|1. In a a survey of 1,010 Americans, 39 percent think merit is key to promotion, more than half cite other factors.|
2. For the second year in a row, Elvis Presley leads the list of top earning dead celebrities according to Forbes Magazine.
3. Pharmacists at CAMC dispensed nearly 4 million doses of medication during 2001.
4. In West Virginia’ public schools, boys make up 73 percent of all students having behavior disorders.
5. Shelly Moore Capito has received about 30,000 dollars from drug makers and individuals in the health profession for her reelection campaign.
6. As many as 76 million people, mostly children could die from water related diseases by 2020 if changes aren’ made worldwide, according to a California think tank.
7. One in five South Carolina households is a mobile home or a manufactured house.
8. Nationwide, about 100 school districts are scheduled to follow four-day schedules this year.
9. Undergraduate enrollment in West Virginia University’ college of business and engineering is up by 15 percent over last year.
10. West Virginia is expected to loose another 6,000 students over the next four years.
11. In West Virginia, Medicare accounts for $64 million in nursing home revenues.
12. West Virginia spends nearly 7 percent of its education budget on “ransportation” 4 Counties including Clay, spend 10 percent.
13. The “eddy Bear” is 100 years old this fall.
14. There are 100 cases a year on average in which children are kidnapped and killed.
15. One in every 32 adults in the United States was behind bars or on probation or parole by the end of last year, according to a government report.
16. Exercise may reduce the risk of a common cold, according to researchers at the University Of South Carolina.
17. It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. Abraham Lincoln.
18. There is a state law in West Virginia that requires employers to pay at least once every two weeks.
19. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. Oscar Wilde.
20. Roughly 41.2 million people lacked health insurance for all of 2001. LMM
60 year old Richard Boggs lives in a nice new brick home close to the Big Otter Community Center. Born in Hallburg near O’rien, Boggs is now retired. Boggs is a little upset over police work in the county and wanted to speak out on the subject.
In his neck of the county, burglaries are nowcommon. Chain saws, tools and more have been the subject of thievery. One neighbor lost $2500 in personal property to the thugs. Boggs,” They’e broke into homes. They broke into Larry Wilmoth’ home …. And there is a carpenter that lives close to him that got a bunch of stuff stole….. They went up to Nathan Butler’ and stole some stuff. There they went a second trip and went back in. When I called the State Police , they told me they didn’ know anything about ‘m…. It has been reported twice. It just looks to me like they don’ want to catch em.”Boggs said much of the action has occurred in the last few weeks.
Boggs himself has seen some of the illegal actions, “The first time I didn’ see them. My neighbor said they were parked in my drive way. He told me they had a pair of bolt cutters and they had a woman up there as a look out…. That was last week.”During an even more recent encounter with the thugs, Mr Boggs continued,”I was out processing a deer. I has a yellow bug light hanging out. It kind of looked like a fire from the woods… They crept up to where they could see the light they squalled their tires and left.”Boggs said that happened on Monday.
Boggs said some of the stolen items have been located within in the county, “I was told they are at a pawn shop.” Being the good neighbor, the retired fellow called law enforcement. He called the Sheriff office last week and was told by the officer, “I was blood thirsty! And that this was the wrong department for a neighborhood watch.”As far as the deputy investigating the incidents and did he ask the deputy to come up and investigate, “No, no I didn’. I knew he wouldn’. You can’ hardly get the Sheriff out and he’ married to my first cousin….” Mr. Boggs said he is now trying to organize a neighborhood watch group for the community. He also said he talked to the State Police on Monday about the stolen goods. Boggs, “He wouldn’ tell me nothing. I asked him if he had any leads on any of that theft ring? He asked me if I was one of the victims? I said not directly….. I told him I wouldn’ discuss names over the phone and asked him to come out. He said he will have to think about it . I guess he’ still thinking. I felt in my heart that I was glad that I wasn’ a hostage with a knife to my throat because you could wait four or five days and still not see them.” Richard Boggs said he knew the names of the culprits from a real reliable source. At one point Boggs commented, “they act like the jail is full and they don’ need any more!” So what changes does Boggs think need to made in Clay County law enforcement? Boggs, “Kick them all out and hire new ones…..They need more initiative They need to earn their keep.” Boggs did offer a way to get police out of the office real quick. Boggs, “Tell them the doughnut shop is on fire! They will come on a run because that’ what they’e interested in..” As for the crimes in the Big Otter area, Richard Boggs says he knows who is responsible and is willing to share the same with law enforcement. AW
Did we mention back on Sept 18, Clay Development Corp held their Board of Directors meeting? They did and they allowed a reporter from this paper in to witness the function. When asked if the meetings were once again open to the public, the response from Chair Gary Whaling was “o.”When Whaling commented that the meetings were never open to the public, Janet Fitzwater corrected the statement. According to Fitzwater, the meetings use to be open to the public but the hastily called general membership meeting of the group in Feb 2002 changed that. Now, the organization is secret except for annual general membership meetings.
As for the ace cub reporter being tossed out of the general membership this summer , Director Betty Stalnaker stated that the action was taken “f you don’ want to do anything to help the agency… that is part of the by laws You haven’ shown interest in the programs….. I don’ think you have any interest in it”And they don’ want any “isruption”in the future. Disruption??? Ms Fitzwater said she sent out the letter of removal after a board motion. As for appealing the “ossing out” Fitzwater said there is no appeals process.
Here’ an interesting one. Along the beginning of the meeting, someone asked about receiving a copy of the by laws. Nope was the response, who ever that person was can only look at the by laws. Copies are a no no.
As for the new Soup Kitchen, the operation is growing quickly with many activities planned. Stalnaker said they plan to soon offer the absolutely free meals ( to anybody, no age or income restrictions) Tuesday thru Friday in the near future. Picnics and bake sales have been held.
With just 8 sitting around the table new “elect”Board members had to be installed. It got a little confusing here readers but we think the new recruits are: for Gene King, James Scott; Escar Taylor; Francis Sutton; and Gary Whaling’ wife Reva. Additionally the Woman’ Club of Clay has not sent a new rep to the table nor a Christian group from Lizemore.
The meeting went like most with lots of talk of new programs and the existing ones growing like wild fire. Money wise, Director Stalnaker said personal care workers received a 10 cent per hour raise and $50.00 bonuses if they work at least 30 hours per week for 3 months straight. What wasn’ mentioned, even during the reading of the July 19 Special meeting minutesof the Board, was the return to work of Pam Taylor nor the back pay for Ms Taylor that was paid her according to some Board members outside of the building. Ms Taylor was seated and participated in discussions thru out the assembly. Also not mentioned was big time pay raises provided office workers in August of this year. Oh well, some thing they just neglected to mention.
Boardster Kathleen Morris didn’ forget to mention something to the ace cub reporter. Morris said none of that stuff concerning Buck Taylor was true. Morris was referring to meeting coverage from earlier this summer when police were called in to run off Buck Taylor just after a general membership meeting. Morris said Jimmy Duffield never made eyes at her, never touched her, nor did he “look cross eyed at me” Sort of capping off the meeting, Pam Taylor responded in her usual way with,”No one believes his paper!”
CCC ROUND UP
Clay County Commission (CCC) met Sept 26 and the place was packed with concerned over the possible shut down of the Clay County Ambulance Service and the hiring of Nichols County’ Jan Care in the county. Before the meeting, TV 13 news crews were in the room interviewing Commission President Mathew Bragg. The TV 13 reporter said the V-P of Clay Development Corp, a Mr. Duffield, had phoned and told them of the coming shut down of county provided for ambulance services. Bragg responded to the questions by saying that they have no plans to shut down the current agency but rather are forming a back up plan in case Clay Ambulance is financially unable to continue.
Many items were on the agenda for Commissioner Bragg and Sams to handle, but two items stand out. And Yes, Commissioner Butcher continues to draw his pay and not show up for work!
Bragg and Sams were asked: Have either of you asked Commissioner Butcher why he has stopped coming to meetings. Both said No to the question with Sams saying he had talked to Mr. Butcher about other things. The fellow said that the county needed all three Commissioners in place to handle the heavy burdens of the office. The question was asked, “Would both of you Commissioners call Tim Butcher and ask him to either come to meetings or resign? “ Bragg said he would do that. Sams was quiet. According to some estimates, Butcher has already drawn over $6000 without working a day since the May 2002 election. Bragg agreed to make the call and report those findings back to the County Clerk in four days.
The next hot button issue was the demise of the Ambulance Service. Bragg, “I have prayed and worried and hoped it would survive. I am looking out for what’ best for my people…. I am all ears to suggestions.. Seems like nothing the CCC does is right. We’l make the decision that is best for the County..”Bragg said this was a new day for him and he was going to do what was right for the county.
At the time of the meeting, the Ambulance Service had $5619.00 and has $10,614.00 in debts with payroll coming due plus the $100,000.00 loan from last year. Sams, “We’e got to provide a service..”Lots and lots of discussion on why the current service is failing, why all the money is gone, why the CCC has not tried to float a Levy to continue the local operation and increase the number of duty crews. Fingers pointed in every direction.
No answers were given and all in attendance were asked for suggestions on how to provide service in Clayberry. Sams questioned the worth of holding a public meeting for input,”What can we say, but we’e broke.”Suggestions included to ask successful county operations for advice. Pooof, right over their heads!
One last note, Clerk Judy Moore was phoned Sept 30th and Mr. Bragg had done as promised. According to Moore, Bragg phoned Butcher and the best he could get out of the wayward Commissioner on the subject of resigning, “I have someone looking into that now.”
Ambulance Short Shorts
So what do we do about the ambulance service? County leaders have been asking for input. To date no real answers have been provided by our elected ones. There is some background information which may have been forgotten along the way.
Clay County stopped doing all non emergency transports January 22, 2002. What has been forgotten is this: many of the non emergency transports paid good money. Real good money. That money pot has just grown. For 7 states, and WV is one of the 7, Medicare payments increased a bunch in April 2002. The over several years phase in period should make local ambulance providers a little more fiscally healthy. From April to December reimbursements from the Federal Government have been increased several percentage points and that adjustment goes up again in January 2003. Nothing is ever simple with the Feds, but in January 2003, the Medicare non-emergency run paybacks provide for Clay County Ambulance Service to get 40% of the new increased rates followed by additional increases over the next 5 years. When completed, Medicare will pay $8.21 for the first through 17th mile of a Medicare paid for run followed by $6.83 per mile for the next 50 miles of the transport.
Sound promising? There is a dark side. While Medicare is increasing reimbursements, Medicaid sent out a letter this past summer saying that Medicaid payments for runs will slow down as of September 15 of this year. Other county providers in the state have cried foul to our elected leaders in D.C. Clay County has not.
Many in the county feel that our County Commission just wants out of the headache of operating our ambulance service. With recent findings in the State audit (elsewhere in this edition), those locals may be right. For all intents and purposes, our old Ambulance Authority pulled an Enron, they “ooked the books” County Commissioners sound like they are ready to just give away the publicly financed agency. Can they do that? Would that be legal? Who gets the old trucks? What about the 911 radios? Doesn’ state code say that the CCC would have to publicly notice a request for proposal before anything could be given away? If the Commission is dead set on throwing away a county asset, shouldn’ the contract with Jan Care and General be negotiated? Not just bow down to what the private folks want? Certainly the negotiations should include a clause that states something along the lines : 90% of the response times must be under 15 minutes or face a stiff financial penalty. Tough negotiations are an American standard except in Clayberry. Maybe there is a reason. Since so few people in the county have jobs with insurance, i.e. Blue Cross, tough contract talks could scare away the private providers leaving us forced with thinking on our own and forcing us to use the gray cells between our ears for emergency service protection.
As of September 1, 2002, the folks managing our current service decided to use a private billing service as a way to increase revenue. The thought is, the private folks know how to word items on the bills sent to the Feds and private health care providers which would realize a higher reimbursement for us. The company, MCA , is well known in this county since they were contracted in years past for services. They work on a percentage basis. If they collect $360,000.00 for runs made, they receive 10% of the proceeds. MCA was fired two years ago when the Ambulance Authority felt they could hire the work out locally for a lower fee.
There are pots of money to draw from. Other counties have done it. DHHR has an emergency service fund available. Did we ask for our share of those funds? It’ doubtful.
There is talk of floating a county emergency service levy. That was tried about 7 years ago and failed miserably. Can a levy pass in Clay County? Maybe our county leaders need to employ School Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger who has successfully done just that, not once, but twice.
Maybe help is right under our nose. About 2 years ago a member of the Ambulance Authority, Larry Cole, nearly got lynched when he presented a plan for substantial cut backs and changes in personnel to keep the local doors open. At one point during those talks, fellow Board member Gene King told Cole, “e don’ need you outsiders telling us how to run our service.”Cole is from Braxton County but lives near Ovapa. That Cole plan is still around.
Others in the county may have ideas for saving the local jobs and operating the Clay Ambulance Service in a business like manner. The time is now for such ideas. AW
MORE SHORT SHORTS
Lizemores Water Meeting
The “e Want Water”group over in Lizemores met September 26 at Lizemore Methodist Church. Around 30 or so attended the gathering including County Commissioners Matthew Bragg and Jimmy Sams, Greg Belcher from Technical, and Bill Nelson from the WV Public Service Commission. Get this! Another first for the Lizemorettes, Clay County PSD Chair Keith King was in attendance. It appears the fledgling group is getting some attention. Their goal, of course, is to finally gain municipal water service for the southern end of the county along Route 16. The funding for such a project has been in hand for over 5 years.
Much of the meeting was spent on giving historical back ground on why water service is so long in coming to the area and a nearly equal amount of time was spent bad mouthing those ruthless town of Clay leaders for not plummeting the town into deep debt by building a colossal 1400 gallon per minute water treatment plant for the county to use.
MC for the assembly, John Humphrey, told all that he had recently attended a Clay County PSD meeting in an attempt to get answers for the locals. Barry McCune informed all that he had attended a recent County Commission with like goals. That coverage was provided in the last edition of this near award winning newspaper. Basically little man’ efforts netted much.
There was some new info that was brought forward, however. Mr. Belcher made first public mention that Clay Roane PSD is looking for a site for a new plant. What? Yep! Although Keith King said recently that the town of Clay customers are needed to pay for a new regional plant, Mr. Belcher said otherwise. Belcher said there is a need for more Lizemores folks to be added on to the project “o justify paying for the plant” The suggestion was 200 homes. As for the long without water service folks along Elkhurst Road, and located just beside the existing 20 year old water plant, it didn’ sound too good. According to Belcher, the 15 mile expanse does not have enough year round homes to justify laying the pipe through that section of the county. Belcher comforted the thirsty locals with words that the original funding for the Lizemores water extension is still in place and , “ think the funding is safe.” Cathy Shuler reiterated that she had 879 names on her list of folks wanting water.
On the down side, according to Belcher, even if things got going now, water service is still years away. Belcher, “Two years is optimistic…” And then the clincher. Instead of one regional plant being built, there may be TWO plants built. According to Belcher, his firm has been hired to look at sources for water supplies for Clay County PSD and that includes considerations to build a separate plant for that PSD. With Clay Roane PSD building a plant, with Clay County PSD building a plant, and with the town of Clay keeping their existing plant and customers, heck it sounds like water will be flowing in every hollow in the county shortly!. On the down side will be the operation costs for three facilities with such a small customer base and long service area.
And then the bad mouthing of the town of Clay. No, not cussing or any of that, but rather the town is the reason for all the delays; county needs should take precedence over the needs of the town’ customers; and those dumb bunny Council members have changed their minds on what they want to do more often than the wind changes directions. At one point a guy in the peanut gallery reminded all that Town Council members were elected to represent the needs of the town and not those of the county. The ever savvy Czar Keith King didn’ like that and using his well honed people skills, said the speaker was trying to keep his rates cheaper than the rest of the county. Well, duh. See how many people can afford water service when the monthly bill soars above $50 per month!
Commissioner Sams suggested that locals attend Town Council meetings and see ‘etty and Wanda’
Possibly a bright spot… Mr. Belcher commented that if the water loss issue at the town’ water plant was reduced, there is a chance that the WV Health Deparment MIGHT consider oking the long stalled water line extension project for the area prior to a new plant being built.
Bill Nelson from the WV PSC concurred with what locals have thought for years. Nelson said they can’ force a municipality, the town, to do something like they can a PSD.
Here’ an interesting part. Commissioner Bragg came to the front and kneeled on one knee as he told the group he inherited this water problem when he came into office and that he wanted water service for the Lizemore- Indore areas. After just a few minutes he changed the subject to the ambulance issues in the county and do they really care whether the name on the ambulances say “lay”or some other out of county agency. Bragg, “I think it was mismanagement…. Jan Care can run it as a business.”Questions came up on the need of a county wide levy and would the residents be given an opportunity to vote on such. Bragg, “Any problem with Jan Care here?… Nicholas County was worse than Clay before Jan Care .. [we] have to look beyond the local jobs….”More questions on the missing dollars from the ambulance service and the number of never paid for nonemergency runs made.
Although it was a water meeting, it appears that Bragg and Sams walked away from the meeting feeling that their plans to turn the Clay Ambulance Service over to a private provider is acceptable to the 30 locals in attendance September 26, 2002.
ON THE SOAPBOXSince the May election, Democrat of the Year , County Commissioner, Tim Butcher has continued to draw his salary and stay away from his duties at the courthouse. One courthouse worker told us Butcher has not even been in to open his mail. The following is an open letter to Tim O Butcher:
By Andy Waddell
Commissioner Butcher you are short changing the county by shirking your duties to the electorate. It’ time to go.
The law of the land calls for three County Commissioners to represent us, to give us a fair shake, and to look out for our best interests. You can’ do that while gone for 5 months. During these most trying of financial times and with major decisions being made on the future of our ambulance service, all three Commissioners are needed on the job. If you can’ attend meetings, it’ time to go.
Personal demands, family matters, or health concerns are, of course, worthy reasons for missing a meeting here and there. That is to be expected in life. But in your case, to toss aside the oath of office while building a deck around your house, while pouring concrete walkways, while weed whacking, while going fishing and such, smacks the voters that put you in office right square in the mouth. If rebuilding a home has priority over your elected duties, it’ time to go.
Your $18,500 per year constitutionally called for salary has to be earned. Being elected is not reason enough to have someone come in and pick up your check for you. Performance is needed. Week in and week out, on the job performance is mandated due to the weighty tasks facing this county today. To date, and since May , you have been paid $7705.00, plus benefits, from the taxpayers and done nothing. It’ time to go.
As provided for by state code, around the county, a petition has been signed for your removal. Our state code allows for the citizens to go to the court system and ask for your removal. The petitioning process is a powerful one, but a costly one for the county. Even with the full Prosecuting Attorney’ office at your disposal for defending your care free attitude on public service , wouldn’ that money and time be better spent dealing with the rising crime rate in the county? It is my understanding that the so far un-filed petition will also ask the courts for the unearned money and benefits (since May 2002) be returned to the county treasury and court costs be paid out of your personal pocket. If the petition prevails, the dollar loss for you would be more substantial than just resigning from office now. It’ time to go.
According to fellow Commissioners, you haven’ even called to say why you are derelict in your duties. Commission President Bragg called you last week and asked you to come back to work or resign. Your response to his constituent based request was less than reassuring. The time is now and the time is right, Tim, to resign. It’ time to go.
WATER RATES INCREASED
After hearing hours of testimony July 11, 2002 on why Clay Roane PSD should not be allowed another rate increase, guess what? Surprise! The WV Public Service Commission ordered a 17% increase. The order was formally issued by Judge Tom Trent September 26.
We offered meeting coverage of the hearing in this paper. Of course, the official transcript looks quite different. Maybe brief would be the word to describe the 103 page document. No one spoke in favor of the rate increase and no one from the Clay Roane PSD Board attended!. In the way of official wording against the hefty burden to the customers of the mismanaged PSD, the following is provided…
The record in this hearing was initiated by the opportunity for statements of public protest. Thomas Martin, Chairman of the Queen Shoals Public Service District, appeared to protest any rate increase that might be passed on to that District as a resale customer of the Clay-Roane Public Service District. Many Queen Shoals customers are retired or low income and cannot afford a rate increase. The District has trouble collecting from many of its customers now. Mr. Martin also believes that the water rates in other counties are lower than they are in Clay County. (Tr., p. 6).
Fran Naylor is a Queen Shoals Public Service District customer on Valley View Road and receives water from the Clay-Roane water plant at Procious. Her distribution main was a community self-help project when installed in 1988, and she routinely suffered low pressure until she had a pressure-boosting tank and pump installed in her basement. The water is not drinkable and the District is seemingly always under a boil-water advisory. Higher rates are not justified because of the system's water quality problems.
Joyce Heaton is a Queen Shoals Public Service District customer and also pays a water bill to another utility for another home in Roane County. The Roane County bill is $4.54 less than the Queen Shoals' bill, so she sees no point in raising the Queen Shoals' rate. (Tr., p. 8).
Jeff Davis, a customer of the Clay-Roane Public Service District, offered petitions against the increase signed by over 200 people. Mr. Davis was representing Earl King, who collected the signatures. Mr. King had filed a letter on June 24, 2002, requesting more information on this increase. Although Mr. King was not present at the hearing, it was stated that he had not received any additional information from the Commission.
Cecil Woods is a Clay-Roane customer who is concerned about billing practices, but cannot get any answers from the District. He believes he was misinformed concerning meetings of the Clay-Roane Board, because the District's employees are not well-informed. Billing errors are not quickly or adequately resolved. He believes he has been mis-billed. Mr. Woods cares for orphaned wild animals as a volunteer for the DNR and also raises livestock. He does not trust the District's water, because he gets conflicting information on boil-water advisories. When a boil-water advisory is lifted, he drains his long supply line and filter system. He believes the District is mismanaged and it is not the customer's responsibility to pay for the errors that have been made. The customers are not well-informed about the water system, because the District's employees are not well-informed.
Sue White lives in Bomont and is a Queen Shoals customer. She believes that the hearing should have been held at night. She does not believe the boil-water advisories are timely. Clay-Roane does not monitor the storage tank levels properly. When the tank level gets low, she is usually the first customer to go out of service. The District doesn't deserve a rate hike for such poor service.
Jennifer Bragg is a Clay-Roane customer and lives in Ovapa. She pays more for water service than she does for gas to heat her home. She believes her children have rashes and stomach aches from the water. She never hears about boil-water advisories until several days later. The newspaper is only published weekly and advisories are not always on T.V. She states that the water is of poor quality and often has a white substance floating in it. She also experiences a brown film which shows up in the bathtub. She also has an unresolved high bill complaint pending with the District. (Tr., pp. 17-19).
Sherry Bennett is a Clay-Roane customer from the Wallback-Valley Fork area. She is on chemotherapy and her immune system is depressed. As a result, water-borne illness could be very serious for her. Her water bill also fluctuates without explanation and is high even though she tries to use water carefully. She does not believe the District reads her meter regularly. She believes it is illegal to charge for such substandard water.
Judy O'Dell is not a water customer, but works at the Queen Shoals Public Service District. The Queen Shoals Public Service District gets called directly by customers when the water pressure drops, because no one will answer the phone at the Clay-Roane Office. This often happens on holidays. The District has many elderly customers who cannot afford any increase. The Queen Shoals Public Service District is often not notified of boil-water advisories.
Larry Caudill is a Clay-Roane customer living at Valley Fork. He is medically disabled and has reactions to his medication. His doctors want him to drink sterile water. Notification of boil-water advisories is poor. He believes his health is jeopardized by these late boil-water advisories. About a year ago, he poured a glass of water and it had brown sediment in it. He does not believe he should have to pay for water that he is afraid to drink.
Sharon Hall is a Queen Shoals Public Service District customer. When the District works on its lines, mud collects in her hot water tank. As a result, she has ruined several loads of laundry. She has trouble getting notified of boil-water advisories. The water is substandard. Higher rates are not the answer, fixing what the District has and making it work should be done first. She has had a white substance in her water. She would not mind paying for water if it was better water. (Tr., pp. 26-28).
Frank Bennett lives in Valley Fork with his parents, who are Clay- Roane customers. He stated that this water is used in the schools, as well as the homes of the area. He believes most kids won't drink the water, for fear of getting sick.
Ms. Naylor requested that another hearing be held at a time when working people could attend. Geneveve Paxton lives at Valley Fork. Her water has sediment problems and the white substance previously mentioned. She also believes the elderly cannot pay for this increase because of limited income and the cost of medicine.
Ms. Hall stated that someone from the Public Service Commission had taken a sample of the white substance found in her water, but never reported to her about what the substance was. It looks like small pieces of plastic and stops up the sprayer screen in her kitchen. (Tr., pp. 30- 31). Ms. Bragg also described the substance and stated that it dissolved when rubbed between the fingers under hot water.
Chamelon Cloutier tests the water each day by offering it to his cat. If the cat drinks it, he can drink it. If the cat won't drink, he cannot drink the water. Dawn Casto stated that, when she signed up for water, the cost was $7.30 per thousand gallons. Now this most recent increase will take the rate to $10.55 per thousand gallons. People cannot afford a rate hike, young or old. In the way of defending the need for a rate increase, WV PSC engineer Jim Weimer provided the following in the official transcript: The District has recently hired a new meter reader and all meters should now be read regularly. A previous District employee had been discharged for not reading all meters and entering false reading reports. Mr. Weimer does not believe the Procious plant has been required to issue any boil-water advisories. He also pointed out that all water plants produce some sedimentation and, if the system has not been properly maintained, those problems can accumulate and get worse. He was not aware of any general quality problem on this system, but stated that the individual complaints will be investigated. Revenue was included in the Staff recommendation to address plant maintenance, tank telemetry, tools, meters and other items of the most widespread benefit. Ultimately, a new regional water plant needs to be constructed. When a storage tank gets drained, a boil-water advisory is issued. Several large leaks on the Queen Shoals system went un-repaired and have caused just such problems. Because the Procious plant had been running at full capacity to meet customer demand, there was not enough spare water to flush lines and clean tanks. These critical maintenance items had not been performed for at least six or seven years. The Staff-recommended revenue level will allow for some improvement of water quality Meters are not serviced or calibrated and their accuracy suffers. New electronic meters would at least be accurate, easily read and produce reliable usage reports. The employee who was generating false meter reading reports is no longer employed by the District and over billing adjustments are still being made. Under billed customers were not rebilled. The first question offered was “here are Clay-Roane Board Members, why aren't they here?”Staff did not know the answer. Ms. Shamberger asked how the hearing could proceed without an essential party. (Tr., p. 72). In response to other questions, Mr. Weimer explained that, at some point, the Clay-Roane Public Service District had purchased the Newton Fire Hall and still owns the building. In response to another question, Mr. Ireland explained that the District had been authorized in a previous case to borrow $50,000 for the replacement of old meters, but had spent nearly $20,000 of that money on operating expenses. Staff had adjusted for this misallocation in its financial report and some of the $20,000 will be recovered and made available for meters. Remember readers, this is all from the PSC transcripts. Cut it out and post to your refrigerator for future rate increase hearings. The following testimony came from Sean Ireland, a rate analyst: Mr. Ireland explained that Staff has recommended a consolidated tariff for the new combined Clay-Roane and Procious systems. Approximately 35% to 40% of all customers on these systems are minimum bill customers and, under the new Staff-recommended rates, the minimum bill amount will actually drop from approximately $30.00 to $21.10, an advantage for many of these customers.
And further concerns were raised…
Cecil Wood expressed his concern that the District will continue to simply misuse any increase provided and not do the maintenance required.
Andy Waddell expressed his concern that Staff's class cost of service study was flawed because of the misapplication of the money intended for new meters. He also believes that this kind of mismanagement will continue.
Ms. Paxton expressed her belief that, unless the District's Board is watched closely, they will continue to mismanage the District and ratepayers will have to continue to pay for previous mistakes of the Board.
Ms. Bragg stated that more money should not be provided to the same Board that has mismanaged previous increases and is unresponsive to customer questions and concerns. There is no guarantee that they will flush the lines, fix the meters or do any of the maintenance items intended
Maybe a sort of slap on the wrist, comes this during the discussion portion of the hearing: To address and mitigate the legitimate concerns expressed by the customers of the District at hearing, the District's Board is cautioned to use the increased revenue to be generated by this rate increase to fund debt service, reserves, system improvements, replacements and repairs exactly as analyzed and recommended by Commission Staff in its report filed May 17, 2002. Any material deviation from the carefully detailed Staff recommendations should be discussed with Staff prior to implementation. Additionally, the District should notify Staff as soon as possible of any significant change or emergency in District operations.
And then the bad news, Judge Trent ordered the rate increase with this paragraph: Pursuant to Staff's review and analysis of the combined District's operations and revenues, Staff has recommended an overall increase of 17.01% in revenues and, consistent with the class cost of service study, designed an appropriate tariff to recover that increased revenue. (See, Final Joint Staff Memorandum filed May 17, 2002
And yet another reprieve for the public and their demands from Judge Trent: IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clay-Roane Public Service District shall implement and perform the operational, administrative and maintenance items detailed and recommended in the Staff Report filed in this matter on May 17, 2002, as sufficient funds become available for such purpose. The District shall also establish a voluntary list of its customers who are, by medical certification, chronically ill or immune- depressed and specifically susceptible to water-borne illness. These customers shall be specifically notified, by telephone, of all boil-water advisories within a reasonable period after the general public notice is initiated. The District shall also place such notices on its telephone answering system.
And the skinny of it, it’ official:
RATES First 2,000 gallons @ $10.55 per 1,000 gallons Next 4,000 gallons @ $10.20 per 1,000 gallons Next 4,000 gallons @ $ 7.85 per 1,000 gallons Over 10,000 gallons @ $ 6.12 per 1,000 gallons
MINIMUM CHARGE No bill will be rendered for less than the following amounts according to the size of the meter installed:
5/8 inch meter $ 21.10 per month 3/4 inch meter $ 31.65 per month 1 inch meter $ 52.75 per month 1-1/2 inch meter $ 105.50 per month 2 inch meter $ 168.80 per month 3 inch meter $ 316.50 per month 4 inch meter $ 527.50 per month 6 inch meter $1,055.00 per month 8 inch meter $1,688.00 per month
The following are civil cases filed with the Clay County Circuit Clerk’ office as of October 3, 2002, noon:
02-C-43 Norma Chapman vs Lynn O’ell, Bench trial 10/2/02, 1 pm; 02-C-44 Dallas Underwood vs Henry & Elaine Stutler, certificate of service 8/12/02; 02-C-45 Landor Inc vs Eileen McCoy and Geraldine Alexander & Jack McCoy return receipt, 7/15/02; 02-C-46 CAEZ vs Filcon order entered 8/19/02, plaintiff granted judgment against defendant $131,410.49 with interest at 4 ½ %; 02-C-47 Margaret Snodgrass vs Sheriff of Clay 7/12 Writ of Mandamus, Order for dismissal filed; 02-C-48 Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank vs Ralph Morris 9/11 Letter with judgment order, Order entered 9/23; 02-C-AP-49 Walter Schoonover vs Darrell Shamblin 7/29 Petition for summary judgment, hearing set.
02-C-AP-51 David Pierson vs Tillings & Neely and Northwest Integrated, 8/15 request for continuance; 02-C-52 Lynnann Tanner Osborne vs Michael Wayne Tanner and Bank of Gassaway 8/13 certificate of service, 8/16 final title opinion; 02-C-AP-53 Don & Avis Moore vs Kelly and John Moore, judgment of $304 entered in Magistrate Court is waived, defendant to pay $65.00 and $70 Circuit Court costs; 02-C-54 Ford Motor Credit vs William E Sizemore and Holley W Johnson 9/16 form requesting service date, hold; 02-C-55 Brenda Asbury vs Clay County PSD, Lisa Shirl Lane, return of service by Slack, 9/26 defendants answer to plaintiff’ complaint; 02-C-56 Consesco Financial Service vs Steve & Angela D Stewart, 8/21 affidavit of service on both parties; 02-C-57, TX Collect vs Stephen Taylor, 8/26 return receipt by Stephen Taylor; 02-C-58, Danny & Cheryl Sams vs John L and Teresa A Lane, 8/29 case information, 9/20 defendants interrogatories; 02-C-59, House’ Market vs QL Capitol, Credit Card Center & Mr Calvin Broyles, 10/1 notice of hearing Oct 21 11:30 am, motion to dismiss
02-C-61 Larry A & Tracy Rogers vs Genesis Gas, GB Hefner and Assoc, JN Snyder, Luca Well Service, 9/17 filed, 9/27 return of service; 02-C-62 Donald Mollahan vs Glen Dix Logging, 9/24 summons filed, 9/27 amended complaint; 02-C-63, Doy & Bonnie Metheny vs Glen Dix Logging, 9/24 complaint filed; 02-C-64, Elmo & Margaret Nichols vs Penn Evergreen Logging, 9/27 summons, 10/2 return of service; 02-C-65, Branch Banking & Trust vs Robert Bee, 10/02 summons, complaint
09/17/02: Bailey – Andy N. Moore, wanton endangerment with firearm (12/24/01), D/M pursuant to open docket which was terminated 07/15/02; Ellyson – Elvis Dawson, wanton endangerment, hearing continued by defendant to 10/09; Hunt – Glen Allen Dix, DUI – 3rd offense, trial set.
09/24/02: Foreman – Nathan Toler, grand larceny (06/25), arrested, ROB.
09/28/02: Belt – Jason Scott Reed, burglary, arrested, ROB.
09/13/02: Foreman – Daniel R. Arbogast, Jr., driving while revoked for DUIA and driving under the influence – 2nd offense, arrested, ROB, trial set; Ellyson – Larry A. Duffield, Jr., battery, appeared, ROB, trial set; Elswick – Michelle Lynn McCourt, battery, appeared, ROB, trial set.
09/14/02: Belt – Christal G. Childers, DUI, arrested, ROB, trial set.
09/15/02: Delk – Jimmy Allen Burdette, battery on police officer, possession of controlled substance, and destruction of property, arrested, ROB, trial set.
09/17/02: Belt – Chester K. Legg, speeding, appeared, ROB.
09/18/02: Slack – Jonathan Sizemore, joyriding and assault, summons issued; Bailey – Glenn W. Tanner, joyriding, destruction of property, and shoot/discharge firearm in public highway, summons issued.
09/19/02: Ellyson – Keith Dewayne Wilmoth, DUI, arrested, ROB.
09/21/02: Belt – Jerry Wayne Cash II, underage consumption of alcohol (.094), appeared, ROB, trial set.
09/22/02: Delk – Rickey M. Hanshaw, violation of protection order, arrested, ROB 09/24, trial set.
09/23/02: Slack – Rickey M. Hanshaw, destruction of property, appeared 09/24, ROB; Slack – Renee Bloom, destruction of property, summons issued; Delk – Shonda Lynn Tanner, trespassing, summons issued.
09/25/02: Bailey – Chance M. Towner, possession of marijuana and obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB; Telenia G. Starcher – Freda Jill Legg, peace bond, summons issued.
09/26/02: Belt – Gary J. McCourt Jr., trespassing, arrested, ROB; Bailey – Ronald C. Griffin, speeding and possession of marijuana less 15 gms, appeared, released to appear 10/10.
09/28/02: Belt – Jason Scott Reed, assault, arrested, ROB.
09/13/02: Melissa Drake – Michael Mollohan, money due.
09/17/02: Charles and Martha Keenan – Paul and Cindy Dotson, money due; Charles and Martha Keenan – Rodney and Sue Johnson, money due.
09/23/02: WVU Hospitals Inc. – Lucille J. Ford, money due.
Notices issued –
09/23/02: Clay Supermarket – Shane C. Payne (paid 9/24) and Donna M. Tryon.
09/27/02: Connie Brown – Barbara Gray; Clay County Board of Education – Angela Mitchell.
09/08/02: ???? – Patrick Joe Blank, ????
09/09/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Angela Lynn Arnold, no POI.
09/10/02: State Police – Rebecca S. Wilson, operator’, no POI, registration violations, and defective equipment.
09/11/02: State Police – Larry A. Duffield, battery; Michelle L. McCourt, battery; Charles E. Shotts Jr., failure to display D.O.T. markings.
09/12/02: State Police – Tad Henson Legg, speeding, no POI, and defective equipment; Ronald W. Salisbury, registration violations.
09/13/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Brad Jeremy DeBoard, passing in no passing zone.
09/16/02: State Police – Chester K. Legg, failure to keep right.
09/17/02: State Police – Robert W. Hall Jr., possession of marijuana less/15 gms; Randolph S. Morton, defective equipment and operator’; Cassidy A. Wilmoth, speeding.
09/19/02: State Police – Keith D. Wilmoth, driving under the influence and failure to keep right.
09/21/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Joseph A. Cummings, underage consumption (alcohol) and littering; Jerry Wayne Cash II, underage consumption (alcohol); State Police – David Lee James, leaving scene of accident; Michael J. Waggy, left of center and operator’.
09/23/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Chance M. Towner, operator’.
09/24/02: State Police – Ronald C. Griffin, speeding and possession of marijuana less 15 gms.
09/25/02: State Police – Okey Morris Jr., speeding and no POI.
09/28/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Brian K. Galaska, no POI and MVI.
CONFUSING PSC STUFF
It’ hard to imagine that a contract could be binding when one of the parties doesn’ exist and the other party ( Town of Clay) isn’ at the bargaining table. With that being said, the following is documentation from the WV PSC web site dated October 4, 2002.
At a session of the PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION OF WEST VIRGINIA in the City of Charleston on the 4th day of October, 2002.
CASE NO. 01-1645-WS-PSWD-PC
TOWN OF CLAY, a municipal corporation, and CLAY REGIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE DISTRICT, a public utility. Petition for consent and approval for the sale of certain assets of the waterworks portion of the existing combined waterworks and sewerage system of the Town of Clay to Clay Regional Public Service District.
COMMISSION ORDER EXTENDING ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE DECISION DUE DATE
By Commission order entered July 5, 2002, the Administrative Law Judge decision due date in the above-styled proceeding was extended until October 9, 2002.
On October 4, 2002, C. Terry Owen, Staff Attorney, filed a motion for a ninety (90) day extension of the Administrative Law Judge decision due date. Staff states this case involves complex matters between the Town of Clay and Clay Regional Public Service District which have yet to be resolved. Staff further states that no party will be harmed by the extension and the additional time is necessary to attempt to resolve this matter.
WHEREAS, the Commission finds Staff's motion to be reasonable, and it should be granted; and,
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the aforesaid Administrative Law Judge decision due date of October 9, 2002, be, and hereby is, extended until January 9, 2003.
As of October 5, 2002, the Clay Regional PSD has not been established and the informal advisory group, the forerunner for such a group hasn’ met in months. Very confusing to say the least! AW
KAY’S COOKING CORNER
QUICK & EASY DIABETIC RECIPES
CARAMELIZED COLA ROAST
SERVING SIZE: 2 TO 3 SLICES
TOTAL SERVINGS: 8
1 3-pound beef bottom round roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup diet cola
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat a roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray and place the roast in the pan. Season with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
2) In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the roast. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until tender.
3) Slice, and serve topped with the sauce from the pan.
4 Lean Meat...Calories...229...Calories from Fat...74...
Total Fat...8 g...Saturated Fat...3 g...Cholesterol...87 mg...
Sodium...447 mg...Carbohydrate...4 g...
Dietary Fiber...0 g...Sugars...2 g...Protein...33 g…
“an you believe that a regular cola has
NINE teaspoons of sugar and practically three times as
many grams of carbohydrates as a diet cola?!
The choice is easy, and since they taste so similar,
nobody will be able to tell the difference in this recipe.”
ALL-AMERICAN APPLE PIE
SERVING SIZE: 1 SLICE, TOTAL SERVINGS: 8
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large Red Delicious apples,
cored, peeled, and sliced
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 refrigerated folded pie crust
(from a 15-ounce package)
Nonstick cooking spray
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix well. Add the apples and toss to coat completely
2) Pour the apple mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. In a small bowl, combine the butter and vanilla and pour
over the apples.
3) Cover the apples with the pie crust,pressing against the pie plate to seal, and flute, if desired.
4) Spray the crust with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is golden and
the apples are tender.
2-1/2 Carbohydrate..2 Fat...Calories...231...
Calories from Fat...91...Total Fat...10 g...
Saturated Fat...5 g...Cholesterol...12 mg...Sodium...128 mg...Carbohydrate...35 g...Dietary Fiber...2 g...
Sugars...19 g...Protein...1 g…
“hink we’e forgotten something here?
The bottom crust maybe? All those little grams of fat
and carbohydrates add up, so the more we can get rid of,
the more you can splurge a bit somewhere else.”Until next time...enjoy....Kay
A MODERN FABLE
By Don Greene
Every election year I am reminded of a little tale that I heard while active in the Unions. I feel it is worth sharing with the readers.
"Once upon a time there was a kingdom known as Mousonia. It was populated by honest, hard working, good hearted mice. They tilled the fields, worked the industries and paid the taxes that supported the little kingdom.
The mice also participated in a democratic process of electing their leaders. The odd thing was though, that while ninety-nine percent of the kingdom were mice, they always elected cats to rule them. To be fair, they did have a choice though, either a Republicat or a Democat.
The mice were fervent in their support of their chosen cats. They had heated debates about which did a better job of ruling. Some mice felt that the Republicats brought industry and business to Mousonia and created more jobs for mice. The supporters of the Democats retorted that their preferred cats increased government programs and services, improving life for the mice.
Election cycles came and went with the mice earnestly backing the cat of their choice. Some mice were rewarded with meaningless patronage jobs, while some were punished for opposing the victors. All the while the cats smiled their sly cat-smiles and lived off of the mice.
Then it dawned on the mice that both parties were in fact cats and not mice. They cared about cats and cat issues. All the cats wanted from the mice was for them to work, pay taxes and vote for cats. Mice issues meant nothing to the cats and never would.
With this in mind the mice began to talk among themselves. The mice of the fields met with the mice from the industries. The country mice visited the city mice. Slowly their plan took form. They were going to run mice in the next election and depose the cats. Mice, they realized, would understand their problems and work to make life for mice better.
The cats were distressed with this turn of events. They explained long and loud all the things they had done for the mice, even though all their efforts were really better for cats than mice. They trotted puppet mice out as examples of what good mice could attain, if they acted right. They labeled the dissident mice as radicals and extremists. It was obvious, the cats said, that mice couldn't rule, they didn't wear leader clothes, didn't do leader things. Mice didn't have the right contacts, didn't know the ropes, and most importantly, mice weren't cats and leaders had to be cats.
But know what? The mice voted the cats out. They came, from hill and field, village and town, high and low, to vote the cats out. Surprisingly enough the little kingdom didn't crumble and fall as the cats had said. In fact, as the Mice brought in all the businesses and industries that wouldn't "play ball" with the cats, there were more than enough jobs. The mice took all the steps required to improve the life of all the mice and the little kingdom prospered and grew.
As for the cats, without their perceived power, without their tax-paid jobs, without having a strangle hold on the kingdom, well, those old cats just faded away. And nobody missed them at all.
Editor, A federal list, intended to keep terrorists from boarding planes, is snaring peace activists at San Francisco International and other U. S. airports, triggering complaints that civil liberties are being trampled. While several federal agencies acknowledge that they contribute names to the congressionally mandated list, none of them, when contacted by The Chronicle, could or would say which agency is responsible for managing the list.
One detainment forced a group of 20 Wisconsin anti-war activists to miss their flight, delaying their trip to meet with congressional representatives by a day. It’ the rise of the reactionary right all over again, just like I talked about years ago when Nitler (Nixon) clamped down on the hippies. But this time around it’ even more hard-line, more reactionary, more intense in its clampdowns. This time, the U.S. isn’ just struggling with a few hippies, yippies and radicals, who at their worst and most subversive blew up a campus ROTC barracks or a university science lab. Now, they’e battling those who have blown up America’ two largest skyscrapers, killing thousands of people, and are threatening to do much worse.
The most innocent of actions are under surveillance now. What you buy at the grocery store, whether you order a pizza, what you read at the library, whether you pay for something by cash or credit card, etc. Doing the wrong things can practically get you labeled as a terrorist in the making. It’ the very sort of thing that Americans used to criticize the communists for during the Cold War. Suspicion and obsessive distrust characterized the Soviet Union. Whether it’ this system or another, you can be sure the Beast will want to keep track of everyone in his New World Order. Of course, it hasn’ reached Soviet standards yet, but it wouldn’ take too long to get there at the rate things are going on.
And now, they’e talking about making proactive efforts to track down potential terrorists, drug addicts, gang members, and maybe any class of people that society considers undesirable. That might catch a few bad guys and evildoers, but it’ sure to ensnare many innocent people as well and ruin a lot of lives. It’ also sure to be misused as society’ idea of who is undesirable eventually changes to include those who are religious, the fanatics and troublemakers who won’ bow down and worship the Beast, and who persist in proclaiming and preaching the existence of another God.
Ted Rudow III Menlo Park
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
“ry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.” No matter how weak your argument, it is a useful gambit to quote Shakespeare even if the writer is shaky on facts or confused on doctrine. The line, you may recall, is from that famous yarn about the plot to assassinate “ig Julie” an unforgettable character in the historic firmament.
The chicken hawks in the current administration, a worthy group of lifetime government functionaries, whose current passion for war serves as a stunning contrast to their earlier successful efforts to stay out of Vietnam have found a made-to-order villain – Saddam Hussein. Hollywood itself could not have created a figure of evil beyond the dreams of central casting. “e gassed his own people” we have been reminded relentlessly. This is true, and Hussein should rightly be condemned for this and his countless other acts of brutality. What strikes some of us is that the government knew about Saddam’ actions over a decade ago. Why has the present administration suddenly adopted this position of what it likes to call high “oral clarity” It is inconvenient and unpopular to point out that the Iraqi dictator was once one of ‘ur boys’ When he was useful to us, it was convenient to ignore Saddam’ “rimes against humanity” One interesting item about Iraq that is being underplayed, if not deliberately overlooked is that it controls oil resources that are second only to Saudi Arabia: only a cynic [or a realist] would contend that economic factors play a part in the global trumpeting of American virtue.
The witty, smiling and arrogant Donald Rumsfield practically lives on national TV these days. He has an annoying habit of deflecting any and all questions by ridiculing the questioners. Rumsfield met recently with a select Senate committee and was asked what intelligence the administration possessed to justify the Iraq invasion. His reply raises the gift of evasion or saying nothing to a fine art. “…There are three issues here. There is the issue of what we know. There is the issue of what we don’ know, and there is the issue of what we don’ know we don’ know.”
There is no report of the Senators’response to this pretentious gobbledygook, but the hope arises that at least one of them had responded [possibly with the proper obscenity] “ho the hell do you think you’e talking to?” “ junior high school class?” “e are United States Senators.” Who elected you?” “xxon?”
Scott Ritter, a combat veteran who served twelve years as a Marine officer, also spent seven years in Iraq as a U.N. weapons inspector. He has consistently maintained that the administration’ claims of Saddam’ weapons arsenal are vastly, and perhaps purposely, overrated. Ritter also has the unfortunate habit of pointing out information that the administration and possibly the American people don’ want to hear about such as estimates that over 100,000 Iraqi citizens, most of them children, have been killed as a result of U.S. sanctions over the past decade. Ritter’ reward for this unpopular stand has been to be branded as a ‘raitor’ even as the “ane Fonda of the twenty-first century”by some of our congressional hawks.
Despite Saddam Hussein’ capitulation several weeks ago: he agreed to allow weapons inspectors back into Iraq, the administration refuses to take “es”for an answer. The simplest degree of logic might suggest that the Iraqi dictator prefers a temporary loss of face to total obliteration, but the drums of war pound ceaselessly, aided by most of the media, converted to the role of political cheerleader.
This effort began with emphasis on the term “onvenience” With the stock market plummeting, the economy in virtual death throes, Al Queda apparently alive and well, the President’ vow to ‘et’bin Laden unfulfilled and future generations perhaps facing a Depression that will make the thirties look like a pleasant interlude, with the public memory deflected from the administration’ intimacy with corporate corruption, and above all, with midterm and ’4 elections coming up, what could be more convenient than to manufacture another war, even though we already have one? An anonymous politician, surprisingly, one from Texas once said:
“…I think I really prefer a man who would burn a flag and wrap himself in the constitution, than one who would burn the constitution and wrap himself in the flag.”
Someone who could say that has given himself a fitting epitaph.
At this point we need to establish what ‘ubject matter’as opposed to ‘rocedure’has to do with justice in the legal system. ‘ubject matter’ as defined in Black’ Law Dictionary, is said to be this: The matter presented for consideration; the thing in dispute; the right which one party claims as against the other. It is, then, the alleged ‘acts’brought by a plaintiff in support of his petition before a court of law. ‘rocedure’ on the other hand, is a mode of proceeding, as distinguished from substantive law, which defines a right by which a court administers; the machinery as opposed to the product. In the context of our discussion here, ‘rocedure’determines whether or not ‘ubject matter’will be heard by the court – before seating of a jury – the judge becoming a one-man ruler over all matters that come before the court. Government, then, has abridged the privileges and immunities of citizens of these United States by denying the right to trial by a common law jury – and those so denied do not enjoy equal protection under the law. By this doctrine ‘ubject matter’cannot be seen or heard but by the ‘rocedure’ Those who attempt to obtain a fair hearing by a judge of oath or affirmation that is knowledgeable of the facts of the case can be/are summarily denied admittance to the court solely upon ‘rocedure’ One might liken it to ‘tiquette’– facts of the case having no validity unless by the good graces of the court. This is Admiralty Law in practice, and its symbol is the Admiralty flag. In an Admiralty court the judge rules all aspects of a case with authority, and ‘rocedure’is subject to change without public warning. Courts are making decisions that affect the lives of everyone in this society – substantive law has fallen prey to procedure in a way our forefathers could never have envisioned.
It is said that a man who represents himself in a court of law has a fool for a client. Indeed, under the rules promulgated by the foxes in the hen house, an under-informed person representing himself (pro se) would guarantee for himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the dimwit of the century. Ellen Segal Huvelle, District Judge, District of Columbia, in answer to a question from a viewer (C Span) said this, “es, it does seem that better representation comes from lawyers who charge the most in fees.” The guy who says we need to give up some of our freedoms because we are at war is never the person who gives up any of his freedoms. A lot of lip service is paid to the Constitution in bold letters, however, enforcing one’ rights in a court of law is, for the most part, dang near impossible for those not schooled in the law. Rules are being used to limit access to the judiciary to only those with law degrees. For really good representation one must expect to bring lots of cash. Rule 1, FRCP, refutes this practice by saying: Scope and purpose of rules…shall be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. In point of fact, justice, as practiced today, is none of the above; it is not inexpensive, therefore it cannot be just.
Who had the blinders on? For over 5 years our elected folks, the County Commission, stood by as ambulance service funds plummeted into the toilet. Occasionally, the three blind mice would ask for some accountability from those they appointed to operate the service, the Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority (CCEAA). For the most part, little if any report was provided the CCC by the Authority.
When the Authority members were appointed June 14 1996, the agency had over $246,227.46 at their disposal. And dispose they did. By the end of the 1999 –2000 fiscal year, the CCEAA asked for and received a $36,000.00 loan from the Clay County Bank to make it to July 1 2000, the end of their budget year. They were broke. So bad were the finances in June 2001, the CCEAA needed a $100,000.00 loan to keep the doors open. In addition to the funds on hand and revenue from operations, the group received numerous state backed grants along the way from budget digest and the Governor’ contingency funds.
Our Clay County Commission charged the group with operating the service, and by state code, the Ambulance Authority had a duty to provide quarterly reports and annual budgets for the Commission’ approval. Most of the time no reports were provided the CCC and for the most part, the CCC chose to turn a blind eye to the operation.
So could we go from $250,000.00 in the black to over $120,000.00 in the red without the County Commission knowing? Was there no one in the county watching the spending spree? Did no one raise ‘’to the Commission over $20,000.00 in illegal Christmas bonuses? Was an eyebrow raised when the CCEAA purchased a $100,000.00 box ambulance that was too large to traverse the narrow winding roads of Clayberry? The answer of course is, yes. Edition after edition of this paper documented the exploits of the circus like atmosphere within the Ambulance Authority. At one point a lawsuit even made it to the WV Supreme Court over the most blatant disregard for state law. So obvious was the public’ knowledge of the “pending like drunken sailors”attitude, county tax payers staged a $25.00 ambulance service fee boycott. So strong was the knowledge of mismanagement, over 50% of the normally tax paying, law abiding citizens refused to pay the then mandatory annual $25.00 ambulance service fee.
What citizen’ knew all along, and what the County Commission should have known, is now documented in a WV Audit Department report. The report was provided the County Commission in January of this year. The damning report has set on a shelf drawing dust. The cover letter itself reads in part, “..the authority has consistently extended over the amount of revenues for the past several fiscal years. These conditions raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern….”Even more alarming is a note stating that all the needed records to conduct a complete audit “ere not turned over to auditors.”Although the CCEAA existed for over 5 years, the detailed audit included just the last two budget years.
For the year ending June 30, 2000, the Clay County Ambulance Service took in $590,017.29 but spent $687,138.53 ending the year with a $97,121.24 loss. That year salaries were $479,089.61, vehicle expenses amounted to $26,860.17; and contracted services were $70,265.11.
In 2001, the CCEAA took in $560,786.16 and spent $613,911.44 including $442,785.86 in salaries.
According to the 2002 Audit Report, “n the past three fiscal years, the Authority has over expended collection by $68,204.33, $97,121.23, and $53,125.28 respectively. In addition to those over expenditures, the Authority has several months of outstanding invoices for payroll expenses along with a bank loan of $100,000.00. In addition, the revenues appear to have declined.” So how bad was the bookkeeping of the Authority? Bad! Here’ yet another passage from page 24 of the recent audit, “e qualified our report because the amounts of revenue and encumbrances could not be verified.”Does the report disclose all the serious problems? No. Here’ another passage, “e would NOT necessarily disclose all the reportable conditions that are also considered to be material weaknesses.” With that being said, noncompliance after noncompliance was found. Here’ a few examples from the dust laden audit report:
“roper documentation of the actions of the Board [authority] were not noted in the official record books. Minutes were not complete and minutes did not contain all actions of the Board….. CCEAA failed to do quarterly reports to the Clay County Commission…. Failed to do annual reports…” State Code 7-15-11 mandates the annual reports to be given to the County Commission for prior approval
“id not remit retirement payments timely…”According to State Code 5-10-29, nonpayment is a no-no. For ambulance employees, the following passage may be interesting, “this] raises questions on whether employees were given proper retirement credit.”
Continuing on with the finger pointing, “nvoices were not approved by the Authority.”State Code 12-3-18 says that it’ unlawful to pay any claim unless an itemized statement is provided. And now for some juice! A special notation was made , “xpenditures were made without proper substantiation, for example: Clay Foodland Pharmacy, $556.66.” Hmmm..
Here’ another that begs for answers, “Expenditures were made by the CCEAA for items that did NOT pertain to the operation of the Authority itself.”Wonder what that was, readers? Another, “uthority did NOT follow standard procedures, financial records must be reconciled daily, monthly, and annual basis…. Invoices, receipts, and payroll were NOT filed and maintained.” And for a big no-no, and according to the CPA, one person did all the check writing, record keeping, and prepared the financial reports.
So why didn’ the County Commission stop this long ago? Did they really not know about it? WRONG. Three years ago a similar audit was so bad that the auditor herself presented the findings to the County Commission. At that time, Commissioner Tim Butcher tried to down play the report and repeatedly asked, “o it’ OK?” The auditor’ response was “o!” Ok, so they messed up just a little, forget to dot a few I’, forgot to record a few things here and there……Look at this non compliance, “ime sheets were signed by employees and time sheets were signed AFTER checks were written, Time sheets were NOT approved by Director prior to payments. The Authority allowed time sheets to be prepared AFTER payments were made…”
So where did all the money go? Here’ one more finding that should really have run up the red flag. “mployee time sheets were not accurate.. Employee actual time worked could NOT be verified.” And, “he Authority did NOT keep accurate ledger of records of all accounts receivables. It is further noted that the Authority did NOT have a complete list of all accounts payable. Several monthly payments were behind and NOT noted in the financial records of the Authority as well as a loan for $100,000.00.”Get it? No record of who asked for the Bank of Gassaway loan and no record of the Authority even voting to seek a loan!
And now to make your blood boil, “e noted during our audit that the Authority bought medical supplies from an employee in the amount of $10,555.16….State Code 7-15-15 forbids such… the Authority did NOT follow WV Code… supplies were purchased from an employee which is in non compliance with state statute.” It gets better, readers. Under a section COMPETITIVE BIDS, “e noted during our audit, the Authority made purchases for more than $25,000.00 and did NOT obtain competitive bids. Specifically, the Authority bought Uni-Vent ventilators for $4700.00 and the total invoice for supplies was $10,049.00… The Authority did not follow state code.” So far the auditors have been saying stuff like did not follow state code or the code says the need to do something different. Noncompliance 11 refers to breaking open meeting laws and “ey information was missing from the minute book such as approval of a loan from the Bank of Gassaway for $100,000.00 , June 29, 2001.”Here’ the hard ball statement, “HE AUTHORITY VIOLATED STATE CODE.” Remember the lawsuit three years ago, the one that went to the Supreme Court? The one that alleged the CCC and the CCEAA broke open meeting laws? Now a certified public accountant is stating the same thing. From the same noncompliance, “mportant dates and information is lost and cannot be verified due to lack of documentation.”The upbeat is, members of the old Authority will sleep better knowing that!
So who was on the Authority? Who allowed these things to happen over and over? Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority members included: Loretta Bird, Tracy Rogers, Larry Rogers, David Pierson, Jeanie Nottingham, Stephanie Taylor, Joyce White, John McKown, Patricia McGlothlin, Debbie Metheney, Norman Wilson, Tony Cafego, Larry Cole, Larry Dietz, Damon Grose, Jeff Krauklis, Gene King, Phillip Morris, Arlie Fulks, Duane Legg, Fran King, Bob Ore, Jimmy Sams, and Harald Fields.
Just to make it doubly clear that something didn’ happen just once, “n each deficiency, it was repeated in each prior year.” So will anybody be prosecuted? Will an appointed official or officials be taken to task for poor performance and openly violating state law? Did we just slip something in there? The “penly violating state law”part? Nope, keep in mind, in November of 1998, Deputy Attorney General Dawn Warfield held a training session on open meeting laws. During that meeting, attended by 50 county wide reps, CCEAA Chair Loretta Bird, Treasurer Joyce White and member Stephanie Taylor got into a shouting match with Warfield as they claimed they didn’ have to comply with state law.
This most recent audit indicates that what Bird, White, Taylor and others on the CCEAA said, they don’ have to comply with state law, is true. It’ now time to put the report back on the shelf and act as if it never happened. Long live the great nation of Clayberry —AW
Normally , we don’ even lock our doors in the county. Head over to the grocery store, go visit someone, head up the holler, and leave the front door unlocked. Many in the county don’ even know where their front door key is! Over the last 6 weeks, Clay County has been pushed into realizing we’e not so different from big city dwellers when it comes to crime.
During the last 12 months, arsonists have torched numerous camps along the Elk River including two more in the early hours of October 4, sliced around 30 tires during the September Apple Festival, windshields were broken, one girl overdosed, Danny Sizemore’ brief case containing big $$$ was stolen as was a powered leaf blower. Ten days ago, a white S-10 was stolen in broad daylight from the IGA parking lot. Last weekend what was first reported as a suicide out Widen way appears to may have been a homicide. Not so long ago, five shots in the back was reported as a suicide, before that a shotgun blast left one drug user dead and buried feet out of the ground in the Widen gob pile.
In the county , residents have come to believe that law enforcement is nonexistent. Investigations lead nowhere. Prosecution of the criminals is rare. Unless you shoot someone’ hunting dog, you can get away with it in Clayberry.
With Sheriff Fields away from the phone Friday October 4, with Clay State Police Detachment Head , Sgt Light, away from the office until Sunday, and with Trooper Bailey not returning the message, we cornered Deputy Delk of the Clay County Sheriff’ office for info. Keep in mind this was an off the cuff conversation.
Is Clay County in the middle of a crime wave? Delk, “ell, yeah it does. But, we get it about this time every year, the change in the season, fall coming on. My personal opinion is you can see a difference. Do I have numbers to show that? I’ probably would have to do some digging…. It just feels that way. This is my fourth year and it feels like every fall that’ what happens.” Mr. Delk said that Trooper Ellison was handling the investigation into the shooting death of Chad Salisbury.
As for the tires being slashed during the Apple Festival, “hat would be me.”For an update during this off the cuff interview, Mr. Delk, “ am at a dead end. I have talked to … roughly , right off the top of my head, 15 people. I have been pointed in several different directions. All of which is moot. It turns out that there is nothing substantial with the people that I have talked to, there has been somebody with them or they were somewhere, and for the most part, I believe everybody that I have talked to. I would be a hero if I could solve that one.” Is the general public providing leads for law enforcement? Delk, “o, I haven’ had anybody come into the office. Everybody that I have talked to I have went and hunted down. I would go talk to one person and they would say so and so down the road knows something about it. So, I would go down the road and see so and so and they would say , no. I kept track. Every time I’ get a name , it finally came to a circle where I’ be going back to people that I had already talked to.” So what comes next for Deputy Delk? “onestly, I hope I get lucky. I have exhausted everything that I can think of to do.” Deputy Belt is handling the fireworks stolen during the Apple shindig and Delk was not aware of how that investigation was going.
Although not directly involved with all the arsonist activities himself, Delk advanced some thoughts. Delk , “he [state] Fire Marshall does the investigation. We go out and gather as much information as we can and then they come in and pick up, that’ their baby. We do investigate. The Fire Marshall we have right now, I think, covers four or five counties.”Delk did have some knowledge on some of the torchings, “he only pattern that I see for the most part , a lot of the camps that are burnt are abandoned or at least in not very good condition. Some falling down. I can think of three that were dilapidated. They were not at all safe to be in by appearance on the outside.”Delk couldn’ say whether the structures had been doused in gasoline or not. Delk, “I don’ know if they are using an accelerant . The thing about it is, the problems you run into ,it takes the fire departments to respond to by comparison. These are old dry buildings. They go up like a kindling box. Almost every one of them have been fully involved before the fire department got there. In that type of situation, it takes about 10 minutes for one to be fully involved. 10 or 15 minutes.” Delk agreed that faster response times might be available in an urban setting . Delk, “They do well. They respond as quickly as they possibly can. It is just one of the things about being in a rural area. It’ one of the downfalls.”
As for a curtailment of the spree in the county, Delk was not optimistic, “ hope it quits. That it’ done. We’e increased our patrols along the river . We have tried to step up more time in that area. The thing about it is, a lot of these fires are accruing long after our shifts end. In the late evening.” Delk went on to say that they do take 911 calls and respond after shift hours, but there are times in the county when no law enforcement is scheduled for patrol.
Is it the same people doing all the crime? Delk felt that different people were involved.
As for one officer doing one case and another doing another case, Delk said they all provide back up support. Who ever gets to the scene first becomes the lead investigator. Currently there are five state troopers, four deputies, and one DNR officer in the county. Delk commented that Tom Myers with the town of Clay was a night watchman and not an authorized police officer.
Where do we go from here? Are your holdings the next target for thugs? Yes. Lock those doors, remove the vehicle keys, and keep an eye out - be on guard. AW