|? Exclusion of Sec. 132 payments from income – These are payments issued through the Defense Department’ Homeowner Assistance Program to Armed Forces and some Defense Department employees due to qualified military base realignment or closure. This provision is effective on or after November 11, 2003.|
? Exclusion of Death Gratuity Payments from income – Qualifying military survivors can exclude up to $12,000 of military death payments received after September 10, 2001.
? Coverdell Education Savings account distributions – Qualified military academy attendees will not have to pay a 10% additional tax on a distribution from a Coverdell Education Savings account or Section 529 plan.
? Travel, meals and lodging for National Guard and Reservists – An above-the-line deduction for non-reimbursed overnight travel, meals, and lodging expenses of National Guard and Reserve members who must travel more than 100 miles from home to fulfill their military obligations.
? Sale of a home – Generally, a homeowner must live in their primary residence 2 of the last 5 years to avoid paying taxes on the first $250,000 of profits if they are single, or $500,000 if they are married. Under the new change, this period is extended for up to ten years for an individual or individual’ spouse who is on qualified official extended duty as a member of the uniformed services or the Foreign Service of the United States. This is in effect for home sales after May 6, 1997, even though the tax year in question is otherwise closed for refund purposes. Affected military taxpayers have until November 11, 2004, to file for a refund.
For more information, contact Liberty Tax Service in Clendenin,
(304) 548-5820, firstname.lastname@example.org. Liberty Tax Service will have over 1,300 offices operating in the United States and Canada in 2004. The company specializes in computerized tax preparation, electronic filing, and refund anticipation loans.
01/06/04: Bailey – Joyce Ramsey, accessory before and after the fact (10/02/03), preliminary hearing: probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury.
01/09/04: Rider – Larry Gene Kelly, Sr., warrant issued for wanton endangerment, arrested 01/12, ROB.
01/13/04: Elswick – Herbert J. Honaker, fail to meet child support obligations, warrant issued.
01/03/04: Rider – Carl D. Chambers, reckless driving, appeared 01/07, plead guilty, paid fine and costs.
01/05/04: Clay Co. Magistrate Court – Laura Sibley, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Sizemore’ IGA – Christine L. Risden, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; The Other Side – Monica Lynn Legg, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, arrested 01/14, ROB; Big Otter Food Mart – Monica Lynn Legg, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 7, arrested 01/14, ROB; Big Otter Food Mart – Jessica L. Swift, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 4; Big Otter Food Mart – Travis Cook, warrant for worthless check complaint, Def. paid WC and costs 01/07, case d/m; Wilma Pringle – Jason Davenport, warrant issued for worthless check complaint.
01/06/04: Bailey – Cindy M. Faircloth, stream littering, no POI, registration violations, MVI and driving suspended, warrants issued.
01/08/04: Larry Legg – Candy Adkins, fail to cause child to attend school, appeared, ROB, rec’ demand for jury trial from Def. attorney 01/13; Belt – Isaiah Stephenson, battery, arrested 01/13, ROB; Belt – Donnie Peck, battery, arrested 01/12, ROB.
01/09/04: Simms – Roger J. Ward, hunting from motor vehicle, hunting between sunset and sunrise, and spotlighting, summons; Rider – Larry Gene Kelly, Sr., destruction of property, arrested 01/12, ROB.
01/16/04: Cunningham Motors – Jennifer D. Grose, warrant issued for worthless check; Rodney K. Laxton, warrant for worthless check; Christopher J. Graham, warrants for worthless checks X 2.
01/07/04: Telford’ Chevrolet – Danny Funk, money due, subpoena; Telford’ Chevrolet – Randy Schoonover, money due, subpoena.
01/08/04: Branch Banking & Trust – Ann Meal, money due, subpoena.
01/09/04: Mischelle and Eric Williams – Terri J. Bass, money due.
01/12/04: Yvonne Tyree – Pam Dalzell, wrongful occupation, subpoena; Country Short Stop – Douglas F. Starcher, money due, subpoena.
Notices issued –
01/06/04: Connie Brown – Nancy Rhodes (paid 01/09); Christopher Graham; Jennifer D. Grose; and, Vickie L. Williams.
01/07/04: Clay Supermarket – Garrett D. Deems, Jr.; Dawn S. Brown (paid 01/16); and, Ronnie D. Beasley; IGA – Stephanie Henderson (paid 01/14).
01/08/04: Lizemore Grocery – Sherry Jo Mullins; and Linda Townsend (paid 01/13); Sizemore’ IGA – Cathy Stutler.
01/09/04: Mary Pritt – Andrew J. Pritt (paid 01/16).
01/14/04: IGA – Ronnie D. Beasley; and David L. Pauley.
01/16/04: Little Country Feed Store – Karla M. Tanner; IGA – Melissa K. Massey.
12/15/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Raymond G. Hersman, registration violation, no POI and defective equipment.
12/16/03: State Police – Timothy A. Carte, speeding and no POI.
12/18/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Jacob Ryan King, registration violation.
12/19/03: State Police – Dennis E. Grose, failure to keep right.
12/20/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Ronald Lynn Adkins, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
12/26/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Basil Eugene Smith, registration violation; State Police – Larry O. Vaughn, speeding and operator’.
12/27/03: State Police – Aubrey P. Grace, MVI; Lovella L. Myers, speeding.
12/30/03: State Police – Robert A. Bosley, speeding; Patricia A. Fogleman, speeding; Charles Greathouse, speeding; John Kraus, speeding; Stacy A. Schoolcraft, speeding and no POI; Ricky W. Snodgrass, speeding and no POI; Sheriff’ Dept. – Jeremy M. Pierson, operator’.
12/31/03: State Police – Jason C. Alexander, speeding; Larry W. Booth, speeding; Michael L. Carder, speeding; Robert W. Simmons, no POI.
01/02/04: State Police – Arley Truman Hall, Jr., driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
01/03/04: State Police – Ryan Douglas Arthur, operator’; Sheriff’ Dept. – Carl D. Chambers, reckless driving.
01/04/04: State Police – Christine Herbster, speeding.
01/06/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Harley R. Nottingham, no POI.
01/07/04: State Police – Michael B. Harvey, possession of cocaine; Sheriff’ Dept. – James D. Sizemore, registration violation X 2.
01/10/04: State Police – Anthony C. Mayes, speeding; Michael P. Morris, no POI.
01/11/04: State Police – Eric Justin Hamrick, speeding and no POI.
01/12/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Angela Joyce Grose, registration violation and no POI; Lois J. Short, MVI and defective equipment.
01/14/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Jeffrey Lee Neff, speeding.
SIRK 1, CDC 0
Judge Orders Reinstatement
That quiet little private social service provider Clay Development Corporation has a way of making it in the news cycle on a pretty regular basis. Last month, one time CDC Chair Earnie Sirk took the agency to Circuit Court over his being tossed from power after a special CDC General Membership Meeting in June 2002.
Circuit Judge Jack Alsop ruled on the matter January 8, 2004. If you don’ want to read any further, in a nutshell, Wide Glide Sirk won and the Judge ordered him reinstated to the General membership rolls. For those interested in the case, from the Findings of Fact:
Sirk was a member of CDC; he was removed from membership by certified letter July 22, 2002; The certified letter was typed by Janet Fitzwater by order of CDC President Gary Whaling; Fitzwater signed Whaling’ name; according to the by laws of the group: membership in this corporation shall be perpetual as long as the member resides in Clay County and attends at least one general membership meeting,, in a period of two years…
On or about the 16th day of July 2002, a special meeting of the general membership of the Clay County Development Corporation was held; the minutes of the July 16 meeting do not reveal that any action was taken by the general membership to oust Earnie Sirk as a member of the CDC; the bylaws do not grant the authority to remove members thereof unto the President of the corporation; and, Gary Whaling did not have the authority to remove Earnie Sirk from the membership of CDC.
Down in the foot notes is a little dig at often out of step corporate secretary, Janet Fitzwater: Although not an issue that needs addressed herein, it would appear that the power to remove, in accordance with the by laws, is vested in the general membership, and that the secretary’ duty would be purely ministrial in nature.
And finally, in the conclusions of law, Judge Alsop found: Accordingly, it Is adjudged and ordered that the defendants (That’ CDC) unlawfully removed Earnie Sirk ( That’ Wide Glide) from membership in the Clay County Development Corporation. It is further Adjudged and ordered that Mr. Sirk remains as a general member of CDC.
What does all this mean? Maybe the crack in the family run foundation of secrecy at a place where if you don’ agree 100% with the family insiders, you get tossed out in the cold. Sirk was successful where many others failed. Sirk won in court.
It also means something else. All the folks who spoke out against the CDC and were tossed from general membership and all the folks that were denied membership within the tight knit group, are able to take their place within the Home Interior gilded halls of CDC land.
As a side note, since Sirk is one of the most notorious, behind the scenes, down and dirty conniving politicians that ever walked the face of this Earth, rest assured, CDC excitement will soon return to front pages around the region.
Our County Commission made it official January 12th. An Emergency Services Excess Levy will appear on the May Primary Election Ballot. Voters will have a chance to decide on whether to provide additional funding for three volunteer fire departments and the financially strapped Clay County Ambulance Service. The four year tax increase will bring in approximately $170,000 each year with funds going to each provider in the amount of $30,000.00. Additionally, each year one provider will receive a $50,000 sum to buy major items. The ambulance service will receive their $50,000 first. Our Commissioners made it clear, the Ambulance Service and Fire Departments will direct the public relations campaign.
Speaking of excess levy objectives, during both campaigns to secure a School Excess Levy, our big cheese leaders told us: the annual $468,000 take will be used to keep our rural community schools open. With plans to close Ivydale and Valley Fork, sure seems like the need for the school levy has been greatly reduced or eliminated.
During the January 22nd Solid Waste Meeting, office manager Dawn Whiteley received a $2 per hour pay increase.
Billy Boggs put it in writing. The school system had until January 20th to decide on purchasing his property for the new consolidated elementary school or the deal would be changed to a higher amount. We understand (from the Gospel of Sirk, Earnie Sirk that is) Boggs has now extended his offer without an increase in price.
And boy, did we make a big mistake in the last paper. We reported that WV American Water Company rates in Kanawha County were $46.23 for 4500 gallons of water. According to WV Water’ Dan Bickerton, that $46.23 figure includes an add on fee charged local residents. The real price for 4500 gallons of water is just $36.23!
So lets get this straight this time around. The 8th highest water provider in the state is Clay County PSD at $50.28 for 4500 gallons; followed by Queen Shoals PSD at $47.98 and then Clay Roane with $46.60 for 4500 gallons of treated wa-wa. Doing a little math here, Clay County PSD is 28% higher than WV Water. Well, now we understand why our leadership has been so against those nasty outsiders coming into this county and messing things up.
And then an interesting little ditty. On Friday January 16th, scanner listeners heard bits and pieces, something about four men shooting the lock of a gate and skid-daddling in a red Chevy pickup as black shirts arrived. Names came across the airwaves too: Tommy Young, Jr. and Ronnie Summers.
A couple days later Tommy Young, Sr. gave us a call and filled us in on his side of the story. According to the dad, his son was driving a red pickup that evening with buddies along for the ride and after questioning, the Jr. admitted to shooting at a deer.
Tommy Sr. said later that night, around 1 am, Deputies Belt and Rider came to his home on Murder Mountain along with a state police officer and a civilian. There, Sr.’ Chevy was found parked along side the drive minus a driver and occupants. Here’ the interesting part readers. According to Sr., a deputy used a shotgun and blasted the rear window of the Chevy. Four casings were found beside the vehicle. Sr. continued, since the gun shots left glass shrouds in the seat of the truck as well as on the hood of the pick up, no one could have been inside the vehicle when the shots were fired.
Once again, Tommy Young Sr. is crying foul and that law enforcement are unfairly targeting him and his family. According to Young Sr., attempts to get State Police to investigate the shotgun blasts went unanswered.
No one can dispute it, Keith King and Clay County PSD know how to keep public meetings short. How do they do it? Don’ discuss anything and save the juice for after the official meeting when prying ears aren’ around. When anything pops up during their monthly gathering, it’ really noticed. From the blah-blah section: Clay County PSD began December with $1328.71; had $26,054 in income; spent $27,298; and had an ending balance in December 2003 of $84.26.
Didn’ you think the Lizemore/Tuckers Bottom water line extension was ready to go to bid, say, last fall? Nope. During Clay County’ January meeting, attorney Jim Lane is just starting the title work and his office staff can only do about 2 per day. King, “e should have started in 1925!”What’ the cost for the deed work? Upwards of $22,000.00
And for that little “op up”part, during discussions on hiring Jim Lane, Chair King said, “e sure NOT to get Wayne King, They’e having to redo some of his work now!”
And finally, mid November 2003 downpours left many needing disaster relief. The Federal Government stepped in. FEMA came to town. Those downpours washed out the river side bank at the sewer plant. While Mayor Jarrett asked the County Commission for help in securing FEMA dollars, it came to light, the Town had forgotten to ask their insurance provider to see if they could cover the $100,000 + loss.
Clay Roane Meets, Meets..
WV Water To The Rescue (maybe)
We’e got a bunch of action in the Clay Roane and Queen Shoals arena. This will take a while so sit back and enjoy.
Clay Roane held a special meeting at the Procious Water plant January 15th. The little control room of the plant was packed wall to wall. As the meeting opened, Queen Shoals Boardster Jimmy Kearns was handed an invoice for services provided by Clay Roane which included $1266 in new debt. Kearns did not seem happy. Clay Roane got down to business. With a 4 to 1 vote (Gary Whaling said no), motion passed to sell the old Newton fire house to Phillip Linger for $10,000.00 Five years ago, the PSD paid over $30,000 for the structure.
The only other thing on the agenda read: Queen Shoals Operation and Maintenance Agreement. Up until 8 weeks ago, Clay Roane was wanting (or at least willing) to continue to operate and maintenance the entire Queen Shoals service area. After 7 water line breaks and people without water for upwards of two weeks around Christmas, that offer was withdrawn. In it’ place was an O&M for Clay Roane to read QS PSD’ meters and do the billing. Larry White commented that there had been too much arguing with the new QSPSD board. QS boardster Jimmy Kearns wasn’ going to take that, “ow wait a minute, what did I do? Don’ come across with that!!”White came back with, “ince then [new QS board], we’e caught the devil.” Kearns, “Can’ you see why?”
White explained once again that they thought they had a legal agreement to operate QS but that agreement turned out to be null and void. In attendance, Commissioner Triplett, “ou didn’ know that in August?”
Kearns wasn’ quite finished. To White, “ou don’ have the people or supplies.. The quality of the work isn’ good… They [customers] have a right to gripe… out of water for 3 weeks.”White, “e want out of there.”Kearns, “How can we operate it [QSPSD], we only have $100.” Kearns explained that the new QS Board planned to take control of the system but with only $100 on hand and now a $1260 bill, that would be nearly impossible. Chair Postelwait made a comment. Something about the PSC getting enough complaints that the PSC stepped in. Sorry readers, didn’ quite get the whole sentence, words were flying left and right.
Questions came up switching 37 customers from Clay Roane to the QSPSD service area. More questions: what about all the QS office supplies from last year when Clay Roane took over the operation; who has to pay for the hundreds of gallons of water which leaked out during the big Christmas leak period, etc.
And now for some good stuff. Water customer Mike Hall asked about a day when the storage tank went empty and another time when Clay Roane said the tank had 13 feet of water when in fact it had only 3 feet. Tensions were mounting. Postelwait explained she thought the tank went dry from normal usage. Hall wasn’ done. Hall told a story of Postelwait and another woman who tried to get under someone’ trailer by pulling at the underpinning. Melissa came unglued, “HAT” A BOLD FACE LIE!!!!!!!!”The Chair said she was a board member and didn’ do field work. Translation: she wasn’ there. Hall wasn’ done. He went on to raise issue with continuing water problems like air in the lines and foam in the drinking water.
As Glenn Sutton was calling for an adjournment, Punkineer Celia Coon corrected an earlier statement made by Postelwait. Coon got the Chair to agree, that storage tank in question did NOT just go dry but employees had forgotten to check the thing at midnight. That in fact, customers did without water because of negligence on the PSD’ part. Postelwait had egg all over her face.
With some filing out, a hot Postelwait turned to this reporter and unequivocally said: “If you print one word of this [the trailer underpinning story] in the paper I will sue you!!” In response, the ace cub reporter came back with something like: “his is a public meeting and you’e going to sue me for printing what goes on here?”Again Postelwait, “You HEARD ME, I WILL SUE YOU!!!”Tubby reporter, “y, you sure have changed in 12 months.”
OK readers, that’ the end of the first meeting. As a note, we talked with the lady with the underpinning. According to her, she heard some banging and rattling, went to her front door and there saw a butt sticking up at her. When she asked ,”ho are you?”Melissa P. pointed at her PSD ID badge and asked, “ow’ your water?” Response, “OK.” The question was asked, “Is it clear?” Response, “Yes.” Shortly thereafter, Postelwait and pal were told the trailer did not have PSD water but rather well water. According to the home owner, the two left shortly thereafter.
Ok, back to meeting coverage. Here we go boys and girls, Clay Roane’ most recent gathering, the January 22nd meeting at the CDC building on Main Street Clay. Up front, Postelwait, Saulsgiver, White, Whaling with Glenn Sutton playing hooky. Over to the side were Queen Shoals’Jimmy Kearns and Ann Anderson. Once again the meeting room had lots of interested folks in the peanut gallery. The usual blah-blah.. Pay the bills, read the financials, why pay a $346 invoice? Answer from Saulsgiver, “ecause you called them in here to look at the pump!”
As for Queen Shoals (QSPSD) struggle to get on its feet, nothing is ever easy. According to Chair Melissa, QS cannot have those before mentioned 37 customers. Something about a long approval process for such a transfer and it would be better for those folks to stay with Clay Roane. Although nothing may ever be easy, Kearns and crew have been working. Meeting dates for the new board have been set for the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at H.E. White Elementary school and they have been to Charleston asking for emergency financial help from the state house. Kearns (and Commissioner Triplett) said they don’ have any real promises yet on the needed dollars but they’e hopeful.
And, and, and, Queen Shoals has asked WV American Water to take over the operation and maintenance of the struggling water provider. Eyebrows went up. Some looked around. How dare those pesky Queen Shoalers take matters into their own hands and ask the largest water provider in the state to come into Clayberry and try to do something right!! How dare they!
Up front near the QSPSD summit table sat a big guy with glasses. He introduced himself as Dan Bickerton from the WV Water Company in Charleston. (See photo this page.) Again, there was the sudden gulp of air. One of those foreigners was in their midst! Bickerton explained that QSPSD asked his company to take a look at what could be offered, “hey called us to see what we could do…”He went with: It takes time to gather info; they were just getting started; WV Water could MAYBE provide interim relief for QSPSD; and, if WV Water took over the operation, they would continue buying water from Clay Roane PSD. Finally he mentioned how critical water quality and quantity would be under such an arrangement Get this! The big guy up front came in with a plan. Unheard of in Clayberry!
After hearing the brief introductory comments, Postelwait replied: the Clay Roane PSD would have a willingness to work with WV Water. From out of nowhere discussion turned to the long stalled county consolidation plan to unite all local water providers into one mega, regional PSD. After listening to the back and forth, Kearns commented on plans to consolidate QS with the rest of the county, “hat’ something we would fight.. There would be no service down there if we’e consolidated.”Kearns explained that nearly every customer wanted no part of Clay County water and instead petitioned for WV Water to come to the rescue.
Putting County Commissioner Peter Triplett in the hot seat, Postelwait, “Pete, does Queen Shoals have any say so in consolidation?”Triplett, “ot really.”Kearns, “ustomers have no say so?”Triplett, “echnically no… there is no consolidation now…. The County Commission started it before but it never went anywhere.” Kearns, “very customer down there wants WV Water.. How can the Commission dictate that??? No one from Queen Shoals voted on it…”Kearns said they would attend the next CCC meeting . Triplett said the agenda already includes QSPSD.
It’ time to go secret in Clay Roane land. For nearly 60 minutes the folks up front discussed personnel matters. After coming out of secret time and saying no decisions were made, the Chair told the assembled that future Clay Roane meetings would be held just once a month, on the fourth Thursday at 7 p.m.
Next on the agenda was “ublic comments” And boy, there was a bunch of it too. Can air run up a meter? According to Kearns, yes. Postelwait said that was never disputed but instead the question was: Does air run the meter faster than water? Will QPSD be charged for all the lost water during the many water line breaks? Answer: Yes. How much is the bill? $7000.00
More discussions on: If customers can be given a one time bill reduction, why can’ QS? The answers didn’ satisfy Jimmy Kearns, “hat’ asinine!”Mike Hall was back with complaints over air remaining in his water lines while that older fellow, a Gibson, asked again about his meter showing usage of 5000 gallons. Gibson said his home did NOT have any leaks and the consumption had remained constant for years, that’ years, before Clay Roane took over the system last February 7th. Gibson, nor many others appeared satisfied with answers provided.
Up on the soap box, Melissa Postelwait tried to straighten out comments made during the special meeting 7 days earlier. According to the Chair, she did NOT tear off any underpinning off a trailer, that she went to the customers door first and found out the customer wasn’ a customer at all and she left the property. “ made no attempt to touch the underpinning!”Postelwait backed up her words with nods in agreement from a Deems lady who was with the Chair at the time of incident.
The meeting went on with lots of comments and criticism. Everything from crappy water unfit to drink and priced too high to how the PSD doesn’ provide Dale Deems enough tools to do repair work to how it took Deems 6 hours to find parts to repair a recent water leak.
By 9 p.m. it was over. As the Chair was leaving, she mumbled something about heading straight to the Magistrate’ office Monday morning to file some kind of paperwork.
Before closing this article, a note. Sometime between the special meeting and the January 22nd gathering, Melissa Postelwait dialed this reporter and offer apologies for her conduct and tone. She said she had been under a lot of pressure and even had threats made against her. As for not being 100% forthright with info on the tank going dry due to an employee not doing his job, she said that she just didn’ get it out right and that people were coming at her from all directions at the time. Apology accepted.
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
Some day in ages hence, an enterprising, and one hopes, talented composer of folksongs will produce a number worthy of the preposterous Donald Rumsfeld. The best approach would be satirical, although it is fairly well-understood that satire and irony are lost on the literal mind. If, for example, one were to declare that, in his meteoric rise to power and influence he has achieved a feat unique in the history of this republic: he has eliminated the Department of State. “ell,”as the saintly Ronald Reagan used to say, that’ not quite true. However, in his craven complicity to be regarded as a team player, the “ood soldier”Colin Powell has discarded whatever integrity he was once rumored to have possessed. Remember, for example, the absurd charade the good general performed before the United Nations? A small vial of what was probably baking powder was supposed to represent Saddam’ deadly biological threat. What appeared to be an old shed was a potential chemical factory. The topper was a large truck. What else could it be but a mobile chemical laboratory? In the public relations game, inference trumps mere facts. The pity is that, according to numerous sources, Powell had earlier declared his refusal to bring this “vidence”before the U.N., protesting that it was bogus, although he stated it in more earthy terms. We sinners know that after the first capitulation, the ones to follow become easier. Once regarded as an influential moderate, Powell’ sell-out has rendered the State Department impotent and provided a sad epilogue to a once potentially brilliant career in public service.
Meanwhile, back at Rumsfeld: with considerable help from the sordid group of hardliners, he has achieved a conjuring feat that makes Houdini look like a rank amateur, the virtual disappearance of Colin Powell and his functionaries. Even more magical is the fact that Rummy has kept his job. His record as a prophet is close to zero. The Iraqis will welcome us with unsuppressed joy, roses strewn in our path and all that. Sir Francis Bacon once said: “ take all knowledge as my province.” He was probably right at the time. But with his titanic ego and poisonous self-certainty, Rumsfeld consistently ignored the advice of prominent military experts who maintained that his estimate of troops needed was too low. Superior technology substitutes for “oots on the ground,”as the popular construction has it. The hideous human cost, on both sides, of the neocon’ hubris and miscalculation, not to mention their ambition, as well as the famous scene in which our flight suit in chief announced “ission accomplished,”stand in stark contrast to the grotesque aftermath we now see. And we must not overlook the confident declaration, now a remote dream, that Iraqi oil will pay for the war. Rumsfeld’ predictions have been so wrong, so often, that he could have done better with some ancient time-tested methods, such as disgorging and studying the entrails of a goat.
It has been repeatedly stated, both here and abroad that the present administration is the secretive in our nation’ history. Rumsfeld, who seems to be everywhere on TV, is doing his part. He has recently ruled that the Pentagon will no longer tell the public about the results of its Star War missile-defense tests, which have been an embarrassing failure. Some poor taxpayer somewhere must be asking, “an he do that? Isn’ that our money?” Any politician worthy of the name knows that when asked a difficult question, bring out the ever-reliable “ational security.” Poet Carl Sandburg wrote: “ am the grass. I cover all.” National security does it better, a lesson Rumsfeld learned early in his life of slurping at the public trough. Rummy has been partially eclipsed recently, however, as the media has chosen to dwell on truly cosmic issues such as the interminable sagas of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson.
It seems time, as this effort lurches along (the column, certainly not our triumphant foreign policy) to mention the Iowa caucuses. They may not solve anything, but they are certainly good theatre.
The great philosopher, Groucho Marx once said: “hatever it is, I’ against it!” He also said: “rooked politicians, or am I being redundant?” These one liners are doubtless meant to be taken with a grain of salt, but where elections are concerned, here is possibly a much-overlooked issue – the constant refrain of “ endorse”or “ support”political candidates. It is interesting to hear an acquaintance or a friend’ views on someone running for office, but to some of us it is irritating, even insulting when an important person makes such a statement. The assumption is that people are either too stupid or too conformist to think for themselves. Nevertheless, the Iowa experience can give us hope that American citizens are beginning to get back into the political process. In many respects the private citizens have been more impressive than the candidates. Admittedly, it is a difficult task to spend a year or more speaking on myriad occasions in countless locales without sounding as if every utterance comes out of the same can, but a few reactions are perking within.
Howard Dean has been accused of having only one issue – the war. But the struggle in Iraq is not just one issue. The cost is not only in lives, but one that will affect domestic programs in this country not only now, but for incalculable years to come. He has been accused of being one-dimensional, running on anger. Old political junkies might argue that recent history has scarcely provided us with a more appropriate time for anger, with the administration providing us games fit for children such as the insistence that occupying Iraq has made us “afer.” Dr. Dean recently said that he was glad Saddam Hussein had been captured, but he did not think we were any safer as a result. Then came the predictable rightwing howls from the corporate media. Bush’ poll numbers went up to 61. One might think that the man who protected the Texas skies (whenever he felt like it) from Vietcong aircraft had done it single handedly. The trouble was, “our grapes”Dean was right. The carnage continued and is continuing as if Hussein had never existed. But the hardliners raved on, employing a device that they have raised to the level of near-perfection, fake outrage. A classic example of this ploy was used earlier to damage Dean when he made that remark about wanting the votes of people who drive pickup trucks with a confederate sticker. Gasp! Horrors! Lifetime politicians (how quaint that they keep calling it “ublic service” know all too well the danger of candor. Tell them what they want to hear, not what you think. When Joseph McCarthy, called by Ann Coulter one of America’ heroes, was elected to the Senate from Wisconsin, he received a number of votes by members of the state’ communist party. He passed this off by casually remarking: “ommunists vote too, don’ they?” There must be some sort of maxim available here in the world of realpolitik: a vote is a vote. Ask Bush. One of his most ardent supporters is the venerable Jerry Falwell.
The cast of characters in Iowa rambles on. Kerry, a man who, as has been mentioned repeatedly, looks like Abraham Lincoln, speaks with Old Testament gravity, and promises that he will do everything short of curing cancer and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Gephardt, a fine representative, deservedly loved by the unions and his fellow Missourians, hasn’ had a new idea in two decades. Edwards, who is so personally charming, it is almost easy to overlook the fact that he has a first rate mind, is taking the high road, scrupulously avoiding the carping criticism emanating from the other candidates. He is a future star. There is something sad about the exodus of Carol Mosley-Braun. She is articulate, informed and as sunny as John Edwards. Her conduct in the caucus was grace and dignity personified. Any government would be enhanced by her presence. At this dramatic juncture (no doubt a forlorn hope) Dennis Kucinich enters the scene. Yeats wrote of “his pragmatic pig of a world.” Here is a man who may be too good for the presidency. Practically considered, he has no chance. Kucinich’ concern about and work for all Americans is without equal among any candidate in either party. It is a near-miracle that he has risen as far as he has, for he is the ethical, spiritual and idealistic parallel of the late, lamented Paul Wellstone. In a rational world Kucinich would be the leader this country deserves. It is astounding that such a lamb has survived among the wolves in the House of Representatives.
All the legislatures who make these junkets, taxpayer financed, to Iraq should be forced to visit Walter Reed Hospital to see the thousands of wounded, maimed, single or double amputees whose future is problematic at best, tragic at worst. – Robin Godfrey
Add to this list of visitors, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Perle, et. al., to see what they have wrought. – Clarke
A viler evil than to murder a man is to sell him suicide as an act of virtue. – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
– James Madison, The Federalist Papers
These places (Arab countries) run on revenge.
– Asad Hayauddin
If we sent it bus money, would the Democratic Party come home? - Jim Hightower
In 1996 the Supreme Court ruled that money is “peech,”thus negating the vote of the ordinary citizen.
The corporation cannot be ethical, its only responsibility is to make a profit. – Milton Friedman
Whittling away is the American public’ willingness to bear the costs of maintaining an increasingly unpopular occupation. Acutely sensitive to the threat, the American government has denounced the guerillas as “errorists.” - Baruch Kimmerling
I remain, as always, not just another pretty face.
School Board Meeting
Board Appoints New Member,
Scott Legg Resigns
The Clay County Board of Education held their regular meeting Tuesday, January 20, at Clay Elementary School. Members present were R.B. Legg, Jr. (president), David Pierson, Scott Legg and Gene King. Resigned member Fran King’ former chair, between King and Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger, was empty – but not for long. First agenda item was to appoint a new member of the board.
R.B. Legg said they had received a letter of interest for the position two weeks before from Kimberly Sams. Gene King immediately said it would be his great honor to make the motion to appoint Sams to fill the vacancy. Scott Legg seconded, and Sams was unanimously appointed to the board. Linkinogger administered the oath of office, and Sams sat down in the empty chair. Sams, a candidate for the Board of Education, will fill this position until June.
Business conducted by the board: approved previous meeting minutes; employed Camilla Neal and Timothy Gunter as substitute teachers; approved a ‘equest for Proposal’public notice seeking proposals from interested parties asking for a solution to provide interactive video/audio transmission, both live and recorded mode, at all school sites and the board office for the Distance Learning project (sealed proposals must be received by February 17); approved Lacie Pierson as a student tutor for the Gear Up Program at Clay Middle School (CMS); approved a ‘oil Water Order’policy for Clay County Schools; and, accepted the resignation of board member W. Scott Legg, Jr., effective immediately. Legg said he’ told Linkinogger of his decision at 3:00 PM, earlier in the day, after a lot of soul searching. He said he’ been in public service for 32 years, but this (serving on the school board) had been the most gratifying. Legg said when a choice had to be made the kids had always come first, and he appreciated the professionalism in Clay County Schools. R.B. Legg finally admitted that he really is related to Scott – 1st cousins.
Continued on the next page
Linkinogger said, “’e served with a lot of board members…Scott is always working for the kids, you can see it, truly (working) for the betterment of the children.” Gene King praised Legg for never wavering on discipline, “e have to stand behind our people, teachers and bus drivers.” When questioned about his future plans Legg replied, “ plan to file for sheriff.” All motions passed unanimously, Pierson abstaining on the vote for the CMS tutor.
After a discussion on the new school site (see coverage on this elsewhere in this edition), a $15,000 grant was received. The Challenge for Healthier Schools Grant, authored by Connie Harper, will involve four schools and provide for training and activities to improve student physical fitness. The grant id funded by Mountain State Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Dr. Debbie Brown, from the WV Department of Education, congratulated and presented plaques to the principals of Valley Fork Elementary, Ivydale Elementary and Clay Elementary for achieving the status of WV Title I Distinguished School. She explained that to achieve that the schools had to meet the No Child Left Behind requirements and have 50% of their students score in the top two quartiles in math and reading for three years or more.
The board then met with the Clay Elementary Local School Improvement Council (LSIC). Principal Dan Brown offered a presentation on improvements made at the school during the past year. Highlights included: the students use of the track at Maysel Park as part of physical education and their improvement on the Presidential Fitness Test – 70% of 1st semester students passed the test on one of three levels, previous high being 45%; improved lighting in the old part of the building; a new heating and air conditioning system (SBA funded); Americorp workers at the school, primarily working with students in reading and spelling; an advanced writing class; a RESA technician helping to repair and update computers; and, an after school program that is averaging 60 kids a night.
Brown particularly wanted to acknowledge the school’ Business Partners in Education for all the help they provide the school – Murphy’ Flowers, IGA, R.B. Legg, Jr. D.D.S., Elk Power, Clay County Bank, Pierson Lumber, Fola Coal, Wilson Funeral Home, and Jeanie’ Real Estate & Auctions.
LSIC requests of the board for this year are: books for library and the Accelerated Reader Program; get the new heating and cooling duct work painted; and, a security system for the school. Brown said they’ had two break-ins and equipment stolen. Cost would be about $20,000, too much for the board, but Brown has put in a Budget Digest request for the funds. Linkinogger said they had also included that in their SBA request and may get it funded. They will find out later this year.
Meeting adjourned around 7:15 PM. Next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, February 2, at their office building in Clay. Anyone interested in filling Scott Legg’ seat on the board better get their “letters of interest” in by then.
Big Otter Site Looking Better
For those who believe that Big Otter is the best area to build a new elementary school, consolidating Valley Fork Elementary and Ivydale Elementary, there was good news at the Clay County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, January 20, held at Clay Elementary in Clay.
The Murphy Hollow site in Big Otter is looking much better than it did two weeks ago when Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger told the board at their last meeting how much more money was needed, in addition to the $4 million the School Building Authority (SBA) is providing to build the school, to get the site ready for construction. He then proposed using a site in Ivydale, close to the present Ivydale school, which had been offered to them for a cost of $150,000 plus the old school site. The offer, from owner Bill Boggs, was good until January 20. After that date, supposedly, the price for that property would double. Sort of pressured the board members to act quickly. And act quickly is apparently what they’e done.
On Tuesday night’ agenda there was no mention of any action or discussion to take place concerning selection of a site. The topic was raised by Earnie Sirk, a candidate for the Board of Education, who asked, “here is the school going to be built? Anything concrete?” He also asked if they could instead build Valley Fork and Ivydale each a new school. Board President R.B. Legg, Jr. and Linkinogger explained that wouldn’ meet the SBA’ economy of scale (their magic formula used to determine the number of students that must attend before they will provide the funding to build a new school.) Linkinogger went over the problems that had to be overcome to use the Murphy Hollow site – upgrading the road to the site, developing the site, getting three phase power to the site, and increasing water pressure at the site.
After announcing that although they had advertised for another site to consider, and so far had found nothing usable, Linkinogger gave the following update on the search for a school site: Keith Bartley, of Fola Coal, had visited both sites (Murphy Hollow and Ivydale) and preferred the Big Otter site – Fola will develop the site at no charge; the board had submitted letters to the Department of Highways concerning upgrading the half mile of road to the site and Jerry Bird had called and spoken favorably on the possibility of the DOH doing the work; and, board member David Pierson had met with Allegheny Power and they agreed to extend the three phase power at a very minimal cost. Linkinogger said they were still working on the problem of water pressure and flow.
Sirk said they would save over 1 million dollars if they chose the Ivydale site. Linkinogger replied, “t looks like some other agency will be picking up the tab on most of these items, costing the school board nothing.” He also spoke on the likelihood of the SBA funding future projects in Clay if this project went smoothly, and said that hopefully someday a new school would be built combining H.E. White Elementary and Lizemore Elementary, and then a new high school. Sirk, “ promise I won’ be the thorn in your side.”
Ivydale resident Jimmy Duffield asked if they were aware the ground up there (Murphy Hollow) was slippery. Linkinogger and Pierson assured him that there was money in the SBA grant for geotechnical work and that the whole site would be tested. Pierson, “ne more thing. This came out of a ten year plan. This follows along with that.” Linkinogger agreed, saying the people that worked on the ten year school facilities plan, representatives from each school in the county, wanted the regional schools.
Regarding the Murphy Hollow site, Linkinogger said, “ month ago I said ‘o way’could we come up with this money.” Looks like some real team work is paying off well for Clay County.
COUNCIL TO AMEND WAYS
Mayor Arthur Jarrett took charge of the January 6th Clay Town Council meeting at 4 p.m.. Around the conference table were Recorder Dwana Murphy and Council persons Betty Murphy, B.J. Zegeer, Frank Childers, and Phil Morris. Sally Legg was no where to be seen.
As far as money goes, it doesn’ go as far as it once did. Gas bills are up as are expenses for recent tire purchases. In the way of repairs, the Maysel booster pump needs a new circuit breaker to the tune of $538.00.
Have you ever parked in the alley beside the Clay County Bank? That may be changing soon. King Arthur brought to the council a request from the bank to rent all the parking meters for their customers. Employees will have to park on the bank lot up on the hill according to Jarrett. Although the mayor wanted to charge the bank $1700 per month for the parking spaces, Council felt $100 per month was more in order. Long time veteran of Clayberry directives Betty Murphy cautioned against such a bank deal. Big Murph, “his might create problems, some businesses wanted to buy meters years ago…” Discussion flowed back to previous Mayor Joyce Gibson’ reign when she pushed for $20 per month rental of parking meters.
So how much income is generated off municipal parking meters? According to council, $600 to $800 per month when meter maids are working regularly. The Mayor was designated as negotiator for the monthly rental plan.
Since the beginning, the Town of Clay sewer plant has been a hot button issue. First were the delays followed by the stink, followed by rate increases, and disputes with the engineers who planned the often called, “ohnny Woooofter Log Factory” Now, according to the Mayor, recent flooding has washed away much of the river side edge of the property. Jarrett, “he sewer plant is ready to fall in the river. It’l take $200,000 to fix it… that’ an estimate.” As of meeting time, 7 feet of river bank has been eroded away. The Town has been in contact with the Legislative delegation for grant assistance. Consensus from around the table: they waited too long to file a FEMA report for federal assistance grants.
During the last meeting, Dwana Murphy was asked about posting meeting agendas contrary to what state Open Meeting Laws require. Since then, she checked with the Ethics Commission and low and behold, law requires them to post agendas a minimum of 3 days in advance of monthly gatherings. Murphy promised to comply with state law beginning with the next meeting.
For those that remember, 18 months ago Mayor Jarrett promised to have the 11 parking meters reinstalled beside the welfare office at the far end of town. Clinton Nichols removed them during remodeling of the facility. Jarrett was reminded of that promise and commented that he was still thinking about doing that one.
As for reclaiming $6500 swiped by a former employee, according to the Mayor, the fraud audit is done but no settlement has been completed. Translation: they haven’ got the money yet. Jarrett, “e’e going to get it!”
The town needs to hire an attorney for the Maysel water line extension project. Suggestions were made. Jarrett, “im Lane?” No! Jarrett, “evin Duffy?”No, Duffy says the Town still owes him for previous work. Jarrett, “e won’ speak to me now!”Dwana Murphy, “ayne King?” Laughter erupted. From the peanut gallery came suggestions: How about new man Barry Koerber? What about Jim Samples? How about that Heather girl on the Southern end of the county?
In other news, it appears Tom Dawson will sell the municipality ½ acre to set a new water storage tank on for $5000.00.
Just 40 minutes readers and it was done. AW
PUBLIC INPUT NOT NEEDED
Development Authority Meets
Clay County’ Business Development Authority met on New Year’ Day at the Courthouse. Chair Paige Willis called the meeting to order just after 5pm with 7 boardsters in attendance. In the peanut gallery sat Morgan Triplett, Fred Sampson and this reporter. The short agenda was covered in quick order. In the BDA’ treasury, a little over $9200.00.
Still smarting from their recent loss in court, discussion turned to the taxpayer paid for Filcon, Inc. property near Ovapa. As a note, last month, a jury decided to allow the Clay County Bank to exercise their $147,000 lien against Filcon and, essentially, the county lost the land after a 2 year court battle. During this meeting, boardsters Leonard Williams and Dave Pierson suggested that the bank may be willing to take less than the lien amount, $147,000. Williams said that the county had already paid for improvements there like, 3 phase power, and any industrial park in the future would need the same things all over again. Williams, “here’ a big investment there, to have to do it all over again..”
Chair Willis was not optimistic on such an idea, “e don’ have the money, we only have $9000… there’ no use blowing smoke…”Talk continued on the site being a good spot for a potential wood products distribution center. He went on to explain that Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) has the money to buy and develop Clay County locations. According to Willis, one of the big problems for this county is that CAEZ was designated as the lead economic development agency and given $30,000 for their work while the state code vests those same powers in local development authorities. That conflict of duties and authority has hindered the BDA (and the county).
Other areas of the CAEZ, for instance Fayette County, “Are making out like bandits”according to the Chairman.
Four years ago, the BDA designated a 17.5 acre tract of Murphy Fork property as a great spot for an industrial park. Those plans were dashed when the Department of Highways estimated road improvement cost to be around $3 million and the DOH was unwilling to cover the improvement. That same spot is where the Board of Education is currently planning to build a new consolidated school. When that board asked about road improvements, the Dept. of Highways has been much more responsive and appears to be in line to do the upgrade at no cost to the county. As discussion turned to this topic, Jim Knotts nailed it with, “he dollars seem to bypass us…. Everything goes stale when we come up with it.”
Last summer the Team BDA voted to seek ownership of the old State Road Garage at Two Run with hopes of luring a new or growing business into the cut stone building with nearly new rubber roof and 3 phase power. Sometime after that decision a snag developed. According to statements provided by Morgan Gibson, if the BDA accepts ownership of the DOH building (price $1), only government agencies (including fire departments) could occupy it. Translation: now it’ a little tricky here readers, but basically, even though the BDA would own the building, they could NOT rent to private companies.
As a follow up from last year, our local BDA’rs are looking for a grant writer and/or executive secretary. Mack Samples name came up as a good choice. During this meeting others said they knew of other choices that need considered. Again Willis was reluctant, citing no funds.
From the peanut gallery, community activist Fred Sampson provided some history on the BDA. Sampson said the County Commission created the current group “s a joke” Willis agreed with, “o shut some people up” According to Sampson, the County Commission (CCC) didn’ understand the power given the BDA under state code. Once created, the CCC realized the potential for power problems and then gave the power (in this case $30,000) to the CAEZ leaving the BDA pretty much toothless. Originally, the CAEZ was to provide grant writing for the county. Sampson reiterated the state code mandated power and suggested that CAEZ has the money to develop Clay County and the only thing the BDA has to do is come up with a project.
Back and forth it went, on the need for flat land, on the need to provide for new jobs, how one time Commissioner Tim Butcher was in favor of the BDA having full power to develop the county, Jimmy Duffield’s mountain top land is nice land and could be developed...no decisions made. For the most part, business as usual, as has been the case over the last four years, little to nothing accomplished.
But then there is always fun to be had at a public meeting. As the meeting was winding down and the whining continued on having just $9000 to work with, that short fat reporter raised his hand and offered, “hat fries me. You guys have got $9000.00 and you haven’ used it.”Willis, “ell I propose we use it for a grant writer.”Ace Cub Reporter, “ut you have already paid $30,000 for a grant writer, Jerry Sizemore. The county paid $30,000 and they’e committed for $60,000.”Willis seemed to agree with a chuckle. Then the chuckles stopped.
The rotund one continued, “I just think there are industrial sites, parks, setting everywhere half empty to nearly empty. It looks like it is easier to develop and grow existing businesses.”Mention was made that if Pierson Lumber is considered a local saw mill then assistance should be given them to turn the company into a regional business. And, “f Gould’ Electric is a regional business why isn’ he an East Coast business?”Willis, “e don’ want to be!”Pushing the envelope a little further, and on the subject of the BDA doing very little, other than meeting monthly, tubby, “ don’ see any accomplishments in the last 2 or 3 years.. Maybe the plan for 2004 should be different.” Willis, “ou’e probably right.”
And then what makes Clayberry meetings and appointed leaders so very special, Chair Willis, in his usual get along with everybody style, “ can tell you this, if we’e going back to putting signs up so winos can get down to the river to fish, I’ gone! We ain’ going to do that while I’ Chairman. We’e either going to do something constructive or I’ out of here.”Chair Willis was referring to an earlier BDA which created stream access paths for fishermen and the securing of 2 concrete boat slide launches ( by the DNR). The four foot path access points and boat slides are still in use today. This reporter was one of the BDA’rs involved in those projects and hearing the words from Willis, rallied with, “ell then I think you should be gone! Those paths are still there and every summer, the cars are there…”
Not letting the reporter finish, a sarcastic Willis, “nd the money is rolling in!!”In an attempt to enlighten the not so work brittle Chair, AW continued, “ust like the last CAEZ report said, tourism and fishing alone won’ do it but it is [fishing and the Elk River] the hub.”Always ready with a snide remark, Willis referred to another “t can’ be done”project in the county, the soon to be on the air, WYAP radio station, Willis, “hen you get your radio on the air, you broadcast that far and wide …”
With both in the word exchange getting feisty, lardy came back, “hat’ the attitude that just don’ hunt. You got to take the baby steps. $9000 gives you baby steps.”Willis, “nd what do you propose for the $9000.00?”AW, “ould you like a report? Something with some thought?”Willis, “ho’ going to make the report?”AW, “’ be happy to make the report.”
And the icing on the cake from Chairman Paige Willis, “o, I don’ want your report.”AW, “ didn’ think you would!” The Mel Gibson look alike reminded the Chairman of similar statements made by the Chair during an earlier in the week CCC meeting where Commissioners Sams told him [Willis] that he didn’ want any input in a decision. Willis, “f you’e got somebody that is knowledgeable, that knows what they’e talking about and wants to give me a report, I’l take the report. I don’ want to take your report.”Having heard the always open for suggestions remarks, this reporter finished with, “Thank you very much.”
Moments later the gathering of Team BDA ended at 6 p.m. and almost exactly where they were on January 1, 2002, 2001, 2000…. Without a plan, without a direction, and without creating one new non-government job for the residents of Clay County.
Breaking the tension as the meeting ended, Leonard Williams came up to Paige and said, “ou better buy the next Communicator cause you’e going to be in it.”There was laughter. AW
DON GREENE - WV Radical A YEAR OF DECISIONS
As we go into the year of 2004 we are facing some of the most important decisions that any Americans have ever had to deal with. These decisions will face us on every front from the county to the national level.
At the county level each voter should remember who it is that appoints the do-nothing, rude, fiscally irresponsible boards that handle our water and sewer facilities. It is imperative at every level to understand that actions speak louder than words when casting your ballot. Do you want better services and leaders that look beyond the end of their noses, to the future of your community? Or will you be satisfied to stumble into the booth and follow the established order of things as they are?
These same issues must be considered when making your choices for district and state level leaders. Do they have anything new to offer? Are they nothing more than puppets for the same old behind-the-locked door brand of leadership we have barely lived under for generations? Our counties and our state exist at or near the bottom of every meaningful measurement of living in America. The so-called leaders that we have trusted have put us there. Isn't it time to start doing things differently? Isn't it time to begin selecting our leaders based on a whole new criteria? West Virginia can no longer afford to be enslaved to the electric, coal and chemical industries. We as a people cannot afford to be turned into a state of paupers, struggling along just to exist. We absolutely can't afford or allow the tax-paid bureaucratic machine to dominate our elections, for doing so is simply putting more money in their collective pockets and allowing them to create ever more patronage jobs, digging deeper and deeper into our shallow pockets.
On the national level it gets even worse. Simply stated, West Virginia put the current president in office. If we hadn't allowed "don't-take-my-gun" paranoids, "they-might-hurt-coal" dimwits and "every-sperm-is-sacred" fanatics to dominate our polls, West Virginia and America would be far better off now than we are. The horror of the World Trade Center will last for decades, nearly as long as the multitude of questions about it. Why did we go after everybody but the Saudi Arabians? Saudis piloted the planes, so why did we go to war with Afghanistan and Iraq? Wouldn't it have made more sense to look in their homeland for the roots of the problem? Along this line, since over $70 million or billion has come from our friends the Saudi family, to fund and train terrorists, why aren't we lining them up against the wall?
This country has been lied to so much by this administration that it is nearly beyond belief. We were lied to about why we went into two wars; we are still being lied to about why Americans are being slaughtered on a daily basis. We were lied to about the Healthy Forest action, which actually means save the trees by cutting them down. We were lied to about the Clear Skies program, which actually allows industry to pollute our skies at levels unmatched in over twenty years. Our federal Attorney General has not only run roughshod over our constitutional rights but has also had the nerve to threaten Canada for having the audacity to have its own opinions and laws.
It is obvious that we face tremendous decisions this year. 2004 may very well be the most important year in the history of this nation. It is imperative that every eligible voter goes to the polls and casts informed, rational and responsible votes. The future of our home, our state, our nation and the world may very well depend on your vote.
Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin
Dear Brrrrrrother: I assume you have your long johns on and you are toasting your feet beside the gas (free) stove. We had some really nice weather and now it is quite chilly.
Linda Stockwell Starcher (Mrs. Delmar) of Dunbar, called me this week. She knows I am always interested in my former students. She said that Aaron Starcher, their son, had been employed by Channel 8, WCHS. He will be reporting and doing some photography work. Aaron is married. He and his wife, Alisha, live at Pinch. Mary Starcher, daughter of Linda and Delmar, is married to Micah Barr. She and her husband live in Norcross, Georgia. It is always good to hear about these folks. Linda and Delmar both are working for Joe Holland in South Charleston. Delmar's dad, the late Russell Starcher, would be so proud of this family if he only knew.
Dean McKitrick and his wife, of Ovapa, are the proud parents of a new baby. Sylvia Brown, Audrey Hopkins, and Sandy Brown Potasnik, of Ovapa, were recently visiting with Junior Belcher and his sister, Hattie. I think they live in Parkersburg or very near. These folks also visited with Arlene Brown Jett, of Little Hocking, Ohio. Junior Belcher and his mother were our neighbors when we lived at Horners Fork. Miranda McLaughlin, of Clay, has returned home after spending a few days in New York.
Surely do miss that smiling Cathy Samples Sizemore at the Foodland. Cathy was always a delight to talk with. She was always smiling. Cathy is the daughter of Joe and Emogene Samples, of Horners Fork.
Aunt Maycle Samples, of Twistabout Ridge, has returned to her home after spending a few days in the hospital at Montgomery. David Blankenship and his wife, Marie, of Maysel, are not feeling well. Jim and Louise McLaughlin, of St. Mary's have had the flu. Lots of sickness around these parts.
We have lost some more of our dear friends in the last two weeks. Verna Eagle Pringle, Rosie Workman and Bessie Burdette, have all have passed on to their reward. Blendine Daubenspeck Blankenship, of Leon, called this morning, to tell me that her brother, Delmar "Buck" Daubenspeck, of Bakersville, California, had died. He was injured in a car accident several years ago and was paralyzed.
To each of you who have recently lost a loved one I want to send you this poem. It is titled "Remember Me".
Remember me when flowers bloom,
Early in the spring.
Remember me on sunny days,
In the fun that summer brings.
Remember me in the fall,
As you walk through the leaves of gold.
And in the wintertime
Remember me in the stories that are told.
But most of all remember,
Each day - right from the start,
I will be forever near,
For I live within your heart.
| Love, Sis|
Dear Brother: My last letter didn't make the paper so I will resend it and add a few lines to it. I hear you aren't feeling too well. I will be anxious to hear your test results. You would be surprised at the folks around here who still remember you - guess you made an impression - okay.
Christine Eagle Nelson, of Sun City, Arizona, passed away a few days ago. She was the daughter of the late Everette and Lela Eagle, of Wallback. Also, Chubby Gray passed away. Our sympathies to the families of both of these folks.
Blendine Daubenspeck Blankenship, her daughter, Angel and Kevin Asbury, of Leon, dropped by Sunday for a little visit. It was so snowy and bad I was surprised to see anyone out. Many moons ago I attended Blendine's wedding. I think Bro. Ed Hunt was the minister marrying her. Indiana "Suze" Moore hasn't been feeling well. She is in a nursing home at Sissonville. Virginia Boggs of Twistabout Ridge tells me that Hugh Boggs is about the same. They have made several trips to Beckley in the last month to the VA Hospital. I had heard several months ago that a Bobby Carper had died in a car accident in Ohio. We could not find out any info concerning this. Sylvia Summers called me this evening and said it was the Bobby Carper that had attended Valley Fork Elementary. His mother told Sylvia of the accident. I enjoyed teaching Bobby when he was in the second grade.
Well, this is it for now. Stay true to yourself, always be honest (that is a commodity that you don't find in everyone), until next time - HELP US ALL TO BE BRAVE - with the upcoming election we all need to be brave.
| Sis |
(Champ needs some new things to chew up – bring items when you come in.)
From the desk of Senator Shirley D. Love
The 76th Legislative Session got into full swing Wednesday (January 14) with over 300 bills being put into the hopper. Highlighting the first day’ activities was the State of the State Address by Governor Wise.
The Governor’ call consisted of some 29 executive bills that called for a 20 cent tax increase on cigarettes. Another bill would reduce the State Police retirement age from 55 to 50. The Governor proposed reducing the allowable blood alcohol content for driving under the influence from 0.10 to 0.08. The Governor’ ATV bill will require minors to wear helmets and prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to carry a passenger at any time. Operators under the age of 16 must complete an ATV rider training course. The Governor’ Senate Bill 145 would establish an insurance fraud unit within the office of the insurance commissioner.
The Governor proposes a bill to increase the salaries of Supreme Court Justices, Circuit Court Judges, and Family Court Judges. Another bill proposed by the Governor would provide health benefit plans to small employers that do not have such plans covering their employees. The plan would be administered by the PEIA.
If Senate Bill 135 passes, it would create in August another sales tax holiday for the purchase of back-to-school clothing and school supplies including computers. Executive Senate Bill 164 would authorize the West Virginia Parkways Authority to issue up to one hundred eighty three million dollars in revenue bonds. Senate Bill 134 provides the maximum amount of time a child can spend on a school bus. (1) For elementary school students 30 minutes; (2) for middle school students forty-five minutes; (3) and for high school students 60 minutes.
The Governor’ Office will not sign off on a proposed $75,000 a year lobbyist job created by the state school board members. Senate Bill 35 would provide teachers retirement eligibility with full pension rights if a teacher’ age plus years of service equal eighty.
The Governor will again exempt state troopers, corrections and senior citizens programs from budgetary cuts. Senate Bill 68 if passed would provide a reduced turnpike toll for motorcycles.
One of Governor Wise most far reaching budget proposal this year is his plan to take a $630 million one-time payout from private investors in exchange for money West Virginia might receive from tobacco settlements over the next 20 years.
I am honored to serve my constituents of the 11th District. If I can be of assistance, please feel free to call my office at 357-7849 or write Senator Shirley Love at the Capitol Complex, Room 203 West Wing, Charleston, WV 25305. My door is always open to anyone who wishes to voice a concern. Legislative Update can be reviewed on website www.senator-love.com. `
Talk about an election!! We’e got one this year for sure. As of Thursday, January 22, ten have filed for the $39,000 a year sheriff’ spot. Democrats included Joe Morris, Randy Holcomb, Matthew Bragg, Buckshot Butcher (now town cop), Morgan Gibson, Roger Hunt, Scotty Legg, Donny Triplett and Robert Boggs. On the Republican side, bus driver Dave Mullins. Count ‘em folks, 10! Their backgrounds are about as diverse as one can imagine. Mullins has spent most of his time farming and driving a school bus compared to the youthful 6’”Robert Boggs who spent some pro-baseball time with the Minnesota Twins. Randy Holcomb, “Poopy” as many call him, and Matthew Bragg are active cops but in other counties. Buckshot Butcher has provided law enforcement to the Town of Clay as a volunteer for over 10 months.
Here’ one you sure don’ want to consider for this county, Roger Hunt. With years of big city (D.C.) police experience which included 3 ½ years as a narcotics detective and even more years operating successful businesses in and around the county, we sure don’ want him!
Maybe the one to watch is Donny Triplett, who during a run for assessor in the mid 90s garnered a bunch of votes. He’ got the right last name, too.
Long time Clayonian Jim Samples, just out of law school, put his name on the prosecutor list Thursday Jan. 22nd. Wayne King filed earlier in the week. No word yet from Barbara Schamberger who said she was running in September 2003. As for current appointee Daniel Grindo… enough said.
No one has filed to run against incumbents Mike Asbury (Circuit Clerk) and Judy Moore (County Clerk). As for county surveyor, no applicants so far. In the assessor’ race, Theresa Lane, that’ Commissioner Sams’sister, has filed against incumbent Susie Legg.
And then there’ the school board race. With Fran King and Scott Legg resigned and Gene King and R.B. Legg up for reelection, there is a chance for four new board members. Anyone can run but a maximum of two can be elected from each district. Since there are three districts, one district will get shortchanged for a rep. In District C, incumbent R.B. Legg and Beth Cercone asking for voter approval. Cercone worked as a teacher in the local system before changing over to WV Tech and has kids in the system.
District B has Gene King running. District B? Yep. Gene has served as a board member for 30 years but in District A. Since moving his domicile to District B two years ago, King was forced to run in District B this time around. Had boardster Scott Legg not resigned to run for sheriff this week (opened up a spot for Gene), Gene would have been forced into retirement. Also on Thursday, recently retired teacher and now real estate baron, Dave Derby threw his name in the hat for District B school board slot.
The Northern end of county District A has two seeking office, Earnie Sirk and Kim Sams. District A was served by the “King” club, Fran and Gene. With Kim appointed to fill Fran’ seat January 20th, Sams may have some advantage and name recognition.
And then the most powerful position in the county, Clay County Commission. Outgoing Sheriff Harald Fields, resigned school boardster Fran King, teacher Brian Holcomb, and Rodney Bullard are in. Others are expected to file before the January 31st, midnight deadline. The new person to the big seat must reside in A District. Watch for this battle to heat up as front runners, King and Fields, exchange words over the next 3 months.
Are you tired of business as usual in Clayberry? Think you could do a better job than those already in the contest? Sign up. Run for office. Give Clay County a new start in the 21st Century. Get paid quite nicely, too! AW
WATER AND YOU
Much like third world country, many in Clay County, WV continue to live without a safe supply of potable water. For many, hauling water in the back of pickups has become a way of life. For others, untested, untreated shallow wells and cisterns provide a less than desirable source of water.
With many water projects stalled, outages frequent, boil water orders as common as fruit flies in June, and the current water conditions (mud, yuck, rust) alarming, we compiled some interesting “his and that’”for our above the fold lead story. Nothing fancy mind you, just some facts and info.
Ever had bunches of air banging and sputtering through your home lines after a leak or outage? So how about air running through your municipal water lines; will air run the meter and increase your water bill? During the January 15th special meeting of the Clay Roane PSD Board, Chair Melissa Postelwait told a member of the public to “rove it” Well… Two summers ago, while Postelwait was a member of the general public, she raised similar questions. While an appointed and paid member of the Clay Roane Board, last summer, Postelwait herself confirmed air running through meters and raising water bills.
For an independent confirmation, we went to the folks that manufacture and sell flow meters at flowmeter.com According to those folks: Air eliminators are used in liquid systems to aid in the removal of air and other gases. Many systems designed for liquid service do not operate well when air is present. One example would be flow metering. Most flow meters are designed around volumetric measurement principles. Air passing through a flow meter gets measured just as if it were a liquid, causing large flow measurement errors
Any other questions about air in the lines? How about, how bad is the stuff in the air in the lines? Ever think about that? After a line break or the tank goes dry, what’ in the air? Could that stuff be unhealthy? Answer, you bet it is. According to the University of Illinois/ Tech Center web site, the air in the lines can contain serious contaminants. Stuff worse than in ill-treated water.
As for the WV Public Service Commission, the governing board for local water providers, Title 150, Rules for the Government of Water utilities has lots of answers.
Stuff like rule2.6.a: Each utility shall keep on file suitable maps, plans, and records showing the entire layout of every pumping station, plant, reservoir, transmission and distribution system… tanks, and other facilities used in the production and delivery of water. During many Clay Roane PSD meetings, it was made public, they don’ have a clue where all the lines and valves are located.
How many of you have a fire hydrant close to your home? You could if your local volunteer firs department asked for such. According to the WV PSC rules: Any governmental unit located in the utility’ service area by ordinance of its Council or by resolution of it’ County Commissioners shall have the right to order the installation of additional fire hydrants on existing utility owned mains having an internal diameter of 6 inches or larger and the utility will install each hydrant at its own cost and expense…. The rules manual continues on the financial ratio required for such demands.
Often during public meetings, customers come in force with complaints. Every wonder how many other complaints come via telephone, fax or snail mail? The WV PSC has something to say on that subject as well, from rule 4.5: Each utility shall make a full and prompt investigation of all complaints made by its customers…. The utility shall keep a record of all complaints received which record shall show the name and address of the complaints received, which shall show the name and address of the complainant, the date and character of the complaint and the adjustment or disposal made thereof….Records of complaints shall not be destroyed until a summary has been prepared for permanent record… So, if our local PSDs are abiding by the rules they’e sworn to uphold, you should be able to see patterns of problems and areas of repeated concerns.
And of course the question begging for a real answer, what the heck is water, what is the product suppose to be? Here’ the answer: All water furnished by a utility for domestic use shall be pure, wholesome, potable and in no way dangerous to the health of the customer. Yep, right there, rule 5.9, the water must pure and wholesome. Raise your hand if the water out of your faucet is clear and wholesome.
Information is always good to have. The WV Public Service Commission makes it very clear what local utilities, Public Service Districts, have to do and provide. Want a little more? The 60 page document we’e been quoting from is available and free of charge on the WV PSC web site. The link to that site is on clayberry.org Good reading AW
Our last edition included our annual Year End Wrap Up. With this past year being pretty juicy to say the least, that review of 2003 took over 4 pages of space. For financial reasons, we’e trying to keep your only source of Clayberry news to 16 pages. Due to that limitation, a bunch of our meeting coverage was delayed until this edition. A
JANUARY 23, 2004
The Forgotten Masses By Jim Chafin
Tax Changes: What’ New for Families in 2003?
SIRK 1, CDC 0
Clay Roane Meets, Meets..
School Board Meeting
Big Otter Site Looking Better
COUNCIL TO AMEND WAYS
PUBLIC INPUT NOT NEEDED
DON GREENE - WV Radical
Letter to Brother Bill
WATER AND YOU
DID YOU KNOW
CCC: January 2, 2004
My husband’s in-home care was canceled because the Clay County Development received a complaint that my son, Ronald Jewell, was living with me and my husband. There was never an investigation into this allegation. However, there was a brief meeting between myself, my son and Betty Stalnaker, Pam Taylor and Pat (the nurse). I had previously spoken to the president of the board, Gary Whaling, and requested his presence at this meeting. He agreed and said he would be there. Guess what? He did not show. When asked where he was, we were informed that Betty Stalnaker was in charge of Clay County Development. As I am sure you are aware, this meeting was a waste of time. Nothing was solved. Even when I spoke of a breech in confidentiality, Betty said, “ven though the homemakers sign a confidentiality contract, there is nothing I can do. That issue is between you and the homemaker. I AM IN CHARGE.”
Since my son was killed instantly in a car accident on December 6, 2003, I wonder if Betty Stalnaker and Clay Development could find it in their hearts through sympathy to reinstate my husband a homemaker, or is it just wishful thinking.
P.S. – I am going to stand up and try to do something about Clayberry politics. I am going to try to apply for a general board member position. This may be just a small step but at least there will be a non-biased member on the general board. My goal is “ Fair and Balanced Board.”
On Water Issues
January 10, 2004
I would like to comment on some of the many issues with the water situation with Clay-Roane PSD as well as Queen Shoals PSD.
First and foremost the www.clayberry.org website posted an email from Rose Cantrell stating that Clay-Roane PSD’ maintenance man and OIT Thomas Coon did not check the tank during the Water Outage of Queen Shoals, and that was an outright lie. Mrs. Cantrell had no idea what she was referring to. The tank in question is filled by the Camp Creek booster station on a timer system. During the Water Outage an employee would be at the booster station to turn the pump back on as soon as it kicked off, this occurred night and day for approximately three weeks. Whoever kicked the pump back on would then go out to the tank and check the level. If Mrs. Cantrell was speaking on facts, she would have known this information. She, indeed as was many others, frustrated because they were out of water, and she was speaking before getting all the facts. Clay-Roane PSD keeps very accurate records of when tanks are checked and at what levels they are at. These records can be seen at the plant Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Secondly, Queen Shoals system had seven leaks in a 2 ½ week period. That is why the water was off for so long. Clay-Roane PSD had no involvement in putting those lines in and are not responsible for the many problems that system has. Clay-Roane however helped locate the leaks and fix them. They did this as a favor to Queen Shoals and their customers. What people need to realize is, that Queen Shoals system is in fact a system that was pieced together without an engineer or someone to inspect the lines to make sure they were installed correctly. Many of the lines are horribly off. They go in wrong directions, through the woods, through creek crossings, and they all need to be reinstalled correctly and with an engineer and inspector. Now that Queen Shoals has a board again, they can apply for upgrades to the system! They need to do this immediately. Also they need to apply for a Rate Adjustment, NOT an increase, just an adjustment. Right now, Queen Shoals customers pay per gallon of water, and this needs to be adjusted in a bad way. The customers need to pay per thousand gallons instead of per gallon. If you are a Queen Shoals customer, I urge you to contact your Board Members and make sure they do this immediately. You will see a significant change in your bills immediately.
Many say that since Clay-Roane took over Queen Shoals they have seen a change in their water rates. This is true. When Clay-Roane took over the operation of Queen Shoals they had just received a rate increase. These new rates were not applied to customers bills until Clay-Roane took over the billing. Why it was not done beforehand is beyond me. It should have been. Clay-Roane only uses the rates set forth by the West Virginia Public Service Commission, and like I said above, the Queen Shoals customers pay per gallon instead of per thousand gallons, and that needs adjusted immediately.
Next on my list is the issue of American Water taking over the Queen Shoals system. The customers need to be aware that there are pro’ and con’ to this remedy. While they could come in quickly and repair the lines, do you honestly think they would replace all the lines at no cost to them? No, they won’, and the customers will have to pay. Also, right now the customers have a local name and number to call when they need assistance, do you think that will remain the same once American Water steps in? It won’. They have too many customers, and personal attention is out of the question. And what about water outages? Sure they can fix them, but like anyone else they have to find them first, and until the lines are completely upgraded that would be a chore for anyone.
Now lets talk about billing. If you receive a 24 notice of termination from us now, and you call and say I need a week to get my paycheck, we give it to you. Do you think that American Water will do the same? They don’ know you and they won’ wait either. You either have the money or they shut you off. There is no grace period with them. Now by all means, I am not saying that American Water is a bad company, but I think instead of the Queen Shoals Board or the Clay County Commission making the decision to have them come in, it should be the customers. And I think the customers need to really weigh the pro’ and con’ of the whole thing before they make a decision.
Next up on my list is the Clay-Roane system. The Clay-Roane customers that were without water during the Queen Shoals outage are fed from the Queen Shoals tank. So when Queen Shoals has a leak, it in fact affects Clay-Roane customers. That is the reason that Clay-Roane customers were without water even though the leak was on the Queen Shoals system. There is nothing that can be done immediately to correct the situation. However, in the future changes need to be made to those lines. So as of now, Clay-Roane will unfortunately have to suffer with outages due to the many mistakes in the Queen Shoals system.
And finally, I have heard time and again, on how when the old Queen Shoals board was in place and they had their long time secretary and maintenance man, that they didn’ have any problems with the system. I personally am sick of hearing this! First of all, their secretary didn’ even use the right rates, she didn’ even charge some people for water, so when Clay-Roane took it over, some people that never got a bill before finally got one, and the proper rates were applied. As for the maintenance, most of the time quick fixes were used and amazingly held up for a while, the truth is, even
though it is hard for people to believe, that the system hasn’ been properly maintained for years. And when you add up a system that wasn’ installed correctly with also not being maintained correctly, you have trouble.
I know the many opinions about the local Water Providers in this county, however it is no different anywhere else. They all have problems. Granted some of them the public never hears of, but in fact, they are there. As for comparing rates in this County to some of the other larger providers, it is not equal to do so. If Clay County was as populated as the other counties, sure we would have lower rates because we would have more people paying. However, we are a small County and unfortunately that means that we have to pay more for some things. If you look at it, Water is not the only thing that is higher in Clay, compare the prices at the local store to a store in a more populated County, or compare the Gas prices to those in a more populated County. You will soon discover that while living in a small town has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. Water is not the only thing we pay double for.
(This chatter is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Clay-Roane PSD)
On Rough & Rowdy
Many residents of Clay County went to watch The Rough & Rowdy Brawl. I have to admit that for me it was an enjoyable experience that I will never forget and I am planning to compete next year. I have not stopped laughing. I have been instructed on every aspect of fighting and called every name imaginable for not fighting the second night. I have not had such fun since I wrestled in college. Many males are taking this way too serious. The balance of the world and your ego does not hinge on you fighting in this event.
I do want to make one point clear. If you are interested infighting in this event go for the right reasons and to have fun. If you go for the wrong reasons you run the risk of damaging your ego for a lifetime and taking a tremendous beating. Yearly individuals die from competing at this type of event. This event is for fun but there are extreme risks with permanent injuries, think carefully before you decide to enter such an event.
Let's see what excuses I can come up with for not
fighting the second night. I am ten years older than the average contestant, I was giving up forty pounds, I was not in the physical condition that I should have been and I had never been in a boxing ring before. Those are all reasons, but the true reason is that I was not in the physical condition to withstand four to five fights in one night to get to the finals. I did not want to take a beating from any of the top six contestants. Mr. Joey Myers is a trained boxer and is a tremendous fighter. From Mr. Myers I observed high moral standards and true sportsmanship. Is it not more exciting to wonder what a beating Mr. Myers would have given me?
Next year you might find out because I will try to be in better shape and sacrifice my body to give the residents of Clay County their money's worth. Mr. B.J. Cruickshanks is also a tremendous fighter and has done well the last two years
Once again I want to congratulate all the contestants from Clay County and if others don't, I know what it took for you to get in the ring! — Jay Carper
“e forget who we work for,”spoken by Jerry Simpson of the West Virginia State Treasurer’ Office. Assistant Treasurer Simpson has logged 36 years in that office, and he has seen some pretty tough treasurers come and go – some to the big-house, such as John Kelly. He went through the trying times of A. James Manchin and the lost millions, but along the way he has gained a lot of expertise and insight concerning taxpayer funds, hopefully for the better.
The words of Assistant Treasurer Simpson, while directed to inerrant behavior of past Treasury administrators, could have been written, appropriately, for the situation in which this state finds itself regarding the natural gas crisis now facing everyone. No one can escape the sting of what amounts to about a fifty percent increase in gas prices within the time frame of three months. To say that catastrophe reigns in Charleston, West Virginia is to under estimate the seriousness of this situation by a quad-trillion times. Natural gas, that Creator-given resource for the benefit and use of all mankind, has been captured by a handful of greedy corporations who now treat this precious fuel as their own personal asset. For sure, they have forgotten who they work for. Supply and demand? Folks, that is the stuff of daydreamers, and has no basis in fact or reality. What we are seeing in the natural gas industry is unmitigated GREED – manipulation of supply and price with fear tactics. It’ brain-washing on a scale that would be hard to duplicate; it’ psychology of the masses, orchestrated via a slick Wall Street media campaign, coupled with corruption in the legislative halls and supervisory agencies of our government. Yes, they have forgotten who they work for.
Speaking of corruption in financial circles, Allan Sloan of Newsweek observed: “his is not a case of a few bad apples; it’ the Cockroach Theory – when you see one, you know there’ a whole nest of the nasty maggots.” Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer and expert in money-laundering and other forms of tax evasion, wrote the following for an academic conference held earlier this year at the University of Texas: “orporate managers have spent the last century developing tools for avoiding regulation and taxation. They brag that acts of tax avoidance are part of corporate productivity. For them, each dollar of tax not paid because of their machinations is the added value they bring to a company. Tax avoidance is a profit center. Avoidance of regulation and supervision is an equally high priority. Corporate contributions and the personal contributions of senior corporate managers have funded anti-regulatory think-tanks and anti-regulatory scholarship. Political contributions have turned theory into reality…Tools used to avoid taxes and regulation – shell subsidiaries, partnerships and joint ventures, foreign subsidiaries, special purpose entities, and sophisticated transfer pricing techniques – have long been in use, but the difference is that when they were first used their purpose was to avoid state regulation and hide from state law enforcement. Today…the techniques are being used to beat what is left of federal taxation and regulation. Corporations have turned international borders into barriers that block national level taxation and regulation. The international community has failed to produce effective machinery for cooperation in the areas of taxation and regulation, and as a consequence, the social control of corporate behavior stops at the border.”
We might also add that “ocial control”also stops with the administration now in Washington. Remember Harvey Pritt who proved himself unable to get tough, even after Enron, and was replaced with William Donaldson, former head of the New York Stock Exchange. But, of course, that was before the stock exchange was exposed to public scrutiny by its own scandals. At the Treasury Department, John Snow, master of paying no corporate taxes and the golden parachute, is now in charge. At the Federal Power Commission, those august members failed to notice the mess in California while $30 billion was sucked out of that state. Talk about foxes in the hen house! Former lobbyists for special interests now dominate the top bureaucracies in our federal government, not to regulate, but to facilitate corporate rip-offs.
Richard Todd, writing in the Times Sunday Magazine, asked: “ere these laws and rules taken seriously by anyone – or was it common knowledge in the industry that they were routinely flouted? Who was in on the deal? Was all this done more or less in the open with a general nod and wink among hundreds of guys who understood the game? Or was the money inhaled like cocaine in a surreptitious instant in the back room? Did non-players know? Did my broker know?”
Here in West Virginia, corporate influence in the legislative halls, in the administrative branch, and in the judiciary, is notorious for the manner in which they have failed to protect our land, air and water; the environment in which everyone has to subsist. “upervision”is a misnomer if there ever was one. More aptly, those in charge of “ending to the public’ business”should be called the “epartment of Destruction and Desolation.” Does lack of enforcement not result in increased profits for those already wealthy corporation owners? And, does it not, conversely, produce a debilitating effect upon the health, safety and welfare for everyone else? Certain elements of the media, such as the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and those “h, really, O’eillys”of talking-head notoriety, should, we believe, shoulder a disproportionate share of the blame for the type of hate-mongering now being portrayed in that seldom well-done medium of the overcooked variety.
Citizen participation of the “ow”kind could help make these wayward corporations a more responsible part of the community with some in-your-face, direct contact.
Tax Changes: What’ New for Families in 2003?
Regarding you and your family, what has changed since you filed your 2002 return? Liberty Tax Service reminds you that the child tax credit and the child and dependent care credit amounts have increased. Also there’ finally some relief for those who have suffered from the “arriage penalty.” Lower income families who qualify for the earned income tax credit can tale advantage of increased income and credit amounts. Adoption credit amounts have also increased.
“he child tax credit increase has been a confusing issue for many taxpayers this year. We hope to provide a better understanding of how this new change will affect American families filing their 2003 returns,”said John T. Hewitt, Founder and CEO of Liberty Tax Service. The child tax credit increased to $1,000 per child for 2003, and 25 million taxpayers received an advance child tax credit check during the summer of 2003. When filing a 2003 tax return, those who received checks must reduce the credit amount they claim on their return by the amount of the check received. Also taxpayers should have received IRS Notice 1319 containing information about the advance payment. The child tax credit is received for each qualifying dependent (under age 17 and who is the taxpayer’ child, stepchild, adopted child, grandchild, or eligible foster child.)
Liberty Tax Service reminds you that the limit on the amount of qualifying expenses for the child and dependent care has increased. Qualified expenses may be allowed for up to $3,000 for one eligible individual ($6,000 for two or more.)
The standard deduction is now $9,500 for married filing jointly, twice the single standard deduction of $4,750.
Members of Armed Forces, National Guard, and Reserves may be able to amend past years’tax returns to take advantage of some of these changes: