FEBRUARY 9, 2004

Letter To Brother Bill
Protect Your Pet From PARVO
County Commission Hears It All
School Board Meets


        That's right, West Virginia appears to be facing a $120 million deficit next year. So, of course, the first thing that jumped into all our minds is "Why not impose a LEVY?" Am I wrong in thinking that is just another way to say we are getting a new tax? If the leadership of West Virginia wasn't so sad, it would be funny. For example, we HAVE to lower the blood-alcohol content to .08% in order to access around $10 million in federal highway funds. So what does our Legislature do? They are HOPING they iron out their differences and pass it. Hoping to pass it? Good Lord, how can they even conceive of not passing it, with the shape our roads are in? In trying to balance the budget, they have asked for 9% cuts from all agencies, except the police, prisons, seniors, schools, children's healthcare and scholarships. What's left? Not much beyond our parks, forests, roads, historical preservation, some sort of realistic plans for growth and a few other things that apparently are expendable. Want to bet that they somehow end up with money in the pork barrel…oops! I mean Budget Digest. Well, maybe I was right the first time.
        As of the 28th, our Senate had introduced 308 bills, with 781 from the House. Among them are over 13 bills that contain the words "create”or “stablish". That is government growing when it should be shrinking, folks. One that caught my eye was an appropriation of $8 million to establish Alternative Education programs. Why not just add the $8 million to education and bypass the expansion of the system? There are also a lot of bills with "exemptions" for this or that group. Maybe this isn't the best time to start exempting anyone from paying taxes, what with the $120 million hanging over us like the plume of a power plant.
        Since tobacco is taxed at nearly 100%, because it is a "sin tax", how about generating some needed funds by taxing some other "sins", too? I would start with LIQUOR, which kills, maims and ruins more lives than tobacco ever did. To that I would add ATVs, motorcycles, race-cars, boats of all kinds, airplanes, ultralights, snowmobiles, all other recreational vehicles and activities that us poor folks can't afford. Then we could change the infamous "agricultural discount" that individuals and corporations use to dodge their fair share of taxes. Let's make the decision that in order to be eligible for this you have to LIVE on the property AND make at least 51% of your annual income from your agricultural activity. Talk about money pouring into the coffers, that little deal would do it!
         Another little doozy that is being bandied about is the goofiness of hunting coyotes at night, with an amber light, JUST like is done with raccoons, opossums and skunks! Why does WV need to encourage more drunks and nuts to be out in the dark, shooting at things? I would be very interested in seeing the facts and figures used to justify this bit of silliness. One last thing is a bill that makes it a priority in early education to teach the basic skills in reading, math and English language arts, along with early detection and intervention to correct deficiencies. Does that mean that they haven't been teaching those things all along? The last part is merely mumbo-jumbo that will allow them to put more kids into Special Ed, earlier.
          That's it for this time grasshoppers; maybe next time I can get to why West Virginia needs to move our Primary Election up to February or March, when it would mean something.
         Letter To Brother Bill
By Evelyne McLaughlin

          Dear Brother: Thought it was about time to write you a few more lines. Hope all is well with you and yours. We are so anxious for spring. I am too old for this cold, snowy weather. The birds have been flocking to our bird feeders - Cardinal, Cedar Wax Wing, Chickadees and others. I like to watch them fly in and eat. The seed catalogs are piling up also. If Don doesn't receive a catalog from Dr. Leonard or Carol Wright, he thinks they are mad at him.
          Alyce Faye Bragg of Ovapa tells me her son, Kevin, fell while playing basketball and broke his wrist - OUCH. Marie Blankenship of Maysel is in the Thomas Memorial Hospital. Roxie Bragg Myers of Gassaway is also ill. Hope these ladies are feeling better real soon. Helen Markle passed away recently. The infant son of Heather and Joey Myers also passed away. He is the great grandson of Larry and Alice O'Dell of Porters Creek and Junior Gray of Clay. So sorry to learn of these deaths.
          Dixie Love Jarvis says she is feeling great and she sends you a big “ello.” Travis Legg, son of Larry and Joyce Legg, has joined the Marine Corps. He is stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina. Don and Brad both did their basic training there. When we lived in South Carolina, Don liked to drive to Parris Island and watch the new recruits go through their exercises. I am proud of you, Travis. George Lutz, grandson of Mary Hensley, of Valley Fork, is working in Washington, D.C. He and Travis were in my second grade class once upon a time.
          So sorry to see the obituary of Jerry Tawney Butcher in the paper this week. He was killed in an auto accident recently. He was the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Tom Butcher of Two Run.
          Do you remember Ernie Sirk of Ivydale? Well, he is running for a position on the Clay County Board of Education. One of Ernie's ancestors, Rachel Sirk, according to what I have heard, was one of Clay County's very first teachers. She was a sister to our great-grandfather, George Eagle. Sylvia said to tell you that Denise Hopkins Taylor, of Ovapa, is running for Magistrate. She wishes you could vote for her.
          My yard is like an ice rink. I went out to feed today. Champ came running up the yard. He couldn't stop and both of us ran into the fence.
          Rose King called to ask me about a woman named Maggie O'Dell. She had an old picture and thought I might know who this lady is or was. I do not know. If anyone reading this knows who this woman was call Rose King and let her know. Maxine Starcher Shafer, of Elkview, called this evening. We always talk about the old times and folks that used to live on Twistabout. You know, most of the folks living on the ridge when we were small are gone. My memories of Twistabout Ridge are good ones and the folks that once lived there. Charlotte's husband, Jim Steed, of Knollwood, has been in Florida for several days. He works with a church group. They go to fairs in different states.
          Until next time, don't strain yourself making snowmen or blowing off the walk, just enjoy the moment and I do hope you are feeling much better. Surely spring can't be too far off. Help us all to be brave until then.
                                         Love ya, Sis.
         BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
         With the silly season underway once more, that is the quadra-annual meat market otherwise known as the presidential campaign, no candidate’ assertions are unchallenged, however plausible. Even Shakespeare’ assertion that “t must follow as the night the day”would be attacked by this mob, as well as our glorious media who spend most of their time parroting each other.
                 Nevertheless, in these uncertain times, it is safe to say that Oleksiy Galushka and Viktor Odnovyun are not exactly household names. These two young Ukrainian men had served in the Soviet Army. When the USSR system collapsed, the two became activists, working toward an independent and democratic Ukraine. After beatings, threats, and jail, they fled to the west. The search for freedom led them through Argentina and Iceland, finally arriving at Kennedy Airport asking for asylum, joining thousands of others who spend months or even years in detention. According to Nina Bernstein of the New York Times, these unfortunates also include a Tibetan nun who was sent from Dulles International Airport to a rural jail in Virginia, and an Armenian activist dispatched from San Francisco Airport to the jail in Yuba County, California. These travesties of justice are one of the odious by-products of the Department of Homeland Security, which has now co-opted the immigration and naturalization service.
                 It is in perilous times such as these that the noble lines of Emma Lazarus [1849-1887], a young New York poet, lose a bit of their luster:
                  Give me your tired, your poor
         Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
         The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
         Send these, the homeless tempest-tossed to me.
         I lift my lamp beside the golden shore.
         It is tempting to observe at this point that, if the disastrous fiscal policies of the Bush administration are not defeated, over 90% of the American population may also be classified the “retched Refuse.” Lazarus’ringing lines, inscribed on Lady Liberty, were never fully realized. History is often cruel to idealism.
                 At the close of World War I, as tension mounted between the United States and Soviet Union, the arms race became a paramount issue between the two nations. It is probable that philosophers would insist the arms race is something no one can win, except of course the insatiable defense industry, an immovable force, then as now. The postwar contest resolved itself into one overwhelming question: “re our German scientists better than their German scientists?” There must have been joy abounding in the scientific community when the American government managed to snare Dr. Werner von Braun, the celebrated Nazi father of the V-1 and V-2 rockets. Von Braun was the epitome of the cold, detached scientific mind. His missiles, based on or near the French coast, were programmed to destroy London, as well as industrial English centers. One minor flaw in the good doctor’ invention was that he had no control over where these gigantic weapons of death would descend. Inevitably, untold thousands of civilian casualties resulted. It is reasonable to speculate that von Braun did not lose a night’ sleep over this petty detail. He was welcomed to the United States, and spent his remaining days in baronial splendor in wealth and prestige. Satirist Tom Lehrer captured one of von Braun’ signal achievements in a devastating passage:
     …Some have harsh words for this man of renown.
    But I think their attitude
    Should be one of gratitude.
    Like the widows and cripples of Old London Town
    Who owe their large pensions to Werner von Braun.
            A few decades ago our shores were not so “olden”for a Russian sailor who leapt from his ship onto an American vessel. He was seeking sanctuary from totalitarian repression. The U.S. authorities immediately sent him back to what must have been a certain fate. Like so many before him, his name has been lost in the corridors of history. The authorities are not quite so inflexible when the pilgrim happens to be a concert violinist, sculptor, nuclear scientist, ballet star, novelist, or poet, however. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn comes to mind: the novelist and Nobel Prize Laureate in 1970 spent a number of years in the United States living in affluence, during which he repeatedly criticized America as being morally bankrupt, cowardly, and driven by greed. He eventually returned to what is now Russia. Although Solzhenitsyn may be justly accused of ingratitude, it is compelling to imagine what he might say now about our nation’ leaders who are described by Ralph Nader as “orporations masquerading as human beings.”
            As of this writing, four days before the New Hampshire primary, it’ beginning to appear that John Kerry will emerge the Democratic nominee. He appears to be the beneficiary of the TV commentators, who have missed no opportunity to trash Howard Dean. Constantly accused of being a one issue candidate, Dean has suffered in the polls.
    Ah, yes! The polls reported endlessly by every newscast by night or day, and doubtlessly of enormous influence on potential voters, what seems lost to the collective mind is that a poll’ result is based upon two major elements: how the questions are asked, and who paid for it. One of the more vile forms is known as “ush polling,”a technique the invention of which is credited to Lee Atwater, Bush Sr.’ political wizard. This is a method of spreading lies about one’ opponent while appearing to be above it all, a variant of the old “re you still beating your wife”ploy. Dubya’ political guru, the slimy Karl Rove, is a master of this technique, if reports of his activities during the 2000 presidential campaign are to be credited. The Rove machine, despite its denials, trashed Senator John McCain in the South Carolina campaign. The push polling medium is done by telephone and is usually attempted by implication, rather than by direct accusation. The style is illustrated by the irreverent Al Franken:
             Caller: Hi. I’ calling from an independent polling company, and I was wondering if I could have a minute of your time to conduct a survey.
    Unsuspecting Voter: Uh… sure.
    Caller: Great! If you knew that Senator John McCain was a cheat and a liar and a fraud, and that he has fathered an illegitimate black child, would you be more likely to vote for him or less likely to vote for him?
    Unsuspecting Voter: Hmm. Probably less.
    The evil beauty of this method is that the callers’hands remain theoretically clean. This is the sort of thing that helped do in McCain who, at the time, was leading in the presidential sweepstakes. Someday, someone will publish a biography of Karl Rove, whose political godfather is Lee Atwater; suggested title – No Concept Too Vile.
            Speaking of Michael Moore, the best-selling author and unabashed liberal: this week he called George W. Bush a “eserter.” Moore is a supporter of former General Wesley Clark. Moore’ comment drew the expected degree of fake outrage in the media, and poor Clark was forced to do the same desperate tap dancing on the TV screen. He said: “hat’ his opinion, and he’ entitled to it.” The story of Bush’ year-long absence from his tour in the Air National Guard is well-documented, but it is considered bad manners to point out that the emperor has no clothes. Bush gets away with it because of his name and family connections. His commanding general at the time, a man with one of the truly wondrous names in the history of this rapidly perishing Republic, is named “urnipseed.” General Turnipseed testified that he could not find the intrepid flier’ name on the rolls for that year. Bush received a general discharge. In times past, that document would have prevented a man from the hope of securing a responsible position in future employment. It remains a continuing mystery that no voice of protest has been forthcoming from the various proud veterans organizations, especially as veteran’ benefits are gradually getting the chop from this administration, people whose major achievement is their success in avoiding military service, at least most of them.
            One area in which the current administration has excelled must be mentioned. The Bushies are fluent in the use of semantics. “isled”sounds ever so much nicer than “ied.” If an official says, “ misspoke,”what often is actually the fact is that he has deliberately lied. And there is the ever-popular use of the passive voice: “istakes were made.” This construction was a particular Nixon favorite. Unfortunately, with the communications revolution in place, it is virtually impossible for any notable public figure to escape his own history.
    During the 2000 campaign, Condoleeza (Mushroom Cloud) Rice maintained that President Clinton had undercut our troops’ability to fight by sending them into what the Bush Team called “seless”nation-building exercises.
    Department of Abstinence
    Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
    As governor of Texas, George W. Bush spent $10 million on abstinence-only education. Texas has the forty-sixth worst pregnancy rate in the country.
    Ari Fleischer announced that the Clinton people vandalized the White House, doing $200,000 worth of damage. The rumor spread across the land, but the General Accounting Office found no damage.
    Donald Rumsfeld refuses to apologize for our forces accidentally killing a wedding party of fifty in Afghanistan.
    On May 29 of 2003, President Bush stated on national television: “e have found the weapons of mass destruction.” It was on Polish national television.
    During the six-plus years the two Bushes have been president, there has not been one new net job created.
    During Bush’ first campaign for governor of Texas, he told an Austin reporter that only people who accepted Jesus Christ as their savior could go to Heaven. Billy Graham found himself in trouble by the same message in a Brussel’ sermon.
    Bush claimed credit for the passage of the Patients’Bill of Rights in Texas. He had vetoed it twice. The legislature passed it over his attempts.
    And the good news is…
    Protect Your Pet From PARVO
    Dear Sir:
     I am writing to inform your readers of a disease affecting dogs known as PARVO. Not many citizens in Clay understand Parvo and the affect it has on dogs. It’ getting close to the season when many female dogs become pregnant and have puppies, whether by breeding or just carelessness. However, PARVO can, and WILL KILL PUPPIES.
     Parvo is a viral disease, which attacks the lining of the digestive system, and deprives the body of the nutrients needed to sustain life. Some symptoms of PARVO include: high fever, lethargy (being unresponsive), depression, and loss of appetite. Other symptoms include severe gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting and bloody foul smelling yellowish liquid diarrhea, and in many cases dehydration, shock, and death. Parvo can also attack the dog’ heart causing congestive heart failure. This heart failure can occur months or years after an apparent recovery from the intestinal form of the disease. Puppies who survive Parvo infection usually remain somewhat unhealthy looking and weak for life. Adult dogs transmit parvo; some may be infected carriers without showing any of the signs above.
     Dogs with the typical diarrhea that carry the parvovirus, will shed the disease to other animals. Parvo, once shed on the ground can live there for as long as 9 months or longer. It usually takes dogs with Parvo 7-10 days from exposure to start showing symptoms and to test positive for Parvo. Parvo is highly contagious to unprotected dogs, and most disinfectants cannot kill the virus. However, CHLORINE BLEACH CAN KILL PARVO and is commonly used by veterinarians.
     Puppies and dogs can contract the virus even if they do not leave their yards. Parvo is NOT an AIRBORNE virus. It is excreted in the feces (waste) of infected dogs, and if humans, dogs, birds, etc. come in contact with the excrement, the possibility for contamination is great. If you think you have been in contact, a strong solution of bleach will kill the virus. Parvo is incurable, but can be treated with intense treatments. Treatments include IV or subcutaneous fluids and antibiotics. Without treatment, the victims of Parvo die of dehydration. If your animal is showing symptoms listed above, DO NOT FORCE WATER OR FOOD. SEEK AVETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY! Parvo is a very serious disease, and while no extremely accurate statistics are available, a good guess is probably that 80% of puppies treated for Parvo virus will live. Without treatment, probably 80% or more of the infected puppies would die. Many people just assume that any case of diarrhea in a dog is from parvovirus. This is not true. There are a lot of other diseases and disorders that lead
    to diarrhea.
     If you have a puppy, don’ take chances, have your puppy examined by your vet. Its better to be safe than sorry. If your dog becomes infected with Parvo, he has about a 50-50 chance of survival. If he makes it through the first three to four days, he will usually make a rapid recovery, and be back to normal within a week. It is vital, however, that he receives supportive therapy immediately. It must be stressed that this is not a bad case of doggy flu; without treatment, most puppies die.
     For some reason, ROTTWEILER, DOBERMAN, PINSCHERS, AND OTHER BLACK AND TAN BREEDS ARE ESPECIALLY PRONE TO PARVO and seem to succumb to Parvo faster with less chance of recovery that any other breed. If you have one of these breeds, it’ even more important to immunize properly. But Parvo can affect all breeds. Once you have determined whether your dog has Parvo, confine him and do not allow him to socialize with other dogs. Clean up the entire dog's stool and disinfect with bleach. If your dog is kept outside, bleach the house and grass surrounding his house. Better to kill the grass than your beloved pet! Remember to bleach all bedding, water and food bowls, crates, kennels, etc. Bleach everywhere the infected dog has been to prevent re-infection or from spreading the disease to other dogs.
     Please remember that prevention is the only key. Also that vaccinations and boosters are given for a reason! This is a very painful and serious disease and is nothing to ignore.
    Thank you.
     Holly Cunningham
     Clay Humane President
    From the Desk of Senator Shirley D. Love (D) Room 203 West Wing1900 Kanawha Blvd., East Charleston, WV 25305-0470 Phone: (304) 357-7849
    As of today, more than fourteen hundred (1,400) bills have been introduced in the legislature. The Senate version of the ATV bill is now in a House-Senate Conference Committee.Lawmakers are split on the implications of the road-worthy stipulations.Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin thinks it could be interpreted to outlaw ATV’ from any paved road and could even make it difficult for riders to use some trails. The Senate passed the water resources protection act.The legislation claims the states waters for West Virginia and orders a survey of water use.West Virginia and Rhode Island are the only states east of the Mississippi River that have not laid claim to their water. The Senate also passed Senate Bill 200 that requires State Police to report to the legislature annually on its efforts to recruit minorities. The House and Senate Conferees have reached an agreement on the 0.08 blood alcohol content bill.Under the House bill, offenders blowing at least 0.20 would have faced an automatic jail term of six months to one year.In the Conferee’ bill, it was agreed to slap all DUI offenders with a special $55 fee plus fines and court costs.The Senate passed the bill with a unanimous vote. There still isn’ much political will in the legislature to exercise the taxes on cigarettes and smokeless products.Governor Wise has proposed increasing the state cigarette tax by 20 cents and hiking the smokeless tobacco tax. A bill that would basically forbid hospitals from compelling overtime work against a nurses will, except in crises or during an on-going procedure, has passed the State Senate.More than 1000 nurses filled the gallery and halls of the capitol lobbing for the bill’ passage.The Senate passed Bill 209, which would force state officials to bring lease or purchase property agreements valued at more than one million dollars before a joint legislative finance committee for review prior to finalizing a contract. A bill introduced in the House would deem the intentional burning of personal property on a street or right-of-way a crime of fifth degree arson.The new proposed law is intended to stop outdoor furniture blazes that occurs in Morgantown after WVU football games. Eight democrats, ten Republicans and one Libertarian have filed for Governor of the State of West Virginia.It’ the largest gubernatorial field ever assembled on a West Virginia ballot.A September 11 license plate is being proposed to fund scholarships for survivors of emergency workers and reservist killed on the job.A number of other states have commissioned such plates. The Senate is working on Bill 416 which would require auto and health insurance agents to fully disclose the cost of their services to be insured.The House is working on a similar bill. Senate Bill 419 would create the Substance Abuse Prevention Act.The bill includes a provision to establish a substance abuse prevention fund to be used in a public advertising campagn to educate citizens about the dangers of substance abuse. I am honored to serve my constituents of the 11th District.If I can be of assistance, please feel free to call my office at 357-7849 or write Senator Shirley Love at the Capitol Complex, Room 203 West Wing, Charleston, WV 25305.My door is always open to anyone who wishes to voice a concern. Legislative Update can be viewed on website www.senator-love.com. 2/6/04
    County Commission Hears It All
    Call for Investigation Earns Toots a Ticket
         Sure can’ go an edition without the exploits of our County Commission in print. With all three up front and many in the peanut gallery including election candidates Brian Holcomb and Dave Mullins, here’ the skinny from Jan 26 2004.
         Jimmy Kearns asked for CCC OK a deal with WV Water where the multi national would step in and operate and maintain the Queen Shoals PSD service area for 6 months. Since Feb 2003, Clay Roane PSD QSPSD. Kearns said the water received from Clay Roane was unacceptable. Kearns explained that WV Water had the skilled qualified people “o do it right.”Dan Bickerton ( WV Water ) said they would evaluate QS and then decide whether they would be willing to take over the 150 customer water system. Bickerton was concerned over the county in the middle of consolidating the three local PSDs into one regional outfit. Commissioner Sams, “Right now consolidation is on hold.”He went on to say that Clay Roane has been dragging their feet and “on’ get their audit done…”Kearns made it very clear, the water customers in his part of the community want no part of consolidating with the rest of the county. Kearns went on to say that WV Water is currently in Clay County and their line is just ¾ mile from the QSPSD service main.
                 Sams, “I think he’ going to find a mess.”Kearns, “He’ a big boy.”CCC gave the green light to the 6 month operation agreement.
                 Long time Paramedic Cookie Johnson retired from full time duties but will remain on part time work levels. Sams, “I hate to see Cookie go, she’ done a fine job.”
                 Do you live on Rogers Road? Not any more the new name is Raven Rock Road. Ditto for residents of Jewel Road. After the petitioning process, your new location is Ol’Ranch Road.
                 Big Otter FD asked the three mice for 11 new 911 radios. At $700 a piece, the elected ones baulked. George Jones explained the need for constant communications, “Communications is the key.”No decisions made with an investigation under way to locate all the missing hand held units passed out over the years and now missing. Commissioner Triplett, “ets see is we can find them [first].”
         As for improving the 911 communications system, 911 Director Dave King said the newly ordered tower repeaters have not arrived yet. CCC voted some time back to purchase high dollar “epeaters”that mount on existing towers
         in the county to improve service in both the Northern and Southern ends of the county. NOTE: During the last CCC meeting, King said the new stuff would be up and operational in March 2004.
         So what happened in the Barbara Schamberger vs. CCC lawsuit from Jan 2003? According to Jimmy Sams, Judge Wilson found the CCC not guilty of violating state Open meeting laws during the hiring process of Prosecutor Daniel Grindo in Dec 2003. Sams, “The judge said we didn’ do anything wrong.. that woman cost the taxpayers $16,000 [lawyer bills] and that’ a shame!”That woman Sams was talking about was of course attorney Barbara Schamberger. There is another way of looking at it, Commissioner Bragg asked his fellow mice back then to NOT hire Grindo but rather to hold an election [cost $10,000 or less] for the vacancy. Now in retrospect, maybe they should have listened to Bragg after all and saved $6000.00!
                 Gail Vest from the non profit group Advantage Valley told the CCC that as a result of the 2000 Census, Clay County had been included in her economic development Charleston / Huntington, Boone, and Lincoln County service area. Clay County is now a metropolitan area! We’e no longer poor and rural! Nice to know isn’ it readers? And see if you’e noticed a game plan change readers. John Romano from another arm of government encouraged leaders to develop existing businesses, that with all the industrial job loss around the state, there are tracts of already developed industrial sites much more attractive for business.
         Let’ see now, we’e still going after manufacturing and an industrial site and the big boys are encouraging grow from within… Hmmmmmm…
         Town Cop Buckshot Butcher asked the Commission to fund $1,700 in needed gear like a bullet proof vest and winter coat & boots. Sams, “e’e sure look into it.” No decision, under advisement.
         Fred Sampson introduced some new faces to the Commission and said the state was funding a new Master Land Use plan for the county. With Sampson were Randy Lewis and Elliot Perry ( Suits) who explained: the plan has already been completed in 10 counties; the plan will look at water and sewer line extension for future growth and the use of strip mine sites for eco/dev projects in the county. The idea is to allow strip mine operators to leave the level land, roads, power and other improvements instead of returning the mine site to approximate original contour requirements. Sampson put together a committee to oversee the project which will be completed this summer.
         Committee members include: Fola Coal President Gary Patterson, Matt Coronet ( Barringer Trust), Andy Waddell, Paige Willis, Jerry Sizemore, RB Legg, Peter Triplett, King Arthur Jarrett, Earl Elliott, Joyce Gibson, Cindy Willis, Jerry Stover, David Pierson, Tom Dawson, and Marlyn Starcher. First meeting of the group is slated for Feb 16th at 6pm at the Courthouse. The Commission seemed pleased with the new plan with Sams chiming in, “ounds good… We’e behind you 100%”
         Hey Nebo, Big Otter FD, and Lizemores FD, the Small Cities Block Grant request was denied again. No $ coming your way this fiscal year.
         From the back of the room came Carolyn Rogers. The middle aged co owner of Town and Country Restaurant asked the Commission to investigate Deputy Sheriff Kevin Delk. Rogers felt that since Delk had been kicked out of the State Police Academy, he was unfit to serve locally, that the Sheriff should not have rehired him as a Deputy. Rogers, “d he’ employed here, he needs the public’ trust….. the County Commission hires and the ethics need investigated; he needs our trust…. This is a big thing!”Rogers said that she had first gone to Sheriff Fields with the complaint and the Sheriff said Delk getting kicked out of the Academy was a little thing. Sams, “Tell the Prosecutor of your complaint.”Bragg, “Yell , is you can find him.”
                 Here’ the background readers. Rogers drives around town in a small pick up with Virginia license plates. Several weeks ago Deputy Delk told her she had to register the vehicle in this state since she lived him. Rogers retorted she didn’ have to! Of course Delk didn’ like that defiance part and later gave her a ticket for the Virginia plates. When Rogers refused to sign the ticket, Delk handcuffed her and drug her off to Magistrate Court where she was later released. Rogers told this reporter that she was not a danger to anyone and the cuffing hurt her hands.
         That case is pending in Magistrate Court at this time. Here’ the interesting part, according to court paperwork, Rogers does NOT own the truck. It is registered, taxed, and insured by her daughter in Virginia.
         By 11:46am. It was all done and the meeting was adjourned for everybody but Carolyn Rogers.
         On her way down Main Street, as she parked her truck in front of Town and Country Diner, Deputy Belt pulled his cruiser in behind the Roger’ truck. Not moving from the vehicle, Belt issued Rogers another ticket for having Virginia plates instead of WV. When asked how many times he/they were going to do this to her, according to Ms Rogers, Belt responded: As many times as we want!
         A witness to the ticket writing noticed Deputy Robert Belt had been driving without his seatbelt on. Deputy Miles Slack, also in the cruiser, had his belt on. Harassment did you say? Magistrate Jeff Boggs will hear the case Feb 25th at 3pm.                                                AW
                 Many Bankruptcy cases come and go without the public hearing much about them. Not so with the Chapter 11, Clinton Nichols case where all subscribers of the little paper over in Clay have to be notified of any action. Dated the end of Jan 2004, the debtor in possession has asked the court to sell some of the holdings free and clear of encumbrances. From Case # 02-2204: requesting that the Bankruptcy Court authorize the sale of certain tracts or parcels of land described in the motion to the Reed Brothers Limited Partnership for the total purchase price of $127,000. The property is subject to a first priority lien in favor of Clay County Bank as well as liens in favor of the IRS…
Many in the community are wondering out loud, what’ going on here? Answer, As a subscriber, Mr Nichols has a debt owed to you.
         CAEZ From the Feb 3rd Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone meeting, some short shorts. In an attempt to grow the tourism business into this county, the CAEZ is negotiating with a Frank Jorgensen to gain control of 14 miles of railroad land from Dundon to Widen. If successfully consummated, the land would be turned into a rails to trails recreational area. Preliminary work is still being done on a ATV trail for the county to be operated on mined out strip mines. Tourism Director, Connie Luperdus, “Things are kind of falling into place, things are moving…”
                 As for the future of water service in Clayberry. CAEZ’ Red Derring has some interesting info. According to the senior Boardster, the now under construction Summersville water plant and service lines could easily serve the Southern end of Clay with potable water without great additional costs or delays. Derring, “It is set up and designed so Gauley [PSD] could furnish Clay an awful lot of water and not too long either…. Summersville is a big plant and can serve Clay if Clay said they wanted it….”
                 Remember the early CAEZ funded craft co op? The one that started up here and in the middle of the night PUFFFF ended up at the Flatwoods mall? At a mall that isn’ even located in the CAEZ boundaries? They came back, sought, and received a $2000 grant to expand their operation. The co op Poplar Forest as it is now called was funded with a $75,000 CAEZ grant followed by a $60,000 ARC grant 5 years ago. During the lively discussion, Elizabeth “’e got a long memory”Sampson reminded those around the table of the difficulties in the past with securing Popular Forest financial statements, questioned the number of Clay County crafters that are actually represented at the co op; and raised concerns over the change from Popular Forest turning into a for profit organization. The long standing rift among Boardsters surfaced again as Sampson pressed her points.
                 To secure passage of the $2000 grant, Braxton County Commissioner John Gibson said that Popular Forest was good for his county and would be sorely missed if it went under, Gibson, “If we can’ come up with a $2000 grant, I don’ know if I want to be a part of this [CAEZ].”The arm twisting had begun. As this reporter looked around the room a couple faces looked as if they wanted to blast back, “Well! Get the H out then.” Just an observation readers.
                 Even though the CAEZ has NO grant dollars to dole out, the motion was made and passed to give Popular Forest a $2000 grant.
                 One other rambling from the meeting. Last month Roane County resident Phillip Linger purchased the old Newton Fire House (owned by the Clay Roane PSD) for $10,000. During this meeting, Linger and PJ Construction Co was provided a 6 year 4 1/2 % $15,000 loan with the building serving as collateral.
         BDA In the way of an update, also from the Feb 5th Business Development Authority meeting, nothing new on the plans to purchase the old State Road garage at Two Run. The local group is still considering funding sources to hire a full time paid Economic Development Director for the county. BDA Chair Paige Willis reminded those in attendance, the county provides the CAEZ with $30,000 a yar to do such work and CAEZ Chair Sizemore had said some time back that his agency really doesn’ do anything more for this county than other’ in the CAEZ boundaries. John Romano told the group of grant and loan sources for development and offered his office’ grant writing assistance if the county every comes up with a feasible project.
                 Community Activist Fred Sampson brought the group up to speed on the long awaited B Run Dam near Wallback. According to Sampson, permits are being renewed and the county should have a thumbs up or down on the 60 foot tall, 14 acre recreational lake by the end of this month.
         NEW PSD MEETS WV Water Given the Thumbs Up
                 HE White Elem school was packed as Queen Shoals PSD held their first meeting since being reorganized 4 months ago. Date: Feb 2 2004. Up front were new to the Board, Jimmy Kearns, Ann Anderson and Dave Sizemore. Around the midget sized tables and chairs were at least 50 water customers wanting improvements and wanting them post haste! Since Feb 2003, Clay Roane PSD has operated and maintained the Queen Shoals customer base of 150. During that time of outside the community control, many water leaks and boil water orders caused much frustration in the neighborhood.
                 Boardster Jimmy Kearns saw a way out of the delemma. Kearns as well as all three of our County Commissioners contacted WV American Water Co for assistance. During this gathering WV Water’ Dan Bickerton laid it for those in attendance: there IS NOT any kind of done deal; his company is analyzing the QS system and will provide an assessment sometime in the next 6 months; during that 6 month period WV Water could operate and manage the system for $1000 per month with the water supply during those 6 months coming from the Procious Water Plant; and most importantly to the locals, WV Water MAY be able to completely take over the struggling system after the 6 month evaluation is complete. MAY!
                 As for WV Water taking over the entire system, a petition is being passed around the community. PSD Chair Kearns was told by Mr Spark Plug, Jim Weimer, if 95% of the customers agree to WV Water coming in and taking over, it could happen.
                 For hard pressed for water locals, it was a new beginning. After 11 months of woes and pee poor service, it was as if a load had been lifted.
                 In attendance Clay Roane PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait urged caution. Few listened. Some appeared to grit their teeth as Postelwait spoke. Locals weren’ happy with anything she had to offer.
                 Mixed in the meeting were many comments on crappy water being sold as “otable”water. In attendance Queen Shoals resident, attorney Barbara Schamberger spent some time reviewing the petition to dissolve QSPSD and give it to the international water giant, before commenting: The water may be technically safe but the water is brown and unusable….. Every one of us live in fear. That’ why we are so eager to hear from WV Water…’
                 As for the voting and motions…. After hearing from Bickerton and the hopes that WV Water would some day soon supply wa wa , the Queen Shoals PSD Board voted unanimously to enter into an O and M agreement with WV Water for $1000 per month.
                 With the vote done Clay Roane PSD Chair Postelwait told the new folks to pay their debt to Clay Roane, pick up their “tuff”(copy machine, cabinets, paperwork) and “here is a rush on it!”Postelwait left the meeting place.
                 When Clay Roane agreed to take over the Queen Shoals operation last Feb the PSD was heavily in debt to Clay Roane for water bought and never paid for. Queen Shoals purchased all of it’ water from Clay Roane’ Procious Water Plant. AS Queen Shoals was retaking their system back from Clay Roane, the debt load rose dramatically. The Dec 2003 debt owed by Queen Shoals to Cl/Ro PSD was around $2000. By the time QSPSD was ready to take their system back, the debt had risen to $7525.76 including: $378 for wages; $4499 for water purchased; $899 for printing; $975 for Jim Sweeney services and, $389 for valves and gaskets. As of meeting time, QSPSD had $2523 in bank accounts.
                 An hour and one half after opening, the place emptied out with many smiles to be seen. The new day with a new start was coming, as Hoover once said, “rosperity is just around the corner.”                        AW
         $50,000 FILCON BUY BACK
         “Even a blind hog will find an acorn once in a while!”
                 Since Commissioner Tim Butcher first announced 300 jobs coming to the county 5 years ago, the word Filcon has either been the subject of hope or teeth gritting. With the now defunct Filcon, Inc. equipment auctioned off and a jury giving control of the Filcon property to the Clay County Bank in December 2003, many thought that ‘F’ word would never be heard again. Wrong. In the latest installment of Economic Development in Clayberry, local leaders are poised to buy back the bank controlled holding for $50,000.00.
                 During the January 2004 Business Development Authority meeting, first mention came (from Dave Pierson and Leonard Williams) that the local bank may be interested in selling off their first lien on the 11 acres for far less than the $144,000 owed by Filcon, Inc owner (and nowhere to be seen) Manfred Kuentzer. Since that January 1st meeting, negotiations have been going on behind the scenes.
                 This time the land acquisition program will include Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ). During their February 2004 meeting, CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore brought the agency up to speed on the progress of reclaiming an industrial site for Clay County. Sizemore said he had met with BDA Chair Paige Willis [Feb 3rd]and had been told the Clay County Bank would be willing to turn loose of the lien for just $50,000.00 Sizemore said nothing was in concrete yet but was asking the Board to allow him to negotiate a deal where the CAEZ would gain ½ ownership of the 11 acres in return for coughing up the $50,000 pay off price.
         Around the table discussion ensued. Long standing members of the group questioned the worthiness of such a venture since a portion of the land is in the flood plane. Others appeared to hold their tongues with just the mention of the ‘F’ word reminding them of the $147,000 shellacking given the CAEZ when Filcon skid addled out of town leaving them with the past due loan. The CAEZ’ Doyle Tawny cautioned Sizemore to look very closely at the flood plain maps before continuing with the process.        
         Already much money has been spent and misspent on the land near Valley Fork now being referred to as Filcon Field by many. County taxpayers shelled out $90,000 for the property with an additional $50,000 coming from state coffers for site development including a bridge across the narrow trout stream headwaters. During court room testimony and public meetings, the public learned that Kuentzer misused much of the state money and skimmed off even more for his own pockets. The bridge turned into roof trusses while the concrete side panels are still unpaid for. Now back to the meeting.
         Sizemore commented : the site already has 3 phase power on site; a septic system is in place as well as potable water. On the down side, the CAEZ was cautioned: the half completed concrete building may have to be dismantled and removed due to faulty engineering and assembly. Additionally, Sizemore said an early study of the property indicated it would take an additional $340,000 to get 4 acres out of the flood plain and suitable for a building site.
         Without fanfare the CAEZ voted the recommendation (motion) to allow Director Sizemore to pursue the negotiations EXCEPT, the elected body required Sizemore to come back to them before committing the $50,000.00 purchase price. During the discussion, one more concern surfaced again. Caution was urged due to a potentially “loudy”title to the land. As was reported during the December 2003 court room testimony, local bank, Filcon, and BDA attorney Wayne King (that’ right, one attorney for all of them!) testified he had not done a title search on the Valley Fork site. King also had a vested family interest in the land since his family owned a portion of the acreage.
         With the motion in hand, next stop, the Clay County Business Development (BDA) Authority meeting held Thursday February 5th at 5pm.         
         BDA Chair Paige Willis informed the 9 in attendance that negotiations were in place to buy back the Filcon site. No eyebrows went up. Willis, “eonard and Morgan have been negotiating to get our property back..”Willis said he had met with the Clay County Bank that morning and officers there had “reeted them with open arms.”Willis explained the deal: the buy out of the bank lien would not cost the county a penny but in return for CAEZ coming up with the money, they would get ½ ownership. Again no eyebrows went up. Leonard Williams, “t won’ cost us a dime.”
         Around the room came words of caution and the need to get a good lawyer this time around. Willis said he would try to use Prosecutor Grindo if possible. BDA Boardster Glada Lanham, “he attorney won’ be Wayne King?”Willis, “O sir, you can bet your bottom dollar on it!”Others reminded the group, the CAEZ attorney was the same attorney (A Sproles) that represented Filcon as the company was incorporating in WV with the Secretary of State’ office. Eyebrows did go up then. In attendance Fred Sampson, “his thing could be messy..”
         John Romano handed out copies of a Jim Hildruth preliminary engineering study from a few years ago which projected development costs on the site at $1.5 million.
          Williams made the motion to allow Chair Willis to negotiate the deal and enter into the partnership with CAEZ. Motion passed unanimously.
         Boardster Jim Knotts, “ll we’e got to loose is out reputation.”Willis, “e’e done lost that.”
         Referring to the BDA’ inability to locate an industrial site in Clay County, Willis, “ven a blind hog will find an acorn once in a while.”
         There you have it readers, after paying $90,000 to buy the land 30 months ago, we’e sort of buying it again.                                AW
         Judge’ Order Tossed Along With Sirk
                 Where do you start when we’e writing about the most notorious non profit government agency in the county, Clay Development Corporation? For those outside the “oop”the stories of fights during board meetings, the many “oups” and the organizational power of the family run CDC, well, it’ just hard to believe. For those that have seen the many court challenges and heard the stories of employee arm twisting, we know the stories are true and at the least, a very sad misuse of public funds.
                 Here’ one more installment of life in Clay Development Corp (CDC) land and the efforts to reform the infamous social service provider.
                 On January 8, Circuit Court Judge Jack Alsop ordered the large one, Earnie “ide Glide”Sirk, back on the CDC general membership roles. The Judge said CDC secretary Janet Fitzwater was just that, a secretary, and had no authority to toss members from the bylaws mandated position known as the General Membership Committee. Fitzwater had overstepped her duties and Sirk was ordered back on the general membership. Sounds simple enough doesn’ it, readers? Not in CDC-land where a Judge’ order is just one more hurdle to overcome. Here’ the background.
                 Back in Spring 2002, Sirk was on top of the CDC heap. Sirk was CDC Board of Directors President. That was until Sirk discovered some very questionable financial “oings ons”and fired one of the clan, Pam Taylor. Within weeks, the family, with Taylor at the throttle, organized a coup which toppled Sirk from the Board and General Membership. After asking the CDC gang to hear his side of the story and getting a ‘no way’ response from new CDC Chair Gary Whaling and CDC Director Betty Stalnaker, Sirk took his case to court and won. Alsop made the order to reinstate Wide Glide.
                 Don’ think Sirk is an angel, he’ not. Prior to getting tossed from power in June 2002, Sirk was the product of an earlier coup that removed Herschel Shamblin and tribunal from the presidency and board. Once again the family clan flexed their muscles as Shamblin investigated and found issue with three CDC employees including Director Betty Stalnaker. Within days of firing Stalnaker and crew, Shamblin was removed from the volunteer Board and the entire make up of the Board was changed to better suit the employees of the agency.
                 There’ the background and now for the next installment of: “CDC, Can’ do a Thing With ‘Em.”
Sensing that Sirk could cause them problems, and despite the Judge’ order, upper level employees of CDC had to do something and do it fast. Sirk had to be removed as well as any other potential trouble makers. You know, anyone that asks questions, anyone that cares enough to look at the books, anyone that watches who receives services and who doesn’. The clan knew, if they didn’ get rid of Sirk quickly, as a general member, Sirk could himself call a special meeting and begin asking sensitive questions. The iron was hot and it was time to strike . He had to go.
                 On February 2nd at 11am, instead of feeding the needy at the CDC Senior Center on Main Street, a Special General Membership was called to toss Sirk. As the meeting hour neared, the place was packed. From wall to wall and with every seat taken, over 125 employees and friends of employees showed to vote Sirk out. There were old and young alike. The most common denominator was: job security.
         With President Whaling up front and Director Stalnaker at his side, the meeting got under way after roll call. 138 names were called of which 68 was present. The meeting room was a buzz with quiet murmurs. Up front Janet Fitzwater announced that anyone present and not currently a general member could join today and have full voting privileges 30 days later according to bylaws wording. The majority of those assembled were employees of CDC.
                 Judge Alsop had ordered that the only time general members can be removed from office is during the regular June meeting of the group, but that didn’ seem to matter. President Whaling said they were there to remove anyone who had not showed up for a meeting in 24 months or who was not interested in the “urthering the agency” Translation: If you ask questions, you’e a problem and have to be removed!
                 Sirk asked if he could ask a question? Whaling, “NO…. You’e out of order. Sit down!”Looking at Sirk, Whaling said Sirk had cost the agency tremendous amounts of dollars in legal fees over the last 18 months, funds that people could have used. Again Whaling asked for the motion to remove any and all from the general membership. Again Sirk, “iscussion questions Gary?”Again from Whaling, “O, YOU”E OUT OF ORDER!!”
                                 Of all the people that no longer participate, all the people that don’ give a hoot about CDC, Eunice Thomas motioned to remove just one person during this Special meeting. That one person, yep, Earnest Sirk. Whaling explained that Sirk had been removed before the Judge’ order for conduct toward the staff. Sirk asked again but didn’ get far, Whaling, “r. Sirk you’re out of order. SIT DOWN!”The large one was able to get in that the meeting was illegal, against CDC bylaws, and the agenda was not proper. Over the much louder mumblings of the employees, I mean the general members, Sirk worked to get out: the only time you can remove a person is during the June meeting and paid staff and employees can NOT be on the general membership based on the CDC nepotism policy.
                 Whaling, “ou’e WRONG!”The two sparred back and forth briefly over Sirk’ requests for a general membership list which went unsupplied by Stalnaker. Sirk, “ou CAN’ remove me because I disagree!!”Whaling, “he money we used to defend was frivolous [Sirk’ lawsuit] and could well have been spent elsewhere”Sirk, “udge Alsop didn’ think it was frivolous!!” Whaling called for the vote in the middle of the discussion after a nudge from Director Stalnaker. Betty Stalnaker, Janet Fitzwater and back-on-the-job Pam Taylor did the counting. 58 voted to toss Earnie with only 3 voting no to the removal. The motion passed overwhelmingly.
                 Sirk tried one more time to get the people to realize he was trying to protect the organization’ bylaws. Didn’ work. The family clan had won again.
                 To make doubly certain no other problems popped up any time soon, Director Betty Stalnaker asked that four others be “e-removed” According to Stalnaker Herschel Shamblin, Denise Taylor Hopkins, Mary Workman and Andy Waddell had been removed by letter and she wanted to make certain they stayed off the general membership by a vote of the membership in attendance. Once again the vote was nearly unanimous. From the back Waddell asked something along the lines of: If I was just voted off 2 seconds ago, was he a member until then? A terse Stalnaker said they just wanted to remind Shamblin, Taylor, Workman and Waddell, they were not to be general members.
                 35 minutes into the affair, it was over. The insiders were feeling triumphant. They had once again defended their private $1 million a year turf. Those that asked questions had been removed.
                 Outside few stood near Sirk. He was ostracized. Not actually there. Elsewhere, there were smiles from ear to ear.
                 Is it over readers? Nope. Since that February 2nd meeting, Sirk as well as others, that have read the Court order of reinstatement all agree. The CDC clan was guilty of violating a court order. Sirk told this paper he planned a return court appearance in the near future.
                 Gary Whaling said during the meeting that he didn’ like spending money on attorneys and court battles. It now appears Whaling and the family will have to cough up more funds to defend their misfit operation of aplenty.                                 AW
                 Our Southern border colony of Clendenin is in a turmoil. There the left hand appears to be covering up what the right hand is doing. Clendenin Mayor Donna Gillenwater along with Chief of Police Larry Conrad, behind the scenes, hired two police officers. Sounds simple enough doesn’ it? Well it isn’. State Code allows for a mayor to hire a Chief of Police only. Since the hiring of Jamie Sams and Zack Conrad became public, all ‘H’ broke loose and resignations came. The resignations included the three town police commissioners who were not included in the hiring process and only heard about the hires afterwards on the municipal sidewalks. Also, members of Council bailed out on Mayor Gillenwater. Neither Sams or Conrad are trained or certified in law enforcement.
                 Police Chief Larry Conrad received his management training in this county and was once Clay County Sheriff. He is currently running for the Sheriff’ position in Braxton County. Zack is Conrad’ son while Jamie Sams (lists his address as Clendenin according to the Clendenin Herald) is the son of Clay County Commissioner Jimmy Sams.
         ***        In our last publication we raised issue with Clay Roane PSD coming out of secret session, saying nothing was decided on while behind closed doors, and then almost in the same breath telling the assembled that future PSD meetings will be conducted just once a month. We gave that action a great big Hmmmmmmmm. Since then, The Communicator received a FAX from the water provider which stated they will go back to meeting twice a month as has been the norm for over a year.
                 Clay Roane PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait gave us a call and said sometime, down the road , after giving the public notice of such a change and after voting in public on the decision, they may switch to once a month meetings.
                 Under achievers got their way in Nashville in January as the local school board agreed to stop posting A and B honor role students names. Parents cited privacy laws as the reason for stopping such public displays. Concerns were raised over low achievers being ridiculed for poor performance. With other Tennessee school districts following suit shortly, it is expected that even spelling bees may be done away with later this year. On the other side of the coin, parents of top achievers are complaining because they want the hard work of their children recognized.
         ***        Here’ one to remember from Washington. Homeland Security Under Secretary Asa Hitchinson says more measures are needed to keep mad people off of airlines. They’e come up with a new Computer Assisted Prescreening System called CAPPS II. The new system would color code all airline passengers. The color red would be given suspected terrorists and known criminals. Any passenger that asked a lot of questions would be given a yellow code and would be subjected to increased scrutiny. Asking questions makes someone a security threat? In this country the answer is a big fat YES. Civil libertarian groups like those nasty ACLU folks are already criticizing the new actions of the Feds.
                 Our legislatures are trying to come up with a way to document racial profiling by WV police officers. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has his shorts all bunched up over the legislation which calls for police officers to document the color of those being arrested. With all the lawsuits going on in Charleston over police harassment, Jones may have good reason to want away from such data collection
                 There are few in this county that won’ at least privately confirm, opening a public meeting with prayer is unconstitutional. Down at Marshall University the weekly Student Senate meetings open with prayer. There two Campus religious groups and the local chapter of the ACLU want such government endorsed prayers to stop. How divisive are such prayers? Here’ a quote from Marshall Student Senate VP Seth Murphy, “on’ come here with some watered down non committal prayer that is nearly devoid of religious reference and that speaks of a higher power.. you pray to God, our Father, in the name of His Son Jesus..”After receiving a cease and desist letter, Murphy said he wasn’ saying that non Christians weren’ invited to the public meetings, just, they would have to set through the prayers no matter what their faith or lack of faith.
         CHATTER 2
         I am writing to complain about the Clay County School System, specifically Clay County Elementary, sending home fundraiser forms by all the kids in the entire school. Please, keep in mind that the school is made up of at least three classes in each grade of Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grades. I would estimate that at least 360 students attend the school. Some families have two or three kids attending the school, and all of these kids are expected to sell that specified amount for the fundraisers. This situation leaves grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends of the family to choose which child to buy from. Do you think a child will understand this? I don’!! The children are told that they will get to attend a pizza party or receive a special prize or prizes if they sell a certain amount of items. I firmly believe that this is wrong, especially for THIS County!! A large percentage of Clay County’ families live in poverty, yet the school systems seems to have no problem asking that the children should ask friends and family to spend a minimum $8 - $12 for items that are “ure junk” Most of the grandparents or elderly have to decide each month if it is more important to buy groceries or buy their medications. Therefore, they do not have the money to help their grandchildren. Again, do you think the children will understand? I may be wrong, but I believe that parenting classes and/or behavioral classes teach that one should not use bribery when dealing with children. This is wrong to the citizens of Clay County and their children!
         To make another example, I bring up the Santa’ Workshop that was held at the Clay County Elementary School. This was supposed to have been an organized event (sponsoring the PTO) to help the kids spend their money wisely on Christmas gifts for loved ones. The school went as far as to send home a form for the parents to fill out detailing how much the child was to spend and the amount to spend on each family member. Unfortunately, these directions were not followed! I personally know a kindergarten student (who was suppose to be “elped”while shopping) that brought home a mug that cost $5 and on the bottom of the mug was a price tag “amily Dollar 2/$1.00” The child in return did not have enough money to buy for all the loved ones on the list. Does this sound like something a school system should refer to as “rganized” To me it is an ironic situation because P.A.W.S. Clay Elementary School’ Responsible Student Program states that its Mission is: “The P.A.W.S. Program involves all students and teachers working together to model and instill in children the qualities we expect from humanity: self-discipline, manners, respect for themselves and others, common courtesy, responsibility, and accountability.” Who is responsible for teaching these qualities to the children in the school system? It was a slap in the mother’ face to see the price tag on the bottom of the mug. Was that an example of “respect for themselves and others”or is it an example of “common courtesy” I personally think the school should practice what it preaches “responsibility and accountability
         I believe that the school system would be better off if it would ask the families to donate a dollar per month per child or more if the family feels that it is feasible. I estimated before that the school probably enrolls around 360 students. If the above idea were accepted “s is”the school would bring in approximately $3,600.00 in donations. Most of the families would much rather send in the dollar than deal with all of their children trying to sell these things in the fundraisers. I feel that perhaps if the school would send one fundraiser form home per family, not per student, it would make a huge difference in the way that parents feel about this subject.
         Rebekah Holcomb, Dawn Salisbury,         Shelia Salisbury, Kelly Conrad &         Many other parents/citizens of Clay County.
         School Board Meets…and Meets Again - Gene King Appointed to School Board
                 Bet you thought O. Gene King was already an elected member of the Clay County Board of Education, vice president no less. Well, he was during the second of their twice monthly regular meetings, on January 20 held at Clay Elementary School. So it was a bit of a surprise to read Item #4 on the agenda posted for their next regular meeting on Monday, February 2: Approve the appointment of a board of education member to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of O. Gene King. Resignation? Scott Legg resigned, yes, but sure don’ recall…ah, they’e had a pre-meeting meeting sometime between their regular scheduled meetings! Board members R.B. Legg, David Pierson, Gene King, and last meeting appointee Kimberly Sams met two days prior on Saturday, January 31 in… Regular session? Special session? Emergency…? Maybe just to trade Super Bowl predictions? Whatever type of meeting it was, Gene King tendered his resignation at that time, and it was accepted. (See the official minutes of that meeting elsewhere in this edition.)
                 King was elected to represent District A, but moved a while back and is living in District B. Scott Legg, who resigned during their last regular-regular meeting, represented District B. King had to resign from A before he could be placed in B; he is running for reelection to the board this year. So, before the start of the February 2nd meeting there were actually two vacant seats on the board. Was any of this shuffling around and possible candidates for appointment to the vacant seat (s) discussed at this meeting? The minutes of that meeting do not mention it.
         At any rate, sometime prior to the February 2 meeting the remaining board members came to a consensus, perhaps by telepathy, on how they would proceed and the agenda reflected that. After approving the agenda the board appointed Gene King to fill Scott Legg’ former seat, accepted the resignation of Rick Tanner as a substitute teacher (Tanner could not sit on the board if he was employed by them), appointed Rick Tanner to fill King’ vacant seat in District A, and then again elected King vice president of the board. There were brief interludes for the new members to take the oath of office, but no discussion, and no mention of any others considered for the opening or of any “etters of interest”that may have been received. Everything went smoothly like a well oiled machine…tended by a master mechanic.
         Other business conducted by the board included: appointed Kimberly Sams to represent Clay County on the RESA III executive board; approved the minutes of the previous meetings; paid current bills; approved increased receipts of $277,588.00 – most from a Title II grant and a $50,000 Clay Middle School (CMS) school improvement grant; employed Michael Butcher, Kevin Delk, Leo Gray, Vickie Holcomb, Phillip Morris, Quentin Scott, Stuart Simms and Danny Sizemore as substitute bus drivers pending successful completion of required training by July 1; approved an overnight trip for Clay County High School (CCHS) Agriculture Science students to go to the WV FFA Leadership Conference at Cedar Lakes in Ripley, an out of state trip for CMS band members to go to Virginia Tech Honor Band Festival in Blacksburg, VA, and an out of state trip to national competition in Myrtle Beach, SC for the CCHS dance team pending they raise sufficient funds; approved the purchase of two tenor saxophones for the CCHS band, cost $1,400. All motions passed unanimously.
         Business Manager/Treasurer Loretta Gray presented the monthly financial update for the month of January. She said receipts were expectedly down for the month, but they did receive some reimbursement for substitute teacher training, grant money for Gear Up, and some special education money. Expenditures for the month included bonuses paid to employees under the trial attendance incentive, payment to the State of WV for Medicare, and some payments for textbooks. She noted that utility costs were up due to heating costs, gas costing $17,000 for the month. Following the update, R.B. Legg, “e’e still in the black a couple hundred thousand.”
         Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger announced that Clay County had been awarded 15 mini grants from the WV Education Alliance. Only one other county received more than Clay. He praised grant writer Cindy Willis, who helped with the grants, saying, “he brought nearly enough in this grant to pay half her salary,”but noted that Willis’salary is funded by the 21st Century Grant.
         Raymond Hershman was to appear before the board, but was not present.
         This meeting, conducted at the administrative office on Church Street, adjourned after 35-40 minutes. Next regular meeting, unless there is another regular pre-meeting meeting, will be Tuesday (due to President’ Day), February 17 at H.E. White Elementary School in Bomont starting at 6:00PM.
         01/15/04: Belt – Jerry Lee Smith, wanton endangerment (12/29/03), Def. waived preliminary hearing to Circuit Court.
         01/20/04: Delk – Roger Dale Rogers, DWR/DUIA 3rd offense (11/04/02), preliminary hearing continued by Def. to 02/25/04; Elswick – Roger Dale Rogers, driving revoked/DUIA 3rd offense and receiving/transferring stolen property (10/22/03), preliminary hearing continued by Def. to 02/25/04; Bailey – Billy J. Jones, manufacture and possess marijuana (01/02/04), probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County; Bailey – Adam N. Jones, manufacture and possess marijuana, preliminary hearing continued by Def. to 02/25/04; Slack – Gary Jones, sexual assault, warrant issued.
         01/26/04: Rider – Larry Gene Kelly, Sr., wanton endangerment (01/09/04), probable cause found, bound to Circuit Court; Wiles – Richard L. Magly, registration violation, arrested, ROB 01/27.
         01/29/04: bailey – Charles L. Hayes, forgery, warrant issued.
         01/20/04: Connie Brown – Christopher J. Graham, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; Connie Brown – Jennifer D. Grose, worthless check complaint, arrested 01/26, ROB; Connie Brown – Vickie L. Williams, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; Bailey – Michael B. Harvey, possession of controlled substance, appeared, ROB.
         01/21/04: Lizemore Grocery – Sherry Jo Mullins, worthless check complaint, arrested, ROB.
         01/22/04: Butcher – Elizabeth Dennis Holcomb, battery X 2, summons; Butcher – Roger D. Holcomb, battery X 2, summons; Butcher – Joyce Holcomb, battery X 2, summons; Light – Ricky M. Hanshaw, battery, appeared, ROB.
         01/23/04: Simms – Cindy May Dotson Faircloth, unlawful disposal of litter, appeared, ROB; Rider – Phillip Allen Burnside, no POI and driving suspended, summons.
         01/26/04: Sizemore – Jeffrey A. Conrad, DWR/DUIA-1st offense, arrested, ROB; Wiles – Richard L. Magly, registration violation X 2, no POI, speeding and MVI, arrested, ROB 01/27.
         01/27/04: IGA – Ronnie D. Beasley, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; IGA – David L. Pauley, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; IGA – Melissa K. Massey, worthless check complaint, warrant issued.
         01/28/04: Belt – Charles M. Stowers, Jr., MVI, appeared, ROB.
         01/29/04: Rider – Jack D. Sizemore III, domestic assault and destruction of property, warrants issued; Light – Kimberly Dawn Helmick, possession of controlled substance, appeared, ROB.
         01/30/04: Elswick – Mark L. Ross, possession of controlled substance, appeared, ROB.
         01/28/04: Clay County PSD – Jason L. Truman, money due; Clay County PSD – Judy Starcher, money due.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued –
         01/21/04: Clay Supermarket – Cammie Cottrell X 2; Melissa Massey; Lizemore Grocery – James Mullins; House’ Market - William Adkins (paid 01/29).
         01/22/04: J & S Grocery – Joyce Holcomb.
         01/29/04: Clay Supermarket – David L. Pauley; Vickie L. Williams; Tonya R. Sayre; James A. Myers; Bullard’ Exxon – Jacqueline R. Keener; Diana L. Taylor; Ronnie D. Beasley; Telenia Starcher; Donna D. Ice; Nadeena Fugett; Judith A. Myers.
         Citation Register
         01/12/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Woodrow Ray Cutlip, speeding and registration violation; John W. Trammell, no POI; State Police – Michael C. Mollohan, speeding and MVI; Christian Yates, speeding; Brian Thomas, speeding X 2.
         01/13/04: State Police – Adam Caleb James, speeding; Stephen M. Smith, speeding.
         01/14/04: State Police – Perry O. DeMoss, seat belt violation; Timothy B. Eckes, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI-2nd offense; Samuel T. Murphy, registration violation and operator’.
         01/15/04: State Police – Darris C. Barker, no POI; William A. Bostic, speeding; Dennis A. Dent, speeding; Carter C. Turley, speeding; Jeffrey R. Vaughan, speeding.
         01/16/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Richard Lee Ball, speeding and no POI; George M. Jarrell, registration violation; Thad Marling, failure to dim headlights and no POI.
         01/17/04: State Police – Leslie L. Blanton, operator’; Ronald D. Williams, Jr., no POI and operator’; Sheriff’ Dept. – Jarrell R. Jackson, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and no POI.
         01/19/04: State Police – Ashley N. Bare, speeding and MVI; Kenneth L. Hughart, speeding; Edna Elizabeth Judy, speeding; Sheriff’ Dept. – Christopher Fleshman, speeding; Nicholas Gillenwater, speeding and tinted windows.
         01/20/04: State Police – Misty Renee Bowles, speeding; Candice Sue Copen, speeding and no POI; Paul W. Smith, speeding.
         01/21/04: State Police – Earl Lee Elliott, speeding; Steven Shepkosky, no POI and operator’; Larry Boggs, speeding.
         01/22/04: State Police – Adam Arnold, no POI and registration violation; Sherri L. Moore, no POI and operator’; Justin M. Ramsey, MVI; Sheriff’ Dept. – Charles M. Stowers, Jr., MVI and seat belt violation.
         01/23/04: State Police – Calvin S. Cox, speeding and operator’; Debbie June Grose, speeding and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Randall Mark Herald, speeding and no POI.
         01/24/04: State Police – Melissa D. Conrad, speeding and no POI; Raymond L. Denvzzo, speeding; Phillip J. Duffield, speeding; Heather Gail Sodaro, speeding.
         01/25/04: State Police – Kimberly D. Helmick, possession of controlled substance; Jeremy McKenzie, MVI, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and registration violation; Robert F. Mullins, MVI and seat belt violation; Mark L. Ross, possession controlled substance.
         01/26/04: Municipal Police – Adrian R. Thompson, no POI.
                 How long does your child ride a school bus daily? Over the last 15 years, many parents have fought school consolidations and resulting long commutes. Elected leaders told the masses consolidation would save money and provide for better educational opportunities. Raise your hand if you think that has happened in WV or Clay County. Since 1990 over 200 schools have been closed and student enrollment dropped by 34,000 students. Currently West Virginia spends more on education than any other state
                 According to the 2001 National Report Card study, student achievement for 4th and 8th graders and ACT college entrance grades, West Virginia ranked 39th in the nation on performance.
         Challenge WV is a statewide organization committed to maintaining and improving small community schools and reforming educational policy in West Virginia. The nonprofit advocacy group released a 30 page research paper in mid January. The documented findings were written by Dr. Cynthia Reeves.
         From Challenge WV’ A Decade of Consolidation: Where are the Savings?: The push for school consolidation in WV intensified in the late 1980’. Policymakers cited declining school enrollments and increasing education costs as the rationale behind consolidation. It was argued that consolidating schools would not only reduce costs, but would provide greater educational opportunities for students. Proponents of school consolidation argue that consolidating schools would require fewer administrators and would decrease construction and building operation and maintenance costs.
                 Clay County followed in lock step with state initiatives to reduce the number of schools. Their efforts were successful with one exception. During the mid 90’, after closing H.E. White Elementary in Bomont, a court order forced the community school to be reopened and an oversight committee to be formed to provide perpetual guidance to the local school board. Today H.E. White Elementary remains as a testament to what an organized band of pork rind chomping activists can accomplish when they put their hearts to even a weighty task.
                 From the Challenge report….
                 Between 1990 and 2000, the cost of education in WV increased by 16 % despite the fact that student enrollment across the state decreased by 34,439 or 11 percent. Between 1990 and 2000, the cost of busing students increased by 11 %, even though school enrollment has shrunk. As a result of school consolidation, fewer students are being bussed greater distances at higher costs to WV tax payers.
                                 Continued on page 3
                 Proponents of school consolidation have argued that fewer schools would require fewer administrators. Between 1990 and 2000, while student enrollment declined and many small schools were closed, the number of central office administrators increased by 76 or 12 percent.
                 In the late 1980s, it was trendy to think that closing small schools and moving students into consolidated schools would result in a better education. After 10 years of school closings and bussing students, WV ranked 39th in the country in academic achievement.
                 Quality teachers produce quality students who graduate with a quality education. But how can WV hope to hold quality teachers when teacher salaries increased by only 5% between 1990 and 2000? Quality teachers are tempted to leave WV, where the average salary is $36,751.00. The average salary in Pennsylvania is $50,599; Maryland is $46,200; in Ohio it is $44,029.00; and in Kentucky it is $37,847.
                 Here in Clayberry long bus rides have become the norm. Some students spend upwards of three hours per day being transported. The lengthy early morning and late evening return journeys have a toll on academic performance as well as the ability of the student to participate in after school activities and home life. During the H.E. White closure hearings where our local elected school board officials thumbed their noses at efforts to keep the community learning center, considerable time and effort was spent showing the elected ones just such findings.
                 Now well documented in Challenge WV’ paper, cost to transport is alarming. Once again the facts: After two decades of consolidation, fewer students are being bussed greater distances at a high cost to West Virginia taxpayers. For example, Mineral County closed three schools, lost 164 students and increased transportation spending by 31 percent. Harrison County closed five schools, lost 875 students and increased transportation costs by 26 percent. Taylor County closed one school, lost 212 students and increased transportation expenditures 22%. Roane county closed three schools, lost 219 students and increased transportation expenditures 21%….
                 Transportation expenditures per student in 2000-2001 ranged from $457 in Brooke County to $1070 in Gilmer County.
According to the report, here in Clay County: students transported in 1990 were 2,225. Ten years later the number remained almost the same at 2,231. Not so for the cost of hauling the kids over winding mountainous goat paths. For Clay County in 1990, the cost per pupil was $513. Based on constant dollars (adjusted for inflation) in 2000, the price tag had risen 12% to $756. Now that’ the way to save money, readers.
                 Challenge WV Director Linda Martin commented in a Charleston newspaper, “ho’ been hurt most? Children. Who’ been helped? School administrators. Children are being walked on while administrators are feathering their own nests.”
                 For those interested in reading the entire documents, Clay County’ Challenge WV rep Marge Bragg can fix you right up! Call 286-2655.         AW
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
    1.        The margin is narrow, but the responsibility is clear. John F. Kennedy
2.        You can check disciplinary actions taken against West Virginia physicians at www.wvdhhr.org.wvbom
3.        More than 1.2 million low-income Americans have lost health coverage as a result of cutbacks in programs for the poor in the past two years.
4.        Marijuana use by teens is down by 11 percent since 2001.
5.        Chronic post-traumatic stress disorder affects 5.2 million Americans, including 30 percent of all combat veterans.
6.        Beer experts say half of the estimated $60 billion to $70 billion domestic beer market is from “ight”beer sales.
7.        Researchers say sleep consolidates memories, protecting them against interference or decay and also appears to recover or restore memories.
8.        Vegetarian Resource Group estimates there are roughly 5.7 million adult vegetarians.
9.        More than 400 grizzly attacks on humans have been documented since 1900, a fraction of them fatal.
10.        Latinos make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for 19 percent of new HIV infections each year.
11.        Marshall University now offers “aternity testing”available nowhere else in West Virginia.
12.        Adrian L. Melott, a University of Kansas astronomer, says it is almost certain the earth has been zapped by gamma rays several times in its 4.5 billion year history.
13.        U Haul is forbidding its stores from renting trailers to customers driving Ford Explorers, “Based on our history of excessive cost in defending lawsuits involving Ford Explorer towing combinations”
14.        Forty years ago 460,429 students filled desks in West Virginia; today only 290,936 children attend schools in this state.
15.        More than 15 percent of West Virginia schoolchildren ages 6 to 17 are enrolled in special education.
16.        After January, if you want to give blood you have to have a positive identification.
17.        Data shows that 56 percent to 85 percent of school age children drink at least one soft drink daily.
18.        Researchers say that women who care for children more than 21 hours a week, or for grandchildren nine hours a week, have a higher risk of coronary artery disease.
19.        About 236,000 women in the United States underwent breast enlargement in 2002.
20.        Levi Strauss and Co., whose trademark blue jeans are a globally recognized symbol of America, has closed its last two U.S. sewing plants.                                         LMM

        The following entries were retrieved from the WV Public Service Commission web site:

BARBARA SEARS2591 Upper Two Mile RoadIvydale, Clay County,,
Whereas, on January 29, 20043, Barbara Sears filed a formal complaint, duly verified, against Clay County Public Service District, a public utility. IS ORDERED that the Defendant be, and it hereby is, required to satisfy said complaint or make answer thereto, in writing, within ten (10) days of the service upon it by certified mail of a copy of said complaint and a copy of this order in accordance with the provisions of Rule 7 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure before this Commission, and after receipt thereof or default therein, the Commission will proceed to investigate the matters set forth in said complaint in such manner and by such means as may be deemed proper.

CASE NO. 02-1768-PWD-C LARRY D. MCLAUGHLINRoute 3, Box 30Ivydale, Clay County,,v.
COMMISSION ORDERJanuary 22, 2004, Larry D. McLaughlin, Route 3, Box 30, Ivydale, Clay County, filed a request to reopen the above formal complaint against Clay County Public Service District, a public utility. IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Clay County Public Service District, a public utility, be, and it hereby is, required to satisfy said request to reopen the above formal complaint or make answer thereto, in writing, within ten (10) days of the service upon them by certified mail of a copy of said formal complaint and a copy of this order in accordance with the provisions of Rule 7 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure before this Commission, and after receipt thereof or default therein, the Commission will proceed to investigate the matters set forth in said formal complaint in such manner and by such means as may be deemed proper..
CASE NO. 03-1901-E-30D
ELK POWER COMPANY, a corporation.under Rule 30D to change ratekilowatt hour for all bills renderedor after January 1, 2004.
On November 12, 2003, the above-named Companies, collectively referred to as the "Musser Companies", filed applications, pursuant to Rule 30D of the Commission's Rules and Regulations for the Government and Filing of Tariffs (Tariff Rules), to change rates per kilowatt hour for the adjustment period commencing January 1, 2004, based upon changes in the variable portion of the wholesale rate charged by Appalachian Power Company, doing business as American Electric Power, their supplier. Elk and United requested increases in their fuel surcharges. The other Companies requested decreases.
Specifically, Black Diamond Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0031126) per kwh; Elk Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0069002) per kwh; Elkhorn Public Service Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0026693) per kwh; Kimball Light and Water Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0032507) per kwh; Union Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0031679) per kwh; United Light and Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0029680) per kwh; and War Light and Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0030329) per kwh. .
On December 8, 2003, the Companies filed their affidavits of publication and posting of the required notice. The last day of publication was November 26, 2003, and, as of the date of this Order, no protests have been filed in response to the publications or postings.
The Applicants and Commission Staff are in agreement with regard to the appropriate fuel surcharges to be included in the Applicants' rates. (Final Joint Staff Memorandum filed January 16, 2004; letter filed January 22, 2004).
ORDER: IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the following fuel surcharges be, and they hereby are, approved for all service rendered on and after the date that this order becomes final: Black Diamond Power Company ($0.0029727) per kwh; Elk Power Company ($0.0069002) per kwh; Elkhorn Public Service Company ($0.0028673) per kwh; Kimball Light and Water Company ($0.0032507) per kwh; Union Power Company ($0.0028941) per kwh; United Light and Power Company ($0.0029679) per kwh; and War Light and Power Company ($0.0030329) per kwh.
        And finally, Clay County PSD filed a formal complaint against the Town of Clay in Fall 2003. The Town of Clay sells water to the PSD at wholesale rates. The PSD complained to the WV PSC on issues of the Town not being willing to discount for water loss, charging interest for overdue bills, and demanding full payment for water used each month. As this edition of the Communicator was being printed, we understand the PSC ordered the Town to allow Clay County PSD to make regular $530 per month payments and reduced the amount owed by Clay County PSD by $1000.00