MAY 14, 2004

Letter to Brother Bill
Election Night
Another Win for Kish & Clay County
Clay Gets Healthier Schools Grant
Nonprofits? System Creates Dynasty

        Six homes have fallen victim to late night arson destruction in the last 6 weeks in the rural community of Widen. The latest torching was reported around 3 am Election Day, May 11, 2004. Three homes were completely engulfed by the time fire crews arrived.
        Arson is nothing new for Clay County and becoming a common occurrence in Widen. The latest to burn down were owned by Silas Satler. Just a week earlier the frame home of Harvey Woods went up in flames as well. Locals report that 6 homes have been destroyed in the last 6 weeks and under questionable circumstances.
        By 3:20am May 11th, residents reported intense flame and heat. Across from the homes on fire, neighbors watered down their own homes with garden hoses. In spite of their efforts, vinyl siding melted, asphalt shingles turned to putty, and windows were cracked. One lady reported plastic wall ornaments on an interior wall turned to mush before 3:30am.
        What is arson? From web site: House burning involves burning your own dwelling; that is, the structure in which you yourself sleep. If you burn someone else's dwelling (even if you own it and they reside in it), then it is considered arson. In order to be prosecuted for house burning, your dwelling must be situated close enough to other houses as to create a danger to them. In this country, now, most states do consider that to be arson. Arson is defined at common law to be the "malicious burning of the dwelling of another". There must be damage incurred in the building, and the damage must have been caused by a fire (not, for example, an explosion). In most states, arson has been extended to include other structures besides dwellings.
        For Clay County, during the last 30 months, acts of arson have been rampant. Last summer, camps along the Elk River fell victim on a regular basis. Some neighbors living close to the sites often reported seeing young adults in the neighborhood just prior to the burnings. Reports came in that juveniles were spotted carrying away small items like radios, boom boxes, and power hand tools. In June 2002, the Clay Farm Store sustained fire damage to corrugated plastic pipes stored behind the building. For the camps along the Elk, due to poor vehicle access and few with insurance coverage, acts of arson spell complete and total losses.
         Local law enforcement officials spoke in frustration last spring. According to Sheriff Fields and later, Deputy Kevin Delk, the thugs know how much area there is to cover in the county and how few officers work the evening hours
         Neighbors around the Satler property reported seeing blue flame coming from the rear of one of the structures. Law enforcement have been in the Widen area for some time trying to crack down on illegal drug activities, including the manufacture of crank. The blue flame reported by locals may be an indication of such an operation or remnants from an earlier operation.
         The West Virginia ARSON HOTLINE, (1-800-233-FIRE), is to be used by fire departments, law enforcement agencies and the general public to provide appropriate information to the State Fire Marshal in the event of a fire or explosives emergency incident.Fire departments/Law enforcement agencies shall report to the ARSON HOTLINE in any of the following instances: Suspecting a fire to be incendiary in nature, fire resulting in fatality (s), Allexplosives incidents, and large loss fire (s).The ARSON HOTLINEis available for the general public to relay information concerning any of the above mentioned situations.The WV ARSON HOTLINEis administered and staffed by the WV Fire Marshal's Office 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Anyone with any information pertaining to these types of public hazards are strongly encouraged to call.The State Fire Marshal's Office can only react swiftly and effectively with quick, precise information.
         Guesstimates show a loss of thirty homes and weekend camps over the last 30 months with no hint of change in sight.                        
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
    1.        Always do right, this will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
2.        The State Department of Education enrollment figures show enrollment dropped by about 9,300 students in the last three years.
3.        Nationally, prisoners over the age of 50 have reached an all-time high and appear to be increasing.
4.        The fourth largest importer of West Virginia products is China; imports there grew from $120 million in 2001 to $132 million last year.
5.        The tallest candidate has won the popular vote in every presidential election but two.
6.        A total of 99 schools in all but 13 counties are selling soft drinks.
7.        Identity theft cost the nation’s banks and retailers $50 billion in losses in 2003.
8.        Each year about 20,000 bodies are donated, and about 1 million transplants involving tissue are performed.
9.        According to the American Lung Association, each day 6,000 children under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette.
10.         Between 1979 and 2001, an estimated 43,000 Americans died from asbestos cancer of the lungs.
11.         In 2002, U.S. Poison Control Centers reported 20,801 bleach-poisoning cases among children younger than 6.
12.         Young people 15 to 24 account for about half the new cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States each year.
13.         Home sales could set a record in 2004. Some 7.2 million homes changed hands each year.
14.         About half of West Virginia’s $1 billion annual highway budget comes from federal sources.
15.         Sept. 12 is officially “onarch Butterfly Day”in West Virginia.
16.         The average American consumes 150 pounds of sugar and sweeteners annually up roughly 20 % since 1980.
17.         The average US consumer waded through 3,920 unwanted commercial e-mails last year, a number expected to grow to 6,395 by 2005, according to Jupiter Research.
18.         After a steady decline in sales since the 1970’ Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer is coming back; sales rose 15 % in 2003.
19.         In WV, 7.5 percent of the 297,351 children 5 and over have one or more physical or mental disabilities.
20.         About 8 million American women and 2 million men have osteoporosis; about 34 million others are at elevated risk. LMM

04/26/04: Stephenson – Gerold M. Thompson, Jr., manufacturing methamphetamine and manufacturing marijuana (04/14/04), ROB. Preliminary hearing 04/30: probable cause found, bound to the Grand Jury in the Circuit Court.
04/28/04: Light – Bradley J. Stone, burglary and petit larceny-2nd offense (03/22/04), preliminary hearing: probable cause found; bound to Circuit Court.
04/29/04: Bailey – Samuel T. Murphy, malicious assault (03/06/04), preliminary hearing: probable cause found; bound to Circuit Court; Stephenson – Kevin Adkins, driving under the influence-3rd offense and DWR/DUIA-3rd offense, arrested, motion to reduce bond 05/05/04 and waiver of preliminary; bound to Circuit Court.
04/30/04: Elswick – Larry W. Hailey, DWR/DUIA 3rd offense, arrested, ROB 05/01.
05/03/04: Sizemore – Charles M. Stowers, Jr., DUIA 3rd offense, arrested, ROB 05/07.
05/06/04: Delk – Clyde Earl McQuain, possess with intent to deliver, arrested, ROB 05/07.
04/23/04: Wiles – Roger Brandon Smith, possession of marijuana less 15 grams.
04/24/04: Stephenson – Polly Griggs Dawson, possession of marijuana less 15 grams and fail to obtain WV operators, appeared, ROB.
04/27/04: Slack – Ernie Pat Dawson, Jr., violation of home confinement order X 4, warrants issued, case sent to Circuit Court for disposition; Raven Jarvis – Ashley Jarvis, peace bond, summons.
04/28/04: Slack – Dennis Keener, violation of home confinement X 6, warrants issued, dismissed by state 04/29; Slack – Loretta Stewart, assault, appeared 05/07, ROB; Delk – Michael E. Haines, possession less 15 grams-2nd offense and failure to keep right, appeared, ROB.
04/29/04; Sizemore – Thomas Roy Holcomb, driving suspended, appeared, ROB; Stephenson – Kevin Adkins, no POI, left of center, and defective equipment, arrested, ROB 05/06.
04/30/04: Slack – Ronald D. Williams, Jr., no POI, driving suspended/revoked non DUI – 2nd offense, and fleeing in vehicle from officer, arrested, ROB; Elswick – Larry W. Hailey, registration violation, arrested, ROB.
05/04/04: Delk – Robert Earl Stutler, DWR/DUIA 2nd offense, arrested, ROB; Clay Supermarket – Angela Woods, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Clay supermarket – Melissa Hill, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Delk – Bryan Matthew Myers, DWR/DUIA, arrested, ROB.
05/05/04: Delk – Tara Brooke Taylor, possession controlled substance (marijuana), arrested, ROB.
05/06/04: Delk – Russell E. Elswick, possession controlled substance 2nd offense, arrested, ROB; Stephenson – James H. Parker, driving under the influence, arrested, ROB.
05/07/04: Elswick – Anthony Metheney, driving suspended and receiving stolen property, warrants issued; Lyndsey Nottingham – Bruce Edward Bird, Jr., peace warrant, summons.
National Mutual ins. Co. – General Motors Corp., money due.
Worthless Checks
Notices issued –
04/29/04: Gino’ – Donna M. Smith (paid 05/03); Michael D. Hill (paid 05/07); Vickie L. Williams; Patricia Elswick (paid 05/03).
05/05/04: Sizemore’ IGA – Jason Stalnaker; Tanya L. Hinzman; Tonia Wayne; Kristie English; Donna J. Doss.
05/06/04: Clay Auto Parts – Jokwin R. Schoonover III.
Citation Register
04/17/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Michael E. Haines, possession less than 15 grams 2nd offense and failure to keep right; Elizabeth Holcomb, speeding and unrestrained child.
04/19/04: DNR – Bobby Ray Hanshaw, MTV on unauthorized area; Sheriff’ Dept. – Raymond G. Hersman, no POI and seat belt violation.
04/22/04: State Police – Elizabeth Holcomb, no POI; Patricia Lynn Koch, no POI; Paul D. Spinks, no POI.
04/23/04: State Police – Roger Brandon Smith, possession marijuana less 15 grams; Jason R. Triplett, public intoxication; Sheriff’ Dept. – Stephen E. Woodard, registration violation.
04/24/04: State Police – Polly E. Griggs, no POI, failure to obtain WV operators and possession of marijuana less 15 grams; Allison M. Nicholas, operator’; Michael Nichols, MVI and registration violation; DNR – Judy Lynn Taylor, littering.
04/25/04: DNR – Rick Junior Bishop, littering.
04/27/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Teresa R. Tackett, contributing to juvenile.
04/29/04: State Police – Christopher Samples, no POI.
05/01/04: State Police – Laura Ann Frame, no POI.
05/03/04: State Police – April Lynn Arbogast, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
05/05/04: State Police – Thomas A. Auxier, no POI, MVI and registration violation; Philip A. Whaling, possession of marijuana less than 15 grams.
05/06/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Teddy M. Murphy, operator’; State Police – James H. Parker, driving under the influence.
05/07/04: State Police – Dwayne Edward Boggs, operator’, registration violation, MVI and no POI.
05/08/04: DNR – Joshua T. Hanshaw, possession less 15 grams marijuana; State Police – Melissa J. Koch, operator’.
05/09/04: DNR – Samatha M. Cummings, fishing violation; Robin Renee Legg, fishing violation; Tad Henson Legg, fishing violation; Robert Blake Moore, fishing violation; State Police – Dennie A. Pringle, MVI.
05/10/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – William E. Spencer, left of center.

BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
Will Rogers once said that there are three kinds of limericks: limericks that can be uttered when ladies and clergy are present; limericks spoken when clergy are present and ladies are absent – and limericks. The “est”of this genre is usually judged by the level of its vulgarity, but even the socially acceptable ones may occasionally be worthy of notice. Consider the old, reliable:
        There once was a lady from Niger
        who rode on the back of a tiger.
        They came back from the ride
        with the lady inside.
        And a smile on the face of the tiger.
It is not too heavy a task on the imagination to suggest that, on the ancient sands of Iraq we are, indeed, “iding the tiger.” The arrogant dim bulb who calls himself a “ar president”seems incapable of understanding this probability, perhaps because, as many have remarked, he lives in an “lternative universe.”
Most of us are not fortunate enough to live in a bubble where functionaries or handlers tell us constantly only what we want to hear. Last week, for example, Field Marshall Rumsfeld dismissed the brutal uprisings in that troubled land as “lare-ups.” This is a man whose stratospheric ego allows him to believe he is incapable of error, a quality he apparently shares with his boss. But Rumsfeld’ recent history reveals little else but error and almost criminal misjudgment. Against the advice of proven military experts he ignored the counsel of such as General Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff, who insisted that at least 200,000 troops were needed to establish and maintain stability in Iraq. Shinseki resigned in protest. The General is to be commended for that action. Misplaced loyalty is no virtue when lives are at stake. He observed a level of principle that the conformist Colin Powell avoided.
Rumsfeld has the annoying habit of concealing his ineptitude and stubbornness behind impressive-sounding and ultimately meaningless rhetoric. Replying to the failure of detecting weapons of mass destruction, (will we ever tire of that construction?) the Defense Secretary, in a message for the masses pontificated: “he absence of evidence isn’ the evidence of absence.” And we (the masses) are expected to respond to this mindless blather: “hat man really has a way with words.” On another occasion, Rummy responded to the growing accusation that we may not have enough warm bodies in Iraq that we may have miscalculated the “etrics,”a classical example of Pentagonspeak, as George Orwell might have put it. After all, “umbers”doesn’ sound as grand as “etrics.” Rumsfeld’ speech has been compared to the philosophic level of Yogi Berra who once concluded his commencement address to a New Jersey state college with the immortal words: “hen you come to a fork in the road, take it!” Rummy’ tenure in the corridors of power has prompted the question that must be reverberating around the Capitol: “hat do you have to do around here to get fired?”
Watching Richard Clarke’ testimony before the 9/11 committee was an unalloyed pleasure. Here is one of those weird creatures whose primary loyalty is to his country and to the truth, rather than to a political party, (he is a registered Republican) or even to the temporary residents of the White House: he has served under three presidents. Possessed of a near-photographic memory, Clarke remained cool and confident, even under the most relentless interrogation. Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy, member of the imperialistic Project for a New American Century, an elite think tank, including such empire builders as Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, and other types preaching the doctrine of American exceptionalism attacked the former terrorism czar. The negative chorus was joined by James (Big Jim” Thompson, former governor of Illinois. Clarke remained unruffled. He even refused to employ the old, ever-popular ploy politicians have used from time immemorial: “ can’ recall.” Indeed, he seemed to recall everything he had learned and done over three decades of studying terrorism. “hen, it must follow as the night the day,”as Shakespeare said, Clarke’ would-be detractors brought up the subject of his recently-published book, Against All Enemies, with the insinuation that Clarke timed the publication to coincide with the presidential election, with a clear eye on the profit motive. This was their ace, but Clarke trumped it by announcing that he planned to contribute the royalties to widows of 9/11 and special services troops lost in Iraq. Happy the witness who, when being grilled by those whose motive is to discredit him, is smarter and better informed than his interrogators.
Anyone who may have thought that George W. could not conceive a plan to recruit terrorists that could surpass the invasion of Iraq was wrong. Last week the Crawford Commando surpassed himself. Ariel Sharon came to town with a wish list, and he left with a blank check. Bush, ever mindful of pro-Israel voters, signed on to the “haron Plan,”in which major Israel settlements on the occupied West Bank, a development of Sharon’, are now deeded to Israel. Bush once called Sharon “ man of peace.” (And Jeffrey Dahmer was a vegetarian.) Here is the old conservative, Pat Buchanan, of all people.
George Bush has out-sourced his Mideast policy to Tel Aviv. The custodian of our reputation for decency and honor in an Arab world of 22 million is now Sharon.
As for Palestinians who put their faith and trust in the United States, they have been exposed as fools.

The exclamation “f all people”applied to the Buchanan reference comes from a partial knowledge of his political history. He is a true conservative who is appalled by the extremist views of the “eocons,”as they are called. Former Secretary Robert Reich calls them “adcons,”as in radical conservatives. Buchanan has been guilty of some extremist views in the past, such as isolationism, but compared to the radcons he has become the veritable voice of reason.
One of the all time voices of reason is Dr. Samuel Johnson. He one wrote: “o man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” Even the author of the western world’ first great dictionary was not always right. Writing also involves the ego. There is admitted pleasure in seeing one’ thoughts, however pedestrian, in print. Shakespeare wrote for money, and made a great deal of it, regardless of the possibility that such a contention might enrage stodgy academics. The motives of presidential advisor Karen Hughes are at least twofold. Her recently-released Ten Minutes From Normal, in part a testimonial to her adoration of G.W. Bush, his compassion, his steel trap mind, and the heart-wrenching choices facing a professional woman, the pull of family obligations vs. power, influence and money. The hard line think tanks see to it that any publication praising the GOP and its minions or attacking liberals will be a best seller. In fairness, it must be observed that the anti-administration publications have also done well. In any case, Hughes is being nicely consoled for her painful decisions. She receives a reported $50,000 a pop for her appearances on the lecture circuit.
It has been aptly remarked, here and elsewhere, that the double standard is alive and well. Suskind, Clarke and others have been viciously attacked for their books criticizing the President, particularly for the timing, i.e., appearing during the presidential campaign. To date, no such charge has been laid at the alter of Karen Hughes. Perhaps she was unaware that an election is approaching. No coals of fire have been heaped on Condoleeza Rice, of “ushroom Cloud”fame. Despite the fact that a plan to crash an airplane into the Eiffel Tower, and that Richard Clarke had warned of such a danger at the Atlanta Olympics, and had systematically warned of similar al Qaeda threats short of having a message sky written over the White House, Condi never dreamed of such a catastrophe. Apparently, the ability to read War and Peace in Russian and play passable classical piano have become qualifications for heading NSA. And, is it not curious that as George I is happily clipping his coupons from the profits of the international Carlyle Group no one mentions that the first New York attack by a terrorist group happened on his watch? When all else fails, there is always the technique employed by John Ashcroft in his appearance before the 9/11 commission: Blame Clinton!
I’ Robert Clarke, and I approve of this message.

Letter to Brother Bill
By Evelyne McLaughlin

Dear Brother Bill:
My thoughts for the day are 'HELP US ALL TO BE BRAVE" - actually, after the election results were tallied we may need to even be BRAVER. As I said in the last letter, the best person does not always win. The votes you had gathered in Pennsylvania for Ernie Sirk came in too late to be counted. He could have won if they had gotten here.
We have been having some rather warm days. My lettuce finally came up - wow, big as my thumb nail. Local news includes: The Ramp Dinner at H. E. White School was delicious. Don and I were unable to go but Miranda brought us a tray, yum, yum. Brad and Diana McLaughlin have been vacationing at Myrtle Beach. Joe and Nell Foreman, of Kanawha City, are doing fairly well. Nell says she is having problems walking. Goldie "Pudge" Samples, of Horners Fork, is getting along remarkably well for her age. She is a real sweetheart in my book. Bob Deems, of Pumpkin Ridge, is in the hospital.
Gracie Carper says to tell you her cholesterol is down. Blendine Daubenspeck Blankenship, of Leon, was in the hospital recently. She will be back in next week for gall bladder surgery. I have cat scratch fever and am taking medication for that. It seems as though animals like to attack me. I went to the Primary Health Care to get checked and get a blood test. The young man taking my blood was Bobby Dorsey (son of Bobby and Nancy Markle Dorsey). I jokingly asked him if he had ever stayed at a Holiday Inn, his reply, "No, but I saved alot on my insurance by taking GEICO." Several folks have passed on since the last letter to you. Your friend, Hysel Workman, Jack McGlothlin and Ron Summers (Pat and Della's son). Also, Daniel Summers, of Wallback, drown in Elk River last weekend. I remember Daniel from when I was working at Geary Elementary School (Roane Co.). He was a real sweet kid. We need to remember families of the deceased in our prayers.
The annual Eagle Reunion will be held June l2, at
Kenny and Joe Eagle's Camp. The camp is located at Stouts Mills in Gilmer County. We did not get to go last year. All Eagles and Eagle kin are invited to attend this reunion.
We have had services at the Blessed Hope Church (located at the top of Camp Creek Hill) for three Sundays. The attendance is picking up. Services will be at 2:30 P. M. this coming Sunday. Everyone is welcome. Brother Bob Walker will be speaking.
Dixie Love Jarvis wants to know when you are coming back to your roots. She says it isn't that far away and to "Come on Down". Miranda McLaughlin was very happy to work in the election this year. She turned l8 the lst day of January. She will be graduating and plans to attend cosmetology school starting this summer. Also, she is engaged to Randy Harold, of Kelly's Creek. Mary Hensley, of Wallback, gave me several flowers last week.
I might share them with you when you get down this way. I trust all mothers reading this had a wonderful Mother's Day. Those of you who still have your mothers be thankful. I get "wolf whistles" every day from the blooming bird, General, that you brought down to me. Better than none at all, I guess.
Well, I think this is it for this time and, in closing,
I say again, Help Us ALL to be Brave.
Love, Sis


        First let me thank everyone involved with the H.E. White Ramp Dinner. We had a fine time, good food, the chance to talk to some good folks of Clayberry and meet a living legend that bears a striking resemblance to Mel Gibson. The rain didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the many candidates that were buzzing around like yellowjackets at a picnic, though.
        By the time this hits the streets we will know who has come through the primaries and who has been sent back to the bench to wait for another chance. I hope you all have cast some thoughtful votes all the way around and put forth the best politicos that you could stomach. The BOE of course will be done and settled. My hope is that the good voters of Clayberry have broken the string of too many elected ones with the same last names. It may not have been a problem but I can't see how. My inclination is to go for, dare I say, the somewhat more radical candidates. They usually are a lot more representative of the true feelings of the people than the smooth-talking, ever-smiling slicksters, that will somehow end up cutting your throat, stabbing you in the back and in general becoming a whole different person once you give them a tad of authority over the masses.
        I just have to say a little about the seemingly endless repetitions of elected and appointed officials raising their voices, actually yelling, at the people that they purportedly represent. It's happened to me, but eventually I've always got them back either through legal steps or by the simple joy of seeing them dethroned. If I were you I wouldn't take that stuff from them. This is America and some piddling little appointee or county official just doesn't have the right to talk to you all like a bunch of helpless peons.
        I might as well mention the lather that has been stirred up over the abuse of the prisoners in Iraq. I think, in a sad way, that it has been hilarious. Good King George has gone from denial to admission of knowledge to apologizing to the king of another country to including it in his campaign rhetoric. It is pure old sadism that has been condoned and possibly encouraged by our military and espionage agencies. If you caught the long hearings before the Senate and House you can see that both parties are hot as Chile peppers over it. The secrecy and foot-dragging from Rumsfield down is going to give every Democrat a leg up and every Republican a shot in the foot. Let's hope that America can clean up its act and reputation in the eyes of the world.
        I heard the best line while at HEW. An old fellow named Harry told me that one of your politicos ran up, hugged him and told him he had found the Lord. Old Harry told him he hadn't even known He was missing. It was the best political comment I've heard in years.

        By now, most have read the Braxton Citizen News’account of Clay County’ own Tanner and Hively. Here’ an excerpt for those that haven’.
What began as a report of domestic violence turned into a multi-county chase that had numerous police agencies on high alert. The Braxton County Sheriff’ Department received a 9-1-1 call Thursday morning that Glen Wayne Tanner of Ivydale had pulled a gun on his girlfriend’ male companion at their residence in Rowan’ Trailer Court on Route 19. Upon arrival, Sheriff Howard Carpenter and Lieutenant Ron Clay learned that Tanner had pulled a hand gun on the male. The gun apparently malfunctioned when he pulled the trigger. Knowing that Tanner was armed and knowing of his previous incarceration resulting from the shooting death of his first wife, law enforcement took no chances in pursuing the suspect. Deputies alerted other law enforcement agencies in and around Braxton County to be on the lookout for the suspect, and a male companion identified as John Allen Hively, also of Ivydale. …..
        The 54-year old Tanner was first arraigned in Webster County Magistrate Court. He was charged with felony fleeing, and numerous other charges. His bond was set at $158,000. Sheriff Carpenter’ department charged Tanner with attempted murder, and wanton endangerment. Other charges are pending. Tanner was lodged in the Central Regional Jail in lieu of bond. Hively will be charged with conspiracy to commit attempted murder.

         Does that Hively name ring a bell? It should. He was the talk of the town in 1999 during the State vs Cynthia Fitzwater murder trial. After Ms Fitzwater blasted the guts out of a Laney boy in Little Italy, Hively was one of two guys that took the body out to Widen and tried burying it in a gob pile. As a matter of fact they tried more than once to get the guy under a rock. When cops found the body the torso was under the earth but the legs were pointing straight up. Hively was charged with littering and later walked away a free man.
                 For long time Clayonians, Glenn Tanner should be well known. In Oct 1982 Tanner was married to Beverly K Coen of Ivydale. The stormy relationship ended Oct 19th that year when Tanner used a 12 gauge shotgun and blew the Mother of several children into splattered pieces.
                 After a night of hard drinking, Tanner knew Beverly had $500 on her and he wanted it in the worst way. As she sat on in her bedroom reading her bible, with a one year old in the baby crib, a three year old daughter seated close by, and others in the front room, Tanner started a strong argument before pulling the trigger. The close range blast to the neck and head.. well, one of the most gruesome crime scenes ever in Clay County. The 27 year old was dead instantly.
         After doing the job, he grabbed the kids by the hair and drug them from the bedroom. Tanner was charged with murder but slack prosecution levied a voluntary manslaughter charge which he plead guilty to and spent less than one year in the Elkins slammer followed by 6 months selling sweepers out of a half way house in Charleston.
         Pretty nice sounding guys don’ you think? A young woman blasted to smither-ings for $500. And we thought today’ craziness was something new for Clay County. By the way, Tanner never got the $500. Wilson Funeral Home found the $ in the woman’ pants’pocket and returned it to the family.                                                AW        
                 The Town of Clay has filed a civil lawsuit against a former employee in an attempt regain control of over $6000 in water fees. Many around the Town Council table heard for the first time May 4th, the allegations of sticky finger hood levied toward one time Town water clerk Tammy Duffield.
                 Mayor Jarrett explained how he waited patiently for the one time employee to come thru with promises to pay back the swiped money. Betty Murphy brought the elected group up to speed on the matter. Murphy explained: she detected the loss in the summer of 2002; it was as plain as “lack and white” employee Duffield confessed to stealing the money and her only request was to not send her to jail. After resigning from duties, a fraud audit was conducted which concluded the findings of theft.
                 Jarrett continued to inform Council: Duffield had promised many times over to come in and pay the debt quietly and had failed to do so. One point of contention was how to accept the payment without the public knowing anything about it. Jarrett said he was tired of waiting and foot dragging. That the last deadline had come and gone without even a phone call.
                 From the court documents filed April 29 2004, Case # 04-C-33: During the tenth month of 2002, Tammy Duffield intentionally took, carried away, with the intent to permanently deprive the town of Clay of monies ( sum uncertain) in the amount of $2,264.12; Tammy Duffield has admitted to many people including Betty Murphy, Arthur Jarrett, Sally Legg, Helen Morris, and Wanda Chambers, that she, did take the monies rightfully belonging to the people of the town of Clay;…. That Tammy Duffield has refused to respond to said attempts by the Town of Clay, has refused to repay the monies taken.. and has failed repeatedly to attend meetings, deliver payment or make any other good faith efforts to resolve the matter.
                 COUNT ONE: Tammy Duffield took and carried away with the intention to permanently deprive the town of monies in the amount of $6,264.12…. COUNT TWO: Tammy Duffield converted for her own personal use the property of the town, specifically $6,264.12 for which the plantif demands restitution or repayment from the defendant plus statutory interest… COUNT THREE: Tammy Duffield embezzled monies in her care, custody and control from the town… and demands repayment plus interest.
                 During that same time period, town finances went to rock bottom with employees laid off and benefits eliminated. Duffield has since filed for bankruptcy protection.                                                                AW
         To the Citizens of Clay County And Braxton County,
          Are you concerned about the law enforcement in your county like I am?? I don’ understand it, not at all. All the crimes being committed and at the same time innocent people getting fined, losing their driving privileges, costing the county money!!! We wonder how can the law do the things they do… I had been told that certain laws isn’ laws, I have seen many places in the town get broken into, and I know they know who is doing it but nothing is being done. I also know that we have some people who has the right last name, they seem to get by with anything. I don’ understand how we can trust our system when we have a prosecutor who lies to us. Yes I’ talking about a man who says he is old fashioned, a 26 year old man who is running for prosecutor in Braxton and who is serving Clay County right now…Grindo. I called him concerning a case where he made a deal with a person to pay some one for damages to a vehicle that didn’ even belong to them, I contacted the magistrates office and they told me it was the prosecutor and the lawyer who makes the deals and he just approves them, but still when I called Grindo he said he had nothing to do with it. But he had everything to do with it.
          If I would damage your car when someone else is driving it, should I be ordered to pay the person who was driving or the owner? I could understand if the owner was the one who took out the warrant and the driver was the witness, but not the driver taking out the warrant and then you pay the driver; who’ to say that when a check is made out to the non owner of the car that they will pay for the damages? That’ our Grindo for ya!!!
         I had one of the magistrates to come to me at my business and bring me copies of papers to show me he was not the one who did the ruling, he just went with what the prosecutor and lawyer said.
          On to the next one, in the matter of being the lawyer of a child who is a ward of the state, he didn’ believe in letting a 16 year old live in a house where people loved her and cared for her because he is old fashioned. He did it because he could, because what he says goes. I was trying to give the girl a place to live, a place she knows, and she is comfortable with instead of letting her be tossed from one place to another, but anyways, I was told he had the say so on the matter. I went to his office to talk to him, he had just a minute because he was caring for his infant son at work, he told me he had no say so what so ever in the matter, then continued on about the welfare of this girl, it wasn’ right for a girl to live in the same house as her boyfriend. I agree, but still she has no family, was kicked out of her adopted house, and I just wanted her to feel wanted. Two minutes later he told me and my daughter…Well , I do have the say so in the matter but she isn’ going to live with you…I’ old fashioned and I don’ believe in that. Whether or not he believes in that or not, he LIED again. His concern wasn’ that of the girl or he wouldn’ of been in such a hurry to lie. So not only is he costing our county money, not showing up for hearings, HE LIES. So why would we want someone like that to represent our towns? I am happy that I didn’ have the chance to vote him in here in Clay so all you citizens of Braxton be careful. You might be the next one he lies to or some one in you family might get the shaft because of his non ability to do his job. I hope you all think real hard before you vote him in as your prosecutor and I can’ wait to get him out of Clay. Vote for Grindo you’e gonna get grinded.
                  A Citizen of Clay, Ronda Dennis
         Election Night
                 Election night is always fun at the courthouse. Such was the case May 11th as the place was packed wall to wall for nearly the entire night. Out front and outback the hackers and coughers filled the air with smoke and talk. Inside the frowny lines were seen on many a forehead.. In the County Commission room, the rattle of a paper jogger and the ballot machine provided the background noise for funny stories and jokes. Candidates came and went. Some tried to hide in side rooms. Randy Holcomb slipped into the Assessor’ lounge. Teresa Lane chose the back stairway to assemble and listen to the results. Llyn Drake and Team Whiteley spent the evening upstairs in the waiting area. Matthew Bragg took up vote keeping near the center stairwell. Fran King and crew took over the main stairwell. With hot dogs, dessert and coffee a flowing, the first ballots (Town of Clay) were back and announced by 8:20pm
                 Up front, challenged ballots were checked by the panel. Two other workers unlocked the blue ballot boxes and withdrew the decision sheets. The peanut gallery watched intently.        First precinct in, Town of Clay followed by Lizemores. As the School Board and Democrat tallies were read, it got quiet as politicos marked down the numbers. Little attention was paid to the reading of the Republican numbers. The quiet whisperers turned up the volume.
                 The hours went by. The Assessor and County Commission race was neck and neck all night. Ditto for the 4th spot in the school board race between Rick Tanner and Beth Cercone. They all tried to smile but the pressure was getting to them. A tall thin TV–13 reporter moved from the Clerk’ office to the pay phone to call in his results on the hour.
                 By 9pm, the Bragg camp was looking down. Randy Holcomb zipped in and out of his secret hiding place. Superintendent Linkinoggor sat chomping an unlit cigar listening to see if his base would hold together and get his chosen ones elected. As the night wore on, the circles of supporters grew closer together. The loosing folks got quiet while others laughed and grinned broadly. By 11:00 pm, Jim Samples had it in the bag for Prosecutor as did R.B. Legg, Gene King and Kim Sams for School Board. Magistrate King and Boggs knew they had it in the bag after the first two precincts were announced.
                 The crunch time came for the fourth slot on the School Board race and between Fran King and Brian Holcomb for Commission. As numbers were read, the number crunchers quickly added the totals. With just Widen precinct to be read, the night was over at 1:15. Widen’ count would be so small, their votes could make no difference. Fran King and Cercone made the cut. In the back stairway, squeals of joy were heard from the Lane camp. One fellow whispered, “ guess she will have a job tomorrow!”Linkinoggor congratulated his team players as did most others involved in Primary 2004.
                 By 2:15, with Widen precinct finally accounted for, it was over. Other than Fran King and Randy Holcomb who have challengers in the Fall General Election, the fun (much like Christmas), was done for another two years. In smallville Clayberry, the politicians will disappear for another 2 years.                                AW
                 Another Win for Kish & Clay County
         By Frank L. Kish, Jr.
          April 3, 2004, Star Kish took two 1st place and two 2nd place trophies at her last karate tournament, which was held at Herbert Hoover High School. First place was for Kumite (fighting) and Kata, her second place trophies were in weapons, her bow, and precision Kata.
          On April 25, 2004, Star took and passed her karate belt test, which progressed her to a Brown Belt – Third Kyu. High honors anywhere! It was her 4-H goal this year to earn the right and receive her brown belt. Mission accomplished.
          Star is not only into karate; pictured you will see her holding a 24# striper that was thirty-five and one half inches long, which she landed by herself. She also caught a 19 inch, 3 ½ pound small mouth bass that day. Star was invited by our friends, Gerald and Anthony Bates to fish with them in Kentucky on Lake Cumberland. They just happen to be the 2003 National Striper Champions, the title which they won in Alabama. This is a very big honor, like a bass fisherman winning the classic.
          I told Star it was an honor to know these gentlemen, much less being invited to fish with them. The way that she looked at it is the way that everybody should look at things: they were just her friends, whom she’ gotten to know a while back, and they asked her to fish with them that day. I believe that Star has a good attitude, and a hold on life. It doesn’ matter what you do, or who you are, you are either friends or not. This just goes to show that our kids have more interest in other things than what we give them credit for! Take time, talk to them, and find out what they like, and see if you can work them into your busy schedule.
          By landing this striper Star has achieved a high honor from Mepps of Master Angler, and received certificates and chevrons to prove it. She has always liked to fish, and go fast in a boat. It’ one of her dreams to race boats to make money for school or become a professional driver. This concerns me due to the fact that it is more dangerous than a stock car driver, because boats don’ have brakes! How would you like to try that? 110 miles per hour is the highest she has ever been, and that was when she was nine years old – and it wasn’ fast enough! In boat racing the speed will triple, but we will stand behind her in any endeavor she wishes to try. Talk about trouble, I’ going to have it when she gets a car. Ha.
          We are very proud of you Star. Keep up the good work, and you will go places. Just a note: there are now two masters and one expert for Mepps in this family. Dad & Mom
         Haynie, too!
                 Jimmy Legg, nicknamed “haky” is a pretty laid back guy. Mostly seen driving around in his red T Bird or sipping coffee at GoMart, just the average man on the street except on May 11th.
                 When the Maysel precinct opened Election morning, Legg was up early, ready to do his patriotic duty, vote. Once there, Shaky was told to remove any campaign material on his hat and they didn’ have the correct info on him. He couldn’ vote. A call was put in to the County Clerk’ office to straighten up the mess. Legg got steamed up and used some wayward words.
                 By the time he made the Clerk’ office in the main courthouse he was upset. Potty mouth was heard and it wasn’ from worker Connie Workman. Despite the power being off at 7:45am when Legg turned up, Workman was able to straighten the mess up. Since last voting, precinct boundaries had been redrawn and Shaky was suppose to vote at Clay Middle School instead of Maysel.
                 Shaky was still upset. While standing and waiting to vote at Clay Middle School, much, much more potty mouth came from Mr. Legg. Poll workers called the Clerk’ office and requested law enforcement. As the call was being made to 911, Deputies Belt and Slack entered the courthouse, heard the mayday, and responded.
                 Before the badges could make the two block trip, voter Jim Haynie told Legg to stop the potty mouth, that women were present. Now ole Shaky didn’ take none to kindly to someone questioning his right of free speech and in a flash, Haynie had a folding chair thump up side his head.
                 As officers arrived, the Legg-mobile was seen leaving Clay Middle School. County Clerk Moore said the officers had gone to Legg’ domicile to discuss the matter. Those at the scene said no ambulance was called or needed.
                 Shortly after lunch, the disgruntled voter returned to CMS and successfully voted without further incident.
                 On May 13th, Officer Slack said he had seen no blood coming from Haynie that election morning and as of that day, no charges had been filed against Jimmy Shaky Legg.
                 Ahhhhhh, Clayberry.                                                                AW
         By Andy Waddell
         Clay County is filled with election year stories. Reports of ballots being thrown in the Elk as poll workers crossed the Dundon Bridge. Pay off money not going to buy votes but instead used to buy sheep. One fellow sitting all day on Main Street handing out ½ pints to faithful voters.
                 Here’ our 2004 edition.
                 Five days before the May 11th Primary, perennial Sheriff candidate Morgan Gibson called the volunteer fire departments in the county and made an offer. If he got elected to office, he would contribute $1000 to each department. When we confirmed this with Mr. Gibson, he said Yep! He did just that. He felt his promise was no different or any more illegal than others in the past like donating salaries for scholarships.
                 On May 10th, we checked with Marlyn Starcher with the Big Otter Fire Deparment. Sure enough, he had received the call and planned to make the offer known to the members of BOFD that evening. Starcher added another twist to the story. Shortly after Gibson made the $1000 offer, fellow Sheriff candidate Joe Morris upped the offer.
                 When we talked to Morris, he said he had to! That the $1000 was on the table and something along the lines of: he had to stay competitive.
                 Starcher confirmed that sometime after the first conversation with Morris and his offer, Morris called back and retracted the offer, that he wanted no part of the influence peddling.
                 So, is such an offer illegal? In short, yes, according to Joan Casto with the Election Division of the WV Secretary of State’ office in Charleston. Casto said any promise of money or goods is a real no-no punishable by time in the slammer. To make it doubly clear, Ms Casto was asked: He didn’ say if you vote for me you get the $1000. He said, if I get elected you get the $1000. In response, Casto,: Makes no difference!!! Illegal it would be! She sited two articles of State Code.
                 State Code 3-9-13: Buying or selling vote unlawful; penalties. (a) It is unlawful for any person to offer or to pay money or any other thing of value to any person as consideration for the vote of the offeree or payee, as the case may be, to be cast for or against any candidate or issue in any election held in the state. Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for a period of not less than one year, nor more than five years, or both.(b) It is likewise unlawful for any person to accept or agree to accept money or other thing of value as consideration for the vote of the acceptee, to be cast for or against any candidate or issue in any election held in the state. Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned in the county jail not more than one year, or both.
Here's 3-9-12:Improper influence and bribery by candidates; penalties.Whoever, being a candidate for any office, loans or gives, directly or indirectly, or offers or promises to loan, or give, any money, or other thing of value, to any elector, for the purpose of influencing or retaining the vote of such elector, or inducing such elector to work or labor for the election of such candidate, or to refrain from working or laboring for the election of any other candidate; or to any person to secure or to retain the influence or vote of such elector, in his behalf as such candidate, or to be used by such person in any way to influence the vote of any elector, or of electors generally, for himself or any candidate or ticket, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or confined in the county jail for not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.
Pretty heavy stuff readers!
                 A second conversation with Mr. Starcher gave him the Casto version of law. Starcher, upon hearing the illegal part, said he wasn’ even going to tell the BOFD board of Gibson OR Morris’offer.
                 Greg Fitzwater with the Clay Fire Deparment. said he had not been approached by Gibson.
                 Ahhhhhh, Clayberry at its best…. AW
         Clay Gets Healthier Schools Grant - School Board Meeting
          On Monday, May 3, the Clay County Board of education met in regular session at their administrative office in Clay. Most of the principals of the various schools were in attendance, along with a few others. Board members Gene King, Kim Sams, R.B. Legg, Jr., David Pierson and Rick Tanner all were present.
          Debbie Starks, representing Mountain State Blue Cross/Blue Shield, awarded a Challenge for Healthier Schools Grant of $15,000 to Clay County Schools. She presented a check of $5,000 to Connie Harper, author of the grant, and Principals Mike Mullins of Ivydale Elementary, Teresa Morris of Lizemore Elementary, and Pam Mullins of Valley Fork Elementary, whose students will benefit from the grant. The grant will be used to enhance a cardiac program already in place in the after school program, and will encourage increased activity and exercise. The 4th and 5th graders will receive pedometers to monitor activity. Starks said a profile of Clay County revealed 50% of children had elevated cholesterol levels, and 20-30% had elevated blood pressures putting them at a higher risk of developing heart disease, Type II Diabetes, and becoming overweight adults. This check was the first installment of the grant.
          Business conducted by the board: approved minutes of the last regular meeting and minutes of some meeting they had sometime for something; approved payment of current bills, with little discussion; approved a proposed budget for the 2004-2005 school year, Superintendent Jerry Linkinoggor saying it was basically the same budget they’ approved last year. Other than a question on insurance from Tanner, no discussion; transferred F. Henson Legg to Chief mechanic from mechanic, successful bid; adopted Social Studies textbooks for grades K-12, Linkinogger explaining that this was a 6 year cycle and the books had been previewed and recommended by the social studies people (in the school system). Assistant Superintendent Larry Gillespie said they’ had seven publishers to choose from, and all the books came with software.
          Business Manager/Treasurer Loretta Gray gave a brief financial update for the month of April, which she said had been good for revenue. Payments that had been received included Title I and II, vocation program funds, technology grant money, and the state aid was increased. Expenditures included the Health Department contract, Americorp worker contract, payment to Casto Technical for repairs, and some computer purchases.
          The Board moved into executive session, at the request of the parents, to conduct a lengthy hearing to determine the status of a Clay County High School student. They returned after about 50 minutes and approved Linkinoggor’ recommendation to place the student in alternative school for the remainder of the school year, and if three criteria are met in that time the student will return to the regular classroom next year; if not, then the student will continue in alternative school during the 1st semester next year. All motions passed unanimously.
          Linkinoggor reported that they would be advertising for bids in the Charleston newspaper for the core drilling the School Building Authority wants done at the new school site in Big Otter.
          He also announced that BIDCO had applied for money from the legislature, and maybe with Capito’ help, $250,000 might be coming to start a wood crafters cottage industry in the county. He said the money would provide for equipment to build furniture, and as many as 50 jobs could come to Clay County if it happened.
          Meeting adjourned at 7:18 PM. Next meeting of the board will be at Clay County High School at 6:00 PM on Monday, May 17.                         
         Nonprofits? System Creates Dynasty By Jim Chafin
          Have we heard the full, agonizing story of the trials and tribulations of the beleaguered director of the Wyoming County Council on Aging – given the, seemingly, free-fall into a state of negative morality? Or could this be but the tip of an iceberg, large enough to cover this entire state of West Virginia? As one group after another comes into public scrutiny, one feels a sense of foreboding and deep frustration at what can only be described as disgusting, shameful, and pity to the point of nausea, when charlatans, masquerading under a purported desire to help elderly and disabled folks, are exposed to the world as fleecers of the sheep.
          We learn that $302,000, shocking as that is, pales into insignificance with the revelation that the Aging director was paid $457,000 in 2003. A cursory look at just how large a salary that is, I took some time to do a little math. According to news reports, Wyoming County’ Council on Aging had a budget in 2003 of $5,300,000. With the director’ salary of $457,000, that figures out to be 11.5% of the agency’ total budget. In today’ business world, a five million dollar budget isn’ a large one, and a private commercial enterprise of that size would be hard pressed to pay one fifth, or $91,400 per year. This is only one reason that makes this case so stinky. Another would be the stark contrast between the opulence of the director and the scenes of naked poverty in Wyoming County and surrounding areas. This, it seems to me, is arrogance personified, and manifests a degree of uncaring snobbery that is hard to describe.
          We hear of another case up in Wheeling where a similar agency paid its director $392,517 last year. And Patrick Casey, Northwood Health Systems, board president, has the temerity to say: “e went through a rigorous process. I am very comfortable with our CEO’ salary.” Hey, Casey – I wonder if you ever considered the possibility of enhancing the health and well-being of those you purport to serve, instead of making a CEO, or a handful of others, wealthy, riding, as it were, on the backs of the poor and needy? And all of this while a state senator sits on this agency’ board of directors. “ had no idea Radakovich (CEO) made $392,517 a year until about two weeks ago.” Well, Senator, we have a problem here. Not that it is anything new, mind you, because we see this sort of lackadaisical, devil may care attitude just about everywhere government funds are in use. Some folks just seem to feel that they have a God-given right to make themselves wealthy, even if the money comes out of tax coffers; even if their clients exhibit needs far and beyond that which they are receiving. All this seems not to matter whenever one is presented with opportunity to enrich one’ self. Methinks that the “reed is good”preaching of the ‘0’ has found even more fertile environments in which to grow and flourish in the new century.
          One cannot help but notice a direct link between secrecy and the conduct of public business. History has shown that whenever fair and consistent supervision is not forthcoming, those in whom trust has been placed exhibit a propensity on the side of establishing their own little dynasty. If supervision is the key to discouraging abuses, then lack of same could be said to be a catalyst – thereby encouraging an errant mind to further heights of the fantasy world where dreams are born.
          Secrecy is the glue that binds abuse, coercion, domination, and intimidation – all of these factors, seemingly, are at work here. Gird the loins of a strong willed and shrewd individual with authority and opportunity, and then he/she will be willing to explore the outer fringes of morality and self respect to a point where one small step is enough to open doors of darkness that one could not have envisioned before. Secrecy is the veil that hides corruption, moral depravity, and gross wrong-doing, from the eyes of a moral public. Secrecy enables misconduct of public affairs and gives a sense of security to the perpetrator (s). To a mind determined to explore the bounds of illegality, secrecy is the fast track to riches, fame and prestige. To the taxpayer and consumer alike, however, secrecy is a blinding fog that permeates our environment and shrouds our lives in an aura of black light – a wall of separation between fact and fantasy. Secrecy, if tolerated by a free society, becomes the proverbial “illstone”around the necks of our economy and creates a lien upon the lives of the yet unborn.
          Oh, yes, we are aware of that patchwork thing called the law; that oftentimes used entity that comes down hard on those who are not able to defend themselves, while at the same time, granting largess to individuals and groups who, by virtue of position or association, are able to weave through, around, and under ordinances and statutes – having an “nsiders”knowledge that can work for their benefit. And such is the case here. We have a grand idea turned ignoble simply because the law – being made in the manner and likeness of man – turns out to be an engraving of man himself; i.e., molded and shaped by the hands of corruption, the law becomes the spittin’image of its framers. Less than dedicated people will seek out the loopholes which are built into the fabric and painstakingly woven, designed and pieced together to allow for just the conditions we see in the so-called “are”industry. This, we insist, is an endeavor built almost entirely on tax dollars, and therefore any profits should be plowed back into the system in the form of enhanced services, not used to enrich CEO’ or their associates.
          The amount of moral malfeasance in these “onprofit”stories is enough to make Dirty Harry look like a Sunday school teacher – if only by virtue of the fact that the culprits in our play are one of us. These are they of whom we trusted but who in turn did not trust us.
          “lthough bats are happy in the dark, most of God’ creatures need light for growth and development.”
          - Unknown
         PRIMARY WRAP UP 2004
                 Ever see a wilder election? Background checks on Roger Hunt. Brian Holcomb divvying out campaign materials during the school day. Morgan Gibson offering $1000 bonuses for fire department support. Huge outdoor billboards and radio advertising on Summersville and Charleston FM stations. Tearing down and defacing signs around the county as well as last minute stuffing mail boxes with campaign flyers. It just doesn’ get any better than this readers!
         So what happened this time around. Where were the back room slates? Why weren’ there clear favorites in the Sheriff, Assessor and Commission races? There’ two answers. One, with so many running for office and so many of them with big families, the politicos couldn’ afford to pee anyone off too much. Two, with the exception of the School System and the threat of job loss, old time power brokering is almost gone in Clay. Based on conversations with those at the Courthouse and around the county, some Primary Election 2004 chit chat.
                 So how did quiet Beth Cercone slip in on the School Board? The folks on her end of the county know school consolidation is coming for them and they needed a voice. Incumbent Rick Tanner had already showed his hand and voted to close two community schools, and could be discarded. Ms Cercone got the nod of support from the insiders. But how about RB and Gene? Only one angle can be for sure. Despite the arrogance often displayed by the two top vote getters to parents and concerned citizens during public meetings, the massive school system employment base held their noses and stuck together. Jobs count in Clay and the School System is the largest employer. By voting to keep RB and Gene for another four years, brothers, sisters, aunts and neighbors have a better shot at a job with benefits.
                 And what happened to that lard butt Earnie Sirk? Why no big outside win there? Sirk said he couldn’ overcome his relatives. He felt ballot readers confused his name with Coach Ron Sirk while others knew he was related to Superintendent Link. In spite of those negatives, the always troublesome Wide Glide mustered 635 ballot marks.
                 The best efforts to keep Suzie Legg by the insider political machine didn’ work. Although Suzie was needed to keep their personal property taxes in check, they couldn’ hold her. Word spread that Lane was to be fired by Legg the day after the election. Little ole ladies don’ like that! With voters upset with ever escalating property taxes and knowing full well, uppity households were being under-assessed, the voters spoke. With every Assessor office employee working for her, Lane squeaked in.
                 So how did Holcomb get the Demorat nod for Sheriff over the more moderate choices? There is a perception that Clay is over run with drugs, violence, and thievery. That Sheriff Fields was sitting down on the job and juveniles were running unchecked in the county. That Holcomb would and could some how change the county back to a time when a rock thru a window was considered bad. Holcomb or no Holcomb, those days are gone and in reality, Clay County is just now feeling what the rest of country has been dealing with for 20 years. Smoke ‘m Holcomb is perceived as the tough on crime choice.
          The early Sheriff front runner candidate was handsome young Mathew Bragg. After a dismal 5 year presence on the County Commission, Bragg was fired by the people. Bragg has already returned to construction contracting. Sheriff contender Scott Legg fell in a trap. Legg was promised plenty of support if he dropped off the school board ticket to allow Gene King 4 more years of rubber stamping. Legg was tossed by the way side early on and never had a chance.
         Holcomb and Republicat Dave Mullins will square off in Nov to see who will wear the badge of Sheriff. Neither showed decisive numbers this election process. Although over 2400 Demo’ came out to vote, Randy only mustered 551 nods in his direction. On the other side, Mullins could only generate enough interest to bring out 450 Repubo’ and of those, he received 412. To date, Mullins has never won a race and Holcomb has never collected more than 662 votes ( Last election against Fields) in his life.
         New Prosecutor Jim Samples handily took top honors over Barbara Schamberger and Wayne King. The voters decided a home town boy short on experience could do better than sometimes controversial and slow poke starter Schamberger and financially challenged Wayne.
         If you haven’ heard, appointed Prosecutor Daniel Grindo ran for the same job in Braxton and bit the bullet there May 11th . Bill Martin will handle the duties in Braxton.
         And then the County Commission race. The school system engine wanted Holcomb in there reaaal bad. The plan was for Holcomb this election and Super Link to run when he retires in two years. Maybe because of the front page hoopla on Holcomb having students hand out campaign material during school time or maybe because Fran worked her butt off ( well most of it anyway) for three months, number two Holcomb will go back to the class room for now.
         It’ not over for Fran though. In Nov Ms King will face off with that ace cub reporter and Mountain Party candidate Andy Waddell. With many in the county sick and tired of no direction, no plan for the future, the Nov Commission race could stir up strong feelings.
         Four years back, after loosing a campaign four times in a row, Dave Walker said, “Stick a fork in me, I’ done!”That might apply to Joe Morris and Morgan Gibson this time around.                                                        AW