JANURARY 24, 2003
Click on a headline to read a story then use your back button to return here

WINTER HOT & FIERY FOR CCC: Another New Lawyer and Calls for Resignation
Justice: Civil Procedure or Subject Matter?
Press Release from WV Junior College
School Board Meets at Clay Elementary
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
NEW AMBULANCE REPORT And a need for a new Levy!!
Follow ups
??? DID YOU KNOW ???
MORNING IN COURT: Wedgee Time and Court Mercy


Month after month year after year, the peasants of Clay County are told the need and worth of consolidating all the local water service providers, the Public Service Districts, PSDs into one huge conglomerate. So important is the plan, a year ago. State leaders said the consolidation program was top priority. So important is the notion that our County Commission formed an advisory Board nearly two years ago to expedite the effort.
        That most important group, the Regional PSD Advisory Board met Thursday Jan 23 at noon. From Charleston came big cheese Department Heads, Amy Swann, Dave Foster and Geert Baaker. After just a few minutes into the open assembly, it became apparent, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS!. Nothing. Zip. Zero. The questions asked last winter, questions on year end audits and such were raised again and during this assembly, the answers were given. Nothing has been done
        While Clay County PSD voted months ago to hire Chapman Technical to engineer a new water source for the PSD ( Translation : Build their own water plant) and Clay Roane PSD Boardster Gary Whaling made reference to their plans to build a 3 /12 million dollar plant during their last meeting, moderator for the Regional PSD, Amy Swann said that everything is strictly preliminary. Hmmmmm
____ _________ _______ ________ ______
         We’e got an election coming readers! Might just be a nice one too. Those seeking office in the June 2003 Town of Clay had until Friday Jan 24th to hand deliver their applications for office to Town Hall and until Saturday Jan 25th, at midnight, to mail in candidacy papers.
         As of 4 pm Friday, 14 Town of Clay residents have taken up the charge of public service. Incumbent Mayor Arthur Jarrett signed up for a full term and is being challenged by Glen Nichols who resigned the appointment over a year ago. The position pays $500 per month.
         Current Recorder Betty Murphy chose not to run again for that office ($380.00 per month spot). On the Recorder ballot are Dwana Murphy and Linda Morehead. Incumbent Council persons seeking reelection are : Okey Burroughs, Sally Legg and Wanda Chambers. Dave Derby and Helen Morris will not be seeking another term. Additional applicants include: Joyce Gibson, Billie Zegeer, Phillip “atman”Morris, Rene Moore, Buckshot Butcher, Betty Murphy, and Paige Willis.
         Now for some background notes: Challenger Glen Nichols served briefly in the capacity and during his tenure, changed from being against the new water plant to one in support of it; Linda Morehead owns and operates a local beauty salon as does Sally Legg; Phillip Morris is the son of retiring Council person Helen Morris, a supporter of a high dollar water plant; Billie Zegeer once sued the Town demanding the citizenry have a chance to vote on going out of the water business; during Joyce Gibson’ term as Mayor, the Town became so insolvent, they had to ask for grants ( $60,000.00) and a $50,000.00 loan to save their municipal charter; Dwana Murphy is the ex daughter in law of Betty Murphy and is currently employed as a clerk for the Town on a full time basis; Renee Moore is the daughter of Clinton Nichols a one time politician in the area and is the niece of Glen Nichols. Glen is Clinton’ brother.
         Getting confused on who and what are where.
         It may get worse! All candidacy papers may NOT been in yet. With provisions for mailing in the paperwork as late as Midnight Saturday, more candidates may be coming and those intentions may not be known until as late as Tuesday Jan 28. Many in the community feel that more candidates from the Joyce Gibson clan will surface. Look for defeated County Commissioner and one time Mayor of Clay, Tim “o Show”Butcher to file as well as Tim’ wife. Joyce Gibson’ husband Morgan often files for public office and he too may be added to the ballot.
         Over the next five months we’l try to keep you posted on the election 2003 sure to be full of antics and tactics.                        
         WINTER HOT & FIERY FOR CCC: Another New Lawyer and Calls for Resignation
                 Month after month the antics of our elected and appointed leaders keep on coming. One of the prime contenders for “ntertainment of the Year”has to go to our County Commission. It’ almost as if they thrive on controversy. In this edition we provide coverage from two commission (CCC) meetings, one, a special meeting held January 17th and the second, a regular meeting, on January 22nd. It’ cold outside, so take off your shoes, get a cup of coffee, relax and enjoy life in Clayberry.
                 With CCC President Jimmy Sams seated, Matthew Bragg and Peter Triplett to the left and right, the special meeting was called to order and prayer was offered. Sams said they were there to hire an attorney. CCC is being sued for their performance during the hiring process of County Prosecutor Daniel Grindo. Barbara Schamberger is the plaintiff. With just a couple in the peanut gallery, Sams said he had been served the court documents Friday, January 10th, and the governing body needs to respond in 20 days. As for the Commission’ insurance provider covering the cost of an attorney, it ain’ going to happen “or a variety of reasons”according to Sams. Explaining to his counterparts, Mr. Sams said he had talked to attorney John Brown with Pullin, Knopf, Fowler and Flannigan and felt comfortable with Mr. Brown.
                 From Peter Triplett, “o need we need to hire one? We’e already got two!”Triplett referring to Prosecutor Grindo and counsel for the Business Development Authority Barbara Schamberger, grinned. Sams did not as Commissioner Bragg sighed. The questions came.
                 Bragg raised issues of the high cost of a court battle and if the CCC gets beat in court, the $10,000.00 cost of a special election for a new county prosecutor would have to be added on top of the attorney fees. Bragg, “ow much money in the end? We’e using taxpayers money…” Sams remembered a lost court battle which cost around $25,000.00 but the insurance carrier covered all but $5000.00 of that invoice.
                 From the audience, attorney Jeff “’ the reason for all this mess”Davis commented that the cost of a simple hearing and prep time would not be a great amount of money. Davis envisioned the argument NOT making it to the Supreme Court and said, “…law firms are ethical…”At least one in the peanut gallery gave Davis a look of: You dumb***, every lawsuit costs big bucks! Bragg went on with questions on the high cost of litigation.
                 When Commissioner Sams heard Triplett say, “e ought to hire an attorney,”he knew he had the two votes necessary. Keep in mind Bragg has been adamant over the need for county voters to have a say in the selection process of the next prosecuting attorney. On this date, Bragg again held on to his notion that the public has some say in Clayberry. Sams reiterated his position that the CCC had done nothing wrong during the appointment process of Prosecutor Grindo, and as for holding an election for the past opening, Sams, “e don’ need it.”Clerk Judy Moore weighed in with concerns over the expense of having an election every time ANY elected official resigns. Sams, “… we’e done everything we’e suppose to.”Sams did say that the court case could set a precedent.
                 As for the vote to hire attorney Brown to represent the CCC in court, Sams and Triplett, “es”and Bragg, “o.” Brown will charge the county $125.00 per hour for services.
                 Now, the politics. Bragg on several occasions voiced strong support for hiring then Assistant Prosecutor Schamberger to replace outgoing Prosecutor Jeff Davis. His efforts were for naught. Getting into the back ground of Bragg’ strong stance for Schamberger, Clerk Judy Moore, “ho advised you?” Sams chimed in with questions on whether Bragg had been in conversation with Ms Schamberger and did Schamberger do the telephone calling? Bragg responded that he had talked to attorney Schamberger and after such conversations he felt the law mandates the public have a say in the selection process, IE: an election. Feeling the pressure of the moment, Bragg came back with questions on who called the special meeting. Sams said he called the meeting after talking with Peter. Turning to Pete Triplett, Bragg asked if he was called about the meeting or just told about it. No clear response from Triplett.
                 Standing his ground, Bragg came back with, if a president resigns, then the vice president takes over. Bragg said Schamberger did not get a fair shake. Sams disagreed with the Bragg logic stating that the CCC did not hire the Assistant Prosecutor, that Davis hired his assistant. Bragg also raised issues with hiring someone from outside the county.
                 Decision made on the one item agenda. Sams and Triplett Yes, Bragg , No. The county has a new expense center and its name is John Brown.
                 As the meeting ended, Business Development Authority Chair Paige Willis asked CCC President Sams if he wanted Ms Schamberger fired as BDA attorney. Sams, “e can’ discuss that.”
                 The stage is set. Bragg is on one side of a hot button issue with Sams just as firmly committed to running the county through a court battle.
         JANUARY 22, 2003 THE MAIN EVENT
                 With 15 stuffed into the long hallway between the County Commission room and the County Clerk’ office, County Commission held their regular meeting beginning around 2 pm. NOTE: Family Law Court was using the CCC room.
                 Earnie Sirk was first on the agenda. Wide Glide, as some in the community know him, knows how to torque up elected folks. He managed to do that this day and do so very quickly. Sirk said he had a beef with Commissioner Sams over Sams not adhering to the Oath of Office. According to Sirk, when Sams posted his big, black plastic Ten Commandments plaque, he broke the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. When Sams refused to honor the state constitution by holding a state code mandated election for the vacancy (of county prosecuting attorney) December 12th, he again broke the law. As Sirk was speaking, Sams was getting riled. The normally pale Sams’complexion grew red. In the temple region of his head, that area turned white. Sirk went on saying that Sams took an oath to uphold all the laws and not just the ones he liked. With Sheriff Fields in the room, Sirk asked why civilian bailiff Gene King remained on the job after a recent WV Supreme Court decision banished all but sheriffs and deputies from serving bailiff duties. Over in the corner, Sheriff Fields’shorts started to bunch up!
                  With neck veins glowing, Sams retorted that the Ten Commandments was a historical document and NOT illegal. As for no civilian bailiffs being allowed in court, after saying he had heard that, Sams, “heriff, is Gene a civilian?”
                 Some where in all this warmed up discussion, Prosecutor Grindo broke in and suggested all such discussions should be taken to Circuit Court. With Fields looking squarely at Sirk and taking the queue from the Prosecutor, Fields, “ou probably should address the Judge!”Sirk to Sams, “ou didn’ hire him [Gene King]?”Sams, “o, we just approve it, we have no say in it….”Also, trying to avoid the debate, Sams told Sirk to take it all to a Judge! Sams, “ou’l have to bring suit, Mr. Sirk!” The hallway was quiet…veins still popping up in Sams’neck… the icy Fields stare at Sirk… Fields to Sirk, “ou can’ handle Clay County my friend!!”Finally with eyes finally on new Commissioner Triplett, “e’e in Court, [we] can’ talk about it…”Grindo, defending the elected ones, again suggested that the public’ views and requests be taken over to the costly Circuit Court process.
                 After Sirk explained the process of removing an elected official from office (50 signatures needed), Sirk asked Sams to resign from office!!!! With veins really popping, Sams, “OU GO GET YOUR 50… I’E DONE NOTHING WRONG…. I’ NOT RESIGNING!!!!”        Guess what? Sirk appears to be doing just what Mr. Grindo, Mr. Sams, and Mr. Fields advised him to do. Sirk is now circulating a petition to remove Sams and Sheriff Fields from office. Now that’ the way to appease the public. No election for prosecutor and a lawsuit… tell the citizenry to go away and file a lawsuit, and remove the county’ only lawyer that works for $28.00 per hour! We have progress in Clayberry!
                 With Sirk out of the room, a couple other highlights… Someone should please tell Robert and Betty Davis that they have no say so in the naming of the private driveway they own out Wallback way.
                 And one other related note on Commissioner Sams’plan to get shed of all Schamberger references in Clay County. Sams asked that Ms Schamberger’ Business Development Authority work records be turned over to the Prosecutor for his review. BDA Chair Paige Willis said he couldn’ do that since the Court is already in possession of them. Sams gave the green light for Grindo to find and examine the paperwork.
                 And finally, Sams, responding to public questions, stated that Dog Warden Walter Stutler does NOT tie dogs to trees and shoot them, and the cages used to haul animals around in would be covered to protect the wayward creatures from extreme weather conditions.                        AW        
                 Clay County PSD Board of Directors met in regular session Jan 14 in the basement of the old courthouse. Chair Keith King and Earl Long were present with Homer Triplett playing hooky. In the cramped basement digs, with just 2 in the peanut gallery, the room was packed wall to wall.
                 According to Office Manager Cindy Schoolcraft, the water service provider began the month of Dec 2002 with just $297.10; Income for Dec- $21,735.03; Expenses -$21,860.34 and closed out last month with just $171.79.
                 Maintenance Super. Sam Taylor reported on conditions around the system. As for Little Italy’ Larry McLaughlin complaint on no water pressure in that section of the county…. Condition greatly improved with the PSD throttling down pump pressure to 50# and pumping water in the evening hours only due to Town of Clay imposed day time restraints. Even under those circumstances, McLaughlin and other Little Italy residents who had gone without water service during evening hours for years, now have decent water pressure and appear satisfied. Taylor raised concerns over premature wear out of the pump due to increased pumping time at lower pressures. Chair King asked if the Town of Clay would pay to replace the pump. No real response given but somewhere in there King made comments on WV Public Service Commission engineer Jim Weimer. King,”Jim Weimer is not as bright as he thinks he is.”        Currently the PSD is working on all the needed right of way agreements for the Lizemores water extension project with just 30 completed and in hand. Chapman Technical is to supply a list of potential customers to the PSD. Some work has also been done on the Tucker’ Bottom’ water line extension where the new line will go to Arlene Tucker’ property and stop. Schoolcraft said the staff will start going door to door for the signatures in two weeks.
                 Time to spend some money! Clay County PSD OK’ the purchase of a new 4WHD ¾ ton pick up for the service crew. With Boardster Earl King commenting, “We definitely need one” The purchase comes from Mid State Chevy with a price tag of $22,800.00. Monthly payments will change from $420.00 a month to $440.00/month.
                 As for buying a module building to replace the one burnt June 13 2002. Hearing the $57,900.00 price tag, the PSD gave the nod to the purchase. The price is to include setup and a vinyl skirting. Delivery is scheduled for 8 to 12 weeks.
                 Keeping up with the staff… PSD motioned to formally hire Patricia Taylor for the clerk position at minimum wage rates.
                 Since the monthly meeting, we’e gathered a little more info on Clay County PSD. So where will the money come from to purchase the new trailer? After the fire, the water service provider settled with their insurance provider for $122,910.00.
                 As for the PSD needing WV Public Service Commission approval before purchasing the new 4WHD. Got it. According to Office Manager Cindy Schoolcraft, Bill Nelson with the WV PSC gave the nod for the purchase.        
                 And since the last meeting, rumors have been circulating that the PSD has already surveyed out a spot at Hartland to build their own water plant and get away from buying water from the Town of Clay. Again from Ms Schoolcraft, “The answer is NO.”Schoolcraft said that Chapman Technical has not even begun the feasibility study for a new water source and CAN’ until funds are on hand to pay for the 20 some thousand dollar report. Currently, the PSD has received only $5000 from the County Commission for the expense and they are hoping that a state grant will cover the balance. So, why not just use some of the insurance money to cover the engineering work? Office manager Schoolcraft said that the insurance dollars will be used to get the new building up and completed as well as replace supplies lost in the fire before any other purchases are made from the account                        AW
                  Remember all the fun we had with Prosecutor Jeff Davis. Year after year, time in and time out. There was always something to point a finger at while Davis was in office. Well, there’ a new kid on the block. His name is Daniel Grindo. Yes, we’e already given him lots of newspaper coverage on the controversial appointment but this article is court room related.
                 It’ Jan 15, 1pm and the case before the Court is State vs. Robert J King. Grindo is representing the state with Jerome Novobilski speaking for Mr. King. The jury has been seated for two days. Evidence has been presented and it’ time to hear closing arguments followed by the jury deliberations and decision. Instructions were given by Judge Richard Facemire. The jury could find King guilty of unlawful assault or three lesser charges ( battery, assault and something else).
                 Grindo, clad in dress blacks from kiver to kiver, begins his closing arguments using the blackboard for emphasis. Grindo explains all the elements needed for a jury to find the defendant guilty. The jurors listened. Some took notes. His presentation centered on bodily injury, intent, and malicious or evil intent. No stumbling or stuttering, a good presentation. Grindo went into details of how King, after being tossed from the Cozy Corner Bar a couple times late in the evening hours in April, got in his ½ ton Ford pickup with 30 inch tires, backed it up, and “harged”into a crowd of 15 in the drinkery’ parking lot. In great details, Mr. Grindo explained injuries received by Shannon Cavender, squished ankle, scrapes and such to her arm, and back injuries. Grindo explained the many eye witness accounts of the incident. As for the malicious part, Grindo detailed, “e charged helpless people… his intent was to hurt people…. The law says even accidental, the intent was there… He spun around and took another shot at them…”Grindo talked and the jury listened. In the peanut gallery, the 15 or so in attendance strained to grasp all that was being laid out by Grindo. Not a whisper was heard. Grindo closed with a successful look on his face.
                 Time for the counter by Robert King’ attorney Jerome Novobilski. With just a tiny portion of his belly button hanging out of his dress shirt, Jerome plied his trade. The words came easy, looking the jury squarely in the eye, Jerome explained that his client was out for a good time, that he had been drinking and dancing the night away, a bar room brawl happened. He explained that King just wanted out of the tension filled bar and he couldn’ get out. King was surrounded by pushing, kicking males and his client was scared for his life. Jerome disputed the “harging vehicle”theory presented by the Prosecutor. Instead Jerome offered that King, in the height of tension, popped the Ford clutch and the truck lunged forward. One juror scratched his head.
                 Walking back and forth, word doctor Novobilski asked the jury to use common sense. As for injuries to Cavender, according to Novo, the victim was back dancing and having a good time the next weekend after the incident. You could almost hear the music in the background as Jerome explained that his client was guilty of nothing and the whole smear was an accident as the defendant tried to leave the Cozy Corner.
                 On his follow up, Grindo came back with all he could muster. Again touching each base, all the key points driven home again. As for Cavender recovering so quickly, “Cavender was] just plain lucky!”        Jury deliberations lasted only minutes. After hearing eyewitness testimony galore supporting the charging the crowd issue, after hearing lengthy, detailed, explanations, a jury of his peers found Robert J King Not Guilty. Not guilty of anything!
                 After the decision we asked Mr. Grindo about the case. Grindo explained that he felt he had covered “ll the elements”and “t’ impossible to know what a jury will do” Grindo now has some Court room experience and tough experience at that. He is now broke in. If anyone has a spare band aid, please mail it over to new man on the block, Daniel Grindo.                                                                                AW
                 First of all I would like you to know that this is going to be a lengthy Chatter. I have 3 issues I would like to comment on.
                 1st Issue) During the regularly scheduled meeting that took place on January 9th 2002, Douglas Burdette expressed his concerns over water and mismanagement to the board, but like most issues in Clay County this one too has a story that goes with it. Back in the fall of last year Clay-Roane had several boil water issues due to several lines breaking at once. Mrs. Burdette called me complaining that she felt that they weren’ properly notified of these Boil Water Orders (BWO). I told them that we sent out notices to 9 different sources once a BWO has been issued, however if they felt that it should be handled different call the WVPSC and file a complaint. At the time I was a new board member, just appointed in fact, and there was little I could offer at the time. So the story is, they had given their baby water, not knowing that there was a BWO in effect. Again there is little more we can do to notify the public of these orders. We currently fax the order to the local papers, all the local news channels, as well as notify the Health department. I understand that they were upset; I have a small child and would have been too. However things are slowly changing at CRPSD including management, and I myself am working hard to obtain a better reputation with our customers. I would also like to say on this issue, that if anyone has a complaint with the water they are provided to please call our office at 548-5209 and state the problem. We will be more than happy to test anyone’ water that they feel is inadequate to consume. However the pubic should be aware that the some of the water we provide, depending on the location, we have more of a chemical smell than others. This is something that as of right now we cannot change. However as I said if you are dissatisfied with the water please call our plant right away, and if you have a problem with how something is handled in management please come to the monthly meetings and express your concerns.
         2nd Issue) In the last edition of the Communicator in the article with the Town of Clay, Dwana Murphy told the Council that I had been in to complain about the current $25.00 fee charged to turn on water to customers during regular working hours. WVPSC Rules for regulating and managing water utilities mandates that no customer shall pay to have their water service turned on during regular working hours, and yes this even applies to the Town of Clay. If you don’ believe me call the WVPSC at 1-800-344-5113 and ask them. Dwana Murphy also stated that she felt that I was there to cause problems, and that I got huffy. The Town of Clay is illegally charging customers that connect to their system $25.00 extra and has been doing so for many years. They may be a Municipality however they are still required to act according to certain rules and regulations set forth by the WVPSC. So yes I was there to complain and I did get huffy after she smarted me off and told me that they didn’ have to comply with the rules at the WVPSC. And just for reference she gave me a copy of their tariff that they go by to bill for water, and after reading it closely it states that a customer will be charged a connection fee of $25.00 if they are setting a new meter on the system, not when they are hooking up to a meter that is already on the system. Needless to say I read that to her and she stated that she knew that already, but they had always charged everyone that fee and they weren’ going to stop now. So after I corrected her and caught them up in deep doo-doo that could cost them a lot of money if taken to the WVPSC, I’ sure she felt I was there to cause trouble. One last word on this issue, I will be at the next regular monthly meeting held by the Town of Clay, and I am going to file a complaint at the WVPSC on this issue. I don’ know about the rest of you, but I want my $25.00 back.
         3rd Issue) This whole Barbara Harmon-Schamberger lawsuit is bothering me. First of all I believe that this lawsuit stems from her not being awarded the Prosecutor’ position. Second, because she lost she is now going to sue and who is going to pay the bill, me and you and every other taxpayer in this county. So here is my opinion on the situation, the CCC did not follow State Code, which they should have, however is it really worth making us pay for the legal fees because she in whining? I have learned that you have to look at the Pro’ and Con’ of a situation before acting on it. I do not believe she did this. True they didn’ follow the law but, but is what they did so bad that it is worth making the citizens pay for it? She doesn’ know anything about Mr. Grindo, no one does, he may have turned out to be the best person for the position, and maybe the best Prosecutor Clay has ever had. We may never know, but I do know this, we the citizens will pay because she is peed off at not being chosen. And now she is crying racial discrimination! What a crock. And it isn’ because she is a woman either. Whatever their reason was for not appointing her, I could really care less, however I do care that we have to pay for her whining. And if they want my opinion, I am glad they didn’ hire her, I don’ think that they should hire anybody that has a private practice. This takes away from their duties as prosecutor. And also why should we the public pay for their private party office? We did, for her and Mr. Davis who both held private practice businesses in the Prosecutor’ office in the courthouse.
         Note, this is just my opinion.
                                 Melissa Postelwait
         DON GREENE: WV Radical

                 First, thanks to Roy Orbison for the title, since it fits the current situation in WV so well. We've all been belabored with the tragedy of the malpractice suits and poor doctors having to leave WV to earn the huge sums of money they would prefer to each year. I for one do not believe much of it. It looks to me like a collusion of wealthy doctors, insurance companies, lawyers and judges. Any citizen that is crippled, disfigured or even killed by a rushed, cattle-call doctor deserves every cent they can wring out of them. You all know what I mean by cattle-call, the widespread practice of scheduling three patients at a time every ten minutes of the poor doctors day.
                 Another little aspect of this fiasco is the seeming fact that insured patients are charged as much as three times what a cash paying patient would be - if a doctor would even see an uninsured patient. That's a little tidbit that our legislature and media could spend some worthwhile time investigating. All parties involved will, of course, deny the practice, but I suspect it actually does exist in WV.
                 Then we get to the proposal of capping the awards that a damaged person can wrestle from a doctor through their insurance company. Just imagine being crippled or maimed for the rest of your life and having the grand sum of a quarter million dollars to provide all your food, shelter, medical expenses and the other aspects of life. Sure doesn't sound very fair to me that a doctor or lawyer could make that much in a year and some poor disabled soul would have that as their whole means of support for the remainder of their life. I think that any legislator that votes for such a capping should be tarred, feathered, and rode out of town on a rail. It would be even better if the doctors, lawyers and insurance company representatives would all be treated the same.
                 Now how about that budget? Fifty-two percent for public education and WV is still among the worst in the nation. Maybe the amount spent isn't the problem. Oh my, could I be referring to paying by performance? $1.56 BILLION and not a shred of quality control on one cent of it. If the student does well, they had a great teacher, but if they do poorly, they are simply not a good student. It looks like another year of run-away bureaucracy to me, with the major media wasting their time and ours tap-dancing around the state of this State. Governor Bob calls for boldness. I hope he doesn't mean the kind of boldness the Lords used when dealing with the serfs.
                 Justice: Civil Procedure or Subject Matter?
         By: Jim Chafin
                 Congress, in 1965, passed the Older Americans Act, in response, it is said, “o a growing population of older people and their divers needs.” The Act supposedly included a variety of programs designed to promote the independence and well being of millions of senior citizens. We are told, “ver the years, the Act has been amended and expanded to keep it current with changing times and demands.” However, according to Nick J. Rayhall, Democrat Congressman from southern West Virginia, “ongress has failed to extend the Act for the last several years.” Except for what we read in the media, we would have never known there was an Older Americans Act, for there isn’ much evidence of it’ existence here in this region. I do see a flurry of activity surrounding the nursing home industry who is building more ‘are’facilities each year – apparently feeling there will be a market for its services. However, we wish to inform Congress and all concerned living”– it is quite the opposite in fact.
                 Then there is what government calls the ‘mbudsman Program,’advocates for those who are residents of nursing home facilities, we are told, but who have very little clout when it comes to improving living conditions for those who are forced to live in such places. As a practical matter, most residents of nursing homes are not able to contact an ombudsman, even if he/she were aware of such services. Most are intimidated by virtue of the fact that now find themselves among strangers in unfamiliar surroundings, with ‘aregivers (jailers –yes, that’ what many call them) barking orders: “ake this, take that, get up, eat your food, put your clothes on, take your clothes off, go to bed, and so the day goes. Most, not bed-ridden, are in wheel chairs, and most have never heard of an ombudsman, much less have seen one. The again, there is the matter of obtaining an attorney, should the resident need one – a difficult task for most all elderly and disabled – but bordering on the impossible for those confined in nursing homes and mental institutions. So, the Older Americans Act and the Ombudsman Program are little more than an ineffective, toothless, paper tiger – and one more government promise unfilled. Then there is the matter of a Seniors Safety Act of 1999 that has languished in the hidden recesses of Congress’ XX files, on a fast track to nowhere. Then Governor Underwood’ HHS Secretary, OHL, in response to lengthy inquiries about this same subject, said this: “resident Clinton is going to reform the nursing home industry, and correct the abuses made known by the media”– to which I replied, “at chance.” Now, on the matter of elderly issues, we have an even greater procrastinator sitting in the Oval Office – need we expect better?
                 But, it seems that the elderly and disabled are no longer valuable to this nation, and they are discarded – put in nursing homes and mental institutions to live a life of loneliness, destitution and despair, abandoned by family and neighbor alike; warehoused like a piece of furniture, discarded like a worn-out automobile. Many of these folks never receive a visitor; they are penniless and without community support. Shame on this nation!
                 Again, we must point out that unless there is a way provided in the law foe these people to have access to the judicial system, substantially different from what is now government policy, all such ‘eforms’will make little difference in the lives of all those who have lost all benefits of ‘ue process,’though they are still citizens of the United States of America, uh, I think. I do not see any statue of limitations in the Constitution, so we are calling for full and complete rights for everyone in this nation, including our fathers and mothers. We ask for nothing more – and nothing less!
         Press Release from WV Junior College
         West Virginia Junior College in Charleston is pleased to announce an Articulation Agreement with Mountain State University.
         The Agreement provides an opportunity for graduates of West Virginia Junior College to transfer credits from their Specialized Associate Degree programs in Internet Technology, Computer Information Technology/Technical Emphasis, Legal Office Assisting, Medical Assisting/Office Technology, and Medical Secretarial/Office Technology majors to Mountain State University’ Bachelor of Science Organizational Leadership Degree Completion Program. The program is offered in the Charleston area and other locations throughout West Virginia in a format designed to meet the needs of working adults. A one-night-a-week class schedule allows students to complete 48 semester hours in about 18 months. The curriculum provides a broad organizational and leadership education that is applicable to understanding the nature and dynamics of any organization, with a classroom experience focused on the development of skills in critical thinking and decision making.
                 West Virginia Junior College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Mountain State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. Both institutions are proud to announce this alliance, which allows for the transfer of academic credits, and looks forward to helping students attain their Bachelor’ degree. Please call West Virginia Junior College at (304)345-2820 or the local Mountain State University office in South Charleston at (304)744-1446 for more details or you may attend a question/answer session at West Virginia Junior College, 1000 Virginia Street East, Charleston on Thursday, January 23, 2003 in Room 300. A representative from Mountain State University will be available from 2:30 – 7:30pm to answer your questions.
         Press Release submitted by Cindy Curry
         12/11/02: Foreman – Nathan Toler, arrested 09/24 on warrant for grand larceny, ROB, hearing continued to 01/22/03.
         12/30/02: Delk – Michael T. Butcher, arrested 12/10 on warrants for changing a manufacturers serial number and receiving or transferring stolen property, hearing continued by State to 01/22/03.
         01/06/03: Ellyson – David Albert Johnson, warrant issued 05/09/02 for: sex offender-fail to change address, arrested, ROB, hearing continued by defense to ??.
         01/??/03: Delk – Travis Welch, arrested 12/10 on warrant for grand larceny, ROB, hearing continued by State to 02/04/03.
         01/10/03: Ellyson – Shawn Butler, wanton endangerment with firearm, arrested, ROB 01/12, preliminary hearing 01/30.
         01/07/03: Bailey – Thomas R. Holcomb, brandishing, summons issued.
         01/08/03: Bailey – Gregory S. Manchester, driving suspended, no POI, registration violations, and no seat belt (child), appeared, ROB.
         01/10/03: Clay Supermarket – Kristina M. Williams, warrant issued for worthless check; and, Jennifer Grose, warrant issued for worthless check; IGA – Katherine I Grose, warrant issued for worthless check; Elk River Inn – Valerie C. Samples, warrant issued for worthless check, appeared 01/16; and, Arthur G. Samples II, warrants issued for worthless checks x 2, appeared 01/16; Ellyson – Shawn Butler, domestic battery and obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB, trial set 01/30; Arthur Jarrett – Michael E. Lanham, peace bond, summons issued.
         01/13/03: Larry’ Grocery – Eric Wayne Moore, warrant issued for worthless check.
         01/07/03: American General Home Equity – Darrell L. Welch, money due.
         01/10/03: Gladys Nelson – Sharon Cobb, wrongful occupation, trial continued by plaintiff to 01/27.
         01/13/03: American General Finance – Melissa Drake, breach of contract; and, Homer G. Williams and Christine Williams, money due.
         01/16/03: Monogram Credit Card – Linda B. Braley, money due.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued
         01/08/03: Clay County Middle School – Jennifer D. Grose, Theresa Smith, Mendy Mullins (paid 01/16), Melissa Friend x 2, and Amy French (paid 01/16); Lizemore Grocery – George S. Asseff, Eric Wayne Moore (paid 01/17), Eric Wayne Moore, Jeremiah L. Jones, Brian L. Fearby x 2, Sandra Wayne x 2, and Rachel Peck (paid 01/21).
         01/10/03: House’ Market – Randall Parsons II, Donna Blevins, and Valerie C. Samples x 2.
         01/16/03: Darlene’ Hair Happenings – James L. Smith.
         Traffic Citations
         12/18/02: State Police – Clinton W. Blanton, defective equipment and driving on suspended/revoked.
         12/25/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Patrick Blankenship, no POI.
         12/27/02: State Police – Shane Winebrenner, no POI.
         12/28/02: State Police – Randy B. Jeffrey, failure to yield ½ roadway and driving under the influence.
         12/30/02: State Police – Robby John Douglas, no POI and too fast for road conditions; Sheriff’ Dept. – Lawrence Schoonover, too fast for conditions.
         01/04/03: State Police – Dustin Frank Hughes, speeding; Isaiah A. Stephenson, speeding.
         01/08/03: State Police – Gregory Manchester, registration violations, no seat belt (child), driving suspended, and no POI.
         01/10/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Cassidy A. Wilmoth, improper plates and MVI.
         01/12/03: DNR – Chad K. Latham, littering.
         01/14/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Anthony McClain, no POI.
                 TOWN FINANCES
                 Look around the state and you’l see many small towns in financial ruin. Store fronts empty, the number of business licenses down, town charters not renewed, municipal assets in disrepair and such are indications of such decay. The town of Clay is no exception.
         After making it through a mayor’ administration which nearly bankrupted the check book two years ago, council members sought a business and occupation tax on town merchants recently. After a public outcry, council backed off the plans and asked for other ways to increase income. During the darkest days of the insolvency period, the town of Clay received a $50,000.00 loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. That loan matures, has to be paid off, April 6, 2003.
         One way to generate additional revenues is to bring in the money already owed the town in past due parking tickets. Currently the town collects an average of $330 per month in parking meter tolls and from April 19 to November 14, 2002, netted $3254.17 in parking ticket fines. But, much more money has not been collected from unpaid parking tickets.
         Fines for non moving violations are light. Parking too close to a fire hydrant, $10.00; blocked driveway $5; parking in a no parking zone, $5; too close to the corner or alley, $5; and parking on the wrong side of a street, another $5.00. Town clerks keep track of parking tickets in a thick, red, three ring binder. On each sheet are hand written notes on license plate numbers, ticket number, comments on meters that don’ work or are “tuck” and notations on whether the violation has been paid. Over the last year or so, over 1800 tickets have not been paid.
         For many, parking on the street, day in and day out, without paying the ever hungry parking meters has become standard practice. Such issues came to light during the last town council meeting when Clay Development Authority Chair Gary Whaling asked for free space to load and unload the social service agency’ buses when unloading senior citizens attending the CDC Soup Kitchen. Council and Mayor Jarrett were outspoken in their resistance to providing additional free space to CDC. During the last meeting and in prior conversations with Whaling, Jarrett made it clear: when the CDC staff starts feeding the meters and paying their many long overdue fines, he would consider the request. Council being aware of the long standing tradition of not paying tickets, supported the Mayor’ words.
         The red record book supports the idea of repeat offenders. Most eye catching are the vanity plate owners. Plates like: SNAKEY, MAGSTCLK, STACY D, NIKSCHIC, FRNAKIE JO, BELT 1, stand out. As for the regular plates and the number of repeats for those folks, that’ tough, although 3 or 4 of the standard plates do stand out as flagrant violators.
         So how much could the town raise if it went after those that starve the meters? With over 1800 tickets outstanding and even if the majority of those were just simple $2 parking violations, the town could net around $4000.00. Parking tickets are a cash cow for the town since little expense is involved issuing such. Through an agreement with DHHR (Welfare), meter maids are paid through DHHR funds. Other than the cost of the manila ticket itself, there is no expense involved for the town.
         Eleven parking meters were removed during renovations of the new Welfare office on Main Street. During Council meetings it came to light that those 11 meters once netted town coffers some real $$. Since the removal of the 11 meters in August of 2002, locals have begun to use free but private, off street parking to avoid paying the curb side bubble gum machines. If each of the 11 meters had netted one dollar a day since August 2002, the Town would have raked in an additional $1320.00. Although small change, the pennies add up quickly! Compounding the problem, according to clerk Dwana Murphy, the town has not had a meter maid on the job since mid November.
         As council enters into a new year seeking ways to improve its financial posture, maybe correcting existing revenue sources would be a good first step. AW
                 School Board Meets at Clay Elementary
                 The Clay County Board of Education met Tuesday, January 21 at Clay Elementary School for the second of their twice monthly regular meetings. Board members present: R.B. Legg Jr. (president), Gene King, Scott Legg, Fran King, and David Pierson Jr. About 20 people attended the meeting, mostly school personnel and Local School Improvement Council members.
                 Business conducted by the Board:
                 Accepted the resignation/retirement of Clay Elementary Librarian David Derby, effective July 11, 2003, and of Lizemore Elementary Head Cook Brenda McCune, effective January 31, 2003; accepted the resignation of Clay Middle School (CMS) volleyball coach Addie Cole effective immediately. Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger explained Cole’ reason for resigning was due to her daughter moving to high school; employed the following teachers for after school programs at Clay Elementary – Vicky Walker and Tracy Wayne as classroom instructors, Rebecca Boggs for Spanish, Kathi Linkinogger and Grithel Holcomb for girls basketball, and Lisa McManus and Linda McKinney for boys basketball. Linkinogger said these teachers were the only ones to bid on the positions; removed Shannon Lane and Genevie DeBoard from the substitute bus driver’ list for failure to complete the required training. Scott Legg questioned if they had enough substitutes and Larry Legg (Director of Student Services) said there were eight now in training; approved an overnight trip to Cedar Lakes for Clay County High School (CCHS) Ag Science students to attend the Winter Leadership Conference February 7-9. Linkinogger said eight students would be going, traveling in private vehicles; approved a text book adoption committee consisting of Dr. William Mann – Spanish 9-12, Frank Kleman – Dance 9-12, Misty McKown – Family and Consumer Science 9-12, and Crystal Gibson – Drama 9-12; revised the school calendar as discussed at their previous meeting, moving an OS day out of spring break (April 24) to February 17, President’ Day. Linkinogger said spring break will be down one day; funded a request of $150 for basketball uniforms at Ivydale Elementary. All motions passed unanimously with little discussion.
                 The Board presented Clay Elementary 5th grader Taylor Brogan with a certificate for her outstanding achievement on the state wide Writing Assessment Test. Taylor received a perfect score, the only Clay County elementary student to do so. CMS student Megan Cole also received a perfect score on the test and will be honored at her school.
                 The Clay Elementary Local School Improvement Council began their meeting with the Board with a Power Point presentation on improvements and achievements accomplished at the school. Highlights included the new roof with skylights and new tile in the older part of the building provided by School Building Authority (SBA) funds and improvements in student test scores on the Stanford 9. Clay County ranked 5th in state wide comparisons on Total Basic Skills for grades 3-5, and Principal Danny Brown noted that if Clay Elementary scores were pulled out of the total county scores Clay County’ ranking would drop to 22nd. On the Total Test Clay County ranked 6th in the state, but without Clay Elementary scores the ranking would have been 19th in the state. Reading scores at the school were shown to have consistently improved over a three year period, and Brown attributed the improvement to teaching phonics and the Accelerated Reader Program started at the school a few years ago. He said students have read 17,500 books in the program so far this year. Brown said they are working on a program to help the 11% of students that can’ learn to read phonetically. Writing Assessment scores dropped every year from 1997-1998 to 2000-2001, 84% of students receiving a 2 on the test to 53% (a perfect score, like Taylor received, is 4). Brown said they targeted weaknesses and began working with 3rd graders to improve to 89% of students receiving a 2 for the 2001-2002 school year. The goal now is to increase the number of students receiving 3 and 4 on the test.
                 LSIC Chairman Rosella Stover read a list of goals they have for the school and would like the Board to help them with. They would like an exhaust fan in the 2nd floor boys’bathroom, help to purchase books for the Accelerated Reader Program, and improved lighting in the hallways on the 1st and 2nd floors. With a novel approach Stover told the Board the improved lighting would cost $4018.65, and suggested the PTO, Clay Elementary, and the Board each pay a third of the cost - $1339.55 each. Stover said a fourth request was suggested by Mrs. Willis – a county grant writer.
                 Linkinogger told the LSIC the exhaust fan could probably be placed when work begins this summer on the SBA funded project to replace the heating system and air conditioning at the school. He also seemed receptive to the proposal to improve the lighting.
                 The Board moved into executive session at 6:58PM for discussion on a personnel matter. Next meeting of the board will be Monday, February 3, at the administrative office building in Clay. TK
                 BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
                 The timeless genius of Shakespeare provides us with observations that can apply to any era, any human experience. In this season, the dregs of the year, we are not only buffeted by frigid storms, but by the manifest uncertainties of the American political scene. “ow is the winter of our discontent,”Shakespeare says, and is it ever!
                 It now seems inevitable, thanks to the think tank commandos and the civilian chicken hawks guiding our foreign policy that the United States will be invading Iraq with a view toward controlling the second largest gas station in the Middle East. One method, the purpose of which is to distract the American people from the administration’ imperialistic designs, is to flood the public with grand-sounding and ultimately meaningless slogans. At the top of the list is the almost irresistible “peration Enduring Freedom.” What loyal citizen could possibly be against such a splendid concept? Unfortunately, it takes an enormous logical reach to connect that noble creed with the fact, according to United Nations research, that, over the last decade, sanctions on Iraq applied by the United States, combined with incessant bombing have killed an estimated 500,000 civilians, the majority being children under five. This figure does not even include the uncounted lame, halt and blind. Three cheers for commerce, empire building and the Pax Americana!
                 It has been firmly established that Saddam Hussein is a bad apple. In all probability, Santa refused to bring him presents last year. We have known of his tyranny for over eleven years. But is it not significant as well as curious, that the process of turning him into evil incarnate, the cosmic threat, and the immanent or future danger to our shores began
just eight weeks prior the midterm elections in this country? A useful term applies here, one we have borrowed from the Germans – realpolitik, a foreign policy determined by expedience rather than ethics or world opinion, or put more simply, power politics. After all, it was Karl Roue, King George’ Svengali, who advised his boss during the recent campaign, “ocus on the war.” Roue must have been thinking, but did not actually add: “o people will forget about the economy temporarily.”        Jefferson’ statement about the importance of an informed citizenry may never have been as significant as it has become at the beginning of this new century. We hear on or read in the media almost daily the voices of mindless conformity. This type of unquestioned acceptance usually takes the form of: “hey (government) must know more than we do.” This attitude may lead us to become what we may already be, a nation of sheep. Any active citizen who neglects to demand constant scrutiny of his leaders faces the danger of becoming what George Orwell called an “nperson.” Old Sam Rayburn, immensely powerful former Speaker of the House of Representatives had a motto with which he advised his political lessers or cronies: “o get along, go along.” This is a credo our craven (make it “utless” representatives of the Democratic Party have followed with a vengeance. Only the intrepid Robert Byrd and all too few others have held out.
                 Several weeks ago in what might be stated by a playwright: “nter: Stage East,”came North Korea with its threat of recommencing the building of nuclear (when will Bush learn how to pronounce the word?) weapons. The administration, in its infinite wisdom has decided that this is an occasion calling for negotiation, rather than threats. Given the inescapable fact that North Korea is far more dangerous than Iraq, an analogy may be in order. It would be easier to conquer Rhode Island than to subdue Texas, or, as Joe Klein cleverly put it:
…we have the moral responsibility to pre-empt         evildoers…unless they have the ability to empt         back (as North Korea does.)
         In the same vein, Dick Morris, an adviser to President Clinton cautioned:
…be careful, Mr. President. Try something
         This approach may draw the charge of moral bankruptcy, but it is the kind of sage counsel that enabled Reagan to conquer might Grenada and George I to subdue frightening Panama.
                 Hardly a day passes without some pompous windbag solemnly announcing on TV: “he economy is basically sound.” Any clown who says this should be ordered to tell personally the employees of Enron, WorldCom. etc. With the rate of unemployment at around 8% there may be some room for doubt. In most cases the kind of important person who makes a statement such as this has an unspoken philosophy which goes: “’e got mine.” These three words are preceded by an obscenity. We must not forget, however, that the Bush gang is proposing a tax cut and (blow trumpets: bang drums) a stimulus package. Here, the old ghost of the infamous trickle-down theory of economics is reborn. George Bush’ father called it “oodoo economics”when he was running for president, but by the time Reagan chose him for the number 2 spot on the ticket, Bush the elder thought the idea just swell. “s it must follow, the night the day,”trickle-down became trickle-up. The Citizens for Tax Justice, a respected source, estimate that half the cash will flow to the richest one percent of taxpayers. Another quarter of the benefits will go to the top five percent. The President announced that this program will be of “mmediate”benefit to middle-income Americans. According to the Financial Times, a typical taxpayer will get about $200, and a worker in the bottom twenty percent will get ‘ext to nothing.” Does any of this sound familiar? Bush II will get $44,500, and our phantom Vice President will receive a $327,000 tax break. If passed, the package will not exactly stimulate the hell out of our big two, but it couldn’ hurt. The rest of us will have little reason to dance in the streets.
                 As this is written the war protesters are marching, singing and speaking in Washington, D.C. and other cities across the land. The view from this venue is that they are the true patriots. A statement by the old satirist, Tom Lehrer comes to mind at the moment with a slightly different application. Introducing a song called “his Folksong Army,”he says:
…You have to admire these people who get up         and sing about ideas that the entire audience
                 is against…like peace, love and brotherhood.

                 Everyone is entitled to my opinions,
         P.S. Apologies to the good folks in Rhode Island and Texas
                 NEW AMBULANCE REPORT
         And a need for a new Levy!!
                 A recently completed report provided to the Clay County Commission on January 23 has provided professional, documented facts behind the fall of the Clay County Ambulance Service. In the report comes a recommended plan for saving the county’ only non profit ambulance service which includes a call for additional taxes on residents of the county.
                 The 80 page report provided by WV Technical Support Network (TSN) was submitted to the Clay County Commission (CCC) January 22, 2003. The report was based on over 300 hours of investigation, documentation, in-county interviews, number crunching by a CPA and a review by the 7 person Technical Assistance Team (TAT). Remember Denny (“his ain’ no democracy” Nurkiewicz from January 22, 2002? Mr. Nurkiewicz served as speaker during the January 22, 2002 meeting held in the Health Department conference room. That’ right, exactly one year after the CCC folded the old Ambulance Authority! The report was presented. Did we mention the report is very revealing?
                 Revealing? Yep. This newspaper has documented the exploits and misdeeds of the Clay County Ambulance operation for many years. Report after report, year after year, elected and appointed officials stubbornly refused to believe the printed word and instead , for the most part, buried their heads in the sand until the agency was bankrupt in January of 2002. With the submission of this report and based on the initial reactions of our County Commissioners, it now appears that changes to insure the continuation of the service may be coming.
                 This is the first of a two part series highlighting the downfall of the ambulance service followed by two recommended plans to insure future success of the Clay County Ambulance Service for the people of Clay County. With either of the recommended plans, additional taxpayer support will be mandated to insure one 24/7 station in the county. Depending on the performance options of the station, taxpayers will have to come up with $36,757.00 to upwards of $220,000.00. Basically, the extra dollars will come from an excess levy or a new ambulance service fee.
         One note, what we call the Clay County Ambulance Service is now referred to as CCEMS, Clay County Emergency Medical Services.
         The following are general findings from the professional review team, TAT.
          The Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority experienced critical problems in the management of the agency and the administration of its financial affairs during the last part of the 1990’. These problems continued and grew until the CCC exercised their statutory authority on Jan 22 2002 and assumed control of the operation of the agency as a unit of county government….. The agency currently provides BLS and ALS care.. operating on a 7 day per week, 24 hour per day schedule… the agency does not provide scheduled non emergency convalescent or inter facility transport.. There is no rapid response agencies serving the county… The CCEMS is governed by the County Commission (CCC). The Commission has appointed a three person “ommittee”. to oversee the operations of the agency. A new interim Director divided her time between managing the agency and providing direct EMS care as needed…. The agency had not had the direction and services of a Squad Medical Director for some period.
Prior to the county assuming operation of the agency, the authority [
that’ the notorious Ambulance Authority as we knew it] operated ambulances from three fixed bases located in Big Otter, Clay, and Lizemores. The county currently operates two ambulances from the Clay Station that houses administrative and crew quarters. The Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority’ operation of three stations significantly contributed to the historical problems of that agency and led to the change to county management. Wasn’ that last couple lines nicely put? Remember when CCEAA member Dave Pierson told his fellow members that adding stations only added expense without increasing revenue? Here’ something else interesting from the report: The agency’ average response time for all calls of 16.72 minutes meets OEMS standard for non urban response time of less than 20 minutes. It should also be noted that average response times to all calls, the time required for an ambulance to arrive on the scene once they have been dispatched, have decreased even though the agency is responding from only one station rather than the 3 operated under a previous administration.
Get ready to say “uhhhhhhhh”Listed under specific findings and listed with the most important findings first:
There is a history of previous mismanagement of the agency. This has created a lack of creditability .. that continues to the present. EMS in Clay County has a bad public image.
OK everybody, all at once, Duhhhhh.
Remember when we mentioned the report was revealing? Here’ a cutie:
Citizen’ are upset over previous general and financial mismanagement. There is a perception that the agency was and or is a “family run, incestuous business” The TAT was told that the public’ call to rescind the ambulance fee was made in response to a reported mismanagement of $200,000.00 to $300,000.00 of Ambulance Authority funds.
Incestuous? Pretty cool wording readers. Even the outsiders figured out and made readable what we’e known for 7 years!
Back to the findings of fact.
The CCC historically provided only limited oversight of the operation of EMS in the county. The commission.. has taken only minimal actions in support of providing EMS care…..There is a perception that the governance of CCEMS is centralized in the Town of Clay. Volunteer fire departments in outlying areas, people residing in locations removed from town, and some EMS employees have all expressed feelings of being alienated from having an effective voice in the decision making about the operation of the agency. … The previous ambulance fee was ineffectively supported by the governing body….and was abolished without sufficient consideration for such a fee…
The Interim Director lacks the formal education, credentials, and experience to manage the CCEMS for an extended period of time. Without frequent, regular supervision by the commission.. the agency is exposed to serious operational threats and problems.
Employee morale and employees bailing out like a Saturday night bar fight when the blue lights come on came next in the commentary: The average morale of the agency on a scale of 1 to 10 [10 being the highest].. was rated at the present time to be 3.94. While there was a slight increase in morale between the years/with a transition between the Authority and the county both levels are significantly low and indicate long standing personnel problems in the organization. TAT believes that job insecurity is a major contributing factor to the low morale. CCEMS inherited no strategic plan when it assumed operations from its predecessor. It has not engaged in strategic planning or goal setting activities since the commission assumed responsibility for operation of the service.
As far as in-house problems and findings: CCEMS lacks a recognizable quality assurance process…. One shift per week is operated at reduced levels of care…. Standard operating procedures and other policies and procedures typically used by EMS agencies and required by licensure standards are missing or lacking … Nichols/Clay 911 Center does not use standard published “ove up” plans to provide coverage when CCEMS units are engaged… The agency lacks any equipment or vehicle maintenance plan and does not perform maintenance until equipment and or vehicles have obvious problems or cease to operate…. CCEMS does not provide staff with uniforms….. CCEMS staff is worried about the potential loss of their jobs if the county contracts with an outside agency to provide EMS care…. Strong sentiment was almost uniformly expressed.. that the county should continue to operate an EMS agency as a unit of government…
        Let’ take breather for a second. Didn’ you know most of this stuff already? How could it be our County Commission only stepped in when all the money was gone and the Ambulance Service was ready to shut down?
Go back over to page one and take a look at that little chart. Notice that this small county spent $660,000.00 in 2001. That’ a whole bunch more than much larger surrounding counties! Also take a look at the bottom column , the “ost per EMS Call”                                          Continued on Page 4 Before reading this part, swallow a couple of Rolaids. Right dead center of the graph is the amount of property taxes Clay County pays compared to surrounding counties. Yep, we pay the highest percentage rate!
        Any successful business person knows two things. One, you got to have a business plan and it’ management of the dollar that keeps the doors open. The TAT review team provided specific findings in the financial end of the Ambulance Service, or CCEMS. Again from the report and in order of importance:
CCEMS has no approved budget for fiscal year 2003 that is generally available and/or being used by the Interim Director on managing the operations of the agency. Neither the County Commission nor the CCEMS use any generally recognizable financial reporting or report formats. The county operates the CCEMS on a “ash”basis of financial management and decision-making. The CCEMS’ financial management commits the organization to a “and to mouth”existence. The perception of the County Commission is that the CCEMS operates at a deficit….. CCEMS uses the practice of filing actions in Magistrate Court to collect delinquent bills. The practice is comparatively expensive. Personnel compensation as compared to other county employees and EMS agencies in adjacent counties is low. Compensation practices within the agency are inconsistent. The Clay County Ambulance Authority has a history of poor management of its purchases and purchasing practices….
On the up side, mention was made of good crew quarters, employee benefits, and that the county (not the ambulance folks) in general utilizes sound purchasing practices.
Also noted in the new documentation is the pick up fee for a ride in an ambulance, $275.00 for a basic life support non emergency ride; $300.00 for a basic life support emergency transport; $600 for an advanced life support non emergency trip ; and, $650.00 for an advanced life support emergency run. Add $8.00 per mile as well.
Remember the bailout $100,000.00 Bank of Gassaway loan from 2 summers ago? The one given the old Authority and done so without a vote of the group and the one that is never mentioned in meeting minutes? Reference is given the 8.25% percentage rate loan. The county has 81 payments of $1429.00 remaining on the loan.
As we polish off this first installment, take a look at what WV TNS estimates as the operating budget for a one station 24/7 operation in Clay.
        That’ $424,132.00. According to TAT ciphering, to operate an ambulance service in the county, the operation MUST be subsidized with a levy or an ambulance fee of some type. That’ where we’l end this segment. Next time, “all for a New Levy in Clayberry.”

Follow ups
        In last edition we printed: Sure seems to be taking the Sheriff a long time to walk the paperwork across the hall to the County Commission room. The slant was that Fields was dragging his feet giving service in the case. We based that statement on Commissioner Sams saying in open session , January 8th, that he had not been served yet.
        After last edition, Sheriff Fields said he served Jimmy Sams the day he got the paperwork, January 10, on a Friday, and Clerk Judy Moore early on Monday morning, January 13th.
        Not an oops, but a correction, readers.

??? DID YOU KNOW ???
1.        The truth is found when men are free to pursue it.
2.        Kanawha County schools need $500,000 to replace carpet, some as old as thirty years.
3.        According to the National Institutes of Health, eating fish just once a month is enough to reduce the risk of stroke in men.
4.        Nearly two-thirds of boys and three-fourths of girls in juvenile detention have at least one psychiatric illness.
5.        In 2000-2001, 93 percent of the state’ 24,000 teachers were fully certified.
6.        Secretary of State Joe Manchin has predicted 50,000 voters will cast early ballots in the 2004 election.
7.        In the spring of 2002, more than one-third of all student-athletes earned grade point averages above 3.0.
8.        About 51 percent of the US population is female.
9.        Only about 20 percent of the $34 billion in outdoor apparel sold annually in the United States is used regularly for the type of sport the clothes were designed for.
10.         State Farm Fire and Causality Company, which insure about one of every three West Virginia drivers, ceased writing new policies last month, citing lack of profits.
11.         Six coal miners were killed on the job in 2002 in West Virginia.
12.         As many as 70 percent of all 911 calls from mobile phones are dialed inadvertently, needlessly occupying emergency operators.
13.         If one identical twin has “chizophrenia” the chance that the other one has it is only about 45 to 50 percent.
14.         Only 13 states sent inmates to the death chamber in 2002.
15.         The average household washes about 50 pounds of laundry per week.
16.         Family members abducted about 203,900 children in 1999; another 58,200 were abducted by people who were not family members.
17.         At least 8 deaths have been linked to “ough-Man Contest”since 1979.
18.         A new report from the American Heart Association claims men who have more than 25 of their own teeth are less likely to suffer a stroke.
19.         A statistical analysis of 99 species of birds, butterflies and alpine herbs in North America and Europe show that the range of territory has shifted northward an average of 3.8 miles per decade caused by global warming.
20.        More than 95 percent of ATV crash victims in West Virginia were not wearing helmets.

        MORNING IN COURT: Wedgee Time and Court Mercy

        Whether it’ a new city, maybe going to the hospital, making a new contact, being in unfamiliar situations makes most of us a little nervous. Going to court can be added to that list. For most of us, going to court, being sued, getting in front of a judge is foreign. The following is the rundown of courtroom activities from the morning of January 21. Around the courtroom sat young, old, shaven, unshaven, those dressed in three piece suits beside those clad in flannel shirts. Just outside the room were those dressed in another kind of suit, orange jump suits with matching orange terry cloth sandals. Cuffs and shackles kept the orange suits at bay in the holding area. Outside the snow came down and cold temps brought color to the faces of those just in from the wind chilled air.
        With chit-chatting everywhere, the courtroom was abuzz with last second negotiating among the suits, the three piece suits that is, until “ll Rise”was heard. Silence came from the peanut gallery as Judge Jack Alsop entered the arena.
        Almost immediately the public was removed from the proceedings as three juvenile matters were presented. One was labeled abuse and neglect, the other breaking and entering. Outside in the hallway, 20 people sat. Some spoke with their attorney while little kids cried, squirmed and ran. Suits went in and came out. An elderly couple went into the closed door proceedings only to be turned away before the big oak door had fully shut. Out they came. Clerk Asbury out, then back in, Prosecutor Grindo back and forth from office to courtroom. Civilian Bailiff Gene King called out names three times, a Starcher, a Lester. Grindo headed to the broom closest with Kevin Duffy. Door open, then closed, then open again. Duffy heads over to another meeting room with another client. Little kid falls down, another tries crawling over to the steps and certain doom.
        After what appeared to be delay stacked on top of delay with the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing, the public was allowed back in the proceedings. Before the Judge was a motion to enforce a settlement between Samuel Moore and Mary Morton. At issue was a disputed $7000.00 bill from a surveyor for work done on a 40 acre tract of land. Alsop was not satisfied with few if any details of the bills submitted. With a hearing set for March 17th, Alsop, sounding a little miffed, said he would determine what the surveyor fellow would receive if the next hearing is held.
        Remember back to December 6, 2002, the morning of the Sheriff’ auction to sell off the Filcon filter making equipment over at Maysel? At the start of that auction, Sheriff Fields said that he was under Court order NOT to sell the confiscated property to anyone other than owner Manfred Kuentzer. With Kuentzer high-tailed out of the county, the auction was not held and the Court Order allowed Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) to assume possession. CAEZ held a lien on the $2 million in greasy grimy metal stuff. Now, for some gusto.
        In the courtroom was CAEZ attorney Gregory Sproles. From the get-go Alsop was way more than miffed. On opening, Judge Alsop stated that the order that prevented the auction, “iolates the laws of the state” Alsop stared at Sproles. We watched to see if Sproles’puckered up shorts had enough suction to give him a wedgee. No wedgee was seen. Sproles explained his actions before the December 6 auction. Sproles mentioned the name Schamberger. Alsop frowned. Here’ the way we’e got it pieced together readers: 6 days before the auction the CAEZ Board of Directors told Director Jerry Sizemore to stop the auction.         
Continued on the next page One day before the auction, Sproles drew up an order to do just that. During a telephone hearing, with Sproles out of the courtroom maybe in Summersville, Judge Rick Facemire heard the motion with Sheriff Fields and Barbara Schamberger in the Clay Courtroom. At first blush, Judge Facemire, not Alsop, gave the thumbs up. Fields heard that. The next morning, the morning of the auction, Fields, feeling he had the Judge’ OK to halt the proceedings, told CAEZ the equipment was theirs after they coughed up his department’ expenses. Sometime later that day, Judge Facemire realized the CAEZ / Filcon deal was not in his court and refused to sign the order.
        Back to courtroom action. Sproles’explanation did not set well with Alsop who replied something along the lines of, “HIS Court didn’ order this!”Sproles nodded and, “udge Facemire ordered me…”Did we mention Alsop was peed! Alsop raised serious concerns over taking assets belonging to another and assets taken without even knowing the value. Also something about taking the assets and does that satisfy the whole CAEZ lien. Alsop, “ow did Judge Facemire get in MY CASE?….”Again, Alsop reiterated that the action of putting the Filcon property into CAEZ control violates sate law and something about the need to know the value of the equipment. Firm and resolute, Alsop said he would not sign the order. The Judge was referring to the Sproles engineered document previously submitted to Facemire. Sproles, “he CAEZ is in possession of the assets.”Leaning forward in his red leather chair, Judge Alsop retorted that he would NOT sign the order he had not held a hearing on! Alsop came out with, “his case is quite a mess!”        Making sure we were hearing right, peanut gallery sitter Paige Willis was asked, “oes that sound like an arss chewing to you?”Willis, “ounds like it to me!”        10:30 am Back out in the hallway. Juvenile time. Young man in orange suit and shackles escorted in holding room. Lot of folks standing and sitting. Again a delay as the Court waited for someone from Clay High to arrive and testify. Scott Gibson arrives after a 20 minute wait. Bailiff King said the quick notice for Gibson was not Gibson’ fault. The hallway crowd mumbled that the Court was using up valuable time over a kid that had tobacco on school property and two kids fighting with plastic swords. With a few folks filtering back in, we snook back in. Attorney Wayne King was asking the Court to allow his client unsupervised probation. “o deal”came the reply as the court explained the kid had already violated his probation once.
        Here comes another interesting proceeding, time 11:25 am. Remember Jonathan Cook who robbed Earl King’ Grocery Store at gunpoint? During the incident, King fired his pistol several times as Cook skid-addled. Cook, under plea agreement, plead guilty and this morning Cook was to be sentenced. Cook dressed in orange entered the room as did Earl King and supporters of parties. Speaking for Cook was attorney John Mitchell Jr. and for the state Prosecutor Daniel Grindo. Grindo, looking unaware of any prior plea agreement , after consultation with Earl King and family, asked that the maximum sentence be imposed on Cook. Working not to embarrass anyone, Mitchell reminded the Court that the deal was struck to allow Cook into Camp Anthony Youth Center instead of full blown penitentiary time of 2 to 10 years. Mitchell gave strong arguments centering around: most of those sentenced to prison return to prison over and over and how there is little training and rehab of inmates incarcerated to prison. Mitchell asked the Court for leniency since the young man was now married and with a small baby to boot.                
        In tears, Cook said he had amended his ways and that he took full blame for his actions. In the back of the room, a couple women also cried. Between the work of Mitchell and the tears, Cook was remanded over to Camp Anthony for 6 months to 2 years followed by probation… I think for 5 years, not sure about the probation part readers. Alsop agreed with the remarks on high return rate to prison and the much higher success rate at Anthony.
        With bellies growling and the clock showing 11:55 am, Court adjourned for lunch break. In the hallway attorneys spoke in hushed tones to clients. The crowd shuffled out.        
        The next time you’e looking for a warm place to huddle for a couple of hours, come on over to the Courthouse. It’ yours you know! AW

        Some cases get more media attention than others for a variety of reasons. Maybe because the subjects are or were public officials, maybe because of the seriousness of the crime, a variety of issues. One time local bank teller Peggy DeBoard was indicted for 2 counts of welfare fraud during the November 6, 2002 Clay County Grand Jury. That indictment is now before the courts and action began January 22, 2003. Attorney Bernard Mauser represented Ms DeBoard.
        It’ Wednesday, January 22 in Judge Facemire’ Courtroom. Mauser asked for a motion to dismiss. Facemire explained the rules of engagement. Mention made of a State vs Adams case which rewrote court rules as far as amending cases already in process.
        Here comes an interesting part. The Judge said Prosecutor Grindo may have a tough time proving that ex husband Mitchell DeBoard lived in the house with Peggy. Something about the “omposition of the household” According to Facemire, if the State could not prove that he resided in the house of Peggy, there would be no case. Questions came up over how many children in the house (4) were actually Mitchell’. Grindo explained that he intended to prove that Mitchell was a daycare provider. Nope, came back from the bench. To win the case, Mr. DeBoard has to be a resident of the house.
        Facemire questioned whether this would be a felony case or a misdemeanor case and that would depend on the dollars received for services. Got a little confusing here readers. It sounded like Facemire was saying if Grindo (the State) could prove only that Mitchell provided for one child, then with the reduced dollar amount a misdemeanor case would be at hand. Again Judge Richard Facemire instructed Grindo that he had to prove the Mitchell DeBoard residency to have a case.        
        After a little bantering, the motion to dismiss the case was denied. Readers, you may have noticed us giving Daniel Grindo double H over the last five weeks or so mostly over the perceived background politics of his recent appointed as county prosecutor. But, but, but…. Here’ a slick one.
         Grindo asked that some new evidence be admitted. Grindo held up a thick manila 9x12 envelope stuffed about 1 inch thick with papers. Grindo said that an investigator provided him with that envelope (as well as another one) the night prior and the big envelope contained various credit card applications with Mitch DeBoard’ name on them AND, with the address of Peggy DeBoard as Mitch’ home address. Oh, boy. Squirm, squirm, squirm. The un-shown second envelope contained day care provider receipts according to Mr. Grindo.
         Back to courtroom protocol. Facemire mentioned the surprise “iscovery”may taint the case and on appeal, could be thrown out. Further complicating the situation, if a case is continued three times, it can be tossed. With this continuance, the first for the case, Grindo expressed no big concerns over the continuance.
                 Attorney Mauser with Peggy DeBoard in tow, left for a private huddle returning 10 minutes later. Mauser explained that his client wanted a speedy trial and hoped to return to her old job (Bank of Gassaway) after the case is settled. Mauser explained that DeBoard had been “aid off”from her job. After checking calendars, the earliest Court date would be March 26, 2003 and the case would have to be heard by Judge Jack Alsop since Circuit Judge Facemire would be working in another county after this month.
                 The case was continued and the new evidence was allowed in the case. Facemire reminded Ms DeBoard that she was indicted on two felonies and it was VERY important that she not violate her bond provisions and for her to stay in close contact with her attorney. DeBoard nodded in the affirmative.                                                                         AW