FEBRUARY 4, 2005

Signs of the Times
Senator C. Randy White
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’s Corner
Letter to Brother Bill
Christian Service Center News
Date Set for Lamb Referendum
Magistrate Report

        2005 may be the year for economic growth in the county of Clay. Ground work has been laid over the last 18 months to develop a tourism based economy for our county. Those goals were made public during the Feb 1 2005 CAEZ Bd meeting. The “”word ( jobs) may be in the picture for this Fall!
        During the Feb 1st Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone meeting, Director Jerry Sizemore laid out his lofty goals for this year. With every chair around the long conference table filled and several in the peanut gallery, Sizemore said he would consider 2005 successful if: they could purchase some real estate near the Dundon bridge and erect a multi purpose building to house a train station depot/refreshment center/welcome center; have under construction a new boat ramp at Spread Park; and, some kind of excursion railroad ride ( rail bus)under way. Talk about lofty goals!!!!!!!!
        Here’ a thumbnail sketch of what’ been worked on. After hiring Connie Lupardus 24 months ago as a tourism specialist at CAEZ, meetings, plans, and ideas were hashed out behind the scenes for the best avenue for growth in Clay County. With our geographic features, narrow valleys and steep mountainous terrain a hindrance for any kind of meaningful industrial expansion, the CAEZ decided, about the only hope for strong economic development in Clayberry is in growing a tourism business. With $50,000 grant to cover the cost of Lupardus’ work, the foundation was laid.
        What could Tourism mean for Clay. Look at what tourism has meant for the state. According to the latest figures from the WV Tourism office, in West Virginia, in 2003, tourism brought in 4.86 billion dollars of which $3.1 billion was direct spending; tax revenues on the industry generated $187.1 million; and, over 105,000 people are employed directly or indirectly in the WV tourism business.
         Just a look over in Fayette County will show what a difference one segment, whitewater rafting, can mean to a small county.
         23.9 million people visited West Virginia in 2003. Their average length of stay was 3.26 days. Total per day per person spending was over $81.00. The majority of the visitors came from Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. The main reasons for visiting our Mountain state were : business, outdoor recreation, reunions, historic sites and golf.
         Did you catch that $81 per day per person spending part? Think what would happen in this county if a 100 families came into Clayberry each weekend for a visit. Family of four, times $81, times three days…. It adds up quickly! Here’ the game plan as far as we can tell. Clay County should develop a three prong approach to fleecing the tourists which would include:
         Item one: develop a float trip rental business on the Elk River similar to what’ been going on along the New and Gauley Rivers for 35 years. Locals would rent kayaks, canoes, and rubber raft trips, provide guide services, provide overnight accommodations, concessions, and a big open smile as the wallets open. With the Elk clean and green for the most part and three boat “ut ins”already in place in addition to four BDA built foot access paths, this part of the plan could be off and running fairly quickly.
         Part two is to build a 30 plus mile ATV mountain trail along coal lands and eventually connect it to the now famous Hatfield and Mc Coy trail in the Southern end of West Virginia. As has been demonstrated in the Southern counties, out of staters are willing to spend some real $ to enjoy a weekend breaking their necks battling hillsides and valleys with four wheelers and motorcycles. The biggest hurdle on an ATV trail in Clay is getting the thumbs up from Widen Property which owns about 2/3rds of the county and nearly all of the woodlands.
         The idea that raised the most eyebrows is part three which would include operating some kind of Class III excursion train on the old Buffalo Creek and Gauley RR lines between Dundon and Cressmont. Negotiations have been ongoing with big cheese right of way owner Bill Bright for over a year. Both Lupardus and Sizemore have said publicly: everything looks promising. Heard all this crap before? Pipe dream you say? It would cost millions just to get started!
         Continued on page 3
          Who’ going to pay the liability insurance?? Here’ some detail that might make you change your mind a little.
         CAEZ is working on a small Class III excursion train operation. The Class III scaled down designation would be much cheaper to build, maintain, and operate. Not some kind of big Shay steam locomotive like at Cass, but instead haul the tourists on those little man cars and rail buses from yesteryear. Something much more light weight than those big 80 ton steam locomotives. The theme park style ride would begin at Dundon and floow the valleys to Cressmont and then return. According to Sizemore, that 5 mile stretch of track could be used without much maintenance cost because few ties would have to be replaced. Later, additionally miles could be added according to Mr Sizemore.
         Here’ something readers. Without any public notice, one fellow acquired one of those small gas powered man cars and has been hauling small groups of visitors along that same stretch of track for some time. Connie Lupardus was one of those haulees and reported to the CAEZ in Sept beautiful scenery and a setting perfect for luring tourists into our county.
         During the Feb1st CAEZ meeting, Leonard Loving, Roger Nutter, , Jr. and Ernest Workman, all train buffs and Clayonians. came in support of the plan to grow tourism. Mr Nutter remarked, “This is a good opportunity to bring people into Clay County …. We need it bad ……Other counties are [already] getting it [$]….. Clay County is setting still …. This is a great opportunity to bring some money into the coffers of Clay County..”The words were received with nods of affirmation from the Clay County delegation of the CAEZ.
         In addition to acquiring use of the land for the ATV and train ventures, there are other shortfalls to overcome. Before guests can spend a night in the county, there has to be a place to keep them. Currently there are no public camp grounds, no place to accommodate those big motor homes, few places to get into the Elk river, and few hotel/motel rooms.
         After the meeting we interviewed Ms Lupardus and provide this update on the future of Clayberry.
         Communicator: Why is tourism a priority now? CAEZ Eco/Dev Coordinator Connie Lupardus: One reason it’ a priority is or can work here is, much of this property is uninhabited and it’ beautiful…… People in the surrounding states want to get out of the rat race… much of this property which is owned by out of state land owners can be used for the very things we’e talking about.. ATV trails, hiking, biking, river trails.
         Communicator: How do you select which tourism projects fit Clay County? Lupardus: There are several things. We use the input of the people and what has worked in other parts of the state. The state tourism department has helped us. We take business input… the geography of the region affects the projects.
         Communicator: If the Director’ goals ( ATV trail, float trips, and an excursion train) could be realized, what kind of jobs could be created in Clay County?
         Continued on page 4
          Lupardus, “This is the perfect opportunity for private individuals to become entrepreneurs. For the river , you will need guides, people who know the river, the history of this county.. knows how to talk to people and knows how to make the trip fun…… We’l need people to rent rafts, kayaks to visitors. That’ an opportunity right there. … For the ATVs or the four wheel drive access, we need camping areas, we want to bring these people in and keep them all night. We’l need vendors for food, someone to rent four wheelers who might not have one and just want to try it out… We’l need an ATV shop and someone to repair them… It’ a broad opportunity.”
         Lupardus continued on the bigger goal of a railway in Clay County, “Maintenance is always going to be an issue… to keep the rails up…. We\d like to have vendors for that, to sell tickets, to handle the phone calls, and absolutely people who are adamant about the history of coal in the county. When you have people on a rail car, a captive audience, they want to hear the history….. the good bad and the ugly. You have to have someone that is a story teller someone that knows that history and can bring that out.
         OK OK, so now you think all these out of town business leaches will come in and rack off the big $. Maybe not, again Lupardus, “The whole focus on this is, we will have private entrepreneurs from this county, that know this county, will set up these businesses. Those with roots in this county will be the ones to profit from it.
         Long shot to get the property? Lupardus was optimistic and said, “e’e very comfortable with that right now.” The rail fun would begin near the old Dundon bridge where the property is available and , “Right now, the plans are , we will, repair as much track as we can and at some point, the intentions are, we will go as far as those tracks went…. Up to Widen. When you get to the end of those tracks at Taylor Fork, the tracks are grown over and part of the tracks are missing. In a few years, down the road, we want those to be repaired to wherever they ended at Widen. That’ long term.”
         Since the last steam train left the area, a number of Clayonians have toyed with the idea of developing an excursion train ride. At one point, the BC and G rolling stock was available as a donation to the county. During the early years of the Clay County Business Development Authority, a sub committee spent several months trying to get something started without luck. During various brain storming sessions over the last 40 years, we’e always known such a venture would be good for the county’ economy. We’e also known such an endeavor would be an uphill battle.
        Is it still just a pipedream and another government program spinning its wheels? Lupardus says this time, it’ for real, “e’e very close…. A lot of the things that have taken a lot of time are now falling into place. I am very excited. I think all three [ATV, float trips, and RR] may hit close together. The ATV part may be a little further down the road because of the construction involved….. I think those are close to being finalized. As soon as that happens, everybody will know about it…. The float trips depends on two things. The DNR is looking a two different places to build the real boat ramp. Then it will be up to an entrepreneur in the county who would want to rent kayaks, rubber rafts, not the K Mart ones, it’ up to someone that wants to do that….I believe some of it could happen to a small degree in 2005. In 2006, definitely, it is a very doable thing. We have wonderful cooperation from the land owners in the county. I think we have convinced them that we are serious and we’e not going away….That’ been a big plus. The politicians have been supportive and have written every letter I’e asked for.”
Sound good? Here’ the best part. If any of this three prong plan gets off the drawing board, locals with some get up and go could benefit the most. Think of this way, every weekend in the Spring and Fall and every day of the week during the summer months, all along the river valley, locals could set up shop and sell everything from what knots to BBQ ribs, to tee shirts. Can’ you see the tees reading, “ got steamed at Cressmont”or “ survived the Lilly ride!”or “ floated the Elk and King Arthur’ logs didn’ get me!”All the little church groups could set up and earn much need operation funds and more.
        There’ nothing more than plans now, but this is as close as Clay County West Virginia has been to a plan for the future EVER!. It’ time to get on board.                                        

??? DID YOU KNOW ???

1.        Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps.
2.        People with only a high school education are twice as likely, about 18 percent compared to 4 percent, not to wear a seat belt as those with more education.
3.        According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, about 30,000 people take their own lives every year.
4.        Gift cards were a $45 billion industry in 2003 and are projected to double to $90 billion by 2007.
5.        According to the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, West Virginians prefer Vodka over other types of liquor. Vodka sales accounted for three of the top five sellers and four of the top ten.
6.        West Virginia led the nation in coal mining deaths in 2004, with 12 people killed on the job.
7.        Last year there were 159 million cell phone subscribers in the United States, compared with 4 million in 1995.
8.        Last year, more than 37,000 people in West Virginia’ regional jails were treated for mental illness.
9.        A record of 32 people were killed in all-terrain vehicle accidents in 2004.
10.         Country music artists sold 77.9 million albums last year, compared with 69.3 million in 2003.
11.         Ninety percent of all shrimp consumed in the United States is imported.
12.         West Virginia had 8 deaths in the logging industry in 2003.
13.         Peyton Manning was the run-away winner of the Associated Press 2004 NFL offensive player of the year.
14.         West Virginians bought more Chevrolets in 2004 than any other brand.
15.         Conversion van sales peaked in the early 1990’ and have fallen steadily over the past 10 years because of the popularity of SUV’.
16.         22 million days were lost from school in the US in 1996 because of colds.
17.         According to a survey by the American Pet Products Manufactures Association, 40 percent of dogs now sleep in a human bed, up from 34 percent in 1998.
18.         There is no egg in eggplant, no ham in hamburger, no apple or pine in pineapple.
19.         There are now 14 diesel models for sale in the United States, up from 11 last year.
20.         Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. LMM

Signs of the Times By Jim Chafin\
Has America reneged on its promise, made back in 1964 during the Lyndon Baines Johnson administration, to fight a war on poverty? In his inaugural address, President Johnson said this: “his administration, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.” In the months that followed, a number of projects were initiated, all designed to attack head-on the economic inequities that had kept one in five of our citizens living in abject poverty, a condition that one could associate with Third World nations. Johnson was declaring that the United States, the richest and most powerful nation on earth, could, and should, see to it that there be not one single person within its borders going to bed hungry. Johnson further postulated that to allow such conditions to fester and grow in this nation of plenty “as as dangerous as any battlefield enemy.” And because this president had the backbone to confront this crucial issue, this nation saw a rise in the comfort level of millions of its disenfranchised people.
But today, forty years later, there are no cries of anguish emanating from the Oval Office nor from the halls of Congress, lamenting the constant rise in poverty rates; no powerful advocate pointing out that, in reality, fully 35% of the citizens of this country are having a hard time providing mere basics for their families. And who cares? Well, some do! The food pantry people somehow keep handing out more food parcels each month, and the shelters keep providing more beds. But no matter how hard these dedicated people work, the pantry keeps running dry and warm beds are hard to come by on a cold night.
From a recent story by the Associated Press headlined “ive-day Old Boy Freezes to Death” …Police said that temperatures in the Stanaford area home were in the lower 40’. Twenty-eight year old Sherry Coffman discovered that her newborn son was not responding. The infant was taken to Beckley ARH and then to CAMC where he was later pronounced dead of complications from hypothermia. Ms Coffman, who has been under the watch care of several State agencies said there had been no heat in her home during the months of her pregnancy, and that she had made repeated attempts to get her furnace repaired and the power turned on. Police who investigated this incident said that they were told by Health and Human Services that “he gas had been turned on,”but, in fact, it had not been; one officer going so far as to say, “hey (HHS) flat out lied to me,”about the status of heat in the Coffman house.
If news from around this country is any indication, incidents such as this one are occurring at an alarming rate. Funds for supportive programs designed to help poor folks cope with food shortages, clothing needs, and energy supplies are being drastically curtailed as the nation spends ever more on war material and other initiatives that drain needed funds away from people projects. Have you ever wondered about how much public attention is garnered by political types for their pet projects and how pitifully small their attention to the Ms Coffman’ of this state? Does the thought ever enter into our collective mind as to precisely how and why such things occur?
At a Christmas evening get-together at our neighbor’ house, the talk gravitated to a group of homeless people who live 365 days each year on the streets of Mingo County’ own Williamson, WV. Oftentimes one can see small wisps of smoke emanating from under the ends of either bridge that crosses over Tug Fork River that leads into Pike County, Kentucky. The folks that live in this town are fully aware that there is a sub-culture residing here who forage from the dumpsters for morsels of food, and who scrounge for materials to build meager shelters to ward off the biting cold. They walk the streets during hot weather and cold, seeking whatever gratuities that can be gleaned from passersby. County and city officials know this, but the practice continues as it always has for several decades. Particularly noted for their unwashed condition, these folks subsist on the discards of an affluent society who blithely ignores their existence. As we talked, my neighbor (a retired police officer) surmised that there are about 35 individuals who ply the streets of this town with no visible means of support. If correct, this would be the visible “ip of the iceberg”because studies have shown that, in Appalachia, many more desperately poor people exist up the creeks and hollows and, though they live in houses, their conditions are beyond intolerable for a nation with such high living standards. Little effort has been made to clearly delineate these unfortunate beings in the past, so we do not know their exact numbers. However, they keep showing up in soup lines, at food pantries and at shelters who offer some sort of aid to the down and out.
It is not only the poor who are vitally concerned about the state of this economy. Stephen Robert of Capitol Management Group has this to say: “very day moderate Republicans call me and say they’e very worried about the direction Bush is going and about the state of the economy and the long-term effect of the deficit.” Their very great fear is said to be, basically, that people at the bottom can be pushed only so far before they realize that they have nothing to lose by fighting back. Columnist John David says, “he fight-back will likely trump the issue of ‘oral values’because most people will not tolerate their own economic destitution in a country billed as the richest in the world.” Amen! Here is a noteworthy statement from Proverbs 30:8-9: Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me… Lest I be full and deny my God, or lest I be poor, and steal… May I suggest that most people are not seeking billions, or even millions of dollars. Most, I would assume, will find themselves with favor for the proverbs of moderation. The problem, as I see it, is the notion of the richest one percentile of this society that there is never enough money to provide for their safety. Indeed, one might say that the adage of the Rockefeller patriarch, John D., “ne more dollar…”is the modis operandi of the world’ wealth community, and they view the activities of those dedicated to finding equity in this economic system as threatening to their way of life, exaggerated though this may seem.
As one looks at “he system”from a position of un-wealth, it does seem that there is a war going on inside the creature itself; wealth is trying to devour the less rich. The predator nature of this ongoing conflict bodes ill for common folks as each mega-conglomerate seeks advantage over its lesser component, each vying to devour ever more GNP for itself. This means less jobs for everybody, and less economic activity translates into more inequity of the working class.

        I've been asked often since the election what I thought of the outcome. I have resisted going into a rampage about it, for the outlook for our great nation is dimmer than at any time in history, including the Great Depression. The outcome of the race is all the proof one needs to see that the U.S. has indeed become a nation of nitwits. Some of those dullards say they were voting for the guy that made them feel "more secure." But the truth is that we are not only no safer than we were in 2001, but have become less safe. The simple fact that nearly 3 million illegal immigrants, some with terrorist ties, will enter our southern border this year alone should show even the densest rock-head that we are in constant and accelerating danger of attack by our enemies. This has happened under the rule of the "War President." So for re-electing him, "Shame, shame, shame" on them.
        Others say they voted for him because of his "moral values," whatever that may mean to them. This "moral" President has slashed federal programs that care and provide for the ill, the aged, the young and the desperately poor. If depriving the needy is "moral," it's news to me. So they also get a "Shame, shame, shame" for being so silly.
        Some of these buffoons say they voted for him because he is fighting to free the Iraqis and Afghanis. The truth is, we are fighting to make those places more secure for his buddies, our wonderful corporations, to set up shop and work the people like the slaves they are making all of us. The governments we deposed were only two of dozens in the world and no worse than most of them, so why are we there? In Iraq there is no doubt that the third largest oil deposits in the world are very near the heart of the matter. In Afghanistan the reasons are a little cloudier, but you can bet that corporate interests are a lot more the reason than the freedom of the people. So, with all my heart, "Shame, shame, shame" on those goofy clowns that can't read the writing on the wall.
        West Virginia has once again elected a Democrat for governor while voting the corporation's buddy into the White House. The chances of any good, strong Democrat governor getting anything out of D.C. are slim and none. So what do we have? Is he a good strong Democrat or another weak-kneed, bowing to the corporate-run GOP, making excuses more often than most of us make our beds, excuse of a Democrat? Just stand back and watch, folks, it will become clear pretty quickly which side Joe's bread is buttered on. To the State Democrat Executive Committee, Joe's supporters and the Democrat Executive Committees of all 55 counties, here's a great big old "Shame, shame, shame" on you for placing your candidate above the welfare of this nation.
        Some times the irony of this world is just amazing. I just got a book catalog (yeah, I'm one of those bookworm guys) and was amazed to see a book, dictated by the subject, about the ordeal of our own Jessica Lynch. Originally selling for about $30.00, it is now on sale for $3.00. Talk about a heaping spoonful of irony. So, to our military, for putting her in that position and under the command of a walking cluster-pluck (to mildly paraphrase good old Clint) and to the media for trying to create a hero out of an unfortunate victim, here's a red, white and blue "Shame, shame, shame" on all of you.
        See why I would rather think about something else? It's a national shame what is being done to our Constitutional rights, our environmental laws, our social programs, our Social Security, our education programs and many more facets of life in America. To all of those that delivered us into the hands of this evil, "Shame, shame, shame" on all of you. May God bless and keep us for the next four years. Keep on the sunny side, folks.


TOWN OF CLAY, One Legg Short: Clay Town Council met in regular session Feb 1st at the water plant. Council persons Billie Zegeer and Sally Legg remained absent from duty. Attention was given Legg who has moved to Charleston but continues to receive our $100 per month Council check. Mayor King Arthur Jarrett looked around the table and asked, “Where’ Sally’ resignation?”No answer came. He looked at Betty Murphy, “You got it Betty?” A No came back to the King. As Betty explained that Legg was “ust trying it out”down in Kanawha County, Jarrett said he would call her and secure the resignation.
        Jarrett to maintenance man Terry Traub, “You got an a** jacking coming you.” The Mayor implemented a new policy for any town equipment that was to be loaned out unless the person’ name is written down by Traub or Jarrett. Jarrett, “othing!”
        Sewer plant operator Larry Stephenson received a pay raise. They didn’ put a dollar figure on the amount in public.
        Remember last month when we noted two critical water quality violations and Council didn’ discuss the serious matter during the meeting? Seems behind the scenes, the matter is being addressed. During the Feb 1st meeting, Chief Water Operator Bobby West demonstrated a new audible alarm warning system siren for when potentially lethal chlorine gas escapes containment. A written response to the water quality survey was handed out to Council and West said he felt all the issues were addressed and would meet the WV Health Dept muster.
        In Dec 2004, Clay Roane PSD couldn’ buy water from the Town due to a water pump being on the fritz. That situation has been corrected.

CAEZ, $5000 raise: Our front page story deals with part of the Feb 1st CAEZ meeting. Here’ a little more. During their 10 years of existence, the economic development group has been behind in getting audits completed. At one point, even the method of auditing was a concern. During the last meeting, their CPA provided the latest audit findings. Pleased with his performance, CAEZ hurried up and hired him to do the next audit. That changed this meeting when the guy bowed out citing CPA standards which he didn’ meet for doing federal agency audits. The $4942. contract was shifted over to CPA Billy J Cline from Charleston.
        The folks that took over the bankrupt Clay Mountain Housing work, Dream Homes, received a $75,000 loan to construct 2 new homes in Clay County at 3% interest.
        CAEZ has loan money to hand out!! Have you got your hand out? Don’ think so readers. Director Sizemore said they have two loan requests and neither were from Clay County.
        And here’ one. As the meeting was ending, Director Sizemore handed out memos to the Board. The memo was not read in public but was voted a unanimous AYE for passage. IF one of the board members hadn’ slipped and mention “pay raise” no one would have known. The memo read in part: CAEZ applied for and received a grant in the amount of $50,000 to develop our tourism project. Continued on page 19
All of Connie Lupardus’salary and fixed costs are paid from this grant…. I respectively request that the Board approve moving Lupardus back to full time employment with a salary change from $25,000 to $30,000.00

Business Development Authority: Our lead economic development agency met Feb 3rd at the Courthouse. Little changed since the last meeting . When discussion was about to start up on the old Filcon site, Boardster Arthur Jarrett, “WE”E WORE IT OUT WITH DISCUSSION. IS THERE ANYTHING NEW??”
        There was and at the suggestion Paige Willis, the group went secret to discuss a possible tenant for elevation challenged industrial swamp near Ovapa. For forty minutes they talked privately. Putting two and three together… here’ what we think happened. Two companies have been mentioned as being interested in locating at the Filcon site. Only one firm has attended a public meeting. That company erects pre fabricated metal car ports around the state and needs a central storage yard and maybe maybe maybe , down the road, may do some type of on site manufacturing in new digs. Just a guess but a Special meeting of the BDA is already scheduled for Wednesday Feb 9th at 5pm.
        After a dismal first attempt at growing jobs in the county, the coffee house crowd is already wondering if the BDA is crossing every T and dotting every I before signing away the farm again. Time will tell.
        On those pesky kids that broke out some windows at the old State Road garage now under BDA control… it time parents paid up or end up in Court! Town Cop Buckshot Butcher will be turned loose on the four rock throwing neighborhood teens.
        From out of the back, peanut gallery pew sitter Tommy Fitzwater asked if the BDA had a plan of attack for 2005, that in 2004, little had happened. Fitz got two answers. BDA Chair Williams said he had no solid timeline and, “the only thing is making the site presentable.” Long time boardster Paige Willis followed up with, “the goal is to move an employer on site and hire some Clay County people.”

        COUNTY COMMISSION: We really didn’ do the Jan 24th Clay County Commission meeting justice. Since it was so long ago, just a note or two from that meeting. During discussions on how much money to seek during the Small Cities Block Grant (SCBG) application process, information came to light on the local 4H program.
        Only 13 percent of all our youth participate in the state funded school age program. At the beginning of the school year there were approximately 2250 students in Clay County schools. Also, only 80 4Hers attended week long summer camp in 2004.
        Clay County projects under consideration for the state wide $20 million SCBG grant funding include: $680,000 for system wide improvements in the Queen Shoals PSD, Clay County PSD for funding the stagnant Lizemores/Tuckers Bottom water line extension project, Big Otter Fire Department building additions, money to tear down the Clay Fire Dept owned buildings on Main street beside the new Courthouse, and a new $835,000 cafeteria/ dining room/ dorm building out at Maysel Park. Motion made and passed to apply for $680,000 for Queen Shoals and $820,000 for Clay County PSD. A round of non water projects will be decided on before a May 13 2005 deadline.
        It’ always good to keep the public abreast on the controversial stuff at County Commission meetings. Here’ a snip it. Clay Roane PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait told the CCC that she had read on a WV PSC document, the CCC was renewing attempts to consolidate all the local PSD’ into one massive behemoth. She referenced a letter from PSD attorney Tom Whittier. NOTE: After the meeting, we read that letter and well… it didn’ say what Postelwait said it said.
        During one the exchanged between Postel and Triplett, the Commission President asked her if all the PSD bills were being paid. She responded YES. With the challenge issued, Triplett showed the world the Clay Roane PSD monthly financial which listed no truck, gas, transportation expenses being paid. Big Pete got her!
        So is the County Commission in favor of consolidating all the PSDs this year? Sams , up for re election in 2006, said he would vote to consolidate if it would help get water projects moving. Pete sounded in favor or the merger. Newbee Fran King didn’ speak a peep on the subject.


        Here’ a scary one readers. On Jan 24th, a 6th grader at Clay Middle School got the stuffing punched and kicked out him when a much bigger 15 year old 8th grader went on attack in the gym. Since their both are juveniles, named won’ be used. Based on some pretty solid info. Here’ what we think happened. The 15 year old was suppose to be in lock down at CMS and under constant adult supervision. Maybe after a pee break, the troubled youth made his way into the gym where he spotted the victim , a 70 pounder sitting on the bleachers. With school video cameras rolling, Mr 15 year old placed a watch over his knuckles for impact, ran across the room and waylaid the 6th grader. Suring the freakus, Mr 15 year old used his boots to break the little kid’ nose in three places and do damage to the eye socket as well. The 15 year old was arrested and hauled out of CMS. It is believed that the 6th grader will make a full physical recovery. Can anyone spell lawsuit?
        One day later, around noon:35, Sheriff Holcomb busted a CCHS student with home made stuff. Kids have always got into fights and brought contraband to schools but such infractions were handled “n school”without law enforcement. That changed this year. Now, law is called.
         Jan 2005 was one of the most active bust ‘m left and right months in recent history. Law enforcement was heard on the scanner well into the late evening hours hauling off offenders. Meth labs were the center of attention. With many people asking , what’ going on after arrest, how about some court schedules for the rest of Feb and into March. Keep in mind the schedule is subject to change and all the names are not drug related. The schedule was accurate as of Friday Feb 5th.
                 Feb 10 before Magistrate Mike King: 11am Jeffery Conrad, revocation of bond hearing; 11:30am Bobby Gene Hall, preliminary hearing; 1pm Marina Lanham ( felony and 2 misd.) preliminary hearing
                 Feb 24, 9 am Jury Trial, Randy B Jeffery. March 1 3pm Gerald Duffield.
                 For Magistrate Jeff Boggs, Feb 8 Tracy Welch, jury trial. Feb 17 looks like a full day of trials: 9 am James Myers Jr; 9:30am Jerry Burton; 10am Tracy Johnson; 1pm Terry Harper; 1:30pm Thomas Lowery; 2pm Chadwick Monk; 2:30 Ira Bryant; 3pm Jason Collins.
                 Also as a follow up… Darius Jo and Melissa Cummings remain in the can looking for a $1000 cash bond. Charged with failure to send kids to school, they neglected to show up for their hearing, capius was issued and the badges picked them up.
                 Mitchell Adkins Jr. managed to get his bond revoked Feb 3rd. this one is a little confusing. Originally picked up for DWR and DUIA 2nd offense, he was found guilty Jan 20th and sentenced to 1 year, $1000 fine and court costs. That sentence is being appealed. Somewhere along the way his bond was revoked, something to do with a domestic battery conviction.
                 This home confinement thang is pretty simple. Stay home, watch the TV, play on the computer, scratch your butt. Stay off of drugs, stay away from druggies and no alcohol…. Jeffery Conrad is in the grease again after violating home confinement rules and after pee testing positive for opiates. Pot, and Meth.
                 Joshua Mikel Tanner and Timothy Mace made bond after being arrested for possession of meth. From that Tanner criminal complaint, excerpts: Belt and Rider observed a Ford truck traveling north on Rt 16 at Big Otter with a loud exhaust. After pulling the vehicle over, they smelled pot. When asked Tanner stated that there was meth in a metal canister where the officer found a white powdery substance, a lighter, a straw, and a blow pipe inside the canister. Also found was a 22 caliber pistol with two loaded magazines and envelopes containing $150.00.
         Gerald Duffield made bond. On Jan 31st, Samantha Cummings was found guilty of domestic battery and given 10 days in CRJ, a $100 fine and court costs. There was something about beating up a juror but for the life of me, I can’ find those notes. The sentence was suspended and changed to 6 months probation. That case is now being appealed.
         Jackie Ruth White made the CRJ after being arrested Jan 27th by Green Shirts. Here’ excerpts ( paraphrased) from that criminal complaint: .. around 10pm a north bound camouflage Chevy truck was observed left of center and with a defective registration light… after executing a traffic stop at Maysel Missionary Baptist Church… no registration plate was displayed on the rear bumper. Wiles identified the driver as Jackie White… Jackie White was unable to produce a driver’ license, registration, or proof of insurance…the officer detected the odor of pot. After obtaining verbal consent to search , the officer performed a protective pat down search of Ms White at which time half of a prescription pill was found…. she advised it was hydrocodone.
         Continued on page 17
         Ms White advised she obtained the pill from “Peach”and that she did not have a prescription for this item… the officer found a clear plastic bag containing a green vegetation which appeared to be pot… the undersigned officer found two individually wrapped clear plastic bags containing a white powdery substance which appeared and smelled to be methamphetamine…a couple minutes after being handcuffed, Ms White began to slide the handcuff from her wrist at which time the officer had to physically restrained her to prevent the handcuffs from being totally removed….
         Jackie Ruth White was charged with three misdemeanor possession times three and one, obstructing an officer.
         It’ not often we print article from other newspapers but here’ one that has local connections. From the Braxton Citizen News: A man was killed early Saturdaymorning after an outbuilding exploded where the victim was believed to have been cooking methamphetamine. The Gassaway Volunteer Fire Department received the call at 1:32 a.m. The alarm stated that a garage was on fire at the residences of Benny F. Murphy on Route 4 below Gassaway. The GVFD, with a quick response, extinguished the blaze.The body of Alva G. Brady, 39, of Frametown, was discovered after the fire was extinguished by the local fire department. A preliminary investigation headed by the Sutton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police has determined that the victim was in the process of cooking methamphetamine at the time of the explosion. Several methamphetamine lab precursors were located inside the building, as well as a hot plate, which was used to cook the methamphetamine. Other notable items of evidence were also recovered at the scene.
    Of interest from that article, on Jan 23 2003, the deceased was in our Magistrate report for brandishing and wanton endangerment.
One last note for this edition of Police Blotter. It’ not just Clay County racking up a number of drug busts. Checking other county newspapers reveals a number of drug busts. With a great volume of evidence going into the state’ one and only drug lab in So Charleston, there is bound to be a slow down in getting the results back for trials. Translation: Watch for many of these cases to be delayed. Just an observation readers. AW

Eight years back a groups of local yocals were appointed by the Clay County Commission to restart a Business Development Authority for the county. The original group of bluebloods had disbanded after little effort and even fewer accomplishments. The new kids were charged with growing economic development any way they could. The band of misfits met and elected Norman D Wilson as Chair.
         Crusty ole Norman went to work. During the first meeting, problems were identified and assignments were made to correct the problem. Ideas were exchanged on what needs to be done to get Clayberry moving. Enthusiasm was strong. Little committees and work parties were formed. Without fail, the meetings lasted exactly one hour at Wilson’ insistence. Wilson felt that if it took more than an hour, you were wasting time and he wanted no part of that.
         One of the first problems identified was the State Road owned Spread Park along Rt 4 and the Elk River. Wilson found out the State Road gang was in the process of getting out of the road side park business and the river bottom land reunion spot for the county was in danger of reverting to an earlier owner and maybe even being turned into a house site or trailer park. The BDA went to work with phone calls and letters. In a matter of months, the picnic area, Clay County’ only public facility, was once again safe and secure from unwanted development.
         With the park back in local hands, Wilson and his band of misfits collected donated building supplies and secured funding from the County Commission to build clean, neat, lit, flushable toilets and building on the premises. With that project completed, Wilson grabbed up community service workers from the probation system and kept the grass cut and weeds trimmed.
         All the while, the BDA organized and built four stream access points allowing visitors safe access and parking to some of the best musky waters in the East. The DNR came in and added the Queen Shoals and King Shoals public boat launch slides.
         Each main artery of the county was marked with big aluminum blue and gold Welcome to Clay signs. The high school kids handled the signage and a contest with cash prizes to the winners for the best design was held.
         In addition to a strong back and good construction skills, Wilson supplied the leadership to develop the first plans for a public shooting range and developing a scenic railroad excursion train.
         As is often the case in Clayberry, politicians got in the way of progress and several of the early BDA members were tossed from the roles in 1999. Commissioner Butcher spoke of a little company from New York, Oswego Filter Manufacturing, that wanting to come to WV and bring 300 jobs with it. Emphasis was changed to developing an industrial site in the county. The plans to develop a tourism business were laid aside. A new Chair was elected to the BDA. A couple years later, and after seeing the fiasco of Filcon bloom, Norman Wilson resigned from the BDA.
         A couple years back when the new BDA was reminded of the good done by the earlier Board and the river access points in particular, new Chair Paige Willis said he wasn’ interested in such and if the BDA was going that route, he’ get his hat and go home.
         While the current BDA struggles to get their first new industrial job in the county after four years of trying, the beginning efforts of crusty ole Norman appear to be on the front burner for county economic development once again. The good idea of growing tourism appears back on the fast track resurrecting the same foundation of thinking Norman Wilson provided the county years back. Vision is always a great thing. AW
                 Talk is to grow Clay County with an excursion train. Roger Nutter on Peach Orchid road is one of those “n the know”guys when it comes to knowing about trains. As a life long resident of Clayberry and a person who saw the end of the steam train in the 1960’. we spoke to Nutter Feb 4th. Here’ excerpts from that interview
                 Nutter, “I didn’ work for BC & G, I worked for them in the lumber and then for the railroad up Lilly.”
                 Communicator, Why is Clay County so down with no optimism, it’ like nothing can ever happen here, why is that? Mr Nutter, “In my opinion, the people from the past in Clay County that had money, didn’ want the people without money to have any. Therefore, they have been downtrodden and told they couldn’.. they never got it in their heads that they could do something.
                 Communicator: Why do you think this new plan to grow Clay County might work? Nutter, “Almost any age group from2 years old to 90 years old has an interest in the railroad. We’e always been associated with the railroad. It brought stuff to us. It’ always been a part of our lives…. The four wheeler part of it is kind of our life style now for the youth up to middle age people. There is so many places they are prohibited, it’ making outlaws out of honest people. I think we had trails, we wouldn’ have anymore of that…… I think the river [float trips], there are lots of people that would love to float fish along the river. It’ needs more cleaning but it is a beautiful river just like Buffalo Creek.”
         And then the million dollar question for a guy that has seen a bunch in Clayberry. Is this newest plan get tourists here do able for the county? Mr Nutter, “I really do. But. We need the people of Clay County to come out and show their support for it. Nothing can be done unless you have the people backing you. I don’ care what it is!”
         What’ it going to get this idea off the conference table? Nutter, “The people of Clay County are going to have show their support. It needs the backing of the people. Show that they are interested in doing something for the county so it will have something for everybody. The people are going to have to put something into it to get a whole lot out of it. They need to stop and think that this is good economics for the hotels, the food people, the filling stations, for everybody concerned, this is a better meant for the county. The old saying is, it’ time to stand up and be counted.”
         Roger Nutter added, “there is a lot of people interested in working on this. Come to the meetings and be seen and heard…. It’ time to get life started in Clay County. The last excursion train ran in 1963. That was a big one. The last pull, a bunch of coal cars from Widen, was made from Swandale to Dundon was made in Feb 27, 1965. The was a little over 100 people on that train that day in 1965. These people came from all over this country and world. It was a draw.”
         Nutter has been assisting Connie Lupardus with her attempts to get a rail train into the county as has Leonard Loving, Jr and Earnest Workman. AW

        It’ always good to look back once in a while. While moving from our old digs at Smith Bottom into the new office on Main Street, we budged box after box of archived Communicators and cartons of other snip its of Clayberry history. Often the moving process would come to a complete halt as the old papers caught our eye. Here’ a glimpses from the past from the Oct. 21, 1999 edition of The Communicator.
        In the Fall of 1999, Clay Development Corp was in the spotlight with State and Fed investigators questioning employees and opening files. We wrote: Sources close have said that at least one controversial file was missing from the records. … On Wednesday US Attorney office rep Jenny Cole and WV Medicaid Fraud Control Investigator Martin Holley worked the case from outside the CDC office…. The big eyeball is looking at biased distribution of CDC funds and services, allegations of Medicaid fraud, Home Care funds, and something about an ex employee tape recording conversations inside the CDC office….. newly appointed CDC Board President Earnie Sirk said that the CDC welcomes the investigation, that all others before have given the CDC a clean bill of health and he expects the same results to be found after his investigation. In the Fall of 1999, tossed from office Board members took up a Court fight in Federal Court
        In that same 1999 publication, much attention was given Commissioner Sams recently nailed to the wall, big plastic Dollar Store Ten Commandments plaque. We wrote: Randall Dobbins circulated a petition around Clayberry seeking support for the moral values Commissioners Sams and Butcher were trying to levy the county with election year ploy by Commissioner Sams’Big 10 display. Fairview Baptist prayer warriors issued an apology to Commissioner Bragg for a nasty-gram they sent him over his stand on the Ten. Prosecutor Davis was quoted: My opinion was, the Ten Commandments by themselves would probably violate the First Amendment according to the research I was able to turn up. Basically the cases from the Supreme Court have said government will not promote one religion over another and the Ten Commandments by themselves was probably a violation… Then the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution hanging with the Ten Commandments, I think, County Commission could generally say, that’ a historical display, that’ the foundation for law for this country.. a historical display , I think, is OK.
The Ten Commandments display erected by Commissioner Sams made the front page with: And this one just too good to pass up… Commissioner Jimmy Sams commenting about the Ten Commandments, these are not a doctrine, this is a historical document. There is no religion in it!. We also had a contest going. Here was the question we asked our readers: try to guess which County Commissioner said after the Oct 12 CCC meeting, “ didn’ mean for this to be political but it sure got me some votes!”
On Oct 12, 1999, TV news crews filmed the CCC meeting where 130 people crammed into the pews and spoke out strongly in support of one religion over another in Clayberry, From our meeting coverage: Summing up the feelings of the majority, Grassy Creek’ Bob Taylor got many nods of approval when he said ‘he Constitution is WRONG!…Taylor made mention of Moses Law of the land, Taylor,’Anybody that don’ believe in them, we don’ need them in Clay County!!’About the only thing Taylor didn’ say was: If you aren’ Anglo Saxon white and Protestant, get out.
        During the Oct 7, 1999 Business Development Authority meeting, they talked some more about acquiring an industrial site for the county as well as a rifle range. They talked about he need for a wheelchair ramp at Spread Park, illegal mining permits, and the welcomed the new CAEZ Director, Jerry Sizemore. After John Romano spoke on the need for industrial site, folks in the peanut gallery mentioned the number of such sites around the country empty or nearly empty and: discussion turned to restarting support for a juvenile detention center to be located in the county.
        Back then, Mike Carper was covering Procious PSD meetings. From 1999: the Procious PSD, David Walker, and Garrett Samples, called a hurry up “ublic hearing”and signed a sale contract for the Procious Water Plant. Garrett Samples asked that discussions on employee wages and the number of hours worked NOT be included in the official meeting minutes. A motion was made to raise wages and then apply for a rate increase of at least $3 per month per customer.
In ’9 our hot button issue, the Ambulance Authority was under the Chairmanship of Jeff Krauklis. Their Oct meeting was as usual, stormy. Finances were tight. In one months’time, their nest egg savings account dropped $10,000.00. Lizemores residents worked to hard to keep a satellite station in their community. Deposits for Oct amounted to $45266.56. Publicly they said, we’e billed $124,000 this month. Behind the scenes, the insiders knew, of the $124,000, they would receive about $7200.00. Authority member Larry Cole said the unthinkable, “We should consider reducing the fleet size and do some trading for a wheel chair van.”
Tidbits from that edition included: Farah Facemire would be opening for a Lee Greenwood concert, Brian Lanham said God told him to run for the Braxton County Prosecutor’ slot, Commissioner Sams closed down his Main street Clay Pawn Shop business, the Town, the Sheriff, Gene King, and Randy Holcomb were still involved with an illegal search and seizure lawsuit, the school board wanted to move alternative schools from night time classes to day time schedules to keep the little hellions off the streets during the business day, and the all too small CCHS mini auditorium was under construction.
        How time flies and how little life changes in Clay. Seems like 51/2 years aught to be enough time to solve some of problems? Guess not. AW

        In Jan, the Clay County Bd. of Health was ready to vote into law a 100% smoking ban for the county. They said their aim was prevent second hand smoke from hurting non smokers. Of course, with the Clay County Lion’ Club Casino and Bingo hall exempt from that 100% ban, many suggested that Bingo players and workers at the Casino must be immune from getting cancer. That 100% bad nas nixed after the Board realized they didn’ know what they were voting on. They can work fast when they want to readers.
         Within a day of the nay vote, a new and improved Smoking Ban ordinance was drawn up and circulated by the Health Dept. That bestest yet plan to stop the use of a legal product will be voted on during a special meeting of the Bd. of Health Feb 15th. So convinced that they know what’ best for Clayonians, the Board refused to allow public comments or convene a public hearing on the new ordinance or for that matter, before voting on the old ordinance. Before the last vote, 21 letters of support were received for the 100% ban. Not one letter was penned in opposition of the regulation.
                 The Board is suppose to have copies of the new law at the Courthouse for public review. As of Friday Feb 4th, there were none available in the County Clerk’ office. So much for the public being informed.
                 During that Jan 2005 meeting, the Board and Chair continued with their notion that no public hearing would be needed before ANY vote of the Board. The scuttlebutt is, if you call the Health Dept and asked to be put on the agenda, you the public will be given a chance to speak before the Feb 15th vote to curb your civil liberties. Here’ your chance smokers and non smokers alike. We have a second chance to voice our concerns before a law is voted into force. That number is 587-4269.
                 Town of Clay provides water service to the Maysel area of the county. Many customers in the Maysel area have complained about their clean potable water looking more like 2% milk than water. All along, the Town has maintained that the froth is nothing more than air in the lines. Two weeks ago, two aerators were installed in the system to eliminate the unsightly white stuff. Didn’ work even after “lowing off the lines”twice in one week. There is a trick to getting rid of the white! Once the glass is filled, shake it. Most of the white is gone instantly. Town Council person Phil Morris and Terry Traub continue to work on the problem.
                 Maybe it was back in 96 or 97, somewhere in there, in a combined effort by the Town of Clay, the CAEZ, and the BDA, a group of out of towners was brought into the town to tell us what was right and wrong with the town. They looked at signs, lights, building condition, unsightly lots, street conditions and more. The idea was: often we overlook the good/bad in the community and outsiders could provide the perspective without bias. After their work was completed, a report was completed, passed around the various organizations, and put on a shelf and forgotton.
                 You know what time it is? It’ time to do the same report all over again. During the Feb 9th County Commission meeting, the First Impressions program will present a brand new community assessment. The guess is, their report will be similar to the 1997 version which included: this is a pretty little place, a diamond in the rough; the store fronts need updated; empty storefront windows need to be disguised with decorations, the road signs and building signs are outdated and all goofed up; we could improve the place with trees, quaint street lights, park bench style seating along Main Street; and such.
                 The good part will be the free lunch following the CCC meeting. And they say we don’ get our bellies full of this stuff!
          Hey y'all My name is Regina Boggs White I am a former Clay County resident.I moved to New Jersey in 2003 in following my husband and his career. He is in the United States Air Force and doing fine.He is not over seas but, we had some friends that just got back from there right before Christmas.I would like to say hello to all my family in Lizemore and all my friends.I would like to send you some pictures of my kids so all my family could see how big they are getting.
          I enjoy looking at your web site it keeps me informed of all the gossip in clay.When I did live there I did buy your paper I really did enjoy keeping up on things.Because you herd the "truth" about Clay.
         Senator C. Randy White
         January 31, 2005
          The end of the seven day Extraordinary Session was an historic day for the state of West Virginia. It will be remembered as a turning point for the Mountain State as it moves toward greater economic prosperity and prominence. This sends a clear message to the rest of the country and the world that we are determined to clean up our debts. I am grateful for the cooperation and dedication of the legislative leadership, administration and other interested parties to devise a plan to take care of the economic burdens of the state. Hopefully, this will encourage investment in our state that will certainly bring jobs and a better life for all.
          While theregular 60 day session is scheduled to convene February 9, my fellow lawmakers and I returned to Charleston early for an Extraordinary Session called by newly elected Governor Joe Manchin. He placed before us an aggressive agenda that is bound to have an impact on the future of this state.
          Senate Joint Resolution 101 is a proposed amendment to the state Constitution. It allows the Legislature to issue and sell bonds no greater than $5.5 billion. The money is intended to pay either a portion or all of the unfunded $5 billion in the State Teachers' Retirement system, $22.2 million in the Judges' Retirement System and $344 million in the Public Safety Death, Disability and Retirement system. The resolution was adopted by the Senate Wednesday, January 26 and adopted by the House Saturday , January 29 but must go before you, the voters, in a special election.
          Another significant measure on our agenda last week was to reform the current Workers' Compensation system. The state has accrued roughly $3 billion in Workers' Compensation debt liability. Senate Bill 1004 seeks to reduce this debt first by privatizing the existing system. Privatization will place the liability of compensating injured, temporarily disabled worker’ at first in the hands of a mutual company owned by the corporations that buy plans from it. The Worker’ Compensation Commission will cease to be a state-run organization and will become open to private insurance carriers July 1, 2008.
          Too, the existing debt will be paid down from a number of revenue sources. An increased severance tax on coal, natural gas and timber and an increased tax on premium’ paid for worker’ compensation insurance will go into a worker’ compensation debt reduction fund. In addition, other dedicated funds will be used to retire the debt.
          Senate Bill 1002, also on our plates, seeks to reorganize state government so that certain agencies are answerable to the Governor’ office. It will create a new Department of Commerce in the executive branch and the Office of Secretary who will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the department. The Economic Development Authority (EDA), Public Energy Authority (PEA), Water Development Authority (WDA), Jobs Investment Trust (JIT), Infrastructure Council, Housing Development Fund and School Building Authority (SBA) will become independent agencies within the executive branch . The Governor, however, will be a board member as well as chairperson of each agency. His idea is for the state to send a single message to investors, rating agencies and other economic development proponents.
          The Governor also will appoint the executive director of each agency pending approval by the Senate, as well as set his/her salary. In addition, the entire board of the SBA and PEA will be reappointed by April 1, 2005. The PEA has been given its original power back as well; the power to issue bonds specifically. Its existence was extended until 2010.
          The Senate and I worked diligently to strengthen the ethics laws that regulate public officials and employees. I support full disclosure of government officials’financial interests. Senate Bill 1003 is intended to restore the public’ confidence in government. It provides greater regulation of lobbyists’relationship to public officials; reducing the possibility that gifts from lobbyists could influence legislation and increasing the fine from $1,000 to $5,000 for a violation of the law As always, I will dedicate all of my expertise to serving as your representative. As a matter of information, I have been assigned to the following committees this session: Education, which deals with issues and bills relating to education in public schools and higher learning institutions; Government Organization, which deals with issues and bills relating to the executive department of the state government; Judiciary, which deals with issues and bills on civil and criminal judicial proceedings; Labor, which deals with issues and bills regarding employment; Natural Resources, which deals with issues and bills that affect natural resources and Transportation, which deals with issues and bills on roads and transportation. I am also serving as chairman of the Enrolled Bills committee and vice chairman of both the Natural Resources and Labor committees.
          This Extraordinary Session was a top priority for the welfare of West Virginia. Our children will praise us for the benefits the state reaps due to our hard work and determination to move West Virginia forward. I am pleased to be serving you this session and please feel free to contact me at anytime. My office phone number is 304-357-7906 and my e-mail address is crwhite@mail.wvnet.edu.
          More information on the Legislature can be found on the internet at http://www.legis.state.wv.us. The status of pending legislation can be tracked from this site as well as a daily summary on floor sessions. Thank you again for choosing me to represent you once again.
         BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
          In the last stage of his tenure as Secretary of State it is painful, nay almost embarrassing to watch Colin Powell desperately attempting to rescue his once majestic stature, “ajestic,”that is, before he made his Faustian bargain with the Forces of Darkness. [Read: Cheney, the CIA, and the neocon think tanks] It may be that only ancient political junkies, historians and elephants are immune from the short attention span that seems so characteristic in the voting public. The “lephant”reference here is to the noble species, not the political one. In any event, to those of us who are cursed with a long memory the image remains of Powell’ preposterous show and tell presentation before the United Nations, the film footage about which he claimed illustrated the certainty of Saddam’ WMDs.
          There have been published assertions contending that the good former general knew that his “vidence”was bogus, and that he had initially refused to use it in his presentation, referring to it as a well-known form of excrement, although in somewhat less delicate terms. We shall never know what made him capitulate, but the point is that he caved in to the hardliners. Bluntly said, Powell sold out his principles. No matter how many rationalizing pieces have been and will be published calling the Secretary a “oderate”surrounded by the neocons, the fact remains that when he was presented with one of the most important moral crises of his distinguished career, he was found wanting. The oft-used “ood soldier”defense can only go so far, and there is something infinitely sad when a man of true stature is untrue to himself. Such behavior is typical of ordinary politicians. But Colin Powell will exit political life, suffused in the rosy glow of official tributes and fawning editorials, and time will erase, if it has not already his apostasy, and the amazing fact that, during his tenure, the State Department virtually ceased to exist. Nothing would have become his storied life so much as having had the integrity to resign in protest of the megalomaniacs who are shaping our disastrous foreign policy.
          If the networks were truly interested in serving the public, a policy of pre-program disclaimers should be adopted. For example, the news discussion types should be introduced with the kind of warnings seen on cigarette packages or pharmaceutical products. The public would be served by such cautionary announcements as: “his program may lower your IQ as much as 10 points.” Another suitable alert might be: “eople with weak stomachs should avoid the following presentation.”
          The above suggestion is inspired by the recent confirmation hearings. Before rational people with vivid memories could breathe a sigh of relief over the blessed exodus of the certifiable lunatic, John Ashcroft, a man whose extreme views would be an embarrassment to any administration with a grip on reality and a modest acquaintance with the U.S. Constitution, enter Alberto Gonzales, soon to become Attorney General. On the surface, Gonzales seems to be the ideal choice: Hispanic, product of a hardscrabble Texas poverty level family. [It is politically incorrect to say “ower class.” Gonzales’resume is impressive: graduate of Rice University and Harvard Law School, but he has one quality that endears him the most to Big W. He is the consummate “es”man. Even when he was counsel to then-Governor Bush, Gonzales illustrated that he was adept at tailoring the law to serve his boss. In 1997 Gonzales wrote a memo in which he argued that Texas is not bound by the Vienna Treaty, because it had not been a signatory. By extension, this claim asserts that Texas is exempted from Article VI of the Constitution which maintains that U.S. treaties are “he supreme law of this land.”
          Gonzales’Texas record is one of consistently providing Bush with the kind of legal advice he wants, having been particularly active in the 152 executions, about which, in a chilling interview George W. smiled proudly during the 2000 presidential campaign. The Chief Counsel apparently thought his task was to expedite matters, since the Atlantic Monthly reports that for each of the first 57 (executions) Bush “ade his judgment based on a three-to-seven page execution summary prepared by Gonzales and on an oral briefing that typically lasted no more than 30 minutes that was usually presented on the day of the execution. Bush denied clemency in every case, even though some of the inmates were mentally retarded, the killing of whom the Supreme Court has found to be “ruel and unusual punishment.” The fabled Judge Roy Bean comes to mind here: “e’l give you a fair trial, and then we’l hang you.” But the record shows that too many of these unfortunates did not, in fact, receive a fair trial. Shoddily prepared counsel, reports of defense advocates asleep, possibly drunk during trials were rampant, and Bush’ response was that, in all cases, legal representation was excellent.
          It was not until he ascended to the White House however, that Alberto Gonzales achieved the crowning moment in his legal career. He is the architect of the infamous “orture Memo.” He argued that the Geneva Convention proscriptions on torture do not apply to Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners, that they are, in fact, “bsolete.” The term “uaint”even emerged in these discussions. It is but a short uncivilized leap from these deliberations to the barbarity of Abu Ghraib. What a brilliant coinage is “nemy combatants!” The Bush administration throws around the term “ar”whenever it suits their purpose, yet what we must deem subhuman behavior by the interrogators at Abu Ghraib and, we now know – Guantanamo Bay has been programmed in no small degree by Field Marshall Rumsfeld and the likes of Alberto Gonzales. The confirmation hearings have been a depressing exercise in avoiding straight answers and evading accountability. The White House and Department of Defense have presented the public with the illusion of accountability by prosecuting a school of small fish, but it takes what the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge called the “illing suspension of disbelief”to deflect blame from on high. No heads will roll in this administration. Neoconservatives do not make mistakes.
         They Said It
          Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another. – Homer
          An honest politician is one, when he’ bought, stays bought.
         – Simon Cameron (1798-1889)
          If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. – John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
          Rise like lions after slumber
          In unvanquishable number
          Shake your chains to earth like dew
          Which in sleep had fallen on you
          Ye are many – they are few.
        -        Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.
– Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Nothing is more dangerous to a republic than fanatics unconstrained by democratic politics, yet in a second term of this administration, that’ exactly what we’l have. – Robert Reich

Sure we’l have fascism in America, but it’l come disguised as 100 percent Americanism. – Huey Long

Let’ get this straight. The Republicans do not want to fix Social Security; they want to kill it. Period. They don’ want to “artially privatize”Social Security. They want to end it. – Molly Ivins

He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know. – Abraham Lincoln [Dedicated to Condoleeza Rice]

        May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house…

Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin
Dear Brother Bill: I hope this note finds you feeling better since your surgery. And, thankful that you are getting along so well. First, contrary to rumors, our friend Sylvia Summers did not get married and, further more, she has no immediate plans to marry at this time.
Lunch at the Nutrition Center has been good this week. I enjoy the fellowship of the other seniors who attend the lunch. I was so sorry to learn of the death of our cousin, Warren Neal Samples. As you know, Neal was very close to us when we were growing up on Twistabout Ridge. Also, sorry to learn of the death of Kent Dorsey and Elbert Summers (son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Pat Summers.) Our condolences to each of these families.
Greta Hanshaw has been ill. Dixie and John Hill, of Texas, have been ill. Alyce Faye (the one that broke her ankle, falling over a dog) has had something like the flu. Carmen Samples, of Twistabout Ridge, has returned home from a stay in the hospital. Junior Starcher (Dovie's husband) is a patient in a Charleston Hospital. Don is back home after a three week stay at Flatwoods. Sylvia Shreves, of Terra Alta, says her husband, Lyle Shreves, is doing fine since his surgery. He hopes to go back to work in a couple of months. Their son, Jeff Shreves, has gone to Florida to look for work.
I noted that the robins have started coming back. I thought it was too cold for them in January but there they were, and the black-capped chickadees. My Easter flowers are looking good but this next freeze will probably not be good for them. I was in Kroger's at Gassaway last week. I kept running into this couple and we struck up a conversation. Come to find out it was Keith and Wanda Potasnik Hamrick from Widen. I hadn't seen them for ages (fact is we did not recognize each other.) When she told me she was from Widen, I told her I had worked there a long time ago and then we realized we knew each other. And going back through the Hamrick Family I realized we were distantly related to Keith. Lots of folks related to our great-great grandpa, Abner Paxton. Small world. Mary Allen, of Big Otter, called the other evening and we had a nice chat. She babysits her great grand child most of the time. Then Doris Legg Downey, of Elkview, called. She was trying to locate Shonette Shearer. I think they must be planning a class reunion. Our 50th reunion will be the 2nd of July. We are hoping for a good turn out.
We are so fortunate to have good folks at the Primary Health at Two Run, namely Bobby Dorsey and Dr. Patel. Jack Connor is missed when it snows. I understand he kept the parking lot at Valley Fork School clear of snow when he was here. I think he is somewhere down south. Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Samples (1955) of Virginia were in Clay over the weekend. They brought Glenn's mother, Mrs. Chessie Brown, to Hartland. I had a nice visit with Glenn and his wife. Hopefully, Glenn and Francis will come in for our 1955 Class Reunion in July. CONGRATULATIONS TO JESSIE MCCOY, OF LEON. I understand she made straight A's on her report card. Way to go, Jessie. Jessie is the granddaughter of Blendine Daubenspeck Blankenship (formerly of Clay County.) A big hello to all of our friends, far and near, and the king and his court. That would include the prince, princess, viscounts and the jesters. Help us All to be Brave. Yes, to Don Greene; Evelyne could probably donate to the cause he mentioned in the last issue of the Communicator. But what I have isn't "junk," it is "stuff," and it is everywhere as you know Bro. Bill. And to all you ladder climbers: be careful on the folks you step on as you go up the ladder, you might see them again on your way down.
Another of my e-mail friends sent me the following:

Three things in life that, once gone, never comes back - Time, Words and Opportunity
Three things in life that may never be lost - Peace, Hope and Honesty
Three things in life that are most valuable - Love, Self-confidence and Friends
Three things in life that are never certain - Dreams, Success and Fortune
Three things that make a good person - Hard work, Sincerity and Commitment
Three things in life that can destroy a person - Pride, Anger and Selfishness
Three things that are truly constant - Father, Son and Holy Spirit
I ask the Lord to bless you, as I pray for you today; to guide you and protect you, as you go along your way. Their love is always with you, Their promises are true, and when you give Them all your cares, you know They'll see you through.

Until next time, Bro. Bill, be brave and take care of yourself. Love, Sis

Christian Service Center News
Hello friends, family, neighbors, and faithful readers. Sorry that we missed last issue. Deaths in the family of one of our workers caused the newsletter delay as our thoughts and prayers were on this family.
We have been thinking of and praying for several families in the area: the family of Kent Dorsey, The Taylor family of Lizemores, and Vera Dean Holcomb’ family. We are very sorry for your loss of loved ones.
Mary Lee Fugate, we sure hope that you are doing better after your recent tests. And Mary Kincaid, the kids on your bus said to tell you to get better soon and to take care of yourself and Dale. We all love and miss you. God bless you.
We would like everyone to come and see the new things we are doing at Clay Christian Center. The Lizemores Christian Center is planning a “rand Sweetheart Day”sale on February 14 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. There will be a grand prize drawing, door prizes, and much more, so come in and shop around – you will find a good deal.
George Coleman was over at Blue Creek Camp last month on January 6th. He was walking down by the ponds and saw a bull frog on the side of the pond. The bull frog was just a small one, but bull frogs are not out at this time of year. See the picture of George and the frog.
Congratulations Amanda Neff of Bickmore, daughter of Jeff and Beckie Neff. Amanda is Clay County High School’ Homecoming Queen!
Here’ a little something to think about:

Have you ever wondered what it must have cost? You have heard of a man who gave his life for us. He bled and died upon the cross.
Have you ever wondered what it must have cost? To watch His only Son face an angry mob crying, “rucify him, crucify him,”as He walked to Calvary carrying His cross.
Have you ever wondered what it must have cost? To see His only Son being nailed upon that cross, to feel the separation from Him as He cried, “y God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
Have you ever wondered what it must have cost? The pain and grief He must have felt as he watched His only Son die upon the cross.
Have you ever wondered what it must have cost? To watch as they took His only Son from the cross, and laid Him in an empty tomb.
Have you heard about the man who gave His life for us? But, have you ever wondered about the cost?
Please think about what you have just read.

Date Set for Lamb Referendum
Sewell Priest, Executive Director for USDA’ Farm Service Agency announce January 31st the final procedures for a continuance referendum under the Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information order, more commonly known as the Lamb Check-off Program, by the USDA’ Agricultural Marketing Service. The referendum will be conducted January 31 through February 28, 2005 at USDA’ County Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.
To be eligible to participate, persons must certify and provide documentation, such as a sales receipt or remittance form, which shows they have been engaged in the production, feeding or slaughtering of lambs during the period of January 1 through December 31, 2004.
Beginning January 31, 2005, and continuing through February 28, 2005, persons may obtain form LS-86 to vote in the referendum from County FSA Offices either in person, by mail, or facsimile. Forms may also be obtained via the Internet at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/mpb/rp-lamb.htm .
Persons will vote in the referendum at the County FSA Office where their administrative farm records are maintained. For persons not participating in FSA programs, the opportunity to vote will be provided at the County FSA Office where the person owns or rents land. Form LS-86 and supporting documentation may be returned in person, by mail, or facsimile to the appropriate County FSA Office. Form LS-86, and accompanying returned in person or by facsimile, must be received in the appropriate County Office before the close of business on February 28, 2005. Form LS-86 and accompanying documentation returned by mail must be postmarked no later than midnight of February 28, 2005, and received in the County FSA Office by March 7, 2005.
For the program to continue, it must be approved by a majority of voters who also represent a majority of the volume represented in the referendum. The Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 authorize the Lamb Check-off Program. This program provides for assessments on the sale of lamb and lamb products and for an industry board to carry out promotion, research and information programs designed to increase the demand for lamb and lamb products.
The referendum is mandated by the Act and requires that the Secretary of Agriculture conduct a referendum either before its going into effect or within 3 years after assessments first begin under an order. The order provides that the referendum be held within 3 years after assessments first begin. Assessments began July 1, 2002. AMS oversees the activities of the program.
The procedure and notice for the referendum were published in the December 27, 2005, Federal Register. For more information contact Kenneth R. Payne, Chief, Marketing Programs Branch, AMS Livestock and Seed Program, USDA at Stop 0251, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-0251 or by telephone at 202-720-1115.
The FSA office for Clay and Braxton County is: Braxton-Clay FSA Office, 801 State Street, Gassaway, WV 26624-9303, telephone 304-364-5103 or 1-800-284-4956. Their fax number is: 304-364-8639.

Magistrate Report
01/19/05: Wriston – Sheila Payne, child neglect (01/07/05), preliminary hearing, probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury; Wriston – Stephen L. Payne, child abuse (01/07/05), preliminary hearing, probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury.
01/27/05: Belt – Larry Allen Duffield, receiving or transferring stolen property (08/05/04), preliminary hearing, probable cause found, bound to Circuit Court.
01/29/05: Belt – John Raymond Doss III, attempted robbery, arrested.
01/31/05: Stephenson – Jack Naylor, warrant issued for wanton endangerment.
01/25/05: Belt – Robert Rose, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, Defendant pled guilty, assessed fine and cost.
01/27/05: Wriston – Jody Lee Miller, warrants issued for violation of DV protection order X 7, arrested 01/30, ROB.
01/28/05: Larry Legg – Rocky Legg, fail to cause child to attend school, summons; Larry Legg – Wanda Legg, fail to cause child to attend school, summons; Wiles – Jackie R. White, possession of controlled substance X 3 and obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB; Bailey – Olivia D. Ranson, driving under the influence and failure to yield right, arrested, ROB.
01/29/05: Belt – John Raymond Doss III, battery, arrested.
01/30/05: Belt – Benjamin Paul Jackson, driving while revoked for DUIA, arrested, ROB 01/31.
01/31/05: Wiles – Russell G. Moore Jr., warrant issued for domestic battery.
01/21/05: R.B. Legg D.D.S. – Tracy Sizemore, money due, subpoena.
01/24/05: Jack Mullins – Richard Nicholas and Kristi Nicholas, unlawful detainer, subpoenas; Rhonda Adams – Thomas Childers, money due.
01/26/05: Basil Williams – Randy Legg and Della Legg, wrongful occupation, subpoenas.
01/28/05: High Street Apartments – Marilyn Johnson, wrongful occupation, subpoena; High Street Apartments – Roger Branton Smith, wrongful occupation, subpoena; High Street Apartments – Judy Johnson, wrongful occupation, subpoena; Shirley Braley – Justin Hamrick, money due, subpoena; Shirley Braley – Willis Hamrick, money due, subpoena; Shirley Braley – Stanley Hamrick, money due, subpoena.
02/02/05: Darlene Morris – Gerry Whiley, money due, subpoena; R.B. Legg Jr. D.D.S. – James Bird Jr., money due, subpoena; R.B. Legg Jr. D.D.S. – Carlos Duncan and Lisa Duncan, money due, subpoena.
Worthless Checks Notices Issued
01/20/05: R.B. Legg Jr. D.D.S. – Timothy Josh Beard (paid 01/28).
01/26/05: Clay County High School – Michelle Foster; Donna Nicholas (paid 02/02); Matilda J. Brumfield (paid 02/01); Clay Furniture & Appliance – Mary J. Adkins (paid 02/01).
01/28/05: Clay Co. Board of Education – Sheila M. Sears.
02/02/05: Clay County Middle School – Tresea Truman.
Citation Register
01/05/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Russell Glen Moore, registration violation.
01/06/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Jarrod W. Lanham, registration violation and no POI.
01/07/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Bryan Lewis Collins, unrestrained child.
01/08/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Anthony C. Mayes, speeding and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
01/10/05: DNR – Sandra Mae Brown, stream litter.
01/11/05: State Police – Gerald W. Duffield, possession marijuana less 15 grams; Thomas Perry Laxton, registration violation.
01/12/05: State Police – Angela L. Holcomb, registration violation and operator’.
01/14/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – James T. Cottrell, registration violation and operator’; State Police – Alisha Etchevarria, speeding and no POI; Regina A. Lewis, speeding; Sheryl L. Murphy, speeding; Preston L. Newberry, speeding.
01/17/05: State Police – Kathy Lynn Chapman, seat belt violation; Patrick R. Murphy, speeding.
01/21/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Michael C. Mollohan, speeding.
01/23/05: DNR – William Lee Collins, unlawful disposal of refuse; State Police – Garron M. McKinney, no POI.
01/25/05: State Police – Cassie R. Cunningham, defective equipment, no POI, registration violation and MVI; Daymon L. Koch, operator’; Public Service Commission – Richard Nichols, overweight, overwidth, overlength.
01/27/05: State Police – Elmer J. Blair II, speeding and no POI; Heather M. Butts, speeding; Jeffery S. Carper, speeding; David T. Jones, speeding; Teresa G. Mealey, speeding; Matthew J. Novelli, speeding; Jackie White, registration violation and no POI; Jessica L. Wright, speeding; Sheriff’ Dept. – Michael W. Cummings, registration violation.
01/28/05: State Police – Olivia D. Ranson, failure to yield right of way and driving under the influence.
01/30/05: State Police – Michelle Lee Cook, speeding and MVI; Kathy A. Forythe, operator’ and registration violation; David M. Haschek, speeding; Corey Andre Jackson, speeding; Robert J. Workman, speeding; Sheriff’ Dept. – Benjamin P. Jackson, driving while revoked for DUIA.
01/31/05: State Police – Michael E. Shoults Jr., speeding and no POI.