FEBRUARY 21, 2003
Click on a title below and them use your back button to return

Clay County Golden Age Club News
Justice: Civil Procedure or Subject Matter?
BOB CLARKE: Curmudgeon’ Corner
Far Side News
Coaches Attend School Board Meeting
Follow ups
Did You Know


         After rescheduling their monthly meeting to Feb 18, 2003, Clay Coutny PSD did not meet. No word on when the meeting will be attempted again. Clay Development Corp (CDC) did not meet Feb 19th as scheduled.
                 As of press time, many in the county remain without electric or telephone service. The earlier in the week ice storm left many residents without service.
                 Another water leak in the Clay Roane PSD system. As of Thusday Feb 20, the Ovapa tank is bone dry and the leak has not been found. Valley Fork Elem was closed due to no water service. Help from the WV PSC are again in the county assisting Clay Roane.
                 Earnie Sirk reported Feb 18th, that he is no longer seeking signatures for the Remove From Office Harald Fields from office Petition. Sirk says that many in the county have been intimidated over their signatures affixed to the petition. The Remove Jimmy Sams from office Petition continues and according to Sirk, has a bunch of names affixed.
                 Our county Commission really knows how to pack them in! During the Feb 13, 2003 gathering of the Commission, over 40 people watched from the peanut gallery. If you’e interested in dogs, water extensions, or interested in the feud between Commissioner Jimmy Sams and Clay Roane PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait, read on.
                 During recent meetings, concerns were brought to the Commission over the way stray dogs and cats were being handled in the county. Holly Cunningham had been the front person for that charge and during this meeting, she assumed that same role. In addition to Cunningham, in attendance were, Drema & Gary Clifton and Sherry Moore. Peter Triplett explained that money was still available from an earlier Spaying/Neutering Program to the tune of $8000.00. Triplett told the crew: organize your group, Find a President and VP. Cunningham and associates appeared pleased and it looks like the county will once again receive low cost animal spaying and neutering in the near future.
                  In an attempt to get the many long stalled and funded ($12 million) water line extension projects back on tract, County Commission with the advice of the WV PSC, asked the various local PSDs to attend the meeting. Only Clay Roane PSD and Clay County PSD did so. One of the sticking points for getting the new lines under construction is getting current audits for each of existing public service districts. During this meeting, Clay Roane Chair Melissa Postelwait said her agency’ 2002 audit was all done and only needed finishing touches to be complete. Cindy Schoolcraft from Clay PSD felt that their 2002 audit would be completed in 30 days or so. Commission President Sams believed that Queen Shoals’audit was already complete.
                 Here’ am interesting side note. During the discussions, Ms Schoolcraft said she was no longer handling Regional PSD affairs. Over the last two years, Schoolcraft has attended all the Regional PSD meetings and served secretarial functions. Schoolcraft,”I’ not in charge of it now…” This one is a Hmmmmm readers.
                 Melissa Postelwait informed Sams and Triplett that Clay Roane PSD was $15,000 behind in quarterly taxes owed the Federal government. By the end of Feb 2003, they would owe $18000.00 Postelwait explained that most of the PSDs financial woes are due to Queen Shoals PSD not paying for water purchased from CL/Roane. Postelwait, “We couldn’ pay our bills.”Sams, still smarting from an earlier in the week encounter with Postelwait over Dale Deems, made it clear he didn’ appreciate the PSD leaving the CCC out of the picture until they were way over their heads in debt. Sams mentioned that it had been several years since he had seen any PSD financial reports. Postelwait, “I don’ know how the previous Chair did?”As for the needed $18000.00, Sams, “At your meeting, you’l have to find where to cut.”Sams had made it clear, he was NOT in favor of passing out monies to the PSD. Triplett did not comment.
                 Cathy Schuler asked the CCC to intervene for the people in the Southern end of the county who will be affected by the installation of a 30 inch high pressure gas line coming in March 2003. Schuler said in her case, Dominion Gas Co would be taking her prime property and timber in exchange for pennies. Schuler was also concerned over horror stories circulating around over the Dominion’ use of eminent domain. Sams commented that he had no idea where the line would be laid when they first heard about the proposal months earlier.
         Some in the community have already hired an attorney to fight the unfair treatment. The issue of the high pressure line being buried directly beside Lizemores Elem. Was also discussed. Sams, “That sounds illegal to me…”Commissioner Triplett, “I have talked to Nicholas Commissioners, they are fighting it..”Triplett also expressed concerns of gas line that close to a school. County Commission will pen a letter supporting the citizens of the county.
                 In addition to the troubles of much of the county not having electric or telephone service due to the recent snow and ice storms, the Clay County Health Dept building needs a new roof. According to Jack Fields, they’e patched and patched. CCC told Linda Klotzbach to handle the contractor bidding process and come back to the Commission with the results.
                 General Ambulance Service, a for profit ambulance service already serving many counties in WV spoke next to the mice. Owner David Gaul asked the gang to consider his agency for ambulance service in the future. His comments included: they’e been in business 28 years; it would be a privilege to serve Clay County; they would provide 10 jobs for the county and would hire the existing workforce of Clay Ambulance Service; they would keep an ambulance in the county; and because of their size and resources, General Ambulance could operate cheaper than the existing non profit, Clay Ambulance Service. Triplett,” I think we’e doing all right for now……[they’e] doing a good job up there now..”        Think our little CCC meeting is ready to end? Wrong! Now the word battle between Postelwait and Sams over Sams wanting to use the PSD truck and contract laborer Dale Deems last Sunday to find the big time water leak.
                 Postelwait,”We’e done paying those guys!”Sams,”You said you wouldn’ pay the guys [Bobby Burdette and Deems]!”Postel, “Dale has to be paid for all the hours he worked !…. I AM NOT RESIGNING!…. The Board runs it [PSD] and you tell them one thing, [while] the Board tells them another!!” Triplett is silent
                  Sams said the PSD should relook at their job function; that the Chief Operator is responsible for the daily operations of the PSD. Sams was starting to get that dark blue look! Isn’ this fun readers!
                 Sams explained that last Sunday, Feb 16th, the PSD water tank was empty, people were without water and no one was looking to find the leak. Sams, defending his actions to use Deems and Burdette over the objections of Postelwait, “ The people needed water… No one was working…. Someone needs to be responsible to run it [PSD].”Sams was really turning blue now. Postelwait,”….. We can’ afford a general manager!!!!!!!!!!… When the Board passes a motion, you [Sams] can’ undo it!…” Those exchanges were followed by finger pointing on whether the faulty booster pump at the Ovapa tank was the problem. Sams, “You needed to find the leak!”        And then a little stinker readers. Triplett asked Postelwait if she had filed a PSC complaint against newly installed Board member Dave Saulsgiver. Postelwait said she did, “He shouldn’ be on the Board….[there’] too much controversy!…. some people say he [Saulsgiver] caused the first [Procious] bankruptcy!”Triplett, “That’ all I needed to know.”Additionally, the ambulance service has $8752.00; an Ambulance service budget of $287,080.00 has been set; and, we have two new Deputy Sheriffs, Connard Workman and Chad E Sizemore
         And finally rounding out a great day of County Commission action. Commission President Sams announced that the Family Law Court was taking over the County Commission room in the near future eliminating the meeting room for all future hearings, meetings, and public gatherings. County Commission will remodel the room and when completed, the Court system will pay the county $6 per square foot as rent. Always quick to fan a smoldering fire, Paige Willis to Sams, “What did he say about your 10 Commandments?”Sheepishly, Sams, talking about the Judge, “He didn’ say.”
         Citizen’ question PSD performance!
                 Water customers of Clay Roane PSD came out in force Feb 13, 2003 during the regular PSD Board of Directors meeting held in the County Commission room at the Courthouse. Up front sitting in the leather swivel chairs were PSD Chair Melissa Postelwait and Boardsters Glen Sutton & Dave Saulsgiver. Absent from service were Roy Ellis and Gary Whaling. In addition to the 25 customers were County Commissioners Peter Triplett and Jimmy Sams, past Roane County Commissioner Larry White, WV Public Service Commission (PSC) engineer Jim Weimer, employees of Clay County PSD. Clay Roane attorney Tom Whittier also was in attendance and perched up front.
                 Even the blah blah blah stuff did not go blah blah blah. During the paying of the bills, it came to light that the PSD was again nearly broke with only $5408.20 to their name. Sutton, “Motion to pay the bills.”Postelwait,”We’e got to pay some of them..” Motion passed to allow billing clerk Jennifer Traub decide which of the most urgent past due amounts be paid and in what order to pay them. Did we mention they have over $30,000.00 in unpaid invoices? And that many of those are real overdue? Here’ a sampling of seriously past due bills: Bullard’ Exxon, 4 months, $1243.; Town of Clay for water purchased, $3550.; Elk Power, $503.85; C.I. Thornberg for water treating chemicals, $701.70; Teel and Assoc. (CPA) $1400.00; PEIA, $4494.76; PJ’ Construction, $1725.; State Tax Dept, $849.; Worker’ Comp, $1093.93; and and and , $11,455.88 now do for Fed employee         withholdings. That last one is bad medicine readers. Read on!
                 The meeting agenda was as packed as the peanut gallery, 18 items.
                 New to the Board Dave Saulsgiver sought and received passage of a motion to start buying gasoline from the State Road garage at Amma since it was about 30 cents cheaper than local retailers. No mention was made that they owed Bullard’ Exxon over $1200.
                 For many months, Clay Roane Boardsters have struggled with what to do with part time contract laborer, maintenance man, Dale Deems. Deems, recipient of Social Security benefits, is only allowed to work 5 hours per day ($800.00 per month) without fear of loosing the SS check. In months past, Deems has worked many emergency situations which required him to be on the job much longer than the maximum 5 hours. During a previous meeting held at the Geary Library in Roane County, Mr. Deems complained of receiving an $820.00 check, which if cashed, would possibly knock him out of his SS income. During that same meeting the PSD voted to advertise for a full time maintenance man position paying $8.00 per hour plus benefits. During those discussions, Deems said he would like to work full time ( getting off SS) and would do so if the PSD would pay him $12.00 per hour.
                 Now back to this meeting. Chair Postelwait explained that after a full time maintenance person is hired, Deems would be used much less and primarily for reading meters, (about 3 days per month). And now the peanut gallery, having seen Deems performance and having seen her neighbors go without water service for days at a time, “aney”from the Newton Store in Roane County spoke out in support of keeping the hard worker (Deems) and getting him some additional help! Others in the peanut gallery nodded in agreement. There was mumbling rumbling among the masses.
                 With the door open, several from the gallery spoke out on the many water leaks, the many days of no water service, the controversy of not being able to find costly water leaks in a timely fashion, and was there anyway the PSD could bring a suit against the contractor that installed all the water lines in the Newton service area. Discussion turned to the need for a Policy and Procedures manual for Clay Roane PSD employees. Questions came up on who was suppose to do what when leaks occur. Jim Weimer concurred with the need for a procedures manual, ”it’ certainly needed..”Attorney Tom Whittier was in agreement, “. so responsible person knows what to do…”        As for going after the original contractor, Weimer from the WV PSC advised that the system had been in trouble for a long time and since the PSD Oked the Newton extension years ago, going after the contractor was not an option. Weimer, “ Someone signed off on the project…. They Ok’ it” Postelwait referenced the many lines improperly installed and “the last four weeks have been tough..”Ears perked up as it became public the many flaws in the system like, no “blow off”valves on the feeder lines. According to Dave Saulsgiver and others, the blow off valves are needed so mud, rust, and yuck can be flushed from the system after Boil Water Orders and leaks are repaired. One lady mentioned water as brown as creamed coffee coming into her home. Hearing the need for the cheap fix, Weimer,”Many things in this system are not done correctly…. Flushing is normal routine of a utility…. Install one!”Nearly an hour into the meeting and with many paying customers venting frustrations of inept management of the local PSD, Clay Roane Oked the installation of a blow off valve. Finally progress! One customer is satisfied!
          Up front Sutton and Saulsgiver are whispering. Debate switched to getting dead beat customers to pay up or cutting off their service. WV PSC rules were debated on what and when customers can be terminated. Discussion on implementing incentives to get customers to pay quicker, IE: stiffer late charge penalties and discounts for payments.
                 When discussion turned to installing costly but more accurate water meters in the system, one guy from the peanut gallery reminded the Board that the new meters had already been built into the last two rate increases plus Clay Roane PSD had received a $50,000.00 loan from the Clay County Bank to pay for the new meters. According to the rotund one, the local PSD had peed away the $50,000 on other items and now are faced with the same out of date, mis reading meters! As for the $50,000, Punkineer Celia Coon asked, “here was $30,000 left on that loan. Where is it now??”
         Chief Water operator Jennifer Traub explained that Gary Whaling was Chair during that time. New Chair Postelwait replied that as far as she new, NONE of the $30,000.00 was left!. The crowd mumbled some more.
                 Many of the folks in attendance were from Roane County and were interested in their neighbors gaining water service thru the long stalled Amma Left Hand water line extension project. The most recent hold up has been the lack of signed notarized right of way agreements for the new lines. What they heard , was not music to their ears. Attorney Whittier explained, in the last 30 days, there have been NO new right of ways signed. Ex Roane County Commission Larry White said they needed 29 more signed before the Amma project could go to bid and an additional 30 are needed before the bid for construction could be signed, White, “59 people are holding up everybody from getting water!”Discussion turned to using eminent domain statutes to gain the right of ways. Frown lines were seen during discussion of the last ditch government seizure of private holdings for right of ways.
                 One lady started a discussion on: What and how will adding new customers help water service in the Newton area? There were no answers. Many in the community know that adding more customers, water and pressure to the existing system can only make matters worse for current customers. In months past, during other meetings, locals have asked that new water service NOT come from Clay Roane PSD and the Procious water plant but rather come South from Spencer.
                 Boardster Sutton motioned that notices be sent out seeking the right of way agreement followed by eminent domain proceedings begin. Motion passed. PSD attorney Tom Whittier commented that no one had asked his opinion on the motion. Jim Weimer cautioned the Board to not pee off the locals and for those going door to door for right of way signatures be properly trained. As far as reaction from the Board, it looked like Whittier and Weimer’ remarks went in one ear and out the other.
                 Chit chat on no progress on the planned Procious water plant upgrade and Punkin Ridge extension project.
                 And then the bomb shell. Postelwait made public for the first time, that the PSD was 6 months behind in paying federally mandated employee taxes to the tune of $9000.00 right now and a total of $15,000.00 by month’ end. Mouths fell open. Even the peanut gallery knew not paying withholding taxes was serious business. Commissioner Sams in attendance made all aware of the substantial $ penalties often imposed to those failing to be timely with “ederal 941s” Postelwait said she had earlier that day asked the County Commissioner for help in paying the past due taxes, “The PSD doesn’’have the $” Questions came on why no one knew about the problem until now?
                 Alarmed at the new revelation, PSD attorney Tom Whittier made it very clear to the Boardsters present: they could be held PERSONALLY liable for the tax debt; their insurance provider would NOT cover such a gross error in judgment (management); that penalties for dead beat paying of Federal taxes are VERY stiff; and, even though they have already voted to pay the existing bills, STOP, and pay the Federal liens first before anything else is paid. There was quiet for second. It almost appeared that the Board was listening and paying attention….. NOT!
                 When one guy asked how could this happen, the finger pointing began. Postelwait blamed the previous secretary and said that past Chair Gary Whaling knew about the problem. Jennifer Traub commented that the delinquent amount had been listed on the bills to be paid for a long time. Postelwait blamed part of the financial woes on Queen Shoals PSD not paying for the water purchased from Clay Roane.
                 Bomb shell # 2. Chair Postelwait let it be known that the hurry up, rush into it, the taking over of Queen Shoals PSD was put on hold. Three weeks ago, Nick Ciccerillo from the WV PSC brokered a deal ( away from the public) for Queen Shoals PSD (QSPSD) to be taken over by Clay Roane IMMEDIATELY and against the advice of Clay Roane’ attorney, Mr. Whittier. According to Postelwait, the agreement is now on hold and QS PSD will continue to operate as usual until all the i’ are dotted and t’ are crossed.
                 More revelations readers. From the peanut gallery came questions from locals wanting their water deposit fees returned to them. Words came that after waiting years for municipal water service, many in the Roane County service area no longer wanted the water service and or had dug water wells or made other arrangements for water. Peanutsters also reminded the Board that when the $ were originally coughed up by locals, the locals were told they could have their money back down the road. As Postelwait explained that around three potential customers “Were tired of waiting..”and sounding like she was ready to hand over the deposit funds (plus interest), Whittier advised otherwise, “Don’ give it back yet!..” Word Doctor Whittier told the PSD NOT to hand back any deposits but rather check with the funders of the water line extension projects first! Here’ the clincher readers, Whittier knew that the entire water project is based on serving a certain number of customers in the given area and if several bailed out now, the total project may poop out. Serious Serious Serious! Cont.next pg.
                 Now fully two hours into the meeting, a long standing rift was aired out. The question came: What is the County Commission role toward the Clay Roane PSD? In the back, sat Commissioner Sams who had just hours earlier got heated up over that very issue with Melissa Postelwait. Whittier explained that the County Commission appointed Board members to the PSD and not much else, “he County Commission is not involved in the operation…” Whittier went on to say that the general public could petition the courts to remove elected and appointed officials. NOTE: Of course Sams already knew about this provision of state code…
                 After more questioning, Whittier expanded: The PSD is not suppose to micro manage day to day operations; a manager should do that; the PSD has oversight only of the system; the PSD is NOT involved in day to day operations; the County Commission has not role with PSD employees; and, the PSD has a job to see that all motions passed are implemented and followed by employees. Sams, feeling the heat , sat a little straighter in his pew. Whittier admitted, in small operations, Board members are more involved with the operation and the PSD Chair is the most involved of the board. From the back, Weimer concurred and once again spoke of the need for some organization within the PSD, a policy and procedures manual!
                 With all eyes on him, Jimmy Sams explained the “urr under the saddle” the behind the scenes stuff that make Clayberry so much fun. During the most recent water leak, a leak that left many without water service for days, Sams called up Postelwait and told her to put Dale Deems back on the job Sunday afternoon so the two of them could go look for the big time water leak . Sams also asked to use the PSD truck. Postelwait told Sams no for using the truck due to insurance restrictions, and no to using Deems. Sams was miffed big time. His toes had been stomped by his own appointee to the Board and stomped while trying to do something nice for the county, volunteering to help find a water leak.
                 Sams, getting a little blue around the edges, “These people want water…. They need water……With her approval or not, we’e getting the water on!!!…It was a Sunday afternoon,, Dale was told to go home, I told him to stay!!…”Weimer commented something about, “n the heat of battle… conflicts have arisen..”Sort of tit for tat, Postelwait came back with recent Board decisions that require Deems to work just 5 hours per day. Postelwait said if the County Commission wanted to pay Deems, that would be fine!
                 In the middle of the exchanges and seeing that this was turning into a peeing contest between Sams and Postel…. Newton Store’ Janey,”TAKE THE SHORTEST ROUTE TO SOLVE THE ISSUE!!! IT WAS A CUSTOMER THAT FINALLY FOUND THE LEAK!! WE WERE OUT [of water] FOR THREE DAYS1111 THAT COSTS US MONEY! CORRECT THE CURRENT PROBLEMS FIRST!”You could almost feel the fresh air come into the room. You could almost hear people whisper, “Give him H Janey!”As Ms Postelwait was getting the monkey off her back, something about her NOT running the Board and not getting paid…. Janey,”YES YOU DO, 75 DOLLARS!” Back and forth…. Jennifer should take care of operation not Melissa…. Jennifer and Bobby can go find the leaks…. No they can’, they have to run the plant!…. Sam Taylor from Clay County PSD entered the fray by saying his Board does not have to be called every time there is a water leak. And then a clincher from Taylor “How can you ask Jimmy [Sams] for money if he has no say so????”        Glen Sutton tried to stop the heated exchanges with a motion to table discussion until the next meeting. With Postelwait knowing the PSD needs $15,000 to pay back taxes; with Postelwait already on record for asking the County Commission for the loot; with the PSD already on record as having no operation book to go by, almost stomping her feet, Postelwait took back her CCC request for financial assistance, “… I don’ want to meet with the County Commission. WE’L DO IT ON OUR OWN!!!!” Sams grinned as did fellow Commissioner Peter Triplett.
                 Discussion continued on: the need for better communications during emergency situations, the need for employees to have pagers, the need for the public to know when a boil water order is placed on the system and when the BWOs are lifted.
                 By 9:15pm it was time for secret time. One fellow protested the secret session mentioning that it didn’ comply with Sunshine Laws in WV. Didn’ matter , all were shoved out the door for 35 minutes or so. Left in the room were contractor Phillip Linger, Tom Whittier, Postelwait, Saulsgiver, Sutton, and Jim Weimer. Dale Deems, the subject of much of the secret time was not in the room. At some point during the secret session, after seeing many of us peering in thru the big glass door, attorney Tom Whittier acted like he was shooting the crowd “he moon” Laughter was heard on both sides of the glass partition. Saulsgiver drank cold coffee, Sutton leaned way back in the leather chair nearly falling out once, Whittier pointed with both fingers as did Weimer.
                 Out in the hallway, the peanut gallery gang discussed what a screwed up mess the PSD is in.
                 Around 10:15 the crowd was allowed back into the meeting room and was told no decisions were made except that attorney Whittier would “nvestigate certain things that we discussed with Dale” Hmmmm
                 There you have it readers, over three hours of nobody in charge, the coffers are empty again, where did all the money go, slam bang action in beautiful Clay County West Virginia.                                                 AW        

                 Lawsuits against the County Commission, against the Clay County Bank, against Prosecutor Grindo, Wayne and Sandy King, Filcon, Kuentzer…. They’e everywhere in 2003! Now the long controversial Clay Development Corp (CDC) will be back in Court.
                 One time CDC Chair Earnie Sirk has again stirred the muddy waters in CDC land with a new Court Petition filed Tuesday Feb 19, 2003. Sirk filed documents with the Circuit Clerk last summer after finding improprieties within the million dollar a year social service provider. That suit was filed after a “urf battle”within the agency that resulted in Earnie (Wide Glide) Sirk being tossed from power during a stormy general membership meeting which reorganized the Board of Directors. Last summer’ lawsuit was later put on hold and to date, no hearing has been set.
                 That’ all changed now as Mr. Sirk once again is bringing civil proceedings in opposition to the county’ most infamous non profit corporation, Clay County Development Corp (CDC). The one page Petition to Amend reads as follows:
                 Earnest H Sirk and Sharon Mullins, Petitioners, vs. Clay County Development Corp- defendant to petitioner Earnest Sirk.
                 Change statement of facts, #1 –19 , to the following, 1), that Pam Taylor, (Staff) and Betty Stalnaker (Executive Director), used the premises and the corporation for profit making enterprises thereby endangering the tax free status of the corporation in violation of the rules set forth in the personnel policies and procedures manual. 2), that selected staff are conspiring to conceal their wrong doing from the corporation and its legitimate Board members by holding meetings with selected participants to ratify their actions. 3), that selected staff have wrongly thrown legitimate members out of the general membership via notice of registered, certified United States mail in order to manipulate the outcome of votes to be taken on personnel matters.
                 Sirk appears to be referring to long time CDC staffer Pam Taylor who was fired by the Board after revelations surfaced that Ms Taylor had used a CDC sponsored “nickerbockers Photography Shoot”for personal gain. A grievance hearing was held for Taylor July 12, 2002. During her time off work, Sirk alleges that Taylor actively worked to remove members of the Board not sympathetic to her being rehired. Also last summer, CDC Director Betty Stalnaker was formally reprimanded for part in the CDC questioned fund raiser and a written reprimand was placed in Stalnaker’ personnel file. After an employee, and friends of employees, led coup sent the prying eyes of Sirk packing, Taylor was put back to work at the agency with full back pay. Sirk was lead investigator into the problematic money dealings of Taylor and CDC.
                 When asked why there was no mention of the rehiring in official Board minutes, the public was told, the actions of the sub-committee (which handled the rehiring) did not need to be in the Board of Director’ meeting minutes.
                 The new petition goes on and spells out the relief sought by Sirk:
                 1- that Betty Stalnaker be removed as Executive Director of Clay County Development Corporation and be ordered to pay said corporation and senior center all monies and properties, real and personal wrongly gained. 2- that Pam Taylor be removed as an employee of the corporation and be ordered to repay all monies and property real or personal received by her starting from the first day she was fired in the year 2002.
Sirk has maintained since being tossed from office, that the CDC organization has been under FBI investigation for 18 months. Last summer (June 7, 2002) one recipient of CDC services , a Ms Cohen, was indicted on Federal fraud charges.         Sirk commented during Spring 2002 Board meetings that the feds had ordered box after box of CDC documents be copied and sent to investigators in Charleston. Along about that same time, Director Stalnaker admitted that she had been questioned in Charleston concerning CDC operations.
                 In the fall of 2002 and according to the gospel of Sirk, the FBI came to his Ivydale home and seized all CDC related documents that he had in his possession. Sirk said, after seeing their badges, “ cooperated fully with the two plain clothed officers”
                 Finally from the Feb 18 2003 Court petition: 3- that all members of the general membership related to the staff be removed and anything or anyone removed from the Board of Directors or its by laws, be reinstated.
                 In this final passage of court room paperwork, Sirk is referring to the many employees, spouses of employees, family members of employees, other close relatives of employees, and friends of employees who make up the CDC General Membership Committee. The General Membership’ role is to change by laws as needed ( or desired by the employees in this case) and select the make up of the Board of Directors.
                 Unlike the earlier Lawsuit, this new petition has been given a March 17, 2003 hearing date. Judge Jack Alsop will hear the proceedings beginning at 11:30am.
                 We’e opening up one more chapter in the chronicle of Clay Development Corp. Mark the 17th on your calendar!                        AW
         By Andy Waddell
                 During the Feb 4, 2003 Clay Town Council meeting it came to light that the municipality’ only police officer, Tommy Myers had been laid off. Mayor Arthur Jarrett said they just didn’ have the money to pay the young man. For this fiscal year , only $10,000.00 has been earmarked for police protection. By listening to the scanner and hearing the number of calls coming in for vandalism, thievery, stealing vehicles, looting and the like, it is apparent the Town of Clay is like most other small towns in America, we have crime.
                 Mayor Jarrett found this out first hand Feb 10. From his Center Street, Two Run home, thieves swiped three hand carved wooden owls from his front yard. The incident took place between 10 and 11pm. The one of a kind statures weighed in excess of 80 pounds each and were hand painted.
         Clay Thieves must have been eating their Wheaties.
         By E.B. Goode
          There are many singles and people who are looking for love. There hasn't been enough singles programs in churches, and certainly not enough fun activities there either! Young people are afraid to get married (even to the right person) and have children because the infrastructure of the so-called great society has taught false and temporal values of materialism (false hopes and dreams through living for things {idols} in stead of real love for people and faith!)
          So, they go to clubs seeking common ideas, friendships, pleasure, love and sex! Of course there are those who thrive on making big money from these needy people!
          This night club where all these people (many young ones) died and where badly hurt, had only one exit, because of greed and fear of not making enough bucks on them! Then, Satan got in through some stupid jealousy and you know the rest of the story! So what's the solution?
          My solution is to share GOD in the realistic, exciting, loving , fun GOD that He is! Start singles groups! Have dance night.....with the light-shows and music they like....(of course there are a lot of rocking songs that are not
         satanic, so use those)
          Let them know, JESUS loves love.....His only Law is Love now and we just have to live HIS LOVE and take care of each other. As darkness covers the earth we have got to keep our faith fires burning!
          Certainly, this tragedy proves again that the night club owners don’ give a damn about the searching souls! Sure, there are some wicked ones, who eventually cause disaster, but, "My sheep hear My voice", JESUS said. But He needs us to be his voices for them!!!
          The harvest is ripe, the laborers are few.... Where are the witnesses to reach these people?
         In Jesus, ebg
         BROTHER Bill’ LETTER
         By Evelyn McLaughlin
         Dear Bro. Bill,         Hope this note finds everyone well and happy in your neck of the woods.        We have been experiencing a REAL winter.  It has rained, snowed and sleeted and then it turned to ice-----but as surely as the sun comes up each morning, Spring will soon be here. Saw Helen King in Clay today.  She said she had lost a freezer full of food due to the power outage.  She also said her family had been sick.  Others on the sick list include Imogene Stalnaker, Maycle Samples and Delphia O'Dell.  Don said to tell you he is also sick. In case you are looking for a puppy just call Sylvia Summers.  She has been blessed with 8 beautiful pups I went to the grocery store the other day.  We have been buying water by the gallon at 2 for $1.00.  And then--it went on sale for 59 cents a gallon!  Pecans around Christmas were $2.99 a pound.  Now you can buy one bag for $4.99 and get one free----Duh!  Don't you just hate to buy something that is on sale only to realize when you get home that you were charged the regular price?  Maybe that just happens to me. Jeanie Davis has moved her realty office to a new location along the Dulls Creek straight.   If you ever want to move back home, give Jeanie a call. John and Dixie Hill, former Clay Countians, now live in Texas.  John was in an accident several weeks ago.  I understand he is steadily improving. Christine Eagle Nelson, of Arizona, is ill.  Please remember the sick when you pray. I wonder if Lyle and Sylvia Shreves of Terra Alta have dug themselves out of the snow.  Terra Alta received over 40 inches of the white stuff.  Every now and then they call to let us know they are fine.  They are wonderful folks. Our service men truly need prayers.  Charles Burdette of Reed Fork is in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He is the son of Chuck and Beth Burdette. I will be writing for the Communicator every now and then.  Lots of folks from our area (living out of state) enjoy the Communicator. Hello to Wendell Arbogast of Oklahoma and Glenn Samples of Virginia. Guess I'll close for now and as Mom used to say "Help us all to be brave."                                Love, SisP.S.  Don't forget to buy duct tape and plastic.
         Family Size Recipe - 6 to 8 Generous Servings
         1 CUP WATER
                 Fry pork and sausage with 1/2 cup water until dark brown. Remove fat leaving just enough fat to cover bottom of pot. Add onions and cook with pork and sausage until onions are dark brown. Add 1/2 cup of water and then put in bell peppers and green onions and let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. Then add 5 cups of water and remaining seasoning (or season to taste) and bring to a hard boil. Add rice and stir so that the rice does not stick to bottom of pot. As water thickens turn fire down. When just about all the water is out, cover and turn fire down low. Let set like this for about 15 minutes and then turn rice. Do not stir. Cover and let set for about 10 more minutes and by this time your jambalaya should be ready to eat.
                 After the water is cooked out of the rice, jambalaya should never be stirred. Turn rather than stir. This prevents the grains of rice from breaking up. Most jambalaya cooks will go all the way to the bottom of the pot and turn one time.
                 Jambalaya is more tasty if slightly highly seasoned, so don’ forget the seasoning. When adding salt, water should
         taste a little too salty as rice will absorb considerable salt.
                 Note.. Instead of using pork and sausage, if you wish you could substitute it with ham and chicken or deer and polish sausage or just use your imagination, it will all be good.
         Clay County Golden Age Club News        
                 Friday, February 14, all attending the Valentine Auction fun held at the Nutrition Site at Two Run had a good time. Our devotional leader Nellie Stephenson passed out several poems to be read concerning Valentine’. A couple was chosen king and queen – Dexter and Karen Dawson from Ovapa received that honor, and Nellie presented them with a solid milk chocolate candy kiss.
                 The auction was held before lunch. Ramona Samples was auctioneer, and we all had loads of fun bidding on home made cakes, pies, and candy. Extra desserts, salads, etc., were added, by those attending, to the lunch that was served for the noon meal. Other items made by club members were there for anyone to purchase.
         Our Clay County Golden Age Club took Christmas trees to be displayed at the nursing home in Big Otter, Easter baskets have been taken in past years to the Shaffer Nursing Home in Clendenin, and right now lap throws are being made by club members and will go to the Walton Inn, to be given to patients there. One of our lifetime members, Ruby Samples, makes her home out there now. Also, a quilt is being finished and will be sold to help raise money for the club.
         We want to thank Evelyn Woods for a check of $112.83 from the Clay Senior Homemakers. She and Opal Triplett kept that club up and running for years, but after Opal’ passing away the club decided to donate the money they had left in it to our club.
         Andy Linkinogger, Evelyn Woods, and Leola Linkinogger won door prizes at the Nutrition Site Valentine’ Day. Everyone enjoyed the fun, auction, food and fellowship that day. Others joined the club that day – I’l add more about our membership next time!
                                 Elaine Dawson
         Justice: Civil Procedure or Subject Matter?
         By Jim Chafin
                 A story in the Williamson Daily News, entitled, “pinion results Orwellian”by Margaret Workman, herself a Supreme Court Judge at the time, who wrote a separate opinion, chastising her fellow court members who had ruled – and I am quoting directly from the news article: “he free-speech clause of the state constitution does not apply to the private sector. Under this ruling, an employee could be fired for writing a letter to the editor, joining an organization, wearing a badge, or speaking out on a public issue, even though he/she did so on their own time and the activities had nothing to do with the job.” The court’ 3 to 2 decision was in a case filed by a nurse in a Charleston hospital who was fired in 1994 after she brought a reporter to a hospital meeting, according to the news article. The woman in question went on to become an employee of a nursing home, we have since learned.
                  In 1998, the court received 252 criminal appeals and agreed to review 17 of those. Percentage wise that amounts to less than 7 percent of all criminal cases submitted that are reviewed by the court. Figures for the U.S. Supreme Court are even less – being in the neighborhood of two and one half percentage points out of 5500 plus submitted, “rwellian, indeed!”
                 How efficient, then, is our system of justice in this country. Mind you, not through the eyes of those who are enriched by the system, but by the standards of ‘nit cost’used by the commercial world, does it not? Using the amounts of tax revenues, monies paid in the form of attorney’ fees and court costs, capital outlays for real estate, buildings, office equipment, staff, and the tons of money generated by the political process – how much does our inappropriately named ‘ustice’cost this nation?
                 In Western countries today, political leaders can have a major influence on the ethical and moral fiber of their countries through the judges they appoint and the judicial policies they support and enforce. In the original pattern for establishment of ‘udgments and justice,’judges and other legal officials were to “ake their jobs very seriously.” They were constantly being urged to pay attention to what they were doing. The political leader was responsible for the system; however the appointee was accountable to God – thus, they were to serve “aithfully and with a loyal heart.”Judicial character was to mirror God’ character. Just as God was pure in his character, so the judges needed to judge with purity and equity. In practical terms, that meant they should avoid perverting justice by showing partiality or taking bribes. The judge’ role was to warn and educate as well as to decide cases. There was a preventative aspect to this conception of the judiciary – judges were to use disputes as teachable moments to instruct people in the law, and to warn them of ‘onsequences’associated with disobedience. If the judges failed in their role, they would be guilty before the Lord if the people fell into lawlessness. When used, ‘ighteous judgments’had an immediate effect upon the nation – it’ moral climate improved, the country was strengthened and unified, to the extent that many surrounding nations would “ot make war with them.” It must be remembered that such nations had a special relationship with their creator, and obedience came through a willful and consistent heart, coming directly from the top of the political life of the nation.
                 Modern nations, and especially people who work in the justice system could implement most of these characteristics if they truly desired to make equality a goal in this country. The judiciary could serve as a broad outline of the basis on which true justice is founded. This is the path to peace – the alternative being war as we know it today!
                 It wasn’ but a couple years back when the town of Clay held an election and only 40 people showed up to vote. Of course, back then, no notice was given the public until after Election Day. Even finding candidates to run for office has been about like pulling hen’ teeth. Those days are gone.
                 General election in the town of Clay will be held in June this year. All positions are up for grabs, mayor, recorder, and the five council positions. This year 16 people paid their $5 entry fee and are on the ballot. On February 18 the all important ballot position drawing was held. Here’ the way the process lined out. We have two candidates for mayor, incumbent Arthur Jarrett will be first on the ballot and one time mayor Glenwood Nichols follows second. Nichols was appointed to the post by Council two years ago during a financially stormy period when residents saw no less than 5 different people hold the $500 per month mayoral spot.
                 Ballot positions for the three running for town recorder are Dwana Murphy at the top, then Cathy Butcher, followed by Linda Morehead. Ms Butcher is the wife of defeated county commissioner Tim Butcher and the daughter in law of one time mayor Joyce Gibson.
                 Eleven are vying for the five council openings. In the order of appearance on the ballot: Paige Willis, Buckshot Butcher, Wanda Chambers (incumbent), Phil Morris, Okey Burroughs (incumbent), Billie Zegeer, Rene Moore, Sally Legg (incumbent), Frank Childers III, Joyce Gibson, and Betty Murphy (incumbent and currently serving as recorder).
                 Some consider position on the ballot to be important if you want to win an office seat. Others feel past performance and deeds make or break the candidate. There’ always the third group of voters who vote for who they are told to vote for, followed by those that make the mark for the name they’e merely heard of over the years.
                 On the plate of the next generation of elected leaders: B&O tax implementation proposals, going in debt for a water plant upgrade, paying for the tough on the revenues, Johnny Wooooofter log factory ( sewer plant), continuing city police services, attracting new business into the area, and reducing current debt load and liabilities like removing tons of contaminated debris from the railroad tracks near the Pisgah bridge.
                 Between now and June 10 is the time for the voters to ask the tough questions.        AW
         DON GREENE: WV Radical WHO’ IMAGE?
                 I think most of us have seen the commercial that says, "Thirst is everything, image is nothing". I thought of that the other day. I noticed a headline on a newspaper that I didn't bother to buy. It was about consultants telling us that our image as "hillbillies" was hurting us.
                 Hum? Let's see, the only two cases of our state being actually identified with a hillbilly stereotype are the Hatfield and McCoy Feud, and the Real McCoys television show. I guess that to these consultants defending your family, property and beliefs like the Hatfields did is a negative image. Somehow they saw something negative in wringing a living out of the soil like the Real McCoys did. To me it is a shame that all of the hillbilly stereotypes aren't associated with WV. It would be fine with me if Li'l Abner and Dogpatch, the Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, Andy Griffith and the Waltons were all associated with WV. In every one of these cases the people are good hearted, hard working, honest to a fault, and have good old common sense. What could possibly be negative about qualities like that?
                 While all of these are obviously far more positive than they are negative, we have even more cases that we could add. We alone can claim John Henry and his heroic effort as our own. We share Boone, Kenton and other pioneers. Stonewall Jackson and Lewis Wetzel are ours alone. Even today we have Sam Snead, Don Knotts, Soupy Sales and Mary Lou Retton! The Labor Movement in the U.S. might never have existed if not for the miners of WV.
                 I think there are two forces at work in the comments of such consultants. First, most city people are scared to death of the forests, mountains and the people that live in them. They are terrified of anyone that judges a person by what they are and not what they wear. Anyway, city folks are still scared of the woods, just look at the Blair Witch if you don't believe me.
                 The second force is scarier to me as a West Virginian. It is the idea that somehow our bootlicking bureaucracy is trying to use outsiders to rewrite our history and create a new "image" for us. In this new image we would be more docile, easier to be led around or astray, and easier to be bossed around and more willing to work for low wages in poor conditions. In other words, we would be more domesticated.
                 Our history, legacy and image are that of independent, hard-working, honest people. We also have the history, legacy and image of being abused by, stolen from and lied to by outsiders. I say let's be true to our own hearts and state, and not let outsiders repaint the tapestry of our history and culture. I, for one, am proud to be a hillbilly and equally proud of our hillbilly heritage.
         BOB CLARKE: Curmudgeon’ Corner
                 Listening to the voices of public opinion is a fascinating experience. It can be at times hilarious, stimulating, even enlightening. At other times the voices of maddening and mindless conformity can provoke us to consider resigning from the human race, providing of course, we still actually have a vote. The prevailing political climate often seems to be dominated by those who seem only recently evolved from their ancestors enough to be capable of walking in an upright position.
                 The Charleston Gazette, arguably one of the few voices of reason in West Virginia is happily secure enough in its own sense of value to allow dissenting views of its editorial policy many of which, in the letters section often savage in their tone. This policy is in keeping with what the great satirist Jonathan Swift wrote about newspapers. He said their purpose should be “o comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable.”
                 One of the Gazette’ interesting subsections is “eaders’Voice.” It is a call-in section where people, under the cover of anonymity can express views on virtually everything under the sun. Other than the expected obsession with the won-loss records of the major athletic programs within the state, the political observations evoke the most attention and are the ones that attract those who suffer the fate of political junkies. “eader’ Voice”is a haven for the weirdoes, the wackos and the nutcases as well as for the rational. But enough of sweeping and loose generalizations, consider the following phone message of a few weeks past.
         …. Liberalism is communism reborn.
         Liberalism must die for America to be saved.
                 It may be that the only hope for a person who thinks (if that is the correct term) like this is a prefrontal lobotomy or a miraculous gene change operation. On the other hand, a mind that has reached that stage of vegetation is already lost. Nevertheless, some mention of what the satanic curse of liberalism has brought to this republic seems in order. It is worthy of note that the following list of achievements was established by liberals and opposed by conservatives.
         Social security, Medicare, rural electrification, the establishment of a minimum wage, collective bargaining, the pure food and drug act, federal aid to education (including the land-grant colleges, the national park system, and others too numerous to mention.)
         It is important to mention that these programs, now widely accepted by both parties, were originally strongly opposed by the conservatives. On rare occasions the leopard is capable of changing his spots.
         “he unidentified caller, secure (and cowardly) in anonymity is only an example of the lunatic fringe,”you may think. Think again, gentle reader. Try listening to the deluge of political discussion shows. The liberal voice, whatever that is, is almost always outnumbered by the hardliners at a ratio of 3 to one. Often, the count is three “eocons,”as they are now called to zero dissenting voices, including the host. The new conservative is the fortunate creature who, when he climbs out of bed each morning, is bursting with joy, secure in the knowledge that he lives in the country that invented virtue, mortality and the ethical certainty that he has inherited the mission of manifest destiny, chosen from on high to create the world anew in his own image. The chief techniques of neocons on talk shows, and they are everywhere, is to out shout and interrupt his opponent. Another favorite ploy is to share his head or make faces if he is threatened be another’ ideas. He is often assisted in this method by the TV director, who may focus the camera on him while his opponent is expressing his views. Whatever your political persuasion we have witnessed the death of civility.
         It is possible that even the ancient Greeks knew that if something is repeated often enough it becomes perceived or received “ruth.” This concept is one of the chief tools of propaganda. “he media has a liberal bias.” The two villains in this charge are the New York Times and the Washington Post. This accusation if easily refuted by any person who takes the trouble to read the entire range of opinion in both papers. “addam threw the inspectors out of Iraq.” This is proclaimed daily by the usual suspects. The gulf war inspectors as well as the United Nations maintain that the inspectors were ordered out of the country just prior to a massive U.S. bombing of the area. Scott Ritter has also denied that the expulsion was Saddam’ doing, but he has been branded a “raitor”by the hardliners because he had the effrontery to criticize the administration’ public relations efforts. George I’ administration told the American people that the Iraqi army was massed on the border of Saudi Arabia on the verge of invading that country. The TV audience was even shown a picture of that dangerous moment. The only trouble was that the picture was a fake. This was not the first time the American people had been deceived by planted or manufactured “vidence.” Remember the Tonkin Gulf?
         It would be funny, if it were not so serious, what the power structure is passing off as “vidence”these days. Colin Powell is the most revered political figure on the political scene; a reputation well deserved no doubt. In his speech before the United Nations presented what seems to be accepted as compelling “vidence.” Powell is a superior speaker: the grave, measured, calm tones, the stately and dignified cadence, the impressive military bearing, all add up to an impressive performance. It was the speech of a politician and a diplomat. However, it must be remembered that Powell is what he has always been, the “ood Soldier,”a man who has spent a lifetime following, rather than questioning orders. His job is to advance and promote the President’ agenda. There is no way of knowing how much he believes in it, although he was something of a doubter in earlier times. It is tempting to suggest that Powell is the French pastry in an otherwise grubby bakery.
                 As nearly as it can be made out, the logic of Powell’ argument went something like this: “e can’ find them, (weapons) so Saddam must have them.” Apparently, the Secretary’ evidence was supplied by our crack intelligence agencies. You remember that crowd, agencies whose stupidity and incompetence contributed to the triumphant bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, a building which could have been found on any cheap map, the telephone directory or any tourist walking the streets of that city, institutions that seem to have discovered only since 9/11 that it might be a good idea to have agents in the middle east who can speak Arabic. It seems that the pictures shown by the good general must be what he said they are. They bore a faint resemblance to Aunt Minnie’ barn, and the truck looked as if it might contain supplies for the good humor man, but who are we to judge?
                 C’st la guerre!
          - Cur (Columnist on the run)

         01/30/03: Foreman – Nathan Toler, arrested (09/24/02) on warrant for grand larceny and ROB; preliminary hearing continued by state.
         02/04/03: Bailey – Thomas Ray Holcomb, arrested (11/19/02) on warrant for retaliation, ROB; defense attorney failed to appear for court, defendant request new attorney at Circuit Court; Court advised Kevin Duffy is attorney 02/18.
         02/11/03: Ellyson – David Albert Johnson, sex offender-fail to change address, warrant issued (05/09/02); pre-trial dismissal: case dismissed with prejudice upon motion of prosecuting attorney; Delk – Aaron C. King, arrested (11/17/02) on warrants for burglary, receiving or transferring stolen goods, and grand larceny, ROB; preliminary hearing continued by defense.
         02/13/03: Delk – Michael Thomas Butcher, arrested (12/10/02) on warrants for changing a manufacturer’ serial number and receiving or transferring stolen property; Preliminary hearing: probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury; Delk – Travis Welch, arrested (12/10/02) on warrant for grand larceny; Preliminary hearing: probable cause found, bound to Circuit Court; Ellyson – Shawn Butler, wanton endangerment with firearm; Preliminary hearing: waived to Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County; Daniel R. Grindo – Billy J. Nichols, warrants issued for forgery and uttering.
         02/05/03: DNR Officer S.J. Simms – Billy Ralph Jarvis, failure to field tag deer, appeared, ROB.
         02/06/03: Bailey – Ivy E. Carr, possession of methamphetamines and operator’, appeared, ROB.
         02/07/03: Belt – Louis Richard Koch, no POI and defective equipment, case dismissed with prejudice 02/11 upon motion of prosecuting attorney; Belt – Matthew Mark Graves, driving suspended-2nd offense and registration violations, warrants issued.
         02/08/03: Bailey – Virginia A. Ours, DUI, arrested, ROB, defendant pled no contest 02/10, assessed fine, costs, and 24 hrs jail.
         02/10/03: Clay Supermarket – Valerie C. Samples, warrants issued on worthless check complaints X 2; Edward Adkins, warrant issued for WC complaint; and, Wesley A. Adkins, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, appeared 02/11, paid check and costs, case disposed; Sizemore’ IGA – Shari D. Bullard, warrant issued for WC complaint; Sheriff of Clay County – Judith A. Myers, warrant issued for WC complaint.
         02/11/03: Larry Legg – Robert Ferrebee, failure to cause child to attend school, summons; Lisa Ferrebee, failure to cause child to attend school, summons; and, Melissa Browning, failure to cause child to attend school, summons; Ellyson – David Albert Johnson, fail to register (as sex offender), defendant pled guilty, assessed fine and costs.
         02/13/03: Light – Connie Gail Brown, selling alcohol to underage, appeared, ROB.
         02/14/03: Dep. Chad Sizemore – Daniel Grose, violation of domestic violence protective order, arrested 02/18, ROB; Bullard’ Exxon & Quick Stop – warrants issued on WC complaints for: Phillip Summers X 2, Tina M. Hager, Mary Hall X 2, Jeremy Burrows, Ameya N. Proctor, Ronald Woodlief, Roy W. Brown X 2, and Stacey Schoolcraft.
         02/05/03: Samantha Naylor – Steve Mosley and Gail Copen, wrongful occupation; Freda Coad – Dollie Blankenship and Billy Deems, money due.
         02/06/03: Clay Supermarket – Joseph Cummings, money due.
         02/10/03: Amie Burkhamer – Joe Duncan, ? ; Phyllis Bayes – Erica Jones, ?
         02/11/03: Wholesale Tire, Inc. – Eric’ Tire Company, ? ; Eugene Palecek – Mike Hill, money due.
         02/13/03: James E. Ryan – Melissa D. Friend, breach of contract; Tom Dawson – Stephanie Taylor, money due.
         02/14/03: Nichols Furniture & Appliance – Lolita J. Nutter, ? ; Phillip Bartsch, ? .
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued -
         02/05/03: Larry Taylor – Anthony Foster (paid 02/07); Sizemore’ IGA – Valerie C. Samples X 2, Leona B. Drake (paid 02/13).
         02/14/03: Clay Supermarket – Leona B. Drake; Connie Brown – Margaret E. Phillips X 2, Rodney K. Laxton, and Richard Grose.
         02/18/03: IGA – Sandra Eagle and Rebecca Crites.
         Traffic Citations
         01/30/03: State Police – Christopher Blankenship, no POI and registration violations.
         01/31/03: State Police – Ivye E. Carr, possession of methamphetamine and operator’.
         02/05/03: DNR – John Lee Akers, littering; Erin B. Goodell, littering.
         02/06/03: State Police – Ronald L. Adkins, Jr., registration violations and operator’.
         02/07/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Guy E. Dwier, Jr., no POI and registration violations.
         02/08/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – John Ward, no POI.
         02/11/03: State Police – Lisa Brown, failure to keep right.
         02/12/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Megan Renee Paxton, speeding and no POI.
         02/13/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Steven M. Arvinitas, speeding; David C. Harpold, speeding.
         02/14/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Lyle K. Burns, MVI; Leona E. McGlothlin, speeding.
         02/17/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Raymond G. Hersman, speeding and no POI.
            Far Side News ....… Rose Cantrell
          Congratulations once again to H.E. White’ B-team!! They played Ivydale on Saturday and walked away with a 16-7 victory. Lots of league games were canceled on the 8th due to another of Mother Nature’ nasty mood swings. I don’ know who got her panties in an uproar, but I’ be willing to start the petition to get her thrown out of office to let somebody a bit more competent take over.
          Thanks to all who helped make the spaghetti dinner on the 9th a huge success!! Lots of people braved Mother Nature’ wrath to help raise money for the PTO. This is just one of the many events PTO hosts to help fund field trips, pay for the world-famous ramp dinner and cover various other expenses that are otherwise uncovered.
          In academic news, that little ol’stepchild whose position is always at the top of the "Close All Those Small Rural Schools!" list has once again made the news! H.E. White Elementary has been awarded "Exemplary Accreditation"status by the WV Board of Education for 2002. This status is based on criteria of high achievement test scoring, exceptional attendance rates and positive writing assessment scoring. Out of over 800 schools in West Virginia, H.E. White is among the elite 77 that achieved this status. In Clay County, this honor is shared with only one other school - congratulations, Valley Fork! We’e certainly not the best because we’e the biggest - we’e the best because we try harder.
          In addition to our elite status, H.E. White will soon be hitting the airwaves (so to speak). On March 12th, the WV State Board of Education will be at the school to film an educational documentary based on the school’ extraordinary academic progress. This film will be used as a training tool for other small schools in the state. More details on this one next time!
          Congratulations all the Recycling winners!! H.E. White and Ivydale Elementary students collected aluminum cans for their Martin Luther King Day project. The top recyclers from each grade won a 100% recycled shirt for their efforts. H.E. White winners were: Kindergarten - Adam Mullins; 1st Grade - Andrew Keaton; 2nd Grade - Logan Jackson; 3rd Grade - Miranda Hodge; 4th Grade - Adam O’ell; and 5th Grade - Dalton Adams. Great job, kids!
          Finally, a big ole’THANK YOU! to Rick McLaughlin and all those who came out to help clean up the near catastrophe as H.E. White’ gym failed to keep its feet out of the water. It was a big ugly job and your efforts are appreciated!
          And that’ about it from this end for now. Stay tuned!
                                                 — Rmc
         Coaches Attend School Board Meeting
                 The Clay County Board of Education met for the second of their twice monthly meetings on Tuesday, February 18. The meeting, originally scheduled to take place at H.E. White Elementary in Bomont, was held at the administrative office in Clay, apparently due to weather conditions and school closures. All the board members were present – Board President R.B. Legg, Jr., Gene King, Scott Legg, David Pierson, and Fran King - along with central office staff. At least 30 other people attended this meeting, most Clay County High School (CCHS) coaches, staff, or members of the girl’ basketball team.
                 R.B. Legg offered prayer and called the meeting to order at 6PM. After approving the agenda and previous meeting minutes, the Board conducted the following business: approved the transfer of Marjorie Mullins from teacher to librarian/teacher at Clay Elementary for 2003-2004, successful bid; employed Steve Ware as head football coach at Clay Middle School (CMS) for 2003-2004 and Michael Kearns as assistant baseball coach at CCHS for 2002-2003, both successful bids; approved reimbursing three Behavior Disorder teachers for six college hours each in exchange for their commitment to remain in their current positions for one year. Special Education Director Jennifer Sirk said she had money in her budget to cover the cost; updated the attendance policy. Administrative Assistant Kenneth Tanner explained that the state recently reworked their policy and the changes were made in an attempt to meet stipulations of the WV code. He noted that nothing had been deleted from county policy; approved purchase of three new school buses for 2003-2004. Director of Student Services Larry Legg told the Board he had discovered that if they could get the bids in this year they would save $3000 per bus. He said maintenance had recommended air door openers instead of electric, and all are automatic; employed Cindy Willis as coordinator for the 21st Century Grant/Grant Writer for 2003-2004, successful bid. David Pierson asked how many bid on the position and since this was a grant funded position whether or not they had to go by employee (hiring) rules. Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger said the position had to go through the bidding process, and that three people had bid on the position, but one person had pulled her bid. Gene King told the others he was going to vote ‘o’- he hadn’ talked to Cindy yet. Linkinogger told King that he and other central office staff would be retiring in three years (the length of the grant funded position) and that Cindy saw an opportunity at the end of three years. Willis’husband was present and said she wanted to spend more time with her son, the position being 10 ½ months instead of the 12 months she currently works as principal of CCHS. King said, “hought we might have encouraged her to stay at the high school…she does a good job down there…sometimes we can’ say what we want to…we won’ always be around here to look after her…don’ want anyone to think there’ a clique down there…wouldn’ like her moving on…” Scott Legg asked, “omething going on we don’ know about, Gene?” King went on, but his meaning was vague. Legg, “f she wants to move on, I think we should let her.” Willis was hired for the position with Gene King voting against. All other motions passed unanimously. The board then met with the coaches to discuss changing policy to allow coaches to coach only one varsity sport during the year as decided at the previous meeting. All coaches that spoke were against changing the policy. Athletic Director Ron Sirk said he felt it would not be wise as it was hard finding coaches already. Wrestling coach Frank Kleman said a change would affect him as he would like the opportunity to replace Sirk when he retires without giving up wrestling. R.B. Legg, “y suggestion is to leave the policy as is.” Scott Legg, “ opposed it (changing policy) from day one.” Pierson, “K as is.” Parent Lisa Lewis brought her complaint to the board on how she said her daughter was treated by her basketball coach following an injury that occurred two weeks before when she was playing basketball. Lewis said the coach didn’ show any concern and her daughter wasn’ offered ice for the knee injury. She said she took her daughter to the emergency room, then a bone specialist, and for a MRI. Her daughter, she said, insisted on returning to school and took an excuse to Ms Ramsey in P.E. for two weeks. Lewis said when they can’ dress for P.E. the students have to do a 5 page report, that her daughter had too much homework already, and felt the report should be done during class. She said Principal Willis agreed. Ramsey, present, responded that the student had been offered ice and to call home but she was told no, no one home. Regarding the report, Ramsey said the student told her she’ rather do it at home. Lewis said she’ come to P.E. if she had to and sit with her daughter while she did the report. Gene King, “ don’ like to hear about a paper taken into the locker room…how many for her, against her…don’ let a child be hurt over a program, penalize them for some reason…I’ going to see some changes, changes with the girls basketball team…” Scott Legg, “o to a couple of games and listen to some of the abuse the girls put up with – it’ not coming from the school, it’ from outside.” Fran King, “lad to see a lot of coaches here, and the basketball team. I heard about a letter to be put in the paper…I called Linkinogger…I didn’ want it in the paper…” Fran King, vaguely, talked about how it was difficult, as a board member, to have her daughter on the team. King, “e do have a problem, could be morale, I don’ know why.” She also mentioned a petition in the locker room. Coach Phillip Carte asked if coaches have the right to make their own call on whether someone dresses or not. He said Ramsey couldn’ turn around without something being said about her. A basketball player stood and told the board, “ want to say that was not a petition, it was a letter supporting the coaching…just wanted to stand up for Ms Ramsey.” Fran King said she only wanted to improve the program, and to look at it (changing policy) as a way to build the program. Lots of discussion, much of it hard to follow. Gene King, to Linkinogger, “hat about you?” Linkinogger, “ catch it from all ends…I talked with the athletic director…I’e had positive reports.” Kleman offered, “asic rule – if practice is missed unexcused, you don’ start next game. With some kids, we do have a communication problem. Think it’ a good rule.” Fran King, “ts hard being on the board…at least we know all the coaches are together…” Meeting adjourned shortly after 7PM. TK
                 Clay County is awash in lawsuits. Seems like every week there is a new lawsuit, a new petition, or an amended suit filed in the County Clerk’ office. (NOTE: Details of the newly added to Clay Development Corporation lawsuit can be found elsewhere in this edition.) Now, back to our lead story. Some court actions may be centered on a family feud, 3 square yards of property, you know, the he said-she said squabbles and the like. Other cases are serious with far reaching implications. Here comes one of the later.
         On February 14, 2003, Valentines Day, local attorney Barbara Harmon Schamberger gave the county a real present with the filing of an amended suit against the Clay County Commission, Prosecutor Daniel Grindo. The amended paperwork names Circuit Clerk Judge Jack Alsop as well as Democrat Chairperson, Sheriff Harald Fields.
         Here’ the skinny… After weeks and weeks of rumors, Prosecutor Jeff Davis handed in his resignation letter to County Commissioners Matthew Bragg, Tim Butcher, and Jimmy Sams on November 25, 2002. On December 12, 2002, during a packed to the rafters county commission meeting, Commissioner Tim Butcher made a motion to hire Braxton County resident Daniel Grindo to fill the un-expired term of Davis, a Democrat. With a 350 signature petition in hand, with many in the peanut gallery asking the CCC NOT to hire Grindo, with attorney Hiram Lewis present telling the CCC that state code mandates an election to fill the void, and with still another voice asking the three blind mice to go slow and take their time appointing a replacement, you got it, Butcher’ motion for Grindo was seconded by Jimmy Sams and Grindo got the $37,000.00 a year spot. Commissioner Bragg voted no.
         During his last meeting (Dec. 27 2002) as a commissioner, Tim “o Show”Butcher motioned that the County Commission NOT hold a special election for the prosecutor’ position. That motion passed over the objections of Bragg. Somewhere in between the bail out of Davis and Butcher’ last act as a commissioner, CCC received written word from Teresa W. Helmick with the WV Secretary of State’ office advising them, “After reviewing section 3-10-8, it is difficult to interpret because the language of the first sentence conflicts with the language of the second sentence.” Helmick went on say, in her opinion, the Legislature did not intend for county commissions to hold an election every time someone quits. Most troubling in the Secretary of State’ letter is this passage: “ue to the obvious inconsistencies in section 3-10-8, I cannot predict how a court would interpret this section if a court proceeding were brought to issue.”Based on that one letter and after many in the community objected to the appointment of a prosecutor instead of holding an election, Commissioner Tim Butcher made his one stamp on Clay County history, he pushed through the hiring of Grindo. Butcher’ deeds have already proven costly to the county. After finding out the county’ insurance provider would not cover the cost of such a court challenge, attorney Johnny Brown was hired at $125.00 per hour.
That was the background and now here’ the news. Listed under the findings of fact section of the amended petition, comes the following:
That on or about the 16th or 17th day of November but specifically on the date of the Thanksgiving Day pot luck luncheon held at the Clay County Courthouse, all three members of the Clay County Commission met with Judge Jack Alsop in the Judge’ Chambers. That the pretext for such meeting was to discuss procedures to appoint a replacement prosecuting attorney to fill the vacancy to be created by Mr. Davis’imminent resignation.
Anybody say Open Meeting Laws? A quorum? Discussing decisions coming before the commission? OK, we’l quit the glee stuff for a minute, back to page 5 of the amended paperwork:
That during such meeting, however, the Clay County Commission discussed with the Judge [Jack Alsop] who should be appointed prosecuting attorney for Clay County. That during this meeting
, the Honorable Jack Alsop is alleged to have stated that, “ don’ think you want what you’e got”and that such references could only be to the assistant prosecuting attorney, the Plaintiff in this action, inasmuch as the Hon Jeff Davis was under a disability and the only person acting as prosecutor was the Plaintiff.
That further, the Honorable Jack Alsop, upon being fed the names of potential appointees during a question and answer session, shrugged, rolled his eyes, or outright laughed as all names mentioned except for that of his clerk, Mr. Daniel Grindo, now the Honorable Daniel Grindo, Prosecuting Attorney of Clay County.
That the meeting in the Judge’ chambers consisted of a quorum of the County Commission.
That at the meeting, the County Commission and the Honorable Judge Jack Alsop discussed the candidates for appointment to the constitutional Office of Clay County Prosecuting Attorney, a matter of public interest and public business.
That such meeting of a quorum of the County Commission during which they discussed the public’ business, was conducted without notice to the public and that such notice was required given the content of the discussion.
Ms Schamberger is alleging that a sitting Circuit Court judge, in this case, the senior judge for the Circuit, participated in a secret, away from the public’ prying eyes, violation of WV Open Meeting Laws. Due to the much higher standards of conduct demanded a judge, such participation, if proven to be true, could have serious consequences for the head of the court.
So who spilled the beans? Who let the cat out of the bag? Again from Ms Schamberger’ document: That the existence of the meeting was discovered by the Plaintiff not through subsequent disclosure by the Clay County Commission at a subsequent publicly noticed meeting but rather by three means. 1) Upon encountering in the Clay County Courthouse, the Sheriff of Clay County, who is also the Chairman of the Clay County Democrat Executive Committee, the Plaintiff, who knew the Sheriff was closely connected with the County Commission, asked the Sheriff if he had “eard anything”to which the Sheriff blurted out that “All I know is that they [Clay County Commission] met with the Judge in his chambers after lunch and discussed the candidates.”Your Plaintiff then cocked and shook her head as a look of astonishment crossed her face. Presumablely, upon viewing the odd look on Plaintiff ‘ face, the Sheriff then hastily added, “ow I’ not sure that Jack [Alsop] didn’ give them his opinion.”2) Subsequently, the truly honorable Matthew Bragg, Clay County Commissioner, expressed to this Court’ honorable Plaintiff that he was dismayed by the meeting that had been held in the Judge’ chambers with Tim [Butcher], Jimmy [Sams], and the Judge [Jack Alsop]. That the Judge had made his preferences clear without saying much, “oing a lot of back pedaling”[and using non verbal communications] and rolling his eyes, shrugging his shoulders and laughing at candidate’ names. That the only specific language Commissioner Bragg recalled at that time was Judge Alsop saying “ don’ think you want what you’e got,”That further, again through various non verbal communications and carefully worded statements, Judge Alsop clearly indicated his preferences for his clerk, Daniel Grindo.
So could they keep their lips quiet? Not so according to Schamberger, here’ more: Various employees in the Clay County Courthouse were made privy to the discussion held in secret in the judge’ chambers so that on the 4th day of Dec 2002, prior to the acceptance of the resignation of Mr. Jeff Davis, this Honorable Plaintiff had been told and knew that the chosen replacement for the Clay County Prosecutor was Daniel Grindo, Judge Alsop’ law clerk.
It would also appear that, at times, the Sheriff of Clay County, who is also the Democrat Chairman of the Clay County Democrat Executive Committee, may have been in the room with the Judge and the three County Commissioners, so that the assembled group appeared to be
the august personages of the Clay County Democrat Executive Committee Chairman, a sitting Circuit Court Judge and a quorum of the Clay County Commission. No member of the public was privy to this meeting.
Other minor portions of the original January 5th document were modified as well. But none so damning as the above presented findings of fact as prepared by Ms Schamberger.
        Since the filing of the amended petition on February 14, there have been some fairly open comments made of the assertions. During a break in the action at a County Commission Board of Review, February 18, Commission President Sama commented that now defunct Commissioner Tim Butcher was not in the Judge’ chambers but that new Commissioner Peter Triplett was present. Keep in mind on November 16, 2002, the date of the secret time, Peter Triplett was Commissioner-elect Triplett. Both Sams and Triplett admitted to being at the meeting in front of Judge Alsop.

On February 18, 2003, Mr. Sams went on to say that no decision was made with the Judge and Judge Alsop offered no advice on the hiring decision coming before the County Commission. Sheriff Fields commented on the 18th that he wasn’ even at the meeting in question.
Lawsuits Clay County, we’e got them running left and right, and down right juicy, too!!! As of February 19, 2003, no hearing date has been set for this pro
ceeding. We’l keep you posted on any new developments. AW

Follow ups
         Earlier this month, Clay County’ Business Development Authority held their monthly gathering. Near the end of that assembly and right after their lengthy secret time, BDA member Arthur Jarrett let go with some dandy potty mouth which left some in the room laughing and others embarrassed. Since County Commissioner Jimmy Sams, a BDA member, had just resigned from the Authority and was first to leave the building, we thought Jarrett was aiming his words at Sams. We were wrong
                 After the last edition came out, which contained coverage of the meeting, we spoke with Mr. Potty Mouth. According to Jarrett, the words were aimed at attorney Kevin Duffy and were over a bill that had gone unpaid by Duffy. Jarrett said he had housed the “iden Wiccans”at his historic Henry Clay Hotel and Duffy was to cover the cost of the arrangement, something to do with court actions we think. In addition to being stiffed $25.00, the outgoing Jarrett said the folks had left a 5 gallon lard bucket of pee in the room!
                 Since our last printing and according to Jarrett, Mr. Duffy settled up on the debt and added an extra $5 to boot. We stand corrected readers.
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???

1.        Power is pleasure and pleasure sweetens pain.
2.        The average American consumes about 11 pounds of chocolate per year.
3.        230,000 children travel 42 million miles of roadway aboard school buses in West Virginia every year.
4.        Hunters killed 17,081 deer during the muzzleloader season a 20 percent increase over 2001.
5.        NASCAR is considering a plan to prohibit drivers from signing autographs in the garage area at tracks to reduce fan congestion
6.        According to the American Cancer Society overall survival rates have risen to 62 percent.
7.        The US Center for Disease Control and prevention estimates that 300,000 children between ages 1 and 5 have unsafe levels of lead in their blood.
8.        Only about one in 20 nurses in West Virginia is male.
9.        The American Pain Foundation says that 33 million to 125 million Americans suffer from untreated pain.
10.         One hundred percent of West Virginia schools have been connected to the Internet.
11.         Of the 2.3 million Americans with epilepsy, about 300,000 are under 14.
12.         School systems in 14 West Virginia counties have above average workers compensation claims that cost the state department of Education nearly $759,000 the fiscal year.
13.         Based on January 2003 data, West Virginians paid less for natural gas, water, electricity, and telephone service than those cities in surrounding states.
14.         A national survey, completed in 1996 but never publicized, estimates that 40 percent of all catholic nuns in the United States have suffered some form of sexual trauma.
15.         Of the 1.3 million high school students who took the SAT test in 2002, only 616 made a perfect score.
16.         About 40 percent of ATV crashes over on paved roads or streets.
17.         Bills make up 15 percent of the average houshold postal mail.
18.         Millions of elderly Americans fall, and about 10,000 actually die from falls each year.
19.         Studies show that women who drank two to five alcoholic drinks daily have a more than 40 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer than non-drinkers.
20.         Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse. Adlai Stevenson Jr. LMM