|1. Nothing makes it harder to remember campaign promises than getting elected.|
2. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that 168,000 people have hip replacement surgery each year.
3. A February 2004 survey by CareerBuilder.com of 1,500 workers nationwide found that 42 percent regularly eat lunch at their desk.
4. There are 325,000 knee replacements each year in the United States.
5. 300,000 West Virginians between 18 and 64 had no insurance last year.
6. A recent national survey showed that 10 percent of employees spend more than four hours on e-mail every workday. Eighty six percent is non-business related.
7. Medicare premiums for doctor visits will increase 17 percent next year.
8. More than 51,000 people in the United States are waiting for a kidney according to Scientific Registry of Transplant Statistics.
9. The American Geriatrics Society say there are only about 7,600 physicians nationwide certified as geriatric specialists.
10. Only one out of 136 West Virginia schools had special education student tests scores that passed federal standards under the “o Child Left Behind”act this year.
11. Pet owners make 127 million visits to their veterinarians annually, but less than 10 percent require prescriptions.
12. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people living below the official poverty line grew by 1.3 million in 2003 to 25.9 million.
13. On average about 114,000 people end up in the hospital and 36,000 people die each year from flu complications.
14. About 40 percent of the nation’s workforce is 55 or older and that figure is expected to reach 19 percent by 2012.
15. Post-secondary education policy notes that the percentage of West Virginians age 25 to 44 taking college courses, 3.6 percent, is the third lowest in the United States.
16. About 40 percent of all beer consumed comes out of cans, 43 percent from bottles and 8 percent from tap.
17. More than 1,000 welfare recipients in West Virginia are enrolled in two or four year colleges according to the Bureau of Children and Families.
18. The US Bureau of Labor statistics shows that work related fatalities in West Virginia increased from 40 in 2002 to 51 in 2003.
19. Between 80 and 90 percent of the 400,000 open-heart surgeries performed in the country a year are bypasses.
Nationally 85 million people went without health insurance at some point in 2003-04. LMM
School Board in September
The Clay County Board of Education members met Monday, September 7, at the administrative office in Clay for the first of their twice monthly regular meetings. Members Gene King, David Pierson, Kimberly Sams and Beth Cercone were present, R.B. Legg, Jr., president, was absent. Vice President King asked Superintendent Jerry Linkinoggor to conduct the meeting for him.
The board approved the transfers of 189 out-of-county students into Clay County Schools. Mr. Linkinoggor said all of the students had been interviewed and approved by the principals of the various schools. Over 200 out-of-county students are now attending Clay County Schools.
Rick Simon, Director of Primary Care in Clay, appeared before the board to request that Clay County Schools build a modular building for Clay Primary Care. Simon said one of the staff had offered the idea of using the CCHS building trades students to erect the building, trying to keep costs down. He said the Primary Care has been facing increased numbers of patient visits every month and they need more space. Simon said he understood there would be no guarantee on the level of completeness, and he would agree to pay for the costs however the board proposed, but would prefer to pay-as-we-go. The board would add 10-15% on top of costs. Linkinoggor added that everyone involved was excited about the prospect of building something the public will use. Pierson made the motion to start preliminary negotiations on a contract for the board to approve. Clay County Schools will buy everything and then be reimbursed costs monthly plus 15%. Simon will work with CCHS staff on the contract.
The board employed Caroline Taylor as Special Education teacher; Allen Legg as a substitute bus driver; Rachel Walters as part time Cook II at Clay Elementary, successful bid; and added Connie Schoonover and Shelly Ware to the substitute teacher list for 2004-2005. Evelyn McGlothlin transferred to part time Cook II at Clay Elementary and Mildred Bullard transferred to full time Cook II at Clay Elementary, successful bids. Amanda Douglas’name was removed from the substitute teacher list at her request as she has taken a job in Sterling, KY.
A list of meeting dates with the Local School Improvement Councils of each county school was approved but the dates were not announced during the meeting. U.S. Foods was approved as the food vendor for the school cafeterias again this year. And, a trip was approved for the CCHS FFA students September 22-24 to go to the State Agriculture Education Career Development Conference in Morgantown.
A new Community Service Program was approved for ALC and Alternative Education students, funded with a 2 year grant. Grant writer Cindy Willis explained that the program will work with suspended and expelled students on whatever their needs are such as anger management, drug abuse, etc. Tutoring and mentoring will also be provided, and some may be placed in community service areas to work. Two Americorp workers are to be hired to work with the students – Clara Marley and Debra Tanner. The grant provides $35,000 per year for two years. Willis said that suspended students could be considered for early release if they partake of the community service opportunity – the program is voluntary.
Because Clay Middle School was sited for not meeting adequate yearly progress on special education NCLB test scores for two years running, the board had to consider whether to offer students at CMS the opportunity to transfer to another school which met AYP or to offer supplemental services. The board could choose either services or choice. Linkinoggor said that as there were no bordering counties that made AYP choice was not practicable, but supplemental services could be offered and the federal government would give CMS $110,000 to do that. Supplemental services were chosen targeting special education students. Approximately 25% of CMS students fall under special education.
The School Building Authority is sending Clay another ½ million dollars for additional square footage to meet their requirements at the new school to be built in the Big Otter area, increasing their the total funding for the school to 4 ½ million dollars. The board approved an advertisement for an architect for the new school. Linkinoggor reported that they would be closing on the property later in the week. He said they hoped to have it timbered soon (the sellers, as part of the agreement.) Construction will most likely begin when school is out in June.
All motions passed unanimously.
For the September 20 meeting, at their administrative office in Clay, Board President R.B. Legg, Jr., and members King, Pierson, Sams and Cercone were all in attendance.
During this meeting the board employed thirty people as after school teachers/tutors for all of the county’ schools pending No Child Left Behind and testing results. Funds to pay them will be drawn from four different grants – the 21st Century Grant, the Gear Up Grant, a foreign language grant, and a science grant. The after school services will be available to all students, and teacher/tutors will work Monday through Thursday. Those hired were, for Clay County High School (CCHS): Joanne Exline, Rhonda Jelich, Anita Stephenson, and David Wayne; for Clay Middle School (CMS): Lisa Dolin, Shelia Paxton, Mike Smith, and Vince Young; for Clay Elementary: Grithel Holcomb, Terri Lowther, Linda McKinney, Lisa McManus, J.B. Butcher, Kathi Linkinoggor, and Jesse Stephenson; for Lizemore Elementary: Teresa Morris and Donna Able; for H.E. White Elementary: Connie Kerr, Lavern Taylor, and Vickie Walker; for Ivydale Elementary: Debra Johnson, Jamie Oates, Jok Schoonover, and Pat Underwood; for Valley Fork Elementary: Leanna Hopkins, Karen Knopp, Garland Tenney, Randy White, Danny Fitzwater, and Linda Jarvis.
The Medication Policy (JGCD) was updated to include state mandates. School nurse Connie Harper developed the policy and trains everyone who administers medication to a student.
A trip to and from Dulles International Airport for the 13 students traveling to France, beginning November 17, was approved and the Board agreed to pay the transportation costs, bus and driver, to the airport and back. Dr. Mann, French instructor at CCHS, who organized the trip reported that $6,000 had been raised for the students’trip expenses. Twelve adults will accompany the students to France, all paying their own expenses.
To satisfy State Code 18-4-6 the board established written goals/objectives for County Superintendent of Schools Jerry Linkinoggor to accomplish within a given period of time. Four goals were chosen: 1) increase the number of Promise Scholars by 5%; 2) make NCLB adequate yearly progress (AYP) at all schools; 3) get Clay Middle School to attain AYP; and 4) make progress in (increasing scores) special education at each school at a yearly rate (3% to 5% was discussed) that Special Education Director Jenny Sirk will determine to be reasonable. To evaluate the Superintendent’ progress the board must also choose an evaluation form to use – either they may use the state’ guidelines or develop their own, which would have to be approved by the state. The board generally decided to use the state guidelines and placed the item on next meeting’ agenda for action.
Concerning the need to increase special education test scores at CMS, Linkinoggor said they had already bought a high-powered reading program for special education at a cost of $26,000. CMS is getting an additional $110,000 in NSLB funding this year because the school did not meet AYP in special education.
Mr. Linkinoggor also commented that almost 20% of Clay County students come from out of the county area. Still, he reported, as of meeting time the county was down by 56 students from last year.
All motions passed unanimously. Meeting adjourned after about an hour. Next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, October 4, at the administrative office starting at 6:00 p.m. TK
CURSE OF BLOWS YOUR MIND
DON GREENE WV RADICAL
First let me express my regrets for not getting up to the Golden Delicious Festival and “olomon's Secret”this year. There was just too much rain and too much high water. On top of that, like the fool I am, aggravated my poor old back and stirred up that darn nerve in my leg and I’ still suffering with them. I was looking forward to talking to some of Solomon's descendants about their story and family history. I have a pretty sound list of the Sizemore family and another line of Osbornes that also married into the Shawnee-Cherokee. They start with an Ephriam Osborne, Jr. marrying a daughter of Chief Red Bird, who had the Christian name Brock. The two Osbornes were likely cousins but may have been brothers.
The news lately has still been full of things that just blow my mind. One was the report recently about scientists doing scientific research. I really thought that was what they did all along. Another one is the new usage of the term "person of interest" instead of "a suspect" when the cops are looking for killers and such. There is bound to be some sort of legal reason for the switch but it still is pretty silly. Either they think you did it or not. Playing around with words isn't going to change that, I suspect. No disrespect to the victims, but the report of finding the beaten bodies of 4 men, 2 women and a dog, followed by the statement that the cops suspected foul play, was another mind blower. One more little twisting of our language that has irked me lately is hearing people say "untruths" when they mean lies. Can it really be that much easier to hear yourself branded as being a person that mouths "untruths" than it would be to be called a regular old liar?
We hear so much about polls anymore. First they say this, then they say that, and most of the time the polls seem to me to be so far out in the outfield that they should mean very little to people like us. Here is what my own poll reveals: most of us don't want this nation to be dependent on foreign nations for anything. Our current dependence on foreigners for everything from Christmas toys to our darned gasoline is just an ax waiting to fall on our collective necks. Most of us believe that a person should be allowed to die with some sort of dignity and not kept lingering on in a vegetative state, kept alive in body only by machines. Most of us understand that an abortion is actually killing a human being but understand also that some are necessary in order to save the mother's life, and all agree that abortion is simply not a method of birth control. Most of us want to “uy American”but we also don't want to be overcharged in order to do it. Darn that went fast. Guess I'll continue with my scientific poll next time, folks.
Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin
Dear Brother Bill: HELP US ALL TO BE BRAVE. I am really slipping. I forgot to add my favorite line to my last two letters to you - thanks for reminding me. Time just keeps marching on and (if I live) by the time you get this letter, I shall be one year older. But, the year of 1938 was a good year. I used to tell the kids at school the year I was born just to see which ones figured my age first. By the way, this year just send big bucks.
We had a problem with Medicare paying a bill and this is what I had to go through: I talked with a girl in Charleston, she gave me a number to call Regina in Virginia, she told me to call Alex in Arizona, he connected me to Holly in Iowa, then I was back to Amanda in Arizona. Next they connected me to Cheryl in Texas, Alissa in Virginia and she told me to call Darla in Ohio. I do not know if the problem was fixed or not but I really got to talk to a lot of folks that day. Sometimes I wonder why things have to be so complicated.
Cousin Judy Grose Sexton, of Columbus, Ohio, called the other evening. Her son, Danny Page, has been quite ill. They need our prayers. Ramona Samples, of Procious, has returned home from the hospital. We are so thankful for answered prayers for her. Don has been in the hospital for several days now and we do not know when he will be released. He certainly needs your prayers.
Had a nice phone call from Johnny Carr ('55), of St. Albans. He is anxious to attend our 50th 1955 Class Reunion. If one of our former classmates has not received a phone call, e-mail or post card from me I probably do not know where you are - please get in touch.
Pastor Roger Cummings will be holding a tent revival just off I-79 at Wallback Exit in Clay County starting October 4 through October 9th. Starting time is 7:00 P. M. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the services.
Jon and J. R. Stricklen are now the proud owners of three birds like General and one parakeet. Sounds like a real house of birds to me. Jon says he hopes the birds will be happy at his house. Mr. and Mrs. Teddy Bledsoe, of Knollwood, are moving to Kanawha City. Lori Stricklen will be moving into their former home at Knollwood. How come they always say "Go West young man?” Can old men and women also do the same? Remember Mom was always going to "The Territory?" I don't know where that is but I might consider going.
I shall finish with Aunt Eva's notes in this letter. In the last letter Grandpa had gone back to his cabin to live. She writes, "He got better and went back to his cabin and stayed a year and got sick again. I brought him back to my house and cared for him till he died. Addie and Birch lived in sight, Quentin was in the army. Addie helped me so much and was an excellent neighbor. There are some things too sad to tell but I will always remember the swimmin' hole on Big Laurel and the good and bad times we had. Ma carried to the top of the Big Laurel Hill and sleeps there today. Later, Carol Ann (Eagle), Addie's baby was buried and several other family members. This cemetery is so peaceful and moss covered ground, especially on Quentin's grave. We used to take dinner on Father's Day and Hence Estep would preach in the cemetery. The family is scattered and graves in other places. Dickie sleeps in the Holly Lawn in Virginia after 30 years in the Navy." I have other letters from Mom and Aunt Eva and will put some of them in your letter later on. Some one sent this to me on an e-mail and I liked it so well I want to share it with you -
"I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called FAILURE, a loop called CONFUSION, speed bumps called FRIENDS, red lights called ENEMIES, caution lights called FAMILY. You will have flats called JOBS. But if you have a spare called DETERMINATION, an engine called PERSERVERENCE, insurance called FAITH, a driver called JESUS, you will make it to a place called SUCCESS."
And in the meantime, HELP US ALL TO BE BRAVE. Love and Prayers to my brother, Sis.
A Different Version of Events
Dear Mr. Waddell:
Enclosed please find a copy of a letter which I have recently mailed to Ms Melissa Postelwait, chairperson of the Clay-Roane PSD.
As you can see from that letter, Mr. Linger disputes the accusations which have been leveled against him regarding his work for the CRPSD. I would not ordinarily address these matters to the press, except that I believe that my client has been treated very unfairly, both by the CRPSD and the press.
My complaint with the CRPSD is plain from my enclosed letter. My complaint with the press is that you, Mr. Waddell, have failed to exercise that most basic function of a free press – getting out the complete story. You published what information (or misinformation) was fed to you by the CRPSD without bothering to check out the other side of the story. You did not attempt to seek out Mr. Linger’ explanation or version of events. Given the tenor of your relationship with the CRPSD in the past, I find this very puzzling.
I have two requests of you at this point: 1) print the whole story about Mr. Linger, not just the part that makes for sensationalism; and 2) if you print this letter from me, print the whole letter, without change, deletion or addition.
If you would like to discuss this, feel free to contact me.
F. John Oshoway
Attorney At Law
Editor’ Note – The information referred to in the letter above was published in an earlier edition of this newspaper in coverage of the public Clay-Roane Public Service District’ Board of Directors meeting. We reported what was discussed by the board and those present during this public meeting. If a different version of events had been offered during the meeting it too would have been included in our coverage. With the copy of Mr. Oshoway’ letter to the CRPSD found below on this page, a different version of events is provided. And we will continue to provide our readers with public meeting coverage – what was said, who said what, and what was done.
The Christian Service Center
Hello, good friends. We are happy to be here with you again. Folks, you aren’ going to want to miss a word of this good news.
The CSC owes the BIGGEST THANK YOU it can possibly give to Mr. Ben Murphy and his mother, Nina Murphy of Lizemores, WV. When you hear why, you’l not only agree, you’l jump for joy and praise God for such generous people.
For the past year the CSC has hoped to be able to grow into something more than a secondhand store. Ben Murphy, and Mom, are giving it that chance. He has agreed to let the CSC rent the building where the former GSP store and Sister’ Diner was located. The restaurant will be re-opened, under a different name of course, and the former GSP will become another Christian Service Center, Inc.
Now, before everyone starts talking about the CSC closing in the town of Clay – STOP! We are NOT closing the store in Clay. There are too many people who depend on the Center being in town, and there are those who need it to be in town. We are not forgetting our loyal friends here, and we hope and pray they don’ forget us.
We have new friends in the community of Indore, WV. We welcome Lois Alexander and her family to the community. Lois has been attending the Lizemore Methodist Church and they have really enjoyed having her there.
We are sending up prayers and get well wishes to our good friend Shirley Moore who is very sick and in the hospital. The same to Darlene Ramsey, who is home from the hospital. Get well also to Robert Fugate, and his son Robert Lee, who are both on the sick list. Mabel Pyatt’ mother (we don’ know her name) is sick and staying with Mabel. We wish her a speedy recovery. The Lizemore Methodist Church held a cottage meeting with her Friday.
We are going to put out an all-points-bulletin for Kathy Runion and Ed Mullins. We are missing their company and worrying about their health. Hey, folks, how are you?
On the lighter side: In the town of Clay there were two young boys who seemed to be in the middle of every ornery act that ever took place. Their parents were at their wit’ end as to what to do with them, so they asked the local pastor to have a talk with them. He agreed, but only if they would send the boys to him one at a time. So the first boy was sent to the pastor’ house. We will call them Johnny and Tommy. Johnny was the first boy to go. When he got the pastor’ house, the pastor told him to set down in front of his desk in his study. For several moments the pastor simply looked at the boy and said nothing. Then he gently said, “ohnny, where’ God?” Johnny dropped his head and sat lower in the chair. Again, in a little firmer tone, the pastor said, “ohnny, where is God?” Once more Johnny only sank lower in the chair and said nothing. The pastor stood up and leaned over the desk. He pointed his finger directly at Johnny and fairly shouted, “here’ God, son?” At that, Johnny jumped up and ran home as fast as he could. He ran up the stairs into the bedroom he shared with Tommy. He grabbed Tommy by the arm and pulled him into the closet and shut the door behind them. Tommy looked at his brother in astonishment and asked, “hat happened?” Johnny looked at Tommy and said, “h, brother, we are in so much trouble now. God’ missing and they think we did it!”
Now that fall is here and the frost will soon be on the pumpkin, let’ make something out if it before it spoils:
3 1/3 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves, optional
1 cup corn oil
4 teaspoons water
2 cups mashed pumpkin
3 cups sugar
1 cup nuts, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three loaf pans. Mix all ingredients together, stirring until well blended. Divide batter evenly between the three pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one (1) hour or toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.
That’ all the news for now, folks. We’e keeping you all in our prayers and hope to see you soon. As always, please remember God loves you and so do we!
09/15/04: Stephenson – Jason Boggs, breaking and entering (05/27/04), preliminary hearing- case dismissed with prejudice upon motion of prosecuting attorney; Bailey – Thomas J. Flores, wanton endangerment X 3 (08/31/04) and cruelty to animals (09/15/04), preliminary hearing- probable cause found, bound to the Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County.
09/16/04: Horrocks – Adam N. Jones, warrant issued for receiving/transferring stolen; Horrocks – Billy J. Jones, warrant issued for receiving/transferring stolen property.
09/21/04: Elswick – John Jeff Summers, fraudulent registration, arrested, ROB 09/22.
09/24/04: Bailey – Charles E. Bass, warrant issued for manufacture/possess controlled substance.
09/29/04: Wiles – Larry G. Thomas, murder and breaking and entering (09/14/04), arrested 09/15, preliminary hearing waived to the Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County.
09/15/04: Butcher – Darcy Nichols, shoplifting, appeared, ROB.
09/16/04: Butcher – Lyndon B. Metheney, warrants issued for conspiracy X 8, arrested 09/21, ROB 09/27; Wiles – Garrett E. DeMoss, providing false info, appeared, pled no contest, assessed fine and cost.
09/17/04: Bailey – Adam Arnold, warrants issued for MVI, registration violation X 2, speeding, no POI X 2, and possession of controlled substance; Bailey – Thomas R. Holcomb, warrants issued for driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 3rd offense, defective registration light, and no POI, arrested 09/24, ROB.
09/20/04: Clay Furniture & Appliance – Candy Adkins, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Belt – Bruce E. Bird, Jr., obstructing, battery X 2, destruction of property, and domestic battery, arrested, ROB 09/22; Elswick – Regina Carpenter, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 2nd offense, appeared, defendant pled no contest, 10 day jail sentence suspended-placed on home confinement for 10 days to run concurrently with 6 month home confinement on 3rd offense charge, assessed fine and cost; Butcher – Regina D. Carpenter, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 3rd offense, appeared, defendant pled no contest, 6 months jail suspended, placed on 6 months home confinement, assessed fine and cost.
09/21/04: Elswick – John Jeff Summers, forgery of INS., driving revoked for DUI- 1st offense, no POI and registration violation, arrested, ROB 09/22.
09/22/04: Heavenly Keen – Michele Jenkins, peace bond, summons; Heavenly Keen – Jeff Arnold, peace bond, summons.
09/23/04: Slack – Jerry Smith, warrants issued for violation of protective order X 2.
09/24/04: Wriston – Conrad Underwood, failure to yield and driving suspended/revoked for DUI, arrested, ROB.
09/25/04: Wiles – Michael Benjamin Fryman, obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB 09/27.
09/26/04: Wiles – Chrissy Mae Neal, driving under the influence, fail to keep right, and defective equipment, arrested, ROB; Wiles – Oscar Lee Sizemore, domestic battery X 3 and domestic assault, arrested; Wiles – Nancy Mae Sizemore, providing false info to police officer, arrested, ROB 09/27.
09/27/04: Samples Market – Ronnie D. Beasley, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Samples Market – Eugene K. Smith, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Hartland Superette – Tammy Johnson, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, case dismissed 09/27 with prejudice upon motion of prosecuting attorney, paid under the WC notice before warrant was signed; Hartland Superette – Ronald C. Pritt, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 4; Hartland Superette – Tonia Wayne, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Cunningham Motors Inc. – Jokwin R. Schoonover, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Cunningham Motors Inc. – David A. Ramsey, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Wriston – Robert Blake Moore, simple possession, appeared, ROB.
09/28/04: Wilson Funeral Home – Bessie L. Braley, warrant issued for worthless check complaint.
09/29/04: Slack – Richard Ira Bryant, driving suspended/revoked for DUI, appeared, ROB.
09/15/04: R.B. Legg, Jr. DDS – Donville C. Deems, Jr., money due, subpoena; Carla Duttine, money due.
09/16/04: Wilson Funeral Home – Bessie L. Braley, money due, subpoena; Willaim Spencer – Timothy and Vicky Laxton, wrongful occupation, subpoena.
09/20/04: Great Seneca Financial Ser. – Thelma M. Hanshaw, money due; Debra Tinnel – Okey Larch, money due.
09/22/04: Jeffery A. Davis – Greg Frame, money due, subpoena.
09/23/04: James K. Paxton – Martha A. Harper and Jokwin Schoonover II, money due.
09/28/04: Roger McCauley – Buford Brown, money due, subpoena.
Worthless Checks Notices issued –
09/16/04: Wilson Funeral Home – Bessie L. Braley, misdemeanor file opened 09/28.
09/23/04: Clay Farm Bureau – James F. Nicholson.
09/27/04: Carte’ Quick Stop – Tammy Vangelder Rose X 2 (paid 09/28); Justin W. Jones X 4; IGA – Earl W. Foulks, Sr. X 3; Roger Holcomb; Melinda Habjan X 5.
09/28/04: Pennington Auto Supply, Inc. – Loretta L. Stewart.
09/02/04: State Police – Robert Blake Moore, simple possession.
09/03/04: State Police – Donnie Welch, MVI and no POI.
09/04/04: State Police – Chad A. Adkins, speeding; Ivan Scott Johnston, registration violation and seat belt violation.
09/05/04: State Police – Derrick L. Bennett, speeding; Kenneth E. Bankston, speeding; Christian R. Tanzey, speeding.
09/06/04: State Police – Traci Dawn Adkins, speeding; Jeffrey M. Brown, speeding; Karen S. Cutlip, driving under the influence; John Eric Hunt, MVI, no POI, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, registration violation and four in front seat; Arron Neal Jackson, speeding; Joseph D. Sikarskie, speeding; Sandra L. Travis, speeding and registration violation.
09/07/04: State Police – Meridith Ashley Neal, no POI.
09/08/04: State Police – Rose Marie Metheny, registration violation.
09/09/04: State Police – Darrell L. Shamblin, failure to keep right; Garrett E. DeMoss, providing false information X 2; Karen A. Greenblott, speeding; Brad Jason Haines, speeding; Sheriff’ Dept. – Marc Kevin Carson, failure to maintain control.
09/10/04: State Police – Ryan Douglas Arthur, seat belt violation; Rodney D. Clonch, no POI; David M. Hanshaw, possession controlled substance L/15 GRMS; Rita Faye Smith, no POI; Robert J. Workman, seat belt violation.
09/11/04: State Police – James Clifton Rogers, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and seat belt violation; William F. Burdette, no POI.
09/12/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – James L. Davis, operator’, no POI, registration violation and defective equipment; State Police – Judy Johnson, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
09/13/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Marina Kay Lanham, speeding; State Police – Susan E. Osborne, no POI; Carl Glen Woody, no POI.
09/15/04: State Police – Brette A. Cox, illegal burning of refuse.
09/16/04: State Police – Windy Lynn Jarrett, speeding.
09/19/04: State Police – Ronald L. Adkins, no POI; Loretta L. Stewart, seat belt violation; Sheriff’ Dept. – Joseph Newly Taylor, possession of controlled substance 15 GRM.
09/21/04: State Police – Vanessa McGlothlin, operator’; Terry R. Rhodes, Jr., no POI; John Jeff Summers, no POI, registration violation, driving revoked for DUI-1st offense, and fraudulent registration; Leslie A. White, operator’, no POI, and registration violation; Alicia D. Coulter, possession marijuana less 15 GRMS; Mitzi G. Eagle, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 2nd offense; Sheriff’ Dept. – Kelsey Nicholas, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
09/22/04: State Police – Roy Lynn Cottrell, MVI, Danny Lee Crites, speeding; Robert D. Cummings, no POI.
09/24/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Ira Richard Bryant, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Christopher S. Carey, speeding; William T. Harlow, registration violation and no POI; State Police – Authum Frame, operator’; Benjamin Thomas Legg, no POI; William T. Rogers, no POI and MVI; Conard Underwood, failure to yield and driving revoked DUI.
09/25/04: State Police – Richard A. Nelson, speeding; Arun Kumg Singh, speeding.
09/26/04: State Police – Chrissy Mae Neal, driving under the influence, failure to keep right of center, and defective equipment.
09/28/04: State Police – Joshua Bert Pierson, MVI and no POI; Mark A. Stone, seat belt violation; Sheriff’ Dept. – Sandra Ray Guy, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 2nd offense and no POI.
09/29/04: State Police – George H. Gould, registration violation.
We read about star athletes receiving special treatment and legal allowances almost daily in the main stream press. Only every once in a while does an ear get bit off and the gladiator gets caught.
We think we have stumbled on an instance of special treatment and this time in Clayberry. No not football players secretly riding to a game in the back of the equipment truck. Something more serious.
Here’ the story we’e getting as of press time. A group of Clay High football players and Coach Damon Grose headed off to Summersville and nice sit down dinner at Applebee’ restaurant Monday night Sept 27, 2004. Somewhere out Peach Orchard Road one carload of the starters bashed and pushed over a bunch of mailboxes. Our sources indicate as many as 30 mail boxes were destroyed. By the time the group reached the eatery, police made a call to Coach Grose. The offenders had been ID’. Caught.
We asked Sheriff Fields for details Thursday afternoon. He said he was unaware of the story. Chief Deputy Jeff Rider said he received a call from that area Tuesday morning Sept 28. The caller said someone had shoved his mail box over the hill. Rider said that was the only incident he knew of.
Of course, much of Peach Orchard Road is in Nicholas County. Calls to the Nicholas County Sheriff’ office Thursday after 5 went unanswered. So far only rumor.
Around 9pm, Thursday night, we reached Coach Grose and asked: What do you know about mail box bashing and the football team? After a pause, Coach Grose, “ will NOT comment in any way, shape, or form.”After asking if we pumped and pried hard, could he provide anything? Mr Grose, “o. No.”
Readers, doesn’ it sound like, if the story was just a rumor, Mr Grose would have said something like: What are you talking about? .. or , Where did you hear that crap.. or, There’ nothing to the rumor. Instead the reply came, “I will NOT comment in any way.”
This has all the markings of one great big Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Two weeks ago Thomas Franklin King Jr. was found guilty of wiping out a bunch of windshields and mirrors with a ball bat on the back street of Clay during a June incident. Town Cop Buckshot Butcher was the arresting officer. He was sentenced to 8 years in jail by Magistrate Jeff Boggs. Since the 8 destruction of property charges are misdemeanors, the county will foot the bill for overnight lodging at the Central Regional Jail for Mr. King. That amounts to over $120,000 the county will have to pay.
Defended by Wayne King, Thomas Franklin King appeared before Magistrate Mike King Sept 30th. Thomas King was accused of intimidating witnesses relating to the earlier trial. With all the Kings on hand plus a battery of witnesses, Prosecutor Grindo plied his trade. Didn’ go well for the youthful Prosecutor. Even though he touts an 80+% conviction rate, Magistrate King ruled that the case was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Here’ a note: We took a look at the Court documents late Thursday Sept 30th. All the paperwork was there, looked nice and neat, maybe a little too nice and neat. Based on looking through other dog eared files around the courthouses, this one looked as if it had never been opened up. Maybe that’ exactly what happened. No one bothered to even open the folder.
Lyndon Metheney was also charged with 8 counts of destruction of property in the June 17th ( we think) ball bat bashing of car windshields. On Sept 16, 2004, those charges were dropped and replaced with 8 counts of conspiracy. Based on the court room documents, here’ what it looks like: Metheney drove the car while King did the bashing. Since Metheney didn’ actually do the damage, arresting officer Butcher messed up the paperwork and the refilling had to be done. Magistrate Boggs allowed for bond to the tune of $2000 for each charge or $16,000.00. At least check, Metheney remained behind bars unable to make bond.
Larry Thomas stands accused of murdering Nancy Nelson on the morning of Sept 17th. Wayne King was appointed his freebee legal counsel. Since last edition there have been some developments. Thomas has switched from Wayne King to Charleston attorney John Mitchell Sr for Court room work. In a somewhat confusing hearing this past week, Thomas waved his preliminary hearing and will go before the Nov 3rd Grand Jury. During that hearing before Judge Alsop, some interesting maneuverings were noticed. Our man Grindo made mention of a letter written by Thomas that said something along the lines: If I can’ have you, no one will.
Veteran attorney Mitchell scored a point when he asked if Green Shirt Sgt Wiles had the letter. Wiles responded no and the letter was in a cruiser.
Doesn’ it seem like, if you are going to introduce something into court, you aught to have the something there to show or read from? Grindo didn’!
Here’ what we think readers. Grindo will make the presentations before the Nov Grand jury and if he is lucky enough to get a true bill on Mr Thomas, Mitchell will push for a speedy trial. Translation: The case will be heard this year with Grindo representing the state in the murder trial! Grindo leaves office Dec 31, 2004 and head back to Braxton County.
Mitch also asked about bail for his client. Alsop took the matter under advisement. No word as of press time on whether bond will be allowed in this case.
With Judge Alsop’ Court room packed, Tonya Salisbury was sentenced Sept 23, 2004. Charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of her husband Chad, here’ what we saw.
Tonya dressed in orange and shackled, sat beside her attorney John Mitchell Sr. Yes, you just read about Big Mitch in the above Thomas case, but for a 100 year old fat guy, this one gets around pretty good!
With long thick unruly hair, Salisbury gave a tearful plea for mercy with something along the lines of, If we hadn’ been on drugs, this wouldn’ have happened.
Alsop wasn’ buying it. Alsop spoke straight and without emotion. His words went close to this: There was a terrible event Sept 23, 2002… on the application for probation.. .. this is a serious offense…. Based on her background and likelihood to comply… If Alsop finished that sentence, this reporter didn’ hear it.
Instead, he went on: I don’ know what happened Sept 23rd… We may never know… Something was done… There was improper use of a controlled substance.. Mr Salisbury lost his life…. The defendant continued to use controlled substances and it’ likely she will continue to use … Probation would degrade the loss of life and would diminish the seriousness of this matter….
Judge Jack Alsop denied probation and sentenced Tonya Salisbury to one year in the slammer for involuntary manslaughter. There was applause in the peanut gallery. It only took one mean glare from Alsop for that crap to end real quick! We understand one year is the max allowed by law.
And then the rest of the story as that guy on the radio says. Alsop allowed for time served. Translation: With Salisbury already with 6 ½ months under her belt, Salisbury would be free in just 5 ½ more months. A look over at the parents of Chad, Jimmy and Shelia Salisbury, revealed their jaws drop to their laps.
Up front, defense attorney Mitch spoke quietly with his client. Almost immediately, Special Prosecutor Dan Dotson took the parents of the deceased outside of the room. By 1:15 pm, the case was done. Two years after Chad Salisbury died from a shot gun blast to the chest in Widen, and two months after Prosecutor Grindo blew the murder case during opening statements, Tonya Salisbury was set to resume her life in less than 6 months. Note: The time she spent on home confinement will not count toward her sentence.
But wait there’ more!
As the big oak court room doors were squeaking shut, Jimmy and Shelia Salisbury filed a wrongful death civil case against Tonya Salisbury. That case number is 04-C-73 and we’l try to keep you up to date as that matter proceeds. Barbara Schamberger will represent the Jimmy and Sheila in the proceedings.
As this reporter was leaving the Courthouse, Tonya could be seen in the upstairs’window looking down to a couple of young men as they pointed back and forth and tried to communicate at a distance. AW
Everybody sing along: Where oh where could our little Bragg be… Where oh where could he be…. With his hair cut short and his eyes so brown.. Where oh where could Mathew Bragg be..
After missing five months of work as a County Commissioner, Mathew Bragg remains AWOL. During the summer months, fellow Commissioners Jimmy Sams and Peter Triplett sent the wayward one a letter asking him to show up for duty. To date, that letter has gone unanswered. Bragg represents District A of Clay County.
Don’ try reaching Commissioner Bragg either. His telephone number 587-2226 has been disconnected or more likely changed. Try it yourself!
County Commissioners earned $25,000 per year including benefits. If our ciphering is correct, that’ $2083 per month Bragg has taken from the county without performing ANY work in return. Total amount swiped from the folks that elected him to office after 5 months: $12,500. If he continues his nonexistence, his take from the taxpayer will be over $14,500.00 If that amount had been stolen from a bank, it would called a felony. In Clayberry, we just shrug our shoulders and go on.
During various public meetings, some have asked the Commission to impeach Bragg for non performance. During two County Commissions meetings, one round guy asked the CCC to declare Bragg deceased and then stop paying him for work not done. In response to the questions, the sitting Commissioners have said there is little they could do.
On Sept 27th during the CCC gathering, Commissioner Sams reported seeing Mathew’ wife in the Courthouse picking up the unearned check. Bragg did not seek re-election to the County Commission this year and instead sought the Sheriff’ slot in May. Finishing way down in the 11 person herd of candidates, Bragg has not been seen since.
Ok every one, lets start singing it again, Where Oh where could….
Clay County PSD met Sept 21st at 10 am. There was a change up front. No not Mr Happy! He’ still there. Since the last meeting, County Commission replaced Boardster Earl Long with Ted Underwood from Ivydale. With Keith King in the middle and Homer Triplett and Underwood on the sides, the group spoke with Lizemores/Tuckers Bottom water line extension project engineer Greg Belcher. Clay PSD has a habit of meeting ahead of time and away from the nasty prying eyes of the public.
As King and Triplett were chit chatting about crime in the county, Homer Triplett, “If they’ get rid of that ACLU….”King broke in and said the ACLU has nothing to do with county break ins and something about the Sheriff didn’ even show up during a recent break in. So much for the chit chat readers, just thought that was interesting.
After opening and a Triplett prayer, Office Manager Cindy Schoolcraft provided brief financials for the month prior: Beginning balance-$1418.69; income in August - $21,701.02; Expenses in August - $22,871.19; and an ending balance for August 2004 - $248.52.
Field man Sam Taylor reported the replacement of a Triplett Ridge meter that had been vandalized; adjustment of the Ivydale booster pump; a major leak that reduced the Ivydale tank to almost zero water; and they had completed two road bores and set two water taps.
Remember last time when the Board wa asked how much was allotted for the Lizemores/Tucker’ Bottom extension project and no one knew? Engineer Belcher brought the Board up to date with: construction bids on the $3.9 million project will be opened later that day; since the project was priced in March 1997, it’ likely the bids will come in over budget; of the $3.9 million, $620,000 has to be paid back; and one understatement from Mr Belcher, “his is the longest project we’e ever had, we might need to rebid.” NOTE: We understand the bids were opened on Sept 21st and sure enough, they came in $1.5 million over budget.
Long time laid off field man Jimmy Summers tendered his resignation and the Board motioned and passed to sell the pick up once driven by Summers.
Guess what time it is readers?????? It’ secret time! Although no lawyer was present, Chair King said they were going secret to discuss options on property. Note: Most likely that means who they have to take to court via eminent domain for rights of ways.
Kerry Campaign During the Apple Festival, County Republicats had candidates walking during the parade and even a colorful float. Not so for the Demorats. With mention made of this in the last edition of this near award winning rag, Caroline Rose from the Kerry Campaign set up a hastily called meeting of the somewhat faithful in the County Commission room Sept 21st. With around 30 in attendance, Rose told the crew how important it was for John Kerry to carry the Mountain State and ventured that an additional 97,000 pro Kerry voters were needed to accomplish the goal.
Her plans called for: setting up phone banks, handing out 40,000 posters state wide, getting voters to vote early in case of bad weather or illness, and for the workers to avoid the hot button issues like a woman’ right to chose and instead focus on the mess Bush has gotten the country into. Ahhh, that last part wasn’ Ms Rose’ exact words but darn close.
A party faithful commented on health care for seniors. According to Marjorie Mullins, President Bush has a faith based health care plan, “You pray you don’ get sick!’There were howls of laughter.
Demorat of the Year Gene King told the Charleston based organizer that the county had set up a Demorat headquarters next door to the Courthouse while the Republicats had done likewise but behind the Courthouse in one of those small square plastic buildings. King was referring to a porta-potty left over from the Apple Festival.
On the issue of Bush saying he won’ take your guns and the perception that Kerry would, another comment came from the peanut gallery: Just ask them who they think was the most liberal President? When they say Bill Clinton, say, He didn’ take your guns!!!!!!!!!!
After an hour or so with little accomplished other than feeling better, Caroline Rose left for Charleston and the locals shuffled out the glass doors.
WINDFALL AT CCC
It’ not every day the county finds $67,149.00. It happened Sept 27 during the County Commission meeting. Do we need to mention Commissioner Sams and Triplett were there and HAC was gone again? True True True!!
Here’ the skinny from the lightly attended meeting. After opening and opening prayer…. Kate Whittaker from Aid for Families in Need will again be handing out freebee blankets. The CCC gave the thumbs up for efforts.
With Monday the 11th a holiday, the next meeting of the CCC will be changed to Oct 12, 10am. Trick or Treat was voted on and Oct 29th from 6 to 8pm are the designated witching hours.
Long time Library Boardster Janeen Pierson quit the appointed spot and was replaced with Jacob …. Jacob Somebody
According to Commissioner Sams, our Legislative delegation headed by Senator Shirley love will provide the ambulance service with $30,000 from Budget Digest grant monies during a Oct 16th Ceremony to be held at Clay High School. The money will be added to $28,000 already received and be used to purchase a new truck for the financially challenged emergency service provider.
And then the big news. A tall thin State Tax Dept rep named Chuck Barlow was up front with a bunch of maps. To the side was Chris Butler from Fola Coal with a more colorful set of rolled up maps. Barlow explained in this year’ coal tax assessment, Fola Coal managed to leave off about $6.7 million in coal reserves. Barlow, “ am sure it was an oversight on their part.. they forgot to list the Coalburg seam..”Barlow recommended the CCC accept his figures.
Up front you could see their eyes light up. Just like Christmas morning, unexpected $ coming into the county!!
Butler gave details on the low holdings tax report which included: our report was filed electronically and “We did not purposely mislead… we’e not disputing anything Chuck says…”
The two number crunchers engaged in calculator tag and came up with numbers acceptable to both Fola Coal and state government. At one point Fola said the numbers they had come up with were actually more than what the Tax people discovered. Barlow to Fola, “ets go with his figures. It makes it larger!!”Butler, “ets stay with Chuck’ numbers.” There was laughter.
It was explained to the four in the peanut gallery that the Charleston office handles all mineral assessments and it was the Charleston gang that uncovered the shortage. Sitting in the back, County Assessor Suzie Legg was quiet.
After all the massaging of figures, the Clay County Commission will receive at least $67,184.00 in additional tax dollars this year. Butler, “ rounded the figures. It might be higher.” Eureka! A pot of gold has been found! No mention as to where the new find will be spent. After the meeting, Clerk Judy Moore was asked if the $67,000 would first go to the school system. She replied she didn’ think so, that it would go to the CCC for use.
Lets see now, deputies cost around $25,000 a year including benefits. By gummies, that’ two new deputies! Or, maybe we need an Asst Prosecutor? Or maybe it should be saved to cover future lawsuits…. Or maybe we need … no decision made on the matter. Stay tuned readers, anything can happen during a County Commission meeting. One last jab before we go. If you live in District A of the county and think some of the windfall tax $ should be spent in your part of the county, forget it. Your rep., Commissioner HAC Bragg ain’ around. You have no voice in the matter!
ADVICE FROM ONE WHO KNOWS
No one wants to be in the place of Sonja Harlow. Harlow is the mother of convicted and imprisoned Tonya Salisbury. Although a 32 year old adult woman when convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her husband Chad Salisbury, Mother Harlow still felt the pain and responsibility of seeing her daughter sent away to jail in shackles.
Small in stature, the Nicholas County mother of four, felt some good may come out of letting other parents know where she failed and what to look for as a parent of teenagers. The interview was conducted Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Harlow struggled with the words. She said she didn’ want to make people mad or hurt others before she spoke. Harlow, “ don’ want anybody else to.. I am not really very smart…. I don’ exactly know what to say… I very seldom come to Clay. I was born and raised down there but I didn’ like the law enforcement and a lot of things down there. I can say a lot of things but I don’ want to get myself in trouble… I want to express my opinion on drugs and keeping kids off of drugs and things like that.”
Harlow was candid on her efforts of raising her children and Tonya is particular. How did she do as a mother? Was she a good parent? Harlow, “vidently not. You know Tonya’ reputation with drugs… She failed a lot of them [drug tests]. I know I made mistakes when I was raising my kids because I was too lenient. If I had it to do over, the first thing I would do is, I’ listen to my husband. He wanted to ground them and be strict. To be stern with them. I was the type that wanted to be lenient with them.”
In this day and age of TV, peer pressure, growing up too fast, and less parental involvement, Sonja explained her actions, “…You know, it’ hard enough for kids to grow up. If I was to be a parent today, I wouldn’ let them out of my sight for nothing. If I did, I’ know exactly where they were at and who they were with.”
She continued on with having two parents in the house and both parents involved with raising children, “hen the other parent grounds them, don’ talk them out of being grounded. Don’ do anything like that. Hold their feet to the fire and make them mind you.”
Harlow said that the “ystem”hadn’ worked just right either in her daughter’ case, “he Welfare Dept. don’ allow you to correct your kids anymore.”
When did Harlow notice the change in her daughter and what should parents today look for? Ms Harlow, “The change in attitude… their behavior. If a kid is on drugs, they just change their attitude. I can’ say what I really want to.”
In September Judge Alsop sentenced Tonya Salisbury to one year in jail after she plead down to the misdemeanor charge of involuntary manslaughter. With time already served, Salisbury will be out of jail in 5 ½ months. During courtroom opening statements during the August 2004 trial, both sides admitted, during the hours before the shotgun blast which killed Chad, the Widen house was a buzz with drug activity. Before sentencing, Judge Alsop explained, the world would never really know what happened that September 2002 day in Widen.
When did Tonya get involved with drugs? Speaking more slowly, Ms Harlow, “t wasn’ until she was married the first time. She was 17 years old. It had nothing to do with her first husband. That’ when she started on the drug thing.” Knowing the trouble her daughter was getting into, “t felt unreal.. I didn’ feel it was true.. I felt powerless… Unless the kids wants help, the parent is powerless…. Your kids has to want help. If you send them to rehab, they will end up hating you or they will come out worse. They have to want help for themselves in my opinion…. Be strict with ‘m, know where they are at all times… if they’e at another kid’ home, call ‘m every couple hours… Find out if your kid is really there. Don’ just turn them loose and let them go.”
Where’ the blame? “ blame myself for a lot of this…. Don’ just turn them loose. That’ the way I used to be… If the husband grounds them, listen to him. I used to say, now honey, come on, let them do this, everybody else is getting to go to the ball games and things like that… The woman is more soft hearted… After I realized it was getting worse, I wish I had taken her to drug rehab center. She was already married and out on her own when it started.”
At times Harlow broke into tears. Was there any one thing that triggered Tonya into doing drugs? “ can’ answer that question… Tonya is a strong willed person. She pretty much lived her own life.. It was a very serious crime and we hurt for Chad’ parents, too. We wish it hadn’ happened….”
Ms Harlow commented that she used to like reading The Communicator. “hen I started reading that paper I loved it. I did. Then when you started printing stuff about Tonya, I wanted to flush it the commode.” As for our coverage of the hearings and trial and her daughter’ plight in court after the death of Chad Salisbury, Harlow, “o begin with, it was always on the side of the victim. A lot of it was made out that Tonya murdered her husband. She is not that kind of person. Tonya did NOT murder Chad. It was accidental pure and simple. I have nothing against Jim and Sheila (Chad’ parents). You need to talk to both families.. You never even talked to Tonya about things. We are human too. We liked Chad. How Tonya and Chad lived their lives was their business. There was a tragedy and we are sorry for that. How’ Tonya’ life going to be after she gets out ….?”As for this paper’ coverage, “here was things put in there that was inappropriate in my opinion. You are the paper. … It’ [this paper] NOT fair.”
Since sentencing, a wrongful death civil suit has been filed in Circuit Court against Tonya Salisbury.
Sonja Harlow agreed this county is scared to death about all the drugs in this county and gave an explanation, “t’ because the law won’ do anything… they are scared…. I tell you, that is a sore subject… Let me tell you, I believe if the law had come into that house, Tonya and Chad’ house, and busted them, they [law] knew what they was doing, They [law] sat up the street from the house and watched them for hours. If the law had busted Tonya and Chad and put them in jail for drugs, this would never have happened to Chad and Tonya. I blame the law and the system. I would rather see them in jail for drugs and than Chad dead and Tonya in jail for what she is accused of. I really blame the cops. I can’ help it. It is unreal the people they are letting get by with stuff down there. I don’ think they should trade information for non jail time. That’ not right.. It goes on everywhere but I lived in Clay for years and years and they won’ stop it!”
With broken voice, the emotional Harlow commented on her daughter, “onya is not the monster that you...[and] Clay County thinks she is.. She was a good wife and mother. It’ sad what happened…. Tonya took care of those kids all by herself for years… When all this happened, they weren’ around, they were up the road... No matter what kind of shape she was in, she always took care of them kids…. No matter what kind of shape, she was always a good mother… I’ not just saying that because.. I don’ uphold my kids when they do something wrong. I don’ like it if they’e on drugs… you can check their records…. They done good in school… She went to the school dinners and things and she never abused them…”
As for rehab after Tonya gets out of jail, Ms Harlow, “he deserves better out of life rather than what she has done to herself…”
One more chapter in Clayberry life and times comes full circle, a mother speaks out on a troubled daughter’ dilemma. AW
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
With the virtual death of the union movement, the administration’ determined plundering of the national treasury, the bizarre philosophy of perpetual war for perpetual peace thrust upon the bewildered American populace, it is time for desperate remedies. As someone once said, it is clear that “he long nightmare of peace and prosperity is over;”therefore, a revolutionary new plan is called for. It is time to resuscitate the brilliant scheme of the Duchess of Fenwick. Speaking to her subjects concerning the near bankrupt state of tiny Fenwick, the elderly patrician announced: “here can be no more profitable venture than to declare war on the United States – and loose.”
This proposed agenda has alluring possibilities for financially struggling West Virginia. Step one is to secede from the Union. Then, we declare war on the Republic. After a mercifully short campaign and a rapid surrender, we immediately request foreign aid. Remember Germany? Japan? Even the Iraq debacle illustrates the impression that rebuilding a foreign country seems more glamorous than the mundane prospect of spending on our own decaying infrastructure. As a word of caution poet Robert Burns reminds us of what happens to the “est laid plans of mice and men.” They often go astray, and what happened in “he Mouse that Roared”is that, to the Duchess’dismay, the Fenwickians won, and the U.S. capitulated. What may make this scheme fraught with danger is that Mountaineers are very tough people who might not accept the importance of loosing. It is essential that we spread the message: “ive up, give in for profit and pay!”
Somewhere there must be a land beyond the rainbow that is not inundated by polls. Daily, almost hourly, TV news parrots the latest numerals. It can be argued that, whenever something is reported as a Democratic or Republican poll the results should be discounted or at least suspected. Who pays for it, or the manner in which the questions are posed are significant factors. One new approach, if one could eliminate all prior knowledge, might provide interesting data.
| Question: If you had to choose between a man who lied about sex and a man whose lies led to the deaths of over 1000 young Americans, 7000 serious life-altering injuries and perhaps as many as 20,000 fatalities of citizens of a sovereign foreign country as well as uncountable casualties, who would be your selection? |
To be sure, the first culprit is not in the current presidential race, but in the interest of proportionality, the question seems apt.
“ foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,”the old sage, Ralph Waldo Emerson warns. The operative term here is the word that precedes “onsistency.” Reacting to the swift boat controversy as well as to the unexplained gaps in G.W. Bush’ cushy Air National Guard service, the analysts cry: what does it matter what went on thirty years ago? Let’ move on to the here and now! But, as the old newshound, Sam Donaldson used to bleat: “old on…!” The burning issue, financed in part by our taxes, was “haracter.” Seventy million dollars was spent to investigate William J. Clinton’ sex life. With the added financial support of right-wing think tanks that sum is only the tip of the iceberg. Crackpots such as billionaire Richard Schafe Mellon had been after Clinton, even when he was the governor of Arkansas. Character, depending on who defines it, became the means for those GOP paragons of virtue such as Newt Gingrich, William Bennett and Tom “he Hammer”Delay to bring Clinton down. And now the swift boat veterans for historical invention/revision are after John Kerry.
In the interest of objectivity let us consider the character of George W. Bush. If ever there was a man who flew too high on borrowed wings, it is the Crawford Commando. His history as a failed businessman is well-documented. From dry well to dry well he pursued the phantom gusher, financed by daddy’ connections. The political magic of the Bush name enabled Dubya to turn disaster into personal profit. Shortly before stock in Harken Oil plunged Bush sold his shares at an enormous profit. A borrowed $300,000 to buy a miniscule share in the Texas Rangers baseball team led to a later bonanza of $15 million. It appears that the potential charge of insider trading applies only to those who lack the proper connections. Whatever is determined about Bush’ character or lack of it leads to the confusion about differences between he who lies and he who misleads. During the 2000 campaign Bush claimed credit for the passage of the Patient’ Bill of Rights when he was the Texas governor. Bush had actually vetoed the measure on two separate occasions, but the legislature passed it on a majority vote. Governor Bush refused to sign the bill, yet he later claimed it as one of his achievements. Dubya’ champions proclaim ad nauseam that his chief virtue is that he believes what he says. Considering recent Middle East history this quality speaks of the sort of virtue that might be ascribed to General Custer if he had told his troops: “ believe you can surround all those Indians.” Remember all the claims? Saddam and WMDs; Saddam and al Qaeda; Saddam and the immanent threat to our shores. Bush’ apologists endlessly repeat that he never actually used the word “mmanent.” This is true, but it is deliberate semantic shilly-shallying because the President uttered terms implying the same threat. A mind set in concrete, with the poisonous self-certainty of its own infallibility is a frightening quality in a leader who seems to be leading us over a political/military cliff. But to “islead”sounds ever so much more polite than “ie,”and the heart-rending loss of our young Americans, almost all from the economically-deprived section of our society will be treated as a dark blot on the early 21st Century by future historians. For some, George W. Bush’ biography is neatly capsulated in a short passage by Harold Meyerson.
…If there’ one enduring motif in the life of George W. Bush, it is that he’ always been sheltered from the consequences of risk – that is, of failure.
The charge of Bush hatred, while deserved in some respects, ignores the possibility that the rational mind actually hates what he stands for. Recent polls of Bush’ popularity may raise the grotesque possibility that the American people actually love war. At the Republican Convention Dick Cheney, one of the great war profiteers of our time, proclaimed that a vote for the other candidate would increase the danger of our being attacked. Message: vote for George Bush or die! The lemmings who follow the neocons and their think tanks will have their day, the corporations will continue to reign, and al Qaeda will rejoice in our recruiting assistance.
In November, consider the lesser of two evils.