DECEMBER 26, 2003

Our Whole Duty to God, and Man.
CCHS Dance Teamin Florida
Remodeling Pays Off
How’ Your Health...Insurance? By Jim Chafin
Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughin
Clay Schools to Get $4 Million for New School

Clay County Commission met in regular session December 22nd at the courthouse. With all three elected ones in attendance, the center of attention was the continuing discussion on floating an emergency service excess levy in the spring of 2004. Before that discussion, some small fries: CCC agreed to foot the $100 bill to pay for Christmas tree lights, change a road name from Breakwater Road to Pilot Lane (that’ K.O. Starcher’ driveway); and the usual — pay the bills, etc.
         In an attempt to improve 911 radio coverage in the county, motion was made and passed to buy two repeater transmitters for $36,041.56. One repeater will be placed on a Gauley Bridge tower (owned by 2 Way Radio) to improve service in the Lizemores and Bomont section of the county. The second repeater will be placed on an existing tower at Moore Fork in the northern end of the county. Concerns were raised that the two new repeaters will only handle one broadcast frequency. 911 Director Dave King recommended the new repeaters be set up to handle the fire department frequency. Commission President Sams commented before the vote, “e need to do something… this may be trial and error, but we’e doing something…”
         We’e ready for the main attraction readers. With over 15 in the peanut gallery, agenda item #14 read: Discuss/Decision on Excess Levy for emergency services. Report from Lizemores VFD. During recent meetings, the Commission made it clear, unless all three fire departments are in agreement and willing to go out and support a levy, the CCC would not allow the item on the spring ballot. During the last CCC meeting, Big Otter VFD and Clay VFD reps said they were all in line and supportive of the excess levy. The only hold out was Lizemores VFD.
         In attendance at this gathering were three reps from Lizemores. Mary Kincaid was first to speak. Kincaid said that most of the LVFD Board were supportive of a levy for emergency fire services but were opposed to any of the money going to support the ambulance service. Kincaid had opened a can of worms; past practices of the ambulance service and the governing Ambulance Authority were at issue. Sams, “ill you all work for the levy at the fire department?”Kincaid responded that the Lizemores VFD was in favor of the levy but she wasn’ sure the public would be so obliging. Sams, “t’ going to take everybody.”
         Briefly Sams provided a dismal outlook for emergency services in the coming year with coal severance dollars dwindling. He said in the future, the Commission may not be able to help pay fire department insurance costs. Others chimed in that without adequate emergency service protection in the county, no one would want to locate here. Most shook their heads in agreement.
         From Clay VFD, Dave Pierson said his agency was pretty much in favor of the levy but reminded the group of a previous ambulance fee that raised $80,000 annually and was later scuttled by the CCC. Pierson opened the ambulance service can of worms a little further with “The ambulance service will be a hard sale.”
         Even with the ambulance service mentioned twice, the boys up front didn’ want to get into that issue. Front man Jimmy Sams commented that he would rather see his house burn down than someone hurt and without an ambulance. Sams was saying: There will be no emergency service levy attempt unless the ambulance service is included. When Sams seemed a little confused on the subject of funding the ambulance service, Paige Willis, “ can explain it to you.”Sams, “o, no, no.”Willis, “ didn’ think you did.”
         Also in the crowd were ambulance service employees Mary Hanshaw and Patty Mollohan. Both chimed in with comments on how hard the ambulance was trying and the need to keep Jan Care out of the county. Sams came back to the earlier $25 ambulance fee quagmire and how the public hated it. Sams, “t was thrown in their faces.. I know, I was out campaigning then..”Commissioner Bragg, “ou guys (VFDs) know the needs. The public don’ know.”Triplett remained silent.
         Here’ the way it looks, readers. Each fire department and the ambulance service will receive $30,000 from the proposed $170,000 excess levy. With four agencies involved at $30,000 each, the remaining $50,000 annually will be rotated around to each agency with the ambulance service getting first dibs.
         Willis on the ambulance service, “ill $30,000 cure the ills?”Sams, “he $30,000 and the $50,000 will help.”Clerk Moore added that the additional funds would not be enough to put on a full time second crew at the ambulance service . Willis reminded all, just two days earlier, a Summersville ambulance had to be called into the county to handle an emergency when our only truck was tied up with another call. As of meeting time, only one ambulance was in working order.
         From the back came a new face. A George Jones fellow. No, not the singer either. Jones said he didn’ give a hoot about the history of the ambulance service but , “e have to start someplace…. We can’ depend on outsiders.. We have to work for tomorrow to make things better.” The Jones rally call went pretty much unnoticed as ambulance employees Hanshaw and Mollohan added they need a new truck right now and the service is doing a good job on a tight budget. A short little fat guy said that no levy would pass until fences were mended, that the county remembers $9000 Christmas bonuses and how a $225,000 ambulance service surplus was frittered away in addition to going into debt with a $100,000 loan. The sometimes rough around the edges Mary Hanshaw was told to put duct tape on her mouth if she wanted the levy to pass!
         During a break, Senator Randy White was contacted about providing more grant money. Commissioner Bragg said he was optimistic White could help the county during the next budget cycle.
         After an hour of discussion no decision was made on putting the levy on the next ballot. That decision will be coming in January 2004. Next meeting of the Commission will be at 10 a.m. Jan. 2, 2004.         AW
         Our Whole Duty to God, and Man.

                 Rooted in antiquity, hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, the legends of Christmas (Christ-Mass) have grown from the gold and silver ornaments hung on a tree taken from the forest, to what is now a burgeoning industry employing thousands of workers, and gobbling up earth’ resources at a horrendous rate. An endeavor that prides itself in being able to produce worthless junk at a rate never before attained by man in his entire history on planet Earth. But for what? For the most part, these trinkets and fanciful toys are gone in a matter of days, adding to the already unmanageable mountains of refuse and garbage that this society discards each day. Is there a legitimate reason (good and true) for all that we see happening as the world prepares for a holiday unlike any other? Is the world a celestial ball of unfathomable riches, infinite in nature, an endless resource that man is free to exploit – his imagination being the only limits of his ability to root up and carry away?
                 We do not believe that such is the case! Amos 2:7 “hey pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek…”(as in a feeding frenzy). Scriptures talk much about stewardship and our use of the gift man has been entrusted with, about equality, and such lofty terms as “ustice and judgment”– something that is increasingly distant for more and more people. Not that the Word is wrong, but that man, in his unbridled greed has all but obliterated “he measure of faith”that has been given to every man.
                 What does a righteous and moral Deity expect from His creation anyway? Is the corruption and moral decay we see in our midst to be accepted as normal, or are humans called to exercise “udgment”on a higher moral plane? Do we owe God any consideration for the kindnesses he has bestowed upon humanity? I believe we do!! I think we owe obeisance to “he words that are written in the book.” I believe we should listen to “hat still small voice”that lives within us, and give a lot of consideration to what this generation is doing to the whole of earth’ creatures.
                 James 1:27 “ure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keep (oneself) unspotted from the world.” Herein lies the solution to the mystery that, seemingly, has befuddled mankind since its very beginning: Here, James isn’ talking about a simple social call (important, though it may be). No, the apostle is speaking in terms of rendering assistance to those whose circumstances had brought them to a point wherein they needed help from their neighbors. Something had happened in their lives that had brought calamitous effects, beyond which they could not rise, and now they were in need of something more than a sympathetic ear – they needed real-time physical help. Their circumstances were more than they could bear alone.
                 Apostle James was echoing the words of prophets all down through the ages, wherein men have been called of God to rise above “he commandments of men”and live out the promises of a Father who gave us His only begotten Son, that “hosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And, it is this same Son, Jesus Christ, who further clarifies our duties and responsibilities in such a way as to make it unmistakably clear, as to what our Father would have us do. In Matthew 22:36-44, a scoffer poses this question to Christ: “aster, which is the great commandment in the law? 37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38) This is the first and great commandment. 39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40) One these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” This, dear friends, is the litmus test, the gold standard, if you please – the will of God for this generation. This is clear and simple language that all are able to understand. So here we have it from the lips of Christ Himself, “he second is like unto the first”(like, as in the same, parallel, equal to, with parity, of like importance). Jesus said in another place, “ give my life for my sheep – my sheep hear my voice – another they will not follow.” Jesus in the Father; the Father in the Son; Jesus in us, and we in Jesus. And the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) is come “o teach us all things.”
                 Am I willing to give my life so that one person might live? Jesus gave His life for everyone!! Is there a cause so great, or a loved one so dear, that I would give my life so others might live? Would I give my life for that of my wife, my family, my neighbor? These are things we need to ponder as we read Christ’ words, “ove thy neighbor as thyself.” Apostle James said, “isit the fatherless and widows in their affliction”; that simply means to be of service to our neighbor(s) – not simply on what is now called Christmas, not merely on Thanksgiving Day, for life is more than a holiday – life goes on around the calendar. Clearly, then, if we would emulate the character of Christ, if we be filled with the Holy Spirit, and if we would “ay our vows,”we will, necessarily, be “bout our Father’ business”; we will seek out those who are hurting this season of giving; we will do it all in Jesus’name, for His sake, and for the sake of mankind, wherever our journeying may take us.
                 To all a joyous holiday season in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Lord of creation. And to all a good night.
                                           Jim Chafin
                 One Clay County attorney has had two ethic charges filed against him from two different sources in the past 45 days. Long time local attorney and one time County Prosecutor Wayne Arthur King has the dubious distinction.
                 On December 11th town cop Buckshot Butcher filed with the State Bar, the Lawyer Disciplinary Board. A portion of that complaint is attached. According to Butcher’ grievance, King promised to file a lawsuit on his behalf . From the paperwork, “ went to Mr. King in Clay and he agreed to take my case. He was to file the suit on the doctor and hospital. Mr. King told me and my wife that the lawsuit was filed in Charleston I asked him today about the statute of limitations on my suit and had they been taken care of. He assured me he had. My wife Fonda also called the same day and he told her the same. …. To this date I have heard nothing from the court about my suit. Could you please help me with dealing with Mr. King. He is as crooked as the year is long….. He shouldn’ be able to do people like this. He needs his license pulled and never be able to practice law again…..
Butcher alleges that King never filed the suit on his behalf and now the statute of limitations has expired leaving Butcher with no recourse. As of December 27th, Buckshot has received no response from the Disciplinary Board.
                 Bill Moss from Newton has an even more serious charge against attorney King. According to the 60 something Moss, King represented him in a property dispute which concluded in June 2003. From arbitrator Franklin Fragale’ conclusion: The amount in escrow during the pendency of this litigation was $7,681.14. The amount in escrow is to be returned to Plaintiff Moss. Plaintiff’ counsel shall take all the necessary steps to have the escrowed amount returned to the Moss’…. That escrow money is being held by the Roane County Circuit Clerk and King has done nothing to retrieve the funds.
                 According to Mr. Moss, another $6,600 of court awarded settlement money was given to King and King has never forwarded the loot. Repeated attempts to contact the lawyer have been fruitless. Moss reports that King’ telephone has been disconnected for over two weeks. With the phone out of service, Moss has left several notes attached to the attorney’ front office door asking for a phone call. To date King has never contacted Moss.
                 Moss filed the ethic charges against King after a September 1st broken promise when King agreed to meet and pay up the overdue funds. That September 1st meeting never happened; King was out of town instead.
          The State Bar has very strict guidelines for safe keeping of a clients funds. From the State Bar:
         Rule 1.15. Safekeeping property.(a) A lawyer shall hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property. Funds shall be kept in a separate account designated as a "client's trust account" in an institution whose accounts are federally insured and maintained in the state where the lawyer's office is situated, or in a separate account elsewhere with the consent of the client or third person. Other property shall be identified as such and appropriately safeguarded. Complete records of such account funds and other property shall be kept by the lawyer and shall be preserved for a period of five years after termination of the representation.(b) Upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest, a lawyer shall promptly notify the client or third person. Except as stated in this rule or otherwise permitted by law or by agreement with the client, a lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive and, upon request by the client or third person, shall promptly render a full accounting regarding such property.(c) When in the course of representation a lawyer is in possession of property in which both the lawyer and another person claim interests, the property shall be kept separate by the lawyer until there is an accounting and severance of their interests. If a dispute arises concerning their respective interests, the portion in dispute shall be kept separate by the lawyer until the dispute is resolved.
         (d) A lawyer who receives client funds that are nominal in amount or are expected to be held for a brief period shall establish and maintain a pooled, interest-bearing, federally-insured depository account for the deposit of such funds, in compliance with the following provisions:(1) the account shall include only such client funds that are so nominal in amount or are expected to be held for such a brief period of time that administrative expenses would exceed interest earned from the investment thereof;(2) no interest from such account shall be made available
         to the lawyer;(3) funds deposited in such account must be available for withdrawal or transfer on demand, subject only to any notice period which the depository institution is required to observe by law or regulation;
         4) the lawyer shall direct the depository institution:(i) to remit interest, on at least a quarterly basis, net any customary service charges or fees in accordance with the depository institution's standard accounting practice, to the West Virginia Bar Foundation, Inc.; and(ii) to transmit with each remittance to the West Virginia Bar Foundation, Inc., a statement showing the name of the lawyer or law firm on whose account the remittance is sent and the rate of interest applied, with a copy of such statement to be transmitted to such lawyer or law firm; and,(5) the lawyer shall review the account at reasonable intervals to determine whether circumstances warrant further action with respect to the funds of any client.
Moss filed the complaint November 10th. King had until December 8, 2003 to respond. As of December 15th, no such response has been received. A copy of that original complaint is included with this article. Since the 15th, the State Bar has been contacted again. The folks down in Charleston told William C. Moss a second letter would be sent and if King didn’ respond, a subpoena would be issued.
                 It’ not been a good year for Wayne King. In February 2003 he saw his client and long time friend J.D. Morris go off to prison. By fall, the Clay County Bank was foreclosing on his house and property. The bank’ foreclosure sale was cancelled when King filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection December 10, 2003.
                 Having found out about the bankruptcy proceedings, W.C. Moss is concerned the money owed him by King may never be realized despite any disciplinary hearings or court cases. Something about not being able to get blood out of a turnip.
                 There are always two sides to any story, maybe the charges against Wayne King are groundless, but based on the paperwork provided this ace cub reporter, Mr. King may have some real explaining to do in the very near future.                                                AW
         Across the county went reports of two ponies dead after drinking from Leatherwood Creek December 18th. The story went that Fola Coal discharged some kind of nasty goo into the local stream and the animals died shortly after. Not so, said animal owner Mike Morris on December 28th. Morris said during a telephone interview, real nasty black stuff is often discharged into Leatherwood Creek but the two animals died prior to the mid-December release. On the morning of the 18th, a massive black discharge was present in the creek by 5 a.m. According to Mr. Morris, DEP officials who came that day said that it was the worst discharge they had ever seen after a night shift crew “rowded”a holding pond which ruptured, sending the nasty into the main Leatherwood stream. In an interesting side note, State Police told Mike Morris to stay off Fola’ holdings or he’ be in big trouble. Morris had been monitoring the creek and pond holdings.
                 Stats from a recent Marshall University study concludes the following: The national average for poverty is 12.4, the state average is 17.9 and for once, Clay County made headlines; our rate is 27.5. As far as lung cancer deaths, the national average is 69.4, WV’ is 81.4 and good ole Clay County knows how to smoke, we’e 164.7. Nationally, deaths from heart disease is 245.2 and Clay County is 426.0
                 Last week, in that little newspaper over in Clay, came a front page picture and story on the proposed new school to be built beside Sheriff Fields’ property on Murphy’ Fork. As that paper was being printed, word spread of back room negotiations in progress to locate the school (nicknames: Ivy Fork or Valley Dale) elsewhere. The powers met on the Billy Boggs property on a Friday in mid December. Boggs is offering the 9 acres of nearly flat land to the county for $150,000.00 plus the old Ivydale school building. Locals told Superintendent Linkinogger the many advantages to relocating the school. The newly made public offering (land) is located across from Cunningham Motors in Ivydale.
                 Those that have studied the grant request report to the School Building Authority (SBA), suggest the report may not be accurate. According to the report, few dollars, maybe way too few dollars, have been earmarked for three phase power and access road cost. Long time readers of this paper know the state folks told the county five years ago the cost to develop a two lane road to the Murphy’ Fork site would be around $3 million.
                 Of course politics always comes into play in Clay. With an election coming, promises already made to Valley Fork parents that the new school would be built in the Big Otter area, and many from Ivydale on the band wagon to have the school built in their own back yard, watch for Link to grow a few more grey hairs as he tries to calm the masses.
                 Two weeks ago, word on the street had it, Clay Roane PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait received pay advances on her board salary. We spoke with Postelwait the second week of December. Ms Postelwait said such rumors are groundless. That she, nor the board, have received advances on their salaries. In the way of an explanation, Ms Postelwait said that some boardsters wait a few months before taking their checks and that may be the basis of the rumor. Anyway, another rumor squashed.
         ***It’ hard to keep track of the Clay County Solid Waste Authority. During their regular November meeting, they said they would have a Christmas dinner in Charleston in lieu of a regular December meeting. A week later, word came they would have a meeting after all on Dec. 18th. Behind the scenes at least one board member was upset over $13,000 of a $15,000 grant going to the grant coordinator’ salary. It seemed that meeting would bring that out in the open. Didn’ happen. The meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum.
         MURDER MT. TALKS        
         Just the mention of Murder Mountain will get people remembering story after story of shootings, newspaper accounts of the courtroom dramas where people have been found not guilty, and not so clandestine drug activities. Murder Mountain, as it is called, is located in the Ovapa area of Clay County. When Murder Mountain is mentioned, often so is Tommy Young Sr. Young is a soft spoken, clean cut looking, 40 year old.
                 Two years ago, a jury of his peers found Young not guilty of the shooting death of a Huffman subject. During testimony, one witness was very clear, “t was just a drug deal gone bad.” Last year, Young’ neighbor Richard Cummings was a key witness during the “attoo”Vince Golosow murder trial. Golosow was found guilty of murdering Judson Reid whose body was dumped in the Granny’ Creek area near Murder Mountain. Last month, Young’ name came up again when the front windshield of his truck was blasted away by Damon Koch during a domestic dispute. Richard Cummings reportedly escaped death by leaning away as the shotgun blast left glass shrouds in Cummings upper body. Also last month came reports of a stolen Bobcat earth mover being retrieved from Mr. Young’ property.
                 Last week we sat in a red Chevy pick up and interviewed Tommy Young Sr. Young was open and direct with his responses. The following are excerpts from that face to face interview.
         How do you manage to get your name involved in about every bad thing coming and going in Clay County? Young, “ guess it’ because Deputy Delk has a grudge against me.”For new readers, Deputy Kevin Delk was an investigating officer who testified during the Huffman trial.
         So what do you want the public to know about this most recent shooting that nearly killed Richard Cummings? Young, “n Nov 19th, the day Richard Cummings got shot, I was talking to Damon’ wife Sue Koch. Damon pulled up and Richard Cummings was sitting in the passenger side seat of my truck, Damon pulled up out of nowhere and shot through the windshield of my truck and shot Richard Cummings in the face. I gave the state police my statement and now they’e stating to me, Deputy Delk advised them, that I got away with murder in Clay County and I would have to take lie detector test before they would believe me. They are saying that I got away with murder and I am a known criminal.”
         So who is this Tommy Young? When asked if he has a criminal background, Young was slow to answer. When asked if he had any felony convictions in the last 10 years, Young, “hat was a long time ago.. In the last 10 years, no.”
         So what’ Delk talking about? Young, “he murder trail of Chuck Huffman. I was found not guilty by a jury.”
            Is law enforcement giving you the evil eye? What’ going on? Young, “hey give me the evil eye every time they get a chance. Every time my name is mentioned, I am always accused of being guilty before they even know any questions to ask. Trooper Hamrick from Roane County advised me he would not believe my statement unless I took a polygraph test. I agreed to take the polygraph test and it’ been two weeks and I haven’ heard nothin’ Nothing is done. No charges have been filled against Koch, none!”
         As for trying to get his windshield fixed, Mr. Young, “I even tried to file charges for him [Koch] shooting my windshield. They wouldn’ file the charges. They said I wasn’ a creditable witness.” According to Young, the price to replace the windshield was $180.00.
         As for the cops and their actions to and against Young, “It makes me feel like there isn’ any justice. When I got arrested for the murder charge, I went through the justice system process and the jury found me not guilty. I thought that made me innocent but in Deputy Delk’ and the Sheriff’ eyes, I am still guilty. That was members of my peers. I keep getting crucified for something that I was found innocent for.”
         Young commented on the recent shooting, “My son and Damon’ daughter do have some problems but they are still seeing each other. They’e only 17 year old kids.. After Damon shot Richard, he told me he didn’ want no trouble with me. He said he wanted it to end peaceably.”
         Peaceably? How the heck did Richard get involved in this most recent affair? Tommy, “amon told me Richard was threatening to shoot him over my son. Damon said he was going to Richard before he could shoot him.”
    Do you want to wish the Sheriff a Merry Christmas? Young, “ell, actually it’ Deputy Delk. He’ the one….. On another instance and the Sheriff having something against me… about a month ago, they supposedly found a Bobcat [backhoe equipment] up by my house. It was missing from Nicholas County. The Nicholas County Sheriff’ Department called me and asked me how did they confiscate the Bobcat from me because they never confiscated it. It was Deputy Belt that made that statement to the Nicholas County office. He called me and asked me about it. I didn’ know nothing about it. . I wasn’ there! I guess Deputy Belt was the officer that confiscated it. I wasn’ home.”
    So that was a few weeks back, what’ happened since? Young, “I haven’ heard nothing else. Belt stated to him [Nicholas County law enforcement] that it was my property and that property is not in my name. It is not. He told them it was my property and he [Belt] took it from me. The bobcat was not mine, I didn’ know it was there. And, I didn’ know they had confiscated it.”
    Usually readers don’ hear it much from those accused of crime. Usually you get the police blotter write ups followed by court room activities. Not so here. Tommy Young Sr., that’ not guilty Tommy Young Sr., has had a chance to tell it from his side. And as always, we’ll keep you posted as best we can.                                                         AW
            CCHS Dance Teamin Florida
            On Saturday, December 27, the Clay High School Dance Team left for Orlando, Florida. They are planning to visit St. Augustine before checking in at the Rosen Centre Hotel. On Monday they are scheduled to visit Walt Disney World.
     Beginning bright and early on Tuesday and Wednesday morning the girls will practice the half time show for Capital One's Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day. They are invited to attend a New Year's Eve Party at Universal's Boardwalk on Wednesday evening and night. Their dress rehearsal will be Thursday morning and their performance will be that afternoon. ABC Television is to broadcast the entire game. After the game the performers are invited to attend a production party to view the videotaped performance and celebrate the first day of the New Year. On Friday, January 2, the Dance Team will eave Orlando and head home.
     We would like to thank all of those who helped in our fundraising efforts, including those who allowed us to wash their cars and bought our hot dogs and candy bars. We have extra special thanks for our hero, Barry Curry. Barry has loaned us his personal vehicle to transport us to Florida. Also many people have helped to pack coolers to feed us for the 6 days we are there. Donations were given by: Grandma Sonjie Brown, Gale & Delores Brown, Coleen House, Dawson's Grocery, Lizemores Express Mart, Neff's Grocery, Jack Mullins Feed Store, Joe Mullins Grocery, Bullard's Exxon, Clay Foodland, Lisa at Gino's Pizza, Danny Sizemore at IGA, Diane at Family Dollar, Val at Dollar General and Lo at Go-Mart.
     Extra Special thanks go to our principal, Mr. Dobbins,
    for his support and to the Clay High Music Boosters for donating the money for gas.
    Remodeling Pays Off
    By Dave Derby
            You may be too old for Santa, but if you have a home you probably have a Christmas wish list. Now is the time to get out the home renovation catalogs, plan your dream jobs and make your list. Just make sure you check it twice.
     Whether it's a new kitchen, an updated bathroom or an extra bedroom, the cost of home remodeling can vary significantly from contractor to contractor. Unless you know exactly what you want, down to the brand name, you won't be able to determine if the higher priced bid reflects the quality of materials or the contractor's level of profit.
     The good news: it's never been easier to estimate the cost of uncomplicated kitchen and bath makeovers. Kitchens are the easiest things to remodel, in large part because of stores like Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, 84 Lumber, etc. These stores have trained employees that can assist you in all your dream plans and have the materials necessary to complete your project.
     Buyers would jump at the chance to bid on homes that are perfect except for a deteriorated kitchen. The projects are so easy to do now and the buyers enjoy the opportunity to put their mark on the house by designing and remodeling the kitchen or bathroom. Bathrooms are almost as easy to estimate, as long as you aren't getting into complicated changes that affect the water pipes or sewage lines. Quick "guesstimates" from local contractors for projects of average size and scope are:
    a. Bathroom remodeling: $8,000-$13,000 b. Minor kitchen remodeling, including new appliances: $12,000 to $20,000
    c. Major kitchen remodeling, including new appliances and cabinets and floors, etc: $35,000-$50,000
    d. Adding a family room: $30,000-$60,000
     e. Building a deck: $8,000-$12,000
     Before you do any work, decide how much you're willing to spend. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry and industry trade groups suggest you start by considering how much it would cost you to move. Factor in the extra cost to get a house with features you want-- assuming, in this market location, that you could ever find one-- and miscellaneous moving costs.
     Last year, both existing home sales and spending on home improvement reached record levels. Home re-sales totaled $5.2 billion, and home improvement expenditures increased 7 percent to 142.9 billion according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Seventy percent of remodeling dollars went to improvements such as additions or kitchen and bath remodels.
     The other 30 percent paid for maintenance and repair such as painting or re-roofing. Some people argue that you should always remodel with
    future resale value in mind. But a more important factor may be how long you'll be living in the home you plan to remodel.
     The common sense idea is to spend as much as you can afford-- for what ever project you dream of-- if you plan to stay in the home for a long time. But scale back to stay within the standards for the homes in your neighborhood if you plan to move in the near future.
    How’ Your Health...Insurance?
By Jim Chafin
         “hat are these two $816 items on the bill labeled DRIL? If they’e drills, I ought to have them. I’ a mechanical engineer. If I paid for two $816 drills, I want them.” So stated Roy Davis to CAMC Hospital officials, referring to outrageous prices he was being asked to pay for as a result of his wife’ hospitalization. “hat is this $389.55 for 09980863? And what is the $133.50 for OPEN PROC BON??” CAMC PEOPLE TOLD HIM AT TWO DIFFERENT TIMES THAT BOTH ARE ANESTHETIST FEES. “hey can’ both be,”Davis said. “hy did you bill me $375 for a walker that I could buy for $45 at Boll Medical? Why does a disposable tourniquet cost $271? What did you pay for it? Why was my wife billed $200 an hour for four hours she laid on a gurney in the Charleston Memorial emergency room because there was no ambulance to take her to Charleston General? In private industry, if you operated this way, you wouldn’ stay in business long.”
                 But hospital finance is nothing like private business. “ealth care…exists in its own bizarro universe where the rules are different,”say the authors of “he $49,000 Hip and Other Oddities,”writing in the fall 2003 issue of Money magazine. It’ futile to apply the rules you would use to analyze any other kind of business. The way hospitals bill and get paid for their services is contradictory, opaque, and labyrinthine almost beyond comprehension. But as the story goes, “his bill is not unusual – hospitals in general bill this way.”
                 Usual or not, these prices are obscene, ridiculous, and a fraud on the American way of life. It is demeaning to the intellect of all who are asked to swallow such bald-faced financial wizardry. The healthcare industry has departed from all standards of morality as we know it. Rip-off city is the name of the game – and every citizen in this country is in the riflescope of a corrupt, predatory financial system, the like of which one could not have ever conceived of only a few decades ago.
                 “ospitals hike the bills of uninsured people and commercially insured customers to make up for low payments from government insurance. In 2002, CAMC lost $67 million on government insurance. Then there is the cost of technology: $3500 heart valves, $25,000 defibrillators, and $5,000 pacemakers,”so says Larry Hudson, CAMC Financial Officer. Now, let me see if I understand all I know about this bit of pencil piracy: uninsured folks, those with commercial insurance, the working poor, all are picking up the tab for those in government who are pulling in $300,000 per year – including presidents and lesser folks such as the Oval Office staff, legislators, Supreme Court Judges, and many administrative posts that carry six figure salaries? Talk about power, pomp, and politics – nowhere is inequality as dominant as in the field of the Hypocrite’ Oath. These are they whose livelihoods are THE most protected by legislation of any in these United States of America. These are they who press more money into the hands of politicians than any in this country; these are they to whom America looks for help in times of sickness; and these are the folks who shamelessly continue to milk this nation of its vitality. Aided and abetted by in-bed politicians, these are among the fattest cats on the block. “hey write grievousness into the law, which they have prescribed…that they may rob the widow and defraud the fatherless.”
                 “t’ a vicious cycle. Private insurance companies pay more because government pays less. That raises the cost of health care for corporations. Many of them shift more of the insurance premium to their employees or they drop health insurance altogether, and then more people are uninsured...”– (Steven Summers, president, West Virginia Hospital Association.) So, government, which comprises around 70% of Charleston area medical patients, pays much less than do all others who use the so-called “are”system. If that be the case, how much would DRIL cost them? $408? More? Less? Somewhere these numbers do not add up. This kind of money will buy the highest quality industrial unit on the market for much, much less. This is “ndersonville”sleaze being trumped in a new and frightening way.
                 It is painfully obvious that hospitals and other care providers are pulling figures out of thin air to fill in the blanks on their ledger sheets. It is also clear that hospital costs cannot be ascertained by common accounting practices used in most other industries. This, I submit, is a deliberate scheme to obscure both their costs and profits. They probably are not the only participant in this maddening racket intent on raising a veil to hide the true nature of their business. For sure, these conditions could not exist were it not for Congress and state legislatures’active and willful connivance in the scheme to rake the consuming public over the coals, and is just one more layer of secrecy by which to screw the American consumer.
                 One final note: The healthcare industry, like its coconspirator, the insurance business, has by far too many drones eating up the efforts of workers, and who perform little, if any, useful and productive work to justify their existence in the system. Given the state of affairs in this nation AND its many unmet needs, what we are seeing is a giant tug of war between wealthy elitists for an ever-increasing slice of this nation’ GNP (pie). ANY consideration given to the poor and the working class in this society are only droplets that the wealthy simply are not politically powerful enough at this time to rake into their own coffers. Make no mistake about it: The rich and powerful have ALWAYS fought social programs designed to help working folks, the poor, and the disabled – and that includes this present-day bunch in this nation’ capitol.

                 Court cases and appearances are nothing new for Clay Development Corporation (CDC). Ditto for one time CDC Chair Earnie (Wide Glide) Sirk. Both have been taken to court and subpoenaed for court challenges. Here comes one more chapter, once again before Judge Jack Alsop, in the continuing saga of keeping the ever so hush-hush Clay Development Corporation hush-hush.
                 Earnie Sirk came into power during a CDC employee led coup three years ago. Coups were common then. Say one word against CDC operations and Poof, you would be gone. Sirk came into power after the previous board investigated questionable financial dealings within the social service provider’s operation, things like Charleston Newspapers’Christmas Relief Fund dollars going to CDC insiders and other program dollars going to CDC employees and close family members of CDC employees.
                 December 11, 9 a.m. With the upstairs Court room already in use, Judge Alsop moved the proceedings to the County Commission room. At 9a.m. five employees from CDC sat in the back with CDC Director Betty Stalnaker and attorney Ben Bryant up front. Sirk, represented by Jerome Novobilski sat on the right. And sat they did. 9:06. 9:15, …. Director Stalnaker told the judge their attorney had an emergency and would arrive at 9:30am. Judge Alsop gave a look.
                 More time passed. People came and went. Bailiff Gene King limped around in the back of the room. With the Judge out of the room, stories were told. People laughed while others talked in hushed tones. 9:45 am came. Judge Alsop was back up front and he wasn’ grinning. Alsop opened the proceedings stating the case number (03-C-26), and said the records reflect during an October 20th hearing this hearing date was set and, “r. Bryant knew of this date.”
                 Grasping the opportunity, Novobilski asked to proceed. From the other side of the room, Ms Stalnaker asked that they wait, that she wanted her attorney present and he had called and he had indicated that he was on his way during an 8:30 telephone conversation with her. Jerome’ able assistant Lynn Drake came in with news that Ben Bryant had phoned and would be present by 10. Jerome told the court his client wanted to proceed. Sitting up front with a frown on his face (maybe a bad cold, too), Alsop said he was sanctioning CDC attorney Ben Bryant and would issue a subpoena. Oh, boy!! Talk about being in deep doo-doo. If there is anything the peanut gallery has learned from watching court action, don’ EVER be late! Bryant was in the grease!
                 Finally, dressed in dark overcoat and bearded, the late one, Ben Bryant arrived. Quickly and without comment, action began. Sirk was called to the stand. Sirk testified: he was a general member of the CDC; had been on the CDC Board of Directors representing Senator Randy Schoonover; later represented school board member Fran King. He went on say the organization helped the poor and the needy and was funded in part by federal dollars and state lottery proceeds. In July 2002, Sirk received a certified letter from the CDC stating he had been removed from the board (he was board president at the time) and from the general membership. The letter had been signed by the new CDC chairman, Gary Whaling. The reason for his removal, according to Sirk, he had used bad language while at the office.
                 The questions continued. Did you respond to the letter? No. Did you ask the general membership for a hearing? No. Did you call Betty Stalnaker for a hearing? Yes, and she said he had no right to a hearing and “t was out of her hands”. Did you call new Chair Whaling? Yes, he said Sirk had no right to a hearing and he wouldn’ let Sirk come to any board meeting.
                 For our newcomer readers, here’ some background stuff. Spring 2002 was a stormy time for CDC. Sirk was their board chairman, and he found evidence of one employee putting money in her pocket instead of the CDC pocket, after doing a photography fundraiser. And more loot was stashed from doing private tax return work on a CDC laptop computer. That employee was fired. Somewhere during all this uproar, the public was barred from attending the open to the public CDC meetings. At one point, a state police officer was called in to remove one member of the public from the meeting after others were told to get out.
                 The ousted employee was upset and worked behind the scenes to get Sirk out of power, replaced by Whaling, and within a few days after the coup, that employee had her old job back as if nothing ever happened. Life was good as one more set of prying eyes was removed from power.
                 Also in the way of background…. The General Membership Committee meets once a year and decides who gets to set on the Board of Directors. According to the by laws, anyone over 18 and a resident of Clay County can become a voting general member by attending one general membership meeting. How do you get removed from the general membership? According to the bylaws, if you move out of the county or if you miss two meetings in a row; (or if you upset the CDC employee clan.)
                 Now, back to the trial. Sirk explained the bylaws as best he could remember and the many bylaw revisions made during his tenure as board chairman. Basically, Jerome got Sirk to say he was removed from the chairmanship and the general membership roles because he had hacked off the employee accused of fraudulent deeds.
                 Next, CDC’ Bryant asked a bunch of questions. Sirk explained that the FBI had launched a federal investigation in 2001 and 2002 into CDC operations after one employee was found guilty of federal fraud and another had been indicted for swiping money. Sirk said he had provided everything the feds had asked for in the subpoena. Bryant was trying to make it look like Sirk had broken CDC confidentiality rules.
                 A steamed up Alsop told Bryant that there were only two ways Sirk could be removed from general membership, “Show me the written procedure for removal?”Stutter, stutter … Bryant finally came back with a lame section of the bylaws, “n active interest in furthering the CDC…”He also mentioned something about releasing employee records. Bryant had come up way short and that line of questioning stopped. Did we mention Alsop was really upset at Bryant for showing up late?
                 Bryant tried another avenue. Questioning went to Sirk’ potty mouth at the CDC office. Sirk admitted to needing his mouth washed out with soap but denied ever using the “F” or “GD” words. Sirk, “ine was little compared to them!” Sirk left the hot seat and Bryant had made little progress for his client.
                 Next up was CDC Director Betty Stalnaker. Betty testified: that she had been in power since 1998 and had started work at the office in September 1964; Sirk had been discharged as a general member for misconduct, that “e was not furthering the mission of the agency” Alsop asked for clarification. Did the Board bring charges? How did she arrive at the decision? Bryant stepped in with something, but only for a split second. Alsop, “O! That wasn’ the question, what procedure is required by the bylaws to remove?!”No answer was provided the Judge by Stalnaker or Bryant. Translation: There is nothing in the bylaws other than the part about a general member moving out of the county or missing two meetings in a row!
          Alsop (did we mention he was hot?) asked more about the decision to remove Sirk. Who removed Sirk? Betty said it was a board decision. Alsop, “Show me the meeting minutes.” Having it firmly caught in the wringer, Bryant admitted to the court, there were no such meeting minutes. Additional questioning by the Judge revealed Gary Whaling signed the letter removing Sirk, and, according to Director Stalnaker, Sirk kept giving records to the federal investigators, Sirk had used the always so nasty “F” word in front of Betty; he tried to make Betty fire Pam Taylor, threatened to fire Betty if she didn’ do her job and fire Pam Taylor, and altered personal committee records during the firing of Pam Taylor.
                 Alsop’ eyebrow went up during the part about changing meeting minutes. Once again the robed one asked questions. Who wrote the minutes? Answer: Pam Fitzwater. Did the personnel committee ever approved the minutes? Answer, Betty, “I don’ know.” Did the full board ever approve the committee minutes? No. Again Stalnaker said Sirk was removed because he used potty mouth, changed meeting minutes, and cooperated with a federal investigation.
                 Jerome came back with questions on how someone is removed from office.
                 CDC secretary Janet Fitzwater testified that she wrote up the in-question July 16, 2002 minutes. Fitzwater said Sirk wanted a change in the wording and had hand written the change beside his initials. She also said the board had never approved the in-question minutes nor had the minutes been presented to the Board for approval. Translation: There was no record of Pam Taylor getting fired last summer!
                 Here’ a good part, readers. Around 11a.m., a break was called. With many out of the room, attorney Bryant tried to make an excuse for showing up late. Alsop was hot. After just a short one liner by Bryant, Alsop, “BE CAREFUL THERE!”Digging his hole deeper, Bryant continued with excuses, Alsop, “OU CALLED EVERYBODY BUT THE COURT!”Slow learner Bryant didn’ stop, again Alsop, “OU BE CAREFUL THERE.” Finally, from attorney Bryant, “ am sorry….”Alsop, “ou took an hour and a half to get here?”With others coming back in the room, Bryant said he could produce his telephone records to prove he stopped many times during the trip from Charleston and tried to call someone. Of course, the someone was not Judge Alsop nor the Circuit Clerk’ office.
                 Now back in session, Sirk was again up front and testifying on fraudulent money use within the CDC and on how Pam Taylor profited from it. At one point Sirk testified he told Director Stalnaker on Pam Taylor, “et that fat a** under control!!”Sirk also said that any time there was a general member that asked too many questions, they were removed from the roll, “et them out of there anyway you could!”
                 Before the court was whether Sirk was illegally removed from the general membership rolls. Alsop finished the morning with black and white questions on CDC policy and procedures. Where does it say that a general member can be removed after a special general membership meeting? Isn’ the secretary limited to removing members after a general membership meeting and not after a special meeting? Have others been removed this way? Who removed them? Where was the procedure then? How can they be official meeting minutes if they were never approved by the committee nor the Board of Directors? What does it mean to be actively interested in the CDC? For the most part, when asked straight questions by the Judge, no clear answers based on bylaws could be found. It was becoming very clear, the CDC operation was little more than a small group of insiders doing as they darn well pleased.
                 In closings, Jerome offered the court: there is no clear way to remove Sirk from power, there are no clear black letter laws for such removal, his client received no due process, and “his is not our system of justice. This is a public corporation.”
                 Bryant did the best he could as well. As he provided his closing remarks, CDCers in the back nodded in agreement. Bryant was betting on the one recently added clause to the bylaws that pretty much says: if you don’ do and think identical to those in power, you can be tossed from the general membership. That approach did not set well with the court. During tough questioning by Alsop, Bryant came up with a couple cuties. Like, Alsop asked about the removal procedures again. Bryant came back with “hey need some fletching.” Later, after the Judge reminded Bryant that the meeting records were almost worthless, Bryant, “t is not a pristine record.”
                 Alsop was also interested in the felony convictions for Medicaid fraud within the CDC. Bryant replied that a worker had faked her time records. Alsop asked Bryant about the federal subpoena in force when Sirk provided the records and wasn’ it mandatory for Sirk and the Board to respond? Again, Bryant had to bow down to the brighter thinking.
                 And then, maybe the cream topping for the day. Bryant told the court that Sirk was tossed from power because “He was causing problems” Staring squarely at the tardy one, Alsop, “eople that disagree often cause problems.”
                 By 11:30 the hearing was over. From those of us in the peanut gallery, it appears that the clannish CDC family is without any strong foundation for the removal of Earnie Sirk from the general membership committee. If Sirk prevails, he could soon be back in CDC action. An even further stretch of the CDC future, if Sirk gets back on the general membership committee, all the others removed could once again be back on board. As of December 24th, 10:15a.m., according to Circuit Clerk Mike Asbury, Judge Jack Alsop had not rendered an opinion on the case. 2004 has all the markings of another banner year for Clay Development Corporation action.                                                AW
         December 20, 2003
         Comments: As a person with growing medical bills, a family to raise and bills to pay, I know a person who works very hard at two jobs to take care of these things. She has done more for people and let others go, (for longer than most would), because she still believes in people.
         I’ asking you as a human being, a Christian, or what ever you claim to be, to pay your newspaper bill if Mary Samples delivers to you. She has to pay for the newspaper, even if you don’ pay her.
         This lady, (Mary Samples), has been good to you and you know who you are! What makes you think you don’ have to pay?
         God gave everyone knowledge of right from wrong. You are stealing from her and then probably some even go to church like nothing is wrong. Remember hell is the same for all that deserve it! You could be right next to some of the worst this world has put out.
         In this season of giving give what you already owe! Would you do a job for no pay?
         You may say, what’ in it for him? Why am I speaking, maybe you think it’ out of the way and I should mine my own business!
         I’ only doing what Christ says to do. I’ not judging anyone! You can’ do that, but you can be a fruit inspector!
         What would you do to a tree that didn’ bear fruit? You would cut it down and burn it! Enough said.
         Keep Christ in Christmas first and always. Others have large bills to pay also. So before 2004, do what’ right.
                                                                         Frank L. Kish, Jr.
                         1928 Queen Road
                         Clendenin, WV 25045
         CHATTER 2
          Water, Water ... NOWHERE! Several years ago,West Virginia Infrastructure & Jobs Development Council approved Clay County for a massive overhaul in its water distribution, including $13 million to build a "regional water plant" that would serve the entire county and then some.The new plant would've had bigger, better, newer lines, would've allowed for proper training of plant operators and personnel and would've distributed the payback burden so that some customer bills would've actually gone down.In fact, $9 million of the project funding was in the form of GRANT money that NEVER had to be repaid.Never, ever, ever.Free money for the taking.
          Theoretically, this was a great plan and shoulda/woulda/coulda worked.However, it was met with great opposition.of the engineers (with whom I'm personally acquainted) has vowed to never darken Clay County's borders again.of the potential attorneys(with whom I'm personally acquainted) has vowed that if Clay County ever finds itself poised on the edge of the earth, he'll pay for the dozer that gives it the final shove into oblivion.employees at the Public Service Commission (with whom I'm personally acquainted) consider Clay County to be the laughing stock of all West Virginian water utilities.
          From December 18 to December 24 (and beyond, from what I understand.Where I was in Ohio on Christmas had plenty of water!), the water in the Camp Creek/Bomont area was off EVERY SINGLE DAY at some point or another.The 23rd offered a respite for some, but H.E. White had to call off school because they were that, the water fountains were covered for several days and the students had to carry around cups and go to the ONE bottled water cooler at the schooldrinks., I'm no engineer, but if the water has to be boiled, I have to assume that there must be lots of nasties floating around in there.This is the water our children wash their grubby, germ-infested hands with and then put those now-contaminated-by-unboiled-water, grubby, germ-infested hands all over everything everybody touches.
          Now, I fully understand that the majority of the Clay Roane PSD employees are hard-working people trying to earn an honest living and are getting a bad rap merely by associating with the District.It's certainly not the fault of these employees that the lines are breaking left and right,pressure is non-existent, and the water quality is miserable.It's up to the Chairman and the Board to recognize and admit the inadequacies of the system and they, with the cooperation of our County Commission, have the power to ensure that every time we turn on our faucets, we're met with clean, potable water.
          The Public Service Commission is well aware of the goings-on at Clay Roane PSD.Allegations of embezzling, pocket-lining,taps, bogus bills and even "bribery by cleavage" have been brought to PSC attention over the years.According to one PSC employee, though, they "have not received any complaints regardingquality of either the water or the service."I'm relatively certain myweren't the only ones that were dry this past week - forget callingthe water plant.The folks who answer the phone are overworked as it is and for the most part, doing everything they can.CALL THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION.
          The only way we're ever going tothis problem remedied is to present a united front andthem know what's going on.'t let the PSC get all their information fromof Clay Roane/Queen Shoals PSDs - call them NOW and tell them the real story.The/Wastewater division can be reached at 304-340-0482.While you have them on the phone, ask them what other areas are paying for their water.Ask them where Clay Roane and Queen Shoals customers rank in the rates department.You'll find thatpay some of the highest water rates in thestate for our dry faucets, useless showers, unused washers and toilets that won't flush.
                                          Rose Cantrell
                 The weather outside was delightful. Many residents in the southern end of the county were out shopping. Christmas filled the air and the water lines too. For most customers of the Queen Shoals and Clay Roane PSD, Christmas came and went without water service.
                 Neighbors called neighbors as the water service went kaput. Water service loss was first noticed December 18th. Boil Water Orders were given, first to just the Queen Shoals customers, followed by a second to parts of the Clay Roane area and then finally, all customers of the PSDs were told to take precautions as reports of yucky water came in. Neighbors called neighbors, home after home went dry. No way to wash dishes, do laundry, keep the house clean, nor cook the Christmas dinner. Customers were upset to say the least. Calls to Procious Water Plant, where the water for the area is treated, were made. Others called the WV Public Service Commission in Charleston. One lady emailed us after a spokesperson at the WV PSC told her: They have received no complaints on the quality or the service of Clay Roane PSD.
                 Clay Roane workers set out looking for the leak without success. By December 21st and knowing her Christmas dinner for friends and family would be a total failure, one lady emailed this note: There's absolutely no reason for this email except the fact that I've run out of people to b*!** to & you're on my address list. There is NO FREAKIN WATER TO BE BOILED!! Our water was off on Thursday, gone part of Friday, out completely on Saturday & lo & behold, there's nothing coming out of the faucets as we speak.The nice folks at the PSD are quick to send cut off notices if you don't pay the bill in a timely manner, but where the hell is the service we're paying for?
          Rumor has it that the other day, some kid at the plant SAID he checked the tank at 3:30 & it was full, so he turned off the pump.Somebody ought to whoop his lazy a**, 'cause evidently, he never checked anything at all 'cause he didn't wanna mess with it.Meanwhile, which PSD employee will be delivering clean underwear to the southern end of the county 'cause nobody can do any friggin' laundry????
          This is PATHETIC!! 87 BILLION of our tax dollars going to Iraq & we can't even get the friggin' water we're paying the 3rd highest rates in the state for!!Where's my congressman when I need him??? AAAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!
By Christmas day, with over 500 customers affected, TV – 8 News crews were reporting the dismal third world conditions here in Clayberry. The Red Cross provided just 60 gallons of water. Frank Kish from Driver’ For Food distributed the scant resource to the sick and elderly.
          Clay Roane PSD treats and distributes water to the Queen Shoals, Bomont community as well as service for parts of Roane County. PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait spoke to us Saturday evening, December 27th. The following are excerpts from the interview.
                 What happened? Postelwait, “The first leak was at Camp Creek bridge just before the river crossing. That was a main line break. The second leak was at the bottom of the other side of the hill near a Sizemore residence. This was a branch line. The third leak was at H.E. White school. We got enough people to handle it there. Jim Kearns was there…”
                 NOTE: Jim Kearns was recently appointed to a newly reformed Queen Shoals PSD Board of Directors. Since February 2003, Clay Roane PSD has operated the Queen Shoals system after the original board resigned from service. The new Queen Shoals Board has not regained control of the operation and maintenance duties for Queen Shoals to date.
                         Postelwait continued, “ou have to remember, all three of these leaks happened in less than a week. Basically we did what we could. Dale [Deems] and Jerry was out looking for them. Dale even came out on Christmas looking for them [line breaks]. Thomas [Coon] helped locate and fix the third one [leak]. He was out reading meters because we just couldn’ estimate everybody. We did try to get a tanker in. They wanted a heated garage for the tanker. That was EMS. The Red Cross gave us 60 gallons of bottled water. Frank Kish and his daughter went to Cross Lanes to pick that up for us and distributed it….”
Locals near the top of Camp Creek Hill reported to this paper: Dec. 18th- water stopped flowing as a pump was accidentally turned off to the main storage tank. Tank went dry. Dec. 19th – water service restored early a.m.; Dec. 20th – water was off and on, water provided filthy dirty; Dec. 22nd – leak found near Sizemore home; Dec. 24th – another leak found; Dec. 25th –filthy water was again flowing off and on.
                 Others near the center of the Queen Shoals system reported no water service for five days around Christmas. Water was restored to them Saturday, December 27th which lasted a half a day before loosing service around 3 p.m.
                 As for the official word from the Chair, “ost of Queen Shoals had water Friday evening around 4 p.m.. It was going through the lines and working its way back toward the bridge…. The Bomont/Glen people should have water tonight [Dec 27th] but I can’ confirm that yet.”
As for the water service coming on and then back off again, Ms Postelwait, “f it went back off again, it’ because they didn’ conserve the water. They probably just sucked the tank right back down. We tried to tell them, all the people that I called, and even when I called you, I told them, ‘You got to conserve the water.’ You have to at least give us the weekend to recoup the system. If it was the people on the far end of the system without water, it’ probably the people before them using it all.”
We don’ have the stats on all the Boil Water Orders this year and the number of main line breaks, but most agree, this has been a banner year for water problems. Postelwait blamed the three most recent breaks on the weather, “ore than likely, it was the cold snap. That’ what did it last year and what started it this year… When you go from modest temperatures and then it drops down all of a sudden, and starts freezing, that’ when we have the most of our line breaks…”
In addition to local workers, WV PSC employees Dave Foster and Jim Weimer came up Christmas eve to look for problems. Dale Deems and Thomas Coon found the breaks. The cracked pipes were not patched but replaced completely,
                 Year after year, Clay Roane (and other water providers, sure don’ want to leave out the Town of Clay) experience similar breaks. According to Melissa, Clay Roane will make changes in the first week of Jan. 2004, “The David Sizemore area will be replaced, about 1500 feet of line there and that should correct all the deficiencies in that part of the system.” She went on say, the in house workers and PSD owned backhoe will be used to lay the line instead of hiring a contractor to save money.
                 As for other system problems, Chair Postelwait, “e’e also looking into replacing the 30 gallon per minute booster pump. There’ only a 30 gallon per minute pump into Queen Shoals. That’ why it takes that tank so long to fill back up. We’e looking at going up to a 40 or 50 gallon per minute pump. That’ really not much, but that’ about all we can safely pull away from …. We’e only about a 85 gallon per minute treatment plant. If we would devote 60 gallons per minute going to Queen Shoals, that would suck our other tanks dry. We can’ do that. We’e looking at upgrading and that’ on the next meeting agenda.”
Needless to say, customers are upset over the continuing problems. Postelwait said that the next meeting should be packed, “ figure there will be plenty of people there”
And there are two million dollar questions. One, should customers have to pay water bills for December when water service was reduced? And, two, since air ran through, should customers have to pay for the air? Already a petition is being circulated around Queen Shoals where petitioners are asking they not be charged for December water service.
                 The final word, from Melissa Postelwait, “hey [Queen Shoals] have a different meter from what Clay Roane uses. It [Queen Shoals meters] should NOT register air. Most of them are different, we’e put in a couple of them for the most part those meters are different.”
To alleviate the mud and yuck in the lines, field workers will begin opening valves and “lowing off “the lines Monday, December 29th.
                 The next meeting of Clay Roane PSD will be January 8, 2004, 7 p.m. and held in the CDC building on Main Street in Clay. Come early to get a good seat. Might want to bring a camera too, sure to be fun.        AW
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
    1.        If you must chose between two evils, pick the one that you have never tried before.
2.        Work place deaths in the state have been cut nearly in half since 1992, when 77 residents died on the job.
3.        According to the EPA, six of West Virginia’s most urban areas have failed to meet clean air standards
4.        In 1999 almost half of the homicides in West Virginia, 43 out of 102, were related to domestic violence.
5.        Since June 2002, 554 West Virginians were known to have AIDS.
6.        The number of grocery stores has decreased from about 147,000 in 1990 to 127,000 in 1999.
7.        Last year the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association took in 8000 animals; only 2,084 were adopted.
8.        About 126,000 nursing jobs are currently vacant in the United States.
9.        An estimated 70 percent of NBA players are tattooed.
10.        The first issue of Playboy was dated December 1953.
11.        In the past 150 years, fungus-based diseases known as chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease have wiped out the American chestnut and American elm.
12.        More than 4 million low-income American families turned to food pantries at least once during 2002. That number does not include older Americans.
13.        According to the American Spice Trade Association, consumption of red pepper and mustard seed have increased 70 percent since the late 70’.
14.        In West Virginia, the federal government has designated all or part of 50 of the state’s 55 counties as medically underserved.
15.        In 1990, more than 29,600 adopt-a-highway volunteers picked 544,000 pounds of trash off almost 4,00 miles of West Virginia roads.
16.        Domestic misdemeanor bookings totaled 1,166 this year and 1,702 last year.
17.        Identity theft cases fell to 14 this year from 23 last year.
18.        Spokane Washington highway crews collected 1,000 urine-filled plastic bottles along a 100 mile stretch of road in a one-month period.
19.        More than 400,000 babies were born as a result of invitro ferltization and other assisted re-production technologies in 2001.
20.        Never cut what can be untied. LMM

Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughin        
Dear Brother Bill:
         It was good to see you this week, but the circumstances of your West Virginia visit were very sad. I was so sorry to learn of Allie's sister passing away (Linda Boggs Cunningham). Linda was always good to me and I feel that my life has been enhanced by knowing her. Other recent deaths include our Aunt Ruby Samples. We both have spent many happy hours at her home in the past. As you know, there were eleven in Mom's family and only Aunt Delphia O'Dell remains.
         I hear that Mable Hamrick Cash, formerly of Twistabout, passed away this month. She was the mother of Shirley Cash (CCHS '55). Bob Caldwell lost his wife a week or so ago. Our sympathies to all of the families who have recently lost a loved one.
         One of the Christmas cards I received was from Darlie Wiseman Norton (CCHS '55), of Suitland, Maryland. Darlie writes that she and George will be moving to Lost Creek, West Virginia, in the near future. Darlie has lived in Maryland for many years. I don't think she has missed a year sending me a Christmas Card.
         Most of the Christmas trimmings have been taken down and put away for another year. I guess the false stories of Santa can be laid aside until the Easter Bunny comes around again. We can talk about Santa, witches, ghosts, Easter bunnies in school but you best not mention Jesus. This is sad and also shameful in my opinion.
         Miranda McLaughlin left Christmas evening by plane to visit family in Rochester, New York. Virginia Boggs was the guest of Larry and Sue Gillespie, of Twistabout, for Christmas breakfast. Imogene Stalnaker was visiting John and Debbie Fitzwater, of Blue Creek over the holidays. I received a nice card from Marsha Griffith Daniels, of Belews Creek, North Carolina. She was a former student of mine. It is so good to see and hear from my former students. I dearly loved teaching school and still call them my students.
         Well, you did get to meet Champ while you were here. He is still ripping and tearing up everything in sight. He mostly does this when I leave him at the house. He found a box of old Christmas cards I had stuck under the desk. Yes, he scattered them all over the dining room. As I picked them up there was a lot of thoughts of the folks they were from: Rosalie Allen, Brother and Sister Lovel Everson, Uncle Adrien and Aunt Opal Eagle, Aunt Eva, Aunt Dessie and Uncle Jess Grose, Aunt Verba and Uncle Monroe and, of course, several from Mom. All of those folks have gone to their reward and my thoughts of them were and still are pleasant. I also found a part of a starfish, books ripped up, and he chewed the end from the velour blanket. THEN in the Grit we received this week, there was a story about a boxer that had separation anxiety and what the owner had done for their dog. So, I shall call the vet come next week and see if he can prescribe something for Champ. Poor old Sugar, she just lays on the couch and wonders why he is with us.
         A birthday party was held in honor of Aunt Delphia O'Dell's 89th birthday. Several folks attended and the food was delicious. Besides the immediate children, grans, great and great-great grans, Roland Eagle, Jim and Charlotte Eagle Steed, Sonny and Myrtle Bell Arbogast, Sylvia Brown Summers and myself were in attendance.
         As we come to the end of another year I would like to send you these words: Be yourself, but be your best self. Dare to be different and to follow your own star. And don't be afraid to be happy. Enjoy what is beautiful. Love with all your heart and soul. Believe that those you love, love you. Forget what you have done for your friends, and remember what they have done for you. Disregard what the world owes you, and concentrate on what you owe the world. When you are faced with a decision, make that decision as wisely as possible, then forget it. The moment of absolute certainly never arrives. Above all, remember that God helps those who help themselves. Act as if everything depended upon you, and pray as if everything depended upon God. Live each day to the fullest. Get the most from each hour, each day, and each age of your life. Then you can look forward with confidence and back without regrets........(author unknown). I copied this from a birthday card that Shirley Sutton Ashworth (CCHS '55) once sent me.
          To all who read this letter, my hope and prayer for you is that the coming year of 2004 will bring you nothing but prosperity and happiness. Jesus loves you and wants to be your personal Savior.
          In the meantime, HELP US ALL TO BE BRAVE.                                 Love, Sis
         Clay Schools to Get $4 Million for New School        
         The Clay County Board of Education held their regular meeting Monday, December 15, at Valley Fork Elementary School. The small downstairs cafeteria was full with around 40-45 people from that area attending the meeting. All board members were present – R.B. Legg, Jr. (board president), Gene King, David Pierson, Fran King and Scott Legg – along with most of the central office administrators.
                 The Board conducted the following business: approved the previous meeting minutes and increased receipts of $1,731,454.50, mostly Title I money; employed Melissa O’ell, David Derby, Amanda Douglas, Brandy McKinney (pending completion of graduation requirements) and Heather Roebuck (also pending completion of requirements) as substitute teachers – all were former graduates of Clay County High School (CCHS); approved Cassie Cottrell as a CWEP worker at CCHS; and, approved an advertisement for the sale of the property in the Camp Creek Bridge area. All motions passed unanimously.
                 A Joyce Moore was to appear before the board on a matter concerning cleats but was not present.
                 Valley Fork’ new principal this year, Pam Mullins, introduced or named the school’ Local School Improvement Council (LSIC) members. She said they appreciated all the support from the central office and she wanted to say so publicly. Mullins noted the school’ outstanding test scores, averaging 2.5 on writing assessment (two students received the maximum 4.0), and that the school had earned the Exemplary School designation 2 years in a row.
                 Mullins next had a group of Valley Fork students tell the board what Valley Fork meant to them. Overwhelmingly, the best things about the school according to the 12 students were the teachers and the principal. Also mentioned were fun activities, making good friends, everyone was nice there, blue tickets (got to be nice to get those), and playground dodge-ball.
                 The LSIC requested two things from the board – paint for the gym and a new door for the kindergarten/pre-school bathroom.
                 Clay Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger announced that earlier in the day the School Building Authority (SBA) had approved Clay’ request for $4 million to build a new school in the Big Otter area consolidating Valley Fork Elementary and Ivydale Elementary. Linkinogger said the SBA was giving them ½ million dollars this year, put in a reserve fund, to prove their commitment.
                 An architect’ drawing was shown of the school they hope to build. The building will have 10 classrooms, faculty and student service offices, a multi-purpose room, an art and music room, a media room, a computer room, 3 kindergarten rooms, a pre-kindergarten/handicap room, a special education room, a kitchen, mechanical/storage room, and a lobby.
                 Although there has been no word on a specific site for the school, according to the 10 year facilities plan the school will be built near the I-79 Big Otter exit. Linkinogger said that even students from the Widen and Dille areas will be able to go to this school and have a shorter bus ride than going to Clay Elementary in Clay.
                 Linkinogger said following this project a new school for H.E. White and Lizemore Elementary students would be next, and one day (Clay County) will have all new facilities. He told the Valley Fork crowd that there will be several meetings to discuss the new school, it would be their school, and he wanted to make it an outstanding school. Linkinogger, “ want all to be involved in the planning of this.”
                 Meeting adjourned after 30 minutes. Next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, January 5, 6:00 PM at the administrative office building in Clay.
         12/09/03: Light – Angela Kendra Ramsey, child concealment (warrant 09/18/03), case dismissed with prejudice upon motion of prosecuting attorney.
         12/11/03: Slack – Donna Wilmoth, grand larceny (07/23/03), case dismissed, victim received property back and no longer wishes to pursue; Belt – Jaime Smith, malicious assault, arrested 12/12/03, preliminary hearing 12/18/03: probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury.
         12/05/03: Belt – Jeremy Matthew Pierson, possession of controlled substance less 15, appeared, ROB.
         12/07/03: Delk – Carolyn Elaine Rogers, failure to obtain WV registration and failure to obtain WV operator’, appeared, ROB.
         12/10/03: Slack – Michael Jackson, destruction of property, warrant issued; Bailey – Kathy Sizemore, battery, summons; Belt – Anthony W. White, possession of controlled substance, appeared, ROB, 12/11/03 charge reduced to possession of marijuana less 15 grams 1st offense, NCIC to report did not show prior conviction, defendant placed on 6 months unsupervised probation; Belt – Anthony W. White, child unrestrained, defendant paid fine, charge reduced to no seat belt; Slack – Robert Earl Stutler, DWR/DUIA under 21, arrested, ROB.
         12/11/03: Belt – Jerry Smith, violation of DV protective order, arrested, ROB.
         12/12/03: Dana Hill, assault on school employee, arrested, ROB; Larry D. Legg – Darius Cummings, fail to cause child to attend school, summons; Larry D. Legg – Melissa Cummings, fail to cause child to attend school, summons.
         12/13/03: Sizemore – Joshua Wayne Holden, speeding and driving suspended 2nd offense, arrested 12/12, ROB.
         12/16/03: Delk – Jeremy Bruce Gill, fleeing from officer in vehicle, no POI, DWR/DUIA 2nd offense, and registration violation, arrested.
         12/18/03: Delk – Dana Ray Hall, assault, reckless driving and destruction of property, summons, appeared 12/22, ROB; Sizemore – Wesley Andrew Adkins, possession of marijuana less 25 grams and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, appeared, ROB; Sizemore – Tara B. Taylor, possession firearm while DV in effect and false swearing, arrested 12/19, ROB.
         12/19/03: Slack – Phyllis Triplett, contributing.
         12/08/03: Clay County PSD – Debbie Marling, money due; Lisa McKinney, money due; Robert King, money due; Deborah Rider, money due; Cathy Smith, money due; Stanley Armstrong, money due; Brad Neal, money due; Wesley Adkins, money due; State of WV – Jesse Foster, subpoena.
         12/16/03: R.B. Legg Jr., DDS – Becky Pritt, subpoena.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued –
         12/05/03: Cunningham Motors Inc. – Roger Phillips X 3 (paid 12/15).
         12/16/03: Clay County Magistrate Court – Laura Sibley; Sizemore’ IGA – Christine L. Risden; The Other Side – Monica Lynn Legg; Rodney K. Laxton; Big Otter Food Mart – Monica Lynn Legg X 7; Jessica L. Swift X 4; Ronnie Beasley X 6 (paid 12/19); Travis Cook; Joseph A. Ellis (paid 12/23); Teresa Tackett; John Stalnaker; Joseph Groves; Mary Sue Murdock (paid 12/23); Georgia L. Harold (paid 12/22).
         12/17/03: IGA – Ann M. Neal.
         Citation Register
         11/30/03: DNR – Shawn Michael Adkins, fire arm violation and registration violation.
         12/01/03: State Police – James Allen Sams Jr., registration violation X 2 and failure to maintain control.
         12/02/03: State Police – Jeffery A Halliday, speeding; Margaret Jamison, speeding; Mark A. Ross, speeding; Rick D. Sherrod, no POI and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Telenia G. Starcher, speeding and no POI; Sheriff’ Dept. – Steven W. Huggins, speeding.
         12/03/03: State Police – Jeremy S. Dean, speeding; Christ B. Evers, speeding; Edward M. Miller, speeding.
         12/04/03: State Police – Randall K. Woods, operator’.
         12/06/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Mark E. Belt, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Joseph M. Brown, MVI; State Police – Jacqueline Shamblin, speeding and registration violation.
         12/07/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Wesley A. Adkins, possession controlled substance less than 15 GRMS and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Mitzi Gail Eagle, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and no POI; Carolyn E. Rogers, failure to obtain WV registration and failure to obtain WV operator’; Michael Waggoner, speeding; State Police – Timothy L Ferrebee, MVI and no POI; Charlene L. Hamrick, no POI.
         12/08/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Elizabeth D. Holcomb, defective equipment and operator’; State Police – Justin T. Murphy, speeding.
         12/09/03: State Police – Neil K. Bartkowski, speeding; Mathew R. Bouchard, speeding; Crystal L. Deweese, speeding; Abran T. Ferguson, speeding; Basil W. Smith, no POI.
         12/10/03: DNR – Billy J. Jones, game violation X 2.
         12/11/03: State Police – Sarah B. Alvey, speeding.
         12/12/03: State Police – Garron M. McKinney, speeding and no POI.
         12/13/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Nelson Ray Hughes, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and no POI.
         12/14/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Brian Patrick Dean, speeding.
         12/16/03: State Police – Jerry Nelson, speeding.