APRIL 16, 2004

Wrong Headed: Left or Right
Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin
Board of Education Meeting
Magistrate Report

        Seems like every day a new story surfaces on a drug bust, drug related death, a vehicle stolen, or a shooting death. On the street, the talk is not the election, or baseball, or the garden. Rather, the topic is: who was most recently burglarized or which street thug did what the night before. Some in the county openly say law enforcement has all but quit trying.
        We have news for you and it isn’ pretty. First, the latest statistics on what the Sheriff’ department actually accomplished in 2003 and an interview of a very gloomy picture on the future of law enforcement after two deputies are expected to be laid off July 1, 2004.
        Here’ the 2003 stats as compiled by the Clay County Sheriff’ office. 937 Circuit Court papers were served of 1303 received. Magistrate Court papers served: 571. Emergency Domestic petitions served in 2003: 64. Total court papers served: 1572; total man hours spent 3144.
        103 traffic crashes were investigated in 2003 consuming 412 labor hours. It took 113 hours to issue 229 traffic citations in 2003. Total citations issued by all law enforcement ( State, County , Town, and DNR) 645.
        180 hours were spent serving 30 mental hygiene petitions last year. 372 hours was spent on investigations in Clay County.        $30,000 was generated for the county from law enforcement activities.
        Bailiff duties took another 1248 hours. Not counting 911 calls, a total of 6781 hours was paid for by the taxpayer.
        So how many cases did the Deputies work on last year? Answer: A bunch! Petit Larceny cases: 22; Grand Larceny: 10; Destruction of property: 14; B & E: 24; Arson: 2; Missing persons: 5; Assault: 13; Domestic: 4; Brandishing: 4; Rape: 1; Obtaining goods under false pretense: 1; Misc.: 24.
        Comparison statistics were not available for year 2002 as of press time.
        The future for law enforcement looks bleak according to Sheriff Harald Fields. County Commission cut fiscal year 2004 – 2005 budgets by nearly 20% last month. The new budget year begins July 1, 2004. As stated during CCC meetings, that translates to loosing 2 employees per department. The Sheriff’ Department has two divisions, one for law enforcement and one for office duties. For law enforcement that means two less officers on duty. The following is an interview granted this paper by Sheriff Fields April 15th.
         What will the new year budget do to your department? Fields, “hat they did [Commission] was give me a number of dollars that I had to cut. If there is no modifications to the budget, it’ going to cost me two officers. There are really two separate budgets. The girls teamed up and went on their husbands’insurances and saved enough to keep the girl in that budget.
                         But when you get over in the other budget [law enforcement], they’e [deputies] the bread winners in the family and they can’ do that. Consequentially, I am going to loose two people if there is not modifications done.”
         So what will be cut back on? Fields, “hat we’l do is, we’l stop doing a little bit of everything. There is only going to be three people. It’ going to gut us. Now we’l barely be able to take care of the courts and serve the papers.”
         Does state code say the courts take priority? Fields, “eah. You have to. The Judge would get on us lively if we don’ get that done. We have to take care of the summons and subpoenas especially, … just to keep the courts going. Then we have to bailiff the courts. I have had as many as three tied up with court…. Holding prisoners, courts on the hill…. Sometimes everything we’e got will be tied up on day shift with the courts and maybe a night shift man, too. It is going to be an impossible task to carry on like we’e done.”
         So what’ the way out? Fields, “f they leave my budget cut $57,000 on law enforcement, that’ the only thing I can do. I could have sent back my budget with absolutely no operating expense and bring in the five deputies and let them just sit here in the office…. I couldn’ do that. You’e got to keep operating expenses . There is just no other way of doing it. Unless they modify the budget, I’l cut two.” With two terminated, there will be three deputies left to serve the courts and the county.
         There may be a glimmer of hope from the Sheriff, “rom what they tell me, I don’ have access to all the info… It’ my understanding that a little bit of the oil and gas assessments may come back up just a little bit … but it won’ be enough to affect personnel I don’ think.”Fields said that glimmer may be known before the end of this year’ fiscal budget.
         “ou know…you get blind sided… this would have happened a long time ago had it not been for this home confinement program. I reduced the jail bill one half a million dollars in the last 4 years…. And of course we paid for every car that we’e got. They haven’ paid a dime on one of the cruisers we’e using. Not a dime has come out of county coffers. I don’ know what to say or do. If the money is not there, I can understand that. But, understand that the people out there are going to demand law enforcement, too,”commented Harald Fields.
         So what will the Sheriff tell the public when there are no deputies to handle their needs? “he only thing you can tell ‘m. I don’ have anybody to go. We’l go and get as much of it as we can. The State Police have brought one in. They brought a new one in this week…. I understand we may get one more. It appears they are going up to five. That will help balance it out but it won’ help with the terrible taste in the public’ mouth about the Sheriff’ Department. Until the word is put out that we’e been cut back to just enough left to do… When I took office, they had three deputies. What they did was, they ran 5 eight hour days and then went home. You didn’ have any second shift. None of this stuff until midnight. There was nothing on the weekend…. I don’ want to go back to that, but what else can we do? We’l carry what we can, that’ all we can do.”                                                AW
                 ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
    1.        When we loose the right to be different we loose the privilege to be free. Charles Hughes
2.        For a boy riding an ATV, the death rate in West Virginia is five times the national average for a girl its 11 times.
3.        An estimated 90 percent of US households own at least one piece of Tupperware.
4.        In 2002, 166 patents were issued to West Virginians.
5.        In 2002, 78.5 percent of those age 25 and over in the state were high school graduates.
6.        By 2030 when the entire “aby boom generation”is over 65, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’ is projected to increase 70 percent.        
7.        AAA foundation says drivers 65 or older are nearly twice as likely to die in car crashes as drivers between 55 and 64.
8.        West Virginia teacher salaries rank 41st in the nation.
9.        The economy has lost 2.2 million payroll jobs since President Bush took office.
10.         More than 1.6 million people filed for personal bankruptcy in fiscal year 2003.
11.         People in almost every state buy 85 to 90 percent of their food from another state.
12.         Dress suit sales in the United States have continued to drop, declining by 11 percent since 2002.
13.         The number of paternity tests surged from 149,000 in 1995 to 350,000 in 2002
14.         An MTV poll found that four out of 10 of the 18 to 24 year olds surveyed said they would definitely VOTE, up nearly 30 percent from 2000.
15.         Nationwide suicide is the cause of death for an estimated 100 teenagers each week.
16.         In 2003, overall mining fatalities decreased to 56 from 67 in 2002.
17.         An estimated 35 million smokers try to kick the habit each year, but only about 7 percent succeed in remaining smoke free for more than a year.
18.         A study based on 2001 Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms statistics show 641 guns used in the commission of crimes can be traced back to West Virginia.
19.         The average child watches more than 45,000 television commercials per year.
20.         Within a month, consumers can expect to pay 50 cents more for a gallon of milk, an increase that results from a combination of shrinking dairy herds and higher feed prices.

Town Council Meets
        Oh, those pesky townsters are at it again! They’re at it again! Rate increase and more regs a coming! Meeting April 6th, Clay Town Council covered a bunch of topics during their hour long assembly. Up front sat the “King”, Mayor Arthur Jarrett. Around the table, Recorder Dwana Murphy and council persons, Betty Murphy, Zegeer, Childers, Morris, and Legg. Other than Johnny Woofter and this reporter , the peanut gallery was empty. In the way of a note to the reader, sprinkled here and there throughout the meeting came comments from Betty Murphy, Billie Zegeer (mostly) on town Chief of Police Buckshot Butcher. Strong concerns were raised repeatedly over Butcher leaving town boundaries and riding along with deputies, leaving the town without police protection.
         Here goes with what we gleaned from the elected ones.
         So how’ the finances at the sewer plant? Not good. More money was drawn from set aside accounts to help cover the cost of operation for the factory behemoth. This past month $3000 was coughed up to replace (repair) 2 blown-up something or others. Remaining in the special account, just $194.00.
         Town clerk Drema Thomas received a $1 on the hour pay raise. Jarrett explained that Thomas was now certified as a Class I water operator along with acquiring other certificates. Big Murph, “o we have the money?”Jarrett, “ot sure.”Council person frank Childers, “f we have the money, no problem.”Motion passed for the $1 increase.
         How’ your cable service town locals? The old service-deprived Thompson Cable Co has been bought out by a 1 ½ year old company called Cequill. Cequill is NOT a division of Charter Cable according to the in-attendance rep Dave Fox. The questions came: Will we get more channels? Will service improve? Where will the service men come from? Will they come more than once a week if you’e lucky? Will rates go up?
         Now ole Dave didn’ fall of the turnip truck yesterday. Answers were general in nature and vague on several issues. King Arthur sought answers. With few answers around King Arthur used his best statesmanship and detente, Jarrett, “ ain’ getting no answers am I?”and, “ou ain’ saying much.. You’e beating around the bush. You didn’ tell nothing!”
         Here’ what we gathered from Cequill: the company is buying up several local cable companies and is currently looking at Econoco in this county; although they now own the Thompson Cable Co, Cequill hasn’ really given the local system much attention; currently there are around 200 customers; additional customers will be needed to make the system profitable; no high speed internet service can be added until there are a minimum of 700 customers; if Econoco can be purchased, there will be enough of a customer base to do upgrades; if high speed internet can be profitable be put in place, then high definition TV can also be added; Cequill has better trained service personnel and they will start looking at local issues soon; Cequill does not have an office in WV yet; and, a new customer complaint call-in center is being set up in Buckhannon. That center will be manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
         Answers we didn’ hear included: Quicker repairs, more channels, and better reception quality?
         On the issue of higher rates, Mr. Smooth, Dave Fox, “There’ always going to be rate increases… nothing is planned now.”Will the new provider include local access stations? Not a word. Council will meet with the Cequill rep April 20th at 2pm to further discuss the franchise agreement.
         And then the first volley of ATV War 2004. Mayor Jarrett asked Council to vote in a new ATV ordinance that would mandate no riding of 4 wheelers on town streets. Jarrett, “hose cats are riding up town at 90 mph!” During earlier meetings, Jarrett has complained of one guy riding his ATV through town each morning at 5:30am and waking up the neighborhood. Jarrett said if the Town enacts such an ordinance, he felt Clay County Commission would follow suit and ban such use on the roads in the county. ( Bet Arthur catches double ‘H’ on that last statement. It is election year, you know!)
         Knowing the town doesn’ have a municipal judge, and without such no local law can be enforced, Sally Legg, “ho will enforce the ordinance?”Childers, “It’] kind of like a pit bull with out any teeth!”Council instructed the Mayor to seek legal advice from attorney Jeff Davis.
         And as was decided at least once in the past, Council is going to toughen up on storm water running into the sewer system lines. During periods of rain, the sewage plant gets in trouble from all the extra liquids entering the system. Many in the town are believed to have their down spouts hooked to the system. Look for an ordinance to be on the next regular Council meeting agenda. Also on the stinky subject, grease traps, or rather lack of grease traps, are still clogging up the multi million dollar plant. Someone commented that those businesses with grease traps empty the traps down the sewer drains!.
         Danny Sizemore with the Golden Delicious Festival asked Council for financial assistance to help with the planned $500 fireworks display in September 2004. No decision made.
         And all you folks not paying for water service, you get 30 days to pay, then off with your water service! Dwana explained that if a customer makes a partial payment, water service cannot be disconnected.
         Sally Legg said she had been asked to bring the Buckshot Butcher issue to Council’ attention. What ever the issue, it didn’ go very far. Big Murph, “e’ not out at the right times!” Someone else, “H YES HE IS!”Murph, “e wasn’ out when they broke in to the Dollar Store. They didn’ need him the next morning, they need him at night!!”It got fast and furious, from another Council person, “If he worked in town, we’ be alright!”
         Here’ a cute one from Billie Zegeer, “e need a small jail. I’l furnish the block.”
         And then the highlight of the meeting. Jarrett informed Council they need to initiate an annual water rate increase to keep up with the cost of living increases. Phil Morris was in agreement to a small ( 2%) increase each year. Zegeer, “e need a little raise.”Murphy, “re we going to raise PSDs?”Jarrett, “es, them too, 2 %.”The motion to raise water rates will be on the May meeting agenda.
         And finally from the meeting, that short little round guy asked about Council voting to pay Buckshot Butcher’ $400 water bill as a favor for his volunteer work in the town as cop during the March 2004 meeting. According to the Mayor, the bill has not been paid yet. Betty Murphy said such a payment would be illegal.
                 How about that for a meeting readers? Everything from a runny a sewage plant during rain storms, to banning ATVs on the streets, to pay raises, to water rate increases. It don’ get any better than this!                                         AW
         Prosecutor Slows Emerg. Services
                 Things are tough in Clayberry. Not that the Commission job was ever easy, but it just got tougher. On the April 12th agenda was termination of employees. Before the 10am CCC monthly, scheduled was a Small Cities Block Grant Public Hearing at 9:30. Didn’ happen. Only Sams was on time. By 9:50 fellow mouse Pete Triplett showed and the hearing was held.
                 The public was asked for comments on the plan to ask the Feds for $600,000 to rebuild the Queen Shoals PSD water system. QSPSD Chair Kearns was first to speak, “We need the money, we need to upgrade..”Clay Roane PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait was pretty fired up with comments: 2 years ago the Punkin Ridge area was promised help with water service; the CCC has not done nothing yet; they’e tried for two years to secure funding; and, QS PSD hasn’ tried to find any $.
                 Backing up the Postelwait, Punkineer Celia Coon reminded the boys up front, less than 4 weeks earlier the CCC said in public: QSPSD doesn’ need a whole new system. Coon wasn’ too happy herself!
                 John Romano spoke on funding for Punkin Ridge water line extension efforts. According to Romano, Gov Bob Bob Bob Wise has on his desk two requests for the Punkin project and it is strictly up to him to OK the needed $100,000 request. Romano, “It’ the Governor’ decision… He hasn’ denied them as far as I know..”
                 No more public comments were heard and the hearing was closed. Mathew Bragg showed up around 10 am, just in time for the regular CCC meeting. The motion was made and passed to seek $600,000 in grant money for Queen Shoals PSD. With present, a quorum, Pete headed back off to work over in Two Run.
                 Gary Walker with Abel Software asked for space on the 911 tower to mount high speed internet equipment. Walker said his firm plans to offer county wide internet by connecting the 8 schools via a wireless system.
         No telephone lines involved! Hear that readers? As early as this summer, everyone in the county can surf the internet at much quicker speeds than on a dial up connection. Clayberry is being drawn into the high tech world of cyberspace before we even have potable wa wa to drink!
                 With hands outstretched, Apple Festival Prez Danny Sizemore asked the county for any assistance available to help support the local festival. Last year the county shelled out $1000 for the fireworks display and provided janitors at the Courthouse to keep the building and rest rooms clean. Sams, “ight now we’e in a crunch…. I’ sure we can help with the janitors… There’ no money now, [we’e laying people off.. The festival is wonderful and we appreciate your work…”No decision made
                 Just 14 minutes into the get-together, the public was tossed out so a secret time could be had. A tall thin Michael King remained in the room along with Mitzi Adkins and Ambulance Service Director Beverly King. King left out after 30 minutes as Bragg walked into the adjourning room. By 11am the public was allowed back. Sams said no decision had been made. Motion made and passed to accept Michael King’ resignation from full and part time Paramedic duties.
                 Here’ one readers. The Commission was asked to pay for cattle damage by stray dogs. The requests came from Michael Stricker and James W Dawson. Dawson asked for $275 for a 10 day old Black Angus calf. No word on the other animal. Sams, “$275.00 for a 10 day old calf? Is that all right with you?”Bragg said little. Bragg looked to Marlyn Starcher for some insight. Bragg, “Is that high?”Starcher, “I don’ know…”CCC voted to pay Dawson $150.00 for his loss and contact Stricker for more info before deciding his settlement.
                 First the news and then some back ground. During discussion of various Budget Digest grants coming into the county, Ambulance Director Beverly King said she had spoken with Senator Randy White about their $45,000 grant request for a new truck. She was lead to believe the $45,000 had been earmarked for them but now there was a glitch. King had been told by someone at the Capitol: the county received $100,000 3 years ago to pay off the questionable $100,000 Ambulance Authority Bank loan at the bank of Gassaway and the money wasn’ used for that purpose. Around the room, all were in agreement, this county never got the $100,000. Sams remembered a meeting from some time back where the elected folks in Charleston promised the big money but the funds never showed up. Phone calls will be made.
                 Here’ some background. As the ever so illustrious Ambulance Authority was bankrupting the agency, Treasurer Joyce White went to the Bank of Gassaway and received the loan after using two ambulances as collateral. According to the Authority minutes and the Attorney General’ investigation which followed, the loan was illegal. Shortly after the loan was spent, the Authority was dissolved by the County Commission and a private management company was brought in to try and save the county’ only emergency transport provider.
                 So how’ the Ambulance Service doing these days? Director King reported a second duty truck had been put into service in mid Feb and since then, things have been looking up. Since having two crews ready to respond, the agency has only lost 10 runs to outside providers. She went on say, people are beginning to pay on $15,000 in past due bills and those that aren’, are taken to Magistrate Court.
                 No formal bids have been received on reproofing the new Courthouse. Sams said Gary’ Roofing estimated the cost to replace the rubber roofing to be in the neighborhood of $30,000 and to put on a hip style roof.. around $75,000. Bid closing is April 14.
                 Many roads in the county are being renamed to comply with 911 “ake em all sound the same”addressing and mapping. Rt 4 between Maysel and the county line was changed to Maysel/Procious Road. Some don’ like that name and want the Northern most section to be called Maysel Road with the balance below Little Country Feed Store to be renamed Procious Road. A petition has been received to re-change the long stretch of black top. 911 Director Dave King advised against such a move. King, “This opens a big can of worms….”Sams, “There’ goin to be a lot of confusion.. there’ a lot of houses that have to change again…”No decision made.
                 And then the tough part. CCC voted to terminate the employment of custodian Patty Fugate and County 911 Emergency Service Director Dave King. Sams, “this is hard to do…. There’ a budget crunch…. We have to do something.”Bragg, “e tried to keep everybody working as long as we could..”Decision made (due to lack of funds), Fugate and King will work until April 30th and then they’e gone.
                 Back three meetings ago, Commissioner Bragg told reps from the Business Development Authority, he had secured $50,000 in state grants for the BDA to buy out the Clay County Bank lien on the Filcon Fields property. To date the bail out grant has not arrived. Item #16 on this meeting agenda read: CCC agrees to the submission of a grant application by the BDA for $50,000 to release lien on Filcon Property. Hmmmmm… Confusing? It is to many others too! Bragg said during the meeting he would call Charleston and check on his promised $50,000.00
                  There will be a CAEZ Census track 9579 Election May 3 at the Big Otter Community Center at 7pm.
                 Names removed from the Ambulance Service employee list: Michael King, Crystal Harris, Danny Harris, and Patty Johnson. New to list: George Jones, Chris Underwood, Jane Rogers, Angie Lane, and Julie King.
                 Motion wa made and passed to allow just 60 days for area residents to protest 911 address changes. 60 days readers, don’ say you didn’ know!
                 Back last fall 911 Director Dave King said the new emergency radio repeaters for improved emergency service coverage would be up and operational in March 2004. that deadline has come and gone but don’ blame Mr King. Instead point the finger at slow poke, not around much anymore, what am I doing here, Prosecutor Daniel Grindo. Three months ago Grindo agreed to go over the needed lease agreement for the installation of the high dollar radio repeater equipment. According to Dave King, “We’e still waiting on the Prosecutor.”Sams, “I don’ about that that Prosecutor.” Bragg, “hat Prosecutor???”Translation: with the equipment in hand, the only thing stopping our emergency service providers with better reception and a safer working environment is that little guy upstairs, Daniel Gringo.
                 According to one of them, either King or Sams, Grindo’ excuse has been: He cannot got in contact with the proper authorities. Countering that, King said he has talked to those same people over and over during the same time period.
                 The best things always happen in the last few minutes. As the April 12th CCC wound down, Commissioner Mathew Bragg raised eyebrows. Bragg explained that one day earlier, another dog had been killed in Ovapa and commented, “And you can guess who’ it was!”He went to say the dog that was killed was an old family pet and was nearly toothless with age. “arry Rogers was very upset..”
                 How about that for a ringer readers. Bragg knows how to stir up the stuff! And about that part , “and you can guess who’ it was…” Of course he was talking about an earlier incident with Michelle Deyton’ great Dane animal. Be sure to read the LAST WORD article in the back of this fine near award winning publication for the latest update.                         AW
         Wrong Headed: Left or Right
         By Jim Chafin
         Part IV
          Though Dwight Eisenhower spent his adult life pursuing a career in America’ military, and a stint as Commander in Chief in the Oval Office, he nonetheless warned this country to keep a wary eye on the military-industrial complex. Being a military man in the highest echelons of power he was privy to the process in which military people forged alliances with the burgeoning arms cartel and the legions of lobbyists who roam the legislative halls of Washington, D.C. Never quite satisfied with the amount of money appropriated by Congress, Pentagon elitists keep a steady stream of “ew and improved”weapons systems flowing through the pipeline, requiring billions of dollars in increases over previous years’budgets. And Congress, always the “atriotic”one (even as it fails to uphold its constitutional duty), does little to dissuade those raiders of the public coffers – hence a military budget that is, quite literally, out of control.
          Those overflowing war chests give rise to Bush league adventurers to keep this nation in a state of agitation about “vil-doers” each new administration finding a boogeyman behind each rock, including those whose intestinal fortitude was not quite up to the rigors of war when it was their time to fight the “nemies of democracy.” Each administration, in its own turn, has found terrorists that must be taken out. Each president has sought to build on his image as a defender of freedom at the expense of lost American lives, grievous injuries, and devastated families; not mention tremendous financial burdens for this and future generations.
          This nation’ foreign policy is being formulated by special interests. Even while George W. presents a face of ill-tempered arrogance, and would have Americans to believe that he is “he”man to be reckoned with, it is plain to all (except the willingly blind and deaf) that his policies for the future of this country are designed and driven by those huge corporate donors to his campaign fund. And Bush’ denial to the contrary are so transparent that even Li’ Abner would have no trouble seeing through it. I believe that our forefathers intended that America be strong enough to defend itself against aggression from whatever source. However, it is clear that waging peace with our neighbors is an equal leg of this nation’ foreign policy, and the use of unilateral preemptive strikes against perceived enemies of the “irtual”kind is not to be condoned. Any nation that pursues war without provocation will earn itself a place in history as an aggressor and violator of human rights. America can ill afford such a designation!
          Just five short years after the end of World War II this nation was heavily committed to military action in South Korea, of which this nation suffered 135,000 casualties. The 1960’ saw the Vietnam debacle rear its ugly head. And along with crash programs to produce munitions to fight a conventional war, we saw a massive program to develop nuclear arms. During the Reagan administration the military budget roared along stronger than ever, and, you guessed it, huge tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans – taxpayers were just getting out of that particular episode in the final term of Bill Clinton. Now, here we are, three years into Bush’ administration and we’e back into a deficit of $550 billion – and there’ more to come if we do not have a regime change this year.
          This industrial-military complex has ties in at least 40 states in this nation, and each one, no matter how small, participates in media campaigns to counter any attempts in Congress to cut back on pork programs designed by military brass to keep funds rolling into Pentagon bank accounts. Speaking of which, monies funneled into military accounts seem to disappear as if being sucked up by a giant black hole. Like government itself, there are thousands of funds set up, into which deposits are made that would defy detection by the ablest accountant practitioner. Even if Congress were not blinded by lobbyist attempts to corrupt the legislative process, the stealth and secrecy that exists in the disposition of funds are so extensive that it is doubtful if any meaningful accounting of public dollars could be mounted without a shakeup of the entire administrative branch.
          Presently, any effort by Congress to curtail design and production of a weapons system would be met by Wall Street media hype such as this: “our Congress is voting to cut your jobs and the defense operations in your district. Call or write your representative and urge his vote to support development of (weapon of choice) and protect the economy of your country. Your action in this regard is needed NOW.” As any student of the legislative process would know, this kind of voter input with his congressman will have a decidedly chilling effect upon any government action to curtail “rowth rate”in the munitions industry.
          So, whether your political persuasion runs left or right, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, the industrial-military complex roars along unchanged from one administration to another, the only visible difference being administrative policy. Small reductions in percentage of growth could possibly be effected by virtue of a strong emphasis on internal economic or social issues, but only temporarily – unless the system is fixed!
          Monies derived from the global sales of munitions is the force that drives this nation’ militaristic adventures into the affairs of other nations. Feigning morality, and “aring”about equality, rights and welfare of foreign regions, this nation embarks on even greater weapons of mass destruction. It’ a vicious circle. Of a certainty, when such weapons are produced they will be used for killing people – even our own.
         Editor’ note: Wrong Headed: Left or Right will conclude in our next issue.
         Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin
          Hello Brother Bill: Well, I thought spring was here but it must have been an April Fool's joke - our weather has been miserable. Hopefully it will be warmer real soon.
          Nikki O'Brien, of Twistabout Ridge, has passed her test to become a Real Estate Agent. This was the State test and she is now a full fledged agent. Congratulations to Nikki. Roy Davis, of Daubenspeck Hill, has been ill. He was hospitalized for a spell but is home now. It is time to get back on the road, Roy. Bobby and Misty Simmons, of Varney Town, are the proud parents of a new baby boy, Daniel Gene. Imogene Stalnaker hosted a Ladies Mission Meeting from the Horner's Fork Baptist Church recently. Several women were in attendance. Refreshments were served and those attending found it a good place to be. Our recent visitors were
         Gary Grose, and his wife, Mary Lou Rogers Grose, of Minford, Ohio. Marilyn Grose Erion and her husband, Ron, of Wyoming. Marilyn is interested in family photos and I supplied her with some to copy. We had a good visit. They also visited with Mr. and Mrs. Randall Samples and Mr. and Mrs. Roy Grose, all of Procious.
          I considered fixing Tom the Turkey for Easter dinner. As I went to feed last week he decided he wanted to
         play rough. I was flogged by that booger. I did threaten
         him with the pot.
         Hugh Boggs fell and broke his hip. He also was hospitalized but is back at the Laurel Ridge Nursing home.
          If you know anyone who graduated with the CCHS class of l955 or was a classmate of that class, please pass the word. We hope to have a BIG reunion during the summer of 2005. This will be our 50th and we would like for everyone to attend.
          Suzie O'Dell Loomis, of Given, writes me that her husband, Charlie, had found one of the early mushrooms. I never could find those. Leann Bennett, a student at Tech, is visiting with her parents, Dennis and Rheenetta Bennett, of Valley View, this week. Roger Hanshaw was
         also recently visiting with his parents, David and Marie
         Hanshaw, of Valley Fork. Roger attends Notre Dame University. He is working toward a PhD. Miranda McLaughlin is planning on attending cosmetology school after she graduates this spring. Maybe then I can get my hair fancied up.
          Things appear to be heating up with the election just
         around the corner. Folks running up and down the road campaigning. Looks like some of them are up to their dirty tricks again taking down signs of folks they do not want in office. Shame on whoever is taking the signs down - someone must be afraid their opponents might win. So they take down their signs - seems like stealing to me.
          Well, brother, news is sorta short this time around. I hope you and yours are well and happy.
          Until next time - Help Us All to Be Brave.
                                 Love and prayers, Sis
         Board of Education Meeting
          Clay County Board of Education members Gene King, David Pierson, Kimberly Sams, Rick Tanner and Board President R.B. Legg, Jr. met at the administrative office in Clay for the first of their twice monthly regular meetings on Monday, April 5. There was standing room only as many school administrators, teachers and students attended this meeting which Legg called to order at 6:00PM after offering a prayer.
          Randy Shillingburg from the Education Alliance came to present the mini-grants they awarded to Clay County teachers. Clay County received more mini-grants than any other county in the state. Shillingburg, “Clay) teachers are taking the initiative to provide their students with innovative learning opportunities.” He said that since they started in 1983 the Education Alliance has awarded almost $2 million in grants. He presented awards to Clay County High School (CCHS) teachers Bruce Cunningham, Crystal Gibson, James Sirk, Frank Kleman, Lisa Arnold, Henry Mullins, Richard Willis; Clay Middle School (CMS) teachers Norman Stephens, Cheryl Thomas, Melissa Stephenson (two awards), Catherine Claytor; Ivydale Elementary teacher Patricia Underwood; and, Valley Fork Elementary teacher Leanna Hopkins. Many of the teachers were present to accept their awards which they will use in their classrooms.
          Teachers Warren Mullins, CCHS, and Lisa Dolin, CMS, reported on the Technology Student Association’ trip to Cedar Lakes April 1-3 where the students competed in the annual Spring Conference. Mullins said the CCHS TSA team brought home 13 first place, 12 second place and 2 third place awards. TSA student Alex Hemmelgarn was elected as a state officer and will serve as Treasurer for 2004-2005. Dolin said 24 CMS students brought back trophies this year and placed first in 9 events. Overall the CMS TSA team placed third. She praised the behavior of all the TSA students at the conference.
          Many of the TSA students had come to the meeting and were recognized for their achievements. Twenty TSA students from CCHS and CMS will go on to national competition in June during the National TSA Conference held in Nashville, TN.
          Business Manager/Treasurer Loretta Gray provided the Board with the March financial report. March, as expected, was good for tax collection. The audit for the last fiscal year (2003) was just finished, copies of which she provided the Board. She reported there were two findings. One was for not having all inventory on the WVIS system. Gray said a complete inventory with historical costs of equipment was needed and they were waiting in line for the services of one of two companies that can help them with that. The second concerned reconciliation of their capital projects account. Gray said there would be a change in the way special projects, which she defined as all grants other than building improvements or construction, are accounted for. She said they would have to have three accounts – general fund, special projects and capital projects.
                  Business conducted by the Board: approved previous meeting minutes and payment of current bills; accepted the resignation/retirement of Gary O’rien effective June 30, 2004; approved providing food preparation and transportation for 4-H Camp July 12-16; approved provided the $249 requested by the WAIT Task Team for Junior-Senior Prom activities; did not approve a request from a Kanawha County student to transfer to CCHS on the recommendation of CCHS Principal Phil Dobbins; approved an overnight trip for the Lizemore Elementary 5th grade May 7 and 8 for Travel West Virginia (they’l stop at a variety of sites), the Board supplying transportation only; approved personnel as summer school teachers at CMS and teachers and counselors for Camp Mustang, all successful bids (lists of those hired were provided the Board but not read during the meeting).
          The Board also approved making a request for a Title I waiver. Assistant Superintendent Larry Gillespie apologized to the Board that the request was published in the paper before they had acted on it. He explained that the school with the highest percentage of free/reduced meals received priority when Title I funds are provided and now most of that money goes to Clay Elementary. If they get the waiver the funds can go to all the schools equally, if not maybe one or two of the schools will get nothing. Gillespie said only two waivers had been approved in the state.
          LRM, LLC was chosen to do the surveying of the building site property in Big Otter for the new elementary school. Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger said he’ contacted three surveying companies to do the work, and surveyor Victor Dawson, who lives in the area, made a pretty good offer, one he felt the Board couldn’ refuse – LRM will do the survey at no cost, donating their time and effort. The Board wasted no time accepting this offer.
          A hearing was conducted to determine the status of a CCHS student whose parents chose not to attend. The Board acted on Linkinogger’ recommendation and placed the child in alternative school for 12 months. Status will be reviewed the 1st semester of 2005 to determine if the student has met the agreed upon criteria. All motions passed unanimously.
          A Billy Samples had asked to be placed on the agenda but was not present at the meeting. James Duffield asked the Board to consider naming the soon-to-be built school in Big Otter after Kerry Kane (not sure if this is correct) who Duffield said was his uncle killed in the first bombing raid December 7, 1941. He said the body was brought back in 1946, he had helped to dig the grave, and it was the first military funeral he saw.
          Earnie Sirk addressed the Board about his concern that he’ seen a student get off a school bus on Route 16 carrying a political candidate’ campaign sign that he said was dangerous. Sirk held up a sign that had thin wire rods attached about 18 inches long (a guess) used to stick in the ground to hold the sign upright. He said the bus driver allowed the kid on the bus with it and noted, “e have a Safe Schools Act.” R.B. Legg responded by asking, “ould it have been as much of a concern if it was Fran King’ sign? …doing Fran’ dirty work for her…” Sirk answered, “ expected something like that from you, R.B.” (A little information for any confused readers: Fran King is a candidate for the Clay County Commission, as is CCHS teacher Brian Holcomb. The sign Sirk says he saw come off the bus was Holcomb’. Sirk is a candidate for the Board of Education, and Legg is up for re-election. Board member King also is seeking re-election, and appointed members Sams and Tanner are candidates for their seats. To make it easy – only Pierson is not on the ballot this time.) Sirk went on to stress that he felt the sign was too dangerous to be on the school bus. Pierson said he didn’ think it would fall under the Safe Schools Act and Tanner asked for the child’ name. Sirk said he wouldn’ name anyone, the sign had no business being in school or on a bus, and asked that the teacher who had provided the sign to the student and the bus driver who’ allowed it on the bus to be disciplined. Linkinogger, “e’e asked all employees not to give the kids campaign stuff. I don’ think anything was done with malice.” He started to read the Safe Schools code but was interrupted as the debate continued. Pierson, “f the child asked for it (the sign), I personally have no problem with it as long as it was given, and they weren’ told to go home and support them (the candidate).” Tanner said he’ talked with one of the parents involved and they knew nothing about a kid getting cut or hurt. He also said he’ talked with the bus driver who said he wasn’ aware anyone had a sign on the bus. Sirk expressed concern, again holding up the sign and indicating a small child, that a child might stumble and fall on it. Tanner told Sirk they appreciated his concern. Sirk asked if they were going to penalize the driver and teacher and put it in their records. Several of the Board indicated that they couldn’ make a decision on a discussion item. Legg, “et you some more publicity…” Sirk, “’ like to save a child’ eye from being put out.” This discussion ended without anything resolved, and no mention of placing it on the agenda as an action item.
          Clinton Salyers, who’ asked to address the Board, read a prepared statement. He offered them apologies for his name being mentioned in a complaint filed with the Secretary of State’ Office. (The complaint was filed by Earnie Sirk.) He said he did not see Brian Holcomb’ campaign material on the school bus, and had not spoken to Earnie Sirk. He said he was not a party to that complaint, and “herefore, anymore mention of my name by Earnie Sirk could and will result in legal proceedings.”
          Linkinogger gave an update on the Big Otter school project. He said he’ had a meeting with Habjam (local gas supplier) about moving a gas line. He’ also contacted the School Building Authority (SBA) with concerns about the funding for the project and was assured that the $4 million was still there, safe and sound. A lawyer is looking over the real estate agreement with Larry and Charles Boggs to buy the site for the school and doing a title search. A SBA required archeological study will have to be done.
          Rick Tanner apologized to visitors for some of the statements that were made during the meeting. Meeting adjourned at 7:05PM. Next regular meeting will be Tuesday, April 20, 6:00 PM, at the administrative office in Clay.                                 TK
         $45,000 Left From Grant
                 Newly reformed and organized Queen Shoals PSD (QSPSD) has been doing some rethinking and complying with West Virginia Public Service Commission rules. The county’ southern most water provider met in regular session April 6th at HE White Elem. PSD Chair Jimmy Kearns ran the meeting with Ann Anderson present and Boardster Dave Sizemore absent.
                 As of meeting time the 150 customer supplier had $5365 in their general account and $45,300 left from the $60,000 Budget Digest Grant received 7 weeks ago.
                 Daily and monthly water testing is required by the state health dept. One time PSD secretary Judy O’ell had been hired to do the daily work and it was reported that Clay Roane PSD Chief Water Operator Jennifer Traub will be responsible for the monthly testing and paperwork.
                 So, is it legal for the Board to hire a Board members family member as the PSD secretary? Yes, according to Chair Jimmy Kearns who had spoken with a WV PSC legal beagle Dave Accord. Kearns informed the Board and those in the peanut gallery that according to Accord: the Jan hiring of Sarah Anderson daughter of Ann , was legal; Such hiring’ are OK as long as the employee is not dependent on the parent nor can the employee reside with the Boardster. Kearns said secretary Sarah met both requirements.        The senior Anderson said there is no county wide policy forbidding such hires either. Anderson was referring to the Courthouse Nepotism policy which forbids such practices. That policy does not apply to the PSD’ and other arms of local government.
                 And while doing some internal housekeeping, Chair Kearns brought the group up to speed on using a room in Ann’ house as the PSD office and spending the $60,000 grant monies for such office space and repairs. Once again Kearns had spoken with state PSC officials and provided: no part of the $60,000 can be used to buy office equipment, supplies or remodeling the place. So what are they doing with the grant $? Kearns said they plan to pay loans, current bills, maintenance, repairs on the backhoe and “hat’ all.”Later in the meeting, the Chair added that they planned to take the grant money down to about $35,000 and no lower. The funds will be used to buy tools, valves, a trash pump and repairs. Ms Anderson, “The PSD will OK that.”
                 Apparently those folks in the Bomont/Glen area of the county read web site clayberry.org where recently were posted comments from the last Clay Roane PSD meeting . Those comments ( from Melissa Postelwait and others) mentioned that QSPSD had been a slow payer of wholesale water bills. Note: Clay Roane PSD supplies QSPSD with a source of water from the Procious Water Plant. Kearns was a little “esty”on this topic and denied any foot dragging. Kearns, “That’ not true…[we were] Not late on paying ANY bills… If they said that, they’e wrong!”As for Clay Roane PSD book work and record keeping as to who paid what and when, Ms Anderson, “hat’ their problem..”
                 The PSD has 4 new taps to install. Something missing here readers. On the subject of water taps and water source, Mr Kearns, “I don’ want to get into it… Do it in the next week or two..”
                 So how’ the PSD doing? According to the assembled, the storage tanks are staying full and leaks have been few. Anderson said that she has been receiving no complaint, Anderson, “I’ not getting any phone calls.”Also, the amount of water used by QSPSD has gone down dramatically since the group took over their operation from the stewardship of Clay Roane.
                 Things called “nnual audits”are required by the state folks. Audit not really an audit? True. Auditors do not check receipts to invoices but rather just make sure the bottom line numbers match up. A recent Annual Report cost the PSD nearly $1000. While the PSD was being operated and maintained by Clay Roane (Feb thru Dec 2003), the folks up the road contracted for the annual audit with the fee being almost $3000. Seemed the QSPSD gang felt they could get more bang for their buck and plan to seek a less expensive CPA to perform the number crunching next time around.
                 The PSD will cover the cost for Sarah Anderson to attend a seminar at Pipestem State Park on how to better terminate water service to customers.
                 And continuing to learn…. Last month QS PSD voted in a $150 rule before terminating customers. Their plan was to let a customer go into arrears 150 bucks before whacking the water service. Throw that one out the window . That’ illegal. Some notes from that discussion: the bill date is when the monthly card is mailed out; 20 days later a late fee is applied; 10 days after that, the customer has to pay in full or whack, whack, whack goes the water service.
                 From County Commission coverage, the county knows QS has applied for a $600,000 water system upgrade this year. If those dollars materialize, the plan calls for a new storage tank, new lines, level up the old tank on Bill Naylor’ property, replace a booster pump and general replacement of problem areas.
                 Oh that learning curve….. Remember when the appointed ones voted to allow local churches free water service. No can do. Kearns explained state rules on such and free water to anyone is a no-no. Kearns, “So.. we’e started billing churches.”
                 And for QS customers sick and tired of crappy water or no water, another glimmer of hope. Chair Kearns reported that WV Water is making plans ( according to Charleston newspaper reports anyway) to bring their own water line around the Clendenin service area ( bypassing the Clendenin Water Plant) and continuing on up Rt 4. If those plans are actually accomplished, Kearns, “here may be a possibility that WV Water could supply us.. Now if that happens, [there] could be a choice in water suppliers. It depends on whether Kanawha County Commission allows this to happen….. We could hook right on”
                 Office hours for the PSD have been reduced to Tuesday and Thursdays, 8 to 2pm. No hours on Wednesday afternoons from now on. Plans were also scrubbed for an outdoor payment drop box for customers.
                 Further clearing the air. Both Dale Deems and Sarah Anderson are contract laborers and NOT employees of the PSD.
                 And, and, and, it was made clear. If Clay Roane PSD goes ahead with a much rumored rate increase, QSPSD will have to do likewise.
                 Water customer Rose Cantrell asked about changing her water service from Clay Roane PSD to QSPSD. As the meeting was ending around 7pm, Mr. Kearns explained for such to happen, the customers in her service area would have to write letters to the WV PSC and ask for such a change. AW
         Last issue I raised the flag for tourism in Clayberry and saw that a group was making plans toward that end. This time I'm going to dare to go back to the trough again. I believe that fall-leaf affairs are destined to be less successful than those in the actual tourist season are, simply because before and after the summer the kids are in school. You have the Golden Delicious Festival in September and scheduling another event a month later is going to make drawing a crowd harder than it would be if you did something earlier. Craft, music and gospel shows all sound good but where will they be? When will they be? Who will advertise them? Who's paying for them and the advertising? If there is a craft show, then what are the roadside vendors vending? Kudos to the fellow that offered his farm for camping, but where will the campers be compared to the other events? Who will pay for all the portable toilets and to have them pumped and cleaned? Is there a contingency plan in case of bad weather? You will always have to deal with Mother Nature in regards to a leaf-looking event. What if the leaves change earlier than expected, or later? What happens to the other stuff then?
                 I'm not being contrary; these are things that should be thought out when planning an event. One bad experience and you may never get the tourists back again. The advertising through the state is both an excellent opportunity and idea, and it's free on top of that. Why not put a crew to work digging into those boxes of archives? How many Revolutionary soldiers spent their final years in Clay? How many pioneers settled in Clay at the end of the Indian hostilities? How many Clay Countians served in our wars? Locate these graves and cemeteries, designate them and create a map showing their location, then honor them all at the same event. Speaking of Indians, why not work toward having a big Pow-wow too? How about the buck-skinners, they're always good to draw a crowd, with all the noise and smoke.
                 The Elk offers all sorts of opportunities. You could have an "anything that floats" race, an inner-tube race, a home-built raft race. Instead of the roadside vendors and a craft show why not go with the mapped Crafter Combine? The Crafters get to stay home, can offer more because they don't have to transport anything and you don't have to waste funds renting a building or lot from anyone. So bring in the buck-skinners, the Native Americans, the DAR/SAR, the Civil War people, you could even include the Celtic folks, too. Don't forget that tourists love all sorts of messy eating contests. Add in lots of other fun stuff to do, a cow-chip-tossing contest, a fishing tournament, maybe even an ATV Rodeo or Poker Run and next thing you know you have an event and attraction in Clayberry.
         03/29/04: Bailey – Samuel T. Murphy, malicious assault (03/06/04), preliminary hearing continued to 04/23.
         04/01/04: Wiles – Christopher J. Dwier, burglary (03/02/04), preliminary hearing waived- to Circuit Court; Light – Ricky Junior Bishop, DUI-3rd offense and fleeing from officer while DUI (03/24/04), preliminary hearing continued by State to 04/22.
         04/05/04: Delk – Harry Miller, wanton endangerment X 2 (03/24/04), arrested, ROB 04/06.
         04/06/04: Elswick – Jeff S. Menard’evesque, warrant issued for forging other writing.
         04/12/04: Delk – Clifford Jennings Kincaid, possession with intent to deliver, arrested.
         04/05/04: Larry Legg – Robert Ferrebee, fail to send child to school, warrant issued; Larry Legg – Lisa Ferrebee, fail to send child to school, warrant issued; Sizemore – Crystal D. Coulter, domestic battery, warrant issued; Butcher – Darlene Joyce Jackson, driving suspended/revoked-non DUI-2nd offense, summons; Delk – Joshua Allen Tanner, registration violation, appeared, ROB.
         04/06/04: - Belt – Thomas Franklin King, DWR/DUIA-2nd offense, arrested, ROB.
         04/08/04: Elswick – Michael Lee Lanham, possession of marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, ROB.
         04/09/04: Cunningham Motors Inc. – Daniel Raike, warrant issued for worthless check; Cunningham Motors Inc. – Jason Stalnaker, warrant issued for worthless check; Cunningham Motors Inc. – Vickie L. Williams, warrants issued for worthless checks X 2; Cunningham Motors Inc. – Dawn S. Brown, warrant issued for worthless check.
         04/12/04: Sizemore – Jeff Carr Robinson, driving while revoked for DUIA, arrested, ROB 04/13.
         04/05/04: Rick Wiseman – Grafton Hypes, money due.
         04/07/04: Nichols Furniture & Appliance – Ronald G. and Cheryl Sue Mullins, money due, subpoena; Nichols Furniture & Appliance – Kimberly D. Helmick, money due, subpoena.
         04/08/04: Loren B. Howley – Deborah Susie Mullins, money due, subpoena.
         04/12/04: Earl Walls – DNR Officer S.J. Simms and DNR Officer Lane, money due; Cheryl Dawson – Danny Sparks, money due.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued –
         04/13/04: Lizemore Grocery – Tonia Wayne X 3; Deana Hudnall.
         Citation Register
         03/26/04: State Police – Gary A. O’ell, seat belt violation and no seat belt (child); Tammy K. Peck, following too close.
         03/27/04: Municipal Police – Shonda L. Tanner, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and registration violation.
         03/28/04: State Police – Michael Scott Niday, speeding; Daniel Michael Vagni, speeding.
         03/29/04: State Police – Sandra Guy, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Michaels Haines, possession of marijuana less 15 grams; Michael Lee Lanham, possession of marijuana less 15 grams; David W. Thomas, registration violation and no POI.
         03/31/04: Public Service Commission – Donald Walter Boehm, registration violation.
         04/02/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Brandon J. Williams, speeding.
         04/04/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Joshua Allen Tanner, registration violation.
         04/08/04: DNR – Russell G. Breidegam, littering.
         04/09/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Lyle Burns, registration violation, operator’, speeding and left of center.
         04/10/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Mitzi G. Eagle, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and no POI; Justin A. Young, operator’.
         ELECTION 2004
         Candidates seeking public office are required to file campaign papers with the Circuit Clerk’ office three times during the election cycle. The first deadline for this year was April 3. Some of those seeking the trust of the county failed to comply with election law. From that first filing window we provide the following info and in no particular order.
                         Those spending less than $500 can sign a campaign financial waiver. Candidates filing waivers include School board: Herschel Shamblin, Beth Cercone, Dawn Schultz, Rick Tanner, Charles Vance, George Workman, and RB Legg, County Clerk Judy Moore, County Commission Rodney Bullard, Surveyor Marshall Robinson,
                 Incumbent Kim Sams and challenger Earnie Sirk in the School Board contest have spent much. Sams has spent $1573.31 with Sirk expending 4574.
                 Prosecutor candidate Jim Samples received $210 from Mike Carper and contributed $1811.55 personally. Expenses totaled $2021.55. His form was filed timely
                 Barry Koerber filed a waiver indicating he has spent less than $500.
                 Contributers in the Jeff Boggs for Magistrate race included: $200 from James W Douglas, $200 from Jackie Boggs, and $50 from Michael Farber. Expenses for Boggs total $677.75 according to the timely paperwork filed by his treasurer Dwana Murphy.
                 Mike King receipts total $1271.95 and his report was filed timely.
                 Russ Whitely; timely; Expenses $977.43; personal contributions: $977.43.
                 Michael Asbury; timely; Expenses $544.40; Contributions: $544.40.
                 Sheriff candidate Mathew Bragg filed on the last day; Expenses: $2007.75 and had contributions from Herman Rogers $100; Telford Cruickshanks $100; and personally shelled out $1707.75
          Robert Boggs; timely; Expenses: $810.25; personal Contributions: $810.25
         Morgan Gibson turned in his paperwork April 8th. Gibson expenses: $ 1686.56; Personal Contributions: $1686.56. Sheriff candidate Harald Fields filed his paperwork April 8th. Expenses and personal contributions are equal at $666.50.
         Buckshot Butcher received $140 from David Morton and supplied $369.08 of his own money. Expenses totaled $509.08
                 Randy Holcomb filed timely and has spent $1795.19 of which all was his money except $50 from a Mark A Toor.
                 Scott Legg has expenses of $1100.92 and income of $1124.25. Contributors: oil tycoon Homer Graham $50 and Josie Erskine $25.
                 Roger Hunt is one of the bigger spenders in the quest to be Clay County Sheriff and has coughed up $2779.30 Contributors to his campaign include: Earl Romesberg $100, Albert and Teresa McNeil $100, E & T Inc $200, GL Zaldivar $50, Miragraphics $50, Helen Hunt $100, James Whittington $100, CTS Inc $200, and Linda Hunt $100.
                 Joe Morris shelled out $2110 on his timely report with Dave Mullins spending just $575.35
                 Donny Triplett is paying his own way with $1093.22 so far.
                 Jim James R Paxton ( this is the old feller) spent $1571.35 to date and has had the following contributors: John King $20; Justine Paxton $200; Cecil West $50; Anonymous $20; Patty Caudill $50.
                 In the Assessor race the spending is nearly identical . Incumbent Suzie Legg has personally financed her effort with $1175.96 while Teresa Lane has shelled out $1274.61.
                 So who are the bad boys and girls? Sheriff candidate Jim Paxton , the young fellow and Prosecutor candidate Barbara Harmon Schamberger failed to file the state code mandated forms. Shame Shame Shame. --AW
                 It didn’ take long for Election 2004 to heat up. The accusations came from County Commissioner Mathew Bragg toward Sheriff candidate Roger Hunt. Bragg is also running for Sheriff. Bragg told a couple of people he had done a background check on Hunt and it wasn’ clean. A few days later, Bragg denied doing the criminal background check and instead said another officer did the search and told him about it. Still later came accusations of illegal activity by Hunt.
                 As for the illegal background check, Bragg’ boss Gassaway Chief of Police, John McKown said there was no evidence of any check being performed by his department.
                 Having had his name slam dunked by Mr Bragg, Hunt filed a formal complaint with the Attorney General, Sec of State, Clay and Braxton County Commissions, and about any where else he could find!
                 Hunt now has his first reply in the complaint process. On April 8th Daniel Kimble provided Hunt with a response. Is Hunt satisfied or finished? Earlier this week, with response in hand, Hunt said no. According to Mr Hunt and as Kimble’ letter states, he plans to file a complaint with the state Elections Commission.                                                AW
         Dear Editor:
          Being a retired Army Sergeant Major who served over years defending our constitution and our freedoms, I am absolutely appalled at the totally unscrupulous antics of Delegate David Perry and Senator Shirley Love, both
         Democrats of Fayette County! Although I too am a registered Democrat, I can not condone the manner in which these two represent us in the State Legislature!
          As a concerned citizen interested only in seeing our
         Democracy work as originally envisioned by our forefathers, I feel I can keep the good citizens of Clay and surrounding counties apprised of the actions of Fayette County politicians who normally only visit your area during election season!
          Senator Love has no opposition in the Democratic Primary, which is a downright shame! His actions during his current term of office (2000-2004) was highlighted by his votes for Governor Wise's Video Poker Machine Bill. After telling constituents in his Senatorial District that he was AGAINST gambling, he collected $3,925 in gambling contributions and his daughter got a very good job on the State's Parole Board after his "yes" vote on that Bill! This is a clear violation of his oath of office! Further, he attempted twice to get our part-time legislators to be considered "full-time state employees" for PEIA purposes! This Bill, if passed, would have raised Love's salary by roughly $9,000 per year! Self-serving? You bet your bippie! Love also attempted to get a Bill passed that would have allowed his grandson to be considered a West Virginia high school graduate, although he graduated from a Virginia Military School! This Bill, if passed, would have qualified his grandson for a college scholarship available in Fayette County!
          At campaign functions in Clay, Nicholas, Webster,
         Upshur and Fayette Counties, I hope our fellow voters will ask Love about these Bills as well as other self-serving legislation he has attempted to get passed! I just wish Clay County's Vickie Schoonover or one of our Fayette County House candidates
         had run against Love in the primary! Would he sweat then!
          Delegate David Perry is known as the most arrogantpolitician ever to beg for votes in Fayette County. The 29th Delegate District comprises most of Fayette County and about half of Clay County. Perry would have benefited substantially from a Bill amended on the last day of the 2004 legislative session by the House Education Committee of which he is a member. Perry, who reminds all who will listen how many days he has left until his retirement, would have been able to reap about a $9,000 yearly increase in his retirement if this amendment had not been VETOED by the Governor! In early March, I asked Perry how he obtained the funding to pass out appoximately 60 "palm pilots" to Collins Middle School teachers. The cost of this "give-away" was around $18,000. Perry has yet to answer my question. I can only assume since he refuses to give answers to my logical questions!
          Shirley Love is Perry's mentor and as a result has a vote in the House as well as in the Senate! At the end of a House session, Perry attempts to set a speed record in getting over to the Senate wing of the Capitol to report to Love! Now, it seems that Love and Perry are campaigning in Clay County and attempting to turn voters against candidates not in Love's clique! Love apparently is concerned that several of "his" candidates may be in serious trouble and "could" lose a House seat!
          Warning....when Love's mouth is moving, like tequila, take it with a grain of salt!
          SGM Harold D. Bragg
          US Army Retired
          PO Box 144
          Glen Jean, WV 25846
         Editor's note:
         This chatter was heavily edited as many of the comments made required more verification, especially before an election, and we did not have the time to do that.
                 There was the usual bickering at the Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) meeting April 6. Stuff like Elizabeth Sampson trying to keep the powers that be inline and on the straight and narrow. Back last summer when this newspaper had a high school worker covering public meetings, the young lad said by far, the most boring meeting was the CAEZ assembly. He commented in print: it looked like the same old men had been sitting around the same old table for years. The truth is, much of the CAEZ coverage is just as the youthful reporter suggested, down right boring with few in attendance. Not so this time around.
                 In addition to a full board around the long table, over to the side were BDA Chair Paige Willis aided by Jim Knotts and Leonard Williams.
         Before regular CAEZ board meetings, the group’ Eco/Dev Committee meets. Before this meeting the Eco Dev folks made for over 90 minutes. Much of the decision making and all of the recommendations are hammered out in the smaller group setting. Based on the length of that early meeting, there must have been some real barn burner discussions. During the Eco/Dev committee shin digs, Fred Sampson keeps the notes and prepares a report for the full board to hear.
         The highlight of this evening was the discussion on CAEZ’ involvement or lack of commitment with Clay County’, Business Development Authority and their attempt to regain control of the long dead Filcon Field industrial site near Ovapa.
         Here’ the highlights from that Sampson report given during the full Board meeting. Clay CAEZ rep Llyn Drake has been working since the last regular meeting and came up with a “orgivable”loan plan that would provide the BDA with the needed $50,000 to buy out the clay County Bank lien. Sampson said there was a lot of discussion on that Drake inspired work. Translation: heated bantering among the parties. The Filcon Field site has 11.6 acres of which 4 usable acres can be developed for $387,000 per acre or $1.5 million total. The building IS IS IS 2 feet above the flood plan and NOT 2 feet below the high water mark as was previously reported to the CAEZ by Director Jerry Sizemore. There are $390,000 in liens against the land. Although the partially finished Filcon building remains, the concrete walls have never been paid for ($23,000.00); three Filcon employees are still owed $1500 each and and and here’ a new one readers: all earlier checks for the workers were NOT signed by JD Morris only. Not Filcon owner Manfred Kuentzer. Isn’ that interesting? Some around the table suggested that the three unpaid workers should go back to the Clay County Bank and asked for the money owed them! Of course with JD getting out of prison real soon, maybe .. naw
         With Fred trying to finish off his report, the discussion started up. Director Sizemore suggested that the CAEZ go ahead and offer the BDA a $52,000 grant. One lady at the table said NO.
         Continued on the next page
          Elizabeth Sampson suggested that they find a more suitable site for the BDA . from Nicholas County, Red Derring reminded all that the Eco Dev committee was NOT making any recommendation to the full Board nor had they taken any actions. Derring did side with Ms Sampson’ plan to look for another industrial site in Clay County like the 30 acres currently available in Maysel for just $15,000.
         Fred Sampson sat down. Paige and crew had said nothing with only a few whispers among the three while the CAEZ heard Fred’ report.
          Finally Willis stood and has his say. His words included: I appreciate your considerations; We’e working not to loose the property; the part about $300,000 in liens is not correct; the BDA paid $90,000 for the land and the land is still worth $90,000.00; the Filcon Field site has had improvements like, Elk Power put in three phase power for little or nothing ($23,000), municipal water is on the site as well as a septic system and natural gas.
         He wasn’ done: the place is well located; it’ not simple finding usable land in Clay County; and, building roads to a new site would be costly.
         Eating crow, Willis, “I am ashamed I had any association with it…”Willis was referring to Manfred Kuentzer (I think). “It’ been my baby all along…. We dealt with a crook!”
         CAEZ rep and Roane County Commissioner Rodney Cox asked Willis if he was still interested in the CAEZ plan to partner with the BDA for half interest in the property. Willis said Yes.
         With steam coming out of her ears, Llyn Drake reminded those around the table, that her recent proposal which gave the BDA full ownership of the land was made only after the CAEZ voted overwhelming in March not to enter into any kind of partnership with the BDA or the Clay County Bank. Willis told the Board that his organization is under time constraints and fear the lien holder may go ahead and sell the land before the BDA can come up with the $50,000. Not down yet, Llyn Drake made her point clear: She (CAEZ) was not interested in assuming half the Filcon liability.
         As often is the case during tense times, the group deviated. Still standing Willis reminded all: CAEZ has been the lead economic development agent for the county for 8 years and during that time has received $60,000 a year for its efforts. Willis, “Folks, look around and tell me where its spent??”
                 After still more discussions, Derring opened the door. Derring said he would be in favor of releasing a $130,000 CAEZ lien on Filcon if the BDA could come up with their own $50,000 to purchase the other lien owned by the bank. Sensing a change in the air, Sizemore added: If the Bank sells Filcon at Auction, the CAEZ lien would be null and void and CAEZ should help the County and the BDA.
                 Elizabeth Sampson tried to reopen the Drake proposal that would allow the BDA full ownership. Now in the negotiating mode, Paige said he wasn’ closing the door on a CAEZ forgivable loan. The hard line stance of the CAEZ was cracking. Sampson asked about the supposedly done deal of Mathew Bragg already securing a $50,000 grant for the purchase. Willis, We have an application in…”Nicholas County Commissioner Burl O’ell, “Jeff Davis says we have a $130,00 lien on the property.”Willis disputed the lien saying that there is no mention of land in the CAEZ lien , that Filcon did not even own any land when CAEZ loaned out the money.
                 Circling the wagon, Rodney Cox, “ We don’ want to impede you.. You get the money and CAEZ will release the lien..”
                 Motion made by Peter Triplett , second by Cox, motion passed with no nays heard.
                 What’ all this mean readers? Well……… maybe little. If past practices are an example, each side may change their mind several more times. CAEZ may or may not come back and partner with Clay County. The BDA may actually come up with the needed $50,000 and then not want to be the sole owner of the industrial site. And of course, CAEZ could end up buying and developing the spot on their own.
         Two things are for sure, the day the CAEZ releases their lien, a lot more people will be interested in purchasing the 25% in the flood plane former sorghum producing wet spot along the 2 lane. And, we are no where near the end of the financial nightmare known as Filcon.                        AW
         LAST WORD
                 Word on the street has it that there was a meth lab bust on Reed’ Fork, Tuesday, April 13th. Something about a double wide trailer. Scanner listeners heard the mobile meth lab clean up crew coming into the county later that evening.
                 Sheriff Fields said he wasn’ at the scene but thought the bust was on an active lab. According to Fields, Trooper Bailey and Deputy Delk were the senior officers on the scene.
                 We checked over at the Magistrate Office Thursday, April 15th for a paper trail. Wasn’ there readers. Magistrate Boggs said he remembered signing arrest warrants for something going on out Reed Fork but as for arrests and charges, nothing. Ditto for Magistrate King’ side of the old Courthouse. According to Mr King, he had not seen any thing on the bust.
                 Thursday evening both Deputy Delk and TFC ML Bailey were off duty and unavailable for details.                                        
         Here’ our update from the middle of March, Michelle Deyton and Commissioner Bragg incident. Remember it? According to Deyton, who’ off work on maternity leave, came into the courthouse and was threatened with her job by Bragg. Bragg later said he didn’ threaten to fire Michelle nor did he slam any courthouse door in anger.
         All this stemmed from Deyton’ dog killing a neighbor’ dog and Bragg intervening in the matter.
         As you just read during the most recent County Commission meeting, Bragg strongly alluded to Deyton’ dog, a Great Dane, killing a second animal Sunday April 11th. Although Bragg did NOT mention Deyton’ name in his most recent remarks, there is NO doubt, Bragg was pointing the finger at Michelle’ pet. Here’ the new info.
         Jeffery Deyton said his animal has been in a pen and on a cable in the pen since the first incident. That there is no way his dog could be involved in anyway with whatever Bragg said during the County Commission meeting.
         Sooooo. Mathew , what were you thinking?