FEBRUARY 7, 2003
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BDA/Clay County Bank Hearing
Justice: Civil Procedures or Subject Matter?
Property Transfers
Challenge Clay County
Clay Schools Receive 21st Century Grant


        A lot can happen in just a few days. Such is the case with Queen Shoals PSD asking Clay Roane PSD to take over their water system operation. The request came near the end of Jan 2003 and just a few days after Queen Shoals receiving a whopping big rate increase. An informal, away from the public, meeting was held between Clay Roane &Queen Shoals PSD and the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) Feb 5, 2003. Sources close indicate that the WV PSC is in favor of such a consolidation. So what does the State law say about such action. Does the public have any input into the merger? How about the County Commission? What happens to all the tap fees and deposits from Queen Shoals PSD? Will the residents of the Bomont Glen, Queen Shoals area have representative on the Clay Roane PSD Board of Directors? Will Clay Roane PSD Boardsters have to be reappointed by the County Commission.
        While there are few answers, there are some laws governing such a merger. IN § 16-3A which deals with such mergers: no expansion of a public service district may occur if the present or proposed physical facilities of the public service district are determined by the appropriate county commission or the public service commission to be inadequate to provide such expanded service. The clerk of the county commission of each county into which any part of such district extends shall retain in his office an authentic copy of the order creating, expanding, merging or consolidating the district: Provided, however, That within ten days after the entry of an order creating, expanding or merging or consolidating a district, such order must be filed for review and approval by the public service commission. The public service commission shall provide a hearing in the affected county on the matter and may approve, reject or modify the order of the county commission if it finds it is in the best interests of the public to do so. The public service commission shall adopt rules and regulations relating to such filings and the approval, disapproval or modification of county commission orders for creating, expanding, merging or consolidating districts.
So what about County Commision involvement? Again from 16-3A: The county commission may, if in its discretion it deems it necessary, feasible and proper, enlarge the district to include additional areas, reduce the area of the district, where facilities, equipment, service or materials have not been extended, or dissolve the district if inactive or establish or consolidate two or more such districts. If consolidation of districts is not feasible, the county commission may consolidate and centralize management and administration of districts within its county or multi-county area to achieve efficiency of operations: Provided, That where the county commission determines on its own motion by order entered of record, or there is a petition to enlarge the district, merge and consolidate districts, or the management and administration thereof, reduce the area of the district or dissolve the district if inactive, all of the applicable provisions of this article providing for hearing, notice of hearing and approval by the public service commission shall apply with like effect as if a district were being created.
So what about keeping the existing Clay Roane Board? Doesn’ sound like that’ possible. From section 3 of that same Code chapter: Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, whenever a district is consolidated or merged pursuant to section two [§ 16-13A-2] of this article, the terms of office of the existing board members shall end on the effective date of the merger or consolidation. The county commission shall appoint a new board according to rules promulgated by the public service commission. Whenever districts are consolidated or merged no provision of this code prohibits the expansion of membership on the new board to five.
Of course in the Great Nation of Clay, many feel the rules get bent. As for answers, there aren’ any, just directives.

QUEEN SHOALS SHUT DOWN!! Clay Roane PSD in Turmoil -
        How often do you hear of a local water service provider being shut down? It happened Feb 6, 2003 here in Clay County. Queen Shoals PSD was told to shut down by the WV Public Service Commission during an informal meeting held Feb 5th at the PSD’ office at Bomont. Clay Roane PSD took over operation of the 150 customer operation effective Feb 7, 2003.
        During a Special Clay Roane PSD meeting held Thursday Feb 6 at the Geary Library in Roane County, Chair Melissa Postelwait explained to the 15 or so in attendance, Clay Roane PSD was entering into an Operation and Maintenance contract with Queen Shoals PSD with the contract effective the following morning. What???????? Where did this all come from????
          Nick Ciccerillo, from the WV Public Service Commission, provided details. According to Nick, Queen Shoals Public Service District ( QSPSD) was $10,000.00 behind in water payments to Clay Roane and the PSC told QSPSD to get out of the water business. The Stetson wearing Ciccerillo explained that this was not a merger deal or a consolidation package but rather Clay Roane will operate and maintain the QS PSD operation. Nick, “asically, they are out of business..”
                 A written document was passed around the Board with Clay Roane PSD attorney Tom Whittier finally taking a look at the hastily filled in paperwork. Frown lines came across Whittier’ forehead. As Whittier began questioning sections of the agreement, the PSC’ Dave Foster commented that Queen Shoals had just received a 30% rate increase which should eliminate many of the financial issues surrounding QSPSD.         There was silence. For most in the audience, this was first word on a major change in water service within Clay County. Dave Foster from the WV PSC explained that the immediate take over of operation was critical and “can’ wait.”        Here’ what it looks like readers. QSPSD Chair Tom Martin has thrown in the towel after a long struggle to maintain the small independent minded operation. With Clay Roane doubling wholesale water rates charged to QSPSD in Oct 2002, QS PSD quickly went broke. Sometime in Nov, Martin & gang asked and received a water rate increase from the WV PSC Even with that 30% increase going on the customers’bills in Jan 2003, it was too late. Queen Shoals PSD was broke. With paperwork in hand, Nick and gang swooped down and cut the deal for Clay Roane to take over QSPSD operations. Sounds simple enough doesn’ it? Well, it’ not.
                 During the Feb 6th public gathering, many questions came. Things like, if Queen Shoals couldn’ make it work how can Clay Roane make it work? Since Clay Roane can’ take care of its current customers, how can they take care of another 150? If Clay Roane was not financially stable before, how can adding $10,000.00 in more debt make life better?
                 Mr. Ciccerillo and “eam Consolidate”wanted this paper signed and signed right now. Attorney Whittier cautioned Clay Roane Board about being hasty. Clay Roane Chair Melissa Postelwait pushed hard for the immediate approval of the agreement. Boardster Gary Whaling questioned the PSC about collecting on the already owed $10,000.00 and if Clay Roane operates Queen Shoals, how will they ever get the owed amount paid? Pushing hard for passage, Postelwait, “We’l have full financial control. They have no say so!!!…”Other Board members appeared hesitant to enter into the agreement. Whittier again asked that they table the whole thing until bond holders could be contacted. More pushing by Nick, Foster and Postelwait.
                 From out the back of the room, a new face, a fellow from the WV Dept of Health spoke up with a refreshing comment, “Queen Shoals problems are related to Clay Roane PSD. YOU already have the problems…” Mr. Health man, give him three pats on the back, was saying that many of the water quality and water pressure problems within the Queen Shoals organization were a direct result of Clay Roane!
                 Again, attorney Whitttier advised Postelwait to table the decision until the USDA Ok’ such a deal. Again, Whittier advised that Clay Roane do nothing until they knew more about the liabilities of assuming QSPSD. He cautioned them that such an agreement could violate existing loan agreements. Nick pushed harder for the immediate signing. He went on to say he had shut QSPSD down today and if Clay Roane did not sign the agreement NOW, the deal was off and some other water provider like American Water in Charleston may step in and assume operation of Queen Shoals.
                 More questions from the peanut gallery. How big are the QS service lines. How many fire hydrants are there? What is the condition of the lines? How much water loss is there? Can Queen Shoals dollars be used in the Clay Roane system? Few answers were given the public or the Clay Roane Board. The operation and maintenance ( O & M) agreement was on the fast track like an locomotive without brakes.
                 Whittier seeing that the PSC was not going to give up, began making hand written changes to the PSC inspired take over agreement. Whittier raised greatest concerns over the exposure to liability issues. As the voices got louder and more impassionate, Whittier made change after change. After doing the quick work, Whittier, “This agreement is not good enough for Clay Roane to start [operating] tomorrow.”Nick, “om! We can’ do that! We can’ wait!! Work with us!”Engineer Jim Hildruth spoke in support of Whittier’ statements. After the hand written changes were read to the Board, Ciccerillo retorted that the WV SPC would never go along with that, “If you can’ so it now, THE PSC WILL BACK OFF!”        So much for more details readers. Here it is in a nutshell. Clay Roane PSD will take over operation of Queen Shoals PSD effective Friday Feb 7th. Queen Shoals secretary Judy O’ell will loose her job as is husband and maintenance man, Gene O’ell. All money from Queen Shoals’customers will go directly to Clay Roane PSD. The existing Queen Shoals Board of Directors will remain but have no say so nor have a place or voice on the Clay Roane Board. For all intents and purpose, Queen Shoals PSD is shut down and out of business.        More details of this stormy meeting next edition. AW
         BDA/Clay County Bank Hearing
         On Monday, February 3, Judge Rick Facemire conducted a hearing on the dispute between the Clay County Business Development Authority (BDA) and the Clay County Bank regarding the Filcon property.
         Bank attorney Kevin Duffy made a motion to dismiss the case due to BDA attorney Barbara Harmon-Schamberger not filing a civil case information sheet along with the complaint against the bank. Duffy said although it had been filed at a later date, the Supreme Court had specifically ruled that the civil case info sheet must be filed with the complaint. He also was critical of the information filed, such as incomplete addresses, and the dates on the complaint.
         Schamberger made a motion for default judgement, stating that there had been no answer to the complaint, which they had 60 days to respond to. She said the civil case information sheet had been filed, that the Circuit Clerk
=s office had helped her when filing the complaint as it was her first civil case, but must have been lost, and that she had filed the information sheet again.
         The two attorneys also disagreed on what was said at a previous hearing concerning releasing the Kings and Morris
= from the complaint.
         After listening to the volley between the two attorneys, Judge Facemire told them,
AThis is arguing a lot about not.@ Concerning Duffy=s motion to dismiss, he said the civil case information was mandatory, that he was familiar with the clerk=s office and doubted that paperwork was lost, but possible. Facemire granted Schamberger 5 days to file an amended complaint, to be the same as the previous complaint. As for Schamberger=s motion for default judgement, he said that was premature, unless Duffy doesn=t answer. He told Duffy he would have 10 days after being served to file a response. Facemire acknowledged the BDA=s concerns on the cloud of title to the property due to the Jimmy Morris right-of-way and transfers of property to Sandy King, and urged the litigants to either mediate or go to trial. He asked Schamberger what her clients wanted, and she replied, AMy clients would like the property back free and clear.@ Facemire asked both attorneys if they wanted to go to trial. With a quick look to BDA member Paige Willis, who shook his head Ano@, Schamberger replied, AThe plaintiffs don=t want a jury trial.@ Duffy indicated that he and his clients would have to decide before he would answer.
         Judge Facemire told the two to set up mediation with Judge Cline in 10 days. He said,
AI feel the lawyers are dilly-dallying around...I want to move this along. It=s not fair to the litigants or the people of this county...time to fish or cut bait...we=ll put it to a trial, and let them decide.@

                 Its not what happens when the public is around that counts. Sometimes just watching thru the window tells the whole story! Clay County Business Development Authority met in regular session Feb 6 at 5 pm in the County Commission room at the Courthouse. With $9494.00 to their name and new Boardster Mack Samples on board and seated, BDA went into secret time around 5:24 pm. The public was sent marching to the Courthouse hallway while the BDA deliberated keeping attorney Barbara Schamberger as their legal rep in the BDA vs. Clay County Bank lawsuit.
                 From outside the big glass entry door, the peanut gallery could see actions but not hear the commentary. Here’ what we saw
                 BDA Chair Paige Willis was seated up front facing the glass doors. Schamberger was seated side saddle on the second pew and facing the boardsters. In the back of the room was Commissioner Jimmy Sams. Sams has gone on record as wanting Schamberger fired as BDA attorney. Sams feels that since Schamb is suing the Clay County Commission (CCC) and Prosecutor Daniel Grindo, upstairs in Circuit Court, Schamb has a conflict of interest with the BDA, an arm of the CCC, and should be fired. Schamberger earns $28.00 per hour representing the BDA in Court.
                 Now back to the secret time with our noses pressed against the big glass doors. 5:30- Schamberger is seated, talking to the group, and uses an occasional hand movement for emphasis. 5:35 – Something changes, Schamb’ curled hair is being jerked left to right by the rapid movement of her head. She appears to be looking right at Jimmy Sams. It appears Schamb is HOT! 5:39 – Schamberger is up front in the room with both hands moving and pointing. Barbara is standing beside the front pew with both hand firmly grasping the wood back. Willis’ head is mostly looking down, sort of like when a kid is getting a spankin’and you’e afraid to watch. 5:51 - That big belly of Morgan Gibson is blocking part of the glass door view!!!! Schamberger goes back to her second row seat. Willis looks up. It appears there is calm among the secret folks. But wait!! Schamb is back up, standing with both arms folded!! Later, with a hand on each hip, Schamberger looked in control.        
                 Secret time ended around 5:56 and the public was allowed back in the meeting. Here it comes readers. BDA member and County Commissioner Sams made a motion to fire Barbara Schamberger as BDA attorney citing conflict issues. Willis waited for a motion… waited…. Waited… Member Arthur Jarrett, “No but I make a motion to keep her!!!”Willis proclaimed that the Sams motion died for lack of second. Those little bitsy red and blue spots were once again showing on Mr. Sams face. Sams, “I’ like to turn in my resignation immediately!!!!” For just a second, there was absolute quiet. Willis, without acknowledging Sams resignation, “s there any further business?”Arthur Jarrett asked if he could speak to Schamberger about a man he knows that wants to purchase the Filcon site out Ovapa/Valley Fork for $50,000.00.
                 Sams was the first to bolt out the door. No one said good bye. It looked like the little kid that gets mad and takes his ball and heads home. With Sams away from earshot, Arthur Jarrett,”I done p***ed that **** @@**^# off!”When asked if he wanted those words printed in the paper, Jarrett, “PUT IT RIGHT IN THERE, I DON’ CARE. I DON’ OWE HIM A DIME!!!”There was laughter. Somewhere in the informal chatter came a comment that Earnie Sirk may get Jimmy Sams out of office before a replacement could have been found for Schamberger.

                 The Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) met Feb 4, 2003, first at 4pm and then again at 6 pm with the full Board present. There was the usual committee reports and such but a couple things stand out as special.
                 First the CAEZ funded ( $33,000.00) Geary Clinic in Roane County is closing down Feb 28. CAEZ will pen a letter of support for keeping the health provider open in that community. Doyle Tawny is chief mover and shaker on the effort to maintain a medical provider in the Southern end of the Roane County. All acknowledged that the future looks grim for the health care provider.
                 Now for the main attraction! Almost like pulling teeth and after some strong coaxing from Elizabeth Sampson, details from a Feb 3 court hearing were provided to the Boardsters. On the 3rd, CAEZ appeared before Judge Alsop for a hearing that should have gone smooth. It didn’. Sampson was first to seek answers. Does CAEZ have a right to the equipment now in their possession and once owned by Filcon Inc? What did the Judge say? Why did it cost $4000 to move the equipment from Maysel to Newton instead of the anticipated $1500.00? Other Boardsters started asking questions. Director Jerry Sizemore was less than forthcoming initially.
                 It finally came out, that CAEZ attorney Greg Sproles thought he had a Court order allowing CAEZ to take possession of the Filcon filter making equipment from Clay County Sheriff Fields only to find out later, no order had been signed! CAEZ had stopped a court ordered auction. CAEZ had seized property from another without Court permission to do so. Sizemore, “It would tickle me to death for someone to tell me what to do..”Motion was made to fire attorney Greg Sproles. Sizemore said he had checked on getting other local attorneys but none were interested. Motion to fire Sproles died.
                 After some more coaxing, it came out that CAEZ needed to pay for a costly appraisal of the Filcon equipment under Court order and needed to insure the assets as well. Many on the Board felt the stuff was junk and should be sold for scrap metal! NOTE: When the CAEZ first loaned the $140,000.00 to Filcon owner Manfred Kuentzer, the Board was told the equipment was worth well over a million dollars. CAEZ has for many months said they are protected from loss by a UCC filing agreement. Questions came up over whether the CAEZ even has a UCC agreement from the original loan signed by Kuentzer.
                 More questions came. Ears perked up when Ms Sampson asked if the equipment was legally theirs. Sizemore advanced that attorney Sproles had been paid $1600 last month. Again a motion to ditch the CAE’ attorney. Motion died for lack of second again. Finally, the Board directed Sizemore to pen a letter to Gregory Sproles asking for information and in a more timely manner.
                 As the Filcon discussion was dying down , Director Sizemore asked: If the Clay County Business Development Authority gets the Filcon building and property back from the Clay County Bank ( another lawsuit) , would the CAEZ be interested in a joint ownership of the holdings and be interested in soliciting someone to come in and set up a new filter making operation in the county. No decision made
                 And finally, just to make your eyes open wide, the entire CAEZ Board of Directors along with a few non Boardsters are heading over to the plush Stonewall Jackson Resort for three days of training and fun in March. Cost, around $9000.00 with the $ coming from a $10,000.00 grant.
                 Got to love ‘m readers.         

                 Clay Town Council met in regular session Feb 4 at 4 pm. Mayor Arthur Jarrett conducted the business with Betty Murphy, Wanda Chambers, Okey Burroughs, Helen Morris and Dave Derby around the table. Council person Sally Legg was absent. The peanut gallery was nearly empty.
                 First the blah blah blah stuff. Minutes Ok’ followed by the bills Ok’ followed by the need to up the insurance coverage on the Johnny Wooooofter Log Factory (sewer plant). Now the good stuff.
                  Two years ago as the Town was going broke , a $50,000.00 loan was secured to tide them over the rough times. That loan comes due April 6, 2003. According to clerk Dwana Murphy, the Town never spent $33,880.00 of the loan monies. Recorder Betty Murphy commented that she had been told the loan was forgivable and would not have to be paid back. It appears that Big Murph was wrong.
                 Secret time readers. At 4:12pm Mayor Jarrett told the peanut gallery to high tail it out the meeting. When Jarrett offered no legal reason for the secret time, one member of the gallery officially protested the action. After secret time, the public was told no decisions were made.
                 Council gave the Mayor permission to explore a water plant improvement project. Later on the meeting, it was explained that the Town is interested in upgrading the existing water tank “it”, purchasing telemetry equipment… and an upgrade. When asked who was going to do the engineering for the water plant upgrade, King Arthur Jarrett, “ may do the engineering.” Readers it looks like the Town is taking steps to stay in the water business which sounds like something that will bunch up the shorts of the WV PSC who oppose the Town’ involvement in any water business. Charleston big boys (PSC) get peed off whenever the Town makes and sells water to it’ customers for less than half of what it costs the rest of the county.
                 As the meeting was ending, mention came from the peanut gallery that Jarrett had laid off Town Chief of Police Tommy Myers. Sort of sounded like Council and the Mayor wanted to get into and out of the meeting without telling the public that Myers, the Town’ only officer, was removed from employment Jan 29, 2003. The Town was once again without law enforcement, not even a meter maid! Once on the floor, Council said that the Town didn’ have the money for a Cop and efforts in the past to get grant dollars for law enforcement were in vain. First to give the behind the scenes sentiments of Council, clerk Dwana Murphy, “We had more crime when we had a cop than without a cop!!”Comments came that Myers had been seen riding passengers around in the cruiser, had the cruiser down in Clendenin, and was trigger happy with the siren button .
                 Council person Okey Burroughs, “We need a Judge… Why have a cop without a Judge??”Discussion came on needing a cop that lived within Town limits or maybe getting volunteers to work the streets.
                 45 minutes after opening, the meeting ended.
                 One last note, since last edition of this paper, Cathy Butcher and Frank Childers III threw their hat in the June 10th Election ring. Ms Butcher is the daughter in law of one time Mayor Joyce Gibson and wife of one time Commissioner, Tim Butcher. Gibson is now seeking a Council seat this time around.                                        AW
         BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
                 King Pyrrhus, [318-272 B.C.] with his forces, won a victory over the mighty Roman Empire at Asculum in 280 B.C. It was a dearly-bought triumph which brought only a short-lived halt to Roman ambitions. Moreover, the battle decimated almost all of Pyrrhus’ army. He is reported to have lamented: “nother such victory over the Romans, and we are undone.” The king of Epirus had also won a costly victory over the Romans the previous year. Assuming that we still have something to learn from classical antiquity, what the melancholy king, in this case, gave the world was the phrase “yrrhic victory.” It is a term that could be applied to virtually every human conflict in which human toll is measured. In the ultimate sense, everybody loses.
                 To continue on that happy note, we might harken back to the grotesque quagmire of the Vietnam years. Daily and weekly the American people were deluged with news of battles won, triumphs clearly in sight. What the politicians hadn’ anticipated was that it was the first war in United States history that was televised, hence what our leaders told us did not always square with what people saw at home. In addition, the war was fully covered by correspondents who were allowed almost complete access to individual skirmishes. The resultant deluge of protests across the land by people who still labored under the impression that they lived in a democracy taught the politicians a valuable lesson: it is dangerous for the people to know too much. In a rare light moment during this period crusty old George Aiken, senator from Vermont, suggested: “et’ declare victory, and pull out.” The man from the Granite State was being both whimsical and serious.
                 Bush the elder, a man who has spent almost his entire life feeding at the government trough, learned a valuable lesson from the perilous effects of total media exposure. During the Gulf War correspondents were herded into military compounds and briefed by armed forces spokesmen. Even the highly-respected Walter Cronkite, now retired, protested this method of controlling the news. It is possible that, nowhere in the annals of military history has a subordinate come back to his superiors and reported that the mission was a complete failure. We can’ have reporters telling what really happened. Defense appropriations might be reduced. And there is always that all purpose term: “ational security,”a phrase often used to cover up blunders that might embarrass the power elite. Any minor functionary, whether in government or the armed forces knows that the “hoot the messenger”syndrome is alive and well.
                 Perhaps only a philosopher could find the right term for it, but there is a technique being employed, both by the media and government spokesmen in these trying times that might be called “ruth by repetition.” For example, it has been trumpeted incessantly that we have achieved victory in Afghanistan. It is true that the Taliban has been removed, but who is to say that remnants of that sect do not remain, there and elsewhere? Moreover, this is a land of ancient tribal enmities that the western mind cannot begin to understand, and dare one say, to govern? Is it possible that, as in so many cases, history is repeating itself? The misadventures of the former Soviet Union come to mind here. The Russians occupied all the urban areas we do now, but the mountains and a sinking economy defeated them. Constant repetition becomes perceived truth. How many times have we been told that Saddam Hussein threw out the weapons inspectors? Not true: they were ordered out by the United Nations the day before the U.S. resumed the bombing of Baghdad. There are many other examples of the big lie technique so loved by propagandists, but limited space prevents. It may be uncharitable to suggest that the administration’ victory proclamations are a sort of decoy to make us overlook the minor fact we have not found Osama bin Laden. Statements such as that have caused Attorney General John (Himmler) Ashcroft to declare that any criticism of the administration “ives aid and comfort to the enemy.” It may not be too much of an exaggeration to suggest that Ashcroft’ idea of Heaven is a place where the First Amendment does not exist.
                 This effort began with a brief treatment of the “yrrhic victory”concept. Many Mideastern scholars have suggested that, if the United States invades Iraq, (military types have said that it will be a ‘akewalk’ it is likely that the entire Arab world will become more of a hornet’ nest than it already is. Perhaps the “asy”conquest, as it is perceived it will be, will cost more in lives on both sides than the world can afford. The hardliners are obsessed with the illusion that they can turn Iraq into Connecticut. This kind of thinking not only gives democracy a bad name, it raises the old refrain sung in Vietnam: “e had to destroy the village in order to save it.”                Yours, etc,
                         Cur, pacifist and fulltime tree hugger
         P.S. You can’ teach an old flea new dogs.
                                         – Federico Fellini
         Justice: Civil Procedures or Subject Matter? By: Jim Chafin
                 As mentioned in an earlier article, we would like to revisit the court’ decision on Roe vs. Wade, relative to the word ‘erson.’ Great similarities exist in the court’ refusal to convey constitutional rights on an unborn fetus, as opposed to the way it uses the term ‘erson’relative to citizens appearing in a court of law. While the unborn child is termed a non-person, and the court refuses to recognize it as having legal status (though it may be only minutes away from being born), a citizen hailed before the court is termed a ‘erson’though for quite another reason, which, in legal terms means a ‘orporation, a nombegerre; a non-entity that has no rights. In essence then, a ‘erson,’so-called by the judiciary, is a non-person and has no rights in Admiralty court – just as the unborn ‘erson’has no status before the law, so also any citizen who stands before the bar of justice. If this sounds confusing, join the great multitudes of people. But it all makes good sense to the system loyalist who is interested in confusion and secrecy – all to further the proposition that “aw is a business, business has rules, and the rules are the law”– a quote from David Miller who has studied the court system for many years. Rules – procedures, equal the same thing. All used for making money, at the public’ expense.
                 An uninformed citizen may be justified in saying that everyone has rules with which to operate, and we will concede that point. Our objection is not directed at clearly defined, open, and fair rules; the knowledge of which is available to all persons. We recognize the need for an orderly process. But we do vigorously protest the built-in secrecy upon which the administration of justice (?) is built – the net results of which denies free access to civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
                 An analogy of the legal process would be this: think of ‘ivil procedures’as a mirror, through which we see ‘ubstantive law’(the statues). If the mirror is undamaged (clear), then the law may be seen without impediments or distortions. But if the mirror is cracked (fogged up, steamy) (procedures flawed), then neither the law nor subject matter can be seen. Translation: this means that plaintiff’ ‘ubject matter’(the facts in his petition) cannot be presented to a jury of his peers – ‘rocedures’have, thusly, been used as a device to prevent the petition from moving forward. And, can cause plaintiff’ petition to be dismissed without explanation from the court. Remember, we are talking
about a ‘ystem,’not one particular part of the whole. The process begins when one attempts to find an attorney, and the cycle is not complete until the case is heard by a ‘ury of the common law and a verdict rendered. A glitch, anywhere in the process, will not produce a ‘ommon law trial by jury’– a violation of the 7th Amendment and perhaps others as well. The basic reason for a civil suit consists in it’ ‘ubject matter,’and the legal system had negated this most important part of the legal process – and along with it, judicial access to a jury for many millions of people in this country.
                 In years past, I can recall a system of courts called, appropriately enough, ‘ourts of Chancery’– get it - “ou pay your money and take your chances.”Back then however, I was young, enthusiastic, had defended this nation in a time of war, was raising a family, and didn’ have time to consider what the term meant. And, though we were not living a life of utopia, things would most certainly get better. Or so we thought. Being young, I could not fully grasp what was happening in the lives of elderly folks at that time. However, as the name implies, whenever one goes into court there is an element of ‘hance’involved – meaning: There is nothing definite when it comes to getting “ustice”from the hand of man. It was Judge Larry Starcher who said: “or most West Virginians involved in court cases, it is unlikely that their case will ever be in the Supreme Court of Appeals.” Yep, ‘is true – only about seven percent of criminal cases submitted are reviewed by the court.
Magistrate Report
         01/06/03: Ellyson – David Albert Johnson, sex offender-fail to change address, warrant issued 05/09/02, arrested and ROB 12/15/02, hearing continued by defense to 02/11/03.
         01/22/03: Foreman – Nathan Toler, grand larceny, warrant issued 06/25/02, arrested and ROB 09/24/02, preliminary hearing continued by State to 01/30/03; Delk – Aaron C. King, burglary, receiving or transferring stolen goods, and grand larceny, warrants issued 10/18/02, arrested and ROB 11/17/02, preliminary hearing continued by State to 02/11/03; Delk – Michael Thomas Butcher, changing a manufacturers serial number and receiving or transferring stolen property, warrants issued 12/09/02, arrested 12/10/02, hearing continued by State to 02/13/03.
         01/30/03: Delk – Travis Welch, grand larceny, warrant issued 12/09/02, arrested 12/10, ROB 12/11/02, bail piece surrender by surety (defendant picked up on bail piece 02/01/03); Ellyson – Shawn Butler, wanton endangerment with firearm, arrested and ROB 01/12/03, preliminary hearing continued by defense to 02/13/03.
         02/01/03: Rider – Travis Ray Welch, grand larceny, arrested, preliminary hearing 02/10/03.
         01/21/03: Light – Jerry A. Morris, obtaining money under false pretense, warrant issued; Light – Bradley J. Stone, petit larceny x 4 and B&E auto, warrants issued, pretrial dismissal 01/28 – cases dismissed with prejudice upon motion of prosecuting attorney; Light – Bradley J. Stone, petit larceny, warrant issued; Light – Malena G. Stone, petit larceny x 5, warrants issued.
         01/22/03: Elswick – Ronald W. Salisbury, reckless driving, appeared, ROB.
         01/23/03: Elswick – Patricia G. Underwood, battery, warrant issued; Elswick – Thomas B. Underwood, battery, warrant issued.
         01/24/03: Lizemore Grocery – Jeremiah L. Jones, WC, warrant issued and Brian L. Fearby, WC x 2, warrants issued; Timothy L. White – Alva Brady, negligent shooting, summons issued.
         01/27/03: Samples Market – Marilyn Taylor, WC, warrant issued; Hartland Superette – Valerie C. Samples, WC, Joseph Mollohan, WC and Eric Wayne Moore, WC, warrants issued; IGA – Charla R. Jones, WC, warrant issued; Clay Co. Middle School – Theresa Smith, WC, warrant issued; House’ Market – Randall Parsons II, WC, Donna N. Blevins, WC and Valerie C. Samples, WC x 2, warrants issued.
         01/28/03: Slack – William Joey Smith, warrant issued for trespassing, arrested 02/03, ROB.
         01/30/03: Ellyson – Ronald Keith Blankenship, destruction of property and domestic assault, arrested, ROB; Bailey – Robert A. Holley, driving revoked for DUIA and DUI – 2nd offense, arrested, ROB.
         02/02/03: Belt – Daniel Boone Grose, violation of domestic violence protective order and battery, arrested, ROB 02/03; Light – Arthur Stewart, Jr., battery on police officer and obstructing, arrested 02/03.
         02/03/03: Rider – Arthur Stewart, Jr., violation of domestic violence protective order, arrested; Light – Arthur Stewart, Jr., obstructing a police officer and assault on a police officer x 2, arrested; Pat Beets – Eddie Salisbury, passing stopped school bus, summons issued; Slack – Beth Moore, obtaining goods under false pretense, warrant issued.
         01/22/03: Angela Skaggs – Bobby Hanshaw, money due, and Angela Hanshaw, money due.
         02/03/03: Chilton H. Nichols, DBA Nichols Furniture – Angela Beth Samples, Matthew Gill, Kathryn J. Eagle, Delbert R. Jarrell, Jr., Marshall S. Lytle, David E. Nicholas, all for breach of contract; Trina Ramsey – Kimberly Craft and Jeff Davis, breach of contract.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued -
         01/21/03: Clay Supermarket – Anita S. Blankenship (paid 02/03), Valerie C. Samples x 2, Tammy L. Brown, Wesley A. Adkins, and Mary Sue Murdock (paid 01/22); Sizemore’ IGA – Shari D. Bullard and Teresa Raike (paid 01/31); Clay Farm Cooperative – Michael L. Holcomb (paid 01/30).
         01/22/03: Sheriff of Clay County – Judith A. Myers and Marsha K. Eagle (paid 01/31); Clay County Middle School – M. Jean Hurford (paid 02/03).
         01/27/03: Clay Supermarket – Edward Adkins.
         01/30/03: Clay County Magistrate Court – Michael D. Kendall (paid 02/03).
         02/03/03: Bullard’ Exxon & Quick Stop – Phillip Summers x 2, Billie Jo Woodby, Tina M. Hager, Mary Hall x 2, Jeremy Burrows, Ameya N. Proctor, Ronald Woodlief, Roy W. Brown x 2, Stacey Schoolcraft, Donna Beasley, Telenia Starcher x 2, and Angela D. Gill x 2.
         Traffic Citations
         01/20/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Matthew Mark Graves, driving on suspended/revoked and registration violations; Louis Richard Koch, defective equipment and no POI.
         01/24/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Richard Burnside, operator’ and no POI.
         01/26/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – John Richard Mosley, registration violations; Jeffrey Lynn Stover, no POI.
         01/30/03: State Police – Robert A. Holley, driving revoked for DUIA and driving under the influence-2nd offense.
         01/31/03: State Police – Benjamin S. Butler, failure to yield right of way.
BOMONT: THE FAR END by Rose Cantrell

        It seems like every time Bomont (specifically H.E. White Elementary) makes the news, there's some sort of controversy surrounding us.  Not this time!!  This time, we're bursting with community pride and darn pleased about it!!
         First and foremost, one of the U.S. Army's finest, Bomont resident Wesley Armes, has been deployed to perform his patriotic duty to our country as our government does whatever it is they're deeming necessary.  Wesley is in the Reserves and has sacrificed a minimum of 12 months of his life to this duty.  By the time he gets back home, his children will be a year older, his wife will be a year more frazzled and we all salute Wesley for his efforts.
         Another sacrifice Wesley made was his position as the coach of the H.E. White Elementary basketball A-team (5th & 6th graders).  Keith Ellison has graciously offered to fill Wesley's shoes while he's gone and proved on Saturday, that Wesley has handed over a pretty amazing team.  Our B-team (3rd & 4th graders) is led by Coach Extraordinaire Jim Kearns.  Thus far, the B-team is undefeated in the Clay County League!  These young folks are awesome! 
         H.E. White's basketball teams were invited to an Invitational Double Elimination Basketball Tournament hosted by Walton Elementary this past weekend.  Frankly, from what I gathered as a parent in the stands, we weren't expected to be much competition.  Let this be a lesson to all who might underestimate the determination of Bomont's youth.
         On Friday night, B-team drew a BYE; A-team won by a hair.  B-team played their first game on Saturday morning against Ravenswood, who we later found out was an All-Star team.  They solidly thumped us 14-0.  Since this was the first game these kids had lost all year, the pain was palpable.  Their determination grew in direct proportion to their humiliation, though, and by the time they were called upon to take down the next team, they were more than ready.
        As the day wore on, H.E. White was coming out ahead in every game they played.  One by one, all the other teams fell by the wayside as H.E. White and Ravenswood fought their way to the playoffs.  By 6:30, it was time for our B-team to once again face off with the Ravenswood All-Stars and believe me, that team was wicked good. 
         The kids were exhausted, the parents were exhausted ... but H.E. White had surprised everybody (including themselves!) and here they were, fighting for 2nd place.  Second place is what both teams brought home.  BUT! it took All-Star teams to keep them away from First Place and they certainly didn't hand it over without a fight.  WAY TO GO, PIONEERS!!! 
         In other news, CONGRATULATIONS! are in order for a couple of H.E. White students.  Morgan Jackson placed 3rd in the Clay County Spelling Bee and April Brown took 2nd in the Clay County Character Education Essay Contest.  Way to go, girls!!
         Don't forget about H.E. White's Spaghetti Dinner coming up on Sunday, February 9.  It promises to be a huge, delicious success!  There will be raffles and door prizes and great food galore!  The dinner is scheduled from 1-3 and you can call in take-out orders during school hours between now and Friday at 548-7101.  Price is $5.00 for adults and $2.50 for kids.  Hope to see you there!  (Our basketball trophies will be on display for all to ooh & aah over!) Stay tuned!                RC

        Holy Moses smell the darned roses! Every newscast, every newsmagazine, and every newspaper is whining and puking about the budget deficits that the state and most of our counties are facing. Of course they all look to the same easy solutions: raise taxes and cut spending on poor people.
        The cut that irks me the most is cutting off health care to the absolutely poorest of our citizens. How in Hades can anyone think that is a good idea? I haven't seen a single recommendation about getting rid of a bunch of deadwood bureaucrats or trying to operate within the budget that they have in front of them, without punishing the less advantaged in some fashion. I have some new taxes that our esteemed leaders can lay on the state that won't affect me and should certainly torture some fat-cats and corner-cutters that deserve to be put through the wringer at least once.
        How about doubling, tripling or quadrupling taxes on liquor, high cholesterol foods and high fat foods? They kill as many people each year as tobacco does and continue to cause the whining medical profession to have jobs, so we would be killing two birds with one stone. Plus this move should cause a tidal wave of new tax dollars to roll in.
        Then how about doing the same thing on unused, un-maintained, unoccupied and under-used real estate, either private or corporate? Doing the same for vacant, uninhabited and unused buildings standing all over WV would be another stroke to bring in needed dollars that could be dedicated to assuring that every citizen has health care.
        How about eliminating the agricultural tax advantage unless you actually make at least 51% of your annual income from raising products on the property that are consumed by humans? That would put millions of acres back on the tax books and generate the money it should be doing.
        This next one is one of my personal favorites so excuse my enthusiasm. How about putting a whopping big new tax on recreational vehicles of all kinds? Tax every single boat, motorcycle, ATV, airplane and sailboat in the state that is not actively involved in the tourism industry. Wouldn't that be better than cutting off the health care of poor people?
        Of course, WV could save millions of dollars by bringing our esteemed Legislature together every other year. Bi-annual legislatures and across the board term limits of 8 years for every elected official at every level would do wonders for WV.
        But we won't do any of these things cause them darn sick and crippled poor people caused all of our problems, including the deficit!

Property Transfers
        1-13-03, Ivydale Auto to Bridget Holcomb, Value $14,313; 12-6-02, Patrick & Crystal Black to App. Power Co., Value $1 Right of Way; 11-29-02, Dana & Elizabeth Taylor to App. Power, Value $1 Right of Way; 1-11-03, Wendell & Jennifer Anderson, husband to wife, 2 acres, basement; 12-5-02, Basil Sayre to Mary L. Jones, acreage, Value $100; 6-24-00, filed, 1-10-03, James & Virginia Taylor to Timothy & Cathy Taylor, Value less than $100; 1-10-03, CE Cantrell to Verizon, Value $100 Right of Way; 1-9-03, Delphia O’ell to James & Jeannie Perdue, Value-parent to child; 4-28-02, filed, 1-8-03, Mary Moore to Sherri & Richard Moore, Value less than $100 6.182 acres; 1-7-03, Vodra & Betty Stalnaker to Clay Roane PSD, Right of Way, 10’wide; 1-7-03, Brandon & Dorothy Martin to John & Melissa Lough, 2 lots, $80,750; 1-7-03, Frankie & Katherine Asbury to Frankie Jo Asbury, parent to daughter; 1-3-03, Kathryn Morgan to E J Patton, Value less than $100; 1-3-03, Sandy, Christina & Joe Weiland to Gary & Drema Clifton, Value $17,500; 1-3-03, Mark Jeffers to Michael & Vicki Ramsey, Value $32,500; 1-2-03, Hallie L Hill to Daniel Robinson, Value less than $100; 12-30-02, Paul B. Barringer, Merill B. Light, Victor C. Barringer to Braxton Clay Land & Mineral, Value $3,120; 12-26-02, Frances Sutton to Samantha & Tabitha Cummings & Michael Cummings, Value $4,500, 1.791 acres; 12-26-02, Michael Runnion to Walter Myers, .96 acres; 12-23-02, Danny T. Neal & Cindy Neal to App. Power, $1 Right of Way; 12-20-02, Peter’ Creek Minerals to Nicholas Land, Value $300, 15 acres; 12-19-02, William & Brenda King to Clay Roane PSD, Right of Way; 12-19-02, Laverne Cobb to Anthony & Melissa White, lot Value less than $100; 12-19-02, Russell Murphy to Dewey Bruce Murphy, lot Value $1; 12-16-02, Kenneth & Judy McIntyre to Terry Traub, SR lot 78, Value $200; 12-10-02, Allan & Michelle Hamrick to Elk Power, Right of Way; 12-10-02, Vivian & Donald Smith to Elk Power, Right of Way; 12-10-02, Donny Wehrle to Elk Power, Right of Way; 12-11-02, Delphia O’ell to Chris $ Alice Faye Bragg, 6.71 acres; 12-9-02, Ernie Legg to Reba & Durwood Lockhart, Value $65,000; 12-9-02, Vesta Mullins to Reba Mullins Ratliff, Mamie Mullins Smith, Thorndon Mullins, Sidney Mullins, Eugene Mullins, Mavis Mullins, Lewis Mullins, Burton Mullins, Lucille Mullins, Randall Mullins, Leslie Mullins, Debbie Tyree, Susan, Cathy Cope, Douglas Moore, Jill, Robert Evans, Stanley Evans, Kenneth Evans, David Evans, 15 acres; 12-6-02, Rodney Jarvis to Lowell Jarvis, 2 acres, $300; 12-5-02, Elva & Kirol Hudson to Clay Roane PSD, Right of Way; 12-4-02, Johnnie & Kristie Hurst to App. Power Co.; 12-4-02, Cynthia Barker to Violet Morris & James L. Short, 18.22 acres, Value 0; 12-4-02, Violet Morris to Cynthia Barker, .78 acres; 12-4-02, Methodist Conference to Faith Missionary Baptist, 6 acres, Value $10,000; 12-3-02, Earl & Jeanette Burner to Clay Roane PSD, Right of Way; 12-3-02, Roy Wood to Jerry Hanshaw, .5 acres; 12-2-02, Cecil Woods to Shea Osborne, 2 lots; 12-2-02, James G.

        Charleston Newspapers as well as regional media sources like TV 11 and 13 presented the plain facts in the sentencing of Clay County’ once most powerful pillar of the community J.D. Morris. The following is a first hand account of courtroom action in the Robert C. Bird Federal building in Charleston, February 3, 2003 where Morris was sentenced to prison for stealing from the Clay County Bank and the people of Clay County, West Virginia. Federal documents indicated that Morris stole $137,000.00 from customer’ interest accounts, expense reimbursements, and a student loan organization while bank president. The investigation went back just 5 years.
        No snow but chilly Feb 3. Overcast skies. Bird’ namesake building, located in the business section of downtown, was no nonsense and formal. Just to get into the building, US Marshals x-rayed carry ins, metal detected, and checked photo identification. Seven floors up in the granite floored rotunda stood J.D. Morris dressed in his finest blue suit. Morris chit chatted with two clean cut men. As the Clay County delegation entered the rotunda, Morris looked and without expression, turned away. There was no expression on his pale face.
        Judge Charles Haden was to do the sentencing at 9:30 am. As the hour neared, 67 year old Morris, the two younger men, and the Clay delegation entered the room. Paneled in the finest walnut woods, with 20 foot ceilings supporting four hanging chandeliers, the room reeked with formality. Up front were middle aged clerks and court recorders, all abuzz with hushed last minute conversations and note swapping. Near the middle of chamber and to the right was seated Assistant US Attorney Susan Arnold. Already in the room was Morris’ attorney Wayne King on the left of the speaker’ podium. Morris seated himself beside King and fixed his eyes downward and only briefly looked toward attorney King.
        Spectators were few. The peanut gallery held 6 news people, three Clayonians, the two men supporting J.D., a blue blazer clad US Marshall with an earphone sticking out of his head plus another officer dressed in a brown suit. After being announced and with all 13 of us standing, Judge Haden entered. The white bearded, stocky Haden did not look around as he entered, but rather bee-lined straight to the leather covered perch at the highest elevation on the bench. Time 10:30AM.
        With King and Morris both standing at the podium, Haden explained that in USA vs. Jimmy D. Morris, the defendant had pled guilty to embezzlement November 4, 2002 and since then, a pre-sentence investigation had been completed. Haden went on to say that he had received many letters of support for the one time Clay County Bank president and State School Board president. Morris acknowledged that he had read the report. It was time for attorney to ply his word trade. Continued on page 3
        King raised several objections to the findings of the report and gave explanations on why Morris should receive a light sentence. The court was asked to depart from usual sentencing guidelines and give credit for payments already made back to the bank (April 25). King said that the payments were made 5 months before Morris knew of any Federal investigation into embezzled bank funds. He mentioned a case, sounded like he said a Lieberman case, where the defendant paid restitution and got off easier. King also explained that Morris was a first time offender, had already suffered the loss of his bank job, embarrassment to his family, had lost his state level position, his stature in the community, and, “e exhibited a sense of responsibility…”King spoke with conviction for his long time friend, JD Morris.
        All eyes went to the right as the youthful Susan Arnold stood and rebutted the defendant’ plea. After reading the applicable law in this case, Arnold agreed that Morris had paid back what he had stolen but he did so knowing that he was about to be detected. According to Ms Arnold, Morris resigned April 24th and only then, when he did not have control of the Clay County Bank, did he make restitution. She continued that by April 27, the local bank was being investigated in Charleston by the FDIC. By April 29th, many problems had been discovered at the Clay County Bank. Arnold, “The Government agrees that he made restitution but only after law enforcement was on the job…”Arnold made it known that Morris still has a mortgage on his home and two of the student loan funds ($34,600.00) had been paid back in full by Morris.
        Morris stood without much movement. For the most part his eyes were fixed on Judge Haden and only occasionally did he hold his head down and only briefly then. News reporters were writing feverishly. The Marshall in the blue blazer fidgeted with the earphone. The Marshall in the brown suit sat a little more upright.
        OK readers, the a juicy part. Ready? Arnold told the court that Morris had been very cooperative with her office and that his information provided on “thers”has been very helpful. Others. Others. Doesn’ that deserve a Hmmmmm….?
        After a pause, Judge Haden over ruled the objection of the defense. He explained Federal sentencing guidelines, there was a $135,000.00 loss and that Morris had “bused his position” Readers, it sounded like that “busing his position”was significant and due to that, sentencing guidelines were on a Level 18 platform. Haden acknowledged that Morris had quickly come forward, pled guilty, and had made restitution, but that early pay back was not grounds, “rincipal” for reducing the sentence. As for what was possible for J.D. Morris, at least 18 months in the slammer, supervised probation and a fine up to one million dollars.
        King worked it hard and he said that Morris was his long time friend, “e is very close to me” that this was difficult for him, and, “I can’ put this into words….. he’ an outstanding man…”        Seizing the moment, J.D. Morris spoke for himself, “ want to take this opportunity…. I brought shame and embarrassment to my family, my wife, daughter….” His voice broke, for a man that almost never displayed emotion in public, except when he was yelling at locals during Clay County School Board meetings, the emotions were flowing, he was on the line, it was now or never as the song goes. Morris, “ am sorry for my short comings… I am sorry for my wrong….”Morris went on to say that the Feds had been very good to him, that all had conducted themselves professionally. Morris, “ am especially sorry for the negative public relations brought to the state school board…”Tearfully, “I just want to say how sorry I am for my conduct…”
        Morris ended with, “ was in a…. position to do some good….[break in voice], I hope I have the opportunity to do some good in the future.”Never once did this reporter hear the aging civic leader apologize to the community of Clay County.
        Haden, without pause (having heard the same story from every other bank robber before), said that the crime “as obviously a serious crime”and “here’ no doubt he faces other financial consequences.” Haden said he was impressed with all the letters received. No mention was made by the Judge if all of them were letters of support.
        Haden imposed the lightest sentence possible on the one time pillar of the community: 18 months in prison, 4 years supervised probation following jail time, and NO fine. Haden went on to say that he would recommend to the Department of Corrections that Morris serve his time in the lowest level security prison close to Clay County.
        As for the lack of fine part, Haden explained, “He has significant responsibilities in civil matters.” Hmmmmm…
        J.D. Morris will “elf report”to prison March 19, 2003 at 2 pm.
        The gavel went down. Court adjourned. Morris turned and hugged the two men seated behind him. King spoke to the brown suited marshal first and then to Morris. Reporters continued to write. After a second, brown suited marshal to Morris, “ome with me, sir!”Morris left through the right side walnut clad door. No cuffs, no orange jump suit, no shackles.
        It’ not over readers. Morris maintains some pull, even after sentencing for a felony!
        Outside, the various TV crews waited with cameras poised for action. One crewman tried to film through the big glass and brass doors. Marshals said to get away! Waiting .. waiting… One guy asked the TV 11 reporter if Morris had to be brought out the front door. Her response was, yes, unless they were immediately heading off to prison, they ALWAYS came out the front. Waiting…
        After 15 minutes or so, word came, Morris was being led out the back door. As news crews ran full throttle around the corner, J.D.’ big blue Caddy was seen approaching the back of the building. Without comment, and walking briskly, Morris jumped through the open back door of his vehicle and was whisked away from the prying eyes of the public as TV crews breathlessly attempted fleeting images.
        By 10:55 a.m. , February 3, 2003 , it was over. Felon J.D. Morris was heading to prison. For many in the county, getting 18 months was more than expected. For others, it was just a slap on the wrist. Many in the county still have questions. Questions like: was the stolen money returned to the rightful owners? When will bank customers be told their money has been returned? Who will replace Morris as bank president? What “thers”might be indicted by the Feds.? Will civil cases wipe out Morris financially? And, of the 18 month sentence, how much time will Morris actually serve? We’l keep you informed as best we can.        For now, the Clayberry throne of power is empty. Without question, the most powerful man in Clayberry politics reduced himself to a common bank robber. AW

??? DID YOU KNOW ???
         1.        A newborn rattlesnake has as much poisonous venom as a full-grown rattler.
2.        He who never climbed, never fell.
3.        According to a new study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, overdosing on acetaminophen is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States.
4.        Reactions to pharmaceuticals kill more than 100,000 people in the United States each year.
5.        In the last 20 years the number of children and adults who are overweight has doubled.
6.        There are now 330,000 ACLU members compared with 275,000 before Sept. 11.
7.        The number of moonlighting Americans has remained in 7 million range for the last nine years.
8.        There are 1.1 billion people worldwide between the ages of 10 and 19.
9.        Nationwide there were 1.7 million snowmobiles registered last year, up from 1.3 million in 1996.
10.         50 percent of young people ages 18 and 19 prefer the Internet to the telephone.
11.         More than half of West Virginia nursing homes lost money in 2001.
12.         The owner of the West Virginia International Auto Show reports annual attendance tops 100,000, nearly twice the population of Charleston.
13.         WVU and Marshall University, plan to raise tuition 9 to 9.5 percent this fall.
14.         The 8.4 million budget for State Police equipment funding has dropped to $1.5 million.
15.         Construction is scheduled to begin this spring on a project that will more than double the size of Clendenin’ library.
16.         Surgical teams accidentally leave clamps, sponges and other tools inside about 1,500 patients nationwide each year.
17.         The next Harry Potter book will be published on June 21, 2003.
18.         The Chevrolet is the top selling car and truck in West Virginia, two years in a row.
19.         About 5 million Americans have congestive heart failure.
20.        Each year, 40,000 Americans die on the nations highways.                         LMM

Challenge Clay County
        On October 23, 2002 US Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, sent a letter to chief state school officers praising those who had worked hard to implement provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, and warning others not to relax standards to avoid labeling schools as “eeding improvement” He noted that the law does not use the term “ailing”and that identifying schools as “n need of improvement”indicates a “ommitment to help them reach their potential as soon as possible.         “nly by openly discussing our schools’weaknesses can we begin to enact reform and build new strengths,”wrote Paige. He said that he hoped that schools who lowered their standards for defining proficiency would rethink their approach. “t is nothing less than shameful that some defenders of the status quo are trying to hide the performance of underachieving schools in order to shield parents from reality,”read the letter. “hey are the enemies of equal justice and opportunity. They are apologists for failure.”(www.education.com/home/newswire.jsp#2.)         Recently Judge Arthur Recht dismissed a 27 year old case that alleged that the state’ school funding system was unconstitutional. His decision was based, in part, on the enactment of the statute that created the Office of Education Performance Audits showing that the Legislature is doing what it can to insure that all WV school children are receiving a “horough and efficient”education. Within 2 weeks of the dismissal of the lawsuit, a bill was introduced in the Legislature to eliminate the Office of Performance Audits. According to Linda Martin, Challenge WV Director, “is opinion did not even have time to get cold before the House Education Committee began to lower standards and accountability.” For more information about Challenge WV visit www.challengewv.org or contact: Marge Bragg ijram98@citlink.net.

Clay Schools Receive 21st Century Grant - Linkinogger Receives New 3 Year Contract

        The Clay County Board of Education met for their regular meeting Monday, February 3, at their administrative office in Clay. All board members were present – R. B. Legg, Jr., Gene King, David Pierson, Fran King, and Scoot Legg – along with central office staff and about 15 others, mostly school employees.
        Board President R. B. Legg offered a prayer, called the meeting to order at 6PM, and after approving the agenda and previous meeting minutes board approved the following: payment of current bills; transfers for Pam Litton from part time cook at Clay County High School (CCHS) to head cook at Lizemore Elementary, Della Holcomb from part time cook at Lizemore to part time cook at CCHS, and Anita Holcomb from part time cook at Ivydale Elementary to part time cook at Lizemore, all successful bids. Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger explained the transfers were the result of Brenda McCune’ retirement; employed Sandra Jones as part time cook at Ivydale pending final posting of the position. Linkinogger said Jones was the most senior sub, but other school service personnel could bid on the position if they were interested; a liability release form for patrons of the Fitness Center. Fitness Center Director Sue Jones said having the release form was recommended in a class she is taking, and presented a form for the Board to consider. Board asked that a line be added for parents of minors to sign before they approved; accepted the resignation of Clay Elementary teacher Janet Hamilton effective December 1, 2003; employed Jerry Linkinogger as Superintendent of Clay County Schools for another three years: 2003-2004 salary $69,000; 2004-2005 salary $72,000; 2005-2006 salary $75,000. Linkinogger thanked the Board saying the contract would take him into retirement. Gene King humorously pointed out that they had forgotten to evaluate him. All motions passed unanimously.
        Business Manager Loretta Gray gave the January financial update. She reported that January was the smallest month for tax collections, and that February collection would be small also, but it would pick up in March. Tuition payments from teachers in the Master’ program had been received as well as the retirement allocation from the state. Expenses she noted included tuition money sent on to Marshall University, payment to WV State College for classes at CCHS, Title I money spent on supplies and equipment, and computers purchased for Lizemore Elementary. Scott Legg asked if they were still in the black. Gray, “es.”        Under discussion topics, Special Education Director Jenny Sirk told the board she had over budgeted at the beginning of the year, and a Dr. Botkins had suggested that she use some of those Special Education funds as tuition reimbursement for three Behavior Disorder teachers to renew their certification. She said they are required to take six hours each to renew, and they would be asked to agree to work another year. Noting that it was difficult to fill BD teaching positions, she said the tuition reimbursement would be an incentive. Cost would be $960 for six hours for each. Board asked that the suggestion be brought back as an action item on the agenda at their next meeting.
        Sister Nancy Fackner and Russell Burdette, Jr. were presented with plaques in appreciation of their years of service in Clay County Schools. Both retired during the past year.
        Administrative Assistant Kenneth Tanner announced that Clay County was awarded a 21st Century Grant of almost $250,000 per year for three years. Using a short slide presentation he highlighted what the grant dollars will provide: after school activities for children during two 2 ½ hour sessions a week for 27 weeks per year in each of the seven county schools, focusing on reading, science, math, and technology, including funds for field trips that were recommended; transportation cost for 4 buses along main routes, and for summer school and Camp Mustang at Clay Middle School (CMS); Project Launch, which will identify 90 potential and new mothers, and provide education workshops in early childhood education. Three people will be employed through Lifebridge to do home visits; Camp Mustang at CMS which is a four day camp for entering 6th grade students, was originally funded with a 3 year grant that just ended, will continue; promotion of parental and student involvement in community activities. Tanner listed the positions the grant will pay for such as teachers, bus drivers, Camp Mustang Director, tutors, etc., along with a project director at $50,400 per year and a half time secretary at $18,200 per year. Linkogger praised Tanner for his work in acquiring the grant saying, like Jeff Krauklis before him, he’ put his magic pen to paper. Linkinogger also pointed out to bus drivers present that there would be employment for four more drivers in the summer. He said added duties for the project director could be assisting Tanner with grant writing and with the Drug Free Schools program. Everything, he said, will benefit kids. Total amount a grant over the three years will be $748,791.
        Last on the agenda was discussion on head coaching more than one sport. Linkinogger said that after discussion by the board last year the issue had kind of been put on hold to see how things went. (Last year Fran King proposed changing policy to allow coaches to coach only one varsity sport during the year.) Pierson asked if they did do it, would it be grand-fathered? Linkinogger replied that the attorney said they wouldn’ be affected this year, but would next year; coaches would have to choose one or the other. Scott Legg said he had concerns also, until they got to a point where they had a surplus of people wanting to coach. Fran King said some other counties had a policy like she was suggesting, and spoke some on taxpayers concerns (the point she was trying to make was not clear to this reporter). King then suggested that they move into executive session to continue discussion. Scott Legg said he thought a person being discussed should be there to defend themselves, and he wouldn’ participate. Fran King asked Legg if this was the power struggle tonight that she had been hearing about all day. She said, “e did this before and went into executive session…” Legg more or less pointed out that he wasn’ going into session to discuss an employee unless they were present, and that discussing a policy change in executive session wasn’ allowed under open meeting laws. He also recommended to the other board members that they not do it either. King said, “his is not going anywhere…” Gene King said he didn’ attend too many games, he didn’ like to get beat too much, but some programs were down, girls’basketball for one. He said the coaches, Cindy, Haney, the superintendent should talk it over. Pierson said he’ prefer a one on one discussion. Board generally agreed, asking that those concerned be contacted to see if they can be at the next meeting. Linkinogger said he’ make it a late discussion item at the next meeting to be held at H. E. White Elementary in Bomont on Tuesday, February 18, at 6:00 PM. The confusing discussion left a lot unsaid but enough to point at problems between at least one King and girls’basketball coaching at CCHS. Meeting adjourned at 6:55 PM.                        TK

Dear Sir:
        I am writing to comment on the January 24 Chatter. I know for a fact that Ms Schamberger is not “hining”because she didn’ get the job of prosecutor. The simple reason why she sued is because state code was ignored, and the citizens of Clay County were trampled on by crooked politics.
        In my opinion, I am glad someone is willing to stand alone in the fury of the Clay County Clique and have 95% of the citizens scowling in her face, because she is doing what’ right, not what’ illegal as so many of us have come to know quite well. Also, I feel the county didn’ want to appoint Ms Schamberger because she graduated from Oxford University in England and is also a Rhodes Scholar – a great honor bestowed upon only 10 persons a year from the United States. And in being a Rhodes scholar, she could go any where in the world and be making millions of dollars just because of that title. Now how many of you could stay in such a poor county where everyone hates you because you want to do right, being paid so little money, knowing you could be making so much more and not have to put up with so much hatred.
        She also paid to file the suit out of her own pocket. And as for the cost to the county, at least we know it will be used for a legal purpose. I would rather see the money that we (the citizens) have to pay go to seeing justice done than to see the money go to lining the pockets of the crooks in the town of Clay that only care about themselves rather than the welfare of the county.
        Also, as for racial discrimination, for being a woman – if anyone (male or female) over the age of 40 doesn’ get a job, it can be discrimination. As for the practicing in a private office while working for the county, the job of prosecutor and assistant prosecutor, it is only a part-time job and the citizens of Clay should know how difficult it is to live on part-time wages.
        Now, in closing, Ms Schamberger does not care that she didn’ get the job, she just wants to see justice done and so do I!
                Holly Elizabeth Anderson Cunningham

        This is the second and final installment of a two-part article on the WV TSN technical assistance review (TAT) of Clay County ambulance services in the county. The review was presented to the Clay County Commission January 22, 2003. Part one was published in the January 24th edition of this paper and listed many troubling findings of the non-profit agency over the last 6 years. Now for the new stuff!
        WV TNS provided the CCC specific recommendations on how emergency ambulance service could continue in the county of Clay. In each scenario, additional funding in the form of fees or a levy is mandated. From the report: The commission [CCC] is now engaged in examining alternatives for the long term, stable, management of the service, one that will provide quality care, in a timely, and efficient manner. The [technical review] specifically focused on 2 models of or options for EMS delivery. 1 – continuing to operate the agency as a unit of county government and 2 – issuing a RFP [request for proposal] for contracting EMS care to an independent organization…. The TAT believes that option one provides the greatest advantages with the least number of disadvantages to the county.
So how much additional funding would be needed from the citizenry of Clayberry according to the report? In a worst-case scenario, additional funds amounting to $387,375.00 would be needed. In a best-case scenario, $36,757.00 is called for from the property owners of the county.
        WV TNS provided detailed recommendations for the County Commission to follow as it struggles to afford quality ambulance service for our 342 square miles of holdings. The following are excerpts from those recommendations: Secure the services of a professional administrator to manage CCEMS [Clay County Emergency Services]. The success and survival of CCEMS begins with and in large part depends on the quality of the agency’ management. The commission need only look to the experience of the Clay County Ambulance Authority to measure the truth of the assessment. The person should have a college degree or at least have significant college experience including economics, accounting, business law, psychology, composition, computer science, etc.expand and revise the governance of the CCEMS. During the individual reviews, the TAT was told a number of times that people had a perception that they were being excluded from having a voice in determining the nature of EMS care in the county….
        Hear that? The big guys from around the state are recommending that an authority be once again set up to govern our ambulance service and, later in the report, suggests that the group be large with no members from the existing ad hoc committee which still meets in secrecy. …Expanded membership will minimize criticism and garner public support for the CCEMS. County Commission, in its entirety, needs to be involved in a regular and significant manner with the governance of the CCEMS. During the period that the “uthority”[Ambulance Authority] managed EMS care, the county commission did not actively participate in the governance of the organization. The County Commission has effectively removed itself over the years and continues to the present from exercising their statutory authority/responsibility to provide/govern EMS care in the county.
        The agency should be appropriately located in the management structure of the county.
        The policy and procedures manual, job descriptions, and agency forms need to be reviewed, edited, and revised.
        The agency needs to adopt a competitive pay scale for its employees and administer the compensation plan fairly and consistently with all employees. The agency suffers remnants of a long history of poor compensation management of lack of consideration of fair and equitable pay for employees.
Page after page of recommendations are listed, things like minimum staffing levels, establish true rapid response capability, correct dispatching issues with Nicholas County 911, provide educational programs, provide maintenance for the vehicles, restructure the existing $100,000.00 Bank of Gassaway loan, and on and on. As for the loan, here’ a notation of interest from the report: It is not clear that the Commission [CCC] has a legal responsibility for this loan. We also question whether the loan was, in fact, made with all the requisite approvals and clearances. Clay County’ TAT review is available to the public at the ambulance office in the Health Department building as well as the County Clerk’ office in the courthouse.
        For the taxpayers in Clay County, it is apparent that any level of ambulance service is going to require additional funding. During the meeting January 22nd, Commissioners Sams, Bragg and Triplett appeared to nod in agreement with this concept.
        And finally from the TAT list of conclusions:
        The solution to the current situation will need to come from within Clay County…the commission and the citizens of the county have choices… do they in fact want EMS care and who is going to pay for the service. If EMS care is provided in Clay County, Clay County citizens are going to pay for it in one form or another. If Clay County Commission elects… The county will need to earmark “eneral revenue”funds to support the operation of the EMS agency, or, the citizens will need to approve a new tax revenue stream to support the ambulance service. The only “agic bullet”to avoid paying for EMS care is for the County Commission, or the citizens in a public referendum, to make a choice to forego the availability of a county based EMS agency.
After years of complaining to the county commission’ deaf ears, after a state audit revealed criminal activities of the old Ambulance Authority and the CCC deciding to do nothing, and after years of this newspaper reporting outrageous actions, it has taken an outside agency to come in and make the CCC listen. Now with mismanagement out in the open again and with$250,000.00 of surplus funding frittered away, the ambulance service is broke and it’ going to take an excess levy to keep it afloat.                 AW

         Last edition we reported on Clay County Commission (CCC) exchanges between Ivydale’ Earnie Sirk and Commissioner Sams & Sheriff Fields. Sirk asked that Commission President Jimmy Sams resign from office due to his allegedly illegal dealings while in office. Sirk referred back to separation of church issues when Sams hung a plaque of the Ten Commandments on the courthouse wall as well as not following state code during the appointment of Daniel Grindo as Clay County Prosecuting Attorney. Never biting off more than he could chew, Sirk, after he tormented Sams to the max (blood pressure 600), turned the word sword on Sheriff Fields, also in attendance during the January 22, 2003 CCC meeting. Sirk asked that Fields resign for failing to follow code and Supreme Court decisions (1998) mandating that court bailiffs be sworn deputies and not civilians. Currently, civilian Gene King serves as court bailiff. As the tension escalated January 22, and as the Sheriff, Commissioner Sams, and Prosecutor Grindo told him to take his issue to Circuit Court, Sirk left the meeting promising to circulate a petition to remove the elected ones.
        Sirk has followed through with his promise. According to Earnie “ide Glide”Sirk, the petition to remove Sams already has over 80 names affixed and the Fields petition claims around 40 names. According to state code, a petition containing 50 names of county residents can be taken to Circuit Court and a panel of three judges shall be convened within 20 days to hear from the citizenry.
        As a result of Sirk’ penmanship and orations, Charleston Gazette columnist Fanny Seiler picked up on the battle and gave statewide coverage. Ms Seiler’ February 5th column included the following excerpts:
        The political pot is boiling in Clay County… Sirk said that the Commission also broke the law when it appointed Daniel Grindo, a Braxton County lawyer to be prosecutor….
        Sirk said Sams told him to take it up with the Sheriff, “hey got smart with me,”he said.
        The Sheriff said he took Sirk to task in the commission meeting and now Sirk has included him in his petition, “t’ not really anything that amounts to anything.”Fields said he is serving his last term so there’. “ot much they can do to scratch me.”
Ms Seiler went on to mention the behind the scenes jockeying for political position as the 2004 election cycle draws near. It appears that Sheriff Fields may run for county commission with bailiff Gene King already saying that he will run for the Sheriff’ spot if his health holds up.
        It may not be easy going for Sirk’ petition. Already, one petition posted at Samples Store in Ivydale has been stolen. Sirk’ plan B is to gather the required signatures by hand, circulating the petition around the county so sticky fingers can’ be employed. Also, there may be issues with Sirk’ interpretation of the Supreme Court decision relating to civilian bailiffs. One section of the decision penned by Chief Justice Starcher reads, “irst, under the majority opinion, there is no prohibition against court security personnel being non deputy sheriff employees of the sheriff’ department…”Elsewhere in the 5-year-old decision, word confusion sets in as to what the decision really says.
        For those interested in signing a petition, call Earnie Sirk, 286-3312. For the rest of the county, stay-tuned, the fun may just be beginning. AW