February 18, 2005
Pursuit of Liberty! By Jim Chafin
Senator C. Randy White 77th Legislature
Letter to Brother Bill
Governor Signs Workers' Compensation Bill
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
Who Wants to Buy Your House?
Christian Service Center News

Clay County has a new law on the books which greatly limits tobacco use freedoms. The new ordinance was voted into effect by our five member Board of Health last week. The vote was 4 to 2 in favor of the ban.        Did you catch that five member part?
         Wouldn’ you think the dead of winter would be a quiet time for life in Clay County? No election going on, no one getting shot, no one running the streets naked. In the home of challenged leadership, we have a doozy of a meeting. Our above the fold lead story covers the February 15th Special Board of Health meeting held in the Health Dept. building.
         By 7pm, the conference room in the Main Street healthiness center was nearly full. Boardsters Connie Harper (Chair), Joe Morris, Bobby Stover, Herman Rogers, and newbee Larry McLaughlin gathered at the table, as did Director Karen Dawson and office manager Linda Klotzbach.. On the fringes were 30 locals. Some standing and pacing, others seated and drumming their fingers.
         Before we get started, for those that have been under a rock somewhere else….. there has been a move under foot by the WV Health Dept. folks since 1993 to ban smoking in WV. Clay County has an ordinance on the books from 1996 that curtails smokers to sections of diners and public places. There is no smoking allowed in the Courthouse except designated smoking areas ( Prosecutor’ office and private office space.) In September 2004, the Charleston folks attended the board meeting and worked hard to force a smoking ban down our throats. At that meeting, the board wisely chose to put off the vote until they could study the ordinance. During that fall meeting the board decided against allowing the public a hearing and voted to accept written comments only. They wanted to side-step public intrusion and shield themselves from the taxpayers.
         In January 2005, as the board hurried to vote in a 100% ban, even after being told they couldn’ speak at the meeting, the public did so anyway and got the board to realize the folly.
         The board was voting on something that would have eliminated smoking and that nasty second hand smoke stuff from everywhere EXCEPT the Clay Lion’ Club Casino (Bingo Hall) on Main Street. Additionally, it came to light, the board, and the Charleston gang were unaware of what ordinance they were voting on! After the light bulb came on, they settled on looking at a less restrictive Smoking Ordinance at a later date. That later date came within 24 hours when a new Charleston cookie cutter law was sent to the county of Clay.
         Even with a completely new ordinance to be voted on, the board found no cause to hold a public hearing. The newest bestest yet ordinance is slightly less restrictive than the January attempt but kept the most controversial parts including: fines up to $1000 plus court costs; illegal to smoke a cig, pipe, cigar in front, behind, or within 10 feet of a business; makes it a crime to smoke in a private, nonpublic office space, and allows any sanitarian arrest powers without any training on proper police procedures.
         Now back to the meeting….
         Chair Harper was under the spotlight. The public was watching. In her firmest voice, she told the assembled that no one can speak during this meeting unless they had called ahead of time. She limited the time allowed the public to 3 minutes. Eyebrows went up around the room. With a bunch wanting to voice their views, blood pressure went up quickly. Harper said 18 people had called in wanting to speak and she would call on the 8 in attendance from her list.
         Big tall Mike Naylor was first on the roll call. Naylor challenged the appointed with questions on them being able to vote a second time so soon after the first smoking ban was shot down in January 2005. Naylor isn’ one of those guys that beat around the bush, his message was clear: “s a smoker, I have rights and you’e taking them away!… That ain’ right!”He mentioned something about Russia has more rights.
         The board squirmed. They knew even with limiting the public, it was going to be a long night.
         Leonard Loving was allowed his 3 minutes before the board. Loving advised the appointed ones, there’ a lot of things that cause cancer, and if that’ the reason for the new law, maybe they should check on the evils of unleaded gasoline fumes and vapors. Some Boardsters held their heads down.
         Danny Eagle sat at the front table and gave his story next. According to Mr. Eagle, the meeting was not properly posted and they were breaking the law. It was obvious, the board was just allowing lip service and were not going to engage in any kind of meaningful dialogue. It was just something they had to sit through.
         A short little fat guy was next to speak. According to the round one, in a recent WV Supreme Court case, the purpose of this new law was not to eliminate second hand smoke but rather, he read from the Supreme Court decision: to provide the state with a citizenry free from the use of tobacco. There was quiet in the room. He went on: the Supreme Court allows flexibility in Bingo Halls and smoking, that the Lions’Clubs have political muscle and that’ why they received the flexible guidelines; that the common citizen doesn’ have that same “troke” this ordinance was a cookie cutter, boiler plate item without regard to local standards and needs; there are few local complaints under the current ordinance and instead of Gestapo laws, why not re-look at the ordinance with softer hammer after gathering business input, input from the people most affected by the law.
         Even with the applause that followed the three minute oration, the board paid little attention and for the most part was ready to say NEXT! The next came quickly as three well coached (one had a sheet to go by) high school kids spoke in favor of the ban. Their comments included: Why should we have to suffer… we shouldn’ have to suffer….and smokers don’ have the right to kill.
         Across the way, Jason Buzzy spoke in favor of such a ban. He commented on how second hand smoke affects people and businesses, causes cancer, and when the new ban is in place, it evens the playing field and gives equal protection to all.
         The discontent level rose as did blood pressures. During the public time, people yelled out. One guy in the corner yelled out about being a veteran and where was his rights after serving his country? Each time Chair Harper scolded offenders breaking her silence policy and kept all but Doc Boggs from interjecting remarks.
         Here’ a cute part. Danny Eagle perched himself at the board table and throughout the night interjected comments on the law, what they should be doing, and what they can’ do. Each time, he was shushhhhhed. They wanted to say, Eagle get away from the table, but didn’.
         So heated was the time, Procious resident Bill Fisher yelled out, “This is BS” (not the initials either) a couple times and left the meeting. He was an unhappy camper to say the least. As people asked about their rights to speak and what kind of public meeting was this anyway, Chair Harper pressed on to get a motion. She said her duty was to protect and maintain the public, “ur vote is for safe air!”She called for a motion. She waited, she waited. Finally Joe Morris, “ have some items to discuss.”
         Chair Harper wanted no part of the discussion part and said they were there to vote. Morris had questions on the hotel provision and keeping some of the rooms smoke free. He had concerns on a clause about non smokers getting preferences. As non Boardster Doc Boggs disputed Morris’logic, newbee Larry McLaughlin and Herman Rogers came to Joe’ side. During his questioning, Joe Morris said he had read this new ordinance “erhaps” 100 times. Somewhere in there, Connie, “r Eagle stop talking.”Harper tried to hurry Joe along, “his meeting was to vote on the policy. She told another guy to pipe down.
         The natives got more restless. One guy, “What about the veterans!!!”
         Harper, “O TALKING!”
         From a Travis Hughes, “IS THIS A PUBLIC MEETING???”Harper fired back only the Board could talk. The crowd mumble got louder.
         As the natives were getting more intense, Harper to Morris, “You gonna vote?” Eagle came back with something else to distract the Board, Harper frowned at him.
         Travis Hughes chimed in again this time using hand motions and verbally more intense. His concern was over the public being left out of the decision making process. With many in the crowd ready to lynch someone, something happened.
         As this reporter was writing, someone made a motion to accept. It sounded like a woman’ voice. Harper, “is there a second”. She waited and waited and waited. Finally, Harper made the second. Doc Boggs, ‘I wish I could vote”. The ayes and nays came. Herman Rogers and Larry McLaughlin said nay. Harper announced the vote was 4 in favor of the edict and 2 against. Joe Morris later took credit for the Motion.
         The new Anti Smoking ban goes into affect May 18, 2005. With the decision made, some left the room. Others weren’ done yet. Truck driver Travis Hughes told the assembled that the new law made it illegal for him to smoke in his own truck. Over in the corner, a veteran yelled out, THIS IS BS!!”
         With the document in hand, the Mel Gibson look alike asked Joe Morris to explain the meaning of a definition. At first Joe said to take it to the Prosecutor, then moments later said he would have to sit down and read that passage over several times before answering. Morris finally said, “No Comment”To his side Bobby Stover told this reporter we had no right to print quotes made at public meetings by public officials.
         The entire meeting lasted just 30 minutes but what an intense 30 minutes it was.
         Since the thumbs up vote, questions have come up. Stuff like: it sounds like the owner of any business is not allowed to smoke on their car even while not at work and since smoking paraphernalia is illegal, can you get arrested fro having such in an office? And, with Jay Carper the new smoking czar, what if the offender refuses to sign the citation, can Czar Carper handcuff the person and haul them off to Magistrates Court.
         For smokers and non smokers alike, government has created yet another confusing and all but impossible to understand attack on the operations of private business. Since it’ illegal to have smoking related items in a business place, one guy suggested that ash trays be placed around Joe’ car wash to get him in the grease!                        AW
         FOLLOW UPS
          We goofed last time out of the gate. In our “Police Blotter” report we listed a hearing date for a Tracy Welch. That should have read Tracy Johnson. After the paper came out, a Traci Welch got all fired up and contacted us via emails and telephone. She was ready to come after us with an attorney in tow! To all the Tracy Welch’ in the world, we goofed...
          Two editions back, in coverage of the January Board of Health meeting, we wrote Boardsters Joe Morris and Bobby Stover had not read the ordinance they were working so hard to pass that eve. Joe Morris has since said that he had read the document over and over. Mr. Stover provided similar commentary. After hearing those comments during the Special Board of Health meeting February 15th, we’e even more alarmed. Since they both read the earlier 100% ban on smoking, what were they thinking!
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
    1.        A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
2.        Through December 12, 2004 there were 54 deaths on the state’s section of Interstate. In 2003 only 40 deaths were recorded.
3.         Nearly 300,000 people flew from Yeager Airport in 2004, a 20 percent increase from 2003.
4.        The West Virginia University Press has plans to publish the autobiography of Senator Robert C. Byrd.
5.        Two of the biggest unions in West Virginia, the United Steel Workers of America and the Paper Allied Industrial Chemical and Energy Workers have announced plans to merge.
6.        West Virginia turkey growers raised 3.2 million turkeys last year, down 26 percent from 4.3 million in 2003.
7.        Americans ate 31 pounds of cheese per person in 2003.
8.        General Motors is projecting a 20 percent drop in national sales of its Hummer H2 this year.
9.        Last year, regular soda accounted for nearly 73 percent of soft drink sales; meanwhile diet is up more than 6 percent from 2002.
10.         The oldest African elephant has died at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago at the age of 55.
11.         A Knight Rider analysis of VA data found an estimated 572,000 U.S. veterans may not be receiving the compensation to which they’e entitled for disabilities suffered in the service of their country.
12.         The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2003, only 28 percent of high school students nationwide attended a daily PE class.
13.         An estimated 150,000 children in Africa die each month from Malaria.
14.         Utility bills for West Virginians have risen 50 percent in the past 10 years, most of it in the last 2 years.
15.         One in ten American couples are infertile.
16.         Fewer than 5 percent of West Virginia’ 12,000 public college employees are unionized.
17.         Last year, 38 percent of students took the SAT twice and 12 percent took it at least three times.
18.         According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average age of motorcyclists killed in accidents rose from 32 in 1994 to 38 in 2003.
19.         Less than 30 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have a bachelor’ degree.
20.         Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
- Albert Einstein LMM

Pursuit of Liberty! By Jim Chafin
Again, as we have for many years, at the beginning of 2005 we attempt to assess and/or reevaluate events of the preceding year and try to gain some insight as to man’ progress (or decline) as he walks toward a horizon that is unclear at best, and downright un-seeable at worst. I am a confirmed believer in the power of history to illuminate the roadway to the future. I am not one of those august, self-proclaimed national leaders who say: “istory has no hold on us; we make our own history.” Those folks, like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, also admit to not being on a friendly basis with books, magazines or newspapers. It’ their “ut feeling”that gets them through the day, I suppose. As Americans we are often prone to glibly point out that “ternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” We have heard that statement so often that it has become embedded in our very souls. However, I seriously doubt if there are very many of my countrymen who have taken the time to find the source of that quote and who spoke it. Says John Philpot Curran in his speech, Upon the Right of Election of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, “It is the common fate of the indolent to see their right become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” -- Speeches of John Philpot Curran, Vol. 2 pp. 235, 236.
We often give lip service to that saying and then turn our collective backs and spend our time and efforts on our private affairs, believing some visionary figure will stand in the breach, protecting those principles for us. But, sadly, our dreams vanish like so many soap bubbles. Liberty, our personal freedoms, can be kept only by our (yours and mine) personal participation in the process laid out by our forefathers in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. There was much debate in the colonies of the 17th century America about the type of governance this nation would have. The framers of our Constitution were divided as to the merits of what we now call “ federation of states.” Many of those who were present at the Constitutional Convention came down on the side of a strong central government. Such personages as John Adams and others were called “ederalists.” Others, such as Thomas Jefferson, supported “tates rights.” Adams and others argued that the people could not be trusted to exercise that “ternal vigilance”and would not participate in the type of public dialogue that would be necessary to ensure a healthy functioning federation. Luckily, the states rights crowd carried the day. Now, however, looking upon the scene in Washington we wonder if we are nor suffering “he common fate of the indolent”and watch our rights become a prey to the activists and paid lobbyists of America’ wealthiest one percent. “iberty is not offered on the bargain counter – even in the United States, where too many people take it for granted.” -- W.H. Hackett.
There are hundreds of thousands of lobbying groups who ply the halls of Congress and state legislatures each and every day. These folks know that Mr. Average America is unable, or unwilling, to make enough effort on their own behalf to change the course of government. They know full-well that most citizens are busily engaged in their own pursuits of making a living or otherwise improving their economic status, and that they do not have the time to spend on such mundane things as “ighting the ship of State.” Or so they believe. What Mr. Average fails to see is the enormous amount of pressure being leveled against his/her very person by moneyed lobbyists whose single-minded interests are with the hands that stuff their pockets with long green. In their penchant to gain advantage for their benefactors, those over-paid bullies can, and often do, encroach upon the rights and privileges of others. This, then, is the danger we all face – a sort of creeping tyranny that brings with it persecution, corruption, abuse of privilege, denial of rights, and economic deprivation. I personally have no doubt whatsoever that what we are looking at in this country right now is due in part because we, as citizens of this federation, have fulfilled the prognostications of many who affixed their signatures hesitantly on our founding document. Whether or not their vision for this country would have turned out any better is anyone’ guess.
Given the dispositions of those who were in favor of a strong central government, and the results of a citizenry who have all but given up completely on the American legislative process, we feel an urgency to revitalize the democratic process with a view of bringing this nation back portside and anchored in the still, placid waters of peace and tranquility.
“ongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or preventing the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” - 1st Amendment. A federal court has said: “or their protection, in its enjoyment,…the people must look to the States. The power for that purpose was originally placed there, and it has never been surrendered to the United States.” In this case then, it is clear that the process of turning to a central government (Washington) for solutions to our problems is paddling our boat in the wrong direction. Far-away government not only cannot, but is unwilling to provide the kinds of relief that people in the heartland of America really need. Why, for example, must we send all our taxes to Washington in return for only a pittance? Rich in natural resources and a capable and willing workforce this state should be in the forefront of enriching people’ social and economic lives. Instead we see our people devastated and made servant to tyrants not unlike those of antiquity. It is not far-fetched to imply that the wily tentacles of Roman emperors and British kings have reached westward to the shores of this New England and has placed this lovely land in bondage.
As citizens we must redirect the focus of both government and industry in this region for the betterment of everyone. And this will be done by our careful attention to, and active participation in our governmental affairs. Indolence will only bring us more misery!

Senator C. Randy White 77th Legislature

Following the unprecedented first Extraordinary Session, the 77th Legislature kicked off its 60 day Regular Session with the Governor’ State of the State Address. I am extremely optimistic about our new governor and his plan for West Virginia. Governor Manchin placed before us a budget reduced by $75 million from its previous incarnation. The cuts were deliberately made to specific programs; not across the board. Our economy is growing and received a great spurt with the legislation passed from our Special Session. But, it will surely take time to see the direct effect of our endeavors and we cannot get carried away with an outlandish budget that would hinder our recent progress. The Governor’ “pen For Business”campaign to save our existing good jobs with healthcare benefits and bring more jobs to the state follows on the heels of our bold Extraordinary Session. He wants to run the government like a business. This is as tedious as answering the phone in a business manner but as grand as reforming our tax collection system. Governor Manchin proposes we make an investment of $20 million to our tax collection system which will in turn provide $18 million in increased tax revenue annually. Also, he called for a review of the existing pension systems. A resolution was adopted during our Special Session to allow voters to approve or disapprove the state’ purchase of bonds to finance the unfunded liabilities in the teachers, judges and State Police pension plans. I urge you to vote for this amendment so that we can provide for those who educate, guide and protect us. Did you know that West Virginia has one of the fastest growing incarceration rates in the country? To counter this problem, the Governor has proposed a plan that would add $200,000 to the existing $800,000 budget for developing community corrections programs in parts of the state that need it most. Seven counties, including Ohio, Marshall, Brooke, Hancock, Logan, Mercer and Harrison, have an existing community corrections program for nonviolent offenders. We hope to encourage our higher education institutions, namely West Virginia University and Marshall University, to work together to promote economic development by generating high-tech development, creating new jobs and conducting scientific research that will make our state more marketable to future industries. The Governor also suggested reducing over-regulation and increasing flexibility for our higher education institutions to aid in the promotion. In addition, the Governor wants to provide affordable health care, encourage counties and regions to work together and promote the state’ workforce development efforts. As well, the Governor reiterated his five promises to the children of West Virginia he first stated in his 2005 Inaugural Address. Providing a caring adult in their lives, a safe place to go, a healthy start, a marketable skill and teaching them to be caring adults later in life will lay the foundation for better communities for future generations. Also, the Governor plans to emphasize programs that help our senior citizens live in their own homes and stay active in their communities. Existing home nutrition programs are essential to providing this help. In recent years, there has been an increased burden on the families of our military. West Virginia ranks high among enlisted service men and women and we should do all that is in our power to show them our gratification. Governor Manchin proposed adding a check-off box to our state’ tax return forms in 2006 that allows citizens to revert their refund to provide emergency assistance to those families who have lost a loved one or were tragically wounded in the line of duty. Unfortunately, there also has been an increase in the construction of a deadly homemade drug. Methamphetamine labs risk the lives of our law enforcement officers as well as the citizens living in close proximity. The Governor wants legislation that makes it harder for anyone to buy in bulk the key products that construct this highly addictive drug. The session is off to a great start, but there will be more great news to come from my desk in Charleston to your home wherever it may be. I encourage anyone with concerns or grievances to contact me by phone at 304-357-7906 or by e-mail at crwhite@mail.wvnet.edu. Again, 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 daily summaries of floor sessions.

        Ever wonder what right a private citizen has to public records? Here’ what the WV State Code says: §29B-1-1. Declaration of policy. Pursuant to the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government which holds to the principle that government is the servant of the people, and not the master of them, it is hereby declared to be the public policy of the state of West Virginia that all persons are, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments of government they have created.
Who is subject to an FOIA request? Answer: every state officer, agency, department, including the executive, legislative and judicial departments, division, bureau, board and commission; every county and city governing body, school district, special district, municipal corporation, and any board, department, commission council or agency thereof; and any other body which is created by state or local authority or which is primarily funded by the state or local authority.
Can anyone come in and look at records and or make copies? Again from the code: §29B-1-3. Inspection and copying. (1) Every person has a right to inspect or copy any public record of a public body in this state, except as otherwise expressly provided by section four of this article. (2) A request to inspect or copy any public record of a public body shall be made directly to the custodian of such public record. (3) The custodian of any public records, unless otherwise expressly provided by statute, shall furnish proper and reasonable opportunities for inspection and examination of the records in his or her office and reasonable facilities for making memoranda or abstracts therefrom, during the usual business hours
So what happens if Clay Roane PSD doesn’ provide Prosecutor Samples with the requested documents? §29B-1-5. Enforcement. (1) Any person denied the right to inspect the public record of a public body may institute proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief in the circuit court in the county where the public record is kept.
Here’ something else related to the Clay Roane PSD … lets call it, an investigation. Although the Prosecutor made the demand for the documents, it is the CCC most likely behind the request. The Commission didn’ have to go the FOIA route. They have an undisputed right to see anything and everything related to a local public service district’ operation according to 16-13A-3 which reads: DISTRICT TO BE A PUBLIC CORPORATION: The members of the board, and the chair, secretary and treasurer thereof shall make available to the county commission, at all times, all of its books and records pertaining to the district's operation, finances, and affairs for inspection and audit.
        From Feb 17th, here’ the very latest on poor ole Clayberry. Prosecutor Jim Samples forwarded a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for nearly all of the Clay Roane PSD financials. His Feb 14th demand letter calls for copies of all PSD banks statements, bank accounts, tax records, bond documents, income statements, audit reports, and monthly expenses. Additional demands seek all communications from the WV PSC, debt service records, tap fee accounts, current debts and due dates. Copies of the FOIA were sent to the CCC and Sheriff Holcomb. What’ up? Doesn’ that copy sent to Sheriff Holcomb raise an eyebrow or two?
        A FOIA demand can be penned by anyone seeking public info. With the possible exception of who gets court ordered divorce garnishments, all financial records are public documents without dispute.
         So fired up was Clay Roane PSD upon receiving the FOIA, the troubled water provider called a Special Meeting for Feb 17th at 5pm. After convening 25 minutes late, as soon as the meeting opened, they shagged into a back room for secret time. That lasted nearly an hour. After coming out of Executive Session, the Board agreed to comply with the FOIA letter. OK everyone time for one big Well Duuuuuuuuuh!.
          Here’ the troubling part. Each time the board gathers for a special meeting, they get paid $50. Each time attorney Tom Whittier is called into action, that’ $125 per hour plus expenses and mileage. With before meeting phone calls and telephone time for Whittier with Jim Samples plus travel time to and from the one hour and 45 minute Feb 17th meeting, the PSD just spent around $800 to agree to do what the law required them to do all along!
                 Did we mention Chair Melissa Postelwait was being a poop butt before, during and after the meeting? Yelp, it was like someone had pooped in her oatmeal big time. Besides being short tempered with the world, her response to any public exchange, “o Comment” After secret time, Boardster Susan Beard reminded Postelwait to adhere to the No Comment policy. One day prior to the meeting, Chair Postlewait told this reporter, she would never again have anything to say in public except No Comment! Maybe the additional pressure of public scrutiny is having a negative impact on the Chair. Time will tell.
                 Don’ stop now! Here’ an interesting part.
         During the Special PSD meeting, Punkineer Celia Coon showed around a copy of a 1999 US Bankruptcy Court ordered property appraisal report for the now defunct Procious PSD. The ½ inch thick, plastic comb bound report was prepared in 1998 by Goldman and Associates and appraised the Procious Water plant and lot at $550,000.00 During secret time, many in attendance looked at the book and commented. Nothing new or exciting, just something to do while the leaders were slinking in the back room.
         About as soon as Boardster Dave Saulsgiver got out of secret time, he went over to Ms Coon and took her copy of the 1998 appraisal. He said the booklet belonged to the PSD! Chair Postelwait to Saulsgiver: “She came with that book, she can leave with it”. Dave refused to give it back. Ms Coon getting hotter and hotter said “hose are purchased documents. Give them back!!”No deal from Saulsgiver. Attorney Whittier waded into the fracas and provided his thoughts: That books was wrongly taken from the district. Those are the originals. Coon explained to Whittier that she got the book from a past Board member and it was her property! As Dave was walking out the door with the burgundy colored appraisal, Chair Postelwait advised Coon to call the police if she wanted her possession returned to her. Postelwait, “f you want it, take it! Call the police!”
         Instead of calling the badges, Ms Coon let in with some pretty clear potty mouth which reflected her views on a particular male appendage and a container of human waste by products! Outside as Boardster Saulsgiver zoomed off in his car, more potty mouth was aired. Celia Coon was not a happy camper. Celia is not a tiny person. Afterwardds, some observers advanced, if she had climbed on Saulsgiver, Dave would have been in deep trouble!
         Is it over? Nope, around 10pm a 911 call was heard over the scanner from Celia Coon on Punkin Ridge asking for law enforcement. After a pause, most likely a badge being told what the problem involved, Coon was directed to call Sheriff Holcomb during business hours Friday.
         Commissioner Sams may have said it best a couple years ago. During a CCC meeting and after hearing of some dismal performance by a PSD, Sams, “My we’e done a fine job appointing board members.” AW
         Letter to Brother Bill
         By Evelyne McLaughlin
          Hello Bro. Bill: Glad to hear you are feeling better. Hope you will be able to put out a big garden soon. But, it is downright cold here today. A little news from the hills of West Virginia…
          Susie O'Dell Loomis and her husband, Charlie, of Given, WV, are visiting with her daughter, Allison, and her husband, of Georgia, this week. Ramona Arbogast Samples has been elected as the new president of The Golden Age Club. I know she will do a good job. Get some trips planned, Ramona, some folks want to travel. Arlene Brown Jett, of Little Hocking, Ohio, was visiting friends and relatives in Clay County over the weekend. James Smith (1954) and his wife, Chris, of Sedalia, Mo., were recently visiting with his sister, Marge Smith Thomas, of Lakeview, Arkansas. Curtis "Moon" Koch, of Blue Knob, was in Chicago recently attending some company meetings. Johnny Mack Samples, formerly of Clay County, has moved to Greenbank, West Virginia. Margaret "Maggie" Thomas Graham, of Georgia, is still on the sick list. She needs prayers. Maggie, at one time, lived on Pumpkin Ridge.
          I do not understand the smoking ban that has been recently voted on by our Health Department. But, it sounds like we are losing our freedoms. I do not smoke, and never have, but folks who own their own businesses should be able to smoke there if they wish. What will they outlaw next, cokes and junk food ? Or, maybe, folks with halitosis or body odor will not be allowed to walk the streets.
          I visited with Goldie "Pudge" Samples this week. Pudge is still going strong. She is a real sweetheart. We have two baby lambs at our place. "Miss Piggy" is the mother and "Shep" is the papa. I don't know of anything cuter than a baby lamb. My animals are good therapy. They are easy to talk to and do not repeat what I tell them.
          Our class reunion (CCHS 1955) is in the works. We still need several addresses - where are these folks? If anyone knows, please let me know at 587-2399, or theteacher@hawksnet.net: Wanda Harrah, Rozella Morris, Anna Florence Jones, Clementine Spencer, Charlene Morton, Harry Dale Davis, Thomas Friend, Franklin Holcomb, and Polly James Moore. Our reunion is scheduled for July 2, 2005. This will be our 50th reunion and we would like for ALL of our classmates to attend. It would be great to see all these folks.
          It is good to shop where folks are friendly. Rick Hanna, at the Clay Foodland, is a very helpful worker. Always ready with a smile and an offer of help if needed. Thanks Rick. A big hello to our Senator, Randy White. He tells me he reads the Communicator (lots of folks do). Hello, also, to Carl Wilson, Jr., of North Carolina, Dennis Sutton of South Carolina, Dixie and John Hill of Texas, Eddie and Beth Igo of Ovapa, and to the king and all of his court. Hope everyone is well and enjoying life. Spring is just around the corner. There isn't much news to report this week but the wise old bird says: Don't take life too seriously; no one gets out alive. I work hard because millions on welfare depend on me. I'm not a complete idiot - some parts are missing. And, being "over the hill" is much better than being under it. And, due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.
          Until next time, Bro. Bill, Help Us All to Be Brave, I love you, Sis
         ELECTRIC RATES TO GO UP If you check over on the WV Public Service Commission web site, Elk Power Co put in for a Rule 42 rate increase Feb 15th and an emergency rate increase one day later. If it’ good enough for Clay Roane PSD , why not the power company!
In full force, the CCC met Feb 9th at 10am. Here’ some highlights from that engagement. Big Otter Vol Fire Dept got the green light for charging for emergency responses. The maximum they can charge for one call out is $500 with rates: $250 per hour for a tanker, rescue truck, and for extraction work; $75 per hour for the utility truck or rescue boat ( $100/ hour for water rescue). BOFD spokesman Marlyn Starcher said they had no intentions for charging for house fires or when they assist ambulance crews. Just as well, the Commissioner Sams changed the resolution to eliminate dwelling fires charges. Commissioner King raised liability questions over fire departments charging for services instead of being covered under Good Samaritan Laws (volunteer). Additional concerns were aired about residents asking for Clay FD or Lizemores FD to respond since they don’ charge a fee. The CCC Oked the new rate plan.
                 We haven’ heard much about the ambulance service of late. Can we assume things are smooth in Ambulance land? Not for a minute. As Sams tried to appoint Morgy Triplett to a supply clerk position and before accepting Asst Director Mitzi Adkins resignation, Director Bev King yelled out, “NO NO NO!”Sams held his hand up and yelled right back, LISTEN!!!”The underbelly of the county’ only emergency service provider was exposed again. Talk turned to over stocking trucks and the amount of controlled drugs that had to be disposed of after going out of date. Commission Triplett said he had received complaints about the operation. During more battle, Sams, to Bev, “I DON” WANT TO GET RID OF SOMEONE THAT MAKES YOU MONEY!”Bev King asked for secret time. Instead, Sams backed off of his recommendations and the issue will return to the table soon.
                 Larry McLaughlin (Fran’ brother) was appointed to the Health Board to replace Loretta Bird.
                 County Commission’ are responsible for settling family estates. Before the CCC was the estate and ordering a fiduciary commissioner for the Nancy Nelson estate. Based on the exchanges between the family members present, the family is torn wide apart and there is no end to the bickering in sight. At one point Nancy Nelson’ Mother, Irene told the CCC that her daughter Sharon, hadn’ talked to her since last April. Sharon, “his is disgraceful to rob an orphan.”Attorney David Karicoff will handle the fiduciary duties against the wishes of Sharon James.
                 With nearly 50 people in attendance, the CAEZ in conjunction with WVU put on an hour long presentation on the good and bad issues facing growing a tourism base in the Town of Clay. With power point slides galore, the findings revealed little new to locals. On the plus side, the crowd seemed to respond to the idea of growing tourism and spent nearly 45 minutes in a work shop setting coming up with new ideas for sprucing up the Town.
         CLAY ROANE PSD We had plans to go into great detail on the Feb 10th Clay Roane meeting. With the smoking law coverage and the Special Clay Roane meeting news later in this edition, here’ our meeting highlights from that 3 hour meeting.
                 Even after saying the PSD was paying all their bills and operating in the black during a Jan 2005 CCC meeting, during this meeting it came out: Clay Roane PSD is broke, unable to make the next payroll, can’ pay all their bills, and will soon receive at least one rate increase. Bet you’e reading now!
                 The PSD has an Amma Connection fee account with $31,000 in it. Or should we say, HAD an account with $31,000 in it. With the prodding of the Chair, the PSD voted to rob the account of $16,000 and decided to use that money to pay off the truck payment, the computer and software payment, and a chemical bill. Keep that in mind readers, for future reference, they said they were going to use that money to pay off those debts ONLY. One guy commented that the rake off of funds reminded him of when the PSD took a $50,000 loan from Clay County bank and then mis spent it just a few years back. Just after that new indebtedness, Clay Roane received the first of three rate increases.
          With insolvency looming, Chair Postelwait asked the office manager to put on the next meeting, purchase of a new truck.
                 The Board voted 3 to 2 to consider consolidation plans brought by the WV PSC. Postelwait was the nay and Susan Beard abstained. Postelwait commented that she wanted the abstaining stuff to stop!        
                 During the meeting, Office Manager Crystal McKinney told the Board she would be unable to meet the next payroll. She also told the assembled, the PSD would be getting a rate increase this Spring and MAYBE MAYBE, would be receiving an emergency rate increase in a couple of weeks. Emergency rate increases are awarded to PSD’ so mismanaged they’e tettering on the brink of insolvency.
                 After discussion, the nepotism policy was removed from the policy and procedures manual allowing for any and all relatives to be hired by the Board.
                 Here it is in a nutshell readers. Clay Roane PSD is broke, their considering purchasing a new truck, they robbed a reserve account for future customers, they’e getting at least one rate increase in the blink of an eye; AND AND the board decided to double their salaries! Yelp. Instead of meeting once a month, beginning in March 2005, the Board will meet twice a month and receive $75.00 for each showing. Just another day in Clayberry.                        AW
                 How often do you hear of a Magistrate pounding his palm on the desk and yelling out to the defense attorney, “TOP RIGHT THERE!”Here’ our story.
                 Marina Lanham has charges against her including kidnapping, assault, and brandishing against Denny Dobbins Jr. With Lanham and defense attorney Kevin Duffy on one side of the room and Asst Prosecutor TJ Drake and Green Shirt Sgt Wiles on the other, Magistrate King readied for the preliminary after tossing out a crying kid. Prosecutor Samples sat in the peanut gallery.
                 Wiles mapped out the states’case. Briefly: Wiles, Stephenson and Black shirt Chad Sizemore responded to a brandishing call on Jan 16th around 6:30pm; they took statements from Rose and Heather Dobbins; Denny Dobbins car was parked in front of Marina Lanham’ home in the Procious area; Denny had been in the house for some time when the female Dobbins entered the home; and argument ensued; Lanham in a back bedroom, came out with a pistol and held the three at bay. Lanham let the woman ski daddle but held Denny. Somewhere in the mix, the state said Dobbins was held at gun point against his will and Denny was forced to fix a busted bedroom door before escaping. When the Badges arrived, Denny D was in the road 15 feet from the Lanham home. Lanham resisted arrest and was secured with handcuffs and drug from her trailer.
                 There’ side one. Duffy worked over Wiles with questions on an earlier relationship between Lanham and the now married Dobbins. Duffy nit picked the typed statements of Wiles. Point after point repeat after repeat, Duffy worked to get a crack in the statements. About every three minutes, TJ Drake objected to the questions over and over. At times Duffy bantered with Magistrate Mike King. More objections from Asst Drake. Duffy asked about ransoms, if Dobbins had any injuries, and questioned why the door need fixed. Wiles budged little from the criminal record statements.
                 More objections from Drake with the Magistrate encouraging Duffy to move along. Duffy kept digging. Drake came back with more objections as the Wiles questioning continued. Drake’ face got a little red around the corners. Sternly, Mag. King, “MOVE ON MR DUFFY!”Did you ever see a kid that insults just rolled off like water on a ducks back? Duffy went more intense with his questions. Mag King, “DON” ARGUE WITH ME!”Duffy, “ can’ ask questions???? I’ NOT arguing!!”King, “I’ telling you TO MOVE ALONG!”Duffy wasn’ giving in and continued asking if Dobbins voluntarily remained at Lanham’ home Jan 16th.
                 Things weren’ as intense during the Chad Sizemore questioning and answers. Blood pressures lowered. With Denny Dobbins swore in to tell his story, a break was called. Someone asked Magistrate King if he wanted some aspirins. He didn’.
                 Under questioning by Drake, Dobbins: he stopped that evening to talk with Lanham; they had argued about a Bowflex machine ( payments); he needed someone to talk to and after a short while, “I didn’ mean to… Things went further along ( hanky panky)” Marina was in the bedroom when the two female Dobbins entered the trailer and went to the bedroom door; Lanham came out holding a 38 pistol; a knob came off the door and she demanded that I fix it; Dobbins was scared because a gun was pointed at him; at one point Dobbins disarmed Lanham only to find her with a second pistol ( pellet gun); and after Rose and Heather were allowed to leave , Denny was also able to escape.
                 Here comes Duffy again!!! Duffy worked the hanky panky part hard. Questions on what really happened, how intimate things really got, and such. With Drake telling Dobbins not to answer the questions and objecting like mad, King had had enough of Duffy and his barrage of questions, over and over. King, “I’ not getting into that!!!!!!!! STOP RIGHT THERE!!”King slapped his hand down on the bench (desk) with a thud. His face was red. Duffy’ face went red. Drake was staring at Duffy. Looked like he was ready to explode too. Duffy , like water on a duck’ back continued unphased. Under intense questioning, Dobbins changed his story. That wasn’ just a loose door knob, Lanham was pointing the gun at the person who had just kicked in the bedroom door (Dobbins wife) . Questions came over and over. At one point Drake yelled out, “E” ANSWERED THAT THREE TIMES!!! EVEN MR WADDELL HEARD IT”
                 Most of the time Marina Lanham was staring at the guy in the witness stand. She didn’ blink.
                 Moving back and forth and dodging the objections and cautions from the bench, Duffy was unrelenting. He told the court that Dobbins voluntarily went there; he enjoyed himself there; he made his choice when he stayed there after his wife was allowed to leave; and his purpose in being there was more than to talk. Drake came back with something about decisions made at the end of a barrel In the end, probable cause was found and Ms Lanham is heading to Circuit Court. Duffy earned his $65 per hour but not many popularity contests!
                 And you thought things were all quiet and subdued in a court room. Wrong! Intense is the word. Bet Magistrate King was happy when this one left his jurisdiction too.                                         AW
         Governor Signs Workers' Compensation Bill
         CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On February 16, 2005, Gov. Joe Manchin signed into law what he called, one of the most important pieces of legislation ever to be passed by the members of the West Virginia legislature. Surrounded, as he was at the beginning and end of the special session, by members of the state’ business and labor communities, the governor proudly signed S.B. 1004, otherwise known as the Workers Compensation bill.
          “t truly is a new day in West Virginia,”the governor said. “his
         landmark legislation sets the stage for real economic progress in this state.
         It gives our current employers a reason to stay in West Virginia and provides
         potential new employers with a reason to consider bringing their companies here, along with the good paying jobs with health care benefits that our people so desperately need and deserve.”
          The governor added, “ could not be more proud of the work done by this
         legislature or by the commitment of our business and labor communities to step up to the plate and put their individual interests aside to do what was in the best interests of all West Virginians. We’e definitely gotten the attention of the rest of the country with this bold and decisive bill, and it’ now our responsibility to take that momentum and build upon it during our current regular session. As I said just a little over 2 weeks ago when the Workers Compensation bill was first passed, ‘his is just the beginning.’
          As a part of the bill, the workers compensation premiums that all businesses in West Virginia pay will be reduced by up to 15 percent next year resulting in an estimated cost savings to those businesses of approximately $160 million that can then go back into the state’ economy.
          In addition, the bill gives the state the ability to bond out West Virginia’ existing $3 billion in unfunded workers’comp liabilities while also transferring the current state-operated Workers Compensation program to a private mutual company.
          “ll of West Virginia will eventually feel the positive impact of the passage of this bill. It will, without a doubt, benefit generations of West Virginians to come,”the governor added.
          SCARE TACTICS: According to scare sheets handed out to the public by government backed anti tobacco forces in the county, tobacco users are to be watched! They’e most likely the underbelly of the county, the folks doing drugs and oh, my, smokeless tobacco promotes the use of alcohol! Watch out, if the guy is reaching for a dip of snuff, his next move is to meth. Here’ the official wording from the handout: Spit tobacco is a gateway drug. High school students who use smokeless tobacco are nearly four times more likely to use marijuana than non users, almost three times more likely to ever use cocaine and nearly three times more likely to ever use inhalants to get high. In addition, heavy uses of smokeless tobacco are almost 16 times more likely than non users to currently use alcohol.
RATES: From the WV Public Service Commission web site, some stats. Jan 2005 water rates based on using 4500 gallons of water in a monthly period: Morgantown $7.65; Elkins 12.60; Wheeling $12.97; Weirton $17.87; Fairmont 17.96; Parkersburg $23.80; Martinsburg 28.33. Lewisburg 32.85; and, WV American Water Co $39.36.
                 How about electric rates based on an average usage of 600 kwh: Wheeling $38.80; Elkins 43.65; Logan 37.03; Morgantown and Lewisburg $43.65; Charleston $37.03; Fairmont 43.56; Oak Hill $37.03; and, Hinton $43.65. What’ yours, reader?
                 West Virginia averages are, for water $25.92; electricity $41.03; telephone $27.44; and gas $154.42.
                 TAXES Feb is designated as the month to have the County Commission review property taxes. The CCC meets every third day to meet with citizens who challenge high assessments. Few attend the gatherings. On the 15th, R.T. Sizemore called in a request to have his farm switched back to a lower valued “arm rate” RT got his wish. Don’ get all fired up! Did you even ask to be considered? Didn’ think so.
                 WA-WA Maysel area customers have been blighted with white foamy froth instead of clear water for months, maybe years. Last month the folks that supply the water, the Town of Clay, begin investigating the complaints. A couple of “erators”were installed. No luck. The system was purged of air. No luck. Last week, maintenance people, Phil Morris and Terry Traub began looking at the pumps to their storage tanks. Some of the packing material was not properly seated and the problem was corrected. Guess what???? 99% of the white stuff was gone!
         BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
          Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936] wrote about the glories of the British Empire in poetry and prose, with observations such as “ake up the white man’ burden”and the famous poem/hymn, “ecessional”“ord of our far flung battle line.” These are the sentiments that made him the darling of the jingoists of his day, and would have put him in solidly with the manifest destiny crowd now holding sway in the odious think tanks, the Pentagon, the White House and soon, the State Department with the ascension of Condoleeza Rice, whose meteoric career is a classic illustration of blind, self-serving, and even mindless loyalty as inevitably triumphant over competence. At times, Kipling even seems to suggest that God is an Englishman, a point-of-view that is echoed in our perilous time.
          Even though Kipling won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907, his imperialistic views became unfashionable. The trumpet was muted. There is, however, another dimension to Kipling’ martial music. No man had more sympathy for the salt of the earth types, particularly the common soldier. Kipling’ stereotypical soldier is Tommy Adkins, at the time they were all designated under the rubric “ommy.” The poet memorializes the time when the bands play, flags wave, crowds cheer as our valiant troops depart for the conflict. Sursum corda (Lift up your hearts.) However, a different tune is played when the soldier is no longer needed or has been maimed in battle. A refrain with variations is sounded in each stanza of Kipling’ poem, “ommy,”written in Cockney dialect.
         I went into a public ‘use to get a pint o’beer,
         The publican ‘ up an’sez, “e serve no Red-coats here.”
         The girls be’nd the bar they laughed an’giggled fit to die,
         I outs into the street again, an’to myself sez I:
         O it’ Tommy this, an’Tommy that an’“ommy go away;”
         But it’ “hank you Mr. Adkins,”when the band begins to play,
         O it’ “hank you, Mr. Adkins,”when the band begins to play.

          The attitude expressed here is not so far a field from the treatment of war veterans in this country when a callous government has no further need for their services. Ask the thousands who were exposed to the noxious Agent Orange in Vietnam who face a premature death and the likelihood of lifetime illnesses, many of an unspecified nature. This is a part of the life of countless veterans with which Donald Rumsfeld is unaware or considered with a kind of aristocratic indifference. Faced with reports of the carnage in Iraq as well as the charge of innumerable blunders in the Pentagon’ so-called plan, Rummy’ offhand response is: “tuff happens.” Someday, an alert historian will publish a study entitled: Donald Rumsfeld’ Greatest Hits. At, or very near the top will be his reply to the brave soldier who asked why he and his buddies had to scrounge for armor to protect their vehicles. Rumsfeld’ reply: “ou have to fight with the army you have.” We must not forget the classic, unforgettable reply to the question about the phantom weapons of mass destruction: “he absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.” After all, a country that aims to control the globe must get its priorities straight: billions for Star Wars and peanuts for the troops.
          The following is written in the faint hope that irony is not a lost art, or at least that it is alive and well if not flourishing. Let it be proclaimed throughout the land, purple mountains’majesty, waving grain and all that that Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon have a heart. Consider the saga of Specialist Robert Loria of Middletown, New York. Loria was in one of Rumsfeld’ unprotected Humvees when it was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq. His left hand and forearm were blasted off and shrapnel ripped through his body. He spent months in rehab, trying to live without a hand. Just before he was due to be released, he was hit by another bomb. The Pentagon presented Loria with a bill for $1700.00, claiming that he had erroneously received family separation pay while in rehab, as well as travel expenses connected to his treatment. As a mind-boggling stroke the Pentagon also billed Loria for some of the Humvee parts that damaged his hand. Here, a cynical thought creeps in. Loria was working for the wrong company. Had he been an employee of Halliburton or Becktal, his medical expenses would have been no problem.
          Fortunately, the media got hold of this tawdry story, and Loria received press coverage. There still remains a ray of hope that the corporate press will awaken from its complicit slumber and once again become the government watchdog it is meant to be. In addition, some members of Congress intervened and Loria was cleared of his debt and sent home. It would be folly to think of this story as having a happy ending considering the future facing Robert Loria, but the question arises: How many other disabled veterans are or have been treated in the same disgusting manner? It is little consolation to be reminded that this is the administration that was returned to power on the basis of its “alues.” Meanwhile, Rumsfeld’ Pentagon is cutting combat pay, and the death benefits for grieving families are set at the princely sum of $12,000, solace from a grateful nation – “upport Our Troops,”but keep down non-corporate costs.
          It would be silly to pretend that there is no such attitude as academic snobbery, thus, at the risk of being politically incorrect, let it be asserted here that the University of Denver is, at best, the fourth ranking school in Colorado. In the interest of fairness, it must be admitted that even the most obscure schools can produce superior people. The object of these musings lead, in this case, to our celebrated new Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice. Here, for some unknown reason, Joan Rivers’trademark line creeps in: “an we talk?” Amid all the gushing media sound bites about Condi’ intelligence, stylish dress, fluency in Russian, virtuosity on the piano, what seems to be lost, even in the mist of the near-present, is that Dr. Rice’ performance as head of the NSA was botched from beginning to end. More specifics amplifying that charge will follow in due course.
          The vetting process in the case of high government appointments can be so thorough, so detailed that, for most, it is possible to determine that the candidate stole Johnny’ marbles in the third grade. Conversely, other than the barest essentials of Rice’ biography, little is known about her employment record. For example, one area of inquiry might have been pursued. Anyone who has spent a few decades in the academic wars might ask the question: “ow does a young woman with a Ph.D. from the University of Denver, an insignificant scholarly record and only a brief stint in higher education become Provost at prestigious Stanford University?” It is a position she held for six years. We know the theory that cream rises to the top, but what is suspect here is the rapidity of Rice’ ascent. Corporals do not rise to become generals in less than a decade. Napoleon may be one of the few exceptions. The stock clerk may eventually become a CEO, but not without paying his dues. Where are the measurable achievements that explain the impressive array of positions Rice has held? It would be a fascinating project to secure reports from the Old Guard at Stanford about Condi’ tenure at that storied institution. Things being what they are with this administration, any negative reports would be quashed or subject to retribution.
          As Queen Victoria might have said: “e are not impressed”by the massive and unrelenting PR campaign the administration and the corporate-controlled media have mounted for the edification of Condoleeza Rice. As Director of NSA she has been guilty of stunningly stupid observations, the most famous of which was her fear that the “moking gun will become a mushroom cloud.” (Orders from Cheney and Rumsfeld?) She once compared the “ebuilding”of Iraq to the restructuring of Germany after World War II, implying that it had its terrorist activities much as we have in Baghdad, et. al. However, it is safe to suggest that history does not record any terrorist activity by Lutherans. The current holder of one of the most prestigious offices on the planet once referred to the WWII allies as a “oalition.” Last week, in a breakfast at the American Ambassador’ residence, Rice referred to Iran as a “otalitarian state.” While it may seem to be an insignificant quibble, to Europeans the term “otalitarian”is seen as a reference to violent regimes such as Nazi Germany or Stalin’ Soviet Union. “uthoritarian”would have been the proper term. Proper diction is a subtle and significant aspect in diplomatic circles. We do not see here or elsewhere vivid examples of Rice’ vaunted and over-publicized intelligence.
          In her trip to France, Rice demonstrated that she has taken a page from the campaign practices of her boss. According to Keith Richburg in the Washington Post, her appearance at the elite Institute of Political Science involved the repression of possible dissent that has become a trademark of this cloistered administration. Richburg reports:
         Only a handful of the school’ 5,500 students were allowed near the auditorium where Rice spoke, and the initial questions were vetted in advance by the school and the State Department.
         Benjamin Barnier, the son of Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, asked a question about the possibility of a theocratic government in Iran. His was the first question, but not the one he wanted to ask which was vetoed by the school. It was:
         George Bush is not particularly well perceived in the world, particularly in the Middle East. Can you do something to change that?
          Space limitations do not permit a lengthy discussion of Condoleeza Rice’ pitiful and outrageous performance before the 9/11 Commission as well as the Senate confirmation hearings. In the latter she was upbraided by the intrepid Senator Barbara Boxer on what the Senator charitably termed “ontradictions.” In a world less polite than politics, they would have been called “ies.” In high moral dudgeon, Rice counterattacked, stating that her integrity could not be impugned. It must be admitted, however, that it takes a certain amount of skill to undergo hours of questioning without providing one direct answer. Boxer was castigated by some of the media for the crime of acting like an actual senator, and refusing to participate in the usual love fest that marks most of these dreary proceedings. Excepting Rumsfeld and the bulldog Richard Cheney, Rice, the most hawkish of the Bush mob will have a banner career as the consummate loyalist and “es”woman in the administration. Competence no longer reigns as a factor for success. Should we need an example of a pol rising to the highest level of incompetence, look at Donald Rumsfeld, who even now is expanding his empire as he takes over intelligence. Meanwhile, we can expect rhapsodic reports of Condi’ pearls, pumps and couturier fashions as the U.S. continues its perceived destiny of telling the world how to run itself, while we await this apocalypse, watching these clowns with their stratospheric egos competing with each other, fighting for their private little fiefdoms.
          Let us continue to cry over spilt milk.
                 Have a pleasant diurnal experience,
         Who Wants to Buy Your House?
          When preparing your house, it helps to think about the type of people who are going to be interested in buying it. Singles, young couples, families with young or older children, empty nesters, retirees and investors will all have different needs and will be looking for different things. You want to show off those features that your prospective purchasers will be most interested in - usually it is the features that will make the sale, not the price. If you are selling the house your children grew up in but the area has become sought after and is now demanding prices that only higher income earners can afford, it is unlikely that many young families would be among the prospective purchasers. Discuss these issues with your agent, and other issues related to the sale of your house with your local sales associate.
          Here are some final suggestions concerning selling your house for the most money:
         Finishing touches: You've done all the preparations, the house is looking beautiful and the time has come to open it up for viewings. A few finishing touches will help make a lasting impression on your prospective buyers.
         Make yourself scarce: Leave the inspection to your sales associate. Don't be tempted to offer guided tours of the house in order to point out its best features. Most people will feel they are intruding if the family is at home.
         Plenty of light: Open curtains and turn on lights in dim areas. A light and airy feel can make rooms feel more spacious and pleasant. If there are noises from outside such as traffic, or the neighbors lawn mower or power saw, etc., keep windows on the side of the house closed.
         Add some color: A bowl of fresh fruit or a vase of flowers will brighten up the key rooms.
         Fresh air: In summer and spring time open up windows and allow air circulation. In past years, it was recommended you bake bread or put on the coffee percolator to give the house a home like feel.
         Seasonal temperatures: Warm your house in the winter and keep it cool in the summer.
         Pets: Although you may love animals, not everyone does - even if they are friendly and well trained. Take your pet with you when you leave for the viewing, or at least tie them up.
         Homely touches: People are most influenced by the emotion they feel when they approach and enter a house. Consider some homey touches such as flower pots near the front door and a “elcome”doormat, well made beds with lots of pillows and even a cuddly top, a child's painting on the fridge door or anything that evokes a feeling of comfort and genuineness.
         Security: Lock away or take with you any valuables such as jewelry, money, important documents and other items of value accessible to thieves.
          Will renovating get me a better price? If your are undertaking renovation or changing the construction of your property you must first think of the cost of construction. Your tastes may be quite different from somebody else's and many home improvements cost more that can be gained when the property is sold. Also, unless you have the skills to achieve professional results, you could possibly damage your sales as a poor DIY (Do It Yourself) job may put buyers off, or cause them to lower their offers in light of the work needed to be done (or redone). It would be best to seek professional advice first concerning how the proposed renovations would add value to your home and always get more than one opinion.
          Finally, during this series of articles we have made many suggestions for improving the market value of your property. After you have made these improvements it is time to select the right company to market your property. Please consider companies within your geographical area because they know the demographics of the area and can better serve you. If you have taken all these steps to improve your market value don't select an agency that will not put you first.
         This article brought to you by Dave Derby, Sale Associate, Greenlee Properties, Inc., GMAC Real Estate: Clay office for the help of the local home seller.
         DON GREENE WV RADICAL        
                 "Lord hear our call, when we fall, Heaven help us all." Beautiful words from an old song of protest from those good old days when an American could still protest what their government was doing. How aptly they fit today's disturbing and distressing situation.
                 For the sake of continuing our wars of aggression and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan we Americans are supposed to willingly accept literally all of our social programs being "frozen" for the next five years. Likewise we are supposed to willingly put up with billions being spent "rebuilding" the infrastructure of those nations while our own falls to pieces around us. That is assuming that we even have good roads, public water and sewer, new schools and clinics in our states and communities, which many Americans don't have. I would like to see someone, hopefully the Democrat Party, insist that our expenditures overseas be matched, dollar for dollar, with identical projects here in America. It's our money, spend it on us.
                 Then we have the aftermath of the tsunami to deal with. It was tragic beyond belief, but do we have to spend millions of tax dollars rebuilding or maybe actually building for these nations? I have watched for, but never seen, any factual numbers on exactly how many of those communities, islands, tribes, etc., ever had public water and sewer, modern schools and clinics, paved highways and all the rest that our tax dollars are being spent building to start with. How can countries that don't even know how many citizens they have actually have many of those things? Couldn't we just replace their fishing boats, nets, water buffaloes and huts and call it good enough?
         Let's not even get into the discussion of better schools because that has become an impossible task in West Virginia. The propaganda of the "save our little school, so Bubbie & Sissy can be all-stars" gangs have drowned out any chance of rational discussion in WV. But if we could discuss schools, would we feel that we should be building them in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the tsunami-ravaged nations or should we be building them here in America?
         Clinics you say? How many communities in WV are literally dying to have a nice modern clinic located there? How many Americans go without healthcare for lack of a nearby clinic? Again, should we be building them overseas or at home? These, of course, are rhetorical questions for it is no longer possible in America or even in WV to ask such questions. For even daring to say such things a person can be branded as a traitor, as un-Christian or even, dare I say it, a liberal. That's it folks, Heaven help us all.
         Unfair Practices!
          All my life I have believed in the ultimate triumph of good over evil. I watched the old cowboy shows and saw the cowboy kiss the girls before he rode off in the distance on his best friend, the horse. But this past year I’ beginning to change my beliefs because of national, state, and local politics.
          Recently, the Clay County Youth Fair Committee voted to continue the “nfair practice”of not allowing 4-H students the opportunity to show their animal at their summer fair. They stated that it would destroy the fair.
          The Clay County Youth Fair was started years ago to benefit the students in FFA and 4-H. Every spring students purchase, feed, have blood test, and take care of animals in preparation for the summer fair with the expectation of showing their prize animals at the fair. Parents have to pay for all these expenses.
          When the fair begins the animals are weighed. If their animals don’ meet certain weight criteria, the fair officials demand that the animals are removed immediately from the fair grounds.
          The 4-H Leaders Association and the local Extension Service representatives wanted the fair officials to allow the animals to be shown to complete the student’ 4-H projects. But the committee sited that the fair would be ruined by this practice. These animals would not be sold at the annual actions but be taken home before the action begins.
          This decision by the committee is entirely unfair and hurtful to poor 4-H students. What harm would it cause to allow these students to show their animals? The regular meeting of the Clay County Farm Bureau will be this month to make the decision related to this matter. Please contact them and let them know that Clay County 4-H students deserve to have their animals shown.
          Good should always win against bad! Support the 4-H’ and parents who want to show their animals!
                         By Dave Derby,
                         A Proud Blue Democratic American.
         CHATTER 2
         Dear Editor,
          On February 15, 2005, the Department of Health passed an Ordinance Act for cleaner air. It was a non-smoking ban for Clay County. I believe under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights we the people have a right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Attorneys should take this matter to the federal court system. Nowhere in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights has it been stated that it’ illegal to smoke, nor has it been banned. If they can tell people where to smoke and what to do with their lives, then I believe people who chew gum in public, shouldn’. They spit their gum on sidewalks, put it underneath chairs and tables which is a major health factor.
          People over-eat candy and fast food which causes diabetes and blockage – you don’ see the Department of Health saying, “ou can’ eat that, it will cause medical problems.” But, you see the Department of Health on smokers’backs. There are a lot more things in this world that can kill you other than smoking. For instance, sexually transmitted diseases (STD’) can kill you but you can’ tell people to quit having sex. So, you shouldn’ be allowed to tell smokers where to smoke.
          My great-great grandfather, great grandfather, and all of my uncles fought in wars to protect our God-given rights. It’ a sad day in America when the minority can legislate their will. Let’ not forget Prohibition and what its result was.
          People that don’ smoke forget that smokers pay taxes also. Non-smokers enjoy the roads, ball parks and other things our tax dollars help pay for. Perhaps the non-smokers, people who chew gum, those who have unprotected sex (which has and does spread disease), and folks that eat lots of fattening foods should pay for them by themselves.
          A sad day in America when our constitutional rights are being taken away. I urge the editor and the Department of Health to show where in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights the law is that explains where people can or cannot smoke.
          Article IX of the Bill of Rights: The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
                 Yours truly,
                 E. Hall
         02/05/05: Wiles – Roger Allen Wiss, fugitive from justice X 2, arrested, case to Circuit Court.
         02/08/05: Stephenson – Richard Burnside, warrant issued for delivery of a controlled substance, arrested 02/15, ROB; Bailey – Terry Mitchell Phillips, possession with intent to deliver (marijuana), arrested, ROB.
         02/14/05: Stephenson – Jack Naylor, warrant for wanton endangerment (01/31/05), appeared, ROB.
         02/03/05: Belt – Joshua Mikel Tanner, possession of controlled substance, arrested, ROB; Belt – Timothy O. Mace, possession controlled substance, arrested, ROB.
         02/04/05: Bailey – Donald A. Bishop, obstructing an officer and false info to DPS, arrested, ROB 02/05; Wiles – Chester D. Keen, speeding, DUI, four in front seat and registration violation, arrested, ROB 02/05; Stephenson – Darrell Robert Kent, DUI and registration violation, arrested, ROB 02/05, Def. Pled no contest to DUI 02/07, assessed fine, cost and 24 hours jail, registration violation charge dismissed with prejudice upon motion of prosecuting attorney; Bailey – Jason Lee Padgett, possession of marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, ROB.
         02/08/05: Larry Legg – Randy Nichols, failure to send child to school, summons; Stephenson – Richard Burnside, warrant issued for fleeing from officer, arrested 02/15, ROB; Stephenson – Angie Bartsch, warrants issued for assault and battery, arrested 02/16, ROB; Stephenson – Ray Nottingham, warrant issued for battery; Stephenson – Bobby Hall, assault, arrested, ROB.
         02/09/05: Bailey – Jeffery R. Neal, warrant issued for failure to pay for gasoline; Bailey – Jimmy D. Koch, warrants issued for domestic battery and battery; Bailey – Shannon D. Schoolcraft, warrant issued for petit larceny; Clay County Board of Education – Sheila M. Sears, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Slack – Franklin Moore Jr., warrants issued for damage to shrubbery, flowers, trees and timber and damage to trees.
         02/10/05: Bailey – Brian M. Welch, DUI, arrested, ROB.
         02/12/05: Belt – Gary Lee Gray, DUI-2nd offense and registration violation, arrested, ROB.
         02/14/05: Stephenson – Thomas Childers, possession less 15 grams, appeared, ROB; Butcher – David Matthew Hanshaw, warrants issued for conspiracy X 7, petit larceny X 7, and destruction of property X 7.
         02/15/05: Butcher – Timothy Joshua Bird, warrants issued for conspiracy X 8, petit larceny X 7, and destruction of property X 7; Main Street IGA – Roger D. McCutcheon, warrant issued for worthless check complaint.
         02/03/05: EMCC Inc., Direct Merchants – Melissa Cummings, money due.
         02/07/05: Monogram Credit Card Bank – Joan M. Callison, money due, subpoena.
         02/08/05: Nathan Pringle – Willie Taylor, money due; Audrey Conklin – Oran James Hickman Sr., money due.
         02/09/05: Edsel R. Westfall Jr. – Kenneth Peth, money due.
         02/14/05: Rodney Braley – Ina Leftwich, money due, subpoena.
         Worthless Checks Notices Issued
         02/03/05: Main Street IGA – Roger D. McCutcheon, misdemeanor file opened 02/15.
         02/08/05: House’ Market – Mary J. Adkins; Thomas M. Eagle (paid 02/14); Manuel R. Shaffer.
         02/09/05: Clay County Golden Delicious Apple – Julie Hudson.
         02/14/05: Christian Service Center – Mary J. Adkins; Freda’ – Mary J. Adkins X 6; Clay Supermarket – Mary J. Adkins X 2; Roger D. McCutcheon X 3; Joshua Beard; Timothy Beard; Kellie Greenleaf.
         Citation Register
         01/20/05: DNR – Anthony G. Ferrebee, stream litter.
         01/28/05: State Police – Donnie Allen Friend, MVI.
         01/31/05: State Police – Jonathan C. Castle, speeding and no POI; Rebecca L. Churchill, speeding; Sheriff’ Dept. – Misty C. Gunvanbh, speeding.
         02/01/05: State Police – Darlene S. Gooslin, no POI; Amy Marie Williams, no POI.
         02/02/05: State Police – Gina Caldwell, speeding, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, registration violation and no POI; Christopher Kennedy, speeding; Jenny R. Loving, MVI; Raja Premkuman, speeding and MVI; James Franklin Smith, speeding and no POI; Sheriff’ Dept. – Titus R. Schoolcraft, failure to yield.
         02/03/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Darius J. Cummings, registration violation; Debra K. Norton, no POI.
         02/04/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Harless W. Elswick, possession marijuana less 15 grams; State Police – Debra L. McKinney, no POI; Justin M. Ramsey, registration violation.
         02/05/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Tameria Shane Bush, speeding; Emily G. Danzer, speeding; Jennifer L. Edwards, operator’ and seat belt violation; Sarah Nicole Shuman, speeding; Crystal A. Thorne, defective equipment and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; State Police – Thomas Childers, possession less 15 grams; Richard L. Nicholas, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and defective equipment; Roger Allen Wiss, no POI and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
         02/07/05: Municipal Police – Raymond Lee Brown, loud muffler.
         02/08/05: State Police – Irleen Lyn Coe, no POI.
         02/09/05: State Police – Toney F. Bryant, no POI; Sheriff’ Dept. – Jennifer A. Walton, speeding.
         02/10/05: State Police – Brian M. Welch, driving under the influence.
         02/12/05: State Police – Gary Lee Gray, driving under the influence-3rd offense and registration violation; Samantha Jo Legg, speeding.
         02/13/05: State Police – Lisa Koch, failure to keep right of center and possession of marijuana.
         “his Ain’ Right!!”
                 Secret dealings away from the public is the scorn of many. During the Gaston Caperton administration, economic development officials worked secret deals to lure a carcinogen spewing pulp mill into the state. Those plans were stopped after a Charleston newspaper brought a Supreme Court case mandating more sunshine on the back room handouts and ole boy network deals. The victory didn’ last long. Within months, our Legislature restored the right of eco/dev officials to operate in the dark.
         Secret deals are nothing new for Clayberry. Five years ago, such back room negotiations took the County Commission to the WV Supreme Court. Appointed boards, the old Ambulance Authority for instance, wound up in court after tippy-toeing into decisions away from the public. It’ often the case, after the dust settles, those dealings end poorly for the citizenry of Clay. As a note, the State Tax Dept. Audit of the Ambulance Authority in January of 2002 stated the actions of the Ambulance Authority were criminal and should be pursued in a court of law. Ahhh, we never did!
         The jest of all that is, negotiating in secret often gets us in a mess and, at the very least, won’ pass the rotten fish test. Here’ our coverage from a specially called Clay County Business Development Authority meeting February 9 and held in the CCC room.
         With nine Boardsters in attendance, BDA Chair Leonard Williams called the meeting to order at 5:06pm. In addition to the usual faces, a mid 40ish man and woman sat up front. Balding, thin, and neatly dressed, the fellow smiled. In session less than a minute, Paige Willis called for secret time. When asked about the purpose of the executive session, the Chair replied: discuss a possible client with Filcon.”
         For well over an hour, the public sat in the Courthouse hallway and peered through the CCC room glass doors. Sometimes smiling and laughing, the discussion seemed to be light hearted in nature. Hand gestures indicated nothing aggressive going on. During the regular session of the BDA earlier this month, the peanut gallery was also tossed out of the meeting. During both secret times, the public was told the BDA was negotiating for a possible tenant for the old Filcon site. The bad taste was so extreme with their first attempt at getting a tenant there, the BDA renamed the site, the Valley Fork Industrial Park and promised to never say the Filcon word again.
         Around 6:10, the public was allowed back into the public meeting and told there was lots of talk and no decisions were made. As the newcomer man and woman left, Boardster Arthur Jarrett, “ee you later.”The smiling stranger, “ hope so.” The 85 minute meeting ended with the public being involved about 2 minutes total. With broad smiles, the folks in charge stood and prepared to leave the assembly room.
         In the back, Fred Sampson wasn’ smiling. Clay County’ “Citizen of the Year” had a stern flush about him. Sampson, “ am a little mad. I want to know what’ going on here!” With no answers coming, Sampson asked Paige Willis some kind of general question. Couldn’ quite make it out with the back ground noise, something like, is the tenant from out of state? Willis refused to answer and said, “alk to the Chair.”
         That’ just what he did, too. Up front, Sampson asked Chair Williams, IS the guy from out of county? …. Is he from out of state?… What kind of business is it, manufacturing?… Williams refused to answer anything and said he would rather not say. Boardster Jim Knotts laughed about then.
         That stern Sampson look turned into rage. As he exited the room, the 70 something Sampson, “ may not be back.. THIS ISN” RIGHT!”With Sampson and the two strangers gone, the peanut gallery headed for the door. There’ no requirement for an appointed leader to be a rocket scientist or an expert in community relations. This reporter has not seen anything in the code that says an economic development committee has to reassure the public of what their doing is above board or even provide ANY details of the secret stuff.
         But! In the county still reeling from the Filcon debacle and costly lawsuit, sure seems like some kind of reassurances would be in order. Something like: The BDA is trying hard to come up with a tenant for the Filcon site that will provide jobs in the county and be a good corporate citizen. Because of the sensitive nature of the marketplace, we’e negotiating privately and as soon as possible, we’l have an announcement. That didn’ happen, readers. The people that pay for the government hand outs and deals were told nothing and sent on their way. No mention was made that basic background checks had been done. No mention was made that this time around, competent legal help would be used. No mention was made of using more than one attorney for both parties.
         From Benjamin Franklin: Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.
         Here’ what we think is going on. Just guessing, readers.
         The BDA is negotiating with a small start up manufacturer of corrugated metal pipe. After a couple years negotiating with the Roane County eco/dev committee, the Clendenin based man and wife team (owners) are looking for a better deal and looking at Clay County. The guy has a background in culvert sales and the wife will run the office part of the operation.
         The BDA is negotiating to prepare the site and construct a 40 by 100 building. The company will get a couple years of free rent and at the end of the five year lease, the company will be given the land and building for free. In addition to owning the property at the end, the company wants an $80,000 grant and a reduced interest rate loan of $350,000.00. the cost to relocate to Clayberry is expected to be around $150,000. In the end, Clay County could benefit with around 10 new full time jobs and the BDA would have their first success story.
         Why does this have to be so top secretish? If Roane County gets wind of the dialogue, they may try to sweeten the pot and keep the small operation. Will the county get a new manufacturer at Filcon? No one knows. Does the BDA need to be so secret? Nope. Does secrecy lead to distrust? You bet! Is Fred Sampson miffed? You bet!
         To end this installment of life in the slow lane, a French proverb: Nothing is as burdensome as a secret.                                        AW
                 PSD HELP REQUEST
         Clay County PSD Meets
          Clay County PSD met in regular session February 10th in their Main Street, Clay digs. Chair Keith King and Boardster Ted Underwood attended with Homer Triplett absent from duty. THE PLACE WAS PACKED!!!!!!!!! Just kidding, as is the norm, the place was nearly empty. In five minutes the business of water service was over and done. Not a record, but the norm. Mr. King has a penchant for revealing little to the public at public meetings unless he needs something. He needs something now.
                 A week prior this meeting a mass mailing was sent out inviting customers and potential customers to come and be a part of their public water provider. With only Elizabeth Sampson in attendance, the guess is, the public wasn’ buying the used car salesman approach.
                 During this meeting, Chair King, Mr. Happy as we oft refer to him, told the assembled he needed something. King wants prospective customers of the long stalled Lizemores/Tuckers Bottom water line extension route to send in letters of support for funding and completion of the project. Although King didn’ reveal squat, something is up. As for the importance of those letters, King, “e need that letter [letters] bad.” What he did say was, with a change in administration, Smoking Joe in office, there could be problems with securing additional funding. According to office manager Cindy Schoolcraft, the Lizermores/Tucker’ Bottom project needs nearly $2 million additional dollars before constructiaon can begin.
                 Way back when, Clay County PSD had to come up with 80% of the residents in the future service area before they could even go to bid on the water line extension. They say they did. During this meeting, Mr. Happy may have revealed a deep down problem. King said they just “arely”got the 80% needed, and said, “We need more customers.”Putting two and five together and coming up with four, King knows deep down, if any of the future customers decide against accepting high dollar (already 6th highest in the state), the entire extension will be doomed. No wa-wa for anybody.
                 That ever prying Elizabeth Sampson asked the board some of those thought twisting, confusing questions designed to trick appointed officials into answering hard core questions. Those tough questions like: Why not start the project with the money you have available? And, a partial project is better than no new water service, why not do part of the construction? Oh, the thought of that Sampson lady asking those hard questions! If King hadn’ been on his best behavior, his reply may have been different. This time around Mr. King did answer the questions with well thought-out, in-depth responses. As to starting the project with the money on hand, his reply, “ope.”When Sampson asked a similar question on getting started now, King provided even more insight, “ope. It’ all one big project.”
                 How’ that for keeping the public informed? In 15 minutes it was all over. Meeting adjourned.
                 For those willing to send in those letters of support, the correspondence should include why you need the water, how long you’e been waiting for water service, the conditions of existing well and cisterns, and incidents of ill health as a result of the poor water.
         Christian Service Center News
          Hello friends, we would like to let you all know that both Christian Centers are doing well. The Valentine’ Day sale was great at the Lizemores center, and thanks to everyone that came and supported the sale. The Lizemores Center is going to start a Senior Day - every Wednesday seniors will get a discount on their purchase. Come in and see one of the girls about the details. Their is also going to be a Spring Sale. And, the Christian Center at Lizemores will be having a St. Patrick’ Day Sale!
          Now until the end of March our Winter Clearance Sale is in progress at both Centers. As an added incentive to shop with us, during February with every $10 purchase your name will be entered in a drawing for a gift basket valued at $50, or with a $25 purchase in a drawing for a gift basket valued at $100! Drawing will be on February 28.
          We would like to send our prayers out to the family of Stanley Samples, the brother of Ethel Mullins of Lizemore.
          There will be a benefit sing and dinner for Mary Kincaid at the Clay County High School, February 27. Dinner will be starting at 11:30 and the singing will start at 1:00p.m. Everyone is welcome, come and enjoy a Sunday dinner and some good singing after.
          Another benefit sing will be held at the Lizemores Elementary School on February 19th starting at 12:00p.m., for the Lizemore Fire Department. There will be a dinner and good singing. Come and support our local fire department.
          The Youth Program is doing well and we are getting some support from the local people, but we still need more support and donations. If you are interested in donating to the youth program please see Freda Auxier for detail. We need games, supplies, equipment, and money is always helpful.
          The Restaurant is doing very well, and we’ like to invite everyone to come in and see the variety of good things we have to eat. We are going to be expanding for more dining area in the near future.
          Here is something for you to read. A good customer dropped it off for us to read. We would like to share it with you. Until next time, God Bless.
         Loudmouth and Smiley
          Two old boys that lived in the community, they both went to church every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. Old Loudmouth was always telling everyone what a good Christian he was. Old Smiley hardly ever said anything, but he was always smiling.
          Old Loudmouth never smiled much, he only ranted and raved about how good he was. Old Smiley was always helping someone with anything they needed. Old Loudmouth never had time, he never visited friends or helped them any way.
          Old Loudmouth would tell everybody what a beautiful home he had waiting in Heaven, the most beautiful place you ever seen. “ just can’ wait to get there,”he would say. Old Smiley never said much. He would just smile and say, “es, Lord.”
          Finally the day came; both old boys were laying on their death beds. Old Loudmouth began crying out, “hy me, Lord, why me?” Old Smiley just smiled and said, “es, Lord, I am ready.” A short time before death Old Loudmouth got the most terrified look on his face, he started sweating and crying, “lease Lord, why me?” Old Smiley just smiled and said, “es, Lord.”
          Do you think maybe old Loudmouth was looking down the road and seeing something waiting for him? What do you think old Smiley was seeing?
         From Over in the Hollow, 01/29/05
         SCHOOL VIOLENCE: Mums the Word
         Clay School Board Meets
          It’ hard to get the public engaged during Clay County School Board meetings! Even with “chool discipline”mentioned on the agenda as a discussion item, didn’ happen. Here’ our accounting for the Feb 7th School Board held at the board office on Gump Street in Clay. The board office was packed as board Prez R.B. Legg opened the public meeting with his prayer. Up front Kim Sams, Gene King, Dave Pierson, and Beth Cercone wrestled with the paperwork. The peanut gallery whispered and mumbled.
          The agenda was massaged to accommodate a $2100 high school dance team request for competition funding. The girls read from prepared statements. Advisor Cliver added: the CCHS dance team is only allowed 4 fund raisers during a year and they have already used up that option; the $2100 request is just 1/3 of the total amount needed and they have raised the balance of the needed funds; the Myrtle Beach competition happens April 1 through 3 and the girls won’ miss any school time; the $2100 is the cost for individuals to enter the competition; and well over $20,000 has been raised this year to meet the needs of the team. Cliver, “This is our year; we keep getting better and better… we have high hopes this year..”No decision made but based on the nods around the front table, the CCHS dance team will get their request. With the good news in hand, our high school girls headed to the door.
                 Bills were paid and: Delbert Adkins resigned effective immediately; Lois Asbury is bailing out June 9; James Reynolds resigned/retires June 9; Linda Graninette is out of there Oct. 31 2005; After School Teacher Donna Abel leaves Lizemores immediately; sub teacher Camilla Neal resigned as did CMS Asst. Girls B Ball Coach.
                 Additions and changes include: Pamela Douglas hired to replace fired CCHS custodian Snapper Johnson; Melody Reed got the nod to be CCHS girls track coach and thumbs up went to Terry Martin as boys track coach; CMS BD teacher Mike Kearns peeled out and headed to greener pastures at CCHS for BD opening; and Larry McCune hired as a substitute teacher.
                 All along, the without comment or discussion decisions came and went under the sound of whirl and blinking lights. Up front and just above R.B. Legg’ head was this plastic camera with a red blinking light moving left and right. With each move came a whirrrrrrrr, click, whirrrrr sound.
                 During the hiring of a CWEP worker for a school, Super Link passed around a background check. Each Boardster took a gander and each time, pointed at one spot and then whispered. Link said the Sheriff had expeditiously supplied the paperwork and as soon as the Board made their decision, it was to be shredded. The new CWEPer was hired unanimously. Cont’ on pg. 13
                 Some kids call the Alternative Learning Center a Gestapo style school. According to Linkinoggor and do to changes in state regs, the ALC will now be held during the normal school day. Link, “The state has added some new language… we’e complying with state regulations..”Motion to change passed without discussion. On the street, locals were upset to see our ALC sentenced students out on the street during normal school time instead of in ALC lock down.
                 Why were all the parents in attendance? In Jan 2005, an 8th grader at CMS allegedly beat and kicked the stuffins out of a much smaller 6th grader. From our sources, the 8th grader was supposed to be supervised at all times by the CMS staff but while in the gym the student managed freedom long enough to take his watch, put it over his fist and headed for the small fry victim. After punching, the 8th grader employed his winter boots to mash in the down and out 6th graders nose and cheek bone area. Sheriff Holcomb was called in and made arrests after the mêlée. The peanut gallery was in attendance to see what the Board was going to do about the lawsuit-bound act of violence. They saw little.
                 The Board headed behind closed doors to determine the status of another CMS student. It is believed this is the young person that rarely attended classes, ANY classed this year. After 20 minutes in secret, Link recommended the kid be tossed from public school for 12 months, for the kid to get a GED at the Workforce investment office, and down the road, the school system may re-look at the situation. Board agreed.
                 Now for the public time on the CMS fight? Nope! The Board headed back into secret time to view a video. The guess is, the Board was being shown the Jan 24 battle scene video captured by CMS cameras. 19 minutes later, the Board emerged grim faced.
                 Now for the public time on the CMS fight? It was listed on the agenda as a discussion item. Nope! Without ever looking up and post haste, R.B. Legg accepted the motion and passed to ski-daddle. In the back, the parents, grandparents, and supporters of the victim looked at each other. What happened? The public was left hanging without answers or for that matter, without even a nod that they were concerned.
                 Our lovable, huggable, and biggest vote getter, O. Gene King, asked about the kid involved in the fight but was informed, that would come later.
                 Another Clayberry meeting closed and the voters happy!                                        AW