OCTOBER 21, 2003

Follow Ups
School Board Meeting
Asleep at the Switch

LANDMARK ATV DECISION 6 Month Jail Time Issued!
\        A four-women, two-man jury of his peers decided Friday, October 17th that it is illegal to ride a 4-wheeler, an ATV, on paved roads in Clay County West Virginia. The surprising decision is contrary to what the rest of the state considers the “aw of the land” The decision, if left standing by higher courts, can affect every ATV operator in the state. Here’ the story of the now appealed Magistrate Court decision. Friday morning in Magistrate Mitchell King’ Courtroom, the case, State of WV vs. Thomas F. King Jr was heard. On the left was new-to-the-prosecutor’ office Barry Koerber in his dress blues with a red neck tie. On his table are a couple of state code books, yellow legal pads and other paperwork one inch thick. Across the way was bearded, brown-headed 28 year old Thomas King and his attorney David Karickhoff along with King’ parents. The jury sat in between the two sides facing Magistrate King.
        Action opened with Trooper First Class M.L. Bailey taking the stand. Bailey testified that on May 20, 2003 around 1:15pm he saw a green Kawasaki 4-wheeler traveling south on Route 36 past Hansford Fork Road. He turned his cruiser around and pursued it. As he came upon the ATV, and the weather conditions clear, King turned around and Bailey recognized him. Bailey, “e looked right at me.” With blue lights on, King stopped. A NCIC search was performed (not stolen) and revealed King had had his operator’ license revoked June 26, 1997 for DUI. As the ticket was being written for operating a motor vehicle without a driver’ license, DNR Officer Simms stopped by the scene as well. Bailey’ testimony included various DMV reports that were entered into the official court records. Koerber presented legal definitions of a motor vehicle from a January 9, 1991 Attorney General’ opinion. Smartly, Koerber did not say an opinion is just that, an opinion, and not a law. Shrewd!
        After a short break, Karickhoff went to work. Through questioning the youthful attorney got the following on record by cross examining TFC Bailey: the defendant was stopped on the berm of the paved road by Bailey; the ATV was not stolen; Thomas King was stood in front of Bailey’ cruiser and DNR’ Simms had pulled in front of the cruiser and the ATV; after being issued the citation, Thomas King Jr. was allowed to proceed down the road on his way home. Karickhoff to Bailey, “f you were concerned enough to give him a ticket, why weren’ you concerned enough to impound the ATV?” Bailey explained he was very busy that day, had other things to attend to, and Bailey said he was doing King a favor by not impounding the vehicle … a costly tow bill.
        With Bailey off the stand, Thomas King got his chance to tell his side of the story. According to the soft spoken King, his ATV was being operated along the side of the road on a wide berm and was NOT on the pavement. The arrest was made near Morgan Carr Road. (Across the way, Bailey shook his head side to side.) Also, after getting the ticket, Bailey said for him to go on his merry way and since the two police vehicles were parked on the wide berm, King had to get out on the pavement to get around them. King did not dispute not having an operator’ license nor the DUI from nearly 6 year’ earlier. Thomas King, “e said to drive it on home… He never said not to drive it on the main road.”        Koerber put Bailey back in the hot seat to clarify. Bailey firmed up his earlier statements: King was seen driving near the center line of Rt 36; where King stated the berm was over 8 feet wide, according to Bailey the berm was a very narrow 8 inches at best; and, he had said nothing about “erry way”but instead told him to go home. Bailey explained he didn’ have a problem with ATVs on tar and chip roads, one lane roads, like Morgan Carr, but he wouldn’ tolerate their operation on main highways.
For all you wild over ATVs, this next part is for you. Under redirect, Karickhoff to Bailey: So if he had been on the berm, he wouldn’ have got a ticket? Bailey, in general terms: As long as they act like they’e got some sense, no problem, and if they’e on the berm, no problem.
Continued on page 3
Disputing the 8 inch wide berm testimony, King, again on the stand, came back with something along the lines of: IF the berm was only 8 inches wide, how could two police vehicles be parked there? King, “ow could that Cherokee fit on it?” The jury was quiet. During another break Prosecutor Daniel Grindo entered and sat beside Koerber. Magistrate Mike King gave the usual to the jury: you have to follow the law, don’ question the wisdom of the law, don’ ignore parts of the law, determine facts just from the evidence, no sympathy please, don’ flush applicator ( just kidding) ,don’ speculate, the state has to prove the guilt beyond a reasonable doubt... King explained the state’ position: any person driving a self propelled motor vehicle without a driver’ license on a paved road is illegal, an ATV is a motor vehicle, and according to an Attorney General’ opinion from 1991, ATV use requires an operator’ license. After pause, Magistrate King explained to the jury the defendant’ view of the matter: cops may stop you if you are or about to commit a crime, cops must have a reason to stop a subject, a reason more than just a hunch, the prosecutor must prove that Bailey thought Thomas King Jr. was committing a crime or ready to commit a crime, and all evidence should be tossed because there was no reason to pull him over.
        See where we are readers? Assistant Prosecutor Koerber has got the jury thinking it’ illegal to operate an ATV on a paved road without a license and Karickhoff is presenting that King should have never even been pulled over in the first place on 4th Amendment issues. One other note, since King has a DUI from 1997, if found guilty of operating a motor vehicle without a license, it’ 6 months in the jail.
         Here comes the closing statements, whipped cream, the part juries remember the most. Koerber: there is no disputing that King does not have a driver’ license; TFC Bailey knew King had lost his license; Bailey had every reason to stop King, King was driving on a paved road; according to an attorney general’ opinion, an ATV is a motor vehicle; and Thomas King Jr. must be found guilty.
         Listen up ATV enthusiasts, Karickhoff gave his side of the argument to the jury: King is charged with a serious crime, is presumed innocent; the state has to prove that it’ illegal to operate an ATV on a highway without a license; King says he wasn’ even on a highway, and (here’ a good part readers) is an ATV a motor vehicle according to the law? Karickhoff, “hat question is surrounded by doubt. There is no clear law on ATV use… there is no Circuit Court or WV Supreme Court decision…”Karickhoff tried to make it very clear to the sitting jury: This issue has been debated by the WV Legislature for years with no decision yet; there is NO insurance required to operate an ATV; there is NO registration required to operate an ATV; no title is required to operate an ATV; there’ NO inspection of ATVs; and “s an ATV a motor vehicle? It doesn’ hold water!!…. Remember the confusion in the Legislature down in Charleston. It creates a reasonable doubt… Don’ just jump and act... This is a serious offense…. You can’ convict him when there is this doubt.” To add a little more seasoning to his defense menu, attorney Karickhoff said Bailey hadn’ presented any pictures to support the case, that it was just his word against King’ about the 8 inch berm thing, and, trying to drive home an earlier point, “f this is such a terrible violation, why was Tom allowed back on the contraband and drive off?”
         Seeing the seed of doubt in the jury’ eyes, Koerber drove his contention home again with references to the Attorney General’ opinion. Three times during Koerber’ spiel about an AG opinion being law, Karickhoff strongly objected. Each time the Court agreed with the defense attorney. Koerber had to stop each time. Karickhoff, “ou can’ consider an AG opinion. It’ not law. The Legislature sets laws...”        With all others out of the room, the jury began its deliberations. We waited. We waited… Outside the courtroom was chatter about everything from the weather to Bailey getting promoted to Trooper First Class just one day prior. 20 minutes later, the jury foreman said there was a question. With all back in the room, a juror asked about what an Attorney General opinion really is and, “an I be arrested for driving an ATV without a license?” Is it discretion? Without giving an answer, Magistrate King whisked both sides of the case out of the room for a conference, away from the jury’ ears. Once back in and the doors closed, Magistrate King explained, without giving an answer, something along the lines of: you have to decide can an individual without a valid license operate a motor vehicle on a highway. And, “hat’ as far as I can go.”
         Continued on page 4
                 Knowing she didn’ have an answer, the jury foreman, “ut nothing is clear… Is Attorney General just an opinion?” No further answers were given the lay jury. After 40 minutes of deliberation, Thomas Franklin King Jr. was found guilty of operating an ATV without a license. Knowing full well the impact of this landmark decision on ATV use in WV, Magistrate Mike King thanked the jury and said, “ou’e done something the Legislature hasn’ done…”
          The Court sentenced T.F. King, Jr. to 6 months in jail (not home confinement), a fine, court costs, and the cost of having a jury decide his fate. The jail sentence was stayed while the case is being appealed.
                 New to the job Assistant Prosecutor Barry Koerber had admirably done his job. He had succeeded in convincing a jury, without any case law, or state code in hand, nor supporting witnesses, that a driver’ license is needed to operate a 4-wheeler in this county.
                 For us arm chair watchers, the fall out from this case will be enormous. We know our legislative delegation is Charleston doesn’ want to touch the hot button issue by making/changing state law. They know that about every other voter in WV runs their off-road machine down to the store, to Granny’ house, in between properties and for many on the job workers the ATV is the vehicle of choice to get to well sites, check pipeline lines, etc. During one of ex-Senator Randy Schoonover’ last floor speeches at the State House, Schoony lambasted his fellow colleagues over pandering to hunters and pussy-footin around the real issue, ATV legislation.
                 We know, at least up until Friday’ jury decision, an ATV was considered in state code similar to a farm tractor, an off road vehicle allowed on public roads and a vehicle requiring no license, no helmet, no inspections, no driver’ license.. Nothing! Just drive the darn thing as needed. We also know the Legislature has wrestled with serious side issues like allowing law enforcement on private lands while in pursuit of ATVs. To date, the boys in Charleston have decided to stay away from the topic.
                 There are of course different views among the locals in this county. Some want laws against any usage on paved roads. Others want new laws on usage like requiring special driver license taxes added, only one rider on ATVs even for those designed to hold two persons, and helmets despite statistics that prove helmets provide no protection over 30 mph. Still another side feel any time our numb skull elected ones get involved citizen rights go to ‘’in a hand basket!
                 As this case proceeds through the court system, keep an ear to the ground. This one is headed to the WV Supreme Court and the decisions made will affect every West Virginian driving or even walking down every country road in the Mountain State.                        
         Follow Ups
                 So what happened over at Leon Runnion’ house. How did Mr. Runnion die? Was it suicide or a homicide by some crazy acquaintance? The shooting took place sometime three week’ ago with the body found Oct 1st 2003. In our last edition, there were few answers.
                 We spoke with investigating officer Deputy Kevin Delk Friday Oct 17th. Delk confirmed that Runnion was killed from a single shotgun blast to the head. All evidence has been given to the State Police Criminal Investigation lab in So Charleston and for the most part according to Officer Delk, “I have exhausted every end..”Delk went on to explain that lab results often take months and months to come back with some investigation reports from 9 months back, just now coming in.
                 On the street, locals have been saying that the gun retrieved from the Runnion’ home near the end of Oak Hill Ridge Road was NOT the weapon used in the death. Delk, “How do they know that? I don’ know that!!!!!!”        It takes time readers and to date, there are no answers.
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
1.        Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
2.        There 59 “aster Chefs”in America.
3.        15 percent of the “oal”mined in West Virginia last year was exported.
4.        At least 35 steel producers have declared “ankruptcy”since 1998 eliminating 50,000 jobs.
5.        Average life expectancy in this country hit a record 77.2 years in 2001 and by 2030 the number of Americans 65 or older will reach 71 million.
6.        The BMW Z4 convertible was the only on of 21 vehicles tested to win the government’ highest rating for its ability to resist rollovers.
7.        According to a recent study, slips and falls in the home caused more than 5 million injuries during a one-year period.
8.        Serious brain injuries are the leading killer of people younger than 44.
9.        According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month.
10.        According to newly released figures from the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles, 570 “igh school students”has their driver’ licenses suspended in 2002 for missing too much school.
11.        A higher percentage of West Virginians have signed a “iving will”or named “medical power of attorney”than residents of any other state.
12.        According to the American Lung Association, more than 5 million school-age children are affected by Asthma in the United States.
13.        For the fifth straight year, West Virginians are less likely to pay back their college loans than their peers nationwide.
14.        Nearly 337,000 West Virginian’ receive Medicare.
15.        There were 205 school bus crashes in West Virginia during the 2002 school calendar year.
16.        New Census Bureau figures quoted in the current Atlantic Monthly, say that 9 percent of all US couples live together out of wedlock.
17.        About 42 percent of public high school students who graduated in 1999 went on to a four-year college.
18.        According to the Board of Pharmacy, the state has 549 pharmacies.
19.        19.        According to the publication of Veterinary Economics, August 2002 issue, heart attack sufferers who own a dog have an eight times better chance of surviving one year an opposed to non-owners.
20.        One-third of would-be lawyers who took the state bar exam in July failed it. According to the state Board of Law Examiners. LMM

BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
        The legendary Chicago Columnist Mike Royko once suggested a splendid method of reforming the election process: all unsuccessful political candidates should be executed immediately after the election. This plan is breathtaking in its brilliance. The wheat would be separated from the chaff posthaste, and the electorate would benefit from being served by the strong, confidant and perhaps even honest, while being spared the boring and tedious future campaigns by perpetual also-rans. Perhaps the populace would even escape the endless array of empty slogans such as “e’e got to get this country moving again!” “et’ give the government back to the people,”or the ever-popular: “’ for a strong defense.”
        Speaking of slogans, [note the smooth transition here] we began the Iraq fiasco with one of the best. Remember “peration Enduring Freedom?” The administration, in its infinite wisdom, apparently decided this was too sweeping, possibly pretentious, and changed it to “raqi Freedom”or “peration Liberty,”and others too numerous to mention. Of course, none of these ringing testaments to the idealism we find in our leaders lives up to the poetic clarion call sounded across the land for Gulf War I – “esert Storm.” Remember that, war buffs? There is a name that really sings. It almost conjures up images of hawk-visaged figures riding to battle, mounted on gleaming white Arabian stallions. Lawrence of Exxon rides again! However, [and there is always a “owever” in the interest of truth, the cynic might suggest that the United States is currently engaged in the important process of making the world safe for Halliburton. The craven complicity of our Congress [alliteration, anyone?] might as well be called a new law passed entitled The Halliburton Rescue Act. Cheney’ old firm has recently enjoyed an eleven percent leap in quarterly revenues, not bad, considering the state of the stock market, but not quite enough yet to get stockholders dancing in the streets. The famous “mmanent danger”we faced from Iraq was certainly no threat to the defense industry which, like the poor mentioned by the princes of the church: “e shall always have with us.” In addition, Bush’ generous sop to the super rich lends credence to the old axiom: “hem as has, gets.” The grammar is bad, but the truth is unquestionable. Whatever happened to the “ppearance of impropriety”in government?
        With the sure and certain knowledge that there is not, as yet, a 12 step program for political junkies, it is time to change the subject. Too much contemplation of the currant cesspool of our political system could lead one to resign from the human race or at least to demand a refund of our membership dues. Therefore, the mind, what is left of it, turns to an infinitely noble subject – dogs.
        On Halloween night in 2002 a huge tractor-trailer driven by Jonathan and Athena Ann Lethcoe-Harman pulled in at the U.S. Customs Service at the U.S. – Canadian border in Sweet Grass, Montana. The truck contained 170 malnourished dogs, mostly Collies, and 11 cats. The couple informed the inspector, whose name has not been reported, that they were in the process of moving from Alaska to Arizona. As the officer opened the door, a number of dogs dived out. On further inspection, as the Harmans scrambled to retrieve them, the scene is described by Carol Bradley of the Great Falls Tribune as follows.
                …From one end of the 40-by-8-foot trailer to the other he spied crates of dogs; rows of wooden chambers and, on top of that, plastic airline crates stacked three deep. Several of the crates had tipped over during the trip. Their doors had sprung open and the dogs inside had crawled out.
Toole County Sheriff’ Office contacted veterinarian Hardee Clark in Shelby, 25 miles to the south. He arrived in Sweet Grass around 3:30 a.m. Clark told authorities they could charge the Harmans with violating state law prohibiting inhumane treatment of animals.
        According to reports, the Harmans left their home in Kenai, Alaska around October 24. Consequently, the collies had traveled in darkness, locked in their crates for eight days, a distance of thirty-eight hundred miles with no food or water. The truck’ only ventilation was a small side window near the driver’ cab. The hideous interior conditions of the vehicle are available in graphic detail, but for our purpose, best left to the imagination. Suffice it to say that the rescuers fought nausea as they carried the dogs out into fresh air. It took more than a dozen firefighters three hours to empty the truck. Miraculously, only one dog was dead.
        The jaded may have come to believe that no cloud has a silver lining, but there is one here. The next chapter to this story could almost lead one to believe that there is hope for the human race. First, the Harmans lost their dogs. Next, in a story that received national coverage, “amp Collie”in Shelby, Montana was born. At the formerly-named Marias Fairgrounds, outside the windswept prairie town of Shelby, pens large enough for exercise have been erected together with shelter from the elements. Volunteers from all over the state, Canada, and from as far off as Florida arrived to help. Veterinarians have donated their services, and money poured in from all over the nation. The Great Falls Petco delivered $2,000 worth of supplies donated by local residents; supporters from across the country have sent $7,500. A woman in New Jersey charged a $1,000 donation to her credit card. The Iams Company supplied 7,000 pounds of dog food. When the collies arrived in Montana they were so dehydrated they consumed five truckloads, 1,800 gallons of water each day.
        Collies are an extremely social breed. Within a short time they were barking happily, engaging in typical dog play, and rushing enthusiastically to greet their volunteer caretakers. At the risk of irritating lovers of other breeds, Carol Bradley writes:
                …had the Harman’ truck contained Rottweilers or Pit Bulls or some other less lovable breed, the response might have been less enthusiastic. But this was a truckload of Lassies, a breed immortalized by the classic TV show as trustworthy and good.
        This skeletal treatment of a much more detailed story will have to serve, but since we proceed on the assumption that everyone likes a happy ending, here is Act V. The canine population increased, and now we have 190-plus dogs. Nine months and two days after these distressed animals arrived at the border, all of them have found new homes. 50 to 60 left the state to locations as far off as Florida and California. The lucky ones stayed in Big Sky Country. This latter comment is from one who has always had an unabashed love affair with Montana. Authorities in charge of the animals were understandably and properly strict in their screening during the adoption process. The dog’ former owners were charged with 180 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
        A personal note - We spent two weeks this summer with our daughter and son-in-law, Erin and Mitch Tropila. They were among the fortunate ones in Great Falls who were lucky enough to adopt one of these dogs. Her original name was “ate,”but they have renamed her “eigi,”[pronounced “eggy” which they maintain is the Scottish spelling. I took her out for a walk each morning. It was a fascinating experience, to put it in an odd way, watching her learn how to act like a regular dog. When passersby remarked on her beauty, I said, “he is a Camp Collie.” The reaction was if she were a celebrity, and so she is.
The Sages on Dogs
        The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.         – Samuel Butler

        Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.                 – Alexander Pope

        The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
                            – Andrew A. Rooney
                 If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. – Mark Twain
                 The dog has seldom been successful in pulling man up to its level of sagacity, but man has frequently dragged the dog down to his. - James Thurber
         Si Finis bonus est, totum bonum erit [All’ well that ends well.]
         Special thanks to Carol Bradley
         Clay County Schools Receiving $500,000 Distance Learning Grant School Board Meeting
                 The Clay County Board of Education met at their administrative office building on Monday, October 6, for the first of their twice monthly regular meetings. All Board members were in attendance – Board President R. B. Legg, Scott Legg, David Pierson, Gene King and Fran King, as was central office staff – Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger, Asst. Superintendent Larry Gillespie, Administrative Asst. Kenneth Tanner, Director of Student Services Larry Legg, Director of Special Education Jenny Sirk and Business Manager Loretta Gray.
                 Administrative Assistant Kenneth Tanner gave a brief presentation on the $500,000 Distance Learning Grant recently awarded to Clay County Schools from the Rural Utilities Service’ Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. Tanner explained that the federal agency realizes that telecommunication services are vital to education and advanced technologies needed in rural areas. Clay County asked for, and received, the maximum allowed grant amount of $500,000. Tanner said that Nicholas County was the only other West Virginia county to receive one of the federal grants, but didn’ know what amount they would be getting.
                 The grant funds can be used for computers and software, network components, video equipment and teacher training, but none is allowed to be used for salaries or administrative expenses. Tanner said the 3 year grant will provide each of the seven county school sites with a $227,000 equipment package. Tanner provided a breakdown of estimated costs the grant will be used for: multi media (computers at $1000 each) - $70,000; printers (14 at $250 each) - $3,500; 105 lap top computers with carts (7 mobile labs) - $157,500; cabling and related matter for installation - $21,000; software for the project - $10,000; teacher training - $10,500. Parts of the grant require matching funds, but Tanner said the state would help cover the expense with money from their Success and Basic Skills funding. He estimated the matching requirement cost to be $38,500 over the three years of the grant.
                 Tanner said they would be looking into the best way to provide access at the four smaller school sites. Superintendent Linkinogger said the grant money probably wouldn’ be released until January 1.
                 Business conducted during the meeting: approved minutes from two previous meetings, one their regular meeting, the purpose of the other wasn’ explained; paid current bills with no discussion; accepted the resignation/retirement of school bus driver Jim Mollohan, effective September 30, 2003; approved employee transfers for Wyona Ramsey from the O’rien/Ivydale route bus #2 to the Adonijah/Lizemore route bus #48 (William Schoolcraft’ former route), Dallas Hanshaw from the Widen route bus #9 to the O’rien/Ivydale route (was Ramsey’), Ronald Tanner from the Maysel/Queen Shoals activity route to the Wallback/Big Otter/Ivydale activity route (Jim Mollohan’ former route), all successful bids, and Mike Taylor from the Laural Fork/Brown Hollow route bus #36 to bus #6 for the handicapped (Jim Mollohan’ former route); approved employment for Allan Morris as bus driver for the Widen route bus #9n (Hanshaw’ former route), Earl Tanner for the Maysel/Queen Shoals activity route (Ronald Tanner’ former route), both successful bids, Jim Mollohan as a substitute mechanic, and Bobby Stover as a substitute teacher (Linkinogger said he doesn’ want to teach, but wants to help coach wrestling); approved the sale of three buses - #26, #27 and #31; gave $500 to the Clay High School Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program to bring a speaker to the school; approved the transfer of a Nicholas County student into Clay Middle School; approved CWEP worker Angela Arnold for Ivydale Elementary; approved a contract with Melody Reed as an assistant school nurse for 40 hours a month as needed, paid for with money through Special Education Grant; approved out of state travel for teachers Mary Ann Triplett and Nada Waddell to go to the National Middle School Association Conference in Atlanta, GA in November, paid for with money from the Gear-Up Grant; approved extra curricular contracts with Deloris Kleman and Jamela Krajeski as elementary Spanish teachers, paid for with foreign language grant funds, successful bids; and, extra curricular contracts for after school tutoring, paid for with funds from 21st Century/Gear-Up/Homeless Grants went to Joanne Exline and Anita Stephenson at CCHS, Mike Smith, Shella Paxton, Vince Young, and Lisa Dolan at CMS, Karen Knopp and Leanna Hopkins at Valley Fork Elementary, Linda McKinney, Jesse Stephenson, Lisa McManus, Rhonda Jelich, Grithel Holcomb at Clay Elementary, Erica Samples, Connie Kerr, Tammy Varney, Lavern Taylor at H.E. White Elementary, Patricia Underwood, Debbie Johnson, Jok Schoonover, Mike Mickelow at Ivydale Elementary, Joann Butcher Metheney and Teresa Morris at Lizemore Elementary, and for foreign language Kathi Linkinogger and J.B. Butcher, all successful bids.
                 All motions passed unanimously. Board Member Gene King was called out of the meeting about 15 minutes after it started to attend a ceremony during the Domestic Violence Vigil at the courthouse, where that group honored him for his work in the county dealing with domestic violence and child abuse.
                 Business Manager/Treasurer Loretta Gray gave a short financial update for September. She said September was, as always, a good tax collection month. $188,000 bus replacement money had been received and used to pay for the new one. Also, School Building Authority money for the air conditioning project had come in. Expenses included a quarterly insurance payment, payments to contractors, and faculty senate money had been transferred to the schools for the teachers to use – each teacher receives $200. The Board had no questions for Gray.
                 Roy Runnion returned to ask the Board what they had decided on concerning getting his granddaughter to school from her home in the Elkhurst area, and back. Runnion attended the previous board meeting and the problem was discussed at some length. The Board had directed Larry Legg to work out something with Runnion before the next meeting. The bus does not go down to the child’ home, and due to time constraints, can’. The family has been offered payment in lieu of transportation to bring the child to school and back. Runnion said they are unable to provide that because of work schedules, and he says the state is maintaining the road the child lives on, and the school should transport the child. Attempts at compromise apparently failed as Runnion said he was talking to a lawyer trying to find out the laws. Fran King pointed out to him that she had seen Runnion’ wife, daughter, and granddaughter in town 4 days the previous week, implying that transportation maybe wasn’ such a problem for them. Scott Legg asked Runnion if his daughter had checked to see if the bus ran down there before she moved her mobile home there. Linkinogger said that legally they can pay payment in lieu up to two miles. He noted that Clay County has too many contract buses now, 17, more than any other county. Runnion said he could see this wasn’ going anywhere and left the meeting.
                 Next regular meeting of the board will be at Ivydale Elementary School on Monday, October 20, at 6:00PM. TK
                 “hose people that are elected, appointed or hired into positions of public authority have a strict moral obligation to defend the security, comfort and trust of those people for whom they have assumed such authority” My, doesn’ that sound grand? How badly I wish it were even remotely true in West Virginia, especially our counties. But sadly, every miserable little power-happy board, body, committee or authority that we are forced to deal with doesn’ seem to see things that way.
                 I’l start with the county commissioners because they are, by law, our counties’highest officers. Collectively, the six don’ have the sense God gave a goose or the backbone of a jellyfish. Why would someone put the time, effort and money it takes to be elected to an office and then not come to the meetings? If they aren’ going to live by the law, then what are the commissioners going to do? Is it their assumption that they only have to comply with the laws and obligations that they choose to? Maybe they appear so helpless because they don't know the problems or the people in the county. Or is the problem that they do know these things and are deliberately being obstinate, ineffective and fumbling? Does West Virginia need a recall law?
                 How many times should an individual have to take any public officials to court, forcing them to comply with the state or federal law, before these officials should not only be removed but banned from holding any position of public trust? I think once is plenty. I watch as you suffer many of the same low-down, sneaky, behind-closed doors problems that we have, which would indicate that the problem could be statewide. I think it is and I think the reason is that West Virginia has far too many tax-paid bureaucrats that are far too eager to explain to local yokels how to manipulate, avoid and thwart not only the law but also the will of the people. Our PSD has no more of an honest, up-front, long-range plan for providing water to the entire county than your appointed seat-fillers do. Something else they share is an obvious disdain and disrespect for the public. Anyone that deals with them expecting to be treated like an American is in for a rude awaking. Satisfying the public is not part of the “aster Plan” not in Clay or Mason County. The second some little political hack is elected, appointed or hired into a position, the will and good of the public is wiped away by instructions from the state or some God-forsaken training session.
                 I would like to read The Communicator one time and see that the poor souls that depend on the Queen Shoals PSD, now ably handled by people that don’ even seem to understand what their obligations are to these people, are receiving safe drinking water 24-7. Just once would show an increase in compassion and dedication of one thousand percent.
         Asleep at the Switch By Jim Chafin
                 Unless those media servants of the rich and famous are doing what they do strictly for the money, as we suspect, I cannot for the life of me understand the logic of those under the First Amendment umbrella who so blatantly ignore desecration of our constitutional institutions by both public and private corporations. Bureaucrats of every stripe, hue and color, seemingly, are vying with each other to determine which one can out do the other in demonizing and/or making null and void the moral code of this nation and ripping to shreds the fabric of our rights and immunities. At no other period of my life have I witnessed such a concentration of diverse elements that, it seems, are hell-bent on destroying everything we have cherished in this nation. The very basic foundations of what most everyone had come to take for granted, especially since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is now under full-fledged attack. Not that this is anything new – the Constitution itself has been under threat of dissolution almost from the day it was ratified. Indeed, there were those among its signers who had grave doubts about the American people’ commitment to the idea of a federation of states. Wisdom, brought on by age, experience and a broad knowledge of human nature had led them to believe that American citizens would, in their relentless search for wealth and prosperity, fail to devote sufficient time and effort towards guarding against power grabs by certain segments of society, so that the entire process of keeping the foxes out of the hen house would be shortchanged.
                 Among this select group of individuals was one Benjamin Franklin who argued that the language of the constitution was a little too broad, and would fail to provide sufficient motivation in terms of citizen participation, in terms of providing “ocal”input. Indeed, the focus of this new experiment in government would draw upon the talents of local folks because that’ where the people lived. Supporting the constitution as ratified was Thomas Jefferson who argued that the people were not prone to accept dictatorial mandates from “ar away”government and, therefore would vigilantly protect their hard won freedoms by keeping close watch on those who were elected to represent them. Who do you suppose history has now proven correct?
                 Franklin was leaving Constitution Hall immediately after our constitution was ratified and was asked by a woman standing nearby, “en, what kind of government do we have?” Turning and looking at the lady Franklin replied, “ federation, madam, if you can keep it.” A federation, ladies and gentlemen, is what we had – but, that isn’ what we have today. And the thoughts that troubled ol’Ben’ mind are the precise reasons why an all-powerful federal government is in place today in Washington, D.C. “hey”did not take our liberties away from us; “e” you and I, gave them away willingly. Oh yes, we did. This was accomplished right under our collective nose. We allowed this to happen because we were too busy making a living; too busy putting food on the table; too busy taking care of the kids; buying a bigger house; getting a more expensive car; designer clothes and decorator furniture. It’ called “eeping up with the Jones’”and politicians love us when they see us doing this. Why? Well, because when we are all consumed with every day pursuits of life, we really don’ have any time left to police the policeman, or to exercise “nform and consent”in the manner we should. Hey, where’ are priorities here? Which is more important: making money and buying “hings”or the right to participate in the pursuit of happiness? I would submit that the rights as spoken of in our founding documents are, far and away, more important and precious than all the material “hings”we can ever hope to accumulate. Why? Because without rights and liberties under-girding our daily routine, there can be no pursuit of happiness. Tyrants are not born – they are reared and nurtured in the fine arts of domination and intimidation by their families, their peers, and a public who make idols out of them, i.e., looking up to them instead of requiring responsibility and genuine stewardship over the public’ affairs.
                 Lest we be redundant, let me repeat what we have just said; our original government was designed so that local people could participate; could petition their representatives; be at the meetings that determined public needs; and, determine social policy. The “ederation”strongly implied states rights with a central government for certain activities such as national defense. However, along the way we have opted to turn over virtually every aspect of our lives to a federal government – government by long distance – with bureaucrats who don’ give a rats tail for our needs back in middle-America, and know even less. Far away government couldn’ ever be expected to care for us in the same manner as we would do for ourselves. There is too much distance involved and communication tends to brake down. In politics, absence does not make the heart grow stronger. More appropriate is the adage “hen the cat’ away, the mice will play.”
                 “iverment,”as applied to government is a well thought out device designed to confuse and deceive. Government does not have human qualities; only individuals are given characteristics such as charity, loving kindness, patience, long suffering, and loving your neighbor as yourself. Governments are not holy, and to my knowledge, are not reserved a place in heaven. Only individuals have the capacity to make moral judgments; politics, whether in the public domain, business, commercial, or in religion, is in the power of compromise. And compromise is, most often, the result of power persuasions that result in less than desirable outcomes for everyone – except the bureaucracy.
                 Regarding the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying: “efend it in the legislature, enforce it in the judiciary, and preach it from the pulpit…we are not here to (do away) with the constitution, we are here to prevent those who would deny it.” Supporters of the First Estate need to understand that there are no easy approaches when it comes to remaining vigilant, and the practice of some who are in bed with the power structure and who act as apologists for dishonest public policy are, themselves, doing a disservice to the great nation of the United States and deserve the rebuke of their countrymen. Private gain at the expense of one’ country isn’ to be condoned by a free people.
         10/02/03: Bailey – Dencil Pritt, breaking and entering, arrested, preliminary hearing 10/10: probable cause found; bound to Grand Jury; Bailey – Joyce Ramsey, warrant issued for accessory before and after the fact, arrested 10/09, preliminary hearing 10/30.
         10/07/03: Rider – Jason A. Dancy, malicious assault, arrested, preliminary hearing 10/15: joint motion from state and defense to reduce bond from $35,000 to $10,000 with justification or bonding Co.; preliminary waived to Circuit Court.
         09/26/03: Belt – Rodney Jarvis, obtaining goods under false pretenses, summons.
         09/27/03: Delk – Angel Ann Cummings, drinking/poss. Of alcoholic liquor, arrested, ROB; Foreman – Sherri L. Moore, left of center.
         09/28/03: Belt – Douglas Wayne Welch, violation of protective order, arrested, ROB.
         09/29/03: Bailey – Tom E. Hubbard, driving under the influence, arrested 09/26, ROB; House’ Market – Candy Adkins, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 3, appeared, 10/16 Def. paid worthless checks and court costs, cases dismissed; (Name missing) – Travis Dale Cummings, littering, appeared.
         09/30/03: Clay Supermarket – Phillip Bartsch, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 6; Bailey – Thomas King, driving revoked DUIA 2nd offense, appeared, ROB, 10/08 demand for jury trial received.
         10/03/03: Wholesale Tire Inc. – Eric’ Tire Shop, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, appeared 10/07, Def. paid worthless check and court costs, case dismissed; IGA – Terri Bass, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 2; Ellyson – Lenise Lawson, failure to maintain control, appeared, ROB.
         10/04/03: Rider – Venner Townsend, domestic battery, arrested, ROB 10/06.
         10/06/03: Slack – James M. Nichols, driving revoked DUIA 2nd and failure to change address registration, appeared, ROB; Slack – Kevin Braley, receive/transfer stolen property and petit larceny, warrants issued.
         10/07/03: NAPA Auto Supply – Donnie Welch, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, paid 10/16.
         10/08/03: Foreman – Joe Bill Woods, possession marijuana less 15 grams and indecent exposure, appeared, ROB; Larry Legg – Candy Adkins, fail to cause child to attend school, summons.
         10/09/03: Rider – Sharon L. Hanshaw, failure to pay for gasoline, summons.
         10/10/03: Bailey – Richard T. Legg, improper turning, appeared, bond.
         10/13/03: Robert Dale Burdette, domestic battery, arrested, ROB 10/14.
         10/14/03: Delk – Benjamin T. Legg, motor vehicle inspection, appeared, bond.
         10/15/03: Simms – Wanda Jean Brown, unlawful disposal refuse, appeared, bond.
         09/29/03: Tammi Ray – Wayne King, breech of contract; Charles Burkhamer Sr. – Charles Burkhamer Jr., money due; Arthur and Shield Lacy – Debbie Woolever and Danny Woolever, money due, 10/15 case dismissed, mobile home was removed from property, plf. No longer wised to pursue.
         09/30/03: Martha Keenan – Lorenna Blackwell and Kim Thomas, money due; Robin Holcomb – Rebecca Legg and Phillip Bartsch, wrongful occupation; Shane’ Construction – William “ill”Fisher, money due, subpoena; Peggy Starcher – Edward Smith and Sandy Smith, money due, 10/09 judgment for plf; Pennington Auto Supply – Rick’ Body Shop and Coin Laundry, Jonathan Pritt, Holcomb’ Logging, Heath’ Auto and Repair all for money due, subpoenas issued.
         10/06/03: R.B. Legg Jr. DDS – Ray Adkins, Jason Grose, Richard Van Preast, Kathy Foster, all for money due.
         10/14/03: Michael Cummings – Ruth Cummings and Tommy Murdock, money due.
         10/16/03: Elk Conservation District – Ron Beasley, money due.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued –
         10/03/03: Clay Supermarket Inc. – Tonya Sayre X 2 (paid 10/08) and Candice Murphy (paid 10/06).
         10/07/03: NAPA Auto Supply – Donnie Welch, misdemeanor file opened.
         10/10/03: Schwans – Betty A. Amick; Clay Supermarket Inc. – Richard L. Young Jr. X 2.
         10/14/03: Sizemore’ IGA – Ronnie D. Beasley and Christie G. Wright; Connie Brown – Verner Charles Arnold X 4.
         Citation Register
         09/20/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Zack Seth Eagle, underage consumption (tobacco).
         09/24/03: State Police – Lenise Lawson, failure to maintain control; James M. Moore, failure to maintain control and no POI.
         09/25/03: State Police – Thomas F. King, driving revoked DUIA 2nd offense.
         09/26/03: DNR – Travis D. Cummings, littering; State Police – Tom E. Hubbard, driving under the influence; Eric D. Jett, registration violation and no POI; Judy L. Taylor, operator’; Gregory A. White, no POI.
         09/27/03: State Police – Ralph M. Lane, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, registration violation, MVI, and seat belt violation; Sherri L. Moore, left of center; Jeremiah Ramsey, fail to yield ½ of roadway; Sandra Lynn Swindler, sale of tobacco less than 18 years; Sheriff’ Dept. – Angela K. Ramsey, possession marijuana less/15 GRMS.
         09/30/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Misty April Carson, no POI and registration violation; Tara Taylor, passing in no passing zone and no POI.
         10/01/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Lyndon B. Metheney, speeding; James M. Nichols, driving suspended/revoked non DUI and failure to change registration.
         10/03/03: State Police – Richard T. Legg, improper turning; James W. Reed III, following too close; Christopher B. Woods, seat belt violation.
         10/04/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Johnathan Sizemore, possession of controlled substance.
         10/05/03: State Police – Justin Hamrick, public intoxication.
         10/06/03: DNR – Jerry Wayne Cash, littering; State Police – Harry Arnold Tanner, driving suspended/revoked non DUI, no POI, registration violation and no helmet; Mark F. Wood, speeding; Sheriff’ Dept. – Daniel M. Triplett, defective equipment and MVI.
         10/08/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Jerry Wayne Cash II, littering.
         10/09/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Benjamin T. Legg, MVI.
         10/12/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Michael Shoults Jr., registration violation and no POI.
                 One of the better attended public meetings in the county has been Clay Roane PSD gatherings. The PSD meets twice a month in the Clay Development Corp. (CDC) Office on Main Street. Why do people come out? They’e very entertaining, much better than FRIENDS, or even the Discovery channel, and the stuff the appointed board decides on affects hundreds of water users and even more potential customers. On October 9, Clay Roane met for another session of life in the slow lane. Present: Chair Melissa Postelwait, and boardsters Larry, Darryl and Darryl….just kidding, Larry White, Dave Salisbury, and Gary Whaling. Glenn Sutton was elsewhere and not in attendance. Over a dozen sat in the peanut gallery including Clay Commissioner Peter Triplett, Roane Commissioner Rodney Cox, and Clay Mayor Arthur Jarrett along with a bunch of us peons. Where is the Roane County wire-haired lady? No one knew.
                 Since being trained at Flatwoods two weeks ago, Chair Postelwait said state code required a change in meeting format. From this date on, there would not be a public comment period at the beginning of each shin dig.
                 Bill paying time shed little new light on the PSD posture. As has been the case over the last 4 months, all the bills couldn’ be paid. $8000 was needed to cover all current bills plus more to cover employee benefits. Making tough choices, employee PEIA hospitalization will be paid the 15th IF money becomes available.
                 Jim Hildruth, project engineer for both the Punkin Ridge and Amma /Left Hand water line extensions was on hand. Hildruth said little had changed since his last visit with the Town of Clay making progress obtaining their $1 million SCB grant. As far as Punkin Ridge, they’e still waiting on full funding with word coming as early as December of this year.
                 Discussion last time around included the PSD purchasing a $40 per month cell phone. This meeting, the phone idea was ditched. Larry White, “ can’ see a cell phone for board members…”        Clay Roane has plans to purchase a new high dollar 4-wheel drive pick up. Bids for that purchase closed October 8. Of those received, Telford’ Chevrolet was cheapest for a 2004 full size model at $17,100.00. Questions came up on the cost of fuel for a full size truck as well as cost of insurance.
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         According to Chair Postelwait, the WV Public Service Commission gave a verbal OK for the purchase. The state paperwork, printed last time in this rag, said something different. The official word said the PSC has until next April to give the OK on such a purchase. Boardster White asked, “hat if they say no?” Salisbury led the charge for a smaller truck, “hy do we need a big truck?” Postelwait said on occasion three workers need to ride to a water line break and a compact would not accommodate them. In response, White, “ow many times does that happen?”        Like a new breath of life, the tide was changing. Members Whaling, Salisbury, and White were challenging the need for a gas guzzler. Postelwait remained adamant for the big unit and for the unit to be financed by a private savings and loan organization. No mention was made of possible 0% finance rates currently available from many truck dealers. Motion made to buy the big rig….no second….Chair calls for a second again…Larry White withdrew the motion. The senior boardster asked for a re-bidding process that would include prices for S-10 size models.
                 Chief Water plant Operator Jennifer Traub asked the Board to address vacation time payments. The practice has been to pay employees for any vacation time not used during the calendar year. Traub said the new policy and procedure manual was cloudy and she had already been paid for this year’ vacation, that she had asked individual members if such a pay out was OK and with a positive response, the money was handed over to her on her employment anniversary date. Traub, “t was an emergency…” White said in the future, the manual should be followed.
                 With engineer Hildruth present, discussion turned to other areas of this county and Roane County wanting water line extensions. Hildruth said preliminary work had been done some time ago for Reed Fork, Oak Hill (?), the Amma Golf course area, and Hopkins Road (maybe called Valley Ridge). Cost estimates and prelims will be forwarded to the PSD board.
                 And what meeting would be complete without secret time? Not this one. One hour into the meet, the doors closed to the public. Chair Postelwait said only two things would be discussed, an employee complaint and a complaint filed against Clay Roane. With the Chair saying the employee in question wasn’ present, the guess is, they went behind doors to talk about Bobby Burdette. As far as the top secret PSC complaint against them, that’ Frank Kish’ doins. Kish has raised issues on water quality, the way boil water orders are issued and recalled, and the notice provided the public.
                 Anyway, 8:05 the doors closed; at 8:55 Chief Operator Traub entered the secret time; 10 minutes later, out she came. A full hour and 10 minutes after going quiet, the board reemerged and said no decision had been made. Sure… WV PSC rules require Clay Roane PSD to respond to Kish’ complaint within 10 days and most people would know they voted to respond to the complaint!
                 Well after 9 pm, Peter Triplett asked about Clay Roane wanting to get rid of Queen Shoals PSD. Larry White would not comment in public about the plan and said Triplett would have to wait until the Clay County Commission meeting for details. Discussion shifted back to that snowy February night when the PSD voted to assume operation of Queen Shoals PSD over the objections of their attorney Tom Whittier. Even with those small snip its, mums the word on what Clay Roane plans to do.
                 Now don’ tell anybody but here’ what this reporter thinks is going on. Now remember, don’ tell the PSD folks, they’l get mad!
                 The old Queen Shoals PSD owes Clay Roane $10,000 from water purchased last year. With the QSPSD board dissolved and with the old QSPSD accounts empty, Clay Roane wants some money. To get money from the broke QSPSD, they have to force a rate increase on the customers in the Queen Shoals area. With Clay Roane fully in control of Queen Shoals, to file a complaint would be like trying to sue yourself. To get around that problem, Clay Roane master minds, that attorney Whittier and Larry White, plan to get a Queen Shoals board in place first, and then file the formal complaint to get rates raised. When was the last time QSPSD rates increased? Less than 11 months ago. QS customers pay right at $50 for 4500 gallons of water, some of the highest rates in the state if not the highest in the state.
                 Just thought we’ throw that in there readers to torque up the folks in the southern part of the county.                 AW

         -Extension Projects STILL on Hold-
                 Clay County PSD announced during their regular meeting October 14 that the price for a new water connection deposit has doubled for some customers. The following is an accounting of the happenings in Clay PSD land.
                 With Chair Keith King, Earl Long and Homer Triplett seated up front and only one in the peanut gallery, the meeting got under way promptly with a prayer offered by Long. Financially the PSD went in the hole last month. From office manager Cindy Schoolcraft: Beginning balance $1059.55; income from September $20,443.16; expenses for September $21,277.75; and, an ending balance of $224.96. Ms Schoolcraft explained that collections were down due to a new way they collect past due amounts. A new system has now been implemented and, in one sense, the new collection system should help the PSD.
                 Field Man Sam Taylor reported last month there had been an 8 inch water line break out Triplett’ Ridge which was repaired and they had installed a new master meter and valves near Ivydale .
                 Are you still waiting for water service from Clay County PSD? Well, you’l be waiting many more months, readers. According to “r. Happy” I mean Mr. King, the PSD received a letter from Chapman Technical’ Greg Belcher two weeks ago which listed a dozen items that MUST be completed, changed or verified before the Lizemore/Tucker’ Bottom project can be bid. Note: That letter is provided in its entirety to the right. No bid date has, nor can be, set. King, “opefully before January 1st.” In addition to those 12 items, customers on Route 24, Sycamore, will not be getting water after all. Schoolcraft explained that six of the homes near the mouth of the hollow don’ want to hook on to the extension project leaving just 3 farther up the valley to serve. Schoolcraft, “ets put it somewhere where the people want it...” Motion made and passed to reroute to some other area where all the folks want service.
                 We all know Chair King likes to keep the operation and decisions far away from the public’ prying eye. Such was the case this meeting once again with the agenda item dealing with a recent complaint over PSD practices by the Clay County Commission (CCC). King mumbled out, “o reason to get into those problems with them.” As for the recently decided formal complaint penned by the CCC over the purchase of the new double wide trailer/office space now used by the PSD, it was costly for the PSD. According to Schoolcraft, their attorney charged $1200 for his time and there is no way to force the CCC to pay the bill. Schoolcraft, “e just wasted money.” Remember that PSC hearing readers? That’ the one where the County Commission wanted to continue providing King and Co. with free office space instead of them spending $70,000 of insurance settlement money for the trailer. During that hearing, the CCC was represented by County Prosecutor Daniel Grindo who never raised an issue, raised a question, offered a witness, nor offered any testimony to defend the Commissioner’ stand. Needless to say, the CCC lost in the complaint process. So proud of their court room success, Keith King provided, “e got a pat on the back for once!” Boardster Homer Triplett chimed in with King, “rivolous! A waste of time!” King questioned the actions of the CCC and the complaint with, “nd they were concerned about debt!!!”        For years Clay County PSD has complained that the master meter which feeds the Ivydale end of their system has been giving false readings, that the meter was reading high resulting in the PSD being charged for water not used. Clay County PSD buys water from the Town of Clay. When Sam Taylor field tested the meter, the results confirmed the notion. When an independent company tested the master unit away from field conditions, the meter actually read low (2%). Taylor explained the water line just before the unit was choked with debris like wood which restricted the 4 inch line down to about 2 ½ inches. With the water volume the same but throttled into a smaller opening, the meter usage was off. Taylor, “he meter was good.” The PSD wants their water supplier, the Town of Clay, to refund them some money. As for going to a Town Council meeting with the request, not going to happen. King, “heir attitude toward us is hostile… Write them a registered letter requesting an adjustment… there’ no use going to them in person, [it would be] just another confrontation… I’ not physically able to go through the fiasco…”        So how much of a refund is Clay PSD asking for? According to their records, the last bill was off 586,000 gallons.
                 And for all you readers that rent property and want to hook on to Clay County PSD water service, it’ going to cost you more. It was noted during this meeting that recent PSC rulings allow local PSDs to charge a larger connection fee deposit. For Clay PSD, the fee will double going to $100. Additionally, the fee will not be returned to the customer after the customer successfully pays his monthly bill for 12 months. Renters will have to wait until they die or otherwise leave the service area. Current customers will not be affected by the policy change. Earl Long, “hat’ no good for the people.” King, “e’e going to be cussed on that!” There’ been another change. Landlords are no longer responsible for past due water bills when renters move out. Landowners can also get their deposits returned to them.
          Are you still reading? This note applies to ALL Clay County PSD customers. If the monthly water bill is not paid by the due date (20 days after the bill is mailed), a delinquency and shut off notice will be sent out ONE DAY later! Schoolcraft, “nybody who does not pay by the 20th gets a shut off notice…”
                 Randy Holcomb still refuses to cough up more land for a new water storage tank on his property. According to King, that won’ slow down the Lizemore/Tuckers Bottom project. (Well! How can anything slow it down any more than it is now?) Up Fola Road way, another site has been found to locate a lift station for that same extension project after a Mr. Legg refused access to the ideal spot.
          And there’ always a keeper. The question from the gallery, “ thought the Lizemore/Left Hand extension project was ready to go to bid months ago?” Answer from Keith King, “ho gave you that idea???”Ahh, raise your hand readers if you’e heard the PSD say over the last 8 months, “ll we need is more customers to sign up before we can go to bid.” Let me count the hands… there’ three. Ten… yep, there’ a bunch of you. Long, “t’ actually in progress… there’ paperwork being done and stuff…” To recap, all is normal in Clayberry.                                AW
                  First of all I think that every parent in Clay needs to read this so they can be aware of the consequences for disciplining of their children. I understand that the names of juveniles cannot be printed so I will leave all names out and just present the facts.
          A few months back my wife and I became very concerned with the behavior and actions of her 14yr old son. After an in depth search and lots of suspicions, our intuitions paid off. We found that the innocent 14 yr old living in our home was using drugs heavily on a daily basis. Which were being provided to him by his father. We done what we thought was right and contacted the State Police and had them remove the drugs from our home and speak with the boy. Along with the drugs we provided the Police with a recorded conversation between the father and son, discussing the manufacture and delivery techniques of illegal drugs. Two months after this incident with no word from the courts, Child Protective Services, or local law enforcement things took a turn for the worse with the child becoming very violent and running away to his fathers which by the way has no guardianship rights and only has had supervised visitation since the early 90s. So once again we go back to the courts to plead for help. A juvenile petition is filed and a detention hearing was set. Well at Magistrate Court the hearing took place and all were present. The son, the mother, the father, court appointed attorney, and both prosecutors. There were witnesses for both sides waiting in the hallway. The hearing proceeded in a normal fashion with the defense calling all of its witnesses and the prosecution only needing to hear from the mother. Yes, you read right, they used no witnesses nor had any cross examination for any of the defenses witnesses. Sounds pretty one sided huh?
                                     My wife has soul guardianship of this child and has raised him with little to no help from his father and Clays micky mouse prosecuting team allowed her to be badgered by the other attorney and reflected as a bad mother. So the state took temp. custody of the child and he was placed with family until further court hearings. In which time the father has petitioned the court for custody of the boy. So maybe parents county wide should probably think twice before trying to use the courts to take care of the things that they were put there to do. Thanks to the incompetence of the Clay Prosecutors Office we not only have the battle with drugs but for custody as well. Thank you for your patience and understanding
         Mark B.
         Ed Note: Although the author of this chatter willingly provided his identity, due to concerns about revealing the name of the child, the author’ name has been omitted.
                 It’ been a while but we’e got a keeper! The following is a run down on the most recent Clay Town Council meeting and the follow up “eep ‘m in the dark”secret meeting. It’ “h, boy”time for Communicator readers. With ‘ing’Arthur Jarrett at the helm and Dwana Murphy, Billie Zegeer, Frank Childers, Phil Morris, and Sally Legg seated, action began at 4pm Tuesday, October 7. Betty Murphy was playing hooky from her duties. Even the bill paying wasn’ the usual. New-to-council Childers asked about bidding out purchases like vehicle tires. Reply from the table: we try to deal with business within the town. Childers, “ thought we was here to save money?” New man on the block then asked about a $260 police department purchase and Town Recorder Dwana Murphy saying that no purchase order was cut for the purchase and she didn’ know anything about it. And like a breath of fresh air, another question, this time about an expenditure for the sewer operator to take Class III tests. (Note: Our sewage treatment plant requires just a Class II operator.) In attendance, sewer plant operator Larry Chafin replied to the question saying that each year state regulations require operators to take additional training.
                 Recorder Murphy informed her fellow boardsters that the sewer plant continues to operate in the red and there is not enough money to pay their bills even after transferring $3000 from other accounts. She mentioned not being able to pay chemical suppliers this month. Mayor Jarrett said the problem is not having enough customers. That didn’ answer Little Murph’ questions and with a frown, the grumpy Dwana came out of the closet.
                 As often is the case in Clayberry, the meeting’ attention shifted to another area - water. According to the ‘ing’and supported by town worker Terry Traub, the town has a major water leak near Maysel. The leak is reason for a 40% loss in treated water and they can’ find the problem area. Jarrett, “e’e pumping into the ground...we have several leaks…” Jarrett deviated a little further with mention that he told Clay County PSD NOT to hook up a new master water meter. According to Jarrett, the new meter does not charge the PSD for “ow flow”situations in the evening hours and that amounts to about 4 gallons a minute. Boardster Zegeer, “an we charge them more? We should charge them more!”        Sewer Plant Chief Operator Larry Chafin enlightened the council on the need for an annual budget for the plant. Chafin, “ou need a budget for the year…to see the expenditures…it helps control expenses. There’ no records of the whole operation….expenses need to be itemized.” Chafin said he had asked for a budget some time back. The grumpy Dwana retorted, “OU DIDN” ASK ME!” It turned into a yes-you-did, no-you-didn’ type time quickly.
          Understanding the merit of seeing daily income and expenses, Jarrett asked that a budget be put together for the plant, “et’ get us a budget…” Oh boy, it’ Dwana time again, “HAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!! YOU ALL AREN” TELLING ME [which bills to pay]” As often happens, this reporter heard no concrete decisions made on the subject of establishing a sewer plant budget. The guess is, Jarrett just wanted away from the topic before Dwana went off again.
                 As for the many long past due water and sewer bills, Jarrett, “f they can’ afford to pay $30 they can’ pay $130.00…shut ‘m off!” As the Mayor was mentioning how favoritism played a role in shut offs in the past, he stepped directly on Recorder Murphy, “AS THAT DIRECTED AT ME?” Veering back to the earlier sewer bill situation, Jarrett told the young one to consult with the council in the future on which bills to pay and which to hold up on paying.
         Henry Davis lives across from Clay High School and asked the council to hook his and four other homes to the sewer system. Recently the local health department jumped his case over raw stuff seeping out of the ground at his home and gave him 30 days to correct the situation. According to town field worker Terry Traub, an engineer estimated the cost to do so would be around $20,000 just to bore under the CCHS parking lot and Route 16. One suggested that the road bore could be done farther south and through Coach Sirk’ Schoonover/Bradley football field. With that mention, eyebrows went up. Translation: Sirk’ prize baby couldn’ be touched. As far as moving the sewer line even farther south (and closer to Johnny Woofter’ holdings, Dwana, “ou don’ want to go there!” Ending the discussion Mayor Jarrett said he would go talk to his brother, Clay Schools Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger to seek options. Mr. Davis left without a firm commitment. Also in attendance was Mike King who sought sewer service for the upper end of town on the hill so more housing could be moved to the area. As he was told two years ago when a similar pitch was made, there’ no money and Jarrett, “e’e going to work on it. Let me go talk to my brother.”County Sanitarian Teresa Morton, in attendance, informed the Council of serious sewer conditions at the Two Run Nutrition Site, Dawson’ Body Shop, Dawson’ Repair Shop and King’ Wrecker Service. Terry Traub reminded council that the town was not eligible for any grant possibilities because the sewer plant remained “n the red” In that area of Two Run attempts to extend the sewer line failed several months ago when city crews ran into solid rock under the soil preventing further digging. According to Traub, Teresa Morton’ husband Stump Morton, a private contractor, has given the town a bid for the pipeline extension.
                 And then the good stuff. Long time field worker Terry Traub, “ want a raise!” Looking squarely at Dwana Murphy, “ou got one; I want as much as Dwana. I need $5.00 an hour to get up [with Dwana].” Long time readers will remember when town office worker Tammy Duffield resigned-quit-got fired two years ago. With the town in a severe financial crunch and not wanting to hire a new person, council voted to give Duffield’ salary to Dwana Murphy. Murphy agreed to do both jobs, saving the town from paying additional benefits like hospitalization and retirement.
                 There was silence for a second. First Phillip “atman”Morris, “’l give my council pay to the employees.” Then Zegeer, followed by Childers. Billie Zegeer, “hat’ $3600!” Council person Sally Legg, “ need mine too bad…they do need a raise…. before, when Jeff Krauklis was here, we gave our salaries…” Morris, “pread the money around to regular employees, not Bobby [West] and Larry [Chafin].” Larry Chafin came by with a plea for inclusion, “e make the same amount.”        Sound like a solution in hand? WRONG. Traub, still staring at Little Murph, “ AM SICK AND TIRED OF YOU COMING IN HERE SAYING HOW MUCH YOU MAKE!” Trying to avert an embarrassing shouting match, Sally Legg, “et’ table this! We need a meeting for this!” Jarrett, “ special meeting will be called.” Translation: Get this away from the public real quick. Dwana, “O IT NOW! WHY NOT?” Childers, “e don’ want to sling mud… [the] problem runs deeper.” A special meeting was called for October 14, 4 pm.
                 After the tensions settled just a bit, council voted to consider three engineering firms for the Maysel Clay Roane PSD water line extension project. The companies were: Boyle and Hildruth, E. L. Robinson and QK4. Jarrett, “he rest of them are junk.”        And the last hot button issue for this gathering - grease. Grease is the word at the Bank of Gassaway, Gino’, Tudors, and the Nutrition Site. According to the mayor, the grease accumulation is so bad the whole system was gummed up and stopped up four times last year. Jarrett also said he recently installed a grease trap at his eatery, the historic Henry Clay Hotel, and he could not point the finger at others. Larry Chafin said his crew pulled 400 to 500 pounds of the goo from the system last week. Lot’ of discussion, with Jarrett agreeing to approach the County Health Department for assistance and assurances to make onsite visits to the offenders. Note: This is not a new issue for the town and three years ago an ordinance was voted on the books. Since then the toothless ordinance has gone without enforcement. Toothless? Yep, no penalty for noncompliance.
                 More discussion on storm sewers hooked to the sewage lines and sewage lines hooked to the storm sewer lines. Someone mentioned seeing toilet paper and worse in the storm sewer line in front of the Town and Country Restaurant a few months back indicating the houses behind Main Street may be hooked to the storm sewers. Sounding a little tougher on the long standing and long known about issue, general consensus around the table: make the locals straighten up or cut off their water service.
                 Finally, Phil Morris directed town employees to make an effort to keep town vehicles clean and for Hawkie Keener to clean out stinky ditches on back streets instead of just Main Street. After 95 minutes of sometimes contentious discussion, council ended their meeting.
          Is this article over? No way. We’e got more juice for you!
                 That Special Town Council was held October 14 as planned but without state code mandated posting of an agenda. Open Meeting Laws REQUIRE such agendas and around the state, illegal meetings have been tossed once in the court system. As of noon October 13th, there was NOOOOO agenda posted.
                 So what happened during the illegal meeting? Here’ the way we’e got it: Dwana Murphy took a big hit. Up until that meeting, Ms Murphy was paid $8865 from the town coffers, $3420 from water plant accounts and an additional $4575 to handle the sewer plant billing plus her pay as elected town recorder. If town took back all they gave her for doing two jobs 23 months ago, Murphy walked out $7995 poorer. We also understand new Town Clerk Drema Thomas received a $2 per hour increase.
                 And…since there wasn’ an agenda and since there wasn’ any members of the public in attendance, and since the meeting was illegal to begin with, it was no holds barred for decisions!! Council discussed and agreed to a $6200 settlement from a former employee allegedly caught with sticky fingers 24 months ago. The agreement calls for the settlement to be kept quiet and for the town to agree to not go after her in criminal court. Back two years ago, when the information became public, then-Recorder Betty Murphy said, in a public setting, she could positively identify a $5000 loss and possibly $10,000 removed from town coffers. Our guess is: $6200 is better than no $0. Town attorney Barbara Schamberger negotiated the out of court settlement.
                 There you have it readers, as best we can cobble together for another month.                 AW
          There is rumble brewing over at Clay Primary Health. The new Director , a Rick Simmons seems to be at the heart of the dispute. Simmons was hired as a temporary Director two months ago after Richard Jarvis retired. During Jarvis’ time in office, the $150,000 in debt , left over from the administration of Gary Johnson, was reduced by over $50,000.00. With new guy Simmons there only part time, concerned are being raised at plans to expand the county’ only public health care company. Something along the lines of, if you loose money selling one truck load of watermelons, why go buy two more loads to sell. Although private in nature, since it was funded entirely by tax payer dollars, concerns exist over whether the agency can survive.
                 Other issues at the heart of the rumble are: Consultants being paid to study the operation, running here and there and the cost of paying for costly hotel and mileage reimbursements. One person told us, during a recent staff meeting, they don’ have money to buy a pencil!
                 Parents are more torque up than usual over Clay Elem’ latest fund raising project. According to the paperwork provided parents, if each kid doesn’ sell 10 high dollar items from CherryDale Farms, the student will not be allowed to attend the “Big Blast Party” Those willing to talk in public about the matter are peed because: parents with more than one kid in the system, may not be able to buy 10 items per child and some kids will not be able to attend the party; the high price tag of the fund raising items are not justified by the price; and, it seems like everyday, a new fund raiser by a new group is up and running.
                 We thought there would be fireworks at last week’ Farm Bureau meeting held over at the Lion’ Club Casino hall on Main Street. Didn’ happen. Bob Morris was reelected as group President over rival Don “That’ not a squirrel growing on my forehead”Jarvis and much time was spent discussing the annual Youth Agricultural Fair. As far as Ag Fair dealings… The Ag Fair will be held the 4th weekend of July from now on; 7 and 8 year olds will be allowed to participate in the Fair even if they aren’ members of 4H; a professional auctioneer will be hired to handle the selling of animals in the future; the youth participants are not following a dress code and “beginning to look a little shabby and “we need to clean up our image” the plan is to include carnival rides at the 2004 Ag Fair; and finally, there are concerns that insurance coverage for the annual event may be less than needed to cover liability issues. Jarvis, “We’e been skating on pretty thin ice..” On the thin ice issue, questions came up as to whether the Ag Fair had any by laws to operate under and the need for a “air Board”to handle disputes.
                 No fireworks readers but the underbelly did show through when discussion turned to Don Jarvis needing more volunteer help at Maysel Park. One guy from the far end of the room said that one guy got chewed out for not doing something just right, “hat bullin and shoving [got to go], and “when tempers calm down, I’l help out [again].”        There’ a Nov 13th Livestock Club meeting at CCHS Nov 13th 6pm in Bob Morris’room.
                 And finally from the scanner, Clay Roane PSD water operator Bobby Burdette is in the grease again and this time it’ not an on the job issue. Monday, Oct 13th, 2:45pm, over the scanner came word of a domestic requiring law enforcement. According to 911 dispatch, Becky Burdette was getting the stuffins beat out her. When the dust settled, Becky was in the hospital while husband Bobby was sent over to Central Regional jail.
         DOGS, PROSECUTORS, & LEVY TALK County Commission had a Full Day!
                 How long does it take to make it through a 24 item meeting agenda? Hours and hours. Clay County Commission met in regular session October 14 at 1pm. The meeting change was due to the Columbus Day holiday on the 13th. The place was packed. With Commission President Jimmy Sams up front and Commissioners Peter Triplett and even Matthew Bragg in place, over thirty sat in the peanut gallery waiting to be a part of government at work.
                 First came smartly dressed Holly Cunningham with the Clay County Humane Association. She was there for money and had hand outs available for all to see where $6018 had been spent in the last 6 months of work. It seems animal hospitals are almost as costly as human hospitals. Financials indicated one mentally challenged lady’ dog-harboring cost the county nearly $900 in May alone. Commissioner Sams raised questions on high veterinarian bills for damaged animals instead of on the spaying/neutering program. With just $2120 left in the county tax fund, Dog Warden Walter Stutler reminded the elected ones of a farmer that is asking the county for $5000 to replace his dead chickens, “hat do we do about that?” Cunningham reminded with examples the numerous animal neglect problems in the county which includes farm stock.
                 Motion by Triplett to cough up $500 for animal care and $500 for the spaying/neutering program. Motion passed.
                 Mr. Smooth and attorney Tom Whittier, representing Clay Roane PSD, was next to address the boys up front. Whittier asked that the CCC re-form the old Queen Shoals PSD board. According to Whittier: Clay Roane entered into an operation and maintenance agreement last winter after the QSPSD board bailed out, leaving the locals with nothing; with no board in place any plans to merge QS with Clay Roane PSD couldn’ happen; and, that operation and maintenance agreement does not allow Clay Roane to do anything more than collect all bills, make all payments, operate the system, repair the system, answer customer complaints, replace worn out parts, and such. Mr. Smooth said QS recently lost $124,000 in grants and loans for upgrades.
                 Sams seemed receptive to finding a new board. Triplett was not. Triplett, with a copy of the agreement in hand, raised questions on the need for a board while Clay Roane wants to retain full operation and the checkbook. Triplett, “hat powers would the new board have?” Adding a fly to the ointment, President Sams asked about Clay Roane’ long delayed and much anticipated annual audit. From Clay Roane Chair Postelwait came the reply: not done, she didn’ know the name of the CPA doing the document.
                 From the gallery came, “hy can’ WV Water Company just take over Queen Shoals? Trying to stay away from the hot button issues, Whittier responded, “hat’ a different topic.” Another guy from the gallery questioned whether Clay Roane had any right to operate the system under the operation and maintenance agreement since Clay Roane’ funders wouldn’ agree to the plan. Mr. Smooth ducked from a response. Clay Roane board member White came back with, “here are just three paragraphs objected to.” Triplett smelling a rat, “o, they’e in agreement?” As the plane was burning and tumbling, Whittier came back with, “he WV PSC OK’ the operation and maintenance agreement contingent on funders [RUS] approval.”
                  Let’ review. Clay Roane took control of QSPSD (last winter) contingent on the federal lenders giving thumbs up; in April 2003 the funders said no to the current agreement; Clay Roane continues to run the water system. OK everyone, one great big Hmmmmmmmmmmm.
         Continued on the next page
                 Commissioner Triplett, the best versed on the CCC on Clay Roane operations, suggested that instead of a new Queen Shoals board with no powers, he would vote to reinstate the board only if they once again took full control of the PSD service area including taking back the working, paid for, backhoe. Melissa Postelwait advanced the notion that QS PSD would be forced into a rate increase in the near future. No answers readers. Should be interesting to watch over the next few weeks.
                 Ready for a new tax folks? Marlin Starcher requested the CCC consider an emergency service excess levy two meetings ago. Starcher was back for an update. According to County Clerk Judy Moore, a $150,000 levy tax on Class 2 property would equal an $11.65 tax increase on a $20,000 home. Starcher suggested that the proposed $150,000 could be divided up among the ambulance service, Clay VFD, Lizemore VFD and Big Otter VFD with extra bucks going for new vehicles on a rotating basis. Sounding receptive to the idea, CCC agreed to the fire departments holding an information meeting October 25 at 10:00am in the CCC room. Paige Willis asked about the WV Insurance Fund tax that generates money to local fire departments. For Big Otter, that amounts to $2000 per month (I think, as best I could understand).
                 Remember when Frank Kish asked the CCC to reimburse residents for costs associated with 911 addressing? Remember? Kish felt since the government forced everyone to pay money to change driver’ license addresses, vehicle registration card addresses, all the magazine addresses, and a bunch of other stuff, the county should fork up the money to help the poor folks handle the mandates. Kish was referring to everyone in the county getting a new physical address compliments of the 911 system. Kish told the assembled that DHHR had millions in unspent money and that money should be used to repay the costs of address change. Magistrate Jeff Boggs, sitting in the back pew, confirmed the need to change addresses and mentioned law enforcement issuing citations to those that fail to make the change in a timely manner.
          As for the plan to go ask DHHR for money, Sams, “ am confused, I’ lost. I don’ think they’e giving out dollars for licenses. You came to the wrong place… [if] we start doing this, we’l go broke…” Seeing that Kish wasn’ leaving without some kind of answer, County Commission agreed to ask DHHR for funding. As for Kish’ request of $55 to cover the cost of changing addresses, it was thumbs down. No go.
          And now for some fireworks. Before the Commission was Prosecutor Grindo seeking the OK to hire already on the job Barry Koerber as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. It was explained that Koerber lives in Ivydale, will work two days a week, will handle overflow, the $25,000 salary is already in the prosecutor’ budget, and Mr. Koerber will NOT be an employee but rather work under contract. With Sams and Triplett looking pleased, Bragg, “ thought you didn’ need an assistant?” Looking earnest, Grindo countered with: now that he is into the job, there is a back log of cases and, that part about not needing an assistant, “as a miscalculation on my part.” Motion passed to hire Koerber through June 30, 2004. From the back, Jeff Boggs came alive.
                 Boggs questioned why the CCC was just now hiring a guy who has been on the job for three weeks. Magistrate Boggs, “ust now hiring him? What was he doing in my office [Magistrate Court] the other day?” Sams tried to sooth the riled Boggs with something along the lines of: this is standard operating procedure and this has been done before. Didn’ work readers!
                 Boggs, “ou don’ have the money for our video arraignment…we’e about the only county without it…why does he get the money [to hire an assistant]?” Boggs went on to explain that the arraignment hook up costs about $1400 per month and would benefit more than the Magistrate’ court. As for money to pay Koerber, “here did that money come from? You said Ms Schamberger used all of it up…” Boggs was warming up. Clerk Moore answered that Schamberger’ money was from the last budget year. Boggs, “e [Grindo] gets it and we can’ have it? Why him and not me? [We’e] been trying for years!!”        Sams had the look of ‘hat am I doing here and how did I get in this mess?’ Boggs finally got down to brass tacks with, “ow do you give money for an assistant for someone that don’ come to work? When he does, he leaves the county…you told him $25,000 and we can’ get $1400?” Boggs was referring to the quiet talk around the county that Prosecutor Grindo is often away from his office when needed, and the number of days he doesn’ show up at all. No where to be found when the magistrates need him. Looking to bail out, Sams, “e could argue this all day.”        Boggs wasn’ done. With both arms draped over the back of the last pew, “e just comes to court…he doesn’ work here everyday!” Sams, firing up, retorted that at one point Boggs was not in favor of the video arraignment equipment. With tension in the room, Boggs, “ ain’ mad at nobody. I just asked a question and didn’ get an answer.” Sams, rallying for the cause, “ou just didn’ hear what you wanted!”        It ain’ over yet, readers. Now fully two hours into the meeting, County Commission voted to reappoint State Road Superintendent Clark Samples to the Clay County Business Development Authority. BDA Chair Willis, “ny reason you done that?” Willis explained that Samples had quit the volunteer position and according to BDA by laws, if you miss more than 3 meetings in a row you’e automatically off the committee. Willis, “e hasn’ been there for four meetings.” Instead of Clark Samples Chair Willis recommended Dave Pierson to the vacancy. Sams came back with something along the lines of, how come you didn’ recommend Pierson before hand? Willis, “ou didn’ ask for a recommendation!” Willis said by WV law, a BDA must have 12 members to be legal and the Clay BDA has but 10 active members. Willis added another recommendation, Leonard Williams. Commissioner Bragg motioned to appoint Samples, Leonard and Pierson to the BDA as well as Peter Triplett (Commission rep) to replace Jimmy Sams who resigned 9 months ago, if not longer. Sams bailed when the BDA voted to retain his arch enemy Barbara Schamberger as BDA attorney.
                 Readers, we had to bail out of the meeting a little after 3 pm. How long did it go? We don’ know! What Sheriff Fields said about poor 911 radio coverage for the county? We don’ know! What was said about 911 Director Dave King’ performance in getting plans together to get more antennas for better radio coverage? We don’ know.
                 Thanks for tuning in to this edition of “layberry Minutes.” Take some time, hug the wife, scratch the dog’ belly, go to church, and come to a public meeting. You’l be glad you did!                AW