties implied. He went to say that there were no liens against the property, it was free and clear.
         First up came a great big metal “unch”press, probably weighed 8 tons or more. Also in the pot were two large boxes of dies.. total bid after Auctioneer Davis worked it hard? Just $50.00.
         An entire paint line, with blowers, conveyors lots of ductwork, big electric motors hooked on several of the pieces. Davis tried $500 then $300, then $10. Finally only $2 came for her efforts. Ditto for the heavy duty hydraulic testers and vacuum units, total sell price, 7 bucks. 10 minutes into the auction the Jerry Sizemore’ face had the droopies. It was apparent, few $ were going to be realized. The $1 million estimate provided local officials as a value for Filcon holdings just 20 some months previous, well, you get the idea, hog wash.
         In addition to taxpayer’ being hurt by Filcon, several locals that worked briefly for Kuentzer found themselves with bounced payroll checks. In addition to the local workers, Kuentzer brought with him a German craftsman to handle in-house tool and die needs. Willie Schumann was his name. As scoundrel Kuentzer was absconding with the taxpayer booty, Schumann was left here in Clayberry without any money. When Schumann arrived in the county, he brought with him 6 5 foot tall metal tool boxes full of die maker equipment along with a lathe. When locals rounded up enough money for Willie to make the trip home to his wife in New York, his tools remained behind.
         During the Aug 7th auction, all of Schumann’ tools were auctioned off for the measly sum of $325.00
         With the rain pouring down Thursday, the auction continued outside where some of the heavier stuff was placed. There the bidding was even lower. During a break, a smartly dressed fellow named Yohe told the rain drenched that he too had loaned Kuentzer $100,000 in filter making supplies and had never been paid for the materials. Yohe watched was the $100,000 was auctioned off for just $25.00
         Another guy commented that we were watching the future for Clay County go out the door. Others stood quietly and watched. For CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore, it was a chance to finally be rid of a colossal failure. Lets see now, they grossed about $2500. As far as a guess for auction expense, here goes: advertising $200, auctioneer services, $250.00; use of a fork lift for 10 hours at $25 per hour, $250.00; cost for CAEZ staff to there during the auction, $400; related expenses like telephone calls to drum up support, $100…. Add this to that, …. Expenses $1200.00. At arm’ length it looks like CAEZ netted right at $1300 to pay on the long overdue $140,000 Filcon loan. Now that’ the way to do business!
         Still to be settled in the Filcon failure is the fate of the $90,000 land given to Manfred Kuentzer near Ovapa by the Clay Business Development Authority . That land is now in Court with the fight between the BDA and the Clay County Bank, another lien holder. Watch for that settlement to take a while longer.                AW
         FOLLOW UPS
                 Many local customers of Beechy, Valley and Waggoner Gas Companies were shocked to learn in the last edition of this paper of the WV Public Service Commission court action to force receivership proceedings. We reported the documented by the PSC findings of owner John Habjan and his less than stellar compliance of state mandated performance objectives over the last 7 years.
          For many, our reporting was first such news of the proceedings which would force Habjan to give up operation of the his company.
          Since last edition, there has been maneuvering by Habjan. Now we don’ actually know what all the following stuff means to the Wagoner, Valley, and Beechy customers in Clay County but, it surely means something . Here we go with the update as posted the first week of August 2003 on the WV PSC web site:
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
1.        It’ the orders you disobey that make you famous. Douglas MacArthur
2.        The USDA reported that from Jan.1998 to Jan. 2003, twenty-one of the nations slaughterhouses were cited for violations related to mistreatment.
3.        The Bison is the largest land mammal in North America since the end of the last ice age.
4.        About 10 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.
5.        Americans ate more than 12,000 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty in baked beans on July 4th.
6.        West Virginia ranks among the 10 worst states for small businesses.
7.        The total damages paid to West Virginia medical malpractice victims dropped by 31 percent last year.
8.        Charleston is the only city in West Virginia with a population of at least 50,000.
9.        About 400,000 Americans, mostly women have Multiple Sclerosis.
10.        Drug resistance in the United States leads to 47,000 additional Salmonella infections each year, according to a 2002 report from the Boston-based Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics.
11.        Nearly 29 percent of adults had high blood pressure in 1999-2000, up from 25 percent in the early 1990’.
12.        The federal government is investigating reports that air bags in Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans failed to inflate during crashes.
13.        Attendance was up this year at the Mountain State Arts and Craft Fair at Ripley, but revenues were down.
14.        About 14 percent of West Virginia high school students report using Met amphetamine 5 percent higher than the national average.
15.        About 1,400 college and university students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol related injuries including motor vehicle accidents.
16.        West Virginia teachers earned nearly $7,600 less than the national average last year.
17.        Nationwide, paramedics are dropping out of the workforce at the rate of 44 per day.
18.        The last Volkswagen “eetle”rolled of the assembly line on July 30, 2003.
19.        West Virginia has about 21,800 federal workers.
20.        According to the “ational Campaign for Hearing Health” 28 million people in the United States have hearing trouble. LMM

CAEZ BUDGET RIFT         Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) holds a monthly meeting of the Board of Directors the first Tuesday of each month. Such was the case as 18 Boardsters gathered around the long conference table at their Main Street Clay digs near the Welfare office August 5 2003. Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities were the brain child of the Clinton/Gore Administration and were designed to be a grassroots organization for civic and social growth in the most impoverished areas of the country. Now 8 years in operation, CAEZ has struggled through some bitter battles and turf wars. Some meetings stand out as Special. Like the time the Executive Director stormed out in rage. The time the Board got in a heated battle over employee conduct. The time an employee tape recorded conversations and then used the testimony in a lawsuit against the CAEZ.
        Because many of the Boardsters have been around a while, and since they remember the bitter times, there is a rift among the Board. You can see the rift everyonce in a while. It sometimes appears during Board elections, or when money is to be divided or especially when Clay County reps feel our county has been left out of the loop one more time. Usually it is the 7 member Clay delegation against the rest of the CAEZ Board
        Such was the case Aug 5 20003 as the five county clan gathered once more. Here’ the highlights of that meeting.
        There was chatter around the table as the room filled. Clay Reps present, Elizabeth Sampson, Lynn Drake, Ben Murphy, Darlene Morris and new man on the block Joe Elliot. Absent: Pete Triplett and Linda Rhodes. They went thru the usual dribble of who has to put their family home place up as collateral for a teeny tiny loan while giving out $15,000.00 loans to brand new businesses with little or no collateral requirements. Mention was made of the several loans now waaaay past due . One new micro loan ($15,000 at 4.5% interest) to a Mike’ Auto in Sutton was quickly Oked.
        And then the action started. The plan was to approve the new year’ budget for CAEZ. Didn’ happen. Finance Committee member Liz Sampson brought fellow members up to speed. Three months ago her committee met , worked on the new year’ budget and put together the new budget for Board approval. Sampson held up a budget, the one given each member for passage. According to Sampson, the budget was NOT what her committee worked on, it had been changed. Sampson now warming up, said three times in the past 90 days, they asked for the committee recommendations to be included and be a part of the budget. Sampson, “What’ before the Board is NOT our work ….. There’ stuff missing …. I cannot recommend this … not in good faith!”        Little blues veins could be seen around the table as various Boardsters squirmed a bit. That squirming is a good indication that the rift thang is about to pop up again. Sampson, “Our work has to be done on this again!..”
        Sampson made public that in the 2003 – 2004 budget, Director Sizemore changed his work time to four days per week, there was no mention of the pert time help given office manager Michelle Morris and all of a sudden there was a new line item for an Economic Development Director. One of the newer folks, Roane County Commissioner Rodney Cox, stepped in the doo with comments on how the Board did not have certain powers to make these changes. Ohhhh, Cox , a member of the Finance Committee will have to learn…. He sounded like he was supporting the concerns of Sampson. Quickly grasshopper Cox, be warned, never be on the side of a Clayonian!
        With Director Jerry Sizemore explaining how busy Michelle Morris had been, laying the blame on her, Sampson took no hoodoo from Sizemore. Sampson, “THIS IS NOT PROPER… I told you three months ago what was to be in there!!… this is the fourth time!!!” With Sizemore’ ears turning red, CAEZ Chair Martin tried to get the whole thing tabled until a later time. Didn’ work. Did we mention Michelle Morris was no longer looking happy, that she had a look of peeeterb all over the place?
        Rep Rodney Cox reminded the body the new year was already 30 days old and they were operating without a guide, the budget.
        Sizemore explained that based on revenue projections for the coming year, he would cut back his hours to four days a week and reduce his salary by $9,600.00. He was saying that for the CAEZ to make it another year, the salary cut was needed. Sizemore, “I was trying to balance the budget..”Now what wasn’ mentioned much was the addition of this new position, the Eco/Dev Director for Tourism at $25,000 per year.
        NOTE: Four months ago, a part time contract worker, Connie Lupardus was hired. Her position, to research tourism avenues for the CAEZ, was to have ended July 1 2003. That didn’ happen and Ms Lupardus is still on the payroll. From the peanut gallery, Sizemores appeared to be sliding in a new paid employee position without drawing attention. If Sizemore was trying to reduce operating costs for the new year, adding a $25 K employee may not be the best route to take.
        Sampson caught on to the Sizemore smooth talk and came back with, “THIS IS A SERIOUS SITUATION… Do we REALLY need to add staff?” Liz was talking about when they hired Sizemore and he was to be a full time, grant writing Director. To further get under the skin of her already agitated fellow Boardsters , Sampson added that maybe the Director need ed to better focus his attention on his true job duties. Sampson motioned for a Personnel Committee to be convened to check into the scope and performance of the Director. Oh Booooyy, that did it. Nicholas County rep Red Derring voiced his loyal unending support for the Director, that he was doing a fine job! Long timer Peter Selich tried to explain a way around the problem, something about already budgeting 8 days a week of staff time. Didn’ help. Again the call from Sampson for the Personnel Committee review.
        Here’ an interesting one readers.. usually the Clay delegation sticks together in battle. Not so this time as Lynn Drake from Ivydale added something along the lines of: We need an immediate resolution to this matter, this isn’ fair to Jerry! Drake was heating up a little on this point. As Sampson again presented her motion for Director review, Clayonian Darlene Morris gave the second. More discussion. With delegates Triplett and Rhodes absent, the vote went along rift lines, two for the review. Motion failed
        Michelle was still not smiling.
        Did we mention that one Board member Betty Lilly, present and at the table, remains on the Board three years after her term expired?
        Peter Selich, from the other side of the rift, motioned to let Director Sizemore come up with a proposal to be presented during the next meeting. That motion passed unanimously.
         The many little red and blue veins disappeared around the table.
         Next month the CAEZ holds it’ meeting Sept 2nd at 6 pm in the Lion’ Club Choke and Smoke Casino Hall on Main Street where the general public is encouraged to attend and enjoy a dinner too. Last year’ was a doozy. Back then various by laws were voted on over the wishes of many in attendance and over the objections of the by laws committee who proposed the changes. During that meeting the by laws committee acknowledged the changes they wanted and asked for were not the changes being voted on!
         Always fun in CAEZ land. Be sure to attend the Annual meeting in Sept. Free food too!