MARCH 5, 2004

Water plans laid again
Follow ups
Wrong Headed: Left or Right By Jim Chafin
Festival Forecast By Terri Lively
Preparing your Home Part 2: Interior General
Board of Education Meeting
Very Confusing
Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
CDC: Our Little Hornet’ Nest
         Water plans laid again
         Think the days of operating out of a backroom are over in Clay County? The days when decisions are made and finalized before the public ever hears about them? They’re not. Even after several costly court cases centering around open meeting law violations, the tradition continues on in lovely Clayberry.        
         Somehow big wigs from Charleston and beyond, along with County Commissioners Jimmy Sams and Peter Triplett, organized a meeting Wednesday, March 3rd in the upstairs courtroom of the Courthouse. At the gathering were reps from Clay County PSD, the Town of Clay, Clay Parks and Recreation, bond holders RUS, WV Health Dept. and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito’ office. The WV Public Service Commission was not present at this meeting (as far as we could see). Also missing were Clay Roane PSD and Queen Shoals PSD reps. Continued on page 3
         Before getting into the questionable stuff, secrecy, here’ the meeting coverage. Did we mention that Commissioner Bragg wasn’ invited?
         With many in coats and ties, Commissioner Sams opened the meeting with warm and friendlies and said the reason for the meeting was to get everyone on the same “age” All seemed pleased with the cordialness and smiled.
         Sams asked Town of Clay (also Clay Roane PSD) engineer Jim Hildruth to bring the group up to date. His comments included: All PSDs should expect growth in this county; the Queen Shoals areas could double in size; he is preparing a pre-application to RUS for water plant upgrade project for the Town of Clay; that rebuilt Town plant will supply around 800 gallons per minute; the improved plant should be able to serve our needs for another 20 years; and, the Town is changing it’ Small Cities Block Grant ($1m) to insure water service will be extended throughout the county.
         Does this sound familiar? Do you think you’e reading a newspaper headline from three springs ago? Familiar, yes, but not identical ,readers.
         Back three seasons ago, the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) was promoting what they wanted for Clay County and beyond. First they came with what that “luminum siding salesman” Jim Weimer, called the best deal for the county. He came back two weeks later with “ better deal”only to be followed by “he bestest ever deal for us” Ultimatums were made. Our locals were told, it’ this way or no way. One of the funders back then, while battling with resistance from a few Town leaders, commented that he had all the money needed to put a main line right down the middle of Clay streets and he didn’ need the Town’ permission. Threats were also made to pull all funding if we didn’ cooperate. Who was that guy? Answer: Randy Plum from RUS. RUS? They control the purse strings, bonding of each project.
         So what happens when we’e backed into a corner and getting yelled at by the suits? We humped up and pretty much told them all to go where the sun don’ shine. While the town was fighting like cats and dogs (remember Councilman Krauklis resigning and then coming back to the table just long enough to vote to go into debt and build the then on-the-table regional water plant?), the rest of the county was ready to hang Town elders. The outsiders felt the town was holding them up getting water service. Of course, that was exactly what was going on. Strongest of all to stop the regional plant back then was Recorder Betty Murphy. On numerous occasions Big Murph said she was unwilling to put the town into debt and force town residents to carry the debt load so others could use the Town’ water facilities. Big Murph’ efforts (and others, too) paid off.
         So much for the background for now. Back to the meeting. As Hildruth calmly mapped out the plans, the room remained quiet with a few nodding in agreement with the polished engineer. Hildruth, “he mechanism for water service is coming into place……They’e well on their way…. The Town has foresight and is going with an upgrade…”
         As he finished up his portion, J.D. Douglas from the State Health Dept. asked about the future of the Procious Water Plant. Hildruth chose his words carefully. He knew the 20 year old Procious Plant was a contentious issue. Hildruth, “e anticipate that event might possibly happen, it going off line.”Translation: Sure.
         Clay County PSD Chair Keith “r. Happy”King asked about the high cost of water he purchases from the Town and will that cost go up when new debt is added to pay for the Town’ plant upgrade. King, “e’e paying pretty exorbitant rates now!”Again caution was the key word from Engineer Hildruth. The reply came something like: I can’ give you an answer right now. We are just applying for that money, blah, blah, blah.
         After a little more pressing by Sams, the answer did come from Hildruth, “There’ almost always an increase. If I was guessing, it would go up. User charges [too] will go up with tighter Federal regulations. It’ just, well… tough. Inflation [is there], and there’ nothing we can do about that.”
         Mr. Happy continued with concerns over paying $2.61 per 1000 gallons of water from the town. Hildruth tried to comfort the elder PSD Boardster by saying that $2.61 per 1000 “s pretty market rate” Later that was amended to reflect lots of other places make and sell water at lower rates. Behind the scenes, King has tried to secure funding for building his own little water plant and get about as far away from Town water as possible. As for now, King has been unsuccessful in his mission and the Keith King Memorial Water Plant (I just made up that name, readers, so don’ get excited) remains a pipe dream.
                   As he has said for over 6 years, 8’”tall J.D. Douglas from the State Health Dept., despite not seeing the new water plans, continued the push for improvements in this county, that the time is NOW. Briefly, from Douglas, “ reviewed the old plans and everything [needed] was in there….With new rules [coming] it will be difficult to go into the future without an upgrade … If you don’ do something, you’l likely be in trouble…. There has been a lot of improvement in the last 2 years …. I’ hate to see Procious shut down, but if economics won’ allow it, shut it down….. Queen Shoals had a permit to upgrade for 10 years… Queen Shoals is going to be a problem.”
         All sat quietly. The room was quiet. It was if they were waiting for some local to stand up and pitch a fit. Didn’ happen. No local knew of the gathering.
         The composed words continued with statements made by Randy Plum. The tall thin mid 40ish fellow controls all the money, change of monies, and gives the final OK on bonds and funding for every water project in the county. Plum was sort of sheepish at first. As if he was trying to mend fences from meetings long past. Although not exact quotes, pretty darn close from Mr. Money Bags: We just took the money from Queen Shoals, we rarely do that; We would like to fund that upgrade for Clay County but we don’ have a request; As for the proposal to build a regional plant 2 or 3 years ago and eliminate the Town plant, “he regional water plant idea consumed us for three or four years. That proposal didn’ work. This has changed...” money is still obligated for a new project.
         Plum’ key point was to hurry up and request any needed money from the Feds and do it post haste! According to Mr. Suit, because we are located within the CAEZ’ boundaries, we qualify for discounted loans and special attention is given to grants as well. With CAEZ designation ending at the close of this fiscal year, so will those special considerations. Plum spoke favorably toward funding a Town water plant upgrade, “ think there is money for an upgrade and it should qualify with reasonable water user rates...”
         How was Commissioner Sams receiving the wordage? Sams, “hat really sounds good.” Plum, surely wanting to get past the water wars of old, “ can’ tell you how pleased I am.”The scars of battles past seemed to have healed over quite nicely.
         A bearded man, Terry Martin maybe, went out on a limb and suggested and said the project could be done next year!
         Representing Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, Anne McCuskey offered her boss’ support. According to McCuskey, “e’e here to help… This is a top priority in the county… We’l do whatever we need to do.”
         Sams closed down the 40 minute meeting with, “t looks like we’e a lot closer now.”Sams said he had been in office for 9 years and water problems had been at the forefront the entire time. Plum, coming full circle from 3 years ago, “ lot of things are different today.”All participants were invited over to a hot dog sale in progress across the way.
         One more time, from Plum, “ lot of things are different today.”Are they? Now for the dirty slimy part of an otherwise upbeat story on the future of Clay County. The public was kept away! Some people were told by the hosts to keep this quiet, that they didn’ want the public at the meeting.
         This paper asked Town Mayor Arthur Jarrett who invited him to the meeting. Jarrett said he didn’ even want to say who invited him. QSPSD Chair Jimmy Kearns mentioned just after their March 1st meeting, “ave you heard anything about a water meeting this Wednesday? Kearns and Queen Shoals wasn’ even alerted of the event. Town serviceman Terry Traub (in attendance) said he knew of the meeting during the day March 1st. When asked about the meeting being kept quiet, he just laughed.
         After the meeting we asked Commissioner Triplet about Matthew Bragg’ absence. Triplett said he didn’ invite Bragg to the “athering” Gathering? According to Big Pete, this meeting of the County Commission, the PSDs , and the funders and regulators was NOT a meeting but merely a gathering. Of course that wasn’ the case 7 days earlier when the County Commission held a completely legal Commission meeting in the evening hours and properly posted notice and informed the public of the proceedings.
         That part about being a “athering”is troublesome to say the least. According to State Open Meetings Law 29B-1-1: Pursuant to the fundamental philosophy of the American Constitution form of government which holds that the principle that government is the servant of the people and not the master of them….. The people, in delegating authority, do NOT give up their right 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 main retain control over the instrument of government they have created.”
    To further firm up the intent of letting the public know what is going on, 6-9A-1 of the code: The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the public agencies in this state exist for the singular purpose of representing citizens of this state in governmental affairs and it is therefore in the best interests of the people of this state for the proceedings of public agencies be conducted openly….
    Behind the scenes meetings and decisions were made three years ago. That collapse of water plans back then coupled with less-than-thinking appointed and elected leaders added to the richly deserved distrust from the taxpayer. Back then, meetings got tense with yelling, resignations, and hard feelings at very corner. This spring when plans are finally laid out to the public, that same distrust most likely will rise again. When will this county learn to give the public every shred of information possible and trust in the electorate to see for themselves?
     As we press on into the 21st century, it appears that our leadership has learned little, and the results of their dismal conduct of not adhering to the laws of the State of West Virginia may well keep us out right where we are, nowhere and without even water to drink. The Great Nation of Clay is little different than any other third world nation where corruption is often the norm.
    Election time is just around the corner, let’ make it count this time. Ask those folks seeking your vote the tough questions. It’ time Clay had a chance for once.                                                 AW
         Follow ups
         Carolyn Rogers was arrested, handcuffed and charged with operating her daughter’s Ford Ranger pickup truck without proper WV license plates two months ago. Deputy Kevin Delk was the arresting officer. After pleading not guilty she was to have had her day in court Wednesday, Feb. 25th. Didn’ happen. Instead, the co-owner of the Town and Country Diner asked for a court appointed attorney. A new trail date, before Magistrate Jeff Boggs, has not been set. Tom Drake from Elkview has been appointed to represent Ms Rogers.
         The defendant contends, since the vehicle is registered in Virginia, her daughter pays taxes and insurance on the truck in that state, she should not have to buy WV license plates nor should she be found guilty of operating a vehicle without proper license plates. Rogers also asked the County Commission to investigate Deputy Delk over a month ago. According to Rogers, she has heard nothing from the Commission.
         Shortly after her case was postponed, Rogers asked Assessor Suzie Legg if she was the one that had turned in the out of state license plate to local law enforcement. Legg responded “Yes” as she had done so with other vehicles. In response Rogers asked if Assessor Legg had turned in her own mother’ Florida license plate to the Prosecutor, noting that the mother had been driving around Clay for years with Florida plates. Legg said no since her mother often returns to Florida and maintains a residence there. Rogers contended that she often returns to Virginia!
Last month we reported the arrest of Sean Andrew Thacker. The 28 year old Maysel resident stands accused of kidnapping and assault of a Calhoun County woman and her four year old daughter. Thacker has a history here in Clay County. Circuit Court records show charges of sexual assault against a 16 year old female were dropped in June of 2003.
         Here’ the follow-up. Magistrate Mike King was not so lenient with Thacker in the mid ‘90s. On March 18 1996, King issued a 60 day protective order for Eunice Thompson against Thacker. On March 28, 1996, Mr. Thacker pled guilty to speeding and left of center.
         By June ’6, Thacker was in more hot water. Town Cop Gene King arrested the young man after he used foul language, started a fight, exposed himself, and otherwise disturbed a Clay Elementary school dance. Thacker was also charged with obstructing an officer. Magistrate King found Thacker guilty of the whole smear and sentenced him to 60 days in the slammer plus a fine and court costs.
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
    1.        The vote is the most powerful instrument devised by men for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls, which imprison men, because they are different from other men.
                - Lyndon Baines Johnson
2.        Since 1975, West Virginia has consistently ranked in the top 15 states for fatal auto crashes per vehicle miles traveled.
3.        A 2002 study by the National Fire Protection Association found West Virginia had the nation’s fifth highest per capita death rate from house fires.
4.        The West Virginia Board of Medicine last year disciplined more physicians than in any year since 1992.
5.        In West Virginia, minority students constitute 6 percent of the school population.
6.        There are 47 million people between the ages of 18 and 34 who are not registered to vote.
7.        About 5.3 million Americans are living with disabilities from brain injuries.
8.        Mel Gibson’ father purchased a house in Nicolas County for $76,250 in October 2003.
9.        ESPN will air the new movie “ustle”about Pete Rose on September 25, 2004.
10.        Coyotes can be hunted year-round in West Virginia.
11.        The number of divorces in West Virginia went from 8,957 in 1999 to 9,939 in 2002.
12.        More than 56,000 emergency room visits a year are due to acetaminophen overdoses and about 100 people a year die after an unintentional overdose.
13.        Budget cuts are forcing the West Virginia Division of Veterans Affairs to close the Spencer office.
14.        Hundreds of thousands of Bowflex fitness machines are being recalled because of safety problems that have resulted in more than 70 injuries.
15.        Wilson’ Leather announced it would close up to 100 stores, including its store in the Charleston Town Center.
16.        More than 75,000 state residents suffer from a serious mental disorder, including 13 percent of the state’s children.
17.        1,883 10 to 19 year-olds killed themselves in 2001.
18.        Job related fatalities in West Virginia decreased by one third in 2002.
19.        Two of the twelve West Virginia school principals hired in January as “istinguished educators”by the state Department of Education come from schools that failed to meet new federal standards under the “o Child Left Behind Act.”
20.        Wines above $15.00 make up about 10 percent of the 155 million cases of California wine sold annually.

         Wrong Headed: Left or Right By Jim Chafin
          Vindication of our contention that the war in Iraq was conceived by a cliché of flim-flam artists with hidden agenda(s) has come from diverse sources, but the latest and most telling voice to add credibility to our view has come from deep within the innermost bowels of the beast itself – that of ex-Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’eill. Speaking with Ron Suskind, author of The Price of Loyalty, O’eill had some very enlightening statements to make concerning the tone and temper of George W. Bush’ first months after assuming office as President of the United States – POTUS, as he was called.
          O’eill, seemingly, is a man of extraordinary candor and detail. In his many years as a captain of industry and many more in government service, the Secretary has developed a habit of detailing his every move by taking notes. He provided author Suskind with documents that catalogued his every official movement, from the day he was sworn into office until his final hour when he drove his car past the line of applauding staffers; each day is listed. There are 7,630 entries in the schedule including each meeting, those in attendance, the location, and the time, plus a list of every phone call, who called whom and the length of the conversation. Further, O’eill contacted his former colleagues at Treasury for what he insisted was his due: copies of every document that crossed his desk. O’eill received, and placed in the hands of Ron Suskind, CD ROM’ listing nineteen thousand documents. They are image files, meaning that every document sent to O’eill was Xeroxed – an essential rendering of his two years as secretary that capture the activities of the full breadth of the U.S. Government.
          Suskind states that he also benefited from numerous people in the administration, from cabinet level officials to executive assistants, who were cooperative. Some spoke off the record, while others, encouraged by O’eill’ example, spoke openly. Suskind, “he people who are loyal to O’eill or to the idea of transparency – and its corollary, informed consent of the governed – granted hundreds of hours of their precious time for interviews, offered notes from meetings, and unearthed illuminating recollections…documents, in an administration that has worked so fiercely to control what information becomes public, speaks volumes.”
          According to Suskind, O’eill has a stunning capacity to remember fine detail and broad strokes, and he exhibits an openness to describe what he felt day by day, including his doubts, frustrations and fears. “otal loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete (opaque) content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.” --- Hannah Arendt
          Dick Cheney, on CBS’ “ace the Nation”prior to inauguration: “s President-elect Bush has made it very clear, he ran on a particular platform that was very carefully developed; it’ his program and it’ his agenda, and we have no intention at all of backing off it…The suggestion that somehow, because this was a close election, we should fundamentally change our beliefs, I think is just silly.” This sentiment, we would find later, would become the line drawn in the sand. As a frustrated Dick Armey of Texas noted in the late ‘0’, when Republicans were a long-standing minority, “his is not love, not sex, and not natural. Bipartisanship is another name for date-rape.” Now such people as Grover Norquist (the anti-tax activist) and Newt Gingrich had embraced the “ate-rape”line and there was open speculation about how the new one-party government would be able to have its way.
          On January 30, 2001, ten days after his inauguration as the forty-third president, George W. Bush met with his National Security Council for the first time. Present were: Vice President Dick Cheney, O’eill, the CIA’ George Tenet, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Joint Chief of Staff Chairman General Hugh Shelton, and Andy Card, along with the top deputy for each principal. Bush started the meeting with a few remarks about the structure of things in “y NSC” “ondi will run these meetings. I’l be seeing each of you regularly, but I want you to debate things out here and then Condi will report to me, she’ my national security adviser.”
          The designated topic was “ideast Policy,”but in the days prior to the meeting there were few details about the Arab-Israeli conflict. “e’e going to correct the imbalance of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict. We’e going to tilt it back toward Israel. And we’e going to be consistent…Clinton overreached, and it fell apart. That’ why we’e in trouble,”said Bush. The Arab-Israeli conflict was a mess, and the United States would disengage. The combatants would have to work it out on their own. Powell stressed that a pullback by the United States would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army. The consequences of that could be dire, especially for the Palestinians, Powell asserted. Bush shrugs. “aybe that’ the best way to get things back in balance…sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things,”Bush said. He turns to Rice and says, “o, Condi, what are we going to talk about today? What’ on the agenda?” Rice answers: “ow Iraq is destabilizing the region, Mr. President.” She noted that Iraq might be the key to reshaping the entire region.
          Then CIA Tenet offered a briefing on the latest intelligence on Iraq. He pulls out a grainy photograph the size of an architectural blueprint of a factory. The CIA believed the building might be “ plant that produces either chemical or biological materials for weapons manufacture. Here are the railroad tracks coming in…here are the trucks lined up over here…they’e bringing it in here and bringing it out there…this is the water cooler.” But, there was no confirming evidence as to the materials being produced. Tenet interjected that intelligence remained so poor that in terms of targeting military installations or weapons factories, “e’ be going in there blind.”
          A major shift was underway in U.S. policy. After more than thirty years of intense engagement – from Kissinger and Nixon to Clinton – America was washing its hands of the conflict in Israel. Now we will focus on Iraq.
         Editor’ note: This article continues in the next edition of the Communicator.

         Festival Forecast By Terri Lively
          It’ Fund-Raising time for the festival planning committees of the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival. We are making ourselves busy doing all we can to raise the money needed to fund this year’ festival. “igger and Better”has been our goal for the past few years, with each year adding new events and attractions. Our goal is being achieved thanks to the donations and/or grants from many of our local/state government offices, government officials and most of all, from the “om-n-pop”businesses located in and around Clay County. Whether you have donated a product or service, taken an ad in the program book, or been an event/concert sponsor, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support this year.
          The Board of Directors has planned a number of fundraising events to raise money for this year’ festival. The following events are now scheduled:
          Mountain State Pro-Wrestling Exhibition
- March 12, 7:00 PM, in Clay County High School’ gymnasium. Tickets on sale now for the Pro-Wrestling Exhibition with Ring Side Seats at $8.00 and Advance General Admission (bleacher) tickets at $6.00. (Bleacher seats will be $7.00 at the door and Ring Side, if available, will remain at $8.00 at the door.) Tickets are available at Dan Sizemore’ IGA, at Clay Furniture Store, or by dialing 587-4455 (Bill Dunn) or 587-7353 (Terri Lively.)
Charity Auction – April 16, 7:00 PM, in Clay County High School’ cafeteria.
          Apple Blossom Fair – May 13, 14, and 15th, at the Clay County Park, Maysel, WV. Fayette Amusements will provide amusement rides during the Apple Blossom Fair. Ride tickets are now on sale for $7.00 in advance or $8.00 during the fair. Tickets are available from Board members or at Clay Furniture Store.
          We want to continue seeing joy on the faces of children and sense festival excitement from our neighbors, friends, families and guests. We know that every dollar, and volunteer hour spent will be worth it all. The Clay County Golden Delicious Festival Board of Directors, along with the assistance of many volunteers, hope the coming year will be the best ever. Information about the 2004 Clay County Golden Delicious Festival is available at
         Preparing your Home Part 2: Interior General
          Last week we discussed the first factor of home preparation (Exterior). This week we will give some ideas on preparing the general interior for the sale.
          Many home sellers make the mistake of ignoring certain repair or maintenance items in the hope that a potential buyer will either not notice, or if they do, telling them that they ( the seller) will repair or replace the item. Most buyers no not have vision. They are not able to look at a room that needs paint and carpet and imagine it fresh and attractive. Telling them that something will be cleaned, or painted, or repaired may work with some, but the majority will not be able to envision the house after the changes have been made and will scratch your house off their list These are some tips on preparing the general interior:
         l. Painting: When it comes to preparing a house, painting gives you the best return for money spent. Which room should you paint? Any that has dirty or marked walls or any rooms that are currently painted in dark colors. Keep it neutral—off white or antique white is the best.
         2. Carpeting: At the least, all the carpeting needs to be steam cleaned. Any worn, stained or foul smelling carpet should be replaced. Some sellers give carpet allowances and it works sometimes, but remember, buyers do not have vision.
         3. Operation: Make sure all faucets, toilets, and electrical items work.
         4. Safety: Make sure the house is a save place. Not only can a wobbly railing stop a sale, it could also cause an injury to a potential buyer who is not familiar with your house.
         5.Clutter : If an item is not necessary for your day to day life, box it up and store it or throw it out!
         6. Fireplace or stoves: Have a professional fireplace or woodstove cleaning and inspection. The buyer will most likely request it anyhow.
         7. Closets: Make sure all closets are neat, clean, and organized.
         8. Cleaning: Even though you may consider your house clean and tidy, a thorough cleaning – including dusting, washing, and waxing everything – will always make a house more appealing.
          Catch our next week’ article: preparing for a showing. This article is presented as a public service by Dave Derby, Greenlee Properties Inc. GMAC Real Estate: Clay Office. 304-587-4622
         Board of Education Meeting
          The Clay County Board of Education met for their regular meeting at the central office building in Clay on Monday, March 1. The central office staff and board members Gene King, David Pierson, Kimberly Sams and Rick Tanner were present, along with 6 or 7 there to view the proceedings including former board member Scott Legg. Board President R.B. Legg, Jr. was absent due to an illness in the family. Vice President Gene King asked Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger to conduct the meeting for him. Linkinogger in turn asked Administrative Assistant Kenneth Tanner to offer a prayer before calling the meeting to order.
          Business Manager Loretta Gray presented a brief financial update for February, reporting that they’ received payments from mostly federal programs such as Title I and II, Special Education, etc. Tax collections for the month had been low, but she expected there would be a substantial increase in March. Large payments made during the month were for education technology equipment and computers. Utility costs had been high and payments went to therapists for contract services. The Board had no questions.
          The Board took action on the following agenda items: Approved the previous meeting minutes and payment of current bills; adjusted the school calendar to make up four days that were cancelled due to snow – students will attend school during the four remaining OS days, April 12, June 3, 4 and 7. Linkinogger said he wasn’ sure what they would do if any more days were lost to bad weather, but told the Board they could increase the length of the school days to make up lost days if they needed to; approved increasing their contribution to the county 4-H program by the requested $3,075 amount this year, which will allow Extension Agent Karen Nicholas to switch her insurance from a single to a family plan. Linkinogger said the County Commission was asked to give more also; approved a student transfer to Gauley Bridge High and conducted a hearing on the status of a Clay County High School (CCHS) student. The Board accepted the recommendation of CCHS Principal Phil Dobbins and Linkinogger to place the student in Alternative School for the remainder of the year, noting that the parents had agreed to the plan in a letter; accepted the resignation of Darlene Cliver as the band auxiliary coach at CCHS. All motions passed unanimously.
          Assistant Superintendent Larry Gillespie provided the Board with three letters he said were required by the No Child Left Behind Act with information for parents and guardians. He told them that parents are allowed to ask for information on the people that provide instruction in the schools. These letters, he said, were the first, and theoretically there is possibly 18 that have to be sent out each year. The cost, he reported, would be monumental – each letter would cost over $700 to send. The requirements of the Act have to be met by year 2005-2006. Gillespie said they were working on getting the teachers, those working on permits, where they should be to meet the requirements.
          Linkinogger gave the Board copies of a letter from CCHS Principal Dobbins, then reminded them of a recent hearing on a student’ status when they were told the child had not received requested counseling. He said, “t was provided.”
          Next regular board meeting will be Monday, March 15 at Clay Middle School at 6:00 PM.
         LAST WORD
                 Sometimes in the thick of things we goof up. Sometimes we don’ catch it until after the paper is printed and out the door. This is the exception.
                 Our big front page story this edition deals with an illegal meeting and plans to get things done without the public being involved. We forgot something. During that meeting, Commissioner Sams asked the funders if it would be alright to proceed with consolidating the PSDs. The answer was absolutely NO. Randy Plum from RUS said that any attempt to combine the water service agencies should be done
after construction is under way. He explained that during consolidation, the name would have to be changed and that could jeopardize the projects and force the whole project process to start over again.
                 That’ important to remember since the CCC voted two weeks ago to do just that, consolidate and start an expensive combined audit for the county. There was one question that wasn’ asked during the meeting and begs for an answer. If the Commission goes ahead with the expensive audit and the projects don’ start until next year, would another round of audits have to be performed for this current year?
                 And finally, three weeks ago in the Roane newspaper, ex Clay Roane PSD Boardster Larry White was featured on the front page and spoke on his problems with dealing with fellow Clay Roane PSD members. He also mentioned that maybe the water supply for the Roane County customers could come from Roane County instead of the Town of Clay. Just last week in the Roane Reporter, one of their commissioners commented that he had been in discussions with WV Water Co. from Charleston and asked them to supply water to Roane County instead of from Clay. During the March 5th Clay Roane PSD meeting 10 Roane County residents attended. They said they had paid their $100 tap fee years ago and now they understood they would NOT be included in the big Amma/Left Hand extension.
                 Adding this all up we come up with a great big Hmmmmmmm... Sounds as if something is up and it doesn’ smell good for Clay. If any of the existing customers are pulled from the project, that long stalled project might have to be “ethunk” And in closing, Roane County is asking that the existing Clay Roane Board be adjusted to include 2 members from Roane County instead of the current 1.
                 Most Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone meetings are down right dull. For the most part, any money spent goes to other more organized counties. The 2 hour process leaves many Clayonians with tired butts and little else. Not so March 2nd as discussion and decisions turned to financing a partnership deal with the Business Development Authority to buy back the old Filcon Field site from the Clay County Bank. Oh, there was other stuff but by far the most notable part of the meeting came during the two discussions on Filcon.
                 Before the full board meeting, the Eco/Dev Committee met and discussed the plan to partner with the Clay County Business Development Authority and buy out the Clay County Bank lien for $50,000 plus another $2000 in back taxes. Fred Sampson provided the report from the Eco/Dev committee’ work. On the down side, according to an engineer’ report, the floor of the partially completed building at Filcon Field lies 2 feet under the flood plain. Attorney Jeff Davis presented the committee with a title report just 10 minutes prior to the opening of their meeting. (That’ a close one Jeff!) The report revealed $1586 in taxes owed. Sampson reported that CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore had met with bank officials twice in February (at least one of those meetings included BDA Chair Paige Willis) and the Clay County Bank was willing to turn loose of the repo land and building for $50,000.00. It was the consensus of the group that the existing building will have to be torn down.
                 Can’ remember if it was Sizemore or Sampson that said all the other potential Clay County Industrial sites would cost around $1 million per acre to develop and four acres at the Filcon site could be developed for just $370,000 per acre.
                 The Eco/Dev Committee recommended that the Board enter into the partnership agreement with the BDA with CAEZ supplying the needed $52,000.00.
                 Sounds straight forward enough doesn’ it? Sounds like our little county is finally going to get an industrial site. But then came the vote.
                 Ever seen Llyn Drake mad? All fired up? As the motion to purchase was being considered, Drake stood and made her thoughts be known, “ am upset!!!!!!!”During last month’ board meeting, the group had voted and agreed, any discussions and meeting over the property would be done with CAEZ board member Ben Murphy present. Ben, who is often in town and lives just minutes away from town, was not called or invited to the two engagements with the bank and Paige Willis and Jerry Sizemore. Drake, “here should NOT have been ANY meeting without Ben Murphy. You had another meeting February 10th!!!!!” In addition to Sizemore doing what he was specifically told not to do, he did it twice. As for other considerations by Drake, “his is not a good idea. I strongly urge you NOT to do this…. I don’ want to buddy up with the BDA. They made a spectacle of themselves in court 4 months ago…. The property is raw. I am not convinced it doesn’ have title problems.”
                 All were quiet. Some had their heads down. Director Sizemore had just been scolded in public. Drake was adamant as she continued, “f we want to buy it, buy it! Just us, the CAEZ…. I don’ ever recommend we own this property…. We’e been scammed enough.. They [bank] want to foreclose… They didn’ win in court.. They may force the lien. I know the characters involved. I strongly urge you to stop all this.”
                 With Drake resting back in her seat, you could see the mood had changed and the questions came. Burl O’ell from Nicholas County, “e’e investing in a flood plain?”Well, maybe Drake wasn’ quite done, “ou’e dealing with people with proven track records. We’e been embarrassed enough”
                 Sizemore’ comments included: most of the land behind the building was NOT in a flood plain; an engineering company reported that the building’ floor was two feet under the flood plain only; and another engineering company felt 4 acres could be developed for $1.5 million. Doyle Tawney suggested putting off the site and for the Board go have a look see for themselves. Most of the time absent Brent Wilson urged caution and the CAEZ needs to feel comfortable before proceeding with anything. Long time Boardster Peter Selich suggested the Board sit back and look at the partnership a little closer.
                 Motion made to suspend all negotiations with the bank and BDA on the Filcon Field site. Mardell Nevans provided the second. Roane County Commissioner Rodney Cox provided, “here’ grumblings of no site in Clay County…. Here’ a chance to start….. This is the cheapest way to do it…”Red Derring asked about the possibility of getting grant money for a site located under a flood plain. Sizemore’ response, “enerally no.”Cox, “ou have to deal with the Clay County Bank and the Business Development Authority!”The vote came. Peter Triplett and Rodney Cox in favor of partnering with the BDA and buying the Filcon site. The motion went down to defeat.
                 There is it folks, as best we can phrase it. Another chapter in the history of Clayberry and the 21st century. And despite Paige Willis saying we get out info from any wino on the street, it’ the straight stuff with all the warts and blemishes.         
                 Unlike their first public meeting where 50 people showed up, the March 1st Queen Shoals PSD meeting netted just 5 in the peanut gallery. The group met in a H.E. White Elementary classroom. Boardsters Ann Anderson, Jimmy Kearns and Dave Sizemore got under way on time.
                 Finances were dealt with first. Chair Kearns read from the bill statement. It looks like the new water provider owes around $5000 to creditors. Of which $4652 is for water purchases from Clay Roane PSD, their wholesaler. Additionally, they owe newly hired meter reader Dale Deems $220.80, an accountant (Teed Associates maybe) for services performed last summer, and newly hired office secretary Sarah Anderson $200 for purchases of office folders and printed products. Motion made and passed to pay the bills and reimbursements out of the $60,000 account. In addition to the $60,000 account, a second account contains $2112.20.
                 The newly reformed PSD took over the operation after Clay Roane PSD ran the system for 11 months with varying degrees of success. During this meeting came comments on the condition of returned office equipment like the broken, newly new last February, copier. The PSD’s backhoe was also sent for repairs. On the broken down copier, Ann Anderson. “t was used a bunch over there..”
                 Anderson said that they were in the process of remodeling her front living room to serve as a PSD office. As of meeting time, improved lighting, wiring, locks, and floor covering was being added before opening the office to the public. Chair Kearns told the small crowd that Anderson was charging the PSD no rent for the room but the PSD was covering the cost of improvements. For customer convenience, an outside payment drop box is being built and will be installed near the main road.
                 Monthly meter readings were taken February 23rd by Mr. Deems. Payments will be due the 15th of each month.
          Kearns said Sarah Anderson and Dale Deems were hired as contract laborers at 6 and 8 dollars per hour respectively. Currently Deems is assembling a list of tool needs to properly do system repairs. No estimate on the cost for such. Kearns, “e have no tools. Not even a shovel.”From the gallery, “hy not use Clay Roane tools?”In reply from Kearns, “hey don’ have any either.”As for Clay Roane borrowing tools in the future, Ann, “They’l not be getting nothing’”
                 Another question came, will this stay Queen Shoals PSD? Removing his glasses, Chair Kearns gave the run down: WV Water doesn’ want QSPSD until there is enough water supply. Currently Clay Roane generates 28 gallons per minute and WV Water demands 100 gallons per minute. Mr. Kearns said the major water producer from Charleston would be interested in taking over the entire county water operation. And then an interesting note from Kearns. The Chair had been in contact with none other then the infamous Jim Weimer at the WV Public Service Commission. The way we understood it, Weimer told Kearns the entire county could be consolidated “n a couple of years.”
                 And then customers came up. Several customers are slow payers and need reminded of over due balances. Other customers pay a portion of their monthly bill but not all of it which makes cash flow tight for QS PSD. Motion made and passed unanimously to allow customers a $150 past due limit before discontinuing service.
                 For those that have had their heads buried in the sand, the penniless QSPSD received a $60,000 grant from the Governor’ office 6 days earlier. The money will be used “to get us up and running” Kearns, “e should be able to operate on the monthly bill collections.”Just after receipt of the grant money Jim Weimer phoned Kearns and asked if part of the windfall could be directed toward buying a new booster tank to feed the existing storage tank. Consensus of the Board, they couldn’ put their equipment (pump) into Clay Roane’ booster pump house. Already the group is working to improve system reliability by installing tank telemetry gauges near the storage tank. The equipment will allow for easy monitoring of water levels and hopefully prevent the almost weekly “ank ran dry again”so common and so hated by customers.
                 Further improvements are planned. Kearns thinks the tank located at Bill Naylor’ could be put into service after foundation work and painting are completed.        Churches are once again getting a break in water service. At the suggestion of Anderson, local churches will not be charged for the water service they receive.
                 So how much did QSPSD bill out during their first month of operation? No one knew. The computer age hasn’ quite landed in this area of the county. Sarah has already spent time setting up the books on paper and in writing instead of on the computer.
                 When was Sarah hired? During the first meeting last month. Was her position advertised and open to the public? No. according to Mr. Kearns, contract labor jobs do not have to bid and they didn’. Ditto for Deems’position.
                 Is the Chair in favor of consolidating QS with the rest of the county? Yes, Kearns, “e need service, quality of water, and quantity. [the water] can come from the moon, it’ no difference to me as long as it’ good water…”Ann chimed in that she was in favor of consolidating too. No word from the third member Dave Sizemore.
                 How much is the average water bill there? Judy O’ell spoke up and said 65 to 68 dollars per month.
                 Since the meeting, a couple of snags appear to be looming on the horizon. It is our understanding that the WV PSC may have guidelines for spending the windfall $60,000.00; rules for charging all customers equally ( no free church water); there may be a WVPSC rule on hiring close relatives of a Boardster; and remodeling the in-home office space of the PSD may also be an issue the PSD will have to reconsider.
                 There you have it as best we can scribe. QSPSD is back in business and has the money to get started.                                                AW
         Very Confusing
                 That front page story is not the only water story this time around. There was an earlier meeting, that’ a legal meeting, hosted by the County Commission (CCC) February 25th. The CCC room was packed with reps from Clay County PSD, Clay Roane PSD, town leaders, and even Ann Anderson from Queen Shoals PSD. The peanut gallery also contained another 10 or so people interested in the future of Clayberry. With public notice properly given, Commission President Triplett opened the event up 15 minutes late waiting on the wayward and out-campaigning-for-office Commissioner Bragg. Jimmy Sams was also up front. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss consolidating all the PSDs into one mega PSD.
                 In his usual laid back manner, Triplett, “hat are we going to do? We need a map first” Bragg, “e’e going to consolidate after the auditing is done.. We need a plan.”Sams explained that the county needed some kind of map to show where existing water lines are located and where future and funded extensions are going to go. As for the water line progress, Sams explained he had been on the Commission 9 years and, “e haven’ done nothing! Absolutely nothing. We need to be able to see what we’e doing years later…”It sounded like someone told the three blind mice, they needed to get organized before any progress could be made for the county.
         There was a no show. According to those up front, WV Water’ Dan Bickerton had been invited to the meeting and was a no show. Sams, “e was supposed to be here and help us. Our intention is to consolidate all three [PSDs]” Sams was referring to the on again off again plan to form one mega PSD to serve the county. Sams said he didn’ know how long it would take to get the three combined.
         Discussion turned to Clay County PSD and their Lizemore/Tucker’ Bottom project going to bid. Sams asked Office Manager Cindy Schoolcraft a question. She responded, “ast time I said anything, Jimmy Sams called me a liar!” Sams mouth fell open. Schoolcraft’ face was taunt. She stared at Sams.
         Town service man Terry Traub stepped in with an update on the Town. According to Traub, the Maysel upgrade is in progress. The upgrade is needed to push more water into Roane County. A storage tank is being added to increase capacity and if the town’ water plant gets funded for an upgrade, the volume of treated water will go from 460 gallons a minute to 700 gallons/minute. Currently the town water plant operates and treats water just 13 hours per day. With additional capacity, (if funded) the plant should be able to handle additional customers in Roane County as well as Clay.
         Melissa Postelwait asked about the future of employees and board members when Queen Shoals, Clay County and Clay Roane PSDs are combined. Sams replied that there would not be a need for all the employees and there would be just one Board of Directors to serve the entire county.
                 Comments came that the Queen Shoals system was in poor condition and from Celia Coon. “hey need a whole new system done with engineers.”One older fellow up front retorted, “T IS DONE RIGHT!”Tension could be felt. From the back, Postelwait, “immy Kearns doesn’ want to consolidate!”Somewhere in there from Queen Shoals PSD, Ann Anderson disputed what Postelwait said, something about Kearns in favor of consolidating. From the other side of the room, from the little fat guy, Anderson was corrected, Kearns had said during numerous public meetings, he wanted no part of consolidating with the rest of the county. She backed down. Tension was felt.
         Another odd thing, readers. About 20 minutes into the meeting, Commissioner Bragg left his big leather chair up front, went back to the peanut gallery and sat down. He began to ask questions. Questions that someone that had not lived in Clay County would ask. It was as if Bragg didn’ have a clue as to what the $12 million earmarked for projects was to be spent on. On at least four occasions, fellow Commissioners and others tried to explain to Bragg, the $12 million was not just for the Town of Clay to build a water plant, that a major portion of those dollars were for water line extensions. Bragg had a glazed over look. A look that he didn’ understand what was being said.
         With Bragg one pew back, Terry Traub defended the Town, “e get yelled at for all the hold ups. Matthew Bragg said it was our fault!”Bragg, “ didn’ say it!” Bragg tried to explain but to no avail; many people have heard over the years his sob story of the Town not wanting anybody else to have water service in the county. Bragg lost that one.
         As one guy up front asked a question about Clay County PSD’ plan to build their own water plant , Bragg broke in, “ets adjourn if there aren’ any more good questions.”He laughed to himself as if he had been cleaver or something.
         From Clay PSD, Schoolcraft replied to the question, “t’ been talked about but there’ no money to even do a feasibility study.”Schoolcraft stood and said, “e’e just talking in circles. Do you need anything else from me?”Once again she was curt.
         Big O, that’ Charlie Osborne asked, “f Amma gets done first, will all that water be going to Roane? Will you let it go to Roane and not have any water for Clay?” No real answer was provided Osborne. Paige Willis added that the new Summersville plant could serve the entire region. Sams, “e need water now.”
         With Schoolcraft heading to the back of the room and as a question was directed to her from Sams,
You don’ know what I’ like to say!”Fully blue, Sams retorted, “hat’ probably mutual!”Schoolcraft and escort Sam Taylor left the room. Now back up front, Bragg mumbled something to Sams. Sams, “e need to get going.. Do you all think we’ve been talking in circles??”
         The meeting lasted an hour. During that time, WV Water was a no show, Commissioner Bragg at best showed he had no idea what was going on with water service in the county, Schoolcraft was not to be messed with, and more questions came up than were answered. Even with that being said, at least it was a legal meeting and the public showed. Isn’ that something, let the public know there’ a meeting, and they come!                                                AW        
                 It’ always fun to watch who’ wearing whose campaign material. Tuesday afternoon, March 2, Tinker Holcomb was wearing his usual ball cap as he filled up a water tank in the back of his truck. On the cap was a “ote for Buckshot Butcher for Sheriff”button. Tinker is the brother of many time Sheriff candidate Randy Holcomb.
         --        Our long binge of criminal activities continued in February and March. Sometime during the wee hours of February 26, thugs stole Town Councilman Phil Morris’blue truck from his driveway. The S-10 pick up was found the next day, out of gas, with a broken rear sliding window and the steering column damaged. That same night, thieves stole a Jeep from Telford’ Chevrolet.
                 During the dark hours of March 4th, Cunningham Motors, the town water plant and the school bus garage at Schoonover/Bradley Field were broken into. No word as to what the criminals took.
         -- On April 16th 2003, a family war ended up with David Starcher gunshot and Elvis Dawson stabbed. Dawson testified that Starcher jumped over the fence into the Dawson yard and stabbed him. Elvis had his 2 days in court last week. From the testimony, Elvis pulled out a 25 caliber pistol and fired once (held 9 shots) to “top”Starcher. Sounds like self defense doesn’ it? Well that’ what defense attorney Kevin Duffy tried to explain to the 4 woman 8 man jury. The jury could have found Mr. Dawson guilty of malicious assault or unlawful assault or the much less severe charge of battery. They chose the later. Sentencing of Elvis Dawson is scheduled for April 19th at 9:30am.
         --        That little paper over in Clay ran a nice, below the fold but front page picture of Queen Shoals PSD receiving their $60,000 grant. That picture included but one County Commissioner, Matthew Bragg. Commissioners Triplett and Sams said Bragg failed to tell them of the photo opt.
         ELECTION 2004 UPDATE “And it’ Just Getting Started”
                 Boy, oh boy, do we have an election this time around. With over 10 running for Sheriff and that many more seeking four school board seats, anything could happen. Here in Clayberry, anything often does happen, too.
                 Since the last printing of this rag the Sheriff’ race has fired up. Here’ the skinny of it. Sheriff candidate Matthew Bragg went over to fellow candidate Roger Hunt’ home and asked Hunt to drop out of the race. Bragg said he needed the job since he has a wife and a bunch of kids. Hunt explained that a request like that should have been discussed months ago and it was too late now. Hunt said he was in the race to win and try to restore some resemblance of law enforcement in the county of Clay. Bragg left.
                 Sometime shortly after that encounter Bragg started a rumor that he spelled pot while at Hunt’ house. The story blossomed and within days the story included the name of Jim Perdue, Hunt’ long time friend. Both Hunt and Perdue got hot. Both swear to no such drug use. Perdue, a practicing Christian for a number of years and not even running for an elected office, was upset enough to call up Bragg and express his outrage.
                 To make matters worse, Bragg, Hunt and Perdue are all family. Needless to say, the family is more fragmented now than ever before. The guess is, just the mention of the election word sends family members scurrying for cover.
                 So who do you believe? During a mid January 2004 county meeting Commissioner Matthew Bragg confirmed the pot allegation story in private to this reporter but added : he didn’ mean that story to go anywhere, had apologized for making such a statement, and hoped it would die down. It didn’. So well traveled is the story, another Sheriff candidate, Dave Mullins, said at the most recent school board gathering, he would be happy to be the first candidate to take a drug test. Hunt and Perdue have offered to do likewise.
                 A recent online poll done on the web site found that every respondent agreed that a drug test for all the Sheriff candidates was in order; that if McDonald’ employees have to be urine tested, then why not the people wearing a badge and carrying a gun?
                 Just after that mid January CCC meeting, while people in the hallway were doing the usual chit chat stuff, Bragg came over to a group and interjected, if they wanted to know about Hunt’ background, they should look at his record and , “That’ all I’ going to say.”Now there’ more.
         Candidate Hunt called up last week and said Matthew Bragg, also a Gassaway town cop, had performed an illegal background search on him. Once again, poor ole Perdue got his name in the news. Matthew had confirmed to Perdue the tale of doing a background check on Hunt. Perdue said another person heard the same words from Mr. Bragg as well.
                 During the February 16th County Commission meeting, as the meeting was about to adjourn, Bragg denied doing the nasty deed but confirmed another person had done the check and relayed the info to him. As for the reliability of Jim Perdue’ word, Bragg, “ust consider the source.”Bragg seemed to choose his words with care in the denial statement. Bragg was asked if he had performed a “ackground check” His reply was that he had NOT done a 10-27 on Hunt. Of course the rotund reporter hadn’ asked about a 10-27 but rather a more intense “ackground check”
                 Once again Hunt cried foul as did Perdue who had once again had his word compromised by young Bragg. Hunt went for legal help in the form of attorney John Mitchell, Jr. A letter requesting an investigation was fired over to Braxton and Clay County authorities as well as the WV Secretary of State and Attorney General’ offices. That letter is also published this edition.
                 Of course we posted the charges of the tainted and illegal actions on our web site. Within 4 hours, Gassaway Police Chief John McKown got a hold of us and provided some insight into an illegal background check. McKown is Bragg’ boss and was a one time Clay County Deputy until about a year ago. McKown also seemed to choose his words carefully.
          From that conversation, Chief McKown, “ll that I can tell you is…. I went to dispatch and I pulled our files that they make copies of, that’ everything that we run, they make copies of, and it’ not in there. I can tell you that there is no evidence of Matthew Bragg running a background check on Roger through this department.”McKown added, “atthew has not been negatively campaigning, at least to me…. He’ never been negative to anyone down there. You can print this if you want, Matthew did mention to me back some time ago that someone run his [Hunt] background. I don’ know his background and I’ not going to run his background. I have no reason to. I hadn’ heard anything more of it until this morning when I read your web site. I can tell you, the Gassaway Police Department, he did NOT run, there is NO evidence to prove that he ran a background check through this department. There is nothing up there. We keep copies of them for a while then we shred them. I can tell you that.”
                 But there was more, McKown, “ believe Matthew. I don’ believe he would tell me a thing that wasn’ true. If he tells me he didn’ do it and there’ no evidence to back that up… I didn’ even call him first. I went straight up after I read this [from the web site] and pulled the files.”
                 As for what a 10-27 is, Chief McKown explained, a 10-27 is a driver’ license check, a 10-28 is vehicle license plate check and a 10-29 is like a wanted or background check.
                 On March 2nd, Roger Hunt confirmed that Braxton County had received his request to investigate and an investigation was under way. Hunt also explained that as a candidate for office, fair campaign laws apply and using ones office for political gain is a no-no.
         So what about cops checking out your background? Long time DNR Officer Paige Willis chimed in during a CCC meeting, officers do that all the time but they’e smart enough not to tell anyone about such activities.
         Soooooooooooooo… Let’ say Bragg didn’ perform the check himself. The question is: Who did it? One of his buddies in the Braxton County Sheriff’ office? Maybe a chum from the Summersville Police Department where he worked until last year? What will the formal investigation reveal? The guess is, whoever did the check is on pens and needles right about now.
         02/25/04: Delk – Roger Dale Rogers, DWR/DUIA 3rd offense (11/04/02), probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury in the Circuit Court; Elswick – Roger Dale Rogers, receiving/transferring stolen property and driving revoked/DUIA 3rd offense (10/22/03), case d/m without prejudice upon motion of prosecuting attorney; bond exonerated; Bailey – Adam N. Jones, manufacture and possess marijuana (01/02/04), probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County; Bailey – James Mullins, buying and receiving stolen property (02/06/04), probable cause found, bound to the Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County.
         02/18/04: Hartland Superette – David W. smith, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; Hartland Superette – Marilynn A. Taylor, worthless check complaint, arrested 02/24, ROB.
         02/19/04: Jerry Holcomb – Leon Holcomb, Jr., peace bond, appeared 02/26, ROB.
         02/20/04: Elswick – Scottie Lewis Neal, domestic battery, arrested 02/23, ROB.
         02/23/04: Elswick – Renee L. Boyd, speeding and registration violation, appeared, ROB; Butcher – Ronald Lynn Adkins, Jr., driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 2nd offense, registration violation and no POI, appeared, ROB.
         02/24/04: Belt – Linda Lou Hamrick, shoplifting, appeared, pled no contest, assessed fine, cost and restitution.
         02/25/04: Slack – Rebecca Legg, destruction of property, warrant issued; Stalnaker – Ruth Ann Nida, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; Big Otter Food Mart – David Pauley, worthless check complaints X 2, warrants issued; Big Otter Food Mart – Jennifer D. Grose, worthless check complaints X 10, warrants issued; Slack – Rebecca Legg, trespassing and battery, warrants issued; Simms – Carolyn S. Starcher, stream litter, appeared, ROB; Elswick – Roger Dale Rogers, DWR/DUIA 2nd offense, Def. plead no contest, 1 year in jail – time stayed, placed on 1 year home confinement.
         02/27/04: Rider – Keith Allen Williams, shoplifting, appeared, Def. pled no contest, assessed fine, costs and restitution.
         02/18/04: R.B. Legg, Jr. D.D.S. – Toney Massey and Melissa Massey, money due, subpoena; R.B. Legg, Jr. D.D.S. – Jeffery Nutter and Lolita Nutter, money due, withdrawn by plaintiff 02/20; Walter Schoonover – Donna Smith, money due, subpoena; Walter Schoonover – Joe Cummings, Jr., money due, subpoena; R.B. Legg, Jr. D.D.S. – Anita Ferrebee, money due, subpoena.
         02/19/04: Walter Schoonover - Gary Keen DBA Elk Valley HEA, money due, subpoena; Clay Roane PSD – all for money due – Doug Drennen; Misty Carpenter; Mona Williams; Timmy Drake; Jennifer Payne; Rebecca Myers; Ginger Moore; Beverly Duffield; Charlie Hall; Jason Childers; Shari Bullard; Carolyn Keen; Janice Milam; Mike Butcher; Alice Walls; Amanda May.
         02/20/04: Josh Tanner – Maria Schoonover, money due, subpoena.
         02/23/04: B. Wayne Given, D.D.S. – Gary Schoolcraft, money due; St. Francis Hospital – Bessie A. Boggs, money due; Putnam General Hospital – Jason D. Summers, money due.
         02/25/04: Clay County Emergency – Patsy Horrocks, money due, subpoena.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued –
         02/13/04: Big Otter Food Mart – Jennifer Grose X 7, misdemeanor files opened.
         02/18/04: Bank of Gassaway – Marilynn A. Taylor X 4.
         02/20/04: Bufford Brown – Lisa D. Bowen (paid 02/26).
         02/26/04: Clay Supermarket – Marilynn A. Taylor; Daniel Raike X 2; Angie King – Melissa K. Massey; R.B. Legg, Jr. D.D.S. – Ronnie Beasley.
         Citation Register
         02/06/04: State Police – Corey Lynn Beam, speeding; David A. Defibaugh, speeding.
         02/08/04: State Police – Justin Dale Pritt, speeding; Michael R. Russo, speeding; Corria Rey Sabrinia, speeding; Amanda R. Stone, speeding and no POI.
         02/10/04: State Police – Renee L. Boyd, speeding and registration violation; Debbie L. Hutchinson, MVI and operator’; Earnest E. Johnson, MVI; Melissa A. Peck, registration violation; Sheriff’ Dept. – Darius Grose, registration violation and operator’.
         02/11/04: State Police – Donna M. Tyron, registration violation.
         02/12/04: State Police – John A. Habjan, registration violation and no POI; Sheriff’ Dept. – Tammy Kay Lanham, no POI.
         02/13/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Keith A. Williams, shoplifting.
         02/14/04: State Police – Scotty L. Boggs, speeding and no POI; Katherine L. Cutlip, speeding; Tammy Vanessa Hardy, no POI; Caleb J. Haynie, operator’ and no POI; Miles Alan Paintiff, speeding; David T. Stephenson, speeding and no POI.
         02/15/04: State Police – Lacie Barnes, speeding; Kip R. Beard, speeding; Robert Thomas Bragg, speeding; Scotty James Eckes, speeding and no POI; Stepheni Shanafelt, speeding; Ira James Terry III, speeding.
         02/16/04: State Police – Thomas E. Dailey, registration violation, operator’ and no POI; Eric Dean Lundell, speeding; Gregory Todd Osborne, MVI and no POI.
         02/17/04: State Police – Thomas A. Auxier, MVI and no POI.
         02/18/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Stephen W. Shelton, MVI.
         02/20/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Fabian D. Cottrill, no POI; Jerry A. Fitzwater, speeding; State Police – James W. Legg, Jr., no POI; DNR – Carolyn S. Starcher, stream litter.
         02/21/04: State Police – Eric A. Jackson, no POI; Rocky Allen Keener, speeding.
         02/22/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Melissa Ann Loudin, speeding.
         02/24/04: State Police – Ronnie A. Fox, operator’ and no POI; Michael Haines, no POI and registration violation; Sheriff’ Dept. – Linda L. Hamrick, shoplifting.
                 Well readers, I survived that little bad spell but am still moving kind of slow. Must have spring fever or something close to it. But there have been plenty of mostly silly things that have caught my eye. The first is a doozy of a way to use or misuse our, now official, language. In a bulletin put out by a State agency, headed by a neighbor of mine, was one of the best “ushisms”I've seen yet. While writing about the flu in China, this esteemed leader said, "Over 1.5 million birds have now been de-populated." I'm going to have to get a modern Thesaurus because mine doesn't have de-populated as a synonym for killed. In the same article I learned that only 28 of the 81 cattle in the group that included the one with mad-cow disease have been located. That little bit of news didn't comfort me, I'm here to tell you. I have the queasy feeling that the other 53 probably are already in our food chain and could be on the grill right now.
                 Meanwhile, down at the Legislature, boy howdy, have they had a time with those darned ATVs. First they couldn't decide if they were motor vehicles or not. Then they had to decide who could be allowed to crack their heads open or not. Then of course there had to be some sort of State approved training, i.e. another source of income for the State, included in the package. The big discussion over just where and when ATVs could be ridden and by whom, on striped or unstriped roads just broke me up. All of this very important legislating was front-page news every day and top of the broadcast every time the TV news came on. Is WV really so sad and silly that something like ATVs is so darned important?
                 I get a newsletter that reports on the activity under the Golden Dome. After mentioning the predicted budget deficit in the 1st issue, it hasn't seen print since. But I did get to find out how important the interns and volunteer doctors are to the system. With those two tidbits under my belt I was surprised to find out that the Legislature is governed by Rules of Order! All of these years I thought they just played it on the run. The honey of the bunch was the attempt to explain how important and indispensable the committees are to the system. Anyone that has tried to get a bill through our Legislature without the stamp of approval from those people lurking in the shadows knows just what our committees really do, kill and bury unapproved bills.
                 Darn it, I meant to write a little about my meteoric rise to prominence among the Native American researchers. I know there are some of you up there with Native roots, I saw you at the Golden Delicious Festival. Why not contact me through The Communicator and we'll see what we can find about your Native ancestors?
         Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin
          Hello Brother Bill: Guess it is time for another note to you. So much excitement around here I hardly know where to start. Last week Caleb and his friend, Anthony Bishop, stacked a nice lot of wood on my porch. Well, this week I started out to work in the yard. I filled up a big glass of Coke (had it in my left hand), dog food in right hand and out the door I go. I stepped on a log that had rolled off the stack, thought I was falling, jerked my left hand up to grab onto something and, yes, dumped the entire glass of coke and ice on my head. As I passed Don, when I was trying to find the bathroom for a towel, I said "Don't even ask". No, I did not fall, but I had a Coke shower.
          Bought myself some of the new dish washing liquid "Aroma Therapy with the essence of Ylang-Ylang-Anti-Stress". I really could not tell any difference, certainly did not get a thrill out of doing the dishes, and still as stressed as ever. Promises, promises, promises…
          With the upcoming election and numerous folks running for the various offices, looks like it could be anyone’ ball game. Some of the folks that are running are already in office and we already know how they operate. If folks are satisfied, then vote for the “ns”and if you are unhappy - LET'S MAKE SOME CHANGES!
          Shonette Shearer, of Phoenix, Arizona, called a few days ago. She and Don are fairly well. She is still experiencing some health problems. They do not travel much anymore. As Don and I were coming from the doctor’ office at Gassaway last week, we stopped by Long John's. Don and Wanita Mollohan were there and also our old neighbor, John Pete Butler. It was good to see these good folks. CONGRATULATIONS to Mary Triplet. I noticed in the Charleston paper that she is now a nationally certified teacher. There are not very many of those around. Anna Mae Brown Payne, Nancy Brown and Sylvia Summers, of Ovapa, were visiting Nina Brown Whittington and her husband of Harmony over the weekend. Chester Summers of Marlington was visiting his mother, Sylvia Summers, this week. Sylvia has a dog, named Wonder. When she came home the other evening her living room was full of feathers. Wonder wondered what was in that pillow and she found out. Virginia Boggs, of Twistabout Ridge, tells me that Hugh Boggs is about the same. Tammy Samples and Imogene Stalnaker were shopping in Clay this past Monday.
          Jeanie Davis would like to organize some folks to try and repair some of these crosses that are scattered along the various highways. Some of the crosses have fallen down and need repairs badly. Anyone wanting to help Jeanie organize this project give her a call. Happy belated birthday wishes to our cousin, Nadine Samples McKown. I won't tell how old she is, but I am 65 and I am from October to February older than she. Happy Birthday to Indiana "Suze" Moore in the Cedar Ridge Nursing Home. Our neighbor, Goldie "Pudge" Samples of Horner's Fork is still going strong. She is 96 years old.
          Several more deaths to report: Marie Blankenship passed away. Lewis McLaughlin and Maude Brown Burdette (Uncle Ted's widow) were buried recently. Lewis attended my l6th birthday party. Jean Givens had hosted the party. I still have the gift that Lewis brought me 49 years ago. Also, our cousin, Judy Grose Sexton, of Columbus Ohio, lost her 39 year old son, Doug Page, last week. He was also the son of Jimmy Page. Our thoughts and prayers to all of those who have lost loved ones recently.
          What do you think of folks who max out their credit cards and then file bankruptcy??????
          I had some other things to tell you but I wrote them down in short hand and now I can't read my writin'. I've been campaigning a little for “ide Glide”(Ernie) and I know he will be happy to know that you plan to vote for him (even if you are in Pennsylvania). We'd like to see your smiling face but until then, Help Us All to Be Brave. Love you, Sis
         BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
          Amid the charred ruins of Nazi Germany the monumental war trials continued long after the most infamous principal thugs had received their sentences. Now the tribunal at Nuremberg turned its attention to the German judicial system and its manifest corruption. In 1961, the movie, “udgment at Nuremberg,”with a superb screenplay by Abby Mann, presented a subtle and chilling study of complicity in high places. The chief judge was played by the incomparable Spencer Tracy, with that craggy, Mount Rushmore face and image of granite solidity.
          Five Nazi judges are on trial, most of them mediocre types following the Aryan line, but one Ernst Janning is a legal superstar. It is he who poses the most complex decision for Judge Heywood (Tracy) and the tribunal. During the trial the prosecution presented lengthy films of the grotesque, gut-wrenching activities in the death camps, pictures with which the world has become all too familiar. As the story comes to a close, Heywood, about to depart for his flight home, is summoned to Janning’ prison cell. Janning, who has come to respect the Yankee judge’ integrity, offers his case studies to the American. In a brief conversation screenwriter Abby Mann’ message in the movie, and possibly for the ages, emerges.
         Janning: Those people – those millions of people. I never knew it
          would come to that.
         Heywood: Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a
          man to death you knew to be innocent.
         To labor the point, although Mann’ message is about the indescribable evil of the Holocaust, the story of human complicity applies to matters both large and deceptively insignificant.
          As a parallel, questionable as it may be to some, the growing and pathetic saga of Colin Powell comes to mind. His once meteoric career was the stuff of American fantasy: combat soldier, four star general, head of the Joint Chiefs, Secretary of State. At one time, Powell was probably the most popular American. He may be still. But, as this is a country once admired for its characteristic deference to the minority opinion some remarks may be in order. The theme here might be entitled: “ow the Once and Would-Be Future Mighty Have Fallen.”
          J’ccuse (I accuse) General Powell of having become a timeserver, an apostate, a man whose former high principles have been abandoned as he capitulates to the power elite, and whose guiding motivation is occupied in the fight for his historic legacy.
         The tawdry spectacle of Powell’ alarmist and bogus presentation before the United Nations with the so-called “vidence”has been discussed at length, here and elsewhere. The U.N. was unconvinced about the looming global danger of Saddam’ arsenal, but who are we to heed the judgment of a body the current administration has systematically insulted as a week and ineffective “ebating society?” Worms, as the fable sometimes warns us, have a habit of turning, and now, without the merest blush of embarrassment, we are asking the United Nations for help.
          As the communication revolution has already illustrated, and as the coming presidential tango will show, no man can escape his own history. Recent campaigns may more properly be called “irty dancing.” “ut, what does this have to do with Colin Powell?”you query. Last week, in an appearance before a House committee, Rep. Sharrod Brown (D-Ohio) questioned the Secretary about the possibility that Bush may have been AWOL from Air National Guard duty. (A charge yet to be resolved) In high moral dudgeon, Powell the good soldier, replied angrily: “ won’ dignify your comments about the President, because you don’ know what you are talking about.” Setting aside the suggestion that an unelected official is expected to observe a certain amount of civility toward a member of Congress, what was interesting about the scene was that Powell had lost his celebrated “ool.” Responding to further questioning, particularly concerning Bush’ front door entrance to the Guard, leaving behind a list of 500 applicants that preceded him, Powell replied brusquely: “et’ not go there.” But he had gone there. In his 1995 biography, My American Journey, the good former general observes:
                 …I particularly condemn the way our political leaders supplied the manpower for that war…The policies – determining who would be drafted and who would be deferred, who would serve and who would escape, who would die and who would live – were an anti-democratic disgrace. I am angry that so many sons of the powerful and well-placed and so many professional athletes (who were probably healthier than any of us) managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units. Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to our country.
          Whatever revelations may come from investigations of Bush’ military record, there is no doubt that his slot in the Guard was obtained on the basis of family and political connections, the legacy of the privileged class. It may be that the loyalist Powell is a devotee of Ralph Waldo Emerson’ famous maxim: “ foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Powell may even believe that a leopard can change his spots, but his record over the current administration, the behavior of a man once noted for his reasoned and moderate approach to policy has diminished his stature selling out to neoconservative power and misplaced loyalty. It is doubtful that history will be kind to him. This republic is ill-served by officials who seem to believe that their primary purpose is to act as courtiers to the monarch. Lord Acton is still with us. “ower corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”         
         The abuse of greatness is when it
         disjoins remorse from power.
                   –“ulius Caesar”Act II
                                  On that happy note…Cur
         CDC: Our Little Hornet’ Nest
         It took the Charleston Gazette to dig out the story of corruption in the Wyoming County Senior Center. Thanks to some solid investigative reporting by the award winning staff, we know how corrupt unregulated quasi government agencies can become. Down in Wyoming County, Bob Graham pulls in over $300,000 per year plus benefits. Those questioned by the reporters expressed fear that if they gave their name, the local senior center there may turn them out and stop them from receiving much needed services.
                 Is this starting to sound familiar readers? Here in Clay County our own little senior service provider has been newsworthy for years.
                 Just try to find out the local salaries of the family-run clan. Even the federally mandated IRS financial Form 990 for nonprofits is out of date. That 990 lists salaries of top administrators. Christmas bonuses and time off every time it snows are common. In the Gazette reporting, mention was made that Wyoming Senior Board members did not know how much their Director made, how he got in that position, and the agency’ rules.
         Just last month, Clay Development Corporation (CDC) Chairman Gary Whaling publicly chastised a former board member for exercising his constitutional right to take the agency to court before voting to remove him from the committee. On numerous occasions, those that spoke out with concerns on important CDC issues were tossed from the board and the General Membership roles.
         Don’ think that the problem is just here and Wyoming Counties. The Cabell County Senior Service Organization’ Director said talking about salaries “ust causes turmoil and suspicion.”Lincoln County’ Senior Program Director Alice Tomblin made $138,694.00 plus benefits.
         One of the main issues surrounding this quagmire is lack of oversight. In the past, when governing agencies have been asked to investigate allegations of fraud within the CDC, replies came back that they have no oversight obligations. Other letters to the IRS explaining improper IRS procedures went unanswered.
         Most alarming is the amount of Federal dollars for senior programs that does NOT go to the seniors themselves, but rather for administration. Maybe not illegal is the way care time is covered over with government double speak. While the public was allowed to attend local CDC Board of Director meetings, questions routinely came up on how many “nits”of care were being provided and what a “nit of care”really meant. For the most part, answers did not come. Additionally, if too many questions came, the Board member was removed from power by the employees sitting on the general membership committee. When things got really interesting, the employee run general membership committee decided it was not required to share information with the public and closed their monthly board meeting to public scrutiny. To further remove any oversight of the CDC, the general membership changed the rules so the board only met every 3rd month and not at all in the summer months.
         In the last available IRS 990 form from 2000, we know CDC Director Betty Stalnaker made over $50,000 but that figure may be distorted and not reflect bonus pay. We also know in 2002, CDC brought in $1,462,940.00 and spent all but $49,000 of that figure. The amount left over didn’ even cover the $53,202.00 in liabilities. Where did they spend it all? They claim they are private and one worker said during a public meeting, “We answer to no one!”
         During our conversations and correspondence with the IRS which has oversight for the agencies like Wyoming Senior Services and Clay Development Corp (CDC), commitments have been expressed of their enforcement powers. Those claims of power include forcing the volunteer board members to reimburse funds misspent and fraudulently used.
         Now, thanks to the fine work of the Charleston Gazette, our state lawmakers have expressed an interest in changing oversight guidelines. But will they? In a nutshell, no. Just the thought of cutting back on senior service dollars during an election year sends most every one of those noodle back politicians to the back of the room.                                        AW
                  When I get to thinking about taxes, It always makes me wonder what is wrong with people. Whenever someone says anything about coal companies and taxes, they seem to always say something like coal companies should pay their fair share of property taxes. This never has made any sense to me. Why would anyone want to make coal companies pay their fair share of taxes? Seems to me, they have been paying their fair share of taxes for years and it has been us who has been paying our unfair share of taxes. Why would anyone want them to raise their taxes? They should lower mine to what is fair.
          Somewhere along the line, people got the idea that taxes are fair. Let’ use the school levy for an example. If I work hard and own a nice home, then it must mean I have enough money to pay more taxes to support our school. But then again, maybe I work hard and rent my home, I’ have even more money because someone else is helping to pay for my child’ education while I save my money by not owning any property. Then when my children are fully grown and I retire, I get to keep paying taxes in order to help put someone else’children though school. I’e raised my children, andfor whatever reason, someone thinks it is fair for me to keep right on paying to keep other peoples children in school. Here is my idea of what is fair. If we have a levy that would increase property taxes in order to support our schools, then only property owners should be the ones allowed to vote for or against it. Doesn’ seem fair to me that someone that isn’ going to be paying the tax should be allowed to vote on it. Is everyone so brain washed that they think the answer to someone getting by with something is to put them in the same boat as the rest of us?
          Personally, I’ tired of floating around in my boat. Their boat looks so much better, why not try to make room in it for the rest of us? So, instead of crying how some company doesn’ pay their fair share, let’ stand back a second and think. Why not find a way for it to apply to us?
          I’ tired of paying my unfair share, lower mine to what is fair.