October 18, 2002

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Follow Ups
Did You Know
Letter to Editor
Kay's Cooking Corner
Magistrate Report
School Board Meeting
Patriotism , or Constitutionality
Water, Water, Water
CDC Shorts
Short Shorts

        Where do you begin with unquestionably the biggest news story to date this year? The story about one of Clay County’ most powerful figures, Jimmy (J.D.) Morris and his fall from power and prominence. The name synonymous with statewide educational policy, the man known locally as the person to see before running for any county office, and the man with the purse strings. Here’ the way the story goes…
        On Thursday, October 10 around 5:20 p.m., the first call comes in that J.D. is in trouble. Yeah, yeah, yeah…. we’e heard that before. By 5:50, things are starting to gel. Calls from Charleston came in: where does he live? Who’ on the Clay County Bank Board of Directors? Who can be contacted for information? Although exciting, still nothing solid. By 6 pm, the information was no longer soft. It was confirmed, J.D. Morris had signed documents called “n information”indicating that he was pleading guilty to charges of embezzlement.
        Calls into Charleston confirmed the findings. One Charleston newspaper reporter told us he had just spoken to Morris around 5pm and Morris revealed to the reporter that he had not even told his wife. The official paperwork was signed October 4 - eight days earlier. For six days Morris continued with life as if there were no problem. He attended State School Board meetings, State School Building Authority meetings, ate dinner out every night and the like. According to those around him, there was no indication that the monkey was on his back and the plea had already been made.
        By October 10th the news of J.D.’ corruption was on web site clayberry.org. The site counter went wild. Within minutes, the counter went up 100 hits. At first, clickers to that site blew off the accounts as no more than dirty, underhanded unsubstantiated gossip. When the 11 pm news came on and not a peep of the Morris scandal was to be heard, locals went to sleep thinking that this ace cub reporter just had it out for Morris, and boy, is he going to get into trouble over this one!!!
        Friday morning’ Charleston Gazette left little doubt; Morris was guilty of embezzling money from the Clay County Bank. Officially he resigned as President of the State School Board October 11 although his resignation had been tendered on the 10th unofficially.
         As our web site counter scored an additional 590 hits, the county went into shock. The man who started out as a bank go-fer, the fellow who grew into the bank president position, who held the local school board presidency for 23 years, and the fellow that went on to be the WV State School Board President was caught - he was a common thief. Morris, born October 11, 1935, was publicly divulged as an embezzler on his birthday!
        Bank records from last year indicating the loss of $264,000.00 got both state and federal examiners looking. On April 23, 2002, Morris walked into the Clay County Bank and tendered his resignation. The news of his resignation, also first reported on the clayberry.org web site, was not believed. Calls came in. Emails came in. 100% of the response: NO WAY!!! After our reporting of the bank loss and the departure of Morris, columnists in that little newspaper over in Clay responded that our remarks were bad mouthing a fine, decent, upstanding man, and a pillar of the community. Shortly thereafter, the WV Banking Commission issued a cease and desist order to interim Clay County Bank President Scott Legg. During TV coverage, Legg commented that plans were already in place “or situations like this” At that time, no one knew what “ituations like thismeant. We do now.
                Now back to October 11. By Friday afternoon, the Charleston Daily Mail picked up on the story and added that the embezzlement of funds had been going on since January 1997. That’ five years of walking down the street and greeting admirers, looking down his nose at folks seeking their first home loan, five years of being a steward for our kids while secretly skimming what averages to $3500.00 a month from the bank while drawing his $200,000.00 per year salary. Telephones rang; mouths gaped open as the news traveled throughout the county. For all, the response was “ don’ believe it. He wouldn’ do that!”The Go Mart crowd had glazed-over looks in their eyes. It was the look of disbelief.
        Saturday’ Charleston Gazette added little to the news. Once again TV news crews interviewed acting bank President Scott Legg, who said the bank was not loosing money any longer.
        After the dust settled that weekend, locals began to think and asked questions. Why just $172,000.00? What accounts were ripped off? Was there any relationship to the Filcon debacle? Answers to the questions are few. Locals noted something else. For years, Clay County Bank’ attorney was Wayne King, followed by Kevin Duffy for the past 5 months. In Charleston newspaper accounts, the bank’ attorney was reported to be Paul Murphy from a Washington, D.C. law group. No Wayne? No Duffy? Many went hmmmm….
        The shock soon turned to anger as people realized their trust had been violated. The person they had turned to for years was a common criminal. During a September PSC hearing, J.D. Morris under oath stated that he had done nothing wrong, that his getting water service before anyone else in the county and the telephone calls he made for that service, had been good for the county. Instead of reverence for the powerful Morris, locals started thinking about his arrogance and uppity attitude over the same years that he was pocketing the loot.
        On Thursday afternoon, October 17, U.S. Attorney Susan Arnold was pretty tight lipped during an interview. Ms Arnold is the lead attorney for the government in the U.S. vs. J.D. Morris case. Here are the excerpts…
        Is there anything that you can tell us that hasn’ been reported by the media? Arnold, “h…no. I am limited to talking about things that are of public record.”        Is the investigation continuing? Arnold, “ can not comment. I am sorry. I don’ mean to be evasive… I am basically telling you I cannot comment. I am not ignoring you, but there is not really anything I can comment on.”        Why can’ you comment? Arnold, “ am prohibited by the U.S. Attorney’ manual. I am limited to talking about things of public record.”        Still digging to get just a little bitty glimmer of light, can you say what accounts the money came from? Arnold, “ CLEARLY can’ comment on that one. I am sorry about that.”        Year 2002 will go down in history as being a bad one for Morris. In February Morris made the news cycle for receiving preferential treatment from the Clay-Roane PSD Board and getting water service for his then under construction mansion off Hopkins Road at Ovapa. Then came the sudden resignation from the bank presidency, followed by tons of scandalous stories on the local bank loosing money, thousands of dollars in uncollected loans, foreclosure proceedings on debtors like Manfred Kuentzer and Clinton Nichols. By summer’ end, Morris was before an Administrative Law Judge explaining his controversial water service arrangement while many remained thirsty. Then Friday, Oct 11, his birthday, the words Morris and embezzlement became one. Five years of thievery became public. A full circle had been completed.
        From the top, and now, the bottom…. J.D. Morris? Who?         AW

Follow ups
        Just as the last edition of this paper was being “ut to bed”a late breaking story popped up. The front page story dealt with Filcon Inc and a bogus $33,390.00 invoice from Bartlette Concrete for concrete at the industrial site at Ovapa. We pointed the finger at Filcon owner Manfred Kuenzter for forging both the invoice and the signature on it with the sole intention of pocketing the tax payer funded loot.
        As a follow up and since the breaking story, Bartlette Concrete owner Eddie Johnson has penned a letter stating that he had no part in that invoice, that the numbers don’ even match and that another supplier did the concrete work at Ovapa.
        We wanted to make doubly certain that our readers know the finger was pointing squarely at Kuentzer and Kuenzter alone as a dirty rotten low down thief.

??? DID YOU KNOW ???

         1.        Research indicates that 60 Percent of the US adult population might be able to read some things, but low-level. Skills prevent them from functioning at the level they’ like to.
2.        The State Department of Health and Human Recourses estimates 13 percent of children in West Virginia have serious emotional problems.
3.        The average state employee has 111 days of sick leave on hold.
4.        West Virginia has the highest per capita ATV-related death rate.
5.        The Moose International has about 2000 lodges in the United States.
6.        In the United States, approximately 350,000 families are affected by Down syndrome.
7.        75 percent of the state’ school supertindents will reach retirement age by 2005.
8.        The state of West Virginia has 918 employees making $75,000 or more.
9.        By year 2031, companies are expected to pay less than 10 percent of total medical expenses for retirees.
10.         Nearly all the courthouses in West Virginia’ 55 counties are in need of repair.
11.         Carpel Tunnel affects an estimated 5 million and is a significant cause of lost workdays.
12.         Nearly 25 percent of the 146 US battle deaths in Operation Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War were from friendly fire.
13.         The state has a fleet of about 5,900 passenger vehicles as well as 8,500 specialty vehicles ranging from boats to bulldozers.
14.         More than 19 million American adults suffer from depression.
15.         While West Virginia has lost 9,500 jobs over the past year, only 2 percent have been women.
16.         Consumers spent about $35 billion in 2000 on weight loss products.
17.         A right is worth fighting for, only when it can be put into operation. Woodrow Wilson
18.         The number of new outlet malls peaked in 1989 and has declined since.
19.         In the last 20 years, more than 100 people across the country have died during 167 chemical plant accidents caused by uncontrolled chemical reactions.
20.        The top accident free surface mine in West Virginia was Vandalia Resources, Big Creek #2 mine that logged 211,318 hours without an accident.

         As has been the case week after week and month after month, more homes have been torched by arsonists in the county. Last edition, Officer Kevin Delk gave some insight into the tough task of finding the thugs responsible for the burnings of camps along Elk River.
        To further understand the epidemic of crime relating to arson, the WV Fire Marshall’ office was contacted for first hand information. The following interview was conducted Oct 17th with Arson Division Supervisor Reed Cook.
        How does the information from local law enforcement get to the State Fire Marshall’ office? Cook,” We have an arson hotline which is answered 24 hours a day. That’ available to Fire Depts., law enforcement can call them in, insurance companies can call it in and citizen’ can call them in. We also have a tip line. The number is 1 800 233 3473, that’ the arson hotline and that takes care of both calling in the fires and the tips too. “        Here’ the good part readers, open your eyeballs. Cook,”We offer up to a $2500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of somebody that sets a fire.”
        As for response time for the Fire Marshall’ office, “It depends. I’ say 85% of our calls come from fire departments. They go to the fires and if it looks suspicious, they call us. Same thing for the Sheriff’ Dept., they may call me.”        Are there requirements that they call in the fire ? Cook,” Let me read the state fire code…. The fire chief of any organized public fire brigade , dept,. or company shall report EVERY fire .. to the State Fire Marshall on forms provided by the State Fire Marshall….Every fire and non fire incidents response SHALL be reported within 30 days after the date of the incident provided that any fire or explosion involving human fatality , arson, or suspected arson shall be reported immediately. That’ under the State Fire Code.”
        According to Mr. Cook, West Virginia is divided into 11 areas and serviced by investigators. Once the information is received, “Unless it is an explosion or a fatality it is not an emergency response. A fatality or explosion is involved, then we have an immediate response. Normally, if the call comes in at 11pm , it will be assigned to an investigator the next morning. The investigator gives his findings to this office here.”        In Clay County many, many, river camps have been torched this year and done so on a weekly basis. Cook defended his agency’ work,”I have three different investigators that have been working those fires. Say if the area investigator gets tied up on another fire, if another one is close by, I’l send another investigator over there.”        So after months of illegal burnings, is there any update, or are you getting closer to solving the crimes? Cook,”We’e following up but we’e not getting any leads on them. That’ the bad thing. We’e not getting any leads at all! We are working with the Sheriff’ office and the State Police and hopefully within the next week or so we’e going to have a get together with all three agencies and see what we can come up with. We’e not getting any tips or leads at all on any of this stuff.”        So is this normal, that locals are tight lipped with information? Cook,”We get a lot of tips but for this area, it is very rural up there and it involves camps which in a couple of incidences, the fire departments were not even made aware of the fire. I believe that somebody knows something up there but are afraid that they will get burnt out.[if they talk]”        Once the case is gathered, “We can work it. If the State Police come up with something, they can work it. It is not one of these things that we hog everything. It is a joint investigation. If we have enough information and probable cause we can get a warrant for the person. We have that authority.”        When Cook was informed that this article would come out in the Communicator this week, Cook asked for help, “Blitz that 800 Hotline . Tell them that we need help from the community up there. Definitely, we need help from the community to stop this. We feel like people know stuff but we are just not sure… they may afraid to come forward. We’l keep that information as anonymous as we can if they will give it to us. If they give us enough information and not have to use them [in a court of law] , their name may never be brought up. And, that happens a lot.”        As for the performance of the WV Fire Marshall’ office, “The national average for solving an arson case is about 16%. We’e running about 20 or 21 %. Here’ another thing. Last year compared to the year previous, we had an extra 147 more requests for an investigation than we had the year before. And it doesn’ look like so far, the first three months of this year, we’e ahead of last year. So its going to be another big year…. We have a lot of insurance fraud, you know, burning their homes or businesses for insurance money.”        As far as the manpower needed for good investigative work, Mr. Cook,” I’ like to have another 5 to 10 investigators. We’e approached the Legislature for an improved package so we can hire some more people but we just haven’ got it , not yet…”        In closing, Mr. Cook commented that he would inform this newspaper of the gathering of law enforcement in advance, if possible. “Like I said they are burning everything up up there.”


        Clay Roane PSD has been meeting in the County Commission room for several months now. That was mandated by the WV Public Service Commission to accommodate a growing number of the public in attendance. Around the Commission room Oct 10 came the Boardsters. Glenn Sutton sat up front in the leather chairs facing the group while PSD Chair Gary Whaling sat down front in a fold up chair facing the gallery. Garret Samples, Roy Ellis sat in the pews close together while brand new to the Board, Melissa Postelwait sat in the far corner and to the rear , more like a Baptist would. In addition to the five appointed ones, Roane County Commissioner Larry White, PSD engineer Jim Hildruth and PSD attorney Tom Whittier, filled out the spaces along with a few in the peanut gallery.
        With the air conditioner humming ( Yes in Oct!), financials came first. Chair Whaling asked why the gas bill had not been paid for 3 months? Why hasn’ the Verizon bill been paid? Roy Ellis, Why are we paying a $78.00 gas bill at the Newton building? It appeared that the PSD was just barely keeping a financial foot hold and past due bills were about to bury the operation again. Chief Water Operator and secretary, Jennifer Traub explained that the PSD had to buy costly chemicals last month and the paying the other bills took second priority.
        Notice the mention of the Newton building? Very little is said about the PSD’ ownership of the old Newton Fire House. As a matter of fact, the WV PSC has commented several times, they never knew about such a purchase. The comments this evening were over the paying of heating fuel ( gas) at the unused building, a practice that has been going on for months. Motion made and seconded to cut off the utilities at that building.
         Hoping to speed things up, Roane Commissioner White asked the Boardsters to get in gear and finish up the signing of right of way agreements so the Amma Left Hand water line extension project could go to bid. Finish up? Yelp. According to White, there has been no work on the needed documents since March of this year. Funding guidelines call for a minimum of 80% of the property owners to sign the easements before bidding could begin. White, “This is a critical thing to get done.”42 more right of ways needed signed to meet their goal. Additionally, White said a couple of other items need attention before bidding could begin.
        At first it appeared that Roy Ellis was having a gas attack, but in fact he was thinking… Ellis, “We were told we had enough a month or two ago!…. We turned in 106.” Attorney Whittier replied that the guidelines had changed and more signatures were needed.
        Although he hears quite well, Ellis made it doubly clear that the fault was not with the Board but with others, Ellis,”Its been 2 months and we’e just now finding out???”Whittier further added that 100% of the signatures would be needed before any construction could begin.
        Trying to steer harder, White, “With all urgency, get on with the right of ways.”Discussion turned to the Filcon property at Ovapa and it being tied up in court now which may delay the construction process. Additionally, another land owner, David Wayne has real reservations about a water line running thru his property which is used to grow Christmas trees. Big long discussion on getting around the Filcon problem with some dialogue on condemning land.
        Again Ellis made it clear, he was not happy to find out now about additional work needing attended to. A small portion of the million dollar extension will handle Clay County residents. 17 right of way signatures are still needed in Clay County. Celia Coon volunteered to get those signed. Motion made and passed to send the project to bid as soon as the Federal mandate of having 80% of the signatures in hand was attained.
        It is never easy in Clayberry even when supplying water to our neighboring county, Roane. According to attorney Whittier, there is another hurdle to cross. Whittier said a booster pump at the Maysel pump station is needed to accommodate the new customers. Also mention was made of a need for an 8 inch line to be installed. Got a little confusing here readers.
        Brand new Board member Melissa Postelwait, just sworn into office four hours earlier, began to ask questions. Things like decisions on condemning land, buying land for a water tank etc should come back for the full Board’ OK. Just an hour into the meeting, you could tell, Postelwait was getting under Chair Whaling’ skin. Discussions turned to Shane Morton’ contract to set new water taps. Whaling said he was dissatisfied with Morton’ performance. Mention was made that Morton had charged additional dollars for pipe and a two road flaggers recently, which was contrary to the verbal contract established by the Board. Ms Traub said that there were two more taps that needed set. Long time readers will remember the heated controversy during the last bidding process. First it was Starcher and Son with the contract followed by Morton who negotiated down a price the night of the bidding.
        Through out the discussion, Postelwait insisted that the whole thing should be re advertised and a new contract be drawn up. That didn’ set too well with Whaling who had already spoken with the Starcher company about doing work for the PSD.
        Did we mention Morton has not been paid for the last work performed?
        And then a burr. According to contract field worker Dale Deems, during the work by Morton, the young man left half way thru the job and headed off to college classes leaving a deep hole beside the highway.
Further adding to the dilemma, Whaling said he had tried to contact Morton on several occasions to no avail. Whaling, “I can’ get a hold of him…. No one has returned my calls.”        Jennifer corrected the group by saying the bill that might include costs for flagman has not been received by the PSD to date.
        Boardster Sutton suggested that they do the work themselves, in house, and get away from the headaches of farming work out. That didn’ float! From the peanut gallery came support for advertising the contract and this time use sealed bids to insure a fair shake for all. That too, did not go over very well. After more questions from Postelwait over what is expected from a contractor, the little blue veins started to show around Whaling’ temples.
        Motion made and passed to pay Tom Whittier $2500.00 to do the legal work for the Punkin Ridge extension $250,000.00 water line extension project.
                 Throughout the 2 hour meeting, lots of paperwork was being passed around the room ( right of ways) and side conversations were rampant. Things like , who is this, this one has moved, this one is in heir ship and on and on. Now back to Mr. Whaling favoring rehiring the Starcher company for future work. Whaling said he had already contacted Starcher about completing a half down job and getting it done before cold weather sets in. Nothing was said about this one member of the PSD making a decision for the entire group and a decision outside the Board meeting setting. Again Postelwait voiced her concerns over voting on something that was not on the meeting agenda. That little burr under several Boardster saddles was starting to grow. Mentioning that the WC PSC had already told the PSD to adhere to Open Meeting Laws, Whaling sounding reluctant but held off the vote to proceed with Starcher. Whaling, “ don’ want to upset anyone..” The stalled vote was for Starcher to go do a ditch digging job. The same job that Whaling told the contractor to go look at prior to the meeting.
         With Postelwait paying attention and asking a bunch of questions, these meetings have good potential for the peanut gallery in the coming months. If you have the time the second Thursday of each month, come out and enjoy the action. The meeting ended around 8:50pm
         One final note. Mention was made on the clayberry.org web site right after this meeting about Morton and crew being sent a letter along the lines of “thank you and we won’ be needing your services any longer” Seems the Morton crew want equal time to defend their workmanship and such. A Special meeting of the Clay Roane PSD has been called for Monday Oct 21, 7pm, at the Procious water plant.                         AW
                 Clay County Commission met in regular session Thursday Oct 10 at 2pm. Up front were Commission President Mathew Bragg and Jimmy Sams. Commissioner Tim ( taking from the tax payer) Butcher remains truant and backing up to the pay master on a regular basis. Bragg looking over at the dusty empty Chair that once held Butcher, “You ready to open the meeting? You ready Tim??”After Sams’prayer and in front of a bunch in the peanut gallery, the festivities got under way on time. Bills paid, minutes approved, and such…
                 Item 4 on the agenda: Noise ordinance for Town of Clay ( dogs, loud music, mufflers, etc) Okey Burroughs asked this to be placed on agenda. With the item read, Commissioner Sams asked that they come back to the subject later in the meeting. Nothing doing was the response from President Bragg, “We’l let Okey take care of that one…”Bragg said that was a town problem and would be a good project for the new night watchman.
                 Melissa Postelwait was appointed to the Clay Roane PSD replacing Lefty Summers. Immediately after the appointment, Bragg asked hat she had been making as a Board member. Laughter filled the room as Postelwait replied, “‘l get back to you on that.”        Polling places for the upcoming election will remain the same as in the May Primary. And the electronic vote counters will be tested Oct 22 at 11 am.
                 Last item on the agenda read: Update on financial affairs of the ambulance service. Contract Manager BJ Willis provided info. $73,000.00 was billed in during Sept and of that amount, the county will realize $46,000.00 that insurances will pay for. The new folks handling the billing, MCA are on the job and according to Willis, it may take 4 to 6 weeks before the new receipts make there way to Clay County accounts. With dollars coming in way down, Sams asked about the billing done by the previous book keeper, Marie Haynes. BJ was not sure what to expect from Haynes efforts and commented that she was not his employee but rather a contractor [outside his jurisdiction of management].
                 Keeping the County Commission ( CCC) abreast on the current financial posture of the ambulance service, Clerk Judy Moore: Currently the ambulance folks have $6381.00 to their name and have $7,558.00 in bills. With payroll coming soon and an additional $4000.00 needed at the end of the month to cover PEIA bills, things aren’ looking good for the survival of the service. As for what actually came in during Sept., $14,187.00        
                 Then came the juice readers.
                 According to Sams, a meeting was held with BJ Willis’ boss, Denny Nerkowich. Nerowitch runs the statewide WV TSN. Currently WV TNS manages both the Clay County and the Roane County ambulance service. According to Nerkowitch ( in attendance), his company asked Roane County for a long term contract to manage ( July 22, 2002) that operation and were turned down in that county. WV TSN will be pulling out of Roane County at the end of this month.
                 Something happened here readers. Keep in mind Nerkowitch does not like to do anything in public and one point ( Jan 22, 2002) stated that his agency was “ot a democracy” that they and they alone would run the Clay County Ambulance Service, not the CCC nor the Ad Hoc oversight committee! Nerkowitch in a slow, hard to hear, monotone said that Commissioner Sams had met with Willis in Sept and asked about two things. One, a long term contract with TNS for management services and about a technical review of the current ambulance service. On the review part, Nov 6th and 7th is date assigned for the onsite visit followed by a full report in Jan 2003. Nerk also said they would be very interested in a long term contract to manage the local service provider. Nerk, “asically , we are in a position to continue the agreement…”        With the TNS carrot extended Sams sounded quite different. It was as if something had already peed him off. Sams, “How many days a week is you man going to be up here?” Note: many in the county have expressed concerns that for $2000.00 per month, BJ Willis should be here on site more than he is, about one to one and ½ days per week.
                  Continuing in his monotone, in almost no answer in public style, it sounded like Nerkowitch was saying his agency would look at the CCC request down the road, something like: now that I am stalling you and talking in circles, if there is determined a need for this by the man on the moon, sometime at a later date when the sky turns green on the fifth Sunday of never never…... Translation: No answer for Sams.
                 Now Sams is not the brightest pup in the litter but even Sams caught on real quick and in a refreshingly quick mode, “ My feeling on this is, if you can’ get no additional time, there is no need to extend the contract past Oct 31.. we pay $2000 / month…and that could be used elsewhere..”        NOTE: it sounded like Sams told Nerk to take a hike! After setting thru nearly 30 minutes of the meeting, local peanut gallery attendee, Paige Willis wanted a question answered concerning TSN doing both a site review and then bidding on the management of the local ambulance service. Always wanting to operate under the wraps of secrecy, Nerkow..”I will discuss this after the meeting.”With Sams wanting answers, Paige Willis asked, “My question is basically, are you in the ambulance business?”Nerk responded, No.
                 Sams was concerned over paying additional salaries thru April while waiting on the site review results. When asked if the current ambulance service could make it to April, Sams, “if I thought it could survive and with no more money than we have….”Sams again was showing reluctance to providing a subsidy to the current operation.
                 OK , time for some speculation readers. Since long time paramedic Mary Hanshaw was listed on the agenda to speak and then didn’ show, and with it sounding like TNS was going out the back door at the end of this month….. here goes. The bet is Mary Hanshaw will be selected to be the onsite Director of the Clay County Ambulance Service during the next County Commission meeting. And, Yes, we have been wrong, dead wrong in the past!
                 And as an update on the request made to the County Commission to ask lame duck Commissioner Tim Butcher to either come to the meetings or resign, Bragg said that he did as he said he would and asked Butcher to either show up or leave office. Bragg said he didn’ know what Butcher was thinking but did agree the $10,000.00 in unearned payroll given to Butcher could have been better spent elsewhere. Bragg confirmed that Butcher told him, “He had someone checking into that for him.”Questions came up on whether Butcher can continue to draw his paycheck if he claims to be physically unable to work.
                 And finally, do to lack of 911 addressing in the county, new residents to the county can not get home addresses assigned to them. With winter coming on, getting utilities hooked up is next to impossible without a mailing and street address. Addressing has been stalled for years with many fingers pointing at now in bankruptcy, McKenzie Engineering.
                 County Commission agreed to pay for electric heat at the now abandoned Big Otter Ambulance Station trailer thru the winter months to prevent damage to the facility from freezing.         AW                
         Letter to Editor
         October 6, 2002
         The Communicator
         Delta Communications Corporation
         Dear Editor:
                 As a young West Virginian attending WVU, I am encouraged by any activity or policies that help to create a better job market so that I might stay in my beautiful home state. That is why I am supporting and would encourage others to vote in the affirmative for Amendment One on the ballot in November.
         Amendment One is also known as the Local Option Economic Development Amendment. The Amendment is all about creating and retaining jobs throughout West Virginia. Because it is such a positive step for West Virginia, both the Democrat and Republican parties support the amendment, as well as business and labor. If the Amendment passes, it will authorize an economic development finance tool that is currently used in 46 others states. West Virginia actively loses jobs to surrounding states that already have this financing tool each month.
         The best part about Amendment One is that its passage will create new jobs with no impact on the local citizens taxes. Further, many safeguards have been integrated, so that if an economic development project would fail, taxpayers are not in anyway responsible. Local leaders and citizens initiate the economic development projects, so decision-making occurs at the local level where the general population can be more involved.
         As I see each of my friends graduate from college, and leave our state for better opportunities in North Carolina, Ohio, or Virginia, I see one more educated and ambitious mind leave West Virginia to raise their families and give their innovative ideas to other states. Let’ keep our West Virginia families together and vote in the affirmative for Amendment One in November!
                                 Jannell Harper
                                         Morgantown, WV

         It’ the perfect warm-up on a chilly evening
         and it’ great reheated for lunch too!
         1 CUP WATER
         3/4 TSP SALT
         1/8 TSP GARLIC POWDER
         1) Place potatoes in a large Dutch oven, cover with water, and cook over medium-high heat until potatoes are tender
         when pierced with a fork (about 15 minutes). Drain off water.
         2) Remove approximately half of potatoes, mash with a potato masher, then return to pan.
         3) Add milk, 1 cup water, bouillon, onion, celery, margarine,
         salt, pepper, and garlic powder to potatoes. Simmer
         uncovered for 30 minutes or until thickened and heated through. Stir periodically to prevent sticking.
         Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch - 1/2 Fat-Free Milk
         Calories: 174 . . Calories from Fat: 18 . . Total Fat: 2 g . .
         Saturated Fat: <1 g . . Cholesterol: 2 mg . . Sodium: 342 mg. .
         Carbohydrate: 33 g . . Dietary Fiber: <1 g . . Sugars: 5 g . .Protein: 6 g . .
         SERVING SIZE: 1 CUP
         32 OZ FAT-FREE (SKIM) MILK
         1) Combine chocolate milk mix and milk in a large saucepan;
         whisk until mix is dissolved. Heat uncovered over medium heat until milk is hot; stir frequently to prevent scorching-do not boil.
         2) In a small mixing, bowl, whisk together extract, food coloring, and whipped topping.
         3) Pour hot chocolate into 4 mugs, and top each with 2 Tbsp
         peppermint whipped topping.
         Exchanges: 1 1/2 Fat-Free Milk
         Calories: 126 . . Calories from Fat: 18 . . Total Fat: 2 g. .
         Saturated Fat: <1 g . . Cholesterol: 5 mg . . Sodium: 155 mg. .
         Carbohydrate: 18 g . . Dietary Fiber: 1 g . . Sugars: 12 g . .
         Protein: 9 g . .
         Hope you enjoy this weeks recipe. Would like to leave you with a short note: Cooking is becoming a lost art. But it is one that you’l need to rediscover if spending less and eating
         healthfully is your goal!
         09/28/02: Belt – Jason Scott Reed, burglary, arrested, ROB, trial set 10/18.
         10/01/02: Foreman – Brian Beaty, grand larceny, warrant issued.
         10/09/02: Ellyson – Elvis Dawson, wanton endangerment (8/29), received motion to recuse from prosecuting attorney; received motion to d/m from defense attorney, motion denied; hearing will be reset after special prosecuting is appointed.
         09/30/02: Belt – Patrick J. Blankenship, driving suspended 1st offense, appeared, ROB; Slack – Larry Dencil Ferrebee, false reporting, arrested, ROB.
         10/01/02: Cunningham Motors – Richard Canfield, warrants issued for WC x 4; Cunningham Motors – Carol S. Johnson, warrant issued for WC.
         10/03/02: Rider – Lisa L. Smith, warrant issued for domestic battery.
         10/05/02: Foreman – Shawn E. Butler, brandishing a deadly weapon, arrested, ROB, pled no contest 10/09, assessed fine and costs.
         10/07/02: Barbara Harmen Schamberger – Eric Hamrick, warrants issued for assault and stalking/harassment, arrested 10/10, ROB 10/11; Delk – Arthur Stewart Jr., domestic battery, arrested 10/08, trial set 10/24.
         10/12/02: Rider – Larry Allen Vance, domestic battery, arrested.
         09/30/02: Charles Ramsey – Leslie White, money due.
         10/04/02: Walter Schoonover – Jenny Loving, wrongful occupation.
         10/10/02: Sally Legg – Tracy Jett Shaffer, money due.
         10/11/02: St. Francis Hospital – Ray Dawson, Jr. and Samantha Dawson, money due.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued –
         10/04/02: King’ Grocery – Jeremy S. Burrows; Clay Supermarket – Kerri E. Gill (paid 10/07) and Angela J. Williams.
         10/07/02: Big Otter Food Mart – James A. Harold x 3, Lyndon Metheney (paid 10/10), Dustin Reed x 3, Linda S. Young, Edward E. Hughes, Angela J. Williams x 2 (paid 10/11), Lisa L. Smith, Jason Wayne Jarvis, Phillip Bartsch, Jessica Gill, Gregory Cottrell x 2, Carol Johnson, Rodney Johnson, Latisha Scaggs, John Cunningham.
         10/08/02: Big Otter Food Mart – John Cunningham x 6, Cassie Cunningham, Larry N. Truman, Cheryl Hanshaw, Christina Winnell, Lisa Marks x 4, Michael Holcomb x 3, Erika Mollohan, James A. Harold.
         10/09/02: Salisbury Auto Salvage – Richard Nichols; Primary Care Systems – Frances E. Dobbins; IGA – Donna Tryon.
         10/15/02: Clay Supermarket – William L. Myers, Sandra G. Eagle x 2, Thomas M. Eagle.
         Traffic Citations
         09/28/02: State Police – Dustin Todd Tanner, following too closely; Oscar A. King, speeding and no POI.
         09/29/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Patrick Blankenship, driving suspended 1st offense; State Police – Rhonda L. Brown, no POI; William R. Stewart, driving suspended/revoked.
         09/30/02: State Police – Elizabeth F. Catts, loaded gun in vehicle.
         10/01/02: ???? – Lisa Garrett, speeding and registration violations.
         10/02/02: DOH – Michael Hughes, overweight, over width, over length; Lindsey Roy Collins, overweight, over width, over length.
         10/03/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – David Michael Harper, driving on suspended/revoked; Dustin Todd Tanner, speeding.
         10/05/02: DNR – Meridith Hamrick, loaded gun in vehicle.
         10/06/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Brian K. Galaska, defective equipment and failure to change address.
                 School Board Meeting
                 The Clay County Board of Education met Monday, October 7 at their administrative office building in Clay for the first of their twice monthly regular meetings. Board members present: Gene King, Vice-President, Fran King, Scott Legg, and David Pierson, Jr. At 6:05 p.m. Gene King announced that Board President R. B. Legg, Jr. had a family member very ill, indicating that Legg probably would not be at the meeting, and told Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger to ‘o ahead’ In accordance with Legg’ tradition of offering a pre-meeting prayer Linkinogger asked Director of Federal Programs Kenneth Tanner to offer the prayer and then called the meeting to order.
                 Business approved by the Board: the meeting agenda, previous meeting minutes, and payment of current bills, with little or no discussion; the resignation of school psychologist Susan Canterbury effective October 3. Linkinogger said Canterbury had been hired by Kanawha County Schools and the drive from her home in Logan County had been hard on her; the resignation of substitute teacher’ aide Patricia Thompson, effective immediately; employment of Karrie Mace as school psychologist for the remainder of the 2002-2003 school year and Angela Samuels as a substitute teacher. Special Education Director Jenny Sirk said the school psychologist position was posted, with the State Board of Education, but there was no response. She said Mace and Samuels are interns currently working in clinical psychology with Dr. Steven O’eefe at Marshall University. Both have their Masters, and are required to complete an internship. The two will alternate days being in Clay; assigned Elizabeth Taylor as volunteer cheerleading coach at Clay County High School (CCHS); re-approved the CCHS French club trip to France for this November. The trip was originally planned for last year, but was canceled after the September 11 terrorist attack; auction of four school buses on November 1, 9:00 a.m., at the bus garage; accepted the recommendation of Clay Middle School (CMS) Principal Joan Haynie and Linkinogger regarding the status of a CMS student. The child’ parents were not present for the hearing. The child will be offered alternative school. All motions passed unanimously.
                 The adoption of an extra-duty trip call-out policy for school bus drivers has been a topic of discussion during the two previous board meetings. Bus Drivers Association President Dave Mullins and Vice-President Delno Coen presented the Board with the policy they said has been in use since 1986. Linkinogger told board members that according to state code, if two-thirds of the Board approves it, they can have whatever system they want. Mullins said the policy was agreed on by all the bus drivers in 1986, and felt it was the only fair way to do it. He said if there was a better way they’ look at it, but they hadn’ found it themselves. Coen showed the original handwritten minutes of the 1986 decision. Bus driver Randy Holcomb, who has opposed the current policy, said those minutes had mysteriously appeared only a couple of days before. He told the Board it would be premature for them to approve a policy made 16 years ago when WV code was revised and updated in 1996. He also pointed out that 2/3 of the employees who approved the policy were not here anymore. Holcomb said a motion was made at the last meeting of the drivers to put the list in seniority, putting names on the bottom of the list as they come on, but the motion was tabled improperly. He asked the Board to wait until after their next meeting when they will have a vote on his proposal. He said there were close to 20 drivers in agreement with him. Gene King said the matter shouldn’ come to the Board, it should be handled by the transportation director or Linkinogger. As discussion continued, King interrupted with a motion to approve the current policy. Policy was approved with Fran King voting against. David Pierson told Holcomb, “f they approve it (his proposed policy), bring it to us. It’ that simple.”        Business Manager/Treasurer Loretta Gray presented the September financial update. She said September was a traditionally good month for tax collections and $409,000 came from the regular and excess levies. Money was also received from the state for the purchase of new school buses, faculty senate money, and SBA money for the tiling at CCHS and CMS. Payment on liability insurance was made in September. There were no questions or discussion on the financial update.
                 Under discussion topics parent Becky Pritt addressed the Board with concerns over an incident that occurred during the apple festival. Pritt said her girls, along with other CCHS students, made a float for the festival at her house that was sponsored by the Clay County Bank. She said the kids had been told by Ms Willis (CCHS Principal) that she didn’ want floats, and Willis had given her daughter a hard time about it. Pritt said Willis stepped over bounds when she came to Pritt’ home wanting to make sure the kids were safe. Pritt said their parents knew where they were and what they were doing, and Willis can’ control what the kids do after school. She said Scott’ (Legg) daughter was there, they did nothing wrong, and it wasn’ a school project. Scott Legg, “ince I caused this…I don’ have to have Cindy’ (Willis) or Jerry’ permission to sponsor a float, and have parents permission for them to be at her house. It has nothing to do with school. Becky and I don’ have to answer for what we do…someone said what if a kid fell off? I pay the insurance on that truck. If I want to sponsor, and my daughter’ a senior, I won’ ask anyone.” (Legg is interim president of the Clay County Bank.) Randy Holcomb said Willis had told his kid that if any sign saying CCHS was on it (the float), they would be disciplined. David Pierson asked CCHS Assistant Principle Jim Haynie if there was any reason they didn’ want floats. Haynie, “ast policy…floats stopped when Linkinogger did away with that. Cindy thought maybe they went over her head, that it was being done for the school. Cindy said her second trip (to Pritt’ house) was to show support.” Scott Legg, “aybe should tell Cindy you don’ try to intimidate someone from coming to this board…won’ name the person…” Kenneth Tanner, former CCHS principal, interjected, “an be tricky…can have a problem if not supervised…legalities…always try to prevent that. Cindy is doing a good job.” Linkinogger agreed that Pritt’ kids had asked to do the float and Willis had said no, thinking of it as a school project. He said, “he drove by…maybe too much was made of it.” He told Pritt her girls are good kids and that he appreciated her coming. She said she wanted to stand up for the kids. Scott Legg told Pritt, “ome things are done differently this year, down there; no one will bother your girls…” Legg went on for a moment talking about ‘ome down there’using his daughter to push his button.
                 Meeting adjourned a little after 7:00 p.m. TK
         Last night I had the strangest dream. I dreamt that West Virginia, my home for half a century and the home of my ancestors for two hundred years, finally woke up. By waking up I mean that finally our government quit running this state like a little private club where public money is spent providing jobs for their buddies or funneled into the hands of their buddies. In the dream West Virginia that I saw there weren't any little "playhouses" for their buddies to play in at the public's expense, no parks, community buildings, museums and such, except the ones that were run for the public's benefit.
                 I dreamt that all of our officials were actually honest and forthright with the public. There were no secret dealings, no behind closed doors meetings. Every cent of the taxpayer's money was being spent in the best and most productive fashion possible without anyone ever having to file suit to make them do so.
                 The dream West Virginia had more students in advanced and accelerated classes than it did in remedial and special education classes. The BOEs, colleges and universities were spending more on academics than they were on athletics. Children loved and trusted their teachers and administrators, and that love and respect was returned. Children were finally able to attend schools without social class being a factor in their education. Every one of them was being judged solely on the merit of their own work.
                 In the West Virginia of my dreams there were no coal burning power plants polluting our air, soil, water and bodies. No chemical plants were "accidentally" discharging any deadly or harmful chemicals into the air or water. All the industries were putting the benefits of their employees and the community ahead of the wages of their top administrators and the profit line. They were making plenty of money but not doing so at the expense of their workers and the rest of us.
                 Across the Mountain State of my dream the bureaucrats that are being paid to enforce regulations and guidelines were doing their job. It was so easy for them because everyone was doing their part to keep our home from being harmed. Companies, corporations and contractors were actually doing things by the book willingly.
                 The public roads, public lands and public buildings were well maintained, neat, clean and orderly. Our history was being preserved and taught to our children. Millions of dollars were being made on tourism.
                 Then I awoke and realized that it all was just a dream. Life in WV and the "same old stuff" continued again.
         Patriotism , or Constitutionality
         By Jim Chafin
         Note: Mr. Chafin has interrupted his current series of articles for this first of three Iraq related articles.
         A few weeks back, PBS’ Bill Moyers, of the ‘ow’show, was interviewing Dan Rather of ‘0 Minutes’ As the interview threaded its way through Rather’ experiences in the field of journalism, it inexorably found its way into terrorism and the proposed war in Iraq. Mr Rather, known well for his hawkishness on matters of American involvement in world affairs via the iron heels of military action, fairly weakly delineated the current administration’ stance , which, as we now know, has been the intentions of George W. all along - that of planning to involve this nation in another military action against Iraq BEFORE he was ordained as the heir apparent of the Oval office.
                 The defining moment came when Moyers asked the out spoken correspondent: “Given the controversy that is generated by this issue, which would you prefer, patriotism or the Constitution?”Mr. Rather, and without a moments hesitation replied, patriotism. In one terse split second, this stalwart of the forth estate, cast his vote against the very document that has made him a member of the most exclusive club in the country – the multi millionaires who have made the wealth peddling commercialism mixed with minute amounts of perceived ethics.
                 The First Amendment, upon which his profession hangs, he would allow to be trampled to the dust in the name of national fervor? Well, Yes, he would, or so his answer indicates. My personal feelings are that he would be crying bloody murder if his comfort zone was being placed under immediate attack. But, sitting in the care of luxury, he is unmindful of the horrors that will befall our young men who will be asked to fight this unholy conflagration not to mention the Iraqi people themselves. To date, there has not been one document of proof offered to the American people that there is a clear and present danger to this country. This is a PERSONAL VINDETTA of the Bush family against Saddam Hussein and they are willing to use the resources of this great country to satisfy their own selfish goals not to mention the Bush connection to the world oil conglomerates.
                 To be sure, Saddam Hussein is a tyrant. He has sodomized his own people and raped his country. He has pillaged his neighbors and committed unspeakable atrocities against those with whom he disagreed. Yes, his mindset is that of a cold, calculated murderer and that is the image he portrays to most of the world. Where did he come from? And how did he reach such a high pinnacle that he could wreak havoc on the world, that America must now mount an all out war to remove this, “he most evil of all evil rulers” out of the midst of the community of nations?
                 The answer is, the United States of America. Yes, our government provided Saddam the weapons and the backing of America’ treasury to bring this man to the fore front of the power he now possesses. All the technology he now possesses came from the coffers of this nation. At the time Saddam was being molded into a leader of prominence, he was doing America’ dirty work as we sought to “rid the world of that evil Khomeini” My, my, how the tables have turned. Now, our August leaders are once again courting Iran who, if we had not aided Saddam, would have overrun Iraq in their Holy war against Saddam’ satanic forces. They would have done the job for us.
                 “h, what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.”Our government, politicians from both national parties, have come to depend upon SECRECY as a means of hiding their blunders from the general public, using as a pretext that mere citizen’ do not possess the mental capabilities to understand the complexities of governance and cannot be depended upon to render the type of judgments needed in this modern day era of high technology and instant communications. Hogwash!! “Collective hypocrisy”abounds in this nation and the results are lies heaped upon falsehoods , upon half truths, upon prefabricated nonsense, upon errors and blunders. The miracle is that this nation does not topple under the weight of its own folly. This nation does “rite grievousness”into its laws, that,”they may rob the fatherless and defraud the widow.”        ED Note: Mr. Chafin is a regular contributor and lives in Williamson, WV
         WATER, WATER, WATER        
         Much like third world countries, 80% of Clay County is without a year round treated water supply. For much of the county, drinking water means purchasing in one gallons containers or hauling water in the back of pick ups, both costly and time consuming.
                 For over five years, funding has been place to provide Tuckers Bottom, Fola, Upper Bickmore, Indore, Lizemore and Independence areas of the county with water service from the Clay County PSD. All work on the extensions has been stalled for many reasons and of which have been well documented in this newspaper. WV Public Service Commission (PSC) serves as the regulatory agency for all sewer and water systems (PSDs) in the state. On Oct 8, 2002, the PSC made public paperwork relating to these water line extensions on their web site. The case number is 00-1327-PWD-CN and is named “ certificate of convenience and necessity to construct a water line extension….”        Gleaning from that document comes some interesting snip its. Clay County is one of the poorest counties in one of the poorest states in the Union. We all know that and we all know how hard it is to keep up with current financial demands. If and when the new water lines begin flowing fresh drinking water, there will be a cost and that cost, the water rates for service, will be one of the highest in the state despite 84% of the needed construction dollars coming in the form of grants. According to the PSC document filed Oct 8, 2002: The District anticipates charging the following water rates for its customers: No bill will be rendered for less than $34.02 per month for the first 3,000 gallons of usage and $10.84 per thousand gallons for any usage over 3,000 gallons per month. The District proposes to charge a 10% penalty on all billings not paid within twenty days of the billing date and a $300 connection fee for each new connection.
Doing just a little quick math and knowing the average WV household uses 4500 gallons of water per month, many the new customers in the news service areas will be coughing up $50.28 per month. For many that figure will be beyond their financial reach and once again, safe clean water will remain a pipe dream. Clay PSD has identified 260 potential customers along the new service areas.
                 Also from the state folks, there is a penalty for using too much water. From the case filings: $3.92 per thousand gallons. To be used when the bill reflects unusual consumption which can be attributed to eligible water leakage on the customer's side of the meter. This rate shall be applied to all such unusual consumption above the customer's historical average usage. Sounds like, if you fill the pool, wash the vinyl siding, water the garden, and have a toilet leaking just a little during any given month, the “uch”factor, additional $, will be applied.
                 Many fingers have been pointing at the Town of Clay as a reason for no new water line extensions in the county. The Town owns and operates its own water plant which serves all of the Town, the Maysel area ( formerly Maysel PSD) and sells water at wholesale rates to Clay PSD and Clay Roane PSD. A second newer but smaller water plant is located at Procious and is operated by Clay Roane PSD. Much of the Federal funding for water service came to the Town of Clay in the form of dollars to construct a regional water plant that would produce 1400 gallons of treated water per minute. Since originally funded, the Town has gone thru many leadership changes and many, many stormy meetings discussing whether they want to send Town residents into debt with much, much higher monthly water bills so others in the county can purchase water from them. To date, Town Council has decided they want to keep the current paid for and operating plant which provides municipal constituents ( the ones that paid for the original plant) with low cost water.
                 Here comes the sticky point. With the federal dollars ear marked for the Town to build the plant, and with Town Council against constructing the plant, the plans for building a water plant have been stalled thru 7 Mayor changes in the last 4 years.
                 From that same Oct 8 PSD document: Staff stated that the biggest obstacle to the project moving forward was the unresolved source of supply issue. Staff indicated that the Clay lines have been repaired and had significantly reduced leakage. Staff believed that a large amount of excess capacity existed from the Clay plant and would be available to serve this project and a Clay-Roane Public Service District extension project.
         According to Staff, the BPH is reluctant to grant approval of the project with Clay as the water supplier due to the length of the water purchase contract between Clay and the District. In 1993, Clay and the District entered into a water purchase contract for a term of forty (40) years. However, Staff is of the opinion that the Commission may make a finding that the 1993 contract does not prevent the District from purchasing water from a new plant once it is built and becomes operational. Buried near the end of that passage and in legal ease, is the part about prying customers from the Town’ service base. There are many that feel, once a customer is hooked up to a water provider ( Town of Clay) they cannot be forced to move to another service provider, the PSD. If the PSD decides to build a new water plant ( and they will!) they have to have all the customers paying for the new construction.
                 Recently, during a Lizemorette “We Want Water”meeting, engineer Greg Belcher speculated that both the Clay Roane and Clay County PSDs are looking at building water plants making a total of three plants in the county vying for customers to pay off debt load.
                 The total cost of the watewr line extension project is estimated to be approximately $3,906,000. The District will finance the project with grants from the WVIJDC in the amount of $1,183,000 and from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) in the amount of $1,900,000 and an RUS loan in the amount of $623,000.
                 In the Findings of Fact section of the document: Staff concluded that the project was necessary in order to serve many customers who are without water and would provide limited fire protection to some residents. Staff believed that the project would also provide necessary infrastructure for economic development in Clay County. Staff indicated that the proposed project was convenient in that it does not financially burden the existing and potential new customers of the District, provides a safe, reliable source of drinking water and improves the value of the property in the area.
          Further, Staff concluded that the project conforms with the rules and regulations of the Commission.
Translation: The WV PSC has given its seal of approval on the water line extensions.
                 But don’ get too excited. Before any dirt can be moved and any lines installed, the local PSD has to be given the green light by another state regulator, the WV Bureau of Health. To date, the Health folks are saying NO! Officials within that agency have found the current water providers, the Town of Clay to be a bunch mumble bumpkins with management skills equal to a box of raisons. Based on long standing issues and past performance, the WV PSC will not allow any construction to begin for the Lizemore, Fola, Tucker’ Bottom and beyond areas until a new source of water becomes available, i.e.: Clay County PSD build it’ own plant or buy water from some source other than the Town.
                 Two months ago, Clay PSD hired Greg Belcher to do just that. Belcher is exploring three options for a source of water for Clay PSD. Many expect Belcher to return to the PSD table in Jan 2003 with a plan to build a plant in the Hartland area of the county.
                 Although the document deals with Clay County PSD , Clay Roane PSD, the another provider of water in the county, has hired an engineer to make a similar report which will identify sources of water for their customers. Look for that finding to be: We need a new plant too!
                 Certainly not mentioned in this document and way in the back ground talk …. How can we steal all of the Town’ customers to help pay for the soon to be, two new water plants for Clayberry. Just a prediction, but just wait and see readers with everyone in the county paying $50.00 per month.
                 If your looking for water service in the near future, better ask for something else for Christmas, it’ going to be a long, slow, expensive process. AW
         CDC SHORTS
                 It’ quiet now in Clay Development Corp (CDC) land. Most of the new recruits for the Board of Directors are in place. All are volunteers. The work of restoring public confidence in the locally controlled social service provider is difficult. Aside from the Medicaid fraud indictment this summer for one if their clients, the Medicaid fraud guilty plea from one of its workers, and the tossing out of office of CDC Board Chair Earnie Sirk along with various others, the financial posture of the agency may be at risk.
                 For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, Clay Development Corp went in the hole. Based on the most recent information available, CDC took in $1,041,315.00 and paid out $1,062,474.00 indicating a $21,159.00 loss.
                 The loss was not reported during Board meetings around the end of the reporting period in 2000. That could be attributed to the Board’ disarray for the last several years after a coup by employees and friends of employees on the general membership committee ousted Board members responsible for the firing of CDC Director Betty Stalnaker and two senior employees. All three employees returned to work as the new Board was installed.
                 Income for the agency included: government grants -$49,346.00 and program services - $991,969.00. Total assets were $313,427.00 with total liabilities standing at $70,662.00, up nearly 40,000.00 from the year previous. All information comes from the IRS mandated Form 990. Each non profit is required to make public the 990 form. Year 2000 is the latest form available. AW
         A couple years back CDC Chair Earnie Sirk took deposed CDC Chair Herschel Shamblin to court. At issue was the Board of Directors Policy and Procedures manual known as “he Blue Book” Shamblin refused to give back the top secret document feeling that he was not responsible for the 3 inch thick, three ring binder of info and when it was given him, while serving on the CDC Board, no one told him he would have to return it. Sirk hired an attorney, went to Court, and got the book returned. CDC paid $350.00 for the efforts of their attorney, Michael Farber.
                 Now Earnie Sirk is the deposed Board Chair after being tossed out of office this summer by employees and friends of employees. Sirk has his blue book and has no plans to return it. To date, and 90 days since being ousted, new Board Chair Gary Whaling has not asked Sirk for the binder of knowledge.
                 Armed with a copier at home, Sirk has been making copies of the secret guide for performance and providing them to any interested party. During the most recent Board meeting, it became known that even the by laws of the group were not to be copied and made public. Sirk has an amble supply of those as well.
                 So why hasn’ CDC asked for their Blue Book? Time will tell of course, but in the mean time, CDC information is once again available to the public.
          ____ _______ ______ _____
                 Back in Sept our County Commission appointed a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for the county. 26 people were appointed to the body. Prior to naming the new appointees, the group existed in name only and had not met in years. Sometimes the name of a group does not indicate what the group is really up to. Such may be the case with our new LEPC.
                 The group meet Oct 1 in the Health Dept conference room. Including those in the peanut gallery, 11 showed up for the gathering. Dave King served as the Chair for the group and is being paid $1500.00 per month for these duties as well as our designated 911 Coordinator. According to King, this was the second meeting of the agency and the faces attending this meeting were not the same ones that attended the first gathering just a couple weeks earlier.
                 King made mention that he had prepared a “isk assessment plan”for submission and approval in Charleston. The plan is the first step toward receiving grant dollars in the 2003 fiscal year. The submission deadline for the grant is June 26, 2003. King identified 6 areas of danger and included them in his risk assessment plan. Those items include: drought, tornado, winter storms, wild fires, flooding and earthquakes. The ultimate goal of both the risk assessment plan and future grants is so lessen the effects of the 6 areas in Clay County. Committee member Teresa Morton brought to light that not too long ago, a sludge pond owned by Chickapee Coal Co in the Grassy Creek area, was on high risk status with emergency service crews preparing to evacuate the area. King is considering adding the sludge ponds to the risks already identified.