JUNE 27, 2004

The Day He Didn’t Come Back
Up, Up, Up, And Away We Go—Again!
Steps in Buying a Home
Camp Mustang Receives High Marks!
Bad Stats Revealed
Foreign Farm Owners Have 90-Day Reporting Rule
Letter to Brother Bill
Crop Acreage Reports Needed
FSA County Committee Election
Internet, ATVs, Leash Law, Cancer, No Cops!

        Before most of us were out of bed June 24th, a local green shirt had already nabbed the person responsible for burning down a house trailer. See picture above. Did we mention it was his own trailer?
        On the street word spread faster than the flames. That a husband came home to find somebody sleeping where he shouldn’ have been sleeping; the irate husband clobbered the fellow with a five gallon can of paint; and then took off across the Elk River. That’ what the rumor had it by noon June 24th. Here’ what we gathered from Magistrate Jeff Boggs’paperwork.
        Robert H. Ferrebee stands charged with felony 1st degree arson and two misdemeanors, violation of a domestic violence petition and battery. Ferrebee was arraigned as soon as the courthouse opened for business, and as of 8:00 p.m. Thursday, remains lodged in the Central Regional Jail in lieu of $12,500 bond. Trooper M.L. Bailey was the arresting officer and signed off on all statements.
        From the criminal complaint filed June 24th by M.L. Bailey: At approximately 0530 hours, the undersigned officer received a domestic battery assault complaint which was occurring along Carr Street in Clay at the Ferrebee residence.
        At approximately 0544 hours the officer arrived at the scene and observed the residence on fire. Shortly thereafter, the undersigned officer spoke with the victim, Lisa Ferrebee, who advised that Robert H. Ferrebee had violated a DVP by entering the residence and speaking with the victim.
        The officer then received a written statement from David Tackett advising that Robert H. Ferrebee (accused) had hit him several times with his fists and a 5 gallon bucket of paint while on Main Street.
        The officer then received written statements from Cynthia Flores and Tyler Ferrebee advising that they observed the accused inside the residence while it was on fire.
        After arresting the accused near the scene, the accused was read his rights…
There’ the jest of it readers from the complaint form.                 
        In the written confession: the accused then advised in a written confession that was in Lisa Ferrebee residence, he did hit David Tackett with his fists and buckets of paint, set the house (trailer) on fire with papers [found] in the living room.
First degree arson is a felony punishable with up to 20 years in the slammer. If found guilty of battery, that can get a person a year in look up and a $500 fine. On the violating a domestic petition, up to one year in prison and a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $2000.00. Robert Ferrebee has asked for a court appointed attorney in the case.
        There were no reports of other damage or injury to bystanders. Clay Fire Department extinguished the fire.
Here’ one we bet you didn’ know. Is it illegal to burn down your own house, home, barn, outhouse, garage, well , you get the picture. Here’ the answer from the state code:
§61-3-1. Burning, etc., of a dwelling or outbuilding; first degree arson; penalty; definitions.?(a) Any person who willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns, or who causes to be burned, or who aids, counsels, procures, persuades, incites entices or solicits any person to burn, any dwelling, whether occupied, unoccupied or vacant, or any outbuilding, whether the property of himself or herself or of another, shall be guilty of arson in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to the penitentiary for a definite term of imprisonment which is not less than two nor more than twenty years. A person imprisoned pursuant to this section is not eligible for parole prior to having served a minimum of two years of his or her sentence or the minimum period required by the provisions of section thirteen, article twelve, chapter sixty-two of this code, whichever is greater.?(b) As used in subsection (a) of this section:?(1) "Dwelling" means any building or structure intended for habitation or lodging, in whole or in part, regularly or occasionally, and shall include, but not be limited to, any house, apartment, hotel, dormitory, hospital, nursing home, jail, prison, mobile home, house trailer, modular home, factory-built home or self-propelled motor home;?(2) "Outbuilding" means any building or structure which adjoins, is part of, belongs to, or is used in connection with a dwelling, and shall include, but not be limited to, any garage, shop, shed, barn or stable.
        Now you can’ say law “in’ doin nothing” By 8:00 a.m. Bailey had the accused over at the courthouse and to jail he did go. As for Ferrebee swimming the river to escape, Magistrate Boggs said the 35 year old man was not soaking wet. Maybe that part of the street gossip was wrong.

We’e sort of following up a follow-up with a booboo. Last edition we reported the charges against Calvin Cottrell had been dropped with prejudice. We miss heard that day. The charges were dropped by Prosecutor Grindo without prejudice. Translation: If the Prosecutor gets around to it, and gets the subpoenas in order, Cottrell can again be charged with breaking into the Dundon ball field concession stand and destruction of property. Thanks John Riley, for keeping us straight.

        And back by popular demand… Buckshot Butcher! Shortly after lunch June 11th Phillip David Butcher, AKA Buckshot, was sworn back into service in the County Clerk’ office. According to Mayor Arthur Jarrett , Butcher remains a volunteer Chief of Police.
        Clay County Ambulance Service’s second newest truck is up on cinder blocks, so to speak. According to Director Beverly King, the automatic transmission is shot. Cost to rebuild or replace the trany looms around $1700.00. With the box unit down we have two units rolling. Over the scanner around 6pm June 24th came the message to call Kanawha County to respond to a call. If you ain’ got the wheels…..
        Tuesday morning June 22nd , Tammy Duffield appeared in Court for a pretrial hearing in the Town of Clay vs Duffield civil case. Duffield is accused of three counts of “ticky finger-itis”from years ago when she worked as a water clerk for the municipality. Her attorney, Jerome Novobilski, worked to get the charges dropped. Judge Alsop didn’ buy it. Didn’ work. The town has identified $6,264.12 as missing.
Look for many more hearings before trial sometime next year most likely.
        WYAP-LP Clay County’ nonprofit community radio station WYAP-LP moved one step closer to getting “n the air”June 17th when their 200 watt FM transmitter arrived at the Two Run station across from GoMart. According to FCC rules, before WYAP can be fully licensed, an emergency alert system “ecoder”must be installed and operating as well as extensive program testing completed. As of publication date, the decoder had not arrived.
        Over the last 18 months the station has broadcast around the world as an internet web-caster. High school and senior citizens operate the broadcast service Monday through Saturday, 9 to 5 pm. After 5 pm the station goes to an auto format for 24/7 programming.
        Each Saturday night Yap Radio, as they’e called, is hosting a Summer Jam 2004 live music show on the front porch of the historic old Gulf station building, weather permitting. The 2 hour shows start at 6:00 p.m. sharp and can be heard around the world. Last week over 200 internet listeners clicked on to hear West Virginia at its best.
        FILCON INC Talk about a mess. Just mention Filcon in this county and people start gritting their teeth. From the beginning 5 years ago some felt that uneasy feeling in their stomachs when Filcon owner Manfred Kuenzter first showed up in this county from Oswego, New York. Now labeled a crook, Kuentzer has fled the county with thousands in his pocket according to some locals. During recent BDA and CAEZ meetings, the loss has been estimated at $450,000.00 from public and private ($147,000 by the Clay County Bank) sources.
        Last week, on June 21st, the Clay County Bank was to auction off the taxpayer paid for industrial park near the Ovapa turn off to pay off liens and bad debts from a loan to Filcon. According to Wayne King, no one showed up. We think that no show included the Clay Bank, too. Sources close say there was a problem with advertising the sale and it has been rescheduled for July 6th. When we find the exact date and time, we’l post it on the clayberry.org web site.
        With the Business Development Authority (BDA) claiming ownership and the bank claiming a lien, the BDA wants their property back. Around June 10th, $50,000 from the Governor’ Budget Digest Fund arrived to buy back the property owned by the BDA and the people of Clay County. The BDA originally paid $90,000 for the low lying parcel.

        On June 14th , the BDA held a special meeting at the courthouse to discuss the reacquisition. Leonard Williams and Paige Willis signed for the special meeting on June 10th. According to the agenda, the economic development group was to vote to allow Chair Paige Willis to negotiate a new deal, employ an attorney to guide them through the process, and release all BDA liens prior to receiving the money.
        This paper did not see the Special Meeting notice and missed the meeting. Sorry, readers. We’l try harder in the future.
         ELECTION 2004 Despite rumors all over the county that more contenders will sign up as write-in candidates on the November ballot, as of June 23rd at noon, according to Clerk Mike Asbury, it ain’ happened! Earlier this week Kenneth Tanner said he was not a politician and didn’ plan to run as a write-in the fall.
          The coffee house crowd is still scratching their heads over write-in candidate Jim Paxton. The question is: What will the affect be of Paxton on Demorat Sheriff candidate Randy Holcomb and Republicat Dave Mullins? There appears to be a couple trains of thought. First, with Paxton in the race, Holcomb is no longer a shoe-in even though this county is 4 to 1 Demorat; that there could be enough votes pulled off Holcomb for Dave Mullins to emerge victorious. Train number 2 says that since Paxton only garnered 250 votes or so, those voting for him will pull few votes from Holcomb and Mullins.
         But in Clay County, anything could happen. Like, just maybe, Demorat Matthew Bragg, the third place finisher in the May Primary, may also become a write-in candidate this fall. Last day to file is October 12.
         And finally, on Election 2004, just to make Circuit Clerk Mike Asbury flinch, there could be other write-in challengers in other races.
         06/10/04: belt – Betty Nicholas, forgery and uttering (05/24/04), final order – probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury; Stephenson – Calvin Cottrell, breaking and entering (05/27/04), pre-trial dismissal – dismissed by State without prejudice; Light – Dencil M. Fugate, unlawful/malicious wounding (05/31/04), bench trial, final order – no probable cause found, determined accidental shooting.
         06/18/04: Delk – Clyde Earl McQuain, possess with intent to deliver meth (05/06/04), altering or changing serial number, removal of manufacturer’ serial number, and receiving and transferring stolen vehicle (05/13/04), received order, affidavit and motion to revoke bond.
         06/10/04: Light – Robert H. Ferrebee, domestic battery, summons.
         06/14/04: Connie Brown – David D. Myers, worthless check complaint, warrant issued.
         06/15/04: Butcher – Shonda L. Tanner, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI X 2, registration violation and no POI, warrants issued; Lizemore Grocery – Josh A. Vance, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, appeared 06/22, ROB; Lizemore Grocery – Ronald C. Pritt, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 6, appeared 06/18, Def. paid checks and costs X 3, ROB.
         06/16/04: Bailey – Bobby E. Woods, possession of marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, placed on unsupervised 6 months probation, assessed cost.
         06/17/04: Butcher – Ronald Ray Dobbins, driving while revoked for DUIA, registration violation and no POI, arrested, ROB.
         06/18/04: Connie Brown – Jokwin Schoonover II, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Butcher – Thomas F. King Jr., warrants issued for destruction of property X 8, arrested 06/22, ROB; Butcher – Lyndon B. Metheney, warrants issued for destruction of property X 8; arrested 06/19, ROB 06/22; Butcher – Howard H. Hanshaw, warrant issued for permitting unauthorized driver to drive vehicle; arrested 06/21, ROB; Slack – Debbie Summers, trespassing, summons; Tracy Johnson – Leslie White, peace bond, summons; Stephenson – Travis A. Woods, possession marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, ROB; Stephenson – Christopher S. Walls, battery X 2, summons.
         06/19/04: Stephenson – Richard Scott Blankenship, fleeing from a police officer, false info to a police officer, no POI, possession controlled substance 2nd offense, and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Delk – Christopher Eugene Knight, DUIA with minors, arrested, ROB 06/20.
         06/21/04: Delk – Marina Kay Lanham, fleeing in vehicle, speeding, and possession of controlled substance, arrested, ROB.
         06/22/04: Stephenson – John R. Neff, possession marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, ROB; Stephenson – Leon F. Holcomb, possession of a controlled substance less 15 grams, appeared, ROB.
         06/23/04: Delk – Bruce Bird Jr., destruction of property X 2 and trespassing, arrested, ROB.
         06/11/04: Rodney Aleshire – Russell Brown and Tammy Brown, money due, subpoena.
         06/15/04: Pam Dalzell – Paul Dalzell, money due, subpoena; Jackie L. Johnston – Jeff Davis, money due, subpoena.
         06/16/04: Clay Furniture and Appliance – subpoenas issued, all for money due, to Billy Deems; David L. Pritt; Jonathan Pritt; Scotty Mullins and Mindy Mullins; Jason S. Mullins; Roger Holcomb and Joyce Holcomb.
         06/17/04: Kay Martin, POA for Dorothy McCracke – Marie Ramsey and Benjamin Grose, wrongful occupation, subpoena; Clay Furniture and Appliance - Jeffrey A. Conrad, money due, subpoena.
         06/22/04: Nichols Furniture and Appliance – subpoenas issued, all for money due, to Lorissa E. Stewart Stephenson; Vivian L. Lyons Rhodes; Beulah K. Stephenson; Dara Stephenson; Teresa Rhodes.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued –
         06/15/04: Carte’ Carry Out – Paul Burniston and Ronald C. Pritt; Clay Supermarket – Paula Burniston; Kristie Burdette X 2; Naylene Harvey X 2; David M. Hanshaw X 3; Gary Lee Ramsey.
         06/16/04: Dawson’ Service Center – Matthew Meadows.
         06/18/04: Sizemore’ IGA – Helen A. White and Roger B. Carper.
         06/23/04: Clay Auto Parts – Joseph L. Mollohan.
         Citation Register
         05/24/04: State Police – Daniel P. Hoover, possession.
         05/26/04: State Police – Alvin Hardway, speeding; Heather R. Mullens, operator’; James D. Pizza, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, no POI and registration violation.
         05/29/04: State Police – Colby S. Meadows, registration violation and no POI.
         05/30/004: State Police – Joshua B. Keiffer, failure to maintain control.
         06/03/04: State Police – Michael Lawson, operator’; Connie Sue Rogers, registration violation; Timothy C. Rose, no POI.
         06/05/04: State Police – Samuel Novel Boggs, registration violation and no POI; Adam D. Parsons, no helmet, MVI, operator’ and defective equipment; Joshua A. Thacker, no helmet under 18 ATV.
         06/08/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Alexander P. Potter, registration violation and no POI; State Police – Jeremy S. Wyant, registration violation, MVI, defective equipment, no helmet, operator’ and no POI.
         06/09/04: State Police – Roy Walter Brown, shoplifting; DOH – Herbert Emil Vance, overweight, over width, over length.
         06/11/04: State Police – Leon F. Holcomb, possession of controlled substance less 15 grams; Howard K. McAtee, no POI; John R. Neff, possession less 15 grams; Travis A. Woods, possession marijuana less 15 grams.
         06/15/04: State Police – Shane Adam Hanshaw, seat belt violation.
         06/16/04: Municipal Police – Jason Lee Woods, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, no POI and registration violation.
         06/17/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Ronald Ray Dobbins, no POI, driving while revoked for DUIA and registration violation.
         06/19/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Christopher Knight, DUIA with minors.
         06/21/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Marina Kay Lanham, speeding and possession of controlled substance.
                 Evening hours on June 17th were cool and dry. At 11:25 p.m. it was all quiet and settled down in Clayberry. A few cars were passing by after the lifeguard class at the pool. That all changed around 11:30 p.m. - all ‘H’ broke loose.
         From our vantage point at Two Run, and from the scanner traffic that night, here’ our report:
         Over the scanner at 11:29 p.m. “hots fired around the high street apartments!”Almost immediately Town Cop Butcher got on the radio: it’ a silver Dodge K type car…. High-tailing it out of town!… there’ two occupants, Tommy King and Lyndon Metheney!’
         About a split second later on the scanner Frank Childers called, said he fired the shot and wanted to talk to law enforcement. Unit 4, “0-4”
         11:32 p.m. Buckshot Butcher came tearing through Two Run with his two little blue lights flashing and zoomed out toward Maysel. With Butcher zooming south, two cruisers parked in the Bank of Gassaway lot and talked. Over the scanner Butcher came back with the names a second time and the part about a silver K car.
         11:34 p.m. Unit 2, that’ Jeff Rider, said he was crossing Dundon Bridge and looking for the vehicle.
         11:36 p.m. some badge, don’ know if he identified himself, “hey may have grown wings and flew away!”As that was coming across the scanner, the two parked, marked cruisers slowly pulled out of the bank parking lot and headed north on Rt. 4. Somewhere in all the scanner traffic, a badge said, “all me on your cell phone.”Note: That usually means something or somebody of importance is going to be mentioned and they don’ want the public to know.
         11:41 p.m. Deputy Rider reported that he had found the ball bat used to beat out the car windows on the back streets of Clay. Rider, “hey’e probably going out the ridge… that’ where he lives.”
         With Buckshot looking for the thugs on a short cut back to town, and other badges looking in the other direction, things settled down around midnight as law enforcement started the paperwork.
         From the court documents prepared by Buckshot Butcher, here’ the scoop. Metheney drove the K car as King leaned out the window and with a ball bat busted windshields, car windows, and mirrors as they drove down the back street. Frank Childers and his brother were sitting on a porch and saw what was going on. Some where along about then, Childers ripped off a shot.
         So how did old Buckshot respond so quickly? Buck was on Main Street and saw the two men bashing windows as they turned off Carr Street! Our local criminals should learn to look before breaking the law. Here’ a partial list of damaged cars and owners: blue Dodge owned by Leslie White; Chevy owned by William Johnson; Chevy Metro owned by Hawkie Keener; Cavalier owned by Jack White; a Chevy Malibu; Jeff Davis’green Jeep; Frank Childers III truck and Connie Childers ‘98 Lumina.
         By midday June 18th 16 warrants had been issued, including two felony warrants. Officially that’ Thomas Franklin King, Jr. and Lyndon B. Metheney. And from the police report: Clay Units 2 and 4 went toward Dundon Bridge. We looked for the subjects for a while and at 0240 hours an officer drove to Hartland Bottom and Lyndon’ car was home.
                 Never a dull moment in Clayberry, folks!                                                AW

          Many of the kids in Clay County know Jim Haynie as coach, or the VP at Clay High. He may soon be known as “he Man with the Lead Shorts!”
          Monday, June 21st, West Virginia Day was time off from summer CCHS work, and Jim and son David had just finished up cutting a lawn in front of the IGA store in Clay. After stopping for a pop, Haynie in his old truck loaded down with lawn mowers and more headed home out past Maysel Park. Almost immediately he noticed a truck followed him.
          Here’ what Coach Haynie had to say about the hair raising experience during an interview June 24th.
                 Haynie: He had a pick up truck. I noticed this guy on my tail. He kept speeding up and backing off. Up Maysel Hill he really started racing his engine. I thought he was mad ‘ause I was going so slow…. I went out my road past the Park [Maysel Park]. Toward my driveway. He pulled in behind me. I looked back and he flipped me off. I still didn’ know who it was. I got out of my truck and asked ‘hat’ the problem, partner?’ I just thought it was because I was driving slowly..”
                 Here comes the lead shorts part, readers. Again Mr. Haynie, “ saw it was this kid… I said, ‘hat in the world are you doing?’ He was mad because of some discipline problems in school. I looked down and he had this pistol and he was cocking it and cocking it and cocking it. It was an automatic pistol. It wasn’ a revolver. I asked him what kind it was. He said he didn’ know….. I just asked, ‘hat are you doing?’”
                 Although the kid is almost 18 he is still a juvenile and we are omitting his name.
                 With the pistol in the kid’ lap and the hammer being cocked repeatedly, Haynie said that the kid was mad because of some discipline in school. Haynie handles discipline at CCHS. Now more from Mr. Haynie, “e told me, ‘I had some wicked evil thoughts coming out here on what I was going to do.’ I thought for sure I was going to be shot. The Bible says a soft answer turneth away wrath and I just kept talking to him. I told him he can be a good kid when he wants to be. I just kept thinking… my gosh, I didn’ want him to shoot! And I didn’ want him to have those thoughts!”
                 Pretty good so far isn’ it? Our own John Wayne stand-in continued, “e kept talking there a bit and I told him I was always fair with him… I figure it was around 8 o’lock and I told him I had some work to do. ‘I have to go out to my barn and do some more work out there.. If you want to shoot me, shoot me, but I’ going back to work now. I’ finished talking.’ I got in the truck and left. I heard his exhaust after that.”
                 During the interview Haynie provided a side story, “There is an evangelist named John R. Rice. He got held up one time in Chicago, I guess. The guy had a gun and pointed it right at him. Old John R. Rice said, ‘You can’ threaten me with heaven!’ And that was going through my head. I thought to myself, if that boy turns that gun and points it at me, I’ not going to be like Rice. I’ getting out of here!… I’ not as brave as ole Dr. Rice!”
                  Did Haynie have to change his shorts after the encounter? Haynie, “h no! I was really concerned that the boy was going to shoot me, but if that’ God’s will in my life, that’ God’ will. I called 911 that night and the woman assured me someone would call or come out and see me. No one called or came out.”
                 The next morning, Coach Haynie went to the Sheriff‘ office and gave his statement.
                 As for the boy, a juvenile, no word on his fate.
                 So how does Haynie feel about the future of America now? His words, “ere in Clay there is still a tremendous amount of good kids. They far out weigh the bad ones….. there’ tons of them [good ones]. I really enjoy the kids. But there are some that are bad. Every morning I do my devotions at school. He asked me to pray for him. I put his name in my bible and every morning I pray for him… As a matter of fact, out there, I asked him, ‘ thought you got saved?’He said he did. I said, “hen, you ought not act like that!…. I feel for the kid.”
                 How would you handle a similar situation readers? Run like crazy? Faint?
                 Next time you see Jim Haynie call him “John Wayne” Haynie. He deserves it.                                                                AW
         The Day He Didn’t Come Back
                 On May 16, 2004, my dad, Randy Schoonover, went out for what he thought was going to be a normal, quick ride on his 4-wheeler. Not long after he left, it turned into anything but quick and normal. As he was returning home from riding in a spot called Devil’ Den (approximately around 3:30 p.m.), he hit a small hole and flipped his ATV on top of him. At first only his stomach and legs were pinned, but as he tried to get out from underneath of it, the 4-wheeler slipped further down, pinning his chest, left arm, and the left side of his head against the ground. As he lay there, the pain in his left arm got worse. But even though he was scared and in extreme pain, he never quit trying to get himself free.
         When the daylight turned to night, he realized that he was stuck there. Unable to free himself, he knew that the chance of anyone finding him there that night was slim. He would have to wait until morning. My dad laid there terrified, in pain and alone. He was listening to the animals move around him when he noticed flashes of lightning in the sky. As it began to rain, he tried to use his right arm to dig his way out from under his ATV. He dug so hard that his fingernails broke off and his fingers began to bleed. It was then that he began to pray for God to take him out of his misery. My dad said that he asked God to take him home 4-5 times during the night. He even went as far as to use a rock and write the date in the dirt beside him, so when he finally was found we would know what day he had died on.
         At 5:30 Sunday morning my brother Ryan called to ask me if I had seen or heard from our dad since Saturday afternoon. I told him Dad was at my house twice Saturday morning, but after that, I hadn’ heard from him. We immediately knew something wasn’ right, Dad’ truck was still parked in the driveway with the keys in the ignition, his front door was open and his television was still on. My husband and I left within 5 minutes after speaking to my brother. We were going to my Dad’ house to begin looking for him.
          Ryan and John called everyone they could think of to help look for him. From people Ryan worked with, to my dad’ best friend Billy, and even people we really weren’ sure Dad had even talked to recently. At one point during the day I think there was 100-200 people either on foot, on a 4-wheeler, in their vehicles and even some on horses looking around the 100-mile area that we knew he was in. All three county fire departments were also in on the search. As the search began, believe it or not, my dad could hear the 4-wheelers running around him. There were some that were even within 50 yards of him, but could not hear him yelling for help.
         About 6:15 that evening, the major part of the search was called off. But thankfully, we, his family and closest friends, didn’ quit. It was a little after 7:00 that evening when we got word that he had been found. Eric Holcomb found him. My dad keeps telling me there is no way to explain how he felt when he realized that Eric had heard him. I’ sure though, that even as excited as we were, it fails immensely in comparison to how Dad and Eric felt that evening. When we heard they were bringing him out to Leatherwood ball field, we got there as fast as we could. Even though he was found around 7:00 p.m., it was another 3-4 hours before they got him out of the woods and into the ambulance.
         My dad was in the hospital for almost 3 weeks. That’ not a very long time considering what he went through. My brother and sister-in-law, my sister, my grandparents, my uncle Marty and I were at the hospital every day. We weren’ the only ones there everyday, however. My dad’ hero, Eric Holcomb was there with us. He would come over every day from work and check on him. My dad can’ really remember the first 1 ½ weeks he was there. As he puts it, he felt like he was in a dream. He can vaguely remember us being there beside his bed and some of the things we would talk about. And in all honesty, I’ glad he can’ and so is he. With some of the stuff that he had to endure while there, I would never want him to remember that.
         When he was brought into the hospital he was given a 50/50 chance of surviving. It could’e gone either way. We knew two things for sure. One, he was going to loose his arm, and two, he would have never survived another night out there in those woods. The doctors told us that when they finally got him stable.
         He has been released from the hospital and is finally home. But his road to recovery is far from being over. He still must go to therapy 2-3 times a week, and on the days he isn’ in therapy he’ most likely at one of his many doctor’ offices that he now has to see. It will be a long time before he will be 100% back to his old self, but that day will come, and we can’ wait. But until then we will continue to help him and support him as much as we can. You can send cards and letters to him at: P.O Box 250, Clay, WV 25043.
          Although not everyone could get into to see him, my dad would like to personally say “hank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers, and for thinking enough of me to come and visit with me and my family. It is appreciated more than you will ever know. To Eric Holcomb - I can never thank you enough for listening to your gut instinct and coming back and finding me. I literally would not be here today if you had not rescued me. You will always be credited with saving my life. Thank you to all three fire departments, the ambulance service and to all the people who participated in my search and rescue. You are all thought of everyday, by me and my family …Once again, Thank you all.”
                 Sincerely, Randy Schoonover Editor’ Note: This accounting was written by Randy and his daughter Maria.
         Up, Up, Up, And Away We Go—Again!
         By Jim Chafin
                 One derivative of our cyclic price spike in the energy field may be seen in the “e too”emulations of the auto industry; as we are being told to expect price increases ranging up to $5000 for some models. This, following on the heels of a Wall Street campaign to push those “n the nick of time”technological marvels called “ybrid”automobiles of the future - rushed from the drawing board to the production line just in time to save us from those greedy Middle Eastern oil lords known as OPC, commonly called Arabs. Once again, our Yankee know how has pushed us back from the brink of cataclysmic disaster wherein Americans would be forced into the untenable position of having to form car pools, walk to the corner grocery, or heaven forbid, forgoing that 2000 mile trip to the beach. Our horn of plenty has been reinvigorated, and we can now breathe a sigh of collective relief because our world has been propped up with yet another piece of Styrofoam.
                 Have you noticed that everything we purchase in the way of goods and services has risen sharply since natural gas was allowed by the PSC to increase its rates by 66 percent within two years? Coal, which was selling for 23 just a few months ago, is now selling for more than $85 on the spot market. Shades of 1972! Those pale face Arabs are at it again.
                 Let’ see if we can sort out some of the whys and where fore’ as concerning some of the more obvious objects of our national distress. A lot of newsprint is being devoted to what the auto industry is calling “he car of the future’ Front page articles of what can only be properly called infomercials, are being cranked out daily in the national press. For what can only be said to be untried and unproven technology, by which the general public is to be the guinea pig once again. If I run right out and purchase a new hybrid car, I’l save a lot of money. Right? Well, as one who has lived through many price gouging schemes ( called salvation by the technies) and still have those experiences stored in my hard drive, I would like to pose a few questions and make a couple of comments.
                 Firstly: This nation is not sincere when it speaks of conservation. What may appear at times to be a program dedicated to conserving precious natural resources, usually turns out to be a corporate flim-flam in which certain segments of the commercial establishments ends up fleecing the sheep, ye another time. Indeed, this nation really does need to be a good steward over those precious resources that it has been entrusted with. But. Sadly, we are the biggest wastrel. Take a look at any shortage you may wish to investigate and I will wager that professed crisis in the manufacture and distribution of goods and services are contrived in the board rooms of conglomerates and manipulated by those whose responsibilities are to well-manage those thing over which they are privileged to control. And, this current fuel shortage is a classic example of the kinds of schemes we are referring to. Corporate America isn’ paying God more in the form of royalties for its use of his resources. Nay, rather, cons, called CEOs, are maximizing their profits by pushing the upper limits of their customers’tolerance for pain-aided and abetted by government who has joined with the scammers in an effort to make an altogether ugly practice appear respectful. They mouth the words “air and reasonable”which is a relative term, within the eye of the beholder, when in fact, we are calling for equity, an altogether different meaning.
                 A recent edition of the Charleston Gazette carried a story about a Charleston couple who traded in their 2003 Lincoln for a new 2004 Toyota Prius, one of the hybrids that are being touted as America’ savior in the transportation field. Of course the story didn’ reveal what that transaction cost this couple ( wouldn’ want to mix bad news with what can only be called a PR job for the auto industry now would we!) however, knowing something about retail sales, wholesale prices, trade ins, depreciation and gas guzzler terminology, as applied in uncertain times such as these, we can assume that big bucks crossed that table. Gonna save a lot of money? Gonna save this country a lot of petroleum and at the same time, make the air cleaner? Is that what I am hearing?
                 I say that those folks lost several thousand dollars in their transaction to switch from a 2003 Lincoln to that new 2004 Toyota Prius and the bottom line, I would wager, will buy an awful lot of petroleum, even at $2.25 per gallon.
                 And, what about that old, gas guzzling technological misfit? What happens to it? Where does it go? To the great retirement pasture in the heavens? No. That Lincoln will be put back on the dealers car lot and be purchased by someone else. The gas scare will moderate and that Lincoln will serve the needs of another buyer getting what ever gas mileage it was designed to get and consuming the same amount of petroleum it was designed to get for its original purchaser. So where’ the savings for this country? For the individual? Who wins? The industrial establishment, that’ who. Who looses? We do.
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
         1.        The whole structure of democracy rests on public opinion. - Franklin Roosevelt
2.        As of 2002, the United States imported 60 percent of the worlds beluga caviar.
3.        After dropping by nearly 20 percent between 2000 and 2001, toxic air emissions in the state jumped back up in 2002 to 70 million pounds.
4.        The amount of garbage dumped into state landfills increased sharply between 2001 and 2002.
5.        With no breakdown of how they registered, Kanawha County has seen more than 1,000 people change party affiliations since January.
6.        Between March 2001 and March 2004, manufacturing employment dropped by 15.9 percent. More than 2.7 million workers lost their jobs.
7.        Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of “ona Lisa”is slowly deteriorating but no one knows why.
8.        The average price of a gallon of gasoline in Britain is $5.38.
9.        More than 8.7 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed in 2003, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
10.         Statewide, public school enrollment fell by 1,035 students to 280,556 for the 2003-2004 school year.
11.         Only 373 of the 1,674 teacher candidates who graduated in 2002 were hired at schools in the state according to the latest figures from the State Department of Education.
12.         West Virginia’s rate of workplace injuries and illnesses exceeded the national and was second highest in the southeast.
13.         According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, more than half the deaths that occur while motor boating are alcohol related.
14.        Here in West Virginia, of the 20 schools cited as “chools of excellence”in 2003, 11 are now on the “elow NCL B standards” list.
15.         Because of thicker clouds and growing air pollution, much of the earth’ surface is receiving about 15 percent less sunlight than it did 50 years ago.
16.         The last Oldsmobile car, an Alero, rolled off the line in April 2004.
17.        The National Coffee Association in 1999 found that 29 million Americans drank gourmet coffee beverages daily.
18.         The U.S. government continues its changes to U.S. currency intended to thwart counterfeiting. A new look for the $50 bill goes into circulation in the fall of 2004.
19.         There were 6.2 students per instructional computer in the classroom last year in West Virginia compared with 7.9 nationally.
20.        West Virginia ranks 50th in the rate of women who are obese at 25.8 percent, 50th in the rate of smoking and 49th in diabetes.                                         LMM

Steps in Buying a Home
The last time we listed the first three steps in buying a home: 1. Find out how much you can spend. 2. Get pre-approved for a loan. 3. Hire an agent, particularly a buyer's agent.
The fourth step in buying a home is: sign a buyer's agreement. If you have found an agent, sign a buyer's representation agreement. This agreement means that you will have one agent representing you as a buyer. The agreement empowers the agent to not only search out the latest Multiple Listing Service list, but to seek alternatives means of finding you a home, including searching foreclosures, and homes for sale by owners. With a signed agreement, the agent becomes a fiduciary and must act, by law, in your best interest.
Step five is : Be aware of your likes and dislikes. As you shop for a home be aware of your likes and dislikes and let your ideas be passed to your agent. You should feel comfortable looking at numerous homes, but neither you nor your agent is interested in wasting time on homes that aren't appropriate. Like any relationship, your home will not be perfect. If you are finding that most of your criteria is met, it shouldn't be long before you find the right home. Think in terms of future possibilities as well as what you see is what you get. Perhaps a home isn't move-in perfect, but with a little work it could be the home for you. Don't let cosmetic or minor remodeling problems discourage you. Many remodeling jobs add tremendous value to a home. If you remodel a kitchen, for example, you may receive as much as a 128 percent return on your investment. Talk with your agent , friends, relatives, and contractors and find out what it will cost to remodel the home the way you want it.
Step six is : Write a contract. When you find the home you want, you will write a contract, either through your agent or your attorney, or on your own. Your offer should spell out what you are willing to pay for and what you are not, when you want to close, and when you want to take possession of the home. Your contract should be contingent upon getting an inspection, and evaluating the results. If the inspection reveals a big problem, you and the seller can renegotiate the purchase price if you are still interested in buying.
Look for the more steps in buying a home next issue. The article is brought to you by Dave Derby,
Sales Associate, Greenlee Properties Inc.
GMAC Real Estate : Clay Office

Camp Mustang Receives High Marks!
One hundred and fifteen sixth graders gave up a week of their summer vacation to attend Camp Mustang last week. The four-day camp, sponsored by Clay County Board of Education, is designed to orient new sixth graders to Clay County Middle School and to equip them with the basic skills and ideas that will make their entrance into middle school more successful. The student campers were given the opportunity to meet and work with their sixth grade teachers and become familiar with the school as well as its policies and programs. This is the fifth year for the camp, which has earned accolades from the WV Department of Education and other educators from around the state. Dr. R. B. Legg, President of the Clay County Board of Education, commented that Camp Mustang is one of the most positive activities undertaken by our school system.
Students participated in math, reading, and technology classes along with a host of fun-filled but academically oriented activities. Student campers became acquainted with their class schedules for the upcoming year and learned how to locate and open their lockers. They also learned about the responsible students program and many other aspects of middle school in Clay County.
Local high school and college students served as camp counselors and were hugely responsible for the success of the program. This year’ counselors included Justin Holcomb, Kristina King, Jessica Ramsey, Ashley Samples, Mandy Carte, Erin Price, Mika Pierson and Mike Kearns. Alissa Hively served as a volunteer counselor. According to the Camp Director, Nada Waddell, the counselors relate so well to the students that it helps to ease the campers’anxieties about middle school and it adds tremendously to their enjoyment. Bev Nichols was the camp’ assistant director and Denise Murphy served as the parent coordinator.
The activity buses ran to transport campers and delicious breakfasts and lunches were provided daily. Participants were given a camp shirt and had chances to win awards. A scavenger hunt, quiz bowl, relay races, intramurals and squad competitions were among some of the camp activities. A pool party was held on the last day to celebrate Camp Mustang.
The camp was free of charge to all eligible participants. The Clay County Board of Education made the camp possible through excess levy funds, Title I allocations, and funds from the Clay County’ 21st Century Grant.
The student evaluations of the camp were overwhelming positive. The only negative comment was that the camp did not last long enough. Many of the campers wanted it to last for several more weeks. Some of the camper’ comments also included:

         “’ glad that there is a Camp Mustang.”
         “ love Camp Mustang. I’l miss all my new friends.”
         “ think Camp Mustang will help me do better in the fall.”
                 “’ not as nervous as I thought I would be in Middle School because of Camp Mustang.”
         “his is the best school ever! I love Camp Mustang.”
         “amp Mustang rocks. Keep doing it.”
                 “ have had a great time this week. I can’ wait to come back in the fall.”
          The parents of the participants were also surveyed. Their responses were as positive and enthusiastic as their children’. A sampling of those responses include:
                 “y son was nervous about going to the Middle School, but now after seeing what it looks like and meeting some of the teachers, he doesn’ feel that way anymore.”
                 “amp Mustang has calmed my child’ fears, and she can’ wait to start school.”
                 “ have told other parents in different counties about the week-long camp/orientation. It was unanimous that they loved the idea and wished their school offered such a transition program. Good job Clay!”
         “hoever came up with the idea for Camp Mustang is a genius!”
                 “hank you for giving my child the opportunity to attend Camp Mustang.”
                 “his is a big step in his life and Camp Mustang has helped him become more comfortable.”
                 “t was a great idea. It takes the “dge”off of the first day at a new school.”
                 “he big change from an elementary school to a middle school can feel overwhelming. Camp Mustang lets her get familiar with the school before it starts.”
         Bad Stats Revealed
         School Board Meets
                 There is little doubt that the school system machine is the most tightly run organization in the county. The well paid administrators earn their keep. Public relations is top priority in school land. When any information is made public, it must be prepared in such a way as to make even dismal facts look great. Parents have to believe their little sprouts are doing grand and the school system is turning out nothing but future Presidents. For this reporter, it’ always fun when the ice cream turns to crud and the top dog has to squirm. Such was the case Tuesday night June 22nd with our school board.
                 There were the usual items: Vercel Douglas moved from bus 45 to bus 2 , O’rien/Ivydale route; Allen Legg from bus 9 to bus 45; Aaron Belt hired as a bus driver; Jackie Higginbotham resigned from Clay Middle; one kid transferred in and another kid booted out.
                 Here’ the juice. Bruce Hollis from Charleston addressed the Board. Hollis is the State Director of the Gear Up program serving WV. Gear Up provides kids with some college money and to improve going to college rates. Mr. Hollis was there to tell the Board they were doing a fine job, the grant funded enhancement will most likely be funded for a couple more years and such. That he did quite nicely.
                 But what he added made Superintendent Linkinoggor squirm. You can tell when Linkinoggor gets worried. He starts fidgeting with his pen, twirling it end for end. Instead of sitting without movement, his leg starts wiggling too. That’ what happened Tuesday night as Hollis documented some real problems with Clay County and WV schools in general.
                 As this paper noted three months ago, less than half our seniors attend college, of those that do attend college level courses, many drop out after one semester and even more are gone by the end of the freshman year. Also in our report in the Spring of this year, almost half of those attending college are put in bonehead math classes. Our students are not being taught the material needed to make it in college. When you add up all the short comings, 48% of our graduates take some kind of remedial college classes just to stay in school.
                 During Mr. Hollis’presentation, those very same statistics were provided the Board. Much like Barney Fife’ famous line “ip it at the bud”, our Superintendent did his best to down play such talk and came back with: this is the poorest county in the state and things have improved in the last 30 years. His efforts were valiant but the damage was done. Hollis had unknowingly documented a tightly kept secret. Of the few CCHS graduates that attempt college, even fewer make it past one semester.                AW
         BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
          Someone once said that the ancient Greeks arrived at seven important ideas, and that the world, for all its supposed glory, has done little for millennia but paraphrase them. Perhaps what we call “rogress”is only a proud illusion. Classical scholars are often seduced by the notion that, if a Greek or Roman said it, it must be true. It is important, no matter how deeply one reveres the “ncients,”to approach and consider all pronouncements, no matter how grand, cum grano salis; that is, with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, now as then, the commonly-accepted method of argument continues to be what is generally called the “ppeal to authority.” If you feel you are being out pointed in a discussion, no matter how petty and trivial the subject, there is always the resort to trickery. Next time you feel your position is weakening under the assault of someone more intelligent or better-informed, say: “ristotle had a clever way of putting it,”and make up something.
          Once upon a time in an antique land there was a small group of wise men called the “even Sages.” The list is commonly given as Thales, Solon, Periander, Cleobulus, Chilon, Bias and Pittacus. It is, however, Chilon who suits our purpose here. He is credited with the maxim, still observed in our time: de mortuis nil nisi bonum. [Do not speak ill of the dead.] This attitude has become a custom universally practiced and but rarely questioned, except by such as H.L. Mencken, Mark Twain and a few other obscure figures.
          These musings bring us to the interminable send-off of Ronald Wilson Reagan, who has gone to join the choir invisible, or that great corporation in the sky, depending upon your point-of-view. The wretched excess of 24 hour coverage of what the conservatives are fond of calling the “eagan Revolution”illustrates to a few of us this country’ almost pathological need to create heroes, often out of fairly thin material. It is amazing what a warm smile, a handsome profile, a genial personality and an ability to read the teleprompter can do for a man who presided over the second most corrupt administration in U.S. history. The honor of first place goes, of course, to that great “niter, not divider,”G.W. Bush. They call Reagan “he Great Communicator.” It must have been one of the Gipper’ speechwriters who came up with this idiotic twaddle. If a man whose rhetorical gift to posterity consists of his two most famous utterances: “here you go again.” “r. Gorbachev: tear down this wall,”what passes as eloquence is dying a slow death. Incidentally, the famous “all”comment was written for him. Reagan employed the former construction, accompanied with an avuncular smile to avoid embarrassing questions from nosy reporters, usually in passing rapidly toward a waiting helicopter. In a Republican Congressional dinner in Washington, D.C. on May 4, 1982 Ronnie declared:
         …we’e the party that wants to see an America in which people can still get rich.
         There is a wealth of analysis possible in this observation. The majesty and poetic eloquence of Lincoln’ “ettysburg Address”descends to: “overnment of the fat cats, by the fat cats, and for the fat cats.” Theoretically, the statement is harmless enough, and it is dangerous to speculate what Reagan really thought, but the Gipper, and certainly Bush, Jr. would probably contend in private that it is important that only the “ight”people be rich.
          Politicians love to say: “et’ look at the record,”although most of them doubtlessly hope that no one takes them seriously. In the rosy glow of the eulogies the mists began to enshroud the realities of Reagan’ actual record. [Alliteration, anyone?] More than thirty people were indicted and convicted during his reign. One of them, the loathsome Eliot Abrahms, is back in government. With the able assistance of Caspar Weinburger, convicted but pardoned, Reagan ran up the largest deficit in U.S. history, the largest, that is, until the Texas flight suit in chief came along. It should be mentioned at this juncture that Dick Cheney whose economic acumen is unlikely to be equated with Adam Smith recently remarked: “eagan showed us that deficits don’ matter.” Of course, not many of us can rely on the patronage of Halliburton. Cheney, divorced from any reality but his own, is guided by two motives: mindless loyalty to power and party. Further, his overriding view is best described by that succinct line in British satire skewing the establishment: “---- you, Jack: I’e got mine.”
          There is shadow and there is substance. To some of us Reagan was all shadow, an actor-in-chief in thrall to the corporate world and the right wing. There may be more than a hint of déjà vu in these times. His biography illustrates how far an amiable dunce can rise with the proper connections. When the nail needs to be struck in the proper place the iconoclastic columnist Hal Crowther hit it bang-on in the following passage from Unarmed But Dangerous:
         …He delegated justice to a neofascist crony with sticky fingers, civil rights to bigots, foreign policy to psychopathic Marines and gunrunners. He ignored the environment, neglected the poor and nearly bankrupted the country by opening the treasury to the Pentagon and all the corporate thieves who feed there. His few ideas were bloody-minded or outdated and his speeches were comic masterpieces of patriotic buncombe and booster-club patois.
          To invest our lives and the future of our children in a man or woman whose most significant quality is charm is a dangerous and potentially deadly precedent. A recent survey asked the profound question: which presidential candidate would Americans choose to attend a barbeque: Bush? Kerry? Bush won 60 to 40. Is this supposed to qualify as a standard for leadership? There is little doubt that this republic is doomed if we continue to equate popularity with ability, to relegate presidential campaigns to the level of a Miss America pageant. It is true that John Kerry has a personality at a level somewhat below celery, and that Dubya strikes people as someone they would like to drink beer with, but the old Peggy Lee song applies here: “s That All There Is?” Surely it is more important to respect a leader than to love him or to like him. The pronoun police will carp at that last sentence, but it becomes cumbersome to go through life tyrannized by political correctness and being forced into such absurd constructions as “ersonhole cover,”“ersonkind,”ad nauseum. On some future date the huperson race may be forced into the hideous construction, raised on high: “ur Deityperson who art in heaven.”
          To labor the obvious, many of us will not be around to see if history will be kind to Ronald Wilson Reagan. A positive assessment will have to ignore the Iran Contra scandal. Advocates will tout the conquest of mighty Grenada. Critics may be sufficiently cruel to mention the preposterous “tar Wars”boondoggle, a failed project stretching into fiscal infinity, ignoring the collective wisdom of the scientific community, but filling the coffers and gladdening the hearts of the omnivorous defense industry.
          Chilon, the wise old Greek was wrong when he cautioned us to avoid speaking ill of the dead. It depends, does it not? Anyone made to swallow a testimonial that Ivan the Terrible was actually a “well guy”might be forced to stifle laughter – or nausea. That the Gipper was immensely likable, there is no doubt. That policy must be separated from personality is also not to be doubted. There is little reason to believe, at least from this quarter, that a lengthy “ourning in America”period must be observed. After all, the man was 93. The last ten years in the throes of Alzheimer’ evoke our sympathy, but the man “ad his innings,”as the Brits say. The movement is afoot to put him on the ten dollar bill. Let it be a faint hope that some of us still exist who don’ want Reagan to replace Alexander Hamilton. Editor and full time idiot R. Emmett Tyrrell is spearheading a movement to put the Gipper on Mt. Rushmore. One wonders how Thomas Jefferson, a man fluent in five languages, whose accomplishments beggar the imagination, feels about his potential neighbor. In any case, the canonization continues apace. In the coming weeks we may even be able to find out if anything else is happening on this planet.
          Bring on the tar and feathers.
         P.S. For whatever is of value in this effort I am indebted to Hal Crowther. I hope it is worthy of him.
         Foreign Farm Owners Have 90-Day Reporting Rule
          “o avoid Federal penalties and monetary fines, foreign owners of U.S. agriculture land are required, by law, to report their holdings, acquisitions, etc. within 90 days,”says Sewell Priest, County Executive Director of the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
          “he Foreign Disclosure Report must be filed if all or part of the agriculture land is sold, or if the title is transferred to another person,”Priest said. Failure to report could result in civil penalty of up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the interests held on the agricultural land.
          For reporting purposes, agricultural land is any tract of more than 10 acres now in farming, ranching, forestry, or timber production. This includes land in agricultural use when purchased, as well as land later converted to agricultural use.
          Priest said foreigners who own or have an interest in 10 acres or less do not need to report unless annual proceeds from the sale of agricultural products grown on these acres exceed $1,000.
          FSA is responsible for monitoring how much agricultural land is owned or controlled by foreign individuals or interests. Individuals required to report must do so in the county where the land is physically located. Any foreign person who is a permanent resident of the United States and who carries a “reen card”(Immigration and Naturalization Service, Alien Registration Receipt Card) is not required to report under AFIDA. However, those who should report, and fail to do so, or provide incomplete, false or misleading information may face possible penalties as outlined above.
          The local FSA office has the necessary forms for complying with the Act. Anyone seeking more information should contact the Braxton-Clay FSA Office in Room 100, 801 State Street, Gassaway, WV promptly by calling (304) 364-5103. Clay County producers may call toll free
         Letter to Brother Bill
         By Evelyne McLaughlin
         Hello Brother Bill:
          Here we are near the end of June, time surely flies especially the older we get. Remember when it seemed like Christmas would never come around?
          We have a few folks that have been under the weather lately. The daughter of Lester and Chessie Deems Sevy, of Twistabout Ridge, was in a serious car accident. She was still in the hospital the last I heard. "Uncle" Bob Runnion, of Wallback, was under the weather a few days ago. Mrs. Frankie Runnion, of Twistabout Ridge, is also ill. We need to remember these folks in our prayers.
          Joe and Bonnie Weese, of Route 4, were visiting her parents in New York last weekend. Mrs. Jean Browning Harper and her husband are building a new home in Kanawha County. Her brother, Eddie Browning, lives in Delaware. Mrs. Ford Deems, formerly of Twistabout Ridge, is now living in Ohio. She is with her daughter and son-in-law, Velma Deems Starcher and Loren Starcher. Belated Birthday wishes to Sylvia Summers, of Ovapa, and Shirley Sutton (CCHS 1955) Ashworth, of Pedro, Ohio.
          I saw Aunt Delphia O'Dell in the clinic today. I asked how old she was. Her reply, "I don't know, but you oughta know, you were there." Actually she is 89. Recent visitors of Nell and Joe Foreman, of Kanawha City, were Jim and Louise McLaughlin. Also, visiting with them was Shirley Foreman Gandee, of Maryland.
          I received a couple of nice e-mails this week. One was from Errol Rogers
         (CCHS 1955). He and his mother are living in Florida at this time. Shirley Goodwin Pitts keeps in touch. She lives in North Carolina. Congratulations to Luke Thompson and Adrien Thompson. They have finished their electronic schooling. Luke will be taking some additional training in Virginia.
          I was visiting with Kevin and Rhonda Dennis, of Clay, last week. They have a beautiful garden (makes mine look unhealthy). I hear you have a weedless garden. You know, too often, we go through life and never thank our friends who have helped us through the years. I recall the late "Shorty" Bennington was very good to you. Walter and Evalena Schoonover, of Clay, have been and are still wonderful folks. Walter was one of my teachers in 1954. They have really been good to me and in my book they are SUPER FOLKS.
          I went for a stress test a week or so ago. There were several folks also getting stress tests. You know, after spending nearly all day with these folks, dressed in a hospital gown, you get to know about them,. One fellow told us he had gotten married on Saturday (this was now Tuesday). On the way to the airport for a Hawaiian honeymoon he began having pains in his arms and chest. Of course, the trip was called off and here he was spending his "honeymoon days" with five strangers. I told him after nearly 48 years of marriage that I was due a stress test, but his wedding must have been a real doozie to give him so much pain.
          By the way, I may have to get a bank loan so I can purchase gas to mow my lawn. Also, if the price of milk keeps going up maybe I should trade "Old Shep", the ram, in on a cow. All the animals are well and happy so until next time "Help Us All To Be Brave".
          Love, Sis
         P. S. To all you folks who have told me that you read this column - Many Thanks.
         Crop Acreage Reports Needed
          Each year, producers are requested to file a crop acreage report with the local Farm Service Agency (FSA). The purpose of these reports is two fold. First, it makes a record of the type crop, its location and total acreage planted, such as hay, pasture, corn, etc., for the current growing season. Secondly, it provides a history of land use and management for your farming operation for the previous years, and becomes an official data base to document your activities. There is no charge for timely filing an acreage report.
          Any producer who expects to receive benefits under a FSA program is responsible for complying with provisions of that program. Programs like Marketing assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Programs; Direct and Counter Cyclical Payment Program; Conservation Reserve Program; Noninsured Assistance Program; or the Tobacco Program (which Braxton or Clay County does not have), require the producer to timely file a crop acreage report and comply with the highly erodible and wetland conservation provisions. It is also important to have an accurate acreage report in case a natural disaster program is implemented. Failure to timely file such a report, including failed acreages, can result in loss of program benefits.
          To be considered timely filed, farmers shall report by the following dates: 1) prevented planting acreage not later than 15 calendar days after the final reporting date; and 2) failed acreage before the disposition of the crop. The final reporting dates for all crops are as follows: July 15 corn, tobacco, soybeans, grasses, mixed forage (hay, pasture, etc.), and September 30 for aquaculture, ornamental nursery, ginseng, turf grass sod, mushrooms, Christmas trees, and floriculture. To complete the list, the final reporting date is January 2 for honey and maple syrup, and May 31 for small grains such as wheat, oats, barley and rye.
          It takes just a few minutes to complete the report. The office staff will document field numbers, acreages, types of crops, producer’ shares, etc., on an aerial photocopy plus prepare the report for the operator’ signature.
          For a small fee, a measurement service request can be made for any farm visit or acreage determination that is not required by procedure. Included are farm visits to determine an exact area designated for a specific crop, determine quantity of farm-stored commodity, re-determine measurements of farm-stored production, or other determination, such as crop appraisal.
          Stop by the Braxton-Clay FSA Office at 801 State Street, Gassaway, WV to file a report as soon as possible, or call 364-5103 for more information. Clay County producers may call toll free at 1-800-284-4956.
         FSA County Committee Election
         Nominate and Vote for Farmers of Your Choice
          The election of responsible agricultural producers to Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees is important to ALL farmers and ranchers with large or small operations. It is crucial that every eligible producer take part in this election because county committees are a direct link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
          Committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA. They help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level. Farmers who serve on committees help decide the kind of programs their counties will offer. They work to make FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers.
          Committees make decisions on:
?        commodity price support loans and payments;
?        establishment of allotments and yields;
?        conservation programs;
?        incentive, indemnity, and disaster payments for some commodities, and
?        other farm disaster assistance.
FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out Federal laws. Committee members apply their judgment and knowledge to make local decisions.
Important Dates
July 15, 2004
Request nomination forms from the local FSA office and begin nominations.
September 3, 2004
Last day to file nomination forms.
November 8, 2004
Ballots mailed to eligible voters.
December 6, 2004
Last day to return voted ballots.
January 1, 2005
Elected committee members and alternates take office.

A nomination form signed by the nominee is needed to nominate a candidate. The form includes a statement that the candidate agrees to serve if elected. The nomination form (FSA-669A) is available at local FSA offices and online at: forms.sc.egov.usda.gov. Nomination forms for the 2004 election must be postmarked or received by close of business in the local FSA office by September 3, 2004.

In reference to the true letter that was sent to the Clay County Commission, not what was read in the Communicator, one person cannot change things, but groups can – Board of Education, 4-H leaders, ladies clubs, and other groups who may see this.
This is a safety issue that I feel we, as a whole, must deal with and I hope you agree. If you agree, please write a letter to the Commission and give it to Judy Moore, who will bring it to their attention. I want to thank you for your support, whether it be positive or negative. At least it was read and thought out.
There are a lot of people who disregard the law, no matter what happens. To these people I say: if you wish to kill or injure yourself and put your loved ones in danger (which a lot of adults do without even a second thought, or thinking that things like this will never happen to them.) West Virginia is Number One in deaths involving 4-wheelers. This is not something to proud of, of being #1. If you really want to hurt yourself and others, there are people with land who would probably let a group of people build some sort of all terrain track where you can go up hill and flip over backwards, turn real sharp curves and flip over, make jumps and do things there like they do on the highways now! Maybe even ride four or five people on one vehicle at full speed, which I have seen done in front of my house, with no regard for themselves or others. Then they wouldn’ have to wear a helmet. In other words, it would give them a place to go and commit suicide, without hurting others, if they wish!
We, as adults, are charged with and must teach children the proper way to control vehicles, just like a car. You should be required to have them inspected at least every two years, and never ride after dark.
Please help me help our children.
                Thank you,
                Frank L. Kish, Jr.
                A concerned citizen
You will be seeing in either this issue or a future issue of this "Communicator," that I, Marina Lanham, am being charged with "possession of a controlled substance with an intent to deliver." You’e seen this before, and let me assure you, you will see it again. Let me tell you why. Every time Deputy Kevin Delk and I cross paths, he pulls me over and searches me for no reason. Oh no, forgive me, I forgot, he does have a reason - it is because he knows I carry my prescription medication with me. This way he gets to arrest me and stick me with the charge of possession and intent to deliver. He's done this several times before and it always gets thrown out of court because the medication is found to be legally prescribed medication. But he still gets to arrest me, abuse me and humiliate me, and get me in this paper as a person in possession of "drugs" with the intent to sell them. He is the law after all, and we all know the law always wins. How is it legal for Kevin Delk to pull me over for no reason continually, and charge me with possession with intent to deliver for the same prescription medications that he has charged me with before that I am always found innocent of?
          Marina Lanham
                 I just can't resist addressing a couple of items from Clayberry. None of us will live long enough on this mortal plane to see it but in the long run history will see Clinton as a far superior president to what we have now. At least Clinton balanced the budget, pulled us out of a 12-year depression and took us to war without having to lie about why he did so.
                 I agree with Jim Chafin. The education system is the root of most of this nation's problems. Our young people simply don't have enough sense to make rational decisions in most cases. The fact is that while we are churning out technocrats in ever-increasing numbers, the number of graduates with any common sense has dropped to zilch. The students aren't rewarded for thinking and figuring anything out. They are rewarded for following the dogma, filing along in lock step, without any thinking.
                 Of course we would all be surprised if I agreed with everyone. What I see as the step that started us on a downhill slide was when we started printing money that had nothing to back it up, no gold, no silver, nothing. That was done by the GOP and we've been paying for it ever since. Some people might be gullible enough to think that the GOP wouldn't just as soon see us all as peasants in their world of born royalty but I'm not one of them. Likewise anyone that is naïve enough to think that we don't need the social programs given to us by the Democrats needs to get out more.
                 I got a hoot out of the complaint that the Communicator ignores that other little paper. Duh, maybe it could be read on its own website, if one exists. I feel that every county in West Virginia would be a lot better off if they all had a paper like the Communicator in them, especially Mason County. I enjoy the simple fact that I can read a paper from front to back and not have to re-read stories from the national news, endless drivel about local sports or so-called society pages. Hooray for the Communicator and long may it reign.
         So the end of CAEZ and all the other zones will soon be here. I am thrilled to see an end to these political playhouses. West Virginia has far too many, and the demise of a few won't hurt us in the least. I'm sure I'm not alone in being unsettled by the thinking that went into calculating the fact that if you charge less for your public water, you take in less money. If it were bought at $2.24 cheaper per 1,000 gallons, then the $1.50 per month increase wouldn't be needed. Congratulations on the new Craft Mall. It's a step in the right direction.
                 How about an Ambulance Service run report? From April 7 through June 11, here goes: Calls dispatched – 247; Calls transported – 166; Calls with refusals – 38; Fire Dept Assists – 7; Calls canceled – 7; DOAs – 2; Calls given to other agencies – 27; Calls we had back up – 10 ( used medic from other agencies)
                 How about some Solid Waste Authority info from the last couple months? Lynn Romano, grant coordinator, held a logo contest for the Elk River Cleanup with the kids in the school system. The Clay County SWA and DNRsponsored the prizes. Winners were Kristen Clonch- Grand Prize Winner got $200.00 Savings Bond and prizes from DNR; Darrell Drake- High School Winner got$100.00Savings Bond and prizes from DNR; Amber Harris- Middle School Winn got$100.00Savings Bond and prizes from DNR; Jared Casto- Elementary School Winner got$100.00Savings Bond and prizes from DNR; Teyah Powers- Honorable Mention- got T-shirt , Piggy Bank andprizes from DNR.
          The Clay Co SWB and the BREATH project purchased T- Shirts to give to the volunteers that are working in the cleanups around the county. The West Virginia Make it Shine Day was held on April 24.
         The islands under the Dundon Bridge were cleaned off, there were 38 volunteers; mostly kids did the cleanup. All the volunteers, kids and adults, received a t-shirt. They cleaned up 3000 pounds of trash and 84 tires.
         Tire Amnesty WeekwasMay 17-22 at the DOH lot at Maysel. There were 1280 tires collected that week from the county
          The Elk River Cleanup was held for two weeks in June. The kids and adults worked on the river every day but three, 2 because of high water and 1 because of rain . On the rain day the group cleaned dumps in Pisgah. Cabinet Secretary Stephanie R. Timmermeyer helped on the cleanup on Monday the 14th. Saturday, the final day of the clean up, RIVERS WHITEWATER Resortto help. They sent 3 rafts and 7 guides and cleaned over 30 miles of thebeautifulRiver. Halfway through the cleanup it is estimated that 3 tons of metal, 9 tons of trash and 250 tires were cleaned up
                 Tonya Salisbury Nicholas County law enforcement picked up Ms Salisbury June 18th and later that night, she was put in the pokey. Salisbury is charged with the death of her husband Chad and is out on bond until her July trial. On Tuesday, here in Clay, and after failing another drug test, her bond was revoked and off to jail she was sent to await her day in court.
                 Matthew Bragg Our forefathers set up the election process so anyone could run in the primary and duly elected representatives from the main parties would face off in the fall General election. Somewhere along the way the insiders gave way to allowing the outsiders a chance at office. First came the green light for write-in candidates followed by the growth of smaller parties like WV Mountain Party and four years ago, the Libertarian Party.
                 Of course even the best laid plans fall to pieces. Take for instance the last Presidential election when the guy with the most votes ( 450,000 more or so) didn’ win. But, that’ another story for another time. This stumbler is centered around outgoing County Commissioner Matthew Bragg and his attempts to become Clay County Sheriff.

         Just before the June 14th County Commission meeting, Bragg had come up with a plan. If our 600 year old Sheriff would resign, then Bragg would appoint himself to the top cop spot and then in the Fall, run his own write-in campaign as an incumbent Sheriff. His plan ain’ working out too well. Speculation and rumor? Nope. According to Sheriff Fields, Bragg asked, “hen are you leaving”Fields, “anuary, I suppose.”
                 Three weeks back, Fields went for an annual exam. The M.D. put a heart monitor on Fields to check out the pumper. According to Fields, on June 23th, for a 600 year old man, the doctor said he’ doing OK.. Bragg, hearing of the monitor and hearing that the Sheriff was sickly, made his plan. Unfortunately for Bragg, Fields is still able to get around well and confirmed to this reporter, he’ not leaving early.
                 Now back to the morning of the 14th. Bragg told Fields of his write-in plan which included getting his fellow Commissioners to appoint him to be Sheriff. Fields explained to Bragg , “ don’ think I’l be leaving early.”
                 After interviewing the Sheriff , Commissioner Sams was asked, if the situation had come up, Sheriff Fields leaving office for medical reasons, would he have voted to appoint Bragg to fill the un-expired term? Sams gave no answer but instead smiled and said, “hat do you think?”
         Internet, ATVs, Leash Law, Cancer, No Cops!
         County Commission Meets
                 Triplett, Sams, and Bragg assembled up front June 14th for the Clay County Commission meeting. Sams and Triplett looked through the stack of papers before them. Back and forth they asked about what they were reading. Sometimes smiling, sometimes frowning. In the middle sat Commissioner Bragg. The middle man engaged in no chit chat and barely acknowledged the elected ones on his left and right. Bragg did not joke or chit chat. It appeared that something else was on his mind. More than 20 sat in the peanut gallery awaiting the fun of a public meeting.
                 With Jimmy Sams opening prayer out of the way, here’ the highlights. Magistrate Boggs explained to the CCC that his car had been damaged while parked behind the old Courthouse when weed whacker crews worked. Boggs provided an estimate for a new paint job and body work to repair the chipped and dented damage. Boggs: “I have an estimate here… this is the fourth time this has happened… It’ ridiculous, they could have asked me to move the car…” Sams, “2000.00 in damages?”Boggs, “t’ all the way down the sides… I picked rocks and gravel off the hood..”At one point Sams (I think) asked if Boggs had contacted his own insurance carrier to cover the cost of repairs. Boggs was adamant that the county should pay for the damage since one of their community service workers did the damage. Sams, “t looks impossible for a weed whacker to do that.”Boggs, “ou got to paint the whole car.” No decision made by the boys up front.
                 Boggs wasn’ done. He continued with budget cutting moves made by the Commission. Translation: One phone line from each office was removed to save money. Boggs explained that the WV Supreme Court provides money to the county to cover expenses and no other arm of government receives such money. Boggs, “e’e the least expensive office you’l find… you just pay the utilities…. We just have one phone line [now]. The county clerk has 4.. Seems like we always take the brunt of it… Who else pays rent?… the historical society doesn’ pay rent. They’e in the same building … You don’ pay our salaries.”
                 Sams, aided by Triplett, explained that money had run out and they had to do something to make ends meet and the phone lines cost $50 per month. Triplett clarified that 18 phone lines had been cut and not just the Magistrates’offices. They added that other offices had made sacrifices like cutting insurance policies.
                 Both sides were evenly matched until Magistrate Boggs blew it with, “agistrates aren’ supposed to answer their own phones… it’ embarrassing, Vicky has to yell ‘eff’ [with just one line]….. I ran the sweeper myself the other day!”Across the room the peanut gallery replied: “hhhhhhhhh, poor Jeff!”From the back someone, maybe Paige Willis, remarked, “ou should have stopped while you were ahead!”More laughter.
                 The big news came from Able Software who plans to introduce high speed, wireless internet service to the entire county this year. According to their spokesman, residents in the municipal area of the county will have service the first week in July, followed by Valley Fork in the Fall, and finally Lizemores and Bomont served by February 2005.
                 If that was the big news, Cathy Schuler had the serious stuff. Schuler does not have municipal water service and worked for three years to get the long stalled Clay County PSD water line extension project off dead center and into the construction phase. Commission President Triplett assured Schuler that the project would go to bid next month. According to Schuler, over 100 people in the Lizemores area have cancer or have died from the disease with 17 more diagnosed this past month. Schuler blames fowl well water for the outbreak. Sams, “ talked to Keith [PSD Chair Keith ‘r. Happy’) King. He didn’ say which month. We’e heard that before. They’e talked to the engineers… It looks bad on us when they say next month..”Schuler said many of her neighbors and herself really don’ want water from Clay but rather have service coming from Gauley Bridge. Sams said that ain’ going to happen. When asked where else she could get help with the water problem, Commissioner Bragg offered one comment: go see the WV Public Service Commission! Continued on the next page
         County Commission Meets
         Continued from page 16
                 If cancer isn’ bad enough, Schuler was informed, if the money isn’ spent by the end of the year, the money is gone! No projects, no nothing! There was a moment of silence.
         Schuler, “t’ sad people have to live like this …. The water is every color, you name it…It’ not going to stay shut up all summer…”Sams, “f I knew something I’ tell you.. we’e had meetings … had calls with Bird and Rockefeller..”When mention of crappy Town of Clay water came up again, Triplett, “I don’ think there is a lot wrong with the Town’ water anymore.”
                 J.W. Hughes provided the CCC with an insurance quote to cover the Clay County Ambulance Service. As Sams and Triplett paid attention, Hughes went through: lower deductibles, replacement costs versus actual value policies, and additional areas of coverage. No decision made.
                 Here’ an interesting part. During discussion on whether to rechange a newly named 911 road to something the residents would like, Matthew Bragg woke up, “e’e going to get sued!”Bragg appeared to be saying: if the CCC doesn’ allow those living along Procious/Maysel Road, then another expensive lawsuit would be filed in short order. After more discussion, again from Bragg, “It don’ matter much to me, I just hate to get sued.”
                 And the winner in the who gets to sit on the Clay Development Corporation Board.. Drum roll please!!! Jimmy Sams.
                 Have we mentioned Prosecutor Grindo this time around? No? Time to do just that, readers. Somewhere in all the discussion young Grindo’ name came up. Either Sams or Triplett said they had tried without success to get in touch with the wayward Prosecutor with little luck. Triplett, “e won’ be in until Friday.”
                 A letter written by Bomont resident Frank Kish was the next agenda item. Kish asked the County Commission to pass an ordinance to ban all ATVs from paved roads and pass a leash law for dogs. As for the 4-wheeler ban request, consensus from the three up front, the new state law goes into affect July 15th and that’ about all the banning they want to do right now. As for penning a leash law, Sams, “ho’ going to enforce it? WALTER?”Bragg, “ou can’ shoot every dog walking past my house.”As is the case with many issues, both were given the kiss of death with, “t will be taken under consideration.”
                 Most of us know that layoffs and cutbacks were mandated three months ago due to budget cuts. Although the CCC doesn’ actually lay anybody off, they cut the purse strings forcing the layoffs to occur. This July 1, based on reduced tax dollars coming into the county, each department will have to lay off two employees. Or will they?
                 As the meeting was winding down, Sheriff Harald Fields informed the Commission that he had no plans to lay off deputies this July 1. Instead, the aged one explained his idea for saving the same amount of money. Fields plans to continue working his entire uniformed staff (Rider, Slack, Belt, Sizemore and Delk) for four months and then lay off ALL road patrol officers for two months. Fields explained that if he laid off two badges, the remaining officers could only handle court room duties. That instead of having NO road patrol during the next fiscal year, he would have them all for four months, lay them off for 2 months, and then rehire them for four months before laying them off again. As for operating the department with 2 less officers, Fields, “ou can’ do night shift with just three officers… I don’ have enough people …the Court HAS to go, papers have to be served … it is physically impossible …… I don’ know what the answer is .. I am telling you, Court duties take 3 men or more … We’l take care of the Courts and law enforcement will shut down..” Triplett and Sams asked questions.
         After discussion our 600 year old Sheriff asked the CCC what they wanted him to do, Sams, “e’e cut everywhere ….You have to deal with it.”Sheriff, “’l deal with it but it’ not going to set well… You put word in the paper and tell people service is going to be cut. You explain it to the people. They need to know what to expect. It’ not going to be fun…”
         How about that, readers? Fields has pulled a fast one and thrown the issue right back in the laps of Sams, Bragg and Triplett. If Fields does as he says he’ going to do, you might call 911 in November and say “elp, I need an officer!” The response may be, “e can have a deputy there in January to assist you.”
         After two hours, the meting adjourned. Next meeting is set for June 28th at 10am. Be there or be square.                                AW