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
DON GREENE:WV Radical
THEM DARN POOR PEOPLE CAUSED IT
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
CALL FOR LEVY
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
CITIZEN PETITION CIRCULATED
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