NOVEMBER 27, 2003
"I can't be nice!"
Letter to Brother Bill
Four Rules for Real Estate        
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’s Corner
How’s Your Health?…...Insurance?

        Our school system administrators are paid quite nicely for their work. Much of their time is spent putting on a good face to parents and the public in general. Number massaging and enhancements are part of their job. The object is to look good even when maybe they shouldn’t. No it’s not just Clay County or even the state. The enhancement efforts are practiced across our great nation.
        Recently, the Charleston Gazette’s Eric Eyre reported on a new twist where schools listed as failures under the Federal No Child Left Behind guidelines would be given fancy awards and given high praised in WV. In Clay County, three of our schools including two National Schools of Excellence (CCHS and CMS) are listed as failing the standards and those schools will soon be given the dog and pony show treatment by state school officials next week. Why the dog and pony show? From Eric Eyre, Last spring state school board members warned that No Child Left Behind might spark a public relations nightmare, prompting parents to lose confidence in schools…
        Even more recently, our local superintendent wrote (in that little paper over in Clay) on misleading articles published in some other papers. It’s not just Linkinogger putting on the face either. The State Ed gang provided a press release which read, WV Student’s Make Steady Progress on Nation’s Report Card. State Superintendent of Schools Dave Stewart stated, We are extremely pleased to see that WV students continue to show steady and significant progress in reading.… And later: the average scale score for WV’s 4th graders improved from 216 in 1998 to 219 in 2002. He went on heaping high praise for the work educators do. Sounds good doesn’t it? Let’s take a closer look at the massage
        That Nation’s Report Card is produced by the National Center for Education Statistics. From their web site comes this: The National Center for Education Statistics fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.
        The Nation’s Report Card disputes about everything WV educators are passing about these days. From Nation: In 2003, 25 of the 53 states other jurisdictions that in the eighth-grade reading assessment had higher percentages of at or above than the nation as a . Guess which state was well below standards? You got it, WV along with Tennessee, Texas and you got it, Mississippi. 28% of our WV students are well below basic levels of performance and another 48% are on the basic level.
          Statewide in WV, and according to the Nation’s Report Card, just 29% of our fourth graders were proficient in reading, 29%! In West Virginia, just 25% of our 8th graders are proficient in reading. When State Man Dave Stewart says were doing better, what he’s saying is: Since 1998 our reader stats have improved just 1 percentage point!
                 Of course our leaders tell us the value of having a strong math background. The statisticians from Nation’s Report Card assessed 190,000 4th graders and 153,000 8th graders to come up with their findings. In this most important area of education, math, West Virginia managed to set near the bottom of the chart with 76% of our student’s performing at basic levels or below. 25% of our students scored below basic proficiency! In the math category, we were not alone. The District of Columbia listed 64% of their students below basic levels. Thank goodness for DC and Mississippi with 83% at basic levels or below.
                 Is 24% of our West Virginia students proficient in mathematics good enough for awards and the upcoming dog and pony show? Well it's better than findings from the 2000 year stats when we were listed as having just 17% proficient in math statewide.
                 What does all this mean to readers? When your child gets out into the real world, the job market, heads off to college, heads to the military or whatever, away from all the trumped up school system hype, his reading and math skills will put him or her at a disadvantage no matter how many fancy award banquets are waived about.
Of course everyone likes cake and punch so go ahead and take part in the dog and pony shows but for a healthy dose of the truth, head over to The Nation's Report Card at
         CLAY TOWN COUNCIL -"I can't be nice!"
                 This one’s a little tardy readers, sorry. Clay Town Council met in regular session Nov 4th at 4 pm. In attendance, Mayor Arthur Jarrett, Recorder Dwana Murphy, and Council persons, Betty Murphy, Frank Childers ( came late), Phil Morris, and Billie Jean Zegeer. Absent: Sally Legg.
                 Over 30 years ago, the Pierson and Zegeer families sued the town when the old sewer plant was built. At the time, the sewer operation didn’t have the money to pay the settlement and the town coughed up the award. Since then, each month for the past 30 some years, $25 per month has been paid.        Council passed a motion to forgive the debt from the sewer operation and stop making the pay back payments.
                 Council voted to buy new computer equipment that will back up existing files. Two years ago another computer when flop and all files were lost.
                  Engineer Jim Hildruth was on hand to oversee the $1 million water line extension project (grant money) to proceed. Something about $138,000 for engineering services. According to Hildruth, possible tank site locations include property behind Go Mart owned by Tom Dawson. And then Hildruth made some kind of reference to Rule 42. Know what that is readers? That’s a code word for rate increase. We asked Betty Murphy about rule 42 and did that mean just what we thought it meant. Murphy, It’s nothing to do with a rate increase. You might want to cut that out and put it on your refrigerator for future reference.
                 Remember when Johnny Woofter took the town to court over the right-of-way providing easement to the new sewer plant? In the settlement, the town was ordered to pay Woofter $20 per year for use of his private road. During this meeting of Council it came to light that the town had not paid the court ordered settlement for two years… that’s $40. Betty Murphy said that Mayor Joyce Gibson worked behind the scenes during the court battle and prevented testimony that would have opened the road up for use as a public road. Phil Morris confirmed the public road status saying that road in question was not private but rather had been on the state road maps since 1933. Council decided NOT to pay Woofter his 40 bucks. Dwana Murphy, Well.. What do I tell him [Woooofter]? Mayor Jarrett, Tell him to call me…
                 As for the water system, there are leaks near the old car wash going up Maysel hill and there is a leak siphoning off treated water at the lower Maysel storage tank.
                 As for the need to replace trash can lids around town and the number of cans and lids disappearing…. Frank Childers suggested that they paint Bio Hazard signs on the cans and that should take care of any future problems. Laugher erupted.
                 Clay County PSD built their new double wide trailer (across from the courthouse) partly on a right-of-way owned by the town. Jarrett reminded all that he had asked them not to set the double wide there BEFORE hand. Betty Murphy, We want that right-of-way OPEN! Dwana Murphy reminded leadership that the PSD did not have a building permit when the trailer was installed. Big Murph said she would write a letter and tell them [PSD] to get the trailer off the town’s right-of-way. After rethinking the situation, Murph asked Phil Morris to pen the letter and said, I can’t be nice [to them]. As for the long standing turf battle, Terry Traub seemed to sum it up best, We ain’t going to get no cooperation from Clay County PSD. Big Murph replied, We get along with the other utilities real well.
         Clay County PSD has filed a formal complaint against the town. The complaint centers around what the Town Water Works charges the PSD for wholesale water and the master meter used to throttle the water flow. Recently Clay County PSD replaced the meter (at their own expense) and asked the town to repay them for discrepancy’s in recent bills. Maintenance man Terry Traub reported test findings from the old meter which indicated that the meter was in perfect working order and NOT over charging the PSD. Another battle line appears to be forming over who owned the original meter and who is/was responsible for it.
         There you have it folks, as best we can piece it together. Some progress in the water line extension project, an engineer hired, and the Mr. Happy turf battle continues with the Town of Clay. Finally, one other note, during a special meeting of the Council several weeks ago, discussion was held on what to do with a settlement offer ($6400+) from a fraud audit performed nearly 24 months ago. Council has never voted on accepting the check, the terms of the settlement, nor whether the sticky finger person will be made public.        
         One other note readers. The Town remains without a police cruiser. Chief of Police Buckshot Butcher is using his mother’s vehicle until transportation is once again available to him. With the Ford Bronco down for the count with front end problems and more, Mayor Jarrett said the cruiser donated last summer from Gauley Bridge is almost ready for road duty needing only a windshield and brake work.                                                                AW
         DON GREENE: WV Radical
                 Election year is just around the corner and it is time for West Virginians to start thinking about casting responsible votes. If the voters of WV had been responsible the last time around we wouldn't be watching young Americans die daily in a mindless attempt to cram democracy down the throats of people that aren't ready for it and, with the exception of those among them that have grown fat on American money, don't want it. That is because if West Virginians had not let themselves be fooled into thinking that George Bush somehow was going to be better for them than Al Gore. The absolute stupidity that I had to listen to about how Gore was going to take their precious guns and somehow hurt their precious coal-mining was just that - stupid and irresponsible. If WV had gone Democrat as it should have, there would not have been the huge deficit, the loss of jobs, the loss of our basic Constitutional rights, the now-apparent endless war in Iraq, none of the tragedies that have befallen this nation. It can all be fairly placed on the shoulders of the irresponsible voters of WV and justly so.
         As more and more of our industries move overseas there will be less and less need for their precious coal and the people that mine it. If Ashcroft keeps moving forward on his campaign to strip us of our Constitutional rights, their precious guns will soon be gone. So, whom did the voters hurt? All of us, of course.
                 But there are many more offices up beyond the presidency. We will be voting for everyone from county commissioners to the governor and they all need to be voted upon based on something that reflects the good old common sense that West Virginians used to have. First on my priorities is: do you like this person? Is the candidate honest, trust-worthy and reflective of your attitudes and beliefs? Would or could this candidate be trusted with the keys to your house? How about trusting him or her with the keys to your car? Would you trust them alone with your children? What has this candidate done for a living? How many favors do they owe to people that are on the opposite end of the social ladder than us? Do the banks, industries, corporations already own this candidate? Are they already in the pocket of any of the special interest groups? Can they cast fair and balanced votes or are they already beholding to the very groups that daily take people like us to the cleaners?
                 Does this candidate have any weaknesses that can be exploited? Are they drunkards, drug-users, abusers and users of children, homosexuals? Do they associate with prostitutes, gamblers, crooks and scam-artists of any kind? Will they forget the common man and vote only for others like them? Who will they be working for, us or the ones that run over us? Do they come from within the bureaucracy? Can they be expected to separate themselves from the pencil-neck geeks that live on our tax dollars? Who is supporting them? Is it people like us or those other blood-sucking leeches that are draining every county, this state and this nation? Do they have any idea of how to help your county? Do they have a clue as to helping this state? Are they just going to be another round of tax-increasers? Can they be expected to do more than feather their own nests and those of their buddies? Will they improve anything or just let it ride?
                 Elections are serious business and not something that should be done lightly. WV needs to start thinking now and be ready when the booths open, to vote for far better candidates than we have before and for far better reasons.
         Letter to Brother Bill

         Dear Brother Bill:
         First we had high water and then we had REAL high water. Lots of items went floating down the creek in front of our house. Guess by now you are full of turkey. I invited Don and myself to have dinner at Rod and Melissa's house. Sounded good to me. We have so much to be thankful for, not just on Thanksgiving but everyday. When I go to the grocery store I always give thanks to the Lord for that privilege and for having enough money to pay for the items. The Lord has been so good to all of us. He hasn't given me everything that I wanted, but He has supplied our every need.
         I hear that Danny Boggs (CCHS '52), of Jackson Center, Penn., has retired as a council man after serving 35 years. That is a long time and he deserves a big CONGRATULATIONS. He is the son of the late Russell and Orva Boggs, formerly of Ivydale.
         Our step-sister, Donna Dawson Smythe, has moved to a new place. You know, her home and most of the contents were destroyed by the flood last summer. Her new place is up toward Coonskin Park, out of the flood range. Charlotte Eagle Steed and her husband, of Knollwood, will be spending Thanksgiving with family in South Carolina. Faye Eagle will be visiting with family in Ohio. I used to see her when I would visit the Heart to Heart Center. Aunt Maycle Samples of Twistabout is still having health problems. Dawn King Casto, of Valley Fork, tells me her dad, Earl King (CCHS '55) is improving. Eddie Igo, of Ovapa, has had a bad case of the flu. I think several folks in our area have been ailing with the flu. Randy Thompson, of Ovapa, is home recovering from surgery. HURRAY, for Nikki O'Brien, of Twistabout. She has just completed her classes in Real Estate. Tiffany Sizemore is working toward a Master's in Education. She attends WVU. So you will know, she is Darrell and Phyliss Samples granddaughter.
         The dinner at the high school last Sunday was a big success. Nancy fixed a wonderful meal and I heard that over l,000 lunches were served or sent out. The fellowship was great and this idea was a very good one. Several Clay County churches and individuals contributed to the dinner which was free for anyone who wanted to attend. A Gospel sing followed with wonderful singing.
         Sandy and Ed Smith have moved their double wide. I think they moved in the vicinity of Porter's Creek. But, I am not sure. I just know they are gone. Sandy works for l-800-CALLWVA. Adam Burdette, of Twistabout, has a CD/tape of his music for sale. Adam is the son of Bill and Beverly Burdette. Talked with Lyle Shreves and Sylvia this week. They live at Terra Alta. They are fine. Betsy, Jeff and Jeff's children will be with them for Thanksgiving. They spent Thanksgiving Dinner with us for five years in a row. Sometimes brother George, would come with them. We enjoyed having them with us.
         Our dear friend and neighbor, Goldie "Pudge" Samples, of Horner's Fork, recently celebrated her 96th birthday. We have known Pudge all of our life and she is a REAL lady. We hope she has many more birthdays.
         Our Tom Turkey is so thankful for a nice place to live. Hopefully, he knows he will not end up in an oven. We are missing a few more shoes, some pens, a few large print Reader Digests, and probably some other items I just haven't missed - all due to Champ the Boxer. Sugar Baby the Dobie never did chew up stuff so Champ is making up for her. I told Andy that you wanted to meet him when you came down. He wants to know when you are coming in.
         Until the next time. Be true to your self and Help Us All to be Brave.         —Love, Sis
         PS - Hello to Dennis, Boyd and Helen Sutton in South Carolina. Happy Holidays
                 Is your electric bill a little pricey? If all goes as planned, customers of Elk Power Company will see higher electric bills beginning in Jan 2004. Elk Power put in the request for higher rates Nov 18th. The rule 30D rate request applies to companies owned by David Musser, Black Diamond Power, Elkhorn Public Service Company, Kimball Light and Power Co., union Power, United Light and Power Co., War Light and Power, and of course, Elk Power which serves much of Clay County.
                 From the WV Public Service Commission procedural order dated Nov 18th: On November 12, 2003, the above-named Companies, collectively referred to as the "Musser Companies", filed applications, pursuant to Rule 30D of the Commission's Rules and Regulations for the Government and Filing of Tariffs (Tariff Rules), to change rates per kilowatt hour for the adjustment period commencing January 1, 2004, based upon changes in the variable portion of the wholesale rate charged by Appalachian Power Company, doing business as American Electric Power, their supplier. Elk and United requested increases in their fuel surcharges. The other companies requested decreases.
          Specifically, Black Diamond Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0031126) per kwh; Elk Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0069002) per kwh; Elkhorn Public Service Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0026693) per kwh; Kimball Light and Water Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0032507) per kwh; Union Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0031679) per kwh; United Light and Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0029680) per kwh; and War Light and Power Company requested a fuel surcharge of ($.0030329) per kwh.
You might notice that Elk Power requested the highest amount, more than double the other Musser provider companies.
                 After web site posted the rate increase request and provided commentary on higher rates coming to local customers, Elk Power manager Leonard Williams questioned the wording and said that this was NOT an increase. In response, one guy advanced a silly little notion, If my power bills go higher, then it’s a rate increase! again Williams disagreed saying the guy was playing word games and added last year Elk Power rates actually went down
                 Leonard Williams also questioned the web site’s purpose of informing the public on opportunities to protest increases. From the WV Public Service Commission order: Anyone interested in this proceeding may submit written statements of protest or support on or before December 5, 2003.
That address to mail your protest of higher rates is WV PSC, Sandra Squires; 201 Brooks Street; Charleston, WV 25301. Be sure to include the case number for clarity, CASE NO. 03-1901-E-30D.        AW
         Four Rules for Real Estate
                 Recently I was reflecting on what it took to be successful in real estate and life. My mind recalled a saying that stated: "Where ever you go... there you are." I know that is a cute saying, but the truth is most of us have to struggle to live it.
          How many times have we gone to show property, list a home, go to work, spend time with our family, watch tv, and we weren't really there? We are certainly there in physical body, but are we mentally there? Let me share with you the four rules of real estate:
          l. Be there.
          This means to show up on time. Being on time to a listing appointment can often mean the difference between getting the listing and not getting the listing. It means preparing before you go on an appointment so you are ready. Being there also means treating your real estate career like a real job. Show up at work everyday at the same time.
          2. Focus mentally.
          Focus mentally means to be in the moment with intense concentration. The better you focus mentally the more results you will get for your time invested. If you need to listen to clients... focus on what the clients is saying. If you are formulating your answer or response, you are not listening to the client. Learning to focus is one of the most valuable skills you can acquire. Focus always comes before success. Focus means to pay attention to what is happening around you, to pay attention to the details of success. It is usually a small thing that separates success from failure.
          3. Tell the truth.
          In every situation tell the truth. Agents are often given the opportunity to tell people something they don't want to hear. For example, the home is worth $150,000, but the seller wants $165,000. What do you do? Many agents will take the listing at $165,000 and deal with the $15,000 price reduction later. My belief is to tell the truth. You may not get the listing, but at least you will know you were honest. Too many of us hedge or shade the truth.
          Understand there will be a time of reckoning. It may not be now but it will come. It may be when the market slows and you have a bunch of listings that will not sell. Remember the truth will set you free.
          4. Accept the results and move on.
          Too often agents let the highs get too high and the lows get too low. We need to accept the results we get. Work to understand them and the reasons why, then move on to any necessary changes.
          We should realize that striking out is all part of life's game. We know that we will have other opportunities. We will have other turns in the game of life. When we make mistakes learn from them and don't get fooled again. Remember, it took Edison 1,000 or more strikes at
          the invention of the light bulb before he got a working light. He learned from each one that didn't work. We must learn from our mistakes and move on. If you worry about lost deals, you won't be able to focus on the one that is currently in front of you. The process of your daily disciplines and improvement of your skills are what you can control.
          Finally, I urge you to be there everyday at every moment. Focus mentally on the one thing you are working on in that moment. Tell the truth in all situations. If you have don the first three then accept the results, and move on. Success in life will be right around your corner.
          Editor's note: Dave recently received the Graduate Realtor Institute designation. The GRI designation symbolizes not only completion of a course of study required by the program, but also the commitment to apply that knowledge consistent with the Code of Ethics. He is a local real estate agent with Greenlee Properties Inc., and provides this column as a public service.
                 As a non-ashamed voter, I ask that this article be printed in response to Fred Sampson’s chatter in which he said he was ashamed of those people who voted for President George W. Bush. I am glad we live in a country such as America where people are free to publicly criticize our president. This right was earned with the lives of American soldiers since the Revolutionary War. The people of Iraq now have that right because of America — Plain and Simple. It appears, Mr. Sampson, that you want your right to speak but that you care little about those in Iraq.
                 The same selfish and short-sighted rabble was heard when America entered both World Wars. At least after World War II, when the War Protesters learned how Hitler had slaughtered the Jews, they had enough decency to quiet themselves. Today, after learning about the mass graves in Iraq, running human beings through shredders, torture chambers, throwing people from buildings, etc., it seems that some people, because of blind loyalty to a political party cannot understand the honor in rescuing helpless people from a desperate situation—like the people of Iraq are being rescued.
                 How many times in the Bible are we told about the need to help the poor and the afflicted? How many times in the Bible are we told about how God will bring down evil rulers who oppress their people? Don’t be ashamed of those who vote for a President who is not afraid to call EVIL out by name and fight against it. Terrorism was here before President Bush came into office. The same group of terrorists tried unsuccessfully to blow up the World Trade Center in the early 1990’s. Remember the USS Cole? Remember the killing of the Olympic athletes in Munich, Germany? The list goes on. Finally we have a President who is willing to realize the danger and do something about it. Don’t hump up and be ashamed of those who stand for their beliefs and have the courage to vote for their beliefs at the polls. Don’t act like you can’t tell right from wrong in these issues.
                 Mr. Sampson, were you proud of those who voted for George W. Bush when he signed the bill into law last week to BAN PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION? Or were you proud of President Bill Clinton who TWICE REFUSED TO SIGN THIS BILL. He, in fact, VETOED it on two separate occasions. As a result of abortion since 1973, about 35 million unborn infants have been slaughtered. That is more than the 4,435 Americans killed in the Revolutionary War, plus the 498,332 Americans killed in the Civil War, plus the 116,708 Americans killed in World War I, plus the 407,316 Americans killed in World War II, plus the 25,604 Americans killed in the Korean War, plus the 58,168 Americans killed in the Vietnam War for a total of 1,110,563 Americans killed.
                 Now all of the 400 or so soldiers killed in Iraq are precious to us. We wish that not a single soldier was lost. If the loss of 400 soldiers is precious to you, (and I expect it is) why are you not concerned enough about the 35 million infants to vote for a President who will stand against their slaughter? Mr. Sampson, if you buried all the aborted infants since 1973 (Roe vs Wade) 5 foot apart, the graves would be lined up for a distance of 33,143 miles. That’s far enough to go all the way around the world and then some. Are you proud to vote for a politician who supports this? Would you kill an infant partially born by sticking a screw driver or similar object into its skull? Many people voted for President Bush because they wanted this procedure stopped. Are you not the least bit ashamed to support those who want to continue the slaughter?
                 Are you ashamed of people who voted for President Bush when he said this week, I believe marriage is between 1 MAN and 1 WOMAN? If the candidate that you support for President SUPPORTS ABORTION AND SAME SEX MARRIAGE, will you be proud to vote for him/her? Or will you still be ashamed of those who believe marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman? Wake up Mr. Sampson—90% of Americans do not like what is being done to destroy marriage. Why not put your vote where your belief is?
                 I urge the people of this great nation to remain united, stand for what is right, and get on their knees and pray for our President to continue standing for the things that make America strong—good morals, a strong defense, Men marrying Women, protecting our infants, leaving GOD in the pledge and in our country also, and belief in a God that can Bless America. This is right for Clay County, for West Virginia, and for the United States of America. May God Bless America
          Dave Mullins
          School Bus Operator and
          President of Clay County School Service Personnel
          Uncle Bobby and Aunt Marni Killingsworth:
          We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere. The biscuits and apple butter, butterscotch and laughter, The shop and its humor, pipe bending and welding, The up and DOWN of the winding roads, sunshine and flooding, An axe handle could never measure how much we love you and miss you.
          Love Always,
          Bobby, Heather, Dillen, Ben and Jesse.
         Looking Out for Our Kids
          Hat's off to Mike Taylor and Ella Markle - bus driver and bus aide to my daughter Sarah. Instead of just picking her up, they got off the bus to tell us how bad the roads were and asked if we wanted to send Sarah. Of course we kept her home. Sarah being a handicapped child, it's nice to know her bus driver and aide were looking out for her safety, not like some at the board office sending our kids out on the water covered roads!
                                 Francine Hubbard
          Hello, Clayberry!
                 I am one of the sons of Burke and Karen Nicholas, the third one Jesse. Mom told me to check out the web site. I have been enjoying it for the last few days. I have told some of my fellow soldiers about what is published in the photos section, and of course they hear hick from West Virginia. I am proud of what is there though, it is the way I grew up and it is what I want to remember if I get deployed again.Our little town may have its share of problems, but one thing I don’t hear from other soldiers is the amount of support they receive from their hometowns.         THANKS IT DOES MEAN ALOT.
         Dear Sir:
                 Do you know how the federal food stamp program is set up? Does the federal put in so much money and WV the rest? What is the income guideline? What are our food stamps based on? How do they budget it and why is it that people in Kanawha County get more than people in Clay County?
                 Living expenses keep going up and people’s stamps should, but they don’t, they go backward. Is someone taking what people should be getting? I don’t understand why it’s such a big difference in different counties.
                         F. Wyant Maysel
         BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’s Corner
                 We are a nation of laws. Every blowhard in political office, or even wanna-be office holders can be expected to incorporate this slogan in their speeches. This is a splendid concept that would have even more impact if only it were true. It would be more accurate to modify the maxim thusly: We are a nation of laws, so long as they are laws of which we approve, and from which we can benefit. International law, it seems, is a system to which this republic adheres whenever it serves our purpose. It is, for example, a violation of international law to attack and invade a country that has not attacked us. The hardliners never tire of reminding the American people that Iraq has violated a number of U.N. resolutions, conveniently omitting the fact that Israel and Turkey are at the top of the list, Israel leading with 60 violations, a dubious distinction. The old double standard is alive and well. Whenever the administration is casting about for its excuse-of-the-week ploy for invading Iraq, U.N. violations work as well as any. Anyway, Israel is a democracy, and that term covers a multitude of sins.
                 Speaking of law, The Hague Regulations of 1907, which became part of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which were ratified by the United States and the U.S. Army’s Code of War states that an occupying power must respect unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country. Our man in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, the U.S. Occupation Chief and head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, (hereafter CPA) has embarked on a program of privatization, a concept dear to the hearts of Halliburton and other reconstruction executives who had planned to descend on war torn Iraq long before the actual conflict. On September 19, Bremer enacted Order 39.
                  …It announced that 200 Iraqi state companies would be privatized; decreed that foreign firms can retain 100 percent ownership of Iraqi banks, mines and factories; and allowed these firms to move 100 percent of their profits out of Iraq. The Economist declared the new rules a capitalist dream. - Naomi Klein The Nation
         As violations go, this is one of the best, a direct contravention of the Hague Regulations. However, we must not overlook the White House’s endless litany that our abiding motive is to bring democracy to the Middle East. Privatization brings one negligible effect to Iraq, hardly worth noticing – 70 percent unemployment, caused by public sector layoffs. As Naomi Klein puts it, risking the wrath of John Ashcroft, as well as the Defense Policy Board, It’s too late to stop the war, but it’s not too late to deny Iraq’s invaders the myriad economic prizes they went to war to collect in the first place.
                 Now the corporate media, the White House and the Pentagon are engaged in what might be called the success offensive. There is a rising tide of happy talk, TV shots of Baghdad’s flowery boulevards, sidewalk shops, smiling merchants. In order to propagate this rosy picture and to spare the public from the dark side, the White House has issued a directive to suspend the TV coverage of coffins and body bags arriving at Dover Air Force Base. What some have called the Dover Syndrome has been cancelled for motives perhaps questionable: to shield grieving families? To avoid the Vietnam experience, i.e., the public’s growing objections to the war? As the old philosopher P.T. Barnum said: You pays your money, and you takes your choice.
                 In what may rank among cases of the most tortured logic of the ages, a ceaseless parade of public figures and TV pundits have stated that they would rather have our fighting on the streets of Baghdad, etc., than in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and elsewhere on our sacred shores. The absurdity of this so-called thought would be laughable were it not so constantly exclaimed on the media. Senator Mitch McConnell, the intrepid champion of the people, Kentucky and all points of the compass made that remark just a few days ago. McConnell has the annoying habit of repeatedly saying what the American people think. He, for example, is on record as proclaiming that citizens have no interest in campaign finance reform. Things would come to a pretty pass if congress people could no longer buy their offices. They might even be forced to work for a living. On the other hand, spending three days in the nation’s capital, and the rest of the time at home or out in the Hustings collecting money is a fairly pleasant existence.
                 The parade of politicians junketing to Iraq goes on apace. They spend three or four days, and when they return they are magically transformed into experts on the Middle East, particularly enthusiastic about how swimmingly things are going over there. This week’s recipient of the callousness award goes to Washington State’s George Nethercut (R). George spent 4 days in Iraq. Here is what we paid for.
                  …The story of what we’ve done in Iraq is remarkable. It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day.
         The stupidity and insensitivity of this observation boggles the mind. At the very least this creature should be forced to make his opinions before an audience consisting of the parents and widows of the 300 plus dead who are part of what promises to be endless carnage, the ones Bush keeps telling us are fighting for our freedom. Nethercut is not the only one guilty of this blasphemy. It is a neocon attitude which most of them are clever enough to think, but not say. One can only hope that, in a rational universe, if there is such a thing, those who are guided only by self-interest, nest-feathering, and attraction to the corridors of power will eventually find themselves residing in one of Dante’s most remote circles of hell. As Hamlet put it: ’Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d.
                 In the glorious, yet occasionally sordid history of this republic certain uncomfortable truths have emerged. One of them is that if something is repeated enough it is assumed truth. Saddam has WMDs. Iraqis participated in 9/11. Iraq is allied with al Queda. America is in immanent danger from Hussein. Reagan ended the Cold War. The last statement must be true because the odious Ann Coulter says it on virtually every other page of her hard-liners supported publications. This is a woman whose proximity to reason is so remote that she asserts our current corporate scandals occurred because of the moral climate (or the lack thereof) established by Bill Clinton. It is only a matter of time before Coulter or some other right wing ranter finds that Clinton set the California fires. And we are not too sure about the Black Plaque that wiped out 1/3 of Europe.
                 To get back to Reagan: it is a mystery to at least some of us that there seems to exist an industry whose fulltime obsession is to elevate him to near-sainthood. There is even a movement to rename Mt. Rushmore to, guess what? As someone must be saying someplace: Let’s look at the facts. It is true that Reagan had a hand in ending the Cold War, but it is also true that Harry Truman, John Kennedy and even Michail Gorbechev had a bit to do with it. The Reagan Revolution the conservatives keep lauding consisted of Reagan and Secretary Weinberger spending this country into virtual bankruptcy, a policy the Bush administration has gleefully adopted. Many Soviet scholars argue that Russia imploded because of its disastrous economic program, but who are we to dispute the Republican spin machine? Moreover, the Reagan administration conducted an illegal and secret war in Central America resulting in thousands of civilian deaths, including nuns and priests. Remember the Iran Contra scandal? Bush I, then vice president, famously said: I was out of the loop, adding a construction that will live through the ages. Depending, as it always does, on the political bent of the sitting judiciary, Reagan could have been tried for treason, or impeached. These are harsh observations about a man, 92, facing near-death, wasted by Alzheimer’s, but it is not certain that history will be as laudatory as the GOP trumpets. In the search for truth, even though it may be a futile quest, it seems hypocritical to accept blindly the ancient maxim: de mortuis nihil nisi bonum (of the dead say nothing but good.)
                 Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
                                 Con amore, Cur
         How’s Your Health?…...Insurance?
                 Feeling a little anemic lately? Wanna know the reason (s) for a deteriorating health system in, this, the wealthiest nation on the face of the planet Earth? Would anyone be surprised to learn that there are corrupt people out there who have each and all of us in their sights—– targeted, as it were, in a concentrated drive to obtain, legal or otherwise, a greater share of the GNP of the country for their coffers? Yes, I know that you have caught a glimpse of this on the national media, but how much attention do we as consumers expend on behalf of that little known quantity called stewardship? Yes, as a citizen in this great and powerful society, we owe it to ourselves to learn the ways of those whose decisions made behind locked doors are having such disastrous effects on the rest of us. Whether or not your health is in imminent danger; no matter your balance sheet numbers, what goes on in the boardrooms of this country IS affecting every person in this nation!! Believeth thou this? It’s true anyway.
                 Is it possible to KNOW of a certainty, the character and modus operandi of the decision makers, even though they operate in secret, live behind gated walls, and travel only in the highest circles of society? Well, yes, it certainly is . The real question here is: Do we REALLY want to do something about the current situation in the health care industry, or , do we want to play the role of lap-dog, slumbering while the politicians play, play with OUR money as if it is a game of Monopoly? Someone once said that everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it, and that observation, I submit, is more appropriate in the case of our disappearing greenbacks into that collapsing black hole known as the health care industry. While there are thousands of pressure-points being manifested in the upward spiral of health care costs, the primary motivation for what we are seeing in this instance is pure and simple GREED. Normally, caring people do not begrudge anyone a fair day’s pay, for an honest day’s work, however, the kind of salaries being given to high-level CEO’s and managers, (a term that has become synonymous with corruption, debauchery, fraud, and robbing the poor to give to the rich.)
                 Have you noticed that the healthcare industry is THE most protected business entity in these United States of America? This becomes painfully clear when we see the lengths big pharmaceutical companies will go to keep folks from utilizing a little free-trade across national borders in order to save a buck or two. And the politician: Well, we can’t get into price-fixing, when asked to lend a hand to simplify the process a little. LIARS!! They support the efforts of large corporations to set artificially high prices for their products all the time. This government subsidizes commercial enterprises all over this nation with taxpayer dollars, while at the same time work to support those who would seek to stifle free-trade with their monopolistic policies.
                 And, good ol’ AARP (the senior-citizens friend?) - take a look at who, (probably the biggest middle-man in the insurance business) is supporting in the current debate in Congress pertaining to Medicare and prescription drugs. Being a member of this group since retirement, I receive solicitations from them each month for insurance sales policies that, like the national trend, keeps getting higher and higher. I remember on particular year when I received a $21.00 increase in my social security check and, wouldn’t you know it, dear AARP raised my health insurance $21.50 per month - leaving me nothing for increases in housing, food, fuel, clothing, medicine— well, you get the picture. My friends at AARP TOOK IT ALL, and when I complained— they wouldn’t even answer my letter. Thanks, AARP. But, you need to know that, according to all the information we can glean from the media, and by listening to the debate in Congress, there is nothing to substantiate your contentions that this is a good deal for retired folks. And, your use of $7 million dollars for a slick ad campaign in the fat-cat television medium does nothing to alleviate my fears of impending disaster for Medicare AND Social Security, if those now in command in Washington, D.C. get their way.
                 If the bill, currently being debated, and of which you have given your support, harms Medicare and/or Social Security, and seniors access to healthcare, then there will be hell to pay in paradise island. And you will be held responsible for your part in this fiasco.
                 We will discuss this problem further in future articles. However, in the meantime I would advise EVERY middle-class, working American to turn his/her interest into the doings in Washington and make these people know how important the health of their families are. Provide a little advise and consent
         incentives of your own.
                                         Jim Chafin
                 In late October, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) ordered sweeping changes in Bank of Gassaway administration, the way loans were reviewed, loan practices and confidentiality standards. In what appears to be a response to the federal mandates, a local, long time branch manager and loan officer was fired November 21st.
                 Fran King went on administrative leave three days before the FDIC agreement was made public, November 6, 2003. King said she had high blood pressure, that doctors ordered the time off. On Nov. 26 Ms King gave the real story, I was put on administrative leave November 3…. I was dismissed November 21.
                 King served as branch manager since the Bank of Gassaway branch was completed in Two Run. King was the only branch manager to also have loan officer duties. Bank of Gassaway has four branch locations in West Virginia. According to Ms King, she was asked to come to the main bank office in Gassaway Nov 20th where she was told she had been doing a good job but issues were coming up on loan practices and the bank being exposed to possible losses. King was given the opportunity to resign but didn’t. The next day she received a letter stating her relationship with the bank had been terminated.
        Federal regulators demanded and got agreement on sweeping changes to the way loans are administrated at the bank. In the agreement, bank officials agreed to: Within 60 days of this Agreement, the Bank shall submit to the Reserve Bank and the Division acceptable revised written loan policies and procedures that address the deficiencies noted in the report of the examination of the Bank conducted by the Reserve Bank, commenced on January 21,2003 (the Report of Examination), and that, at a minimum, address, consider, and include: (a) Underwriting standards for retail loans that require employment and income verification, the acquisition of current credit reports and such other financial data as may be necessary to establish a borrower’s ability to repay the loan, and the retention of underwriting documentation in each credit file; (b) underwriting standards for floor plan loans that include maximum loan-to- value based upon generally accepted industry practices, periodic curtailments considering model year and condition, and regular inspections documenting vehicle mileage and condition; (c) real estate lending policies that are consistent with the requirements of Subpart E of Regulation H (12 C.F.R. Part 208, Subpart E) of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve ……(d) underwriting standards for commercial loans that include: (i) a written credit memorandum that includes each loan’s purpose, a cash flow analysis assessing the borrower’s repayment ability, sources of repayment, and debt service coverage of all debt; and an evaluation of collateral adequacy; and 3. (ii) a periodic written review, conducted at least annually, of all credit relationships in excess of $150,000 to be retained in the Bank’s credit files; and (e ) controls to ensure uniform adherence to all loan policies and procedures, and management information and reporting systems to ensure that exceptions to loan policies and procedures are promptly reported to the board of directors.
                  The November 21st letter received by Ms King also mentioned several questionable loans to one Clay County family which exposed the bank to potential losses. In question were vehicle loans with salvage titles. Salvage title refers to a vehicle that will never be used on the road again or that the vehicle had been assembled from several wrecked units.
          On November 26th the dismissed one said she would often give credit to those she knew would repay the loans, even those that didn’t meet bank guidelines. She provided a for instance: Every year people need to fill propane tanks and propane dealers often require full payment, sometimes several hundreds of dollars, up front. A person on a small government check would ask for a $600 loan to fill the winter fuel tank and that person’s income would be less than bank standards. King would OK the loan based on the customer’s past payback habits and one other item….. Since Ms King knew most of the customers personally and knew the customer generated other income sources, quilting, housecleaning for hire, etc, she felt confident the loan obligations would be met and fulfilled on time. Fran King, I helped the people of Clay the best I could!
         And the heads would roll…..
         The FDIC also required major changes in management, from the October 21st FDIC agreement signed by Bank President John Heaters, and the WV Bank Commissioner Larry A Stark: Within 60 days of this Agreement, the board of directors shall submit a (b) written management plan to the Reserve Bank and the Division describing specific actions that the board of directors proposes to take in order to strengthen Bank management and to improve the board of directors’ supervision over the Bank’s officers and the major operations and activities of the Bank. The plan shall fully address the findings and recommendations of the independent consultant and shall provide training to the directors to enhance their knowledge of their duties and responsibilities to monitor management’s adherence to approved policies and procedures and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. (c) Within 90 days of this Agreement, and thereafter semi-annually, the board of directors shall review management’s adherence to the Bank’s written policies and procedures and shall prepare written findings and conclusions of this review along with written descriptions of any management, operational, or policy changes that are made as a result of the review. …
         King indicated that there may be more to her firing than meets the eye, The reason I lost my job was not because of anything I did…. I am very hurt.
                 Another FDIC requirement calls for the proper training of loan officers and management. Fran explained on November 26th that she was never asked to participate in such training opportunities, no college level classes for bankers. Looking like she had been run through the mill a time or two, King, My life’s the pits!
                 We’re seeing the fallout from critical review by the Feds at the Bank of Gassaway AND at the Clay County Bank. Banking may never be the same again in Clayberry. The days of calling up Murray, JD and now Fran, with Hey I need a $X loan for a car and hearing, OK go get the car and come in in a couple of days and sign the paperwork are all but gone. During J.D. Morris’ retirement party last year, J.D. was overheard saying, The good days are all gone. Those good days and Fran King are both gone from the banking scene.                                                        AW
         FOLLOW UPS
                 We asked readers of this paper and online clickers of to come up with a nickname for Commissioner Matthew Bragg. During the first 9 months of 2003, District A rep Bragg missed 7 of the 18 County Commission meetings. Hooky dates included: Feb 3; April 15 and 24; June 3; July 10 & 22; Aug 11 and Sept 22.
                 Participation during tax Board of Review dates in February 2003 was even more dismal. Board of Review dates are set each February to allow taxpayers a chance to dispute assessments and tax burdens placed on them. The CCC met 5 times in February with Commissioner Bragg missing 3 of the sessions, Feb 2, 18, and 11. So much for District A residents having their rep in place to hear complaints!
                 We asked our readers to come up with a nice nickname for such poor performance and boy did we get responses. Here’s just a few: Matthew Willy Maker Bragg; Matthew Santa Claus Bragg (He only comes once a year); Matthew Nothin to Bragg; Matthew M.I.A. Bragg (missing in action); Matthew Ain’t got no water Bragg; Matthew Lag Bragg; Matthew Nothin to Bragg about Bragg; Matthew Payday Bragg (only shows up on payday); Matthew Wherefore Art Thou Bragg; Matthew No show and still making the dough Bragg; Matthew Can’t be bothered to show up Bragg; Matthew Can’t be there too Bragg; Matthew Hanging Chad Bragg (your vote doesn’t count)… We came up with Matthew Don’t step over the line Bragg. You’ll understand that one after reading the rest of the paper.
                 Last Friday, the staff of Delta Communications, the folks that own this newspaper empire, went over all the entries and considered which one best fits our often absent from duty County Commissioner.        Over the last year or so, each time the commission met and Bragg’s big leather chair remained empty, someone would always ask, Where’s Matthew? In response, each time Commission President Sams or another would reply, He ain’t coming. Drum roll please…….
                 Commissioner Matthew Bragg’s official nickname from now on is Matthew H.A.C. Bragg . That’s Matthew He Ain’t Comin Bragg.
                 Thanks to all those that responded via email, letters and orally.
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
1. Any man can seek revenge; it takes a King or Prince to grant pardon. Arthur ReHart
2. West Virginia regulators and EPA officials set the level of dioxin that is safe in water at 0.013 parts per quadrillion.
3. According to the FBI crime lab, fewer crimes were reported in West Virginia than in almost all other states last year.
4. Each year, the percentage of money spent on groceries shrinks as Americans eat out more often.
5. The American Tort Reform Association has labeled the whole state, especially Kanawha County a judicial hellhole.
6. After 65 years, new nickels are expected to be released next year.
7. The average automobile insurance claims resulting from crashes involving deer is more than $1,600.
8. In 2002, the retail sale of soft drinks totaled more than $61 billion.
9. The State Division of Highways has agreed to pay six workers $150,000 and re-examine the salaries of its female and minority employees as part of a lawsuit that accused the agency of discrimination.
10. The government spent $1.2 billion on school breakfasts last year.
11. The National Council on Sex Addiction and Compulsivity estimates that 2 million Americans are addicted to Cyber Sex.
12. Medicare beneficiaries with at least one claim for a motorized wheelchair rose from about 55,000 in 1999 to 168,245 in the first nine months of this year.
13. The darker the beer, the better for your heart. Flaunoids in beer are effective at preventing the blood platelets from clumping and forming the kind of clot that causes heart attacks.
15. In a new Swedish study, men who took multivitamins had a 20 percent lower risk of heart attacks and women had a 35 percent lower risk than those not taking supplements.
16. The Insurance Institute of Highway and Safety says car crashes are the number one killer of teens, citing immaturity and inexperience.
17. Evidence suggests one-third of the 550,000 cancer deaths that occur in the United States each year are due to unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity.
18. About 60 percent of the nation’s adoption agencies now accept applications from gays and lesbians.
19. West Virginia will be short 7,000 nurses in five years as high numbers of workers in the profession reach retirement age.
20.        The typical gambler is a married male between ages 36 and 55 without a college degree. LMM

I will own Delta Communications!
        Clay County Commission held a special meeting the third week of November. The only item listed on the agenda was the changing of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the CCC, Nov. 24, to some other date. Commissioner Bragg asked for the meeting change according to Commission President Jimmy Sams who also agreed to the special assembly. At issue was the first day of deer season and Bragg wanting to head to the woods instead of participating in the duties of an elected official.
        Sure sounds simple enough doesn’t it readers? But of course, that’s never the case in Clayberry. Those that have seen Bragg perform know when he’s about ready to make a speech. Such was the case during this meeting. About as soon as the meeting was called to order by Sams, Bragg had to get his message out. Here goes with the 15 minute special meeting of the County Commission attended by all three Commissioners, Sams, Bragg , and Triplett.
         Bragg, sitting in the middle of the three blind mice, was dressed in his police officer outfit, black shirt/pants, badge and 9mm on his hip and was first to speak. His remarks were directed squarely at that pudgy ace cub reporter, the Mel Gibson look alike, sitting in the second row of the peanut gallery. Are you listening Andy? With the reporter busily writing, Bragg asked again, Are you listening Andy? With a nod in the affirmative, Bragg, If you ever cross over the line, I WILL SUE YOU!… I got the money.
         What did he say? What was he talking about? The guess is, Bragg is/was sore over the Give Bragg a Nickname contest going on at the time of the meeting. With that thought in mind, Waddell came back with, If you show up for meetings, you have nothing to worry about. Bragg explained that he had missed the last regular CCC meeting and, I have no excuse for missing.
         Bragg wasn’t done with the lawsuit threats. Again he said the part about crossing over the line and I will sue you and own Delta Communications! He went on to say if he didn’t have the money he could get it, too. Seeing the badge up front saber rattling, the rotund one replied, Is this from a police officer or a Commissioner? Although dressed as a cop, he replied he was talking as a Commissioner. Bragg, I do care about my county. Always the courteous one, Waddell, I appreciate you letting me know. How about that readers? Lawsuit threats.
         Putting 2 and 6 together and coming up with 7, here’s the way we’ve got it figured. Bragg is running for Sheriff in 2004 and is afraid that nickname, Matthew He Ain’t Coming Bragg (HAC), would have some affect on his election hopes. Well duuuuuuuuuuh, Of course it has an affect. Anytime an elected official fails to show up for work, and when he does come to work expresses little interest in what’s going on, election hopes can easily be dashed! The part about crossing the line is a little more confusing. We honestly don’t have a clue what line HAC was talking about.
         As Commissioner Sams tried to get the meeting back on track, Bragg wasn’t done. He went on to say that he wasn’t mad at Andy and mumbling, something about Oh no, Andy got me again.
         Matthew Bragg asked that the next Commission meeting be held January 10th, 6 weeks away. Sams offered December 1st as the next meeting date with, Me and Peter can be here. There was laughter. Sams knew December 1st was still in deer season and HAC wanted to be in the woods instead of the courthouse that morning. Squirming to get a morning of hunting in, Bragg, we mean HAC, asked for a later in the day meeting time. After discussion, Bragg agreed to a 10 am start time.
         In the way of chatter during the meeting, mention was made that the VFW building located at the far end of Schoonover/Bradley field had been flooded during the recent rains. According to Sams, there was three feet of water in the aging structure.
         Commission President Sams asked Peter Triplett to do some negotiating before the next meeting. Sams would like the Clay Fire Department to give up ownership of the old Elk Hardware building next door to the courthouse and swap it for the old State Road garage building at Two Run. With Triplett sounding in agreement to the idea, the plan would be to move Family Law Court and magistrates to the Elk Hardware building. Currently, the Fire Dept. plans to tear down that structure and erect a new metal building there to house the Fire Dept operations. Sams, I’d like to have that building, talk to ‘em. Triplett agreed to negotiate.
         Before closing, on that part about Bragg owning Delta Communications...Delta owns a two year old computer and about three reams of paper and that’s about it. Readers, with the election cycle just starting up, come to public meetings. Great fun and FREE, too!                
         11/17/03: Foreman – Guy Dwier, breaking and entering and grand larceny (11/07), preliminary hearing continued by State to 11/26.
         11/18/03: Delk – Jerry Zane Boggs, sexual abuse, arrested, received motion 11/20 to reduce bond.
         11/14/03: Cunningham Motors – Eugene K. Smith, warrant issued for worthless checks X 2; Sandra Swindler, warrant issued for worthless check; Brian M. Welch, warrant issued for worthless check; Simms – Roger J. Ward, hunt deer between sunset and sunrise and hunt from motor vehicle, appeared, ROB; Belt – Rodger Delmas Myers, Jr., possession of controlled substance less 15 GRMS, appeared, defendant released to appear 12/12.
         11/15/03: Sizemore – Delbert H. McKenzie, DWR/DUIA, arrested 11/14, appeared, ROB.
         11/16/03: Belt – Darius Joe Cummings, obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB 11/17.
         11/17/03: Clay Supermarket – Patrick Morris, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, paid WC and costs 11/18, case dismissed; Little Country Feed Store – Jerry Z. Boggs, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, paid WC and costs 11/18, case dismissed; Clay Farm Coop. – Mary J. Adkins, warrant issued for worthless check complaint.
         11/18/03: Foreman – Ralph M. Lane, DWR/DUIA and registration violation, appeared, ROB.
         11/14/03: United States Department of Housing – Charles L. Adkins and Michelle D. Adkins, unlawful detainer.
         11/20/03: Candy Adkins – Tim Casto, money due.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued –
         11/12/03: IGA – Lyle B. Gaston; Melco Lumber Co. Inc. – Chester E. Boggs Jr.
         11/17/03: Clay Supermarket – Ginger Perrsinger Cottrell; Angela Gill; Helen Proctor; Candy Adkins.
         11/19/03: J & S Grocery – Elizabeth Holcomb; Marsha K. Eagle.
         Citation Register
         10/30/03: State Police – Amy S. Hoover, speeding; Kathleen A. Taylor, passing in no passing zone; Sheriff’s Dept. – Tommy E. Young, failure to maintain control.
         10/31/03: State Police – Joel Beverly, speeding; Della K. Jackson, public profanity X 10; Barbara J. Meadows, speeding, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, registration violation, no POI and MVI.
         11/01/03: DNR – Jeremy B. Ferrebee, hunting from motor vehicle and hunting deer ½ HR. after sunset; Robert J. Osborne, uncased firearm and hunting from motor vehicle; Roger J. Ward, hunt deer between sunset and sunrise and hunt from motor vehicle.
         11/02/03: State Police – Douglas M. Cook, possession marijuana less 15 GRMS; Patrick W. Morris, no POI.
         11/04/03: State Police – Melissa D. Conrad, speeding and MVI; Robert N. Hart, speeding; Joseph Huff, speeding; Jerry W. Roat, no POI.
         11/07/03: Sheriff’s Dept. – Thomas Roy Holcomb, no POI, registration violation and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; State Police – Timothy Rose, registration violation and no POI.
         11/08/03: State Police – John A. Habjan, speeding and no POI; Sheriff’s Dept. – Roger Delmas Myers, possession controlled substance less 15 GR., driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, registration violation, no POI and MVI; Christopher B. Woods, speeding.
         11/11/03: Sheriff’s Dept. – Anthony D. Metheney, no POI, registration violation and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
         11/13/03: Sheriff’s Dept. – Robin R. Legg, no POI; State Police – Christa Shanafelter, MVI.
         11/18/03: State Police – Vickie L. Nottingham, left of center.
         11/20/03: State Police – Charles L. McCune, seat belt violation.
                 In addition to getting fired from her Bank of Gassaway duties, Fran King reported that some jerk stole 18 fence posts from her farm pasture out Blue Knob way last week. No, not fence posts laying in a barn or leaning against some out building but posts in the ground with barb wire fencing attached. King estimated that it took the thug or thugs a couple of hours to pull up the 2 foot in the ground metal poles and since they only cost about $1.50 each, it would have been cheaper for the vandals to just to go and buy new ones!
                 In January of this year, our County Commission OK’d the rental of the CCC room to the Family Law Court. During the discussions, some in the peanut gallery expressed outrage over the loss of one of the county’s only meeting places. In late summer, our elected boys, did an about face on the decision and moved Family Law Court rental space upstairs into a cubby hole beside the Prosecutor’s office and close to the elevator. That space is currently shared for storage of important election documents and by Deputy Sheriff staff.
                 Somewhere in the middle of conversations last week, Commissioner Sams provided an update on the soon to be upstairs rental court space. Sams said that Judge Ruckman wanted more space for his courtroom and wanted the Prosecutor’s law library area as well. In addition to remodeling the storage area, additional entry doors would have to be cut. Sams appeared to be hesitant to provide additional area to the judge and, according to Sams, Sheriff Fields wasn’t too keen on his deputies loosing much needed service area.
                 On October 1st, the body of Leon Runnion was found in his home on Oak Hill Rd. Runnion had been shot once in the head by a shotgun. Since then speculation rose that it may not have been a suicide. Three weeks after the investigating began officer Deputy Kevin Delk provided an update. According to Delk, all evidence is at the State Police Lab and no one knows what happened.
                 Since then Leon’s long time, live in companion Betsy provided some insight and law enforcement insight. Betsey, People seem to forget that Jessie an I spent 13 years with him. It irritates me that they mention his blood, family. Jessie is her daughter. She went on to mention law enforcement, They won’t tell me anything because we weren’t married I guess. After the shooting, Betsy asked if she could get her possessions from the house and was denied access. At issue was the daughter’s bicycle in the front yard as well as 13 year’s worth of accumulation. Betsy, She had nothing to wear, nothing, and we couldn’t even go into the house….. Delk told me to go get an attorney. I work a minimum wage job. He knew I couldn’t afford that or anything. He knew I was the one making payments on the house. He [Leon] hadn’t worked for 2 ½ years. He’s [Leon] the only daddy she has ever known… This has devastated her, too…. I just wish people would quit the rumors and consider mine and Jessie’s feelings a little bit. She goes to Clay and she hears stuff. To her, that was Daddy, and it hurts.
                 Betsy found out about the shooting over the scanner while working in Elkview. According to the common law wife, Leon had been drinking heavily before the shooting and had told relatives that he planned suicide. As for the death being murder or suicide, I don’t know. They won’t tell me anything. She added that Magistrate Boggs had been very helpful to her and two weeks ago was allowed to get her belongings. Additionally, Prosecutor Grindo was asked for help, I don’t know what he did.. he just told me to wait a couple of days…..Delk got upset with me cause he said I went over his head… I kept calling but I kept seeming to miss him… I couldn’t get a response from him. As far as being treated like second class citizens by law enforcement and others, Betsy, It’s like Jessie and me didn’t matter because we weren’t family. Jessie was treated like a dog. I couldn’t even go to the funeral. Delk told me the families didn’t even want me calling them or anything. I hadn’t bothered anybody.
                 And finally, we asked, did you pull the trigger? Answer, No, I found about it at work at Goodwill.
         Johnny Morris is a life long resident of Clay County and is often seen tooling around the area in his new, dark colored, Chevy Tahoe or around attorney Wayne King’s office on Main Street. Morris recently served as a representative on the Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) Board of Directors.
         We’ve heard all the rumors of law enforcement busting Morris while driving along the WV Turnpike three weeks ago BUT we just don’t have the details from official Court records. We have no details. Even with his own brother confirming bail made by Wayne King, you’ll just have to wait until we get the blotter from Raleigh County. Sorry readers.                        
         IN BRIEF
         SHOOTING AT GRANNYS CREEK: On November 19th scanner listeners heard scant details of a shooting out past Murder Mountain on Granny’s Creek. Here’s the way Sheriff Fields patched it together Nov 26th. Richard Cummings was riding in the passenger seat of Tommy Young’s pick up truck. They were in or near Damon Koch’s property. Just as Richard Cummings leaned out to close the passenger side door, a shot rang out blowing a hole in the truck’s windshield. According to Fields, the hole was 5 inches in diameter, from a shotgun blast, and had Cummings not reached for the door when he did, the blast would have taken out his face. As it was, Cummings sustained injuries including injuries to the face. Since the shooting took place in Roane County , Fields was sketchy on details like if an arrest had been made.
                 Neighbors close to the scene report that the shooting came after arguments between Tommy Young and Koch.
                 Just one week earlier, on Wednesday, Nov. 10th, a truck was stolen from Starcher’s Car Lot. Sources close say a young juvenile was the thief involved there. The truck was later recovered on Rush Creek with bullet holes in the tail gate and after it was burned to a crisp.
         BANK FORECLOSURE: In small town America, a bank foreclosure is big news. For the guy getting foreclosed on, the rumors make life tough to say the least. . Last Dec Prosecutor Jeff Davis received notice of foreclosure. Last summer the editor of that little paper over in Clay got it. Set for Dec 2 at 9 am, the Clayberry Bank plans to sell off five parcels owned by one time Prosecutor and prominent businessman, Wayne King. Parcel Five includes the spacious brick home now occupied by Wayne and Sandra King according to Assessor Suzie Legg. According to the Assessor’s records, the home is assessed at $56,520.00 and that tract was purchased from the Osborne family in 1973. Other tracts on the auction block include track 1 – 51 acres; tract 2 –2 ½ acres; and tract 4, .86 acres.
         KING ARTHUR KNOWS: Around 2:28 am on Nov 20th, 2 thugs broke the plexiglass side door window at the historic Henry Clay Hotel, entered, and ran off with the operation’s cash register. Owner Arthur Jarrett said he noticed the busted window and missing register when he came in around 5 am on the 20th. Over $400 was stolen plus an unknown amount in checks. Jarrett, I know who was packing it down the street. How does he know? The B and E is recorded on video tape!
                 Jarrett has seen the tape and said the thugs were taped heading toward the Pisgah Bridge. Additionally, a small white vehicle was also videoed driving back and forth at 2:30 am in front of the hotel. Miles Slack is the investigating officer. Slack took the plexiglass panel for finger printing. But, don’t look for further police involvement in the matter, Proprietor Jarrett said, I’ll take it from here! Jarrett suspected the cash register was tossed in the Elk River later that night from the bridge before the thugs hopped in the white car and got away.
         SOLID WASTE AUTHORITY: The Clay County Solid Waste Authority tried to hold their regular monthly meeting Nov 20th at 6 pm. Didn’t happen. With only Boardster Peter Triplett and Leawanda Whaling in attendance, no quorum was to be had. Absent: Sally Legg, Harald Fields and Matthew HAC Bragg. Recently, the Authority received another $15,722 grant for the county. During the small talk, while waiting for the truant boardsters, discussion centered on their auditor’s requirements to tighten up book keeping procedures and the December 18th Christmas Dinner/meeting.
         REGIONAL PSD CONSOLIDATION: Our WV Public Service Commission strongly recommended the consolidation of all local public service districts three years ago. Since then, many snags have prevented such plans. One of those snags has been for each PSD to provide a current financial audit.
         Earlier this year, the County Commission was pressured by the PSC to move on with consolidation plans. That didn’t happen as the elected ones up front (CCC) decided to do just the opposite and put the outside influenced plan on hold. During the Nov 10th County Commission meeting, our boys up front were asked about consolidation. Commission President Sams said that Clay Roane PSD has yet to provide a current audit. On the plus side, Clay County and Clay Roane PSDs are now providing monthly financials.
         QUEEN SHOALS PSD: 8 weeks ago, the County Commission appointed Jimmy Kearns and Bob Caldwell to a new and improved Queen Shoals PSD Board of Directors. Since then Kearns has attended two meetings held by Clay Roane PSD which operates the Queen Shoals system without benefit of an operation and management agreement. Caldwell bailed out after one meeting and after hearing of the financial nightmare on the table that had to be dealt with. That nightmare includes the loss of a $140,000 grant that was to be used for system upgrades in the Queen Shoals service area.
         SCHOOL STATS: According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, West Virginia has 282,885 students enrolled, 43.5% are in Title I schools and 17.7% are in individualized education programs. There are 57 school districts, 822 schools, the per pupil expenditures are $7,152.00 and the pupil to teacher ratio in WV is 14.
         CROSS BORDERS: Challenge WV, a non profit group dedicated to keeping small rural education in WV reports that former senator and member of the WV Board of Education Lloyd Jackson moved out of his native Lincoln County so that his children could receive a better education. Jackson has rented a house in Charleston so that one of his kids can attend George Washington High School. Another child has enrolled in a private boarding school. Many Lincoln county citizens are openly hostile to Jackson, due to his support for forced school consolidation. Jackson is a Gubernatorial candidate in 2004.
         BEEP-BEEP-BEEP AT BDA: Tape recorders give the Business Development Authority fits. During their last meeting at the Courthouse, Nov 6th , Chair Willis fiddled with the high technology for over 15 minutes before giving up. Vice Chair Mack Samples gave up on the machine after just 10 minutes of trying. In the end, the tape recorder won. Through out the 36 minute gathering, every 5 minutes so, beep-beep-beep could be heard even after the unit was unplugged from the wall. Call this meeting to order, beep-beep-beep; in the court Filcon battle beep-beep-beep; the letter seeking ownership of the old beep-beep-beep State Road Garage beep-beep-beep building has been sent…. The BDA voted to pay the property taxes ($479.00) on the now in court Filcon property beep-beep-beep located near Ovapa.
         Even after protest by Chair Paige Willis, the County Commission reappointed Clark Samples to the BDA. Samples had been absent from BDA happenings for four months and according to BDA by laws, Samples had to go. During the Nov 6th BDA meeting, Clark Samples was once again absent. Newly appointed and sworn in Leonard Williams was in attendance. Another appointee, Dave Pierson, was no where to be seen. We think we know why. According to state regulations, a school board member like Dave Pierson is not allowed to be on any other local committee. Beep-beep-beep.