|1. It’ never too late to be what you might have been.|
2. Medical-caused bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans each year.
3. The number of cable internet phone users in North America jumped tenfold last year, from less than 50,000 to close to half a million.
4. Fines for indecent programming exceeded $7.7 million last year.
5. Calls to West Virginia’s Problem Gamblers Help Network surged 46 percent last year and more than half were made by women.
6. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion increased 26 percent in West Virginia between 1990 and 2000.
7. One in nine adult Americans have kidney disease.
8. The number of people imprisoned in West Virginia more than doubled between 1994 and 2004.
9. Last year it was estimated about 2000 people in the western world had split tongues.
10. Nationwide, people spent $8.18 billion renting DVDs in 2004.
11. The office of Epidemiology and Health Promotion estimates that over 38,000 West Virginia kids now under the age of 18 will die prematurely from tobacco-caused illness if current trends continue.
12. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports an explosion in the number of coyotes in West Virginia. The agency suspects there are 20,000 to 50,000 of them in the state.
13. General Motors is recalling nearly 200,000 vehicles because of safety defects with brakes, gas pedals and windshields; all of the affected vehicles are from the 2004 and 2005 model years.
14. Heart disease has been diagnosed in more than 60 million Americans.
15. James H. “uck”Harless has resigned as a member of Massey Energy’ board of directors.
16. The number of graduates who stay in West Virginia after graduation remained the same between 2002 and 2003 at 75 percent.
17. West Virginia’s ACT scores have improved since 2000, rising from within 0.8 points of the national average to within 0.3 points in 2004.
18. More than 73 percent of all old newspapers in the United States were recovered and recycled in 2003.
19. It’ estimated that 2.2 million Americans are hospitalized and 200,000 more die each year because of adverse reactions to medications.
20. Americans spend an estimated $190 billion a year on prescription drugs. LMM
Pursuing Freedom By Jim Chafin
I suppose we could wrap up two days of hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for confirmation of Condoleeza Rice to be the next Secretary of State by quoting Ms Rice: “y assessments may not always be ones that you want to hear. They may not always be ones with which you agree. But I will tell you what I think.”
After watching the committee go though the motions of a mock investigation into the nominee’ fitness to serve as this nation’ chief architect of foreign policy and listening to Rice’ flippant responses , one could hardly keep from regurgitating lunch. The entire spectacle wouldn’ even qualify as a “”movie fitting for Ronald Reagan. For her part, Ms Rice let us in on her struggles to overcome her segregated past in the south and of overcoming many obstacles as she pulled herself up by her bootstraps to become head of one of this country’ leading citadels of higher learning. From the Republican side came the usual ploy of asking flowery questions, couched in terms that left no doubt, from the beginning, which way they were going to vote. But the big surprises came from the Democrats who carried out a hard-hitting question and answer game that one would think would open the door to some serious considerations about the woman’ role in the Bush administration for these past four years. One by one, these dedicated individuals took their turn at the microphone to hammer away at the witness’ veracity and her record of deceit as NSA for Bush. For hours this routine continued while steely-eyed Rice kept to her scripted responses. This priestess of Bush’ foreign policy gave little ground as she wound her way through the whole roster of seasoned politicians, her demeanor as though cast in stone.
Senator Joe Biden came on strong, and for a time it seemed that I detected a crack in this wily creature’ armor. Senator Barbara Boxer took the nominee to task for her frequent inconsistencies. Then it was the junior senator from Illinois who had just won a hard-fought campaign and was given a seat on this important committee. Senator Barach Obama, the new kid on the block, did his thing and politely turned his time into an irrelevant chat session. The usually low-keyed John Kerry ended his allotted time by saying that he would be voting for this nation’ security (or words to that effect.) Then the session was ended and Condoleeza Rice was gone. It was now time for the committee to do its duty, and as the votes were tallied, one by one each senator raised their voice in support of this vixen who has so completely defied the norms of morality in four years of blatant disregard for the world community as well as the citizens of this country. All, that is, except Kerry and Boxer. And though the nominee carried the day, there was a definite chill in the air which, I believe, signaled to this administration that there are contentious times ahead. Rice was not forthcoming in her answers to many questions, and at times downright evasive; always sharing less detail than committee members would like. Senator Boxer laid blame for the deaths of U.S. troops directly at Rice’ doorstep, saying that she had oversold the reasons for the war: “ feel…that this war and all those horrific deaths and the wounded and all of that, is a direct result of not leveling with the American people.” For his part, Senator Joe Biden suggested that Rice also advise the President to “ead a little history.”
Four more years of the same? Well, not exactly, if experience is our teacher, seeing as how problems have a way of compounding their effects if not solved post haste. Politicians, especially, have a unique way of participating in self-delusion if not sternly advised by their constituents. And, sad to say, Q. Citizen has not exactly been putting his best foot forward in that regard. If left to their own devices, politicians are like most other human flesh, they tend to see life by virtue of their own circumstances, though they be elected to promote the public good. We see this in their lack of staying power and follow-through on committees of which they are members. Quoting Joe Biden as an example: “ believe that the President should have his choice to serve him in this administration.” Biden and others seem to believe that, no matter how far-fetched their actions may have been and no matter if their history has been littered with lies and consequences that have been so hurtful for this country, the committee must allow the deception to continue simply because the President requests it. The Senate no longer has a constitutional duty to be independent; it now is the lap dog of the Oval Office.
Looking at events more close to home, we can see this same philosophy being taught in government at state and local levels. We find that willingness of public people to defer to the whims of higher-ups also produces inertia in the operation of departments which leads to a downgrading of public services. We see it in supervising agencies whose duty it is to protect the environment and health of local residents. West Virginia just inaugurated a new governor and, guess what, one of his first actions was to dictate whom state employees may talk to. Initiating what appears to be a veil of secrecy to shield his administration from the eyes and ears of the press. Sorry, Manchin, but this is definitely the wrong way to start off your administration if you are sincere in wanting to see this state and all its citizens prosper. If prosperity for all is the password, then secrecy has no place in the Capitol Complex.
As citizens we have been conditioned to believe some mighty important things in our lifetime. From childhood, each of us has been exposed to custom and practices that made an indelible mark upon our psyche and our very being. Too often, however, much of what we take as facts are nothing more than group psychology – conditioning of our mind to believe and conform to whatever is the politically correct thing at the moment. Whenever our boys were returning from North Korean prisons with what we considered warped ideas, it was said that those fellows had been “rainwashed,”and they had to be “ebriefed.” At this stage in the life of our nation, we have learned that oftentimes we must debrief our own brains – that is, scrub the old computer, or add a new hard drive. Not long ago, James Haught asked this question: “as the instinct to fight wars been coded into our DNA?” As we ponder this question and look at the historical record, one could begin to believe that man has a killer instinct. After all, each generation has recorded its own catastrophe, or “olocaust”as it was called for World War II. Indeed, our ability to look upon injury and death in this generation seemingly has been refined to the highest state of callousness. Scripture points out that we are “onceived in sin and raised in iniquity,”and “he heart is continuously evil,”thereby lending credence to the thought that man is not getting better. But, a way of redemption is offered, and man can, if he so chooses, purge his thinking of all those evil thoughts and be his brother’ keeper. It’ his choice!
West Virginia are facing severe cuts if George Bush's new budget becomes law. Bush recently unveiled his reckless plan to privatize Social Security, and now he's touting a budget that slashes key programs that help West Virginia's working families.
Bush plans devastating cuts to America's top priorities, from homeland security to health care to education to benefits for veterans and much more. Despite these cuts, this budget is a fiscal disaster, with Bush's trademark irresponsibility pushing American deeper into the red with another record deficit.
Here are just a few of the cuts West Virginia and Clay County will face under Bush's 2006 budget:
Homeland Security: The Bush 2006 budget will cut $11.9 million. These cuts will take police and firefighters off the streets.
Health Care: The Bush 2006 budget will cut $376 million. These cuts are to the very same community and rural health care programs he touted during the campaign, even though more than 46,000 West Virginia residents have lost their health care coverage since Bush took office due to his failures
Education: Bush under funds his “o Child Left Behind”in West Virginia by $91.3 million, leaving behind 23,475 West Virginia children.
Bush promised to fund Pell Grants in his State of the Union address, but his budget is $6.6 billion short. That's $50.4 million less than what's needed in West Virginia considering 34,732 will have funds cut to complete advance college or technical schools.
Other Priorities: Bush cuts $9.7 million from West Virginia job training programs in his 2006 budget.
One of the saddest in Bush's budget is requiring many veterans to pay a new $250 annual "user fee" to use the Veterans Administration health care system, and would double the prescription drug co-payment for the 201,701 veterans. Once the veterans have served their country why don't we take better care of them?
Bush cut West Virginia clean water programs by $6 million.
Bush's 2006 budget also cuts the Low Income Heating EnergyProgram, which helps low income families afford heating fuel in the winter, by 2.1 million for West Virginia residents.
Finally, Bush's irresponsible budget is a record $427 billion in the RED, increasing each West Virginia family's share of the federal debt to $37,395. (You didn't know that after this budget you will owe that additional money)
What can you do as a Blue Democrat to help?
1.suggest that you write letters or send emails to your local and state newspapers explaining your concern for this irresponsible budget plan.
2. Send letters, faxes, emails your local, state, and national leaders telling them of your concern for our West Virginia people.
3. Join your local community organization or party and as a organized group contact personal public officials with your concerns.
4. Be determined in 2006 to elected officials who will stand up for what you want. Don't vote for elected officials who are controlled by special interest or officials who will saddle our grandchildren and great-grandchildren withdebts.
5. Pray for our country, its leaders, our troops in foreign lands, and for our individuals who will be hurt badly by these irresponsible cuts if they are passed in the Bush 2006 budget.
The Clay County true blue Democratic and proud of it.
LITTLE TYRANTS DON GREENE WV RADICAL
Little did I know that, by the time I wrote the last column, the dreaded anti-smokers had already struck. Might as well write it down as another strike against our disappearing freedoms, folks. A decision affecting everyone and literally telling business owners what they can and cannot do within their own places of business was made not by the people nor by their elected officials but rather by an appointed board of little tyrants that in truth answers to no one. So much for government by the people.
Along that same line would be the PSD that spends money like it grows on a tree and then demands a rate increase instead of living within their budget. Then to add insult to injury, the leader of that same PSD behaves like an ill-raised child, hollering and carrying on if ever questioned or opposed. The elected Commission that continues to reappoint such little tyrants should be held accountable for their appointments on Election Day and sent home, without their monthly check from the public coffer.
Back to the Tourism Plan; if I understood what was said about it, there is already a fellow running an excursion train along the Elk. But I didn't quite understand if the paid planner had any intention of merely continuing with his venture. If they were, then the questions of finding a train, obtaining the right-of-ways and all the rest would be by-passed and this fellow's operation would become the Plan. Surely no one wants to try to dislodge and disrupt the operation he already has running? As to the ATV trail, why not worry first about getting your own up and running before beginning to rattle on about the Hatfield and McCoy Trail? You of course want to have that as a long-term goal but getting your own functioning should be the top priority, wouldn't you think? The usage of the Elk is another thing that should require a couple of segments. The easiest and therefore the first would be to simply advertise it as a great little canoe trip, for both those that bring their own and for those that rent a craft from a local business. I wouldn't hesitate to advertise clear to the coast and as far in every direction as that, too. Those Yankees and yuppies are just dying to find new streams to paddle on, so go after them! I have always felt that there is a huge market for floating down any of our streams on inner-tubes. It's a low-cost, low-impact venture but would offer families a lot of fun on the Elk, so I would head in that direction secondly. Finally I would do everything I could to get more campgrounds opened up along the Elk, hopefully with fishing sites included, as well as launching and landing points for those on the river.
Well I drifted off the subject of little tyrants, didn't I? I'll get to them later because they seem to never go away. Later, gators.
03/09/05: Bailey – James N. Mullins, warrant issued for burglary (12/08/04), arrested, ROB 03/10.
03/15/05: Wickline – Michael Brandon Jarvis, warrant issued, fail to register as sex offender; Belt – James Michael Morris, operation of clandestine drug lab, arrested.
03/05/05: Belt – Michael Ray Boardman, operator’, registration violation, and no proof of insurance, arrested, ROB 03/10; Belt – Crystal D. Murphy, possession controlled substance, arrested, ROB; Sizemore and Wickline – Nelson G. Davis, assault, public intoxication and obstructing an officer, arrested, defendant pled no contest 03/07, sentenced to 5 days jail, assessed fines and costs.
03/09/05: Elswick – Steven Anthony Gill, fleeing from an officer in vehicle, arrested, ROB.
03/10/05: Slack – Jason Boggs, petit larceny, arrested, ROB; Clay Farm Bureau – Mary J. Adkins, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, appeared 03/14, ROB; Sizemore – Delbert H. McKenzie Jr., driving while revoked for DUIA-1st offense, arrested, ROB 03/11.
03/13/05: Belt – Ashley Nicole Graham, domestic battery, possession of controlled substance and petit larceny, arrested, ROB 03/14; Belt – William Anthony Graham, domestic assault, arrested, ROB 03/14.
03/14/05: Holcomb – Timothy M. Drake, domestic battery and destruction of property, arrested, defendant pled guilty, assessed fines and costs, sentenced to 10 days jail, suspended, placed on 6 months unsupervised probation; Wiles – Jeffrey David Jumper, failure to obtain WV operator’ and possession marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, ROB.
03/15/05: Belt – Scott D. Barker, DWR/DUIA-1st offense, no POI, registration violation, speeding and MVI, arrested, ROB; Michael Jarvis – Loretta Hall, peace bond, warrant issued; Michael Jarvis – Dana Hall, peace bond, warrant issued; Stephenson – Cassie Renae Cunningham, possession of controlled substance, appeared, ROB; Wickline – David Howard Pyatt, violation of DVP, arrested, ROB.
03/16/05: Slack – William Edward Lanham, obstructing and public intoxication, arrested, ROB; Bailey – Larry R. Taylor, destruction of property, summons; Slack – Jackie White, obstructing an officer, arrested.
03/10/05: United Bank, Inc. – Ashley Elliott and Jason Elliott, money due, subpoena.
Worthless Checks Notices Issued
03/08/05: Bullard’ Exxon & Quick Stop – Elizabeth James (paid 03/16); April McVey; Georgia Harald (paid 03/16); Charles Whittington (paid 03/16); Robert Cummings (paid 03/10); Cynthia D. Rose; Tammy Johnson; Donald Bishop; Crystal A. Thorne; Robert Lowers (paid 03/10); Gary L. Cummings X 2.
03/14/05: J & S Grocery – Mary J. Adkins X 2 (paid 03/14); Roger D. McCutcheon.
03/15/05: Clay Supermarket – Bessie Braley; Patrick Morris; Eric Thorpe; Tonya Sayre; Tammy Brown X 2.
02/16/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Terry Taylor, failure to maintain control.
02/22/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Ronald Eugene Norman, no POI and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Steven Wayne Strunk, speeding.
02/25/05: State Police – Arden R. Rose, defective equipment.
02/26/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Gary Lee Ramsey, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
03/04/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Christopher Dobbins, registration violation and possession less 15 GRS marijuana; Jamie Allen Morris, reckless driving; Lloyd Ellis Rapp, registration violation and no POI; Donald L. Starcher, operator’, no POI and registration violation; Joshua Adam Vance, possession controlled substance.
03/05/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Mikel Ray Boardman, registration violation, no POI and operator’.
03/06/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Joshua F. Bullard, no POI.
03/07/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – David M. Childers, speeding and MVI.
03/09/05: State Police – Cassie Cunningham, possession of controlled substance.
03/10/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – David M. Cavins, stop sign and no POI; Delbert H. McKenzie, DWR for DUIA 1st offense.
03/11/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Samantha Jo Legg, speeding.
03/14/05: Sheriff’ Dept. – Scott D. Barker, speeding, registration violation, DWR/DUIA 1st offense, no POI and MVI.
The list continues! How about beating up a grandmother? How about a mobile meth lab on graveyard hill? How about flunking a urine test big time while on home confinement? It’ all here in this edition of “Idiots in the System!”
First, a note. We publish the Magistrate Court Report which includes all charges. Our “Police Blotter” article is published to provide a few more details on the more news worthy cases. When we say we’e paraphrasing a police report, that means we are leaving out a bunch of the legal mumbo jumbo double speak required by law. With that being said, here we go.
Pauline Petry pled guilty to DUIA. Delbert McKenzie made bond March 11th charged with DUI while revoked. David Sisson made bond March 14th charged with domestic battery.
Jackie Ruth White got a good deal in Magistrate Court last month. With some drug charges dropped, she was serving a home confinement sentence for obstructing an officer. All they said was stay clean, no drugs, no alcohol… just stay home, watch the TV for 30 days plus pay a $100 fine. Seems simple enough doesn’ it? White flunked a urine test showing positive for meth and THC (pot) and off to jail she did go March 16th! Don’ expect a free pass out this time around.
Timothy Beard may have the title for most outstanding charges. 2 worthless checks, destruction of property, petit larceny and 22 conspiracy charges. Beard was arrested March 10th and made bond March 16th.
Scanner listeners heard the play by play Tuesday March 15th as James Michael Morris was caught heading up graveyard hill by the town of Clay. From the criminal complaint and paraphrased: Deputy Belt observed a Ford truck on Church street in the town of Clay with a loud exhaust…. On approaching the vehicle Belt observed a pistol lying on the dash. Officer took the gun and for safety, asked the driver to exit the vehicle. The driver was James Michael Morris… Morris was very nervous. Belt asked Morris if he had anymore guns on his person or in the vehicle. The officer asked if there was any drugs. Morris then pulled at his pockets and said No. Morris was asked to empty his pockets… found was a plastic bottle with a white powder and a red brown substance that tested positive for meth.
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Also found in the bed of the truck was: 2 tanks of LP gas; one Dutch boy blow torch; three packages of batteries, six single batteries, eight feet of ½ inch tubing. The pistol was a 9mm Ruger loaded with 5 live rounds. The passenger in the vehicle was Casey Cunningham.
Morris remained lodged in Central Regional Jail (CRJ) as of March 17th awaiting $25,000 bond and charged with felony, operating a clandestine drug lab.
Maybe the clinker for this edition is Ashley Nicole and William Anthony Graham arrested Sunday, March 13th. Ms Graham is charged with possession, domestic battery, and petit larceny. Mr. Graham was charged with domestic assault. From the police report, first Ashley Nicole:
Deputy Belt was dispatched to Hartland to a Parsons residence on a domestic call. The officer received a statement from Ms Parsons that on March 12, 2005 her granddaughter and grandson came to her house at Hartland and washed clothes. On March 13th Ms Parsons went to take her medicine and discovered that her prescription for clonazapam was missing. Parsons then went to Anthony and Ashley’ residence to ask them about the missing medicine.
Ashley then hit Parsons in the face several times. Parsons left and went back to her residence. Ashley and Anthony followed her back to her home and Anthony was swearing and cursing at Parsons.
After signing a waiver of rights, Ashley confessed to taking her Grandma’ prescription pills. Ashley signed a consent form to search. Sheriff Holcomb and Tpr. Stephenson took Ashley back to her residence where Holcomb recovered 8 pills.
Beatin’ up your own grandmother? My, we live in a different world!
Most of us remember Tonya Salisbury from when she was charged with murdering her husband Chad in Widen. Due to Prosecutor Grindo’ courtroom abilities, the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor and Ms Salisbury walked free after just a couple months behind bars. Over in Braxton County, on Wednesday, March 16th, Ms Salisbury was found guilty of intimidating a witness and sentenced to 6 months in the can.
During the murder trial, and while being held at Central Regional Jail, she met up with one of the witnesses, a lady who wandered into the murder scene about the time Chad was gunned down and strong words were uttered.
In our last edition, we goofed up and had the Clay Roane PSD FOIA stand-off on two pages. Big apologies to Johnny Woooooofter who already complains about not getting any information from this newspaper.
On the northern end of the county, some parents are hot and bothered over a school bus incident involving Deputy Robert Belt and the use of strong potty mouth by the officer. Here’ how we got it from the parents: Belt was following the bus during the afternoon run when at least one student gave Officer Belt a one finger salute. With blue lights flashing, Belt entered through the emergency exit and used all the biggy dirty words as he identified the student. Parents were all upset up over the foul language from a man in uniform and in front of young kids.
We spoke with Sheriff Holcomb who had a different story. From the top badge: Belt did enter the bus through the emergency exit, but only after the bus driver gave the OK; the MF word was used during the incident but it didn’ come from his officer; and he would go to his grave believing Belt didn’ use the potty mouth. Holcomb said he had worked with Belt under extreme conditions (wrestling thugs) and never once did Belt spew the bad words.
COUNTY COMMISSION GETS SUED!! County Commission met in regular session March 9th at 10am. Before the meeting opened BDA Chair Leonard Williams came in singing , “’ so happy… I’ so pretty.. I’ so happy.. you can’ get angered or mad..”During a CCC break, again the same words and tune. Some in the crowd, including this reporter scratched their heads in wonder.
Here’ the meeting highlights. Tera Rexroad from Mt. Cap informed CCC that there is almost $600,000 available in low interest business loans for the CAEZ service area of which Clayberry is a part. For businesses that have been turned down by private banks, her agency may be able to help them. $15,000 micro loans are also available.
Without discussion, the Clay County Business Development Authority (BDA) was selected by the CCC to be the county’ lead economic agency which allows them to apply for a $30,000 federal economic development grant.
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Jerry Stover and the Historical Society have been working to renovate the old Courthouse for years. Stover gave a run down on the number of projects, all requiring big bucks. For example: to install an upstairs fire escape through an existing window, about $90,000.00. Stover, “t would take a million dollars to restore the building.”CCC gave the $4000 thumbs up for a feasibility study.
Commissioner Sams told the assembled the Commission was getting sued. Triplett, “hat’ not a good choice of words.”Here’ the skinny: During the February 2005 Board of Equalization meetings, the WV State Dept. recommended a big tax reduction for Joseph Lorreeta and Morgantown Mining Co. CCC chose not to lower the coal tax rates. On one tract the current value is $150,536.00 and the state bean counters asked that be reduced to $32,295.00. On a second tract, the big boys asked a $598.128.00 value be reduced to $34,203. Other tracts were mentioned, we just couldn’ write that fast. Lorreeta and crew are now appealing the decision to Circuit Court.
After the meeting and after Leonard Williams left the meeting singing his “’ so pretty, I’ so happy” song, Commissioner King explained the tune. Ms King said the tune came from a movie where the actor was going through anger management courses and the therapist in the movie forced the guy to sing the happy song instead of cussing, ranting and raging.
CLAY ROANE PSD met March 10th and it was a strange little affair. They talked about finances. They talked about cutting back on expenses. They didn’ talk about adding new costs. There was lots of new print outs and financial disclosures for the Board to look at. Questions came on the number of bills delinquent (like PEIA hospitalization) and why so little actually comes in from the amount billed out to customers each month. Boardster Susan Beard, “t sure don’ look pretty.”The financial report was NOT approved with the Board wanting more info.
Sound business like? It went nice to not nice real quick. During the discussion to buy more water from the town of Clay at cheaper wholesale rates, the Board deadlocked. They can buy the town of Clay water for $2.61 per 1000 gallons or make their own water at the Procious water plant with a cost of around $4.60 per 1000 gallons. Chair Postelwait argued in favor of buying the cheaper water. The employees in attendance stood united on the other side. You could see the heat boil off the office manager and chief water operator. Words came quicker. Operator Traub, “od help us, Lord… this blows my mind!” One guy in the back yelled out, “ete get someone with some brains up there!”as he left the meeting. Office manager Crystal McKinney was harsher, to the Chair, “ON” SIT UP HERE B******, we’e cutting costs!”Postelwait, “atch you mouth!”
Then the Board got into it over changing back to holding once a month meetings (cheaper). Postelwait wouldn’ hear of it and wouldn’ call for a vote on the motion and second to change to once a month meetings.
As for higher water rates… they’e coming soon. Did any of this make sense? Neither did the meeting! Next meeting of the PSD is March 24th at 7pm in the CDC building on Main Street, Clay.
Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin
Dear Bro. Bill: Happy St. Patty's Day, Happy Easter, and Happy April Fool's Day. Hope you enjoy all of them.Lots of folks have commented on the Smoke and Joke Café. Folks from California, Arkansas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Valley View are interested in becoming members. One from Florida wanted to know if "smoked" ham and country fried chicken could be added to the menu.And, she also asked if her doggie, Winston, could also join.
Several folks are ill in and around our community.Laura Gay Starcher Christy is a patient in a nursing home in Putnam County.Patrick Burdette is a patient in the Charleston Memorial Hospital. Cathy Runnion of Twistabout is still ill.Nadine McKown has just returned home from some testing in Pittsburgh.Phyllis Cruickshank Lambert, of Sissonville, is quite ill. Sara Coon and Indiana "Suze" Samples Moore are both patients at the Cedar Ridge Nursing Home, in Sissonville.Legg and his brother, Cline are also ill. Susie O'Dell Loomis, of Given, is a patient in a local hospital.Delphia O'Dell is a patient at Dovie's Rest Home, at Walton. Dovie is such a sweetheart.She is so good to her patients.Orville Brown is also a patient there. All of these folks that are ill certainly need our prayers. Sorry to learn of the deaths of Gale Samples and Anna Morris.Our condolences to both of these families.
Lyle Shreves, of Terra Alta, called.He says he is getting along just great since his surgery.His son, Jeff Shreves, is working in St. Petersburg, Florida.I have received several nice cards recently.One was from Barbara Dean Beyler, of Ohio, and another from Carol Rockefeller Peterson, of Fernandina Beach, Florida. Robert Smith, of Nebraska, has been on a hunting expedition to the state of Oregon.Robert formerly lived in Clay.
I still need addresses for some of the 1955 Graduates: Frankie Holcomb, Harry Dale Davis, Dreama Holcomb and James Donohue.If anyone knows where these folks are, please let me know.I have enjoyed telephone conversations recently with Gilbert Adkins, Ann Dawson Wood,Helen Traub Sutton, Nell Jean Pierson and Shirley Sutton Ashworth, concerning our upcoming reunion.
Concerning some comments Andy Waddell made in his last paper about the Valley Fork and Ivydale parents not fighting to hold on to their schools. Come on, Andy!What can they do that they have not already done?You and I both know that the "elite" few in our county seem to make most of the decisions.And, I might add to your comments, if a person campaigns for someone that is not to the liking of the "elite" and you are employed by them, you can end up loosing your position.As one notable person apparently remarked "We can hire who we want to!" So there you go.
Happy birthday wishes to Dorothy Samples, of Procious, and I think, Jewel Beth Everson Igo, of Ovapa.And to anyone else who enjoyed a birthday in March, Happy Birthday to you also.Hello to Jones, Jake, Jonny, J. R., Nikki O'Brien, the king's court and all of his men, Rheeneta, and Bub, Helen and Herman Davis..
Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm.While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.The eagle does not escape the storm.It simply uses the storm to lift it higher.It rises on the winds that bring the storm.When the storms of life come upon us - and all of us will experience them - we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God.The storms do not have to overcome us.We can allow God's power to lift us above them.God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives.We can soar above the storm.Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them.The Bible says, "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."Isaiah 40-31 (copied)
And now, a few words from the wise old bird: He who angers you controls you.Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.. And, WARNING:Exposure to the SON may prevent burning.
Hope all is well with you, Brother Bill, and until next time, HELP US ALL TO BE BRAVE.
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
A few years ago Johnny Carson, undisputed “ing”of the late TV talk shows was interviewing Burt Reynolds. When his name is used, it is usually proceeded by “ctor,”but Reynolds, who is realistic about his limitations, is a master of the art of self-depreciation. He knows he is good at what he does in much the same manner as John Wayne, who spent decades successfully playing himself. Over the years, Reynolds became one of Carson’ most frequent guests, delighting both the host and the audience with his wit and refusal to take himself too seriously. On one particularly memorable night Carson asked Reynolds what he would say if he received the Academy Award. His reply:
I’ like to thank all the little people,
but then I don’ know any little people.
This could be considered one of those “ou had to be there”moments, but Reynolds’previous appearances made it clear that the statement was made with tongue firmly in cheek, that it could well be taken as a clever satire on the pomposity, insincerity and pretension of award speeches.
At the risk of laboring the analogy, it would be interesting to ask George W. Bush and his faithful functionaries how many “ittle”people they know, or are even concerned about. The record shows that it was his daddy’ rich and influential friends who bailed out Jr. from one disastrous business deal after another. Moreover, it appears undeniable that favoritism, i.e., people in high places enabled W. to be pushed to the head of the line in the Texas Air National Guard, bypassing thousands of ordinary citizens. It is a surpassing irony that the flap over the bogus material presented by Dan Rather ended his career, while, at the same time deflecting attention from the other suspicious elements of Bush’ so-called military career. Considered from this angle, Rather’ mistake did Bush a favor.
The little people serve only one purpose in this administration: they make good photo-ops during a presidential campaign. In the meantime, the neocons are busy dismantling virtually every element of the safety net orchestrated by the Roosevelt New Deal. No matter how often this administration deliberately twists the word “eform,”the result is more likely to be deconstruction. Consider, for example the fascinating case of Senate Majority Leader William Frist and his campaign fund. Frist, an M.D. who insists upon being called “octor,”is enormously rich, owning shares in major HMOs. According to reports he had $450,000 left over from his senate campaign which he invested in the stock market. He lost it in a period which Secretary of the Treasury Snow called the “reatest economy in my lifetime.” This is the sort of moronic blather which undoubtedly endeared Snow to the White House gang. But the question arises: how can it be that Frist, with the best economic advice money and high position can buy could lose? This is one of the loyalists who is pushing Bush’ lunatic schemes to privatize a portion of Social Security payments. A modest correction is in order here. The administration, having apparently decided that “rivatization”sounds risky or perhaps not intimate enough, has changed its terminology to “ersonal accounts.” It should be remembered that, to a tumultuous response, Bush referred to a room full of some of the fattest cats in our kleptocracy in the following manner:
It’ nice to be here with the haves,
and the haves-mores – my base.
The motive is not reformation: it is destruction, and by that process George W. will reward the cronies that helped buy his election, and like the late, lamented Uriah Heep, the boys and girls on Wall Street are rubbing their moist hands together and slavering over the prospect of being cut in on another source of wealth. It is essential to support the corporations who direct our Congress.
The following bit of mini-fiction may amuse the veterans among us as well as illustrate something about the times in which we live. Anyone who has survived the hell of boot camp or basic training may recall the potential embarrassment of asking mother to pass the butter while on one’ first leave. Or imagine a scene in the South Pacific during World War II. One marine or soldier [equal credit] drops a 300 lb. machine gun on the foot of another. With an alert eye on the censors, this little scene is depicted in the movies or in fiction in dramatic terms.
2nd soldier: “eally, Ralph – I
do wish you’ be more careful in future.”
The language police have become so powerful that the recent network showing of the superb “aving Private Ryan”was pulled. This is more than a remote echo of the sanitized, Disneyland version of the Iraq morass to which the American public has been subjected. We are kept at an emotional distance from the carnage. The administration hates al Jazeera, because the station reports civilian casualties, the houses and lives destroyed, the heart-wrenching pictures of maimed children. It must be admitted that the realistic coverage of Vietnam, and the public outcry that resulted taught the power brokers a method of squelching dissent. How many more whirlwinds can we afford to reap?
It is always simply a matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. – Herman Goerring
I would like to see every campus in America demand that its Board of Trustees disinvest from every U.S. auto company until they improve their mileage standards.
– Tom Friedman
We may be in the worst of all worlds where the conservative population resents an imagined liberal atheist elite controlling government, when in reality it is ruled by a conservative elite – admittedly worshipping Mammon more than Christ. – Nathan Newman
In 1984, with the economic acumen that has made him a legend in his own mind, Bush Jr. predicted that the Social Security system would be bankrupt in 10 years.
The White House has made an art of creating crisis where a crisis does not exist.
– Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid
Ever since the Soviet Union so unsportingly disbanded in order to pursue protocapitalism and double-entry bookkeeping, our warlords have been anxiously searching for new enemies in order to justify an ever-increasing military budget. – Gore Vidal
President Bush is proposing to erode the Social Security by privatizing part of it, making Wall Street the big winner of a huge financial windfall. – Helen Thomas
I never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. – Clarence Darrow
May the forces of evil become confused
on the way to your house.
I am writing in response to the insurance rates of the United States.I was informed that our rates are based upon credit history and deer population for our state of West Virginia.I do not feel that the rates should be based upon credit history. I believe it should solely be based upon a person’ driving record. I personally have had an increase in rate of 100.00 do to my credit rating. My driving record however has been perfect other than a few claims of hitting deer.And also you can be denied insurance if you have a poor credit history.I also feel that the DNR should pay for any damages done or for any occupants that may be hurt.
We would appreciate it if you could look into this matter and get our insurance rates back to a reasonable rate. We think it is really bad you can’ even get a government check cashed at any bank without a checking account.I think there is something that needs to be done, as this is getting a little out of hand.
Please stop Bush from cutting all the social security benefits and all the Head Start programs and the other programs he is trying to cut out.
Thank you, Penny Coen and Joann Coen
$ WOES AT HEALTH DEPARTMENT—DIRECTOR QUITS
Since February 15th when the Clay County Board of Health voted in a new smoking ban, they’e been in the news. This time around we’e covering the regular March meeting and a quickly called emergency meeting on March 11th. For those not wanting to wade through it, in a nutshell: finances are in shambles, layoffs and cutbacks are coming, the new budget will be even slimmer, Director Karen Dawson bailed out, and Linda Klotzbach took over the reins. For those seeking the juice, here goes.
Tuesday, March 8, boardsters Larry McLaughlin, Joe Morris, Bobby Stover, Herman Rogers, and Chair Connie Harper gathered around the conference table along with a dozen or so in the peanut gallery. As soon as the meeting opened, talk went to finances, why all the mileage costs, where to cut costs, where is the money coming from, and where can cuts be made. It was no nonsense and the eyeball was looking at Dawson. Herman Rogers, “ventually everything is going to be looked at… belt tightening in the future is coming…”Rogers was talking about federal budget cuts in the health field. In response to the calls for belt tightening, Office Manager Klotzbach, “We’e looking at ways to cut costs …the mileage charges are all reimbursed…. Actually, there is very little waste… We get money anyway we can.”As an observation, it appeared the Board was tense, like they knew something was amiss.
Joe Morris asked for a break-down on income from grants. Klotzbach offered some grant sources but was unsure of exact amounts from each. Morris, on the subject of cutbacks and President Bush’ direction, “f Jesus Christ was in there, it wouldn’ get better!”There was silence.
Did we mention the Health Dept. just purchased four new Chevys for $56,000.00? The office manager said the funds came from the WIC grant.
From the peanut gallery, business owner Linda Jarvis stood and made it clear, as a business owner, she wasn’ about to abide by the new smoking ban ordinance. Firing right back, County Medical Officer Doc Boggs, “e’l serve papers on you in 90 days!”Jarvis wasn’ done: Her business is already regulated; the WV Senate is considering taking away County Health Board powers to issue such bans; and, “his has gone way to far…Injunctive relief goes two ways!”Boggs came back again with threats of taking the business woman to court. Chair Harper, “Our job is to protect the health.”
Lisa Rhodes was just as adamant against the new get tough on smokers ban. Rhodes: it’ wrong to kick smokers; it’ wrong to tell people what they can do on the street; it’ wrong to tell convenience store (Go Mart) customers what they can do for the five minutes they’e in there; and, if you’e banning smoking, then you aught to ban tobacco chewers because that’ just as bad for your health. Rhodes, “s it in the Constitution you can’ smoke?” Morris retorted something about not being allowed to harm others. Jarvis, “hat’ my point!! I have rights, too. No one has to come into my business!”Rhodes, “ood causes cancer, too.”
And then, and then, here’ the trip down that slippery slope the public has been warned about. Our head honcho Medical Officer, Doc Boggs, mentioned a need to cut medical expenses related to smoking and, and, and then came out with what sounded like the next avenue of doing what’ best for us. Boggs mentioned all the fat people in the county. Hear that, readers? Next step will be to ban ice cream and soda pop and in the name of Big Brother’ keeping us healthier campaign.
Continued on page 13
One little fat guy asked the Board to follow WV Open Meeting Laws in the future. Harper, “ovin right along.”
As for finances and the Health Dept., Director Dawson, “hings don’ look good... We have a $114,000 budget deficit now.”Dawson and the Board went round and round on how to cut expenses. Dawson suggested not filling vacancies and program cutbacks, “e have some real hard decisions to make..”Questions on the agency getting reimbursements, what programs are losing grant funding, and moving people around to the vacant spots. Herman Rogers, “here is only one thing to do, cut back.”Rogers asked for a complete run down on salaries, job descriptions, and summary of current duties. McLaughlin said the budget was all very confusing to him.
RN Jeannie Perdue works the Right From the Start program and is the senior nurse. Perdue asked about a staff meeting a week earlier where she was excluded from the gathering and her name was “antered around” Perdue felt even with seniority, her job was in jeopardy of becoming a part time position.
So what does the Health Bd. do when there is anyway possible to go secret? You got it. Dive, dive, dive. To secret time they went as fast as they could. Remember the lardy that asked the Board to follow Sunshine Laws? When Joe Morris said they wanted secrecy, they did so, without a motion, without a second, and without a vote. Pooooof!! As fast as their little feets could move, out the door they did go. Doc Boggs also headed for the back room. From the peanut gallery, “S Doc Boggs on the Board?”Dawson, “ES.” Over in the corner, Jeannie Perdue, the person complaining about meetings held without her, remained seated. Perdue, “’ not invited again!”
As a note: a motion and vote is required to go into secret time and they have to give a legitimate reason for doing so. Neither was done!
20 minutes after going secret, the boardsters returned to their seats and mums was the word. Not a comment.
If we’e talking open meeting law violations, during a vote to affirm new HIPPA regulations, the Chair got a motion and a second but no vote. Even with no vote, the Chair said the new regulations passed.
When the meeting ended, no one looked happy. No chit chat. No telling jokes. It just ended. If you keep reading, you’l find out why.
Within 24 hours of the March 8 Health Board meeting, Director Karen Dawson tendered her resignation. With finances crumbling, layoffs coming, shortfalls in the current budget, questions on expenses, and the public upset about the new smoking ban for the county, Director Karen Dawson bailed out. On March 10th we asked Ms Dawson about her plans. She said she wanted to take a Cervical Cancer Program Director position which serves a 5 county region which includes Clay. That position has conveniently been vacant for some time.
On March 11 an emergency meeting of the Health Board was called. Chair Harper and Director Dawson were absent. Joe Morris ran the orchestrated affair. Orchestrated? Yes. From the get go, it was obvious, the Board had already decided to appoint office manager Linda Klotzbach into the “interim”director’ job. As they conversed back and forth, Klotzbach referred to what she would do as director. Linda explained the process, the position was be posted in house for 10 days, the Board could interview candidates, at the end of 10 days they could post the job outside the agency and interview those applicants if need be. As of meeting time, no one from within the agency had signed up for the $57,000 a year opening.
One lady asked if a director was required. Mr. Morris responded, no, all the state code requires is a nurse, sanitarian, and a clerk. Klotzbach pushed for filling Dawson’ top spot, mentioning how much work there is to do and the amount of scrutiny from federal oversight groups.
As Klotzbach was commenting on how she would run the agency, County Sanitarian (RN, septic tank inspector, and Smoking Czar) Jay Carper asked if he could say something before the vote to hire Linda. From Joe Morris, “o, not really.”Boom! After a few more minutes of discussion, acting Chair Morris did allow Carper to speak. Carper’ comments included: he was scared to say too much; he had already been told the acting director would become the full time director; under those conditions, no one will sign up for an interview; he wants to keep his job after a new director is hired; he had been laid been laid off during the last budget crunch; he is currently working in 8 programs; and, “ow many more positions can I take here.. .. Where is my job security?.. My job may be eliminated again.”Boardster Larry McLaughlin tried to encourage Carper with, “They can’ shoot you and they can’ take your birthday.”Carper, “’e been there.”
The motion came and passed to hire Linda Klotzbach as the Clay County Health Dept. Interim Director. As the meeting was ending, Morris said the group needed to get their heads together and decide where they wanted to be 12 months from then, decide on a direction and what they wanted to accomplish and do so before interviewing candidates.
There are requirements for holding a legal emergency meeting of a public agency. The agenda has to say which board member called the meeting and signatures of a majority of the board members in favor of the meeting. Office manager Klotzbach called the meeting according to Herman Rogers and there were no signatures on the agenda posted on the front door and not on the copies available during the meeting. AW