DECEMBER 13, 2002
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Justice: Civil Procedure or Subject Matter?
Short School Board Meeting
Weekly Message from Senator Rockefeller
Environmentalist Questions Fola Coal Permit
??? DID YOU KNOW ???
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
        Controversy surrounds the County Commission decision to appoint Braxton County resident Daniel Grindo to replace resigning Prosecutor Jeff ‘ust got my license back’Davis. The emotion packed decision was made December 12th at the courthouse in front of a packed peanut gallery. Prosecuting attorney candidates Kevin Duffy and Paula Klotzbach removed their names from consideration. Here we go.
        Talk about an important meeting! In addition to County Commission President Matthew Bragg and Jimmy Sams, even Tim “o Show”Butcher attended the 2 pm assembly. After opening the meeting and Commissioner Sams’prayer was offered, Bragg was ready to run everybody out of the room while the three elected ones (three blind mice) made their decision on who to appoint as prosecutor. Emotions ran high as various residents spoke up for the candidate they thought would best work for the county. First came Mitch DeBoard.
        Mr. DeBoard spoke and raised objections to Assistant Prosecutor Barbara Harman-Schamberger being appointed. DeBoard said that Schamberger had subpoenaed Bank of Gassaway records (his) and had never returned them. Additionally, DeBoard brought to light a bunch of copies made of records at county expense. DeBoard, “ object to her!….[She] is wasting taxpayer’ money.”
        Matthew Bragg acknowledged that the decision was a tough one, his phone has been ringing off the hook, and, referring to any decision made, “t’ a no win situation…”        One lady from Ivydale presented a petition with 315 names affixed from business owners and private citizens alike which endorsed the appointment of Schamberger.
        Another taxpayer read a definition from the dictionary, which defined ‘uccession’ to follow in order. She, too, supported Schamberger saying that there was no need to hire anyone else since the current Assistant Prosecutor was on the job and doing an “wesome”job. Mention was also made that Schamberger was a person the county needed since “hey couldn’ control her..”Recently in the news, Elvis Dawson, “ have been ragged to death…. She is the only person to work hard… She’ the smartest person you have, you ought to keep her!!!”        Randy Nichols identified himself as a taxpayer and, “arb needs to stay, there’ no break-in time needed…. Don’ go by the color of her skin or being a female!”        Christy Nichols, one of the younger people in attendance, informed the CCC that Schamberger had helped her when no one else was willing to.
        Is it starting to sound like Barbara Schamberger was winning the popular vote but loosing the electoral vote? You’e right. Read on.
        Bragg, speaking from the bench, made it clear that Schamberger was his choice: she helped us out; she deserves the job; she belongs to us; she would bring us some pride and prestige. Referring to a decision to hire someone from outside the county, Bragg, “o other county would do it.”        Mary Starcher spoke against the appointing of Schamberger. Keep in mind readers, Hiram Lewis III, Mathew Minney, Wayne King, Dan Dodson were interviewees for the spot in addition to Barbara and Grindo. Back to the meeting…
         Dawson stood again saying, “….Mary Starcher is a liar!” One fellow asked that the County Commission (CCC) NOT make an appointment today but rather use Barbara on an interim basis and give themselves some breathing room to better think out the situation. Oops. Right over their head, with Bragg saying the decision needed to be made today.
        Out going Prosecutor Davis reminded the CCC that cases are already on the docket for January 2. A lady from the back, “ou have pressing cases, why change?”Candidate Hiram Lewis spoke up and said he has a house in Clay County and, “it’] always my goal to live in Clay County…[it’] always my home…… [I] lived here in 1999 and 2000….” Bragg, “aybe we should pray again.”Laughter came.
        Around 2:35 the County Commission ran everybody out of the room to confer in secret. Outside, 30 people mumbled about. Through the glass pane of the Commission door, ‘hings’could be seen. Discussions were not going well. Sams was out of his seat, then back in. Sitting on the credenza, then pacing back and forth. Bragg turned his high back chair to the door for a portion of the secret time. Later, Bragg’ head, with glowing red ears, was resting on the CCC bench, face down. Still later, frown lines grew deep. Butcher never left his chair and appeared to mumble short one-liners. Butcher had the look of, “ust happy to be here.”         Ten minutes later the public was allowed back in. Bragg made a motion to appoint Schamberger. He waited for a second… and waited… after a few very quiet seconds, Bragg, “he motion dies for lack of second.”The murmurs in the peanut gallery grew. Three times present in the last 6 months, Tim Butcher, said that Daniel Grindo had “o axes to grind”and motioned for his appointment. With all eyes on Jimmy, Sams hesitantly added his two cents worth. Sams was in support of Wayne King as the “ogical choice”for the prosecutor’ spot but said, he “as not going to tie this thing up..”Sams seconded the Butcher motion for Grindo. During the vote, Bragg voted no to Grindo and, “We] just got ripped out of a good prosecutor. I apologize….”        Here it comes readers, from the back of the room, Barbara Schamberger, now in attendance, asked the elected ones “ho is going to pay for the special prosecutor?” The three blind mice almost together replied “uuuuuuh?”Schamberger went on to say that because Daniel Grindo was currently working as Judge Jack Alsop’ law clerk, he could not try any of the Clay County cases currently on the docket. She floated a figure of $30,000.00 in extra expenses with Grindo at the helm since a special prosecutor would have to hired. Our three blind mice had that glazed-over look in their eyes.
        Not over yet, Hiram Lewis read from the state code. According to Lewis, if the position vacated by resignation is over one year, the County Commission SHALL have a special election to fill the spot. Lewis, “his is just what I see in the code…”The air went out of the Sams and Butcher sails briefly. They slumped down in their cushy leather chairs. Butcher said a special election would cost $10,000.00. Soon to be private attorney Jeff Davis informed the gang that he had tried to get an opinion on the special election issue from the Secretary of State’ office as well as the Attorney General’ office in Charleston. With no written advisory opinion in hand, Davis said he would try to have such info at the next CCC meeting December 27.
        Barbara wasn’ done yet. According to her, before Grindo could even apply for such a job, and certainly before he could accept the opening, he needed a written OK from the Office of Judges. Schamberger, “e can’ accept or be appointed unless the Supreme Court says he can!… If you [CCC] don’ have the letter, you can’ appoint!”Schamberger was firm and pretty darn loud to boot!
        From the back came a request to allow Schamberger to be interim prosecutor until a decision on a special election could be made. Butcher, “We made a decision to hire Grindo…”Elvis Dawson, “f you’e so smart [CCC], why does only one person know the law?” Bragg asked Butcher to rescind his motion for Grindo. No response from Butcher. Hiram Lewis, “The code says you can’ appoint….”Schamberger made it clear, in her opinion, if Grindo takes the job, “very defendant on the docket walks!” Again the motion was voted on. Again Bragg voted no with Sams and Butcher in favor of Grindo. Bragg, “f this goes to special election, I hope you [Barb] win.”During discussion of Grindo living in Braxton County, Sams commented that Mr. Grindo has agreed to move to Clay County if appointed. Again Bragg asked for Butcher to rescind his motion. Didn’ happen.
        2:55pm - Secret time again. This time the issue was a juvenile hearing. Commission President Bragg left the room with the public. 2:58pm: nicely dressed in a gray suit, Daniel Grindo entered the room and shook hands with Butcher and Sams. For many outside in the hallway, it all looked orchestrated and planned well ahead of time. Outside, someone asked Bragg why he was not in the secret meeting. Bragg, “ don’ know. I’ upset.”After collecting his thoughts, Bragg reentered the Commission room but not before commenting on the earlier secret time. Bragg told several standing around the entry door, Sams had called him a liar during the secret time and in response Bragg replied that Sams was a hypocrite for posting the 10 Commandment sign during an election year bid, and now Sams had been going around talking in less than Christian-like words. Bragg was peed!
        With Bragg, Sams, and Butcher back on the bench, the peanut gallery again harped about the decision to hire Grindo while standing in the courthouse hallway. Hiram Lewis was asked: “hen did you switch from the Republican party, how recent was that?”Lewis replied, “t depends on how you define recent” Elvis Dawson was pacing the floor. Schamberger was using the pay phone and appeared to be nearly in tears. One lady was loud and clear in her contempt of the County Commission actions, “here’ not enough money for water and ambulances but they have enough for a $10,000.00 election?”Another asked, “ust how much money DO they have?”        3:09 December 12th, the public was invited back in. One minute later, motion was made and seconded to adjourn. Waiting a few minutes for the masses to exit, Butcher, “s it clear outside?” Sams, “’ going out with the Sheriff!”The next meeting of the Clay County Commission will be December 27 at 2pm. As the crowd scattered, Ms Schamberger was heard thanking all those that came out in her support. From across the way, and directed to the ace cub reporter, Schamberger, “ake sure you tell your readers he has NO experience!”
        Readers, we have a new prosecutor that will replace Jeff Davis January 1, 2003. His name is Daniel Grindo. Seemed like a clean-cut young man and quiet in nature. If those two traits prove true, he may have no place in Clayberry politics.        

        In our last edition came news that Prosecutor Jeff Davis had resigned from his elected position as the Chief Law Enforcement officer in the county. Why quit a $37,000.00 plus benefits a year job? Davis said, at 40 years old, and only half way through his third 4 year term in office, he needed to make more money. The reason was financial. It appears that Jeff Davis was understating the “eed more money”statement.
        By noon thirty, Monday, Dec 9th, word was just spreading thru the county that Davis had lost his law license for failing to pay his WV Bar Association dues. Technically, if you don’ pay the Bar Association dues, you cannot practice law in the state. A quick check of the Bar Association’ web site confirmed the rumor. The call came for Circuit Clerk Mike Asbury to have another attorney handle the Tuesday, Dec 10th Circuit Court workload. Asst. Prosecutor Barbara Schamberger was given the nod. Davis was nowhere to be found Monday the 9th.
        Davis is no stranger to financial problems. Last Summer, a tow truck was seen hauling off his car as it headed to a Bank of Gassaway auction. Before that, and as the Bank of Clay was making front page headlines around the state, Davis’name was mentioned as one the Bank was ready to foreclose much like happened to the guy that owned that little paper over in Clay.
Davis rebounded Tuesday Dec 10th. By noon, Prosecutor Davis had the dues problem taken care of and was back in business. Or was he?
         Sources close to the Court have revealed that Davis’license had been yanked not just for a day or so, but rather since Nov 20th. For Clay County this could be bad, real bad. Take for instance the Harrison County Prosecutor, John Scott, who also allowed his dues to lapse. Scott handled the 2001 Grand Jury work while “ues challenged”and those cases must now ALL be done over, a very costly proposition to say the least. No word as of Dec 11th on the fallout in this County on our Prosecutor operating without a license
                 Prosecutor Jeff Davis is back in the saddle, law license wise, but where will his actions leave Clay County. Davis’last day on the job is Dec 31, 2002.                 AW
                 Just hours after the Dec 5th Clay County Business Development Authority meeting, founding member Norman Wilson turned in his resignation to BDA Chair Paige Willis. Wilson told the media that he felt too much was being done behind closed doors. Wilson went on to say that the only thing he wanted was for the people of Clay County to get their $90,000.00 or the Ovapa Industrial Site property back. He was referring to the Filcon Manufacturing mess and various lawsuits stemming from the defunct business leaving the county and the remaining bad taste.
                 During the Dec 5th meeting, Wilson had with him a copy of a lawsuit filed for the BDA on Dec 2, 2002 by attorney Barbara Schamberger. According to Wilson, no mention was made during the meeting of the new lawsuit which named long time local attorney, Wayne King, as a defendant as well as Filcon owner Manfred Keuntzer, The Clay County Bank, Jimmy D Morris, and Sandra A King ( wife of Wayne). The case number is 02-C-37.
                 In the findings of fact for the case: JD Morris purchased part of the land in question; Wayne King was attorney for the Clay County Bank, the Clay County Business Development Authority, JD Morris, and Sandra King; and, JD Morris authorized a loan for Filcon for $250,000.00 using the Filcon real estate as security when the land actually belonged to the BDA. On the fly, it sounds like Mr King may have some serious conflict of interest issues according to the Findings of Fact listed.
                  In the BDA agreement with Filcon ( reviewed by Wayne King), no liens could be attached without BDA approval. Here comes some interesting Findings of Fact. Now read it real close. On the same day was recorded another deed of trust drafted by Wayne King, purporting to convey from Filcon, a portion of Valley Fork property to Sandra King, wife of Wayne King, the Bank’ Counsel and drafter of all the agreements and deeds… Again during that same time period, the 17th through the 19th of March 2001, Sandra King conveyed her interest in the Valley Fork property to Jimmy D Morris and Reva Morris…
As for word on the stealthy Kunetzer endeavors, Keuntzer continued to supply questionable invoices to the Bank which were approved for payment by Jimmy D Morris among others at the Bank. Such invoices included bills for light fixtures and overhead heating units even though the building did not have a roof, and in excess of $30,000.00 worth of concrete which was never poured nor contracted for by Bartlett Concrete Co.
                 Based on the lawsuit wording, maybe crusty ole Norman Wilson has a reason to be mad. Maybe Wilson is right in thinking the BDA should have been told of the lawsuit filed just prior their Dec meeting. Keep in mind, it was Wilson who abstained from the original deal to enter into the agreement to give the land to Filcon in exchange for creating 15 jobs in the county. Wilson was the only one to say no to the hastily arranged agreement. Did we mention Wayne King reviewed that deal too?
                 Secrecy has never been good for Clay County. Back when the old Ambulance Authority operated in secret, Christmas Bonuses occurred and $50,000.00 was budgeted to defend themselves in Court. When the School System awarded a contract bus driver’ spot “behind the scenes” a costly Court challenge found the School System guilty and ordered the process to be done over and this time in public. Open Meeting Laws have always been good for the County and best when followed. Wilson knew something was wrong with the Filcon dealings from the start and now wants no part of the secret dealings of the BDA.                                                
                 For residents of the Little Italy section of Clay County, Christmas came Wed, Dec 11th. After years of no water service during the late evening hours and an equal amount of time with very low water pressure during waking hours, the water is finally flowing!
                 Larry McLaughlin attended the Nov 2002 Clay County PSD meeting and brought to light a closely held secret. For years many customers in the Ivydale service area of the PSD system did not have any water service from 11pm nightly to around 5 am. Additionally, the area suffered from very low water pressure conditions during the daytime hours. During the McLaughlin presentation in Nov., PSD Chair Keith King was less than congenial with the taxpayer. At one point King said he couldn’ do a thing to help McLaughlin and “e’e just batting at the breeze.”After hearing the coarse words from King, water customer Larry McLaughlin promised a formal complaint and asked that he be refunded years of monthly service charges since he was unable to receive the water due to the PSD not supplying the promised product.
                 Happily we can now report, King and crew were wrong!
                  Shortly after the Nov gathering of those that serve the taxpayer, Mr. McLaughlin filed the promised formal complaint with the state agency that regulates Clay County PSD, the WV Public Service Commission. Shortly after the filing, reps from the PSC investigated the problem. Engineer Jim Weimer was one of the troubleshooters.
                 So how could it be? How is it, in the 21st Century, water lines could run dry nightly on a regular basis? The PSD and McLaughlin explained that each night a water storage tank at Ivydale had to be refilled and when the heavy duty pumps are turned on to fill the vessel, a siphon effect took place rendering customers waterless for both basic needs and fire protection. According to employees of the PSD, the Ivydale tank had to be refilled nightly and there was no way to get around the siphoning problem.
                 In one word, WRONG!!!
         Putting their lead dog engineer Jim Weimer on the job, a solution has been found. Instead of turning the super duty pump on each night full throttle, Weimer and crew decided to choke back the pump to a lower pressure setting and pump the tank full twice a day. With the lower pressure setting on the pump, the siphon effect could be eliminated or greatly reduced. After years of being told that there was nothing that could be done to solve the nightly problem, except putting in a gazillion dollar waterline extension project, Weimer’ plan to pump twice a day worked. According to Mr. McLaughlin, the plan was implemented Dec 11th and through out the next 24 hours, McLaughlin, the last guy on the service line, had acceptable water pressure. The elated McLaughlin commented that every hour on the hour he checked the pressure at his home and water volume was greatly improved. So improved that he could flush the john, get a drink and even do the dishes.
         For our long time readers, we have a note…. While it’ true Clay County has given Weimer double H over the years, Weimer and company fixed the problem. According to McLaughlin, Weimer said he did not know the “no water pressure”condition existed in the area until the formal complaint was filed. That statement gives credence to the idea that the Clay County PSD played down the condition and kept the potential health issue quiet.
         For McLaughlin and neighbors, Christmas came early. Finally, they too can have their basic water needs met and done so without waiting another 7 years on a gazillion dollar water line extension project. As for Mr. King saying nothing could be done to correct the problem, Keith King was wrong!        Three cheers for private citizen Larry McLaughlin stepping up to the plate and one great big “ta boy”to Jim Weimer.                        AW
         Since Oct 17th when the Judd Reid body was found, we’e tried to keep our readers up to date on new developments in the mysterious case. Vince Golosow was arrested on drug and gun charges the day after the body was found as was Richard Cummings. Cummings was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Golosow remains behind bars while Cummings is walking the streets , out on bond.
                 State Police served a murder warrant for the death of Judd Reid on Golosow Friday Dec 13th. The Federal drug and firearm charges were dropped. From that new paperwork ( case # O2F – 160) comes the following excerpts.
                 Trooper First Class Baylous and Special Agent Remaley (FBI) obtained statements from Ms Sandra Khalaf and Mr. Richard Cummings in which they both stated that the defendant intimidated them into helping clean the crime scene at the defendant’ residence after Mr. Judson Reid was murdered. Both also stated that the defendant confessed to murdering Mr. Reid. Mr. Cummings assisted the defendant in removing Mr. Reid’ body from the premises.
                 TFC Baylous and S/A Remaley also obtained a statement from a confidential informant (C/I) concerning the murder. The CI advised that the defendant confessed to murdering Mr. Reid. The CI further advised that he/she was present as was the defendant, when Mr. Reid’ body was partially buried in Clay County WV. The CI assisted TFC Baylous and S/A Remaley in recovering Mr. Reid’ body. The CI has given information in this case that has proven to be true and releasing his/her name would place him/her in jeopardy of serious bodily injury or death.
                 A search of the defendants residence produced trace evidence that is currently being analyzed by the WV State Police Crime Laboratory.
One additional note stated that the murder of Jud Reid occurred at Golosow’ residence in Roane County. The document was signed by Trooper Baylous Nov 27, 2002
                 If found guilty of murder, a life sentence could be imposed on Goloasow. A preliminary hearing was held at 9 am, Thursday Dec 12th before Roane County Magistrate Russell Goodwin. Subpoenaed for the hearing were TFC Baylous, Sandra Khalaf and Richard Cummings. The Court found probable cause and held Golosow without bail. Jan 30th, 2003, 9am, was set as the Circuit Court date.
                 Interesting to note, and listed in the Court file, was mention of a book found during the search of Golosow’ home, a book on “ow to Grow Marijuana” Also, in the file was a 9 by 12 manila craft envelope marked, “This order sealed until released by motion.”Magistrate Denver Gandee, Jr affixed his signature there.
                 Of course questions remain. Who’ the confidential informant? If that person is the star witness, what protection is being afforded him/her. The informant and Golosow dumped Reid on Pisgah Ridge, but who else helped? Once the body was dumped, where was the car taken. After dumping the body, did the car make a bee line out of Clay? Could it have broken down in route home? Did they try to clean up the car with soap and water before burning it? When the car was taken out the old haul road to be burned, who drove it there and who brought the driver back and in who’ vehicle? And where is “ack” Did others from Clay County have a hand in the affair?
          Lots and lots of questions remain. What is the confidential informant getting out of this. How about Cummings and Khalaf? AW
         Justice: Civil Procedure or Subject Matter?
         By: Jim Chafin

                 Several times in the past, we have noted that the judiciary branch of government legislates; and probably the most notorious of recent times being the Roe vs. Wade decision of Harry Blackmum - an intellectually dishonest decision, devoid of principle and integrity. He built upon the ‘ight of privacy’which, even he admitted, was nowhere to be found in the Constitution, and extended it to cover a ‘ight to abortion’which also is a point we made previously: The court doesn’ explain which constitutional provision would cover the case – that’ the court’ little secret!! However, he did admit that Roe’ case would ‘ollapse’if the child were a person – a subject we wish to return to a little later because the child’ life is covered by the 14th Amendment. Because of Roe vs. Wade, every state in the union is forced (?) to violate the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights by virtue of the courts ruling that an unborn fetus is not a ‘egal person.’ Scholars on both sides of this issue generally agree that Roe vs. Wade has no real basis in the Constitution. John Hart Ely, former professor and dean of Stanford law School, wrote: “he 1973 ruling IS NOT constitutional law, and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Like the infamous Dred Scott decision that upheld slave owners rights, Roe vs. Wade was a miscarriage of justice. Public statements of President Clinton for example, not withstanding, “arry Blackmum’ every decision and dissent”(was not) “irmly grounded in the Constitution.” Millions of children have died because of this one ‘egislative’action of a court, in violation of Article 1, Section 1, of the Constitution. And, like any corporate policy gone awry, unconstitutional decisions have a way of filtering down to the local level, coloring even unrelated issues; i.e., Amendment 7, “rial by jury in civil cases, according to the rules of the common law;”as well as “qual protection”clause of the 14th Amendment. These ‘ights’are routinely abridged, and the privileges and immunities of United States Citizens are denied by, both, federal and state courts; meaning, simply, the cases are dismissed by a judge on procedural grounds and are not permitted to be heard by a common law jury – in direct violation of constitutional guarantees.
                 No matter on which side of this particular issue one may stand – the paramount issue must be that of constitutional law. To acquiesce here, is to invite gross distortions of the law on every other problem that arises. We seriously doubt that any sensible person could deny life sustaining health care resources to a mother in dire need. If proper care is not given to a mother in such cases, then, every medical practitioner associated with the case is in serious violation of his/her Hippocratic oath; as well as every moral law in the book. But, allowing ‘bortion on demand’as a primary resource is not, and cannot be, society’ first line of action.
                 Abortionist ‘ights’arguments, to wit: Those who oppose abortion on demand will, on the other hand, let children die of malnutrition after they are born are viable. People are constantly fighting over symptoms, rather than the disease. However, society’ responsibility for its children must, first begin with the individual because: Society, as a corporate body has no conscience – “very one does that which seems right in his own eyes.” TRANSLATION: when left to their own devices, people do what they want to do, whenever they want to do it; and that includes having sex, getting pregnant, having babies, or having abortions. Clearly, then there must be a circle of circumspect rules under which individuals are required to operate. Society’ role in this game of life is to see that every one has an equal opportunity to function under our ‘onstitutional’form of government – provide for themselves and their families, and leave this nation in a better condition than when he found it. Obviously, there are elements in this nation who do not agree with these premises, seeking to have their own will without regards to the consequences their actions have on the community at large. It is people who make a house a ‘ome,’and it is ‘omes’that comprise a neighborhood!
         DON GREENE: WV Radical
                 I don't know if it surprises you, but I am often asked what is eating on me. I guess that most people find it unusual to either be dissatisfied with something or have the backbone to stand up and complain about it. There are a number of things that bother me endlessly for I think they are destroying our state.
                 Political patronage is killing WV and tapping the public's coffer dry. A patronage worker will always think first about the person that got him his job then about his actual employer. You can't make them work because they will always go back to ‘ig Daddy’and whine if they are being made to work as if they really meant to get something done. Of course when you have patronage workers being elected to public office like WV does, it just gets worse. WV is belabored with laws and regulations that keep the political patronage machine growing and ever more invincible.
                 The creation, existence and funding for little political playhouses in every county is another thing that eats at me. Every little community center, park, library and museum is almost guaranteed to have a board of private citizens that are in control of it. These are ‘layhouses’to award to the politician’ best friends. They have their own little realm to rule over. The public that pays for the existence of these playhouses is forced to beg the permission of these private citizens to use or benefit from these playhouses.
                 Our wonderful bureaucracy is one of my major gripes. They are without a doubt the most useless, do-nothing, know-nothing, excuse-making group of individuals in WV. Try to get something accomplished that doesn't fall into the political patronage, political playhouse, slopping at the public trough, grant-sucking realm and you will find out very quickly just how doofless our bureaucrats are. Sadly it is my opinion that they are the worst in education and development, probably the two most important fields to WV at this moment.
                 Since I have mentioned them I might as well address grant suckers and slopping at the public trough. The grant suckers spend most of their time getting funding to pay for their own job. Slopping at the public trough covers a whole plethora of jobs, sins and errors of judgment. This is where our illustrious DOH lurks and also where our WVDO and WVBOE thrive. They live on public money and spend more time and money continuing their own existence than anything else.
                 I have always been sort of a workaholic. I like to get the most for every dollar and every hour. WV doesn't and it eats at me.
                 As we approach this holiday season, I had a revelation. It's probably nothing that someone else hasn't already thought of, but it was news to me.
                 With all this talk of "separation from church and state" and the talk of taking the 10 commandments out of all buildings...doesn't it seem odd that....
         1. Not a single politician that I know of has been on the news wanting to work through Christmas. And what is Christmas? It's the time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Wouldn't that be a "church" thing? So why are they taking a holiday? And are we paying them for this holiday?
         2. Same thing goes for Thanksgiving. What is Thanksgiving? It's a day set aside that we remember our forefathers who gave thanks for the bounty of the land. Who did they give thanks to? Uhmmmm... could it be God? They take off for that too!
         3. How about Easter? Isn't that the holiday where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Hmmmm...they take off for that one too!
                 So now I ask you...if they really want to separate church from state, then why are they taking off work on these very religious holidays? I think it's because someone a whole lot wiser than they are decided that this country is based on Christianity and as such we honor God and Jesus by setting aside these days, as a nation, to pay homage to the Higher Power that has given us so much.
                 Sometimes I wonder when I hear "God Bless America", just why God should listen to us? We've taken Him for granted, tried to take him out of our every day lives and only when in the face of danger do we even dare mention His name. We should be ashamed of how we've acted. In my opinion, before God ever even thinks about blessing us, there's a whole lot of Americans that need to get down on their knees and ask for individuals, as families, as communities and as a country. We've been ashamed of Him too long, trying to hide Him under a bushel when we should have had Him in plain view on the purple mountain majesties and the fruited plains.
                 I'll get off my soapbox now.
                 Have a great holiday! —Barbie Howard
         Short School Board Meeting
                 The Clay County Board of Education held their regular meeting Monday, December 2, at the administrative office building in Clay. With few items on the agenda the meeting lasted only about 15 minutes. Board members present: R.B. Legg, Jr., Gene King, Fran King, Scott Legg, and David Pierson.
                 The Board approved the agenda, previous meeting minutes, payment of current bills, and increased receipts of $826,032.92 with little comment. Business Manager/Treasurer Loretta Gray gave a financial update for November. She said November receipts included $68,000 in tax collections, $23,000 excess levy tax collections, $4,800 from the bus auction, and payments for food services and from the foreign language grant. Expenditures were for computers from a SBA program modernization grant. Board had no questions for Gray.
                 Questionnaires for elementary, middle, and high school students were approved as part of the requirement for the Drug Free Schools Grant. Director of Special Education Jenny Sirk said the surveys will give specific information on the schools, not just the county.
                 Mike Minger was approved as voluntary wrestling coach at Clay County High School. All motions passed unanimously.                         TK
         Weekly Message from Senator Rockefeller
                 Dear friends: As you are aware, one of the biggest problems facing our nation is providing access to affordable prescription drugs to all Americans. Because of the importance of this issue, I thought you may be interested in an article I recently wrote on the subject.
          -Jay *******************************************
         A Treatment Plan for Expanding Access to Prescription Drugs
         by Senator Jay Rockefeller
                 The debate over drug coverage needs a new prescription. We need a comprehensive, bipartisan strategy that expands access to prescription drugs for all Americans. This broad plan must include increasing coverage through Medicare, paying the right amount for the right drug, ensuring that our citizens are not subsidizing the rest of the world, and closing loopholes that prevent access to generic drugs. Patients, providers and employers are demanding that we take action now. A crucial step in any comprehensive strategy must be adding a guaranteed prescription drug benefit to Medicare. We've been talking about the need to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare for over a decade. So why hasn't it been done yet? It's certainly not from a lack of effort. Rather, it boils down to a philosophical difference on how to guarantee drug coverage. This difference was clearly illustrated in the two major bills we debated last year. The first bill delivered the drug benefit through Medicare, but allowed for independent, private companies to manage the program. The second bill, the so-called tri-partisan plan, would have relied solely on private insurers to offer seniors a drug benefit. While this may seem like a distinction without a difference, the reality is the first plan guaranteed drug coverage for all seniors, the second did not. A system that relies solely on private insurers will not guarantee coverage for all seniors. Private insurers simply will not offer coverage in areas where they cannot make a profit. Many rural states have a much larger percentage of chronically ill seniors who use significantly more prescription drugs. To entice private insurers to cover this expensive population, Congress debated providing insurers with billions of extra dollars every year. Yet, even that proposal failed to require insurers to cover every senior. That is an expensive gamble that I'm not willing to take. The only way to guarantee seniors a drug benefit is to deliver it through the Medicare program that partners with private companies who are already managing drug plans. And, by building on Medicare, we offer seniors the peace of mind of using a program that they have trusted since 1965. While seniors urgently need guaranteed drug coverage, others desperately need relief from the increasing cost of prescription drugs. That's why the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to increase access to low-cost generic alternatives by preventing drug manufacturers from exploiting loopholes in existing laws that allow them to further extend their monopolies and keep generic drugs off the market. This plan would also have allowed for the re-importation of prescription drugs from other countries where they are sold at a fraction of the cost. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate-passed legislation would have saved consumers $60 billion over 10 years. While the administration proposed preliminary actions to save consumers a fraction of that amount, more must be done, and it's time to enact this bill. We must also change the way Medicare pays for the drugs purchased by the program. Currently, Medicare pays based on the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) – an arbitrary number reported by the drug industry – which costs seniors hundreds of millions of dollars every year.         Not only does this affect Medicare but it also imposes significant costs on Medicaid programs in every state. The administration assured Congress, in a number of hearings, that they would address the AWP through their own authority if no legislation was enacted. They even assumed savings from these actions in their Fiscal Year 2003 President's Budget. It's time for action, not words. And, we need to update the limited list of cancer drugs currently covered by Medicare. At present, approximately 40 oral anti-cancer drugs are currently on the market, yet less than 10 are covered by Medicare. This can mean life or death for cancer patients. As cancer therapy moves toward more reliance on oral drugs, Medicare coverage must be updated to cover the new therapies.         Gaining access to these life-saving prescription drugs is an incremental and crucial step we must take now. Without action, the burden of costly prescription drugs is only going to get worse. According to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Medicare recipients will use nearly $87 billion – that's billion – in outpatient prescription drugs this year. That figure is projected to rise to more than $128 billion by 2005.         Sadly, about one-quarter of Medicare recipients currently pay all of their drug costs out of their own pockets because they have no prescription drug coverage. And, it's no surprise that spending for prescription drugs is the fastest growing segment of U.S. health care costs. A new survey of employers conducted between January and May of 2002 by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that workers saw the largest increase in employer health insurance premiums in 12 years – an increase of 12.7%. Rising prescription drug costs continue to be a major factor driving these increases in health insurance premiums. Maintaining employer-based coverage is crucial to controlling the number of uninsured. We need to think more broadly about prescription drugs. The increasing cost of these drugs and the resulting effect on health care premiums are unsustainable and threaten the stability of our entire health care system. We need to enact broad, sweeping actions that help everyone afford the drugs they need in order to protect the health care system we all depend on.
         12/03/02: Bailey – Thomas Ray Holcomb, retaliation (11/12/02), preliminary hearing – motion to continue: defense attorney failed to appear for court.
         11/26/02: Big Otter Food Mart – John Cunningham, warrants issued for worthless checks X 6, defendant paid checks and costs 12/04, case d/m; Elswick – Russell Breidegam, warrant issued for domestic battery, arrested 11/29, ROB.
         12/01/02: Foreman – Nelson Ray Rohrbough, DUI and left of center, ROB 12/02.
         12/06/02: Belt – Ronald Lee Boggs, DWR/DUIA, arrested, ROB.
         11/25/02: Telenia Starcher – Jackie Holcomb, money due.
         12/02/02: Roy Lee Metheney – Craig Alan Thomas, money due; Clay Roane PSD – Robert Lee Yates, Cindy Dotson, Chris Samples, Betty Nichols, Karen Mosely, Shay Shafer, Matthew Salisbury, Donald E. Drake, Tommy Dunlap, Steve M. Osley, Johnny Terry, Sherry Smith, and Tony Yates, all for money due.
         12/04/02: Monogram Credit Card Bank of Georgia/Lowes – Anthony G. Fugate, money due; Credit Acceptance Corp. – Rodger Myers, money due.
         12/06/02: Roy May – Amy Brown and Brenda Lane, money due.
         12/09/02: Dimple Rogers – Donna Blevins, wrongful occupation.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued -
         11/26/02: Connie Brown – Lena M. Lunsford.
         12/02/02: Clay Lumber & Supply – Joyce B. Moore and Jacqueline R. Keener.
         12/09/02: Larry’ Grocery – Sandra G. Eagle X 2 and Marsha K. Eagle.
         Traffic Citations
         11/19/02: State Police – John C. Rogers, no POI.
         11/21/02: State Police – Tonya R. Carte, fail to change name on operators.
         11/22/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Eric Lee Myers, MVI.
         11/25/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Stanley R. Armstrong, registration violations and no POI; Eric M. Perry, speeding; State Police – Connie L. Boggs, selling alcohol to underage; DNR – Chris Seth Stewart, loaded gun on vehicle.
         11/26/02: DNR – Billy Ralph Jarvis, failure to field tag deer; John A. Keen, load firearm in vehicle; Hollis R. Osborne, Jr., hunt from motor vehicle X 2, shoot within 25 yards of vehicle, and assessment cost for animal decoy; Charles Dean Rogers, hunting from motor vehicle, assessment fee for deer decoy animal, and highway littering; Jerry Lee Smith, shooting from highway, hunting from motor vehicle, and insufficient blaze orange; Bobby D. Summers, Jr., hunting from motor vehicle and decoy replacement cost; John J. Ward, hunt from a motor vehicle.
         11/28/02: State Police – Thomas Fisher, speeding; Mark Guthrie, speeding.
         12/01/02: State Police – Nelson R. Rohrbough, driving under the influence.
         12/06/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Christopher Bass, no POI.
         12/07/02: DNR – Anthony T. Cummings, non resident hunting w/o license.
         CORRECTION: (Eagle, Mit) did not receive a citation for speeding on 11/22/02 as reported in the previous edition.
         Environmentalist Questions Fola Coal Permit
         WV Office of Coalfield Community Development
         Building 6, Room 650
         State Capitol Complex
         Charleston, WV 25305-0311
         Paul Hardesty, Chief
         Ref: Fola Coal Co. LLC. Permit# S-2006-97, Winoc #2 NPDES WV101788, Article 3 Drawing ART 3, MOD 4
         1. Map Summary shows 28.3 acres in Clay Co. and 818.00 acres in Nicholas County; however the actual Map shows the reverse of this. BLATANT ERROR.
         2. The map shows the coal Removal area as Approx. 25% of the area. Why is this not a category 4 permit instead of the listed Category 3 permit? It is clearly a category 4 when you read the description on the introduction page. Page 5, Item 5a: A variance from AOC is requested. What are the reasons for this Variance? Advise. Page 5, item 5b: The acreage of the post mining land use of "forestland", nor the "fish, wildlife habitat & recreation" are not filled in? Advise. Page 5, Item 6 Blasting Plan. There is NO pre-blast survey map attached or included. The primary zone shows 11 occupied structures and the secondary zone (1/2 mile) shows 15 occupied structures. How can the Public comment without the data to comment on??. Advise. Page 7: Reclamation plan map is NOT included. Why not? The drawing included does not show whether the existing VALLEY FILLS are being built higher or wider or whether they are NEW? Advise.
         7 (a) shows only the 6,803 feet of Laurel Fork of Lilly will be affected. Advise if this renewal permit adds any of this 6,803, or is this a NEW 6,803 feet? This drawing does NOT show: Impact on stream flow Drainage patterns Flooding impact
         Impact on public water supplies Additional development land created. Advise how the public can comment when such CRUCIAL information is left out? Page 8 (b)
         There are NO drainage structures or other structures to be constructed on this site. Why? How do you mine and remove approx. 303.56 acres of coal and not need a drainage structure? Advise. Page 9 (10)(a) How do you remove approx. 3 million tons of coal from this site and not use any State or County roads? Perhaps by rail? Should the Public know =this? Advise. Page 10 (10) (b) It is a mystery how this 849 acre mining site with it's blasting, etc. will NOT significantly affect the streams and aquifers and water wells of the 15 families living within =BD mile of the site as previous blasting on this site rattled and shook the windows in houses 10 miles from site. Explain? Should a pre-blasting plan be included for public comment?. Page 13, item 13. How can the public determine if this "Community Impact Statement" is a SIGNIFICANT REVISION from the original permit application without more information being given. In my opinion, the removal of an additional approx 3 million tons of coal would be a significant revision. Advise.
          I strongly believe that this 5 year renewal of this mining operation will add more damage to the infrastructure already damaged by the previous mining damage from mining this site. The water conditions will NOT be improved, the area damaged will be larger, and the visual/aesthetic conditions will not be improved. The economic condition of the Counties will NOT be improved for the long term. The more acres of surface torn up and the additional silting that gets into the streams and destroys aquatic life, and the potential for flooding that is increased by removal of the ground cover and the actual mining plus the number of years it takes for the site to renew itself, if it ever will, all lead to the reduction in value of property in the area of the site and to those living downstream from this site. The property taxes on this land and adjacent land will be reduced for the length of time it takes to return to Forestland, (approx.100 to 400 years) if it ever will. There is at present approx. 30,000 acres of strip mine land in these 2 counties that, over the years, have been left un-reclaimed or improperly reclaimed and are on the take books as "worthless" property, which is normal for such mining operations. Also, Fola Coal is asking for a permit to Mt. Top Removal Mine an additional 1654 acres at an adjacent site, Permit # SMA 2009-95. Perhaps you remember our discussions in Clay County Court House in January or February, when you were in your new job for approx 8 days, and we rejected the 16 acre plan that was presented. Now we are being asked to comment on an 849 Acre renewal permit. Perhaps it is time that we can look at the large picture in our depressed area and together can make a plan that will include the complete approx 30,000 acres to be reclaimed in a way that will provide our Counties with a better future economic condition.
          It is my understanding that Fola Coal has recently bought 30,000 acres from another Coal Co. for $1.00. I would think that the PLAN could include this
         recently purchased property and in addition, I believe that the Permit SMA 2009-95 for an additional (1654) Acre site listed above should be included in your PLAN that I understand will be out for Public Comment in 180 Days. If I can be of help in preparing your plan, Please advise.
          Thank you for the opportunity to review this plan.
                                 Fred Sampson
                                 HC-68, Box 25
                                 Ivydale, WV 25113
          EDITORS NOTE: Mr. Sampson is a long time environmental activist that makes the effort to comment to environmental regulatory agencies on a regular basis. The above correspondence is an indication of well thought through efforts.
         CCDC Thankful for Success of Home Improvement Project
                 The Clay County Development Corporation/Clay Senior Citizens Center would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the generous contributions made to the Home-Improvement Program for Aging In Place Project. The West Virginia University Center on Aging (Administration on Aging) provided a grant for this worthwhile project; a donation of lumber was made by Melco Lumber Company of Big Otter; a donation of treated lumber was made by Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse of Kanawha City; and, a cash donation was made by Wal-Mart of Summersville. The Lizemore Methodist Church and the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church made generous donations as well. And, we would like to thank Tom Auxier for donating his time, his skills, and his advise on doing the best job possible.
                 With these donations of materials, time, and money the pilot project was a great success. The agency was able to accomplish home repairs to 22 individual homes from January of this year until November 2002.
                 The agency’ hope for the future is that the success of this project and the need for this project in rural Clay County will open up more funds for other counties in West Virginia, as well as Clay. Along with making a difference in the living conditions of senior citizens, this project will also create much-needed jobs for the citizens of West Virginia.
                 STUMBLERS OF THE WEEK
         By Andy Waddell
                 December 5, 4:55 pm, just before the Business Development Authority meeting at the courthouse, Assistant Prosecutor Barbara Schamberger asked to speak with that ace cub reporter. Off to the side, Ms Schamberger told the round one, Judge Richard Facemire had asked that Tommy Young’ remarks on the web site be removed. She said something about the posting made references to juvenile matters. Also, if they’e not removed, she said, a court order would force such. The Mel Gibson look alike explained that the Tommy Young post was a conversation with Young, in public, at the courthouse, and the info was made public because Mr. Young asked for such. Ms Schamberger acknowledged seeing Young talking to the press Monday, December 2. After hearing from the Assistant Prosecutor, ace cub reporter Waddell said he was not inclined to remove the posting.
                 So what was reported on the web site? It went like this: Dec 4 am: We had a chance to talk to Tommy Young last week. Young's name has been mentioned time in and time out in news reports. Young lives out Ovapa way on Murder Mountain as locals call it. Young was very upset when we spoke. According to Young, the Prosecutor's office took his children from his home three days earlier, on Friday.
                  Dec 4 am: Young made it very clear that he was not associated with Richard Cummings, the guy that was arrested with Tattoo Vince Golosow. Young said his kids should not have been removed by the Prosecutor's office because, they were well cared for, had good school attendance records, and their needs, including medical, were more than met.
                 During a BDA meeting break December 5, Schamberger provided a little more information. That day, during an earlier juvenile hearing, an attorney had asked the Judge for removal of the information and all juvenile matters are held in the strictest of confidence. Readers, it sounded like Sham nor the Judge had actually read the postings themselves.
                 December 6, noon, in the Prosecutor’ office, according to the Prosecutor, the court order had not been prepared yet. Schamberger made a call to the Judge’ office and mentioned to the person on the other end that she was ready to prepare the Court Order and Injunction document. Oh my, oh man, sure felt like we were getting ready to spend Christmas with Bubba and Central Regional Jail boys where friendly takes on a new meaning every evening when the lights go out.
                 December 6, 12:36 pm. A Fax from 587-2555 comes to the Communicator office. Fax machine errors and the FAX is unreadable. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Finally at 2 pm Lucy Cruickshank was asked to resend the earlier FAX. The following was contained in that correspondence: Please correct this misinformation on your website: The Prosecutor’ office does not take children. The Court, and only the court, may remove children from their home pursuant to a verified petition being filed by any reputable person. The Prosecutor’ office files such petitions on behalf of either law enforcement or Clay County Protective Services. I am asking for such a correction because your website if well frequented by citizens of our county and some readers may wrongly think that the Prosecutor’ Office is the only office they can call or contact in CPS cases. The “00”for both child and adult protective services is 1 800 352 6513. The Prosecuting Attorney’ Office is always available to assist individuals needing to report possible abuse, but the 800 hotline is a resource of which our citizens need to be aware. Thank you, Barbara. She went on to mention in the FAX that she would get with the Judge after lunch. Oh Boy, not out of the grease yet!
                 We waited and waited and….        
                 December 6, 3:55 pm. With our shorts bunched up, we called Circuit Clerk Mike Asbury to see if any Judge’ order had come through. Nope, was the response. Asbury, who was present when Judge Facemire made the request to Barbara Schamberger seeking the removal of the Young information, remembered the conversation and felt that the Judge had not actually read the site nor did an attorney at the hearing have a hard copy of the article.
                 Of course, we made light of the potential penalties for disobeying a Judge’ order the following days on, stuff like having our toothbrush ready and putting on clean underwear just like Mom told us to do when going away from home. While it is always noble to stand up for free speech, the Bill of Rights, and the American way, the truth is, bravery is often the tougher road to follow. Our hope is, we won’ have to make a decision to disobey Judge Facemire. As of December 4, 6 pm, we have received no Court order or Injunction.
                 From Thucydides, 400 B.C., “e convinced that to be brave means to be free, and to be free means to be brave.”
         STUMBLER # 2
         By Andy Waddell
                 Setting up home or business in Clayberry can be challenging and costly. Let’ talk about the costly part. You get married. Rent your first apartment or trailer in the town of Clay. Paint, fix up, move in, arrange everything, you know the drill. Of course, public utilities have to be applied for, deposits coughed up, connection fees, and the like.
                 In the municipality, before getting water service, a $50.00 deposit must be plopped down as well as a $25.00 connection fee. That fee is now being questioned. The following is an excerpt from the WV Public Service Commission rules on water service.
                 4.1.6. Applications for water service.
          a. All customers desiring water service must make written application at the office of the utility on printed forms provided there for, setting forth in said application all purposes for which water will be used upon their premises. All users of service from a water public service district shall be required to designate on every application for service whether the applicant is a tenant or an owner of the premises to be served. If the applicant is a tenant, he shall state the name and address of the owner or owners of the premises to be served by the district
          b. Any change in the identity of the contracting customer at a premises will require a new application for water, and the utility may, after reasonable notice, discontinue water service until such new application has been made and accepted, but the former customer shall remain liable for water furnished to said premises until he has given notice in writing to the utility to discontinue water service.
          c. No charge will be made for turning on the water to new customers during regular working hours.
                 Did you notice “” The town (or any PSD for that matter) is not allowed to charge for turning on new water service.
                 One customer has already come in Town Hall challenging the $25.00. According to that person, water clerk Dwana Murphy commented that they are not governed by the WV PSC, they have always charged everybody the $25 for a connection, and they don’ plan on changing things now.
                 Let’ see now….. Let’ say they hook up five new people a month, that’ $125.00. Times 12 months, that’ $1500.00. Times the 6 years Dwana has been at the desk, that’ a, well, nearly $10,000.00. If someone wanted to challenge the fee, the guess is, the town would have to do a bunch of pay backs.
                 So… who’ it going to be?                                                                AW
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
         1.        One man with courage makes a majority.
                                    - Andrew Jackson
         2. specializes in background checks for job applicants. It found that about 70 of 1000 shopping mall Santas and Santa’ helper applicants had committed misdemeanors or felonies in the last seven years.
3.        Claritin, the popular prescription allergy medicine is now available over the counter.
4.        Researchers from Harvard University’ School of Public Health reports that people who eat a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter at least five times a week were more than 20 percent less likely to develop adult onset diabetes than those who never ate those products.
5.        Half of the 2.4 billion pounds of peanuts consumed in America yearly are eaten as peanut butter.
6.        People ate about 6.9 billion pounds of iceberg lettuce in 2000.
7.        The AMA predicts a 4 to 6 percent jump in medical students nationwide.
8.        In 2000, 48 percent of all work injuries resulted in lost work time.
9.        Boston will be the site of the 2004 Democrat National Convention.
10.         They comprise less than 5 percent of the student body, but blacks graduate at a higher rate in West Virginia than any place in the nation.
11.         Since the online “unting license service”began August 1st, hunters have bought 3,899 licenses and permits, spending $365,000.
12.         Fifty four percent of “ountain state”homes have access to the Internet.
13.         According to new studies, domesticated dogs originated from wolves in East Asia nearly 15,000 years ago.
14.         About 9,000 additional West Virginians have started using Food Stamps since June 2001, an 11.35 percent increase in enrollment.
15.         Democrats, big city politicians and civil rights groups, have charged that the 2000 Census missed roughly 3.2 million people.
16.         Electric companies and their employees contributed at least 11 million to the GOP in the 2001-02 election cycle, more than twice as much as they gave to Democrats.
17.         In the last four years, many more low and moderate-income working families are spending at least half their salaries on rent and mortgages.
18.         People magazine is honoring Ben Affleck as this year’ sexiest man alive.
19.         Researchers say a toxic compound formed when sugar, proteins and fat are cooked long at high temperatures, may increase blood vessel damage in diabetics.
20.         Hershey’ Kisses are called that because, according to company legend, when the chocolate paste hits the steel roller it males a lip.

        Oh, how we wade through hours of boring, dry meetings searching for just a glimmer of controversy or ill feelings to report to our readers! Not so this article with the coverage of the December 4th County Commission meeting!
        Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the regular meeting of the CCC was rescheduled for the 4th. With Commissioners Matthew Bragg and Jimmy Sams on the bench, around 25 filled the peanut gallery. Tim “o Show”Butcher was no where to be seen.
        First on the agenda came Ann Anderson from the Bomont area of Clay County. Anderson was very upset over the smoking of cigarettes and pipes in the courthouse. Anderson, the mother of WVU Extension Office clerk Sarah Anderson, made it very clear she didn’ appreciate Prosecutor Davis and Sheriff Fields smoking in the public building. She went on to say that her daughter was just recovering from a lung condition brought on by the smoke from Prosecutor Davis’office. Davis’office is located next door to the County Extension Agent’ digs. Anderson, “HY IS SMOKING ALLOWED? WE SHOULDN’ HAVE TO SMELL PIPE AND CIGARETTES!!!!” Did we mention that Anderson was standing, staring directly at Sams and Bragg and wasn’ blinking an eye? True, true, true. Even the sometimes slow to catch on Commissioners knew, if they said one wrong word, Anderson and supporters would lay in to them like stink on ….
        Meekly, ever so meekly, Sams quietly advanced, “e made it smoke-free in ‘5.” Ms Anderson commented that she had spoken with Judge Rick Facemire and, “ou are STEWARDS of the building according to Judge Facemire!!!”Anderson waited for a reply. It came from Sams, “t’ hard for me to stay here all the time and enforce it…”And then Sams chose to make light of the situation knowing full well Anderson was referring to Sheriff Fields as the pipe smoker at the courthouse, Sams, “aybe the Sheriff could enforce it?”        Oh boy, as the Navy boys would say, “IVE, DIVE, DIVE!!!!!!!!!!”Sams’humor was not taken well by Anderson whose blood pressure went up another notch or two. Anderson, “E’ A SMOKER!! [This] is NOT FUNNY! Asthma and bronchitis! I wanted to throw the Prosecutor out the window. Might run that cigarette up his…… NOSE!”Although telling the truth, Sams did not make any headway when he explained that the elected officials in the courthouse run their own offices and the County Commission did about all it could do when they passed the Smoking Ordinance seven years earlier. Sams, “ can’ tell them… They’e elected… What do you want me to do?? …. I’l talk to the people… There’ not that much smoking going on…”        Sheepishly, Commission President Bragg entered the fray, “he Prosecutor is leaving December 31..” Ann Anderson, “T’ NOT JUST THE SHERIFF OR JEFF, THERE ARE OTHERS! WE HAVE A PROBLEM. I CAN PERSUE THIS FURTHER!!!” Hear that readers? Anderson is angry and saber rattling about using the court system. Bragg suggested that they would send out a letter and talk to “hem”
        Bragg asked one simple straight question: Is it a law? Getting a straight answer can be tough. From the peanut-sters, County Sanitarian Teresa Morton replied that the regulation against smoking at the courthouse had been passed in July 1995. The question was: Is it a law? Sitting beside Morton was another lady, Christy Micky (I think). Christy commented on potential liability situations and worker compensation claims. Still no answer for Bragg. Finally, Christy said that under the existing Clean Indoor Air Regulation there was a loop hole, smoking is permitted in private offices, the Prosecutor, the Sheriff, and others were completely legal in lighting up. Christy, “e has followed the loop hole to a T” Again Mr. Bragg, “s it a law?” Not one to answer Bragg’ question, in a come back move, Christy and Morton suggested that the CCC close the loop hole TODAY by banning smoke in the entire courthouse. Sams seemed hesitant.
        And then, and then…. The side door opened just a little and none other than Prosecutor Jeff Davis stuck his head partially into the Commission room. Bad move on Jeff’ part. Instead of quickly closing the door and running for his life, Davis came in and seated himself near the center of the room. At 10:16 am, Davis, after hearing more Morton inspired interpretations of what should be done, “T’ A BIG JOKE!…[I HAVE] GOOD VENTILATION IN THERE!!!!!!!!!!!… THEY ELECTED ME TO HOLD THAT OFFICE!” Davis went on to comment that he only smokes in his private office, away from others, that his office was private and the public could only enter when invited. Davis, the CCC and Christy and company, “ow do you enforce it? The Board of Health does NOT have the power to legislate!!???”Christy, “T’ BEEN UPHELD IN COURT!”Just as loud and just as firm, Davis, “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, the Feds!!!”        Things heated up even as Christy attempted to quote the Prosecutor the law. Numbers popped out, 16-2-11, 16-2-10, 16-2-… and on she went. Davis, “ou are miss-stating the law… I have discretion to prosecute!”Cristy, “ou are putting people in jeopardy, you’e LIABLE!” With those short little hairs on the back of his neck standing at attention Davis, “Y SMOKING IS NOT HURTING ANYONE… MAKE A CONNECTION IN COURT!”Christy came back with the penalty for smoking inside could be up to $1000.00. Davis, “ou can’ do a criminal penalty!”Christy, “ES THERE IS!”
        After some more Christy exchanges Davis commented that he didn’ like being threatened and made it clear that he would continue to smoke in his private office. He went on say that when people with BO come into the courthouse, those folks make him feel sick and what’ next, banning stinky people?
        15 minutes into the exchanges, Commissioner Sams called for a time out and break. He quickly left the room. With time out called, the remarks continued and continued with vigor. After some strong words from Christy, Davis, “ou can’ breeze around my office.. I was elected.. I’ not the only one that smokes….. QUIT MAKING THREATS AND GO FOR IT, CONNECT IT UP…” Others in the gallery spoke on the worth of the existing regulation and it being without “rosecutorial teeth”
        Still in recess ( I think) Anderson explained that she has to occasionally go over to the Prosecutor’ office to use the FAX machine and recently a bunch of lawyers gathered near the front door of the Prosecutor’ office and smoked like crazy triggering allergic reactions in her lungs. With the room more subdued, Prosecutor Davis said he was not aware of those actions and would make sure, in the future, all smoking would take place ONLY in his private office and not out front. Davis, “ apologize, that will be cut out…. I’l eliminate that.”Jokingly, Davis, “eresa Morton has run me out of the courthouse!”        With Sams saying the CCC would take the matter under advisement, Bragg offered a motion to amend the existing ordinance closing the loop hole which allows smoking in some sections of the new Courthouse. With Sams looking at the side of Bragg’ head, the motion passed. NOTE: There was no mention of a vote on the agenda. Questions may come up over the legality of the new resolution.
                        Continued on the next page        
        The December 4 action continued when Mary Starcher asked to address the County Commission. Ms Starcher spoke on the work of Assistant Prosecutor Barbara Schamberger and how disappointed she was with the efforts. Starcher commented on not getting a fair shake at the Prosecutor’ office and when she called 911 for police help (Green Shirts mostly), they didn’ come. Starcher, “ have gone to Schamberger and was refused over and over… Our lives have been threatened… I don’ think the Prosecutor could allow this to go on……I have a tape… [I] called 911 and no law enforcement…. I have a right to an officer when needed. I can prove what I am saying!” Ms Schamberger, in attendance, sat up front, quiet, and listened as did Sams. After several minutes of hearing from Starcher, Matthew Bragg asked about the 911 part. Bragg said that was something they could respond to. Sams added that the police had to respond to a 911 call and if she could provide a date and time, County Commission would find out the reason. Trooper Ellyson’ name was mentioned during the Starcher remarks, something along the lines of, “llyson said we’e doing stuff to Mr. Dawson.”        After listening for many minutes, Assistant Prosecutor Schamberger attempted to explain a conflict of interest issue to Ms Starcher. Scham, “s Starcher’ remarks are personal and grossly inaccurate.”Schamberger commented about her private practice and that she had done work for the Dawson subject on her own time, etc. Readers it sounded like a family feud was going on between Ms Starcher and a Dawson subject who lives next door to Starcher. Additionally, the issue appears to center around a child custody battle currently going on in Circuit Court.
                 Twice, and after 25 minutes of back and forth, Sams tried to move the meeting along. Didn’ work. Schamberger wanted to make doubly certain the public knew she was operating inside the law while Mary Starcher was still feeling left out of the loop and away from fair law enforcement and prosecutor’ office help. A fellow with Ms Starcher called out three times, “ome on Mom, we’e wasting time here! The complaints get thrown in the trash can… Let’ go!” With Matthew Bragg looking at the clock, with Wayne King speaking in hushed tones to Bragg, Judy Moore talking to Sams, Starcher, “e has guns in the windows and signs!” At one point, Starcher was almost in tears. Finally the discussion ended as Jimmy Sams promised to look into the 911 issue if Mr. Starcher would forward the dates when law enforcement refused to respond to her calls for help. Starcher said she would do just that.
         Clyde Dawson was denied a Homestead Exemption by Assessor Suzie Legg and that decision was upheld by the County Commission.
         Now there was a bunch more that went on... the usual paying of bills, budget revisions, minutes OK’ and more.
         Finally, and near the end of the assembly, Assessor Legg let it be known she had received a letter from the State Tax folks informing her that Fola Coal had failed to pay their fair share of mineral taxes. After some coaxing, Legg said the additional tax could amount to thousands of dollars. The County Commission signs off on mineral tax tickets by law.
         County Commission agreed to interview prosecuting attorney candidates December 12, beginning at 11 am, and to make a decision during that December 12 regular meeting which begins at 2 pm. AW
                 BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner What It Was, Was Football
                 Now that the American people are being deluged with hourly alarms of Iraq’ evil intentions toward the United States, combined with the administration, in collusion with the media in their efforts to remind us that every nook and cranny of this republic is in immanent danger of terrorist attack, it is time to turn to a lighter subject – football. At a time when the media seem intent upon making all of us as nervous as a Christian Scientist with appendicitis, it may be that the football season will provide us with a blessed, though temporary, relief.
                 However, (and there is always a ‘owever’ some serious thinkers believe that the decline of western civilization began with the invention of the inflated ball. Nevertheless, the intellectual who feels guilty over his love of football can get off the hook by saying something inane like: “ like football, but I don’ think it has anything to do with education.” Some wit from the past is said to remark that an intellectual is someone who can listen to the “illiam Tell Overture”without thinking of the Lone Ranger. A schizophrenic intellectual may be capable of thinking of both simultaneously. As Sherlock Holmes was fond of saying: “hese are deep waters, Watson” so perhaps it would be well not to pursue the matter further.
                 Nowhere in the realm of what is laughingly called ‘igher education’can one find more skewed priorities than in big-time athletic programs. Ohio State’ total budget last year was slightly over $600 million, with more than $300 million going to the athletic department. West Virginia University recently announced plans to build 19 luxury suites at Mountaineer Field at a cost of $8 million. Charleston ‘niversity’is moving toward fielding a football team in the near future. The term ‘niversity’is in quotes here for a purpose. Traditionally, for a school to be classified as a university, it had to include a college of liberal arts, a law and medical school, as well as schools of agriculture and engineering. Even Marshall, by such a standard, cannot legitimately qualify, excellent as it is. Thundering Herd supporters will undoubtedly turn blue over that uncomfortable assertion.
                 There was a time in the not-so-remote past, that college athletics existed as a venue staged primarily for the students. In fact, one famous university (which shall be nameless, because it has changed its policy) had a seating policy which awarded students on the basis of class standing, thus freshmen were seated on the 20 yard line, sophomores – 30, and the seniors, presumably as a reward for their scholastic achievements, were happily seated on the 50 yard line. Such a splendid concept was bound to be short-lived. In this ‘ou get what you pay for’world, the fat cats always prevail. Practical types, such as Ed Pastilong, the athletic director at WVU, know this inescapable truth. Can luxury suites for the elite be far behind? We can’ have the big contributors being forced to rub elbows with the slobbering multitudes. (That’ us) With considerable help from this year’ record, West Virginia University can continue its quest to become a school of which a football team can be proud. The late Howard Cosell was not far off the mark when he coined the term ‘ockocracy’ It is always amusing and somewhat sad to see and hear some of the star athletes on TV solemnly inform the audience of their majors: ‘ports Management’ ‘eisure Time Activity’ and the winner is… (the envelope, please) ‘ommunications’ The latter, in an era of higher standards was once called the Department of Speech and Drama. Star athletes, with visions of making it in the NFL or the NBA, the chances for which are roughly equivalent to taking a trip to the moon on gossamer wings or winning the lottery figure they can always fall back on their communications major and get a high-paying job as a TV sportscaster.
                 Andy Rooney, a national treasure from this happily biased point-of-view, recently found himself in a controversy by announcing that he disliked female sideline reporters at televised football games. His argument was that these women new nothing about the game. He was wrong about that point. Many women are quite knowledgeable about football. His protest would have had more impact if he had mentioned the strident, piercing, shrieking vocal quality of the commentators selected. Most of them scream into the microphones, and have voices that would shatter an anvil at 90 paces. Exhume Marlene Detrich or hire Lauren Bacall. With those voices, who cares if they know anything about football?
                 Speaking of football, (notice the clever transition) is there some sportscaster’ manual that dictates the necessity of using the term ‘ootball’on at least every other sentence? “e’ a great football player, Fred.” “e can really run with that football, Al.” “e’ got to learn to hang on to that football, Herb.” “e’e looking forward to a great football game on this football field.” And what, in the wild word of sports is a ‘rue freshman’ Does this term suggest that all the other freshmen are false? And let us not forget the ever-popular: “his is going to be a very physical game, Floyd.” Football is a physical activity: how did they ever come up with that insight? Picture the alternative: “his is going to be a very mental game, Mort.” In this scenario there are two very thin, nerdy young men with glasses whose lenses are as thick as the bottoms of Coke bottles. They are facing each other, sitting in the lotus position on the 50 yard line. Between them is a large chessboard. Thousands sit in breathless anticipation. At halftime the P.A. announcer delivers a lecture on Kant’ Critique of Pure Reason, and thousands cheer.
                                         Rah, rah: Cur
         P.S. People who love college basketball should form a movement to cut Dick Vitale’ throat. He does not broadcast a game: he obliterates it.
                 First one problem ,then another. One stumbling block after another was placed in the path of getting new water service to the long-time funded and long-time stalled Tucker’ Bottom, Oakton, Fola, Holcomb Hill, Independence, and Lizemores section of the county. Page after page of newspaper print have been filled over the last 10 years. Money found, money pulled. Plants to be built followed by plant NOT to be built. Bankruptcy hearing delays. And on and on it went.
                 That appears to be behind Clay County now with the issuance of the WV Health Department permit which will allow for the above named projects to begin. Briefly, after all the ‘’ were dotted and T’ were crossed, the last road block was getting the state Health Dept.’ OK to allow the town of Clay water plant to provide the treated water for the new extensions. Based on the past performance of the municipality and huge water losses at the plant, the Health boys were reluctant, to say the least, to add any new customers to the existing water source. Somehow, some way, the permit was finally issued November 21st of this year. What should be a time to celebrate, the issuing of the permit, has all but gone unnoticed.
                 The permit, maybe readers should frame it or hang it on the frig, follows this article in it’ entirety. That Health Department permit gives the green light to the Phase I projects and, according to PSD Chair Keith King, “ay”allow for additional extensions, Phase II, in the next few years.
                 Locals have suggested reasons for the subdued receipt of the permit. For many, getting the town of Clay out of the water business has been priority one. The most recent plan was to get the existing, already paid for, debt free, town plant out of service and build a $4 million dollar regional facility. Clay County and Clay Roane PSD both purchase water from the Clay Municipal Water Plant. During recent Clay County PSD meetings, Chair Keith King has openly commented that he wants no association with the town and would rather not deal with the local provider. Even with the permit in hand for the new extension projects, King and others, Clay Roane PSD, continue to pursue the building of a new water plant for the Clay and Roane County service areas. Currently customers of the Clay plant enjoy very low water rates (around $25.00 per month) compared to the rest of the county customers (around $45.00 per month). At one point, during a public meeting, Clay County PSD Chair Keith King appeared bitter over the town’ low rates. During an October meeting of the Lizemores “e Want Water”group, one fellow questioned the proposed high water rates which would fund the regional water plant. In response, Chair King retorted that the guy wasn’ interested in everybody getting water service in the county but rather just keeping his rates low!
                 For Tucker’ Bottom, Oakton, Fola, Holcomb Hill, Independence, and Lizemores, there is still one more itsy bitsy issue to be worked out. When the Clay County PSD building burned to the ground June 13 of this year, all the paperwork for the stalled project went up in smoke. With the funding in place, and now the last permit signed for the extensions, the earlier signed user agreements and right of ways must be re-executed. For the project to actually get started, and before any dirt can be shoveled, 80% of the future customers must agree to take water and sign the documents. The signing process could take several months to complete. With that being said, it now appears that there truly is light at the end of the tunnel for those that have frog scum for water. AW                                        AW