MARCH 7, 2003
Letter to Brother Bill
Senator Randy White’ Report
Legislative Update
Pursuing Freedom By Jim Chafin
Bugler Bill Passes
True Blue
Just Thinking
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
Christian Service Center News

        In the movies, the coyotes heard howling in the distance are always portrayed out West somewhere. That’ not the case anymore. Locals have felt the presence of the Eastern Coyote here in Clay County. One lady reported feeling threatened by four of the carnivores in February. New hunting laws went on the books January 1, 2005 to control the emergence of the predators.
         Here’ some background info gathered from the WV DNR and a national trappers association web site: Coyotes are widely distributed throughout the United States. Efforts to contain wild populations of coyotes have been only "temporarily" successful in spite of bounties, poisons and a total lack of protection in many states. This species is very adaptable and they can thrive in forests, farmlands, prairies, mountains, deserts, and swamplands.
         Coyote populations know exist in 46 states. Coyotes can adapt to populated areas, and thousands of coyotes living within the city limits of Los Angeles have led to severe management problems. Coyotes frequently howl at night when they are not severely persecuted. Coyotes are wild canines, with dog or wolf-like features. Weights are slightly heavier for males, with average weights in the western states of about 30 pounds for males versus 25 pounds for females. Coyote immigration impacted the eastern states in the early 1950's and the eastern coyote is now recognized as a true breeding subspecies of coyote. The eastern coyotes do attain larger body weights than western coyotes, and this may reflect hereditary traits as a result of cross breeding between northern coyotes and eastern timber wolves.
         Weights of over 60 pounds have been recorded for some eastern coyote males, although the majority weigh between 30-35 pounds.
         Coyotes have 42 teeth including four long incisor teeth. Eyes are yellow or amber, with round, black pupils which indicate that coyotes were probably daytime hunters before man began persecuting the species in earnest. Guard hairs on a coyote pelt are about 3 inches long on the back, and 5 inches long in a patch between the shoulders known as the "mane" or "hackles". Coloration varies with individuals and sections, with most coyotes being mottled grays with lighter colored bellies. Brownish and reddish colors also occur commonly in areas, and melanism or black colors occur more rarely.
         Punkineer and Procious area resident Celia Coon had an encounter with the animals in her yard. Her son Thomas experienced coyotes first hand during the first day of squirrel season this year. We interviewed Ms Coon March 3rd and provide these excerpts from that conversation. Ms Coon, “ couple weeks they were right here below the house near the edge of the woods. They were howling and screeching back and forth at each other… I went out to start the car and heard them… I thought they were wolves…. I went back in the house and told the kids, ‘id you all not hear my beeping the car horn?’… I was afraid! I didn’ know what those things would do!…. They weren’ very far away.”
         Ms Coon said her dog went down there to scare them off, “ike he was going to chase them off. When he found out what they were, he turned and run right into my front door on the porch. He was afraid of them!”Coon guessed there were up to four coyotes during that encounter.
         Coon got a pretty good look at them, “hey looked a little bigger than a German Shepherd or the same size as a German Shepherd. They were gray, black and white, a mixing. They were howling back and forth. Maybe one of them was in heat or something. I didn’ know if you could shoot them or not. I didn’ know if it was legal or whatever.”
         Are Eastern Coyotes harmful? Ms Coon blames coyotes for the loss of her cat. “e came up missing about the same time.”Coon says when the coyotes return she plans to shoot them. Other sightings were mentioned, “ther people say they have seen them. One guy over on Twistabout said he saw one. They scared me. I didn’ know what they were doing. I couldn’ find the car keys and came back to the house to get the keys. I just thought the dag-gone things were going to get me.”
         The West Virginia Dept. of Natural Resources issued a news release March 4th on the Eastern Coyote which included: The eastern expansion of the coyote was probably a result of the elimination of its ancient foe, the timber wolf, and the establishment of the deer herd in the east as a food base. The coyote is an adaptable animal and there may be more coyotes today than there were in colonial times.
          It has been said that the coyote’ favorite food is anything they can chew. The coyote is a carnivore that is able to adapt to the available food supply. The coyote is a significant predator of both wildlife species and farmer’ livestock. Primary wildlife species that the coyote prey upon are white-tailed deer and small mammals such as rats and mice. Their diet also consists of rabbits, groundhogs, ruffed grouse, turkeys, chipmunks, squirrels, muskrats, fruits, berries, carrion, and the occasional house cat.
          While the coyote is a significant predator on wildlife populations, it should be noted that predation is a natural part of the ecosystem. The addition of the coyote to the ecosystem can change ecological balances of predator and prey species, but it will not eliminate other species from the environment. Predators serve a valuable function to keep prey species in balance with their habitat. Rodents such as rats and mice would be soon out of control without predators.
         A second DNR news release came that same day and included: the coyote has expanded its range into most of the eastern states, including all 55 counties in West Virginia….. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has taken several steps to assist landowners in their efforts to target depredating coyotes and provide sportsmen and women with liberal hunting and trapping opportunities for coyotes. Coyotes are very adaptable and have the remarkable ability to survive despite heavy hunting and trapping pressure and other predator control efforts. One thing is certain – the coyote is here to stay in West Virginia. We will need to learn to adapt to living with coyotes, and that includes enjoying liberal hunting and trapping opportunities afforded by this adaptable animal.
         Clay County Sheriff Holcomb advanced his thoughts on the problem. Sheriff Holcomb, “f a coyote was in my yard, as far as I am concerned, they are a pest and a nuisance. If they were in my yard, I would shoot them.”Although in the same genus, coyotes are different than a dog and the rules are different. Holcomb, “ dog is a domestic animal, it’ somebody’ pet. A coyote is a wild predator and runs loose.
                         Continued on page 4
          As far as I know, there is no season or any kind of limitations on coyotes. You can kill them at will even at night time with certain limitations.”
         Holcomb confirmed the county sightings. “ do know friends of mine have bought special calls and callers and lighting equipment with an amber lenses for night time. They tell me they are restricted to a 22 caliber rim fire rifle if they are spotlighting them with an amber light. Now in the day time there is no season or limit. You can use any kind of gun you want to use. As a matter of fact, the DNR was assisting some kind of outdoor adventure group in the county last week trying to film the shoot. …. People have told me, I haven’ seen it, they tell me it’ almost an epidemic now. You can go out on about any of these ridges and call a coyote.”
         If you feel threatened, do you shoot it? Holcomb, “es. Absolutely. Your domesticated animals… we have had lots of reports of domesticated animals missing. I think in this case, coyotes are killing peoples’animals and so does the DNR. They feel these coyotes are eating cats and dogs.”
         In an early winter WV DNR press release comes this: The coyote is now a permanent member of the fauna in West Virginia. Although the coyote is a significant predator on wildlife in West Virginia, it is a part of the natural ecosystem. The coyote takes a proportion of fawns in West Virginia, but in many areas this predation may be beneficial to the health of the deer herd. Since the coyote is still colonizing areas in West Virginia, potential densities of coyotes and thus potential impacts are unknown. Coyotes have stabilized at densities in mid-western states that are not threatening to other wildlife species. The coyote is an adaptable predator that despite years of persecution has survived and even expanded their range. Predator control of coyotes because of wildlife predation is unwarranted and unnecessary. Predator control of coyotes preying on livestock should be restricted to targeted animals. Although bounties have been liberally used on coyotes in the west, no bounty system has ever worked. Liberal trapping seasons for the coyote should continue. Methods to encourage the sport of predator calling and means to target the coyote as a furbearer and game animal should be explored.
         Heck, we thought the only coyotes in the county were the two legged variety and elected to office. Wrong! We’e not wrong on another point, both are dangerous and hard to get rid of!                                
         FOLLOW UPS
                 Since the February 15th Board of Health vote to ban smoking in public settings, locals have been examining the paperwork. An uproar is developing on several fronts. Here’ a couple for instances:
          During the February meeting, the public was told Bingo Halls were exempt from the ordinance and smoking would be permitted in the Lion’ Club building on Main Street. After examining the paperwork more closely, that exemption may be troublesome. Here’ the deal. True, the Legislature carved out an exemption for nonprofit’ with gambling activities, but in the Clay ordinance minors are not allowed in any place where smoking is permitted. In Clay County, parents often bring their kids to Bingo games and high school groups use the setting to sell refreshments and make some hard earned cash for their activities. If the parents and grandparents can’ bring the rug rats, they may very well stay home crippling the fundraising activities of the Lion’ Club. High schoolers can loose hundreds of dollars a year in needed funds, too.
         Private business owners have become vocal on what they are and aren’ allowed to do in the private offices and backrooms. A close look at the ordinance also prevents smoking in any business vehicle during or after business hours. Entrepreneurs that use their private vehicles for business are expressly forbidden from smoking even during off hours and trips to the grocery store. Both the smoker and business owner are liable for breaches in the new law. If the Smoke Czar (Health Dept Septic Tank inspector Jay Carper) finds an ash tray in a place of employment, if he sees someone smoking within 10 feet of the front of a building, or if Joe Business Owner is seen smoking in the IGA parking lot while the wifey is inside buying a loaf of bread, out with the ticket book and a $1000 citation can be issued!
         When the smoke Czar enters a business and takes the ash tray for evidence, don’ try any resistance, that’ another violation of up to $500 plus court costs. Don’ stand outside a business and light up! Both the smoker and the business can get a $1000 ticket and court costs.
         They say Clayberry is 20 years behind the rest of the world. That might be true this time. Down in Charleston, the Senate and House have introduced legislation to strip Health Boards of smoke ban law making power and give the power to change smoking areas to the Governor. While we’e implementing unreasonable laws, Braxton County just voted to reduce the affects of their anti-tobacco ordinance. During the most recent Town Council meeting, discussion came on a much less restrictive smoking ban with comments on loss of personal rights and freedoms.
         Unless locals unite and come out in force for common sense changes in the Smoking Ban ordinance, the new law will go on the books May 18, 2005.
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
    1.        Love your enemies - it confuses them.
2.        Admissions at CAMC were 4 percent higher in 2004, compared to 2003.
3.        Power plants released 90,370 pounds of Mercury into the air in 2002.
4.        The College Board reported that 2,139 West Virginia students earned grades of 3 or better on a 5-point scale in 2004.
5.        Dates are the sweetest of all fruits, with up to 80 percent sugar.
6.        The world’ population will increase by 40 percent to 9.1 million in 2030.
7.        Too much salt causes about 150,000 early deaths every year.
8.        West Virginia will likely get less in federal funds this year than in 2004. Last year the state got only about 22 million compared to 44 million in 2000.
9.        About 43 percent of all treasuries and bonds are held by foreigners.
10.         Last year Toyota sold 2.6 million cars and trucks in the U.S., up 10.4 percent from a year earlier.
11.         In 2003, 61 percent of American teenagers ate an evening meal with their families at least five nights a week, as opposed to 57 percent in a 1998 CASA study.
12.         Sales of video games last year totaled 7.3 billion, just 2 million less than movie box office receipts.
13.         Most of the experts say that between 2011 and 2015 every household will have a robot doing chores.
14.         About 1 million people this year will learn that they have gallstones.
15.         In West Virginia more than 25,000 people have some type of serious vision impairment.
16.         In 2004 more than 23 million copies of recorded and brail books were shipped to nearly 800,000 people.
17.         Americans spent an estimated $34.4 billion on products for their pets last year.
18.         In 2003 glacier wastage added 73 trillion gallons of new water to the oceans.
19.         In the United States, about 800,000 children are reported missing every year.
20.         The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.


Letter to Brother Bill
By Evelyne McLaughlin
Dear Bro. Bill: I hope this note finds you fat and sassy. With all the controversy over the "no smoking" ban, a friend of ours has a solution to the problem. They are thinking about opening a private club, “he Smoke and Joke Cafe.” Membership will be $20.00, with the first two meals free. Menu will consist of lots of West Virginia grub including coconut cream pie, pinto beans and creamed tomatoes. How does that sound? Then you can smoke and joke until the wee hours of the night. But, you must bring your own spittoon if you plan to chew.
Several folks are ailing in our neck of the woods. I hear that Don Gray (Little Laurel Road) has recently undergone surgery. Others are: Bill Hanshaw, Cathy Runnion, Nadine McKown, Linda Deems, Rheeneta Bennett, Mary Donohue Workman (broken leg); all need our prayers. Alyce Faye Bragg is recuperating from gall bladder surgery (this was after she broke her ankle!)
I have talked with several folks from the class of 1955 concerning our reunion. Ann Dawson Wood, of Texas, called. Others I spoke with were Charles Raymond Douglas of Ohio, Mabel Payne of New York, Lee "Bud" Ferrebee of Nebraska, and Thomas Friend of Florida. Cordelia Neal Hall (1955) sent me an e-mail from California. It seems our classmates are scattered from here to yon. Harlan Hensley (1956), of Pennsylvania, called this week. He tells me his family is well. I was sorry to learn of the death of Dorothy Kearns. I do not know her married name.
Our cousin, Hazel Samples Stephens, of Fayetteville, N. C., is moving to Texas. She has been visiting with her son, Jerry, since last October. Cousin Hazel will be 86 this coming May. I spoke with her last week. She is always so jolly. Aunt Delphia O'Dell, of Ovapa, is spending some time with her daughter and son-in-law, Howard and Mary Ellen O'Dell Friend, of Cottageville.
Dixie called and told me she had names for my new babies (sheep). She said one would be Bo and one would be Peep. That should be easy to remember. That reminds me of a happening when I was very young. Mom made me some drawers out of black flannel. Our city cousins, from Dunbar, came to visit - they called me BoBo. Well, somewhere along the line, one of them noticed I had on black drawers. They ran into the house and told their grandmother "BoBo has on black drawers!" Needless to say, Mom did not put those "black drawers" on me again. I will probably think of that incident when I call for Little Bo. Do you recall when we visited Uncle Enos down on Laurel? He had some bee hives and you "rocked those little houses." Yep, the bees were not happy. It didn't take you long to make it to the big house.
I need to get in touch with the following folks concerning our '55 reunion: Delbert Hamrick, Glenna Bragg, Gladys Smith, Charlene Morton, Clementine Spencer, Sylvia Tanner, James Donohue and Gilbert Adkins. I need e-mail addresses, phone numbers or addresses for these folks. Hello to Maxine Shafer, Bud Eagle, Jean Jarvis, the king's men and women, Gracie Carper, and Virginia Boggs.
A word from the wise old bird (all are copied): Nobody cares if you can't dance well, just get up and dance; never lick a steak knife; never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night; it doesn't take a very big person to carry a grudge; and, every path has some puddles.
And, until then, HELP US ALL TO BE BRAVE.                                         Love, Sis

Dreams in Nightmares

         Sleeping peacefully, I dreamed I had finally quit smoking, lowered my cholesterol, lost weight and exercised into a size 8. Healthy, happy, and nicotine free, I am busily packing my bikini to go on a tropical vacation with the money I saved since quitting cigarettes. It felt so good. People were no longer suffering and dying from my second hand smoke.
         Alas, it was not to be. On the way to the airport a car driven by a nonsmoker who took her eyes off the road to check her make up crashed into my car and killed me. Why, oh why, didn’ someone ban those nasty ole cars?
         Linda (Morehead) Jarvis
         Dear Senator Shirleyand Senator Randy White,
          Please vote in favor ofBill No. 46 that was written by Senators Bailey and Weeks.Although I am not a smoker, I do reside in Clay County and am appalled by the actions of our local Health Department.This group is tromping the rights of citizens and business owners alike with their anti-tobacco position.
          I feel that SB 46 would be a good bill because it will stop this misuse of authority and put the decision back on the business owner to prohibit smoking.This would also let the citizens choose to patronize an establishment or take their business elsewhere.
          As aRegistered Democrat, I felt I had to offer my opinion to the State Senators that are elected by Clay Countians.know I can rely upon you gentlemen to do the right thing in supporting SB 46.
          Thank you for all your good work on behalf of West Virginia.
                 Christy Keen
                 5940 Big Otter Hwy., Ivydale, WV 25113
         Forwarded by Denise Taylor
          Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito was recently photographed holding a town hall meeting in Elkins on Social Security. Same drill in Dunbar. Problem is only a handful of those attending these media events actually live in West Virginia. Reports have it that most of the people packing the meeting are from out-of-state. Instead of calling it a town meeting Congresswoman Capito ought to call these well-financed events, "Hype with a Little Help from My Friends".
          Maybe she can hire Joe Cocker to warm up the crowd.
         President Bush promised to throw $250 million in advertising to convince us all we'd be better off if we just let him wreck Social Security too - and here comes the flood of cash to prove it. After all people, we're on a deadline here. Wall Street and financial planners are waiting in the wings salivating for that new revenue stream to be forced into play. Did we mention that Congresswoman Capito is married to one of those planners?
          The strangers among us are part of a national campaign being sold by a broad national coalition of leading business and industry groups with yet another disingenuous name "Generations Together" carefully selected to sound like you ought to sign up right now. While it might have a nice ring it has a nasty sting.
          Among the leading boosters trying to bust Social Security – CoMPASS, Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, Alliance for Worker Retirement Security and 60 Plus Association – all organizations who've been wreaking havoc on our economy and social systems for over ten years now. Beware of these sheep. They are not the nice guys they appear to be and they don't have your best interests at heart when it comes to protecting Social Security.
         Its shameful Congresswoman Capito would stoop this low just to cheerlead on behalf of another bad Bush plan – dismantling Social Security. Social Security is not a crisis looming. It is one of the few remaining guaranteed retirement programs left to working American families. If Shelly wants a real dialogue she really should consider having it with people who live in West Virginia. Perhaps she's afraid of what she will hear.
         More Chatter
          “ig Brother”in all its glory! I cannot begin to express my outrage, provoked by the actions of the Clay County Board of Health at the meeting held on February 15. These people were not on the ballot to be elected as representatives of me. I had no voice in their appointment to serve on the Board of Health and they certainly saw to it that I had no voice regarding their ban on smoking. How dare they? How can they possibly know how many people were for or against the ban?
          To deny me 3 minutes to respectfully disagree with the “an”– that’ wrong! As a private business owner, I challenge the Clay County Board’ right to tell me what I can and cannot do in my establishment. I pay the bills; I decide what is and is not acceptable conduct within my business. I am a smoker but I do not advocate smoking. I don’ recommend it to anyone; however, it’ not my business what other people choose to do. My customers consist of both smokers and non-smokers. They come to my business and pay for the services I perform and not one has complained because smoking is permitted. That’ not to say that some have chosen to go elsewhere because smoking is allowed here; but that’ their choice. I am not going to tell a paying customer to go away because they smoke after a non-smoking customer has been asked if smoke bothers them and they say, “o, it doesn’, go ahead and smoke.”
          Get real, people! I personally am offended when I’ in the same restaurant, grocery store, beauty salon, or any other place, public or private, when parents bring in their children they have not taught how to behave, and also when I’ in the same area with someone who has never become acquainted with soap, water, or deodorant. Should they be “anned?” To be seated in a restaurant just having my meal placed on the table and someone is seated next to me and pulls out their hankie, and blows their nose – PULEESE, seat me next to the smoker who has sense enough to go to the restroom, somewhere, anywhere else to blow their nose! That should be “anned.”
          Now, to my fellow smokers, stop throwing your cigarette butts on the streets and in front of private businesses, government buildings, etc. I get tired of sweeping up your mess from the front of my business so I cannot imagine how disgusted a non-smoker feels when they see the mess, or worse, have to clean it up.
          Considering the current conditions in our world, our nation, our state, our country, and our town, it’ hard for me to comprehend why anyone would lie awake at night worrying about disease, death, and discomfort from exposure to second-hand smoke. Germ warfare, dirty bombs – now, that scares me.
          It’ not too late for the health board members to come from behind their smoke-free walls and come face-to-face with the public they profess to be protecting before the only thing they really accomplish is turning law-abiding citizens into criminals. The Clay County Board of Health’ rights end where mine begin.
          I’e been told it’ not wise to have my opinion out there for all the world to see because it will make me and my business a target. All I can say is: Oh well, aim carefully and make the first shot count because I will not be intimidated into silence. Anyway, I’e been referred to as a lot of different things, but, to my knowledge, being wise is not one of them.
         Linda (Morehead) Jarvi
         Senator Randy White’ Report
          In times of war, America has a history of relinquishing its civil liberties for a perceived increase in security. The Sedition Act, passed under President John Adams’administration, was possibly the biggest attack on American civil liberties. It took away the First Amendment right of free speech by prohibiting written or spoken criticism against the government. At that time, federal lawmakers were uneasy with the French Revolution and its supporters living in the United States. The government was young. The threat from foreign powers was still a viable issue which influenced policy. Since the September 11th attacks, we have been fighting a global war against an ideology of hate. However, there has been another war on our home front. A struggle between the rights of our citizens and the right of our government to protect its citizens. Shortly after the biggest attack on American soil, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act. Its intention was to make it easier for law enforcement officers to gather information on suspected terrorists so that another plot against the United States could be foiled before it materialized. Its effectiveness has yet to be measured even though another attack has not yet occurred. However, giving too much power to the Department of Justice to gather information lends itself to abuse, possibly to the extent reported about at the Abu Grahib prison in Iraq or Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But, this is interrogation of our own people not foreign nationals. What if the agency gathering the information is incorrect and the citizen has no terrorist ties at all? In fact, the label of “errorist”has been expanded so much that it could include members of pro-gun groups, citizen militias or pro-life organizations. And, if you legally protest against the government, you may be considered a terrorist as well. That is why I have introduced legislation that will prohibit law-enforcement officers from conducting surveillance of individuals and groups of individuals based on participation in activities protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article III of the West Virginia Constitution, without suspicion of criminal activity unrelated to the protected activity
          Senate Bill 66 seeks to protect conduct such as political advocacy or the practice of a religion. I feel that unnecessary surveillance alienates people from police, hinders community policing efforts and causes law-enforcement agencies to lose credibility and trust among the people they agencies are sworn to protect and serve. This bill would declare that surveillance of individuals or groups of individuals in a manner that violates their constitutional rights, is contrary to public policy and should not be used as a law-enforcement investigative tactic. We have to fight terrorism at home and abroad. But, we should not actively try to spread democracy and freedom to others around the world while we are losing our own.
         Legislative Update by Senator Shirley Love Friday March 4, 2005
          More than 1200 bills have been introduced to the Legislature.Currently only three bills have been passed by both the House and the Senate.The Senate passed 19 bills since February 25th, 2005.These include Senate Bill 49 which would repeal a section of West Virginia Code that requires the circuit court of each county to appoint three persons to inspect a county jail on a yearly basis. The bill would remove this provision because it is no longer effective with the creation of the Regional Jail System.
          A bill was introduced this week that would allow Hancock, Jefferson, Kanawha and Ohio counties to decide whether to add casino style table games at their racetracks.The county level referendum would only effect the county where the racetracks are located. The House is working on a bill that would test the viability of publicly financed elections.The project would be available in two senate districts and three single members house districts.Funding would range from $7,500 in House races to $35,000 in Kanawha County Senate races. The House of Delegates unanimously passed a bill that aims to ease overcrowding in the states mental health hospitals caused by people involuntarily committed for drug and alcohol problems.The bill would restrict such commitments to cases where the subjects are considered dangerous to themselves or otherwise. House Bill 2244 prohibits having open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles.Current West Virginia law allows beer consumption while driving. The state stands to lose federal highway funds if it does not conform to federal standards.Governor Joe Manchin has been selected as the Chairman of the Worker’ Compensation Commission.The Governor replaces attorney Steve White who had served as Governor Bob Wise’ designee on the Commission.. Under the new law its current commission will run the states worker’ compensation system until January 1, 2006 when it will become a private for profit mutual. The House approved another resolution to increase from seven to eleven the maximum number of co-sponsors to a bill.The resolution will allow any county’ entire delegation to co-sponsor a measure. Senate Bill293 was introduced to allow motorcycle operators over the age of 21 to ride without helmets.The bill did not pass in recent legislative sessions, but the bill could get a boost as Governor Joe Manchin owns a Harley and is known to ride it quite frequently with his wife Gayle.Senate Bill 287 would take away the state’ environmental quality boards authority over water standards.The authority would be shifted to the Department of Environmental Protection. Senate Bill 198 would establish specialized fire safety standards for Bed and Breakfast Establishments.No smoking would be allowed in the B+Bs.Also, the facilities would be required to have smoke alarms in all common areas, guest areas and hallways and to have primary and secondary means of departure. Senate Bill 104 would repeal a section of the West Virginia Code relating to working prisoners by county commissioners, since prisons are no longer located in every county.Law makers in the House defeated a resolution that would have forced committee chairs to put bills on their agenda and report them out despite the House leadership’ objection.The resolution called for 10 delegates to sign a petition initiating the process.I am honored to serve my constituents of the 11th District. If I can be of assistance, please feel free to call my office at 357- 7849 or write:
         Senator Shirley Love ; Building 1, Room 217 West ; State Capitol; Charleston, WV 25305 ; Phone: (304) 357-7849
          Part of this is a reprint from the March 4th Charleston Gazette. Two people filed lawsuits Thursday alleging that the police and municipal judge in the Kanawha County town of Clendenin have improperly bullied people into pleading guilty to traffic citations. Former Kanawha County prosecutor Mike Clifford filed lawsuits on behalf of two people who say they were told that if they wanted to challenge a ticket they would have to pay thousands of dollars in cash or go to jail.
          One, Darrin Harper, says a Clendenin police officer told him that he would have to post $3,000 bond or go to jail if he wanted to challenge a November 2004 citation for driving a dump truck too fast for the conditions. Another, Melanie Hodge, says that a Clendenin police officer told her she would need to come up with a $10,000 cash bond or go to jail if she wanted to fight her August 2004 ticket for crossing the center line. Clifford said both ended up pleading guilty to the traffic violations because they could not afford bond and did not want to go to jail.
          “hey’e saying post a $2,500 bond or you go to jail for a non-jailable offense,”Clifford said. “t’ crazy.” He said he plans to file similar claims on behalf of 15 other people. Clendenin Mayor Donna Gillenwater and Clendenin Municipal Judge Jack M. Boone could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
                 Here’ the juice we’e added. From one of the filed complaints comes this: Since June 23, 2003, the defendants have collectively and/or individually engaged in conduct to threaten, harass, prosecute, arrest and extort individuals who drive or otherwise appear in the Town of Clendenin. So who’ being accused? From the complaint: The Town of Clendenin, a Municipal Corporation, Donna Gillenwater, Individually, and in her capacity as Mayor of the Town of Clendenin, Jack M. Boone, Individually and in his Capacity as Municipal Judge for the Town of Clendenin, Brenda Hall, Individually and in her capacity as Municipal Court Clerk of the Town of Clendenin, Larry R. Conrad, Police Chief For the Town of Clendenin, Zachary R. Conrad, Jamie Sams, Darrick B. Cox and Chris Gregory Individually and in their capacity as present or former police officers for the Town of Clendenin
                 In Feb 2005, the town of Clendenin received this notice from attorney Mike Clifford: This office represents various plaintiffs with claims against the Town of Clendenin, certain present and former police officers, and other Town officials, including the Mayor and/or Municipal Court Judge. This is to be considered as a notice of claim and I do hereby request that you forward this letter to your town’ liability insurance carrier and have he or she contact me. In addition, if your standard limitation of liability is $1,000,000.00, you may wish to have these employees and/or officials contact counsel to determine whether their individual property insurance companies should be contacted. Among the possible claims being considered are false arrest, false imprisonment, constitutional torts, coerced guilty pleas, excessive bail, excessive fines, involuntary servitude, violations of the right to privacy by illegal and non-standardized drug testing and violations of various state statutes giving rise to civil liability, and, of course, conspiracy to violate the civil rights of citizens.
         Even the Judge is charged in these cases. Here’ a portion from the court documents: Defendant Jack Boone is not entitled to judicial immunity for the actions complained of herein as he abrogated his role as an impartial trier of fact in favor of the administrative role of raising funds for Defendant Town of Clendenin. Moreover, defendant Boone asserted jurisdiction over alleged violations of state law for which he had no jurisdiction; he delegated judicial authority to his Clerk and to arresting officers by signing jail commitment forms in blank and allowing the officer or others to complete the forms; he actively participated in plea negotiations by either directly telling the plaintiffs they would go to jail if they pleaded not guilty, or by telling the officers to discuss the pleas with the plaintiffs to get the plaintiffs to plead; he set bail or caused his arresting officers to set bail in amounts so exorbitant that the plaintiffs had no choice but to plead guilty; he required the posting of cash bail or bail to be posted by a bail bondsman (none of whom are approved in Kanawha County) in order for defendants to get a hearing; he threatened incarceration on certain charges which were non-jailable offenses, i.e. driving too fast for conditions and public intoxication; and he is not subject to review by the West Virginia Commission on Ethics or the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission, a branch of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Rather, his actions are only reviewable by the defendant Mayor of the Town of Clendenin.
         Doesn’ that sound juicy? Have you ever been ordered to supply the court with a pie in lieu of fines or jail time? That’ coming too. Stay tuned. AW
         Website to Blame for Lost Jobs
          Professional leadership and anger management training may be order for BDA Chair Leonard Williams. Also, maybe a class in public relations and dealing with the people he works for, the public. Here’ our coverage from the March 3rd Clay County Business Development Authority (BDA) meeting.
                 By 5pm many of the appointed BDA members had taken their seats in the County Commission room. Mike Evans and Brian Moore were off to the side. Glady Lanham and Jerry Nelson were near the middle of the pews. On the far side were Jerry Sizemore and David Derby in front of Paige Willis. On the near side and up front, Jim Knotts. Facing the groups was BDA Chair Leonard Williams. On his table were neat stacks of papers and manila envelopes. Filling the peanut gallery were community activists Fred and Elizabeth Sampson, ( Yelp Fred even after saying the last time, he might not be back), Tommy Fitzwater and this ace cub reporter.
                 With a glance at the clock, Leonard Williams said he was delaying the start of the meeting to have words with the reporter. Williams moved to the front edge of his seat. His spew came quick. With finger pointing and frowny lines about his face, basically: reporting on the web site had cost the county ( BDA) a prospective tenant and jobs; everything on the web site was a bunch of lies; the Mel Gibson look alike worked to tear down everything the BDA tried. With his words coming fast, fellow Boardsters nodding in agreement.
                 Williams continued with notions of: the media should say good things about what has accomplished; he questioned web site postings that said the BDA had a “ismal”track record. He held up a copy of Feb 13th postings. Not appearing to know what Williams was referring to, the reporter went up front and read the offending passage to the assembled. Here’ the passage: Wednesday evening, our Business Development Authority held a special meeting to negotiate with a possible tenant for the old Filcon site. After an hour of secret time where the public was excluded, Chair Williams said no decisions were made. Citizen activist Fred Sampson asked some general questions about the negotiations. He received few answers from the Chair. Needless to say Sampson was peed big time as stomped out of the meeting. And rightly so too!!! Our economic development group the BDA can legally negotiate away from the public but after 2 lengthy secret sessions and their dismal track record with previous tenants, Chair Williams could have gone a long way at easing concerns with a simple statement. Something along the lines of:We are negotiating with a metal manufacturer of corrugated pipe that is interested in building a 40 by 100 building at the Valley Fork industrial park. The owner has roots in Clay County and until we getthe details firmed up, the potential tenant has asked that we keep his name away from the public. The total project is around $200,000 to be invested and there is the possibility of6 to 10 jobs if this pans out. Be patient please, we're trying to get it right this time around.
After reading the passage, the reporter went back to his seat in the peanut gallery. The words went back and forth. In response to the “ismal”wording, the rotund reporter said “ilcon” You could almost see the hackles raise. You could see the hackles raise when he mentioned the less than thorough background check done by Boardster Jerry Sizemore before Filcon was given the red carpet treatment by the BDA. The two went back and forth. All the time, it appeared Williams was getting madder and madder. At one point he invited the reporter out back.
                 Now he didn’ say what for but the guess is, surely not an ice cream social!
                 Williams was emphatic, that posting on the web caused the man and wife team at last month’ secret meeting to bail out and the prospect of luring up to 7 jobs into the county left with them. Comments on that notion at the end of this article. Lets finish the meeting coverage first. Actually start the meeting. All the huff and puff and out back invite was done before opening the meeting
                 With Williams still in a huff, discussion turned to the old Filcon site now called the Valley Fork Industrial Site. The BDA has contracted with Boyles and Hildruth Engineering ($500 invoice already received) to study how best to put in culverts across the creek to the property from Rt 36. BDA member and CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore suggested a different direction, a direction used when the CAEZ built the now successful Mt Hope Industrial Site in Fayette County. Sizemore suggested that the BDA go ahead and build a building, get in place. He offered the many advantages to having a facility in place and how a nice building and tax advantages of a lease\purchase to could lure new business into Clayberry.
                 Some in the crowd got restless at the thought of going in debt to build a structure. Still foaming, Williams, “We were working that way until the local paper tore us up!!”Jim Knotts asked about contingencies if the new business went belly up after a few years, who would pay the lease? Sizemore said there are no guarantees in this world. Williams wasn’ done and mentioned BDA plans for giving free rent for so many years as a tax break and then a lease agreement, and “We done pretty good ‘ill we got smeared!”Once again he looked at the Mel Gibson look alike. Have we mentioned the chill in the air readers?
                 Wading into the meeting discussion was peanutster Elizabeth Sampson who asked about the Filcon site needing to be raised above flood plane. She was assured 2 acres of the holding was out of the flood plan and as soon as the weather dried out ,
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          fill would be added to another portion of the creek side site and a culvert was to be installed near the current creek crossing. Here comes another jab readers from the Chair, “e have been working but we haven’ gotten ANY credit!!”
                 As for the old Two Run State Road garage under lease by the BDA, there’ a problem. According the Chair, WV Weatherizaton and Legg’ Welding are interested in renting parts of the building but the DOH leaders in Charleston refuse to let the BDA rent any of the property. Oh My Gosh!!!!!!!! There we go again!!! Probably just cost the county another 7 jobs! The only thing the BDA can do is use the building for themselves (office space) or store stuff there.
                 There was general discussion on what good is it to have a 5 year lease on a building if it can’ be rented out and what the original lease really meant. There was no mention of a time when the BDA side stepped the purchased the building for a $1 and no mention of how they could have signed on to such a lease not knowing the details. No decisions made on turning the DOH garage back over to the state.
                 From the peanut gallery Tommy Fitzwater asked about broken windows at the DOH garage and what was the BDA going to do about the damage. Answer: The Sheriff’ office can’ get involved until the Town ( Buckshot Butcher was the investigating officer) turns over its paperwork. Translation: Nothing has been done for months but talk talk talk.
                 Do you think Chair Williams has cooled down. He may have a little until Tommy asked: Now that the Filcon tenant is out of the picture, can you give us any details on what was being negotiated? Oh Boy!!! Opened the can of worms right back up. Williams, “WHY SO IT GETS RIGHT BACK ON THE INTERNET???”
                 Here’ a slick one readers. The CAEZ was the designated lead economic development (LED) agent for a number of years. With the designation comes a $30,000 grant from the state. In 2004, the Business Development Authority was given the nod for the title, the money, and the work. In his most artful wording, CAEZ Director Sizemore asked about returning the LED status to his organization. So crafty was the wording, this reporter is not sure the BDA understood what Sizemore was asking. No decision made with the Mr Williams saying the BDA is already working on the paperwork for the grant. Grant deadline is April 30 2005.
                 What do you do with the public after goofing up? First you start pointing fingers. Someone squealed! Someone was a rat! Williams made it clear that someone within his public agency had provided that website with information, it had to be leaked out by a committee member” Didn’ see anyone squirm but the finger was pointing just the same!
                 What’ the next thing you do? Form a top secret committee charged with negotiating in utter secrecy and away from the public and the BDA itself. Leonard Williams said the new tight lipped undercover club’ dealings will not be brought up during regular BDA meetings and that way, “t won’ be scattered all over West Virginia..”Williams appointed Jerry Nelson, Jim Knotts and Morgan Gibson to the inner circle club charged with doing the public’ business in secret.
                 As Nelson was mentioning past performance relating to Filcon, Jim Knotts stepped up to the plate and made it clear, Filcon is in t