March 22, 2001

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Sheriff To Sue Residents
Did You Know
News Release
Service Commission Updates
Commission Meeting - County Facing Financial Crisis
An Act of Courage
School Board Meeting at CMS


        About everywhere you look these days are tales of financial doom and gloom. From the town of Clay, to Fire Depts., PSDs over to the Health Dept. At the Courthouse County Commission has identified serious shortfalls in the next fiscal budget as well real problems getting through the balance of this year which ends June 31,2001.
        Sheriff Harald Fields announced at the March 13 County Commission meeting that his department. has identified near $90,000.00 in unpaid taxes on personal property in the county. According to the Sheriff the first step in bringing home the money has already been taken. Letters were sent out to the property owners March 21 and 22. They have ten days to respond. After that , civil action will begin.
        Over three hundred owners have been identified and the property includes everything from farm tractors to oil and gas royalties. How can the tax NOT be paid for years? Reva West,”They have to pay personal property taxes in order to buy their licenses. If they don’t have a license to renew, they have to come in and pay.” West held a three inch tall stack of computer read outs that haven’t been paid as far back as 1995. Sheriff Fields commented that a lot of personal property is not listed on one ticket. Some residents will have a tax ticket for just an automobile because that’s all they owned in the previous year or before. With that scenario, Fields, “ They can get by for a few years with this other stuff not being paid.” Another situation could be the resident moved out of the county.
         According to Ms West, they can go back five years and collect the taxes. From 1995 through 1998 there are $59,621.58 outstanding and the total through 2000 comes to almost $90,000.00 to be collected. The majority is on oil and gas. The departmentt will not go after taxes due for 1999 yet since folks are still paying for that year
What will the Sheriff do? “I have mailed out notices to everybody. I will give everybody an opportunity to come and pay and get it straightened up”, Fields commented, “They were notified that the Sheriff will take action. It will force us to take action if they don’t respond to this [letter].” After the 10 business day period, the 600 year old Sheriff gets tougher. Fields, “ We’ll issue a suit against them. It’s just like any other Civil suit.” According to Fields, after that a levy [lien] can be put against the property. “If judgement is given to the county, and not paid, and then there is the process of getting a levy on the equipment.” Other property can be attached as well to satisfy the courts. Fields reminded that a tax notice was mailed and a reminder note was also forwarded during the years in question.
        Will the process be successful? Fields, “I expect a lot of them will come in. A lot of them for one reason or another have just let it ride and some have just forgotten about it. But I do think some suits will have to be filed.” West commented that if they have died and the estate has been settled, “There is nothing we can do.” West remembered that a similar effort had been tried through the Prosecutor’s office years ago. Fields felt that in the past, a manpower issue slowed down similar efforts and “ some have been overlooked for some reason or another.”
         Real property is not at issue here since it can be sold off at auction every November. Those in bankruptcy are also exempt from this process. Fields,” Some of them we’ll not catch up with.. A lot of them have moved away from here and we may never catch up with them either. Still several thousands of dollars will come in that’s owed the county. If we catch this up now, it won’t be so hard in the future for an incoming Sheriff. These are the bits and pieces that fall through the cracks.”
       Fields continued,” It’s not something we can sell. It takes a civil suit if they refuse to pay it. I assume that all the red tape is the reason that others [previous Sheriffs] haven’t done this before.” Fields commented about all the labor it will take to accomplish the agenda. Fields,” It’s our job and we are going to follow up and do it. It isn’t fun to do this, it isn’t a pleasure at all.”
The money couldn’t come at a more opportune time for the county with the serious budget crisis looming. Mr Fields commented that with out additional funds Courthouse employees may have to be laid off. The loss of county revenue stems from coal equipment moved out of the county ,timber losses, the demise and coal mining. Fields felt the county’s hoppers are around $130,000.00 less now than this time last year. Fields, “The downfall will hit hardest next year. This is the time the budget is going to have to be set on a smaller scale, with less money. The county has taken several hits last year and now coal assessments are lower also.”
And finally,” We’re not broke but we have to be protective and be conservative.”

Spring Grand Jury met March 19 at the Clay County Courthouse with Judge Jack Alsop at the bench. The following true bills were returned.
Robert Lee Burrows, felony, manufacturing controlled substance, $5000.00 surety bond
Christopher Owen Hayes, felony, accessory before the fact of a stolen vehicle, $10,000.00 bond
Thomas Franklin King, felony, Breaking and Entering, $10,000.00 bond
Louis Richard Koch, felony, malicious assault, $20,000.00 bond
Lyndon B. Metheney, felony, Breaking and Entering, $10,000.00 bond
Kenton L. Mosley, felony, DUIA 3rd, $3750.00 surety bond
Mark Allen Nuckols, felony, failure to pay child support , 0
Brian D. Conley, misdemeanor, possession of a controlled substance,0
One note on the allegations against Kenton Mosley, Mosley is the same guy a while back that garnered national attention when a State Police Officer cited him with a DUIA charge while on horse back. Prosecutor Davis stated that Horseback DUIA is not part of the DUIA 3rd charge.


1. School bus drivers in WV earn double what drivers in North and South Carolina and Kentucky earn.

2. The US Census Bureau reports that 43 million people move each year.

3. More than 420,000 Americans had total hip and knee replacement surgery in 1998 at an average age of 68.

4. Of nearly 1,500 people surveyed, about 64% said they believe in love at first sight.

5. Clay, Braxton and Fayette Counties do not permit the sale of soft drinks during school hours.

6. Adults with hobbies that exercise the brain, such as reading, jigsaw puzzles or chess are 2 ½ times less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.

7. West Virginia American Water has filed a request to increase rates by 11.8 million to cover the cost of complying with environmental regulations and replacing aging treatment plants.

8. Research has found that 50% of overweight kids in fourth thru sixth grades eat dinner in front of the TV.

9. Eighty nine percent of people who committed murder in 1998 were male.

10. Archaeologists have found evidence of human occupation as far back as 13000 BC in West Virginia.

11. The clothes dryer is responsible for at least 14,000 house fires per year.

12. If there’s love in your heart, there will be joy in the world.

13. Americans spend 1.3 billion on first aid products each year.

14. According to the Bureau of Health Statistics, 590 rabid Racoons have been found since 1985. The state plans to drop rabies vaccine pellets from the air, hoping they will be eaten by the racoons.

15. A man who does not trust himself can never trust anyone else.

        Over the last several months speculation has risen over Clay Roane PSD’s plans to buy water from Clover PSD over in Roane County instead of from the proposed town of Clay water plant when and if it ever gets built. During monthly meetings of the Board of Directors for the PSD, discussion indicated that no decision had been made to buy from Clover, that they support the water plant here in Clay County although 2/3s of the service area is in Roane County, and any talk of them buying from Clover was just speculation.
        The following is an excerpt from testimony given by WV Public Service Commission analyst Jim Weimer during last month’s hearing concerning Carl Woody’s “covert” water connection to his new house ( but that’s another story).
         “Under cross examination by the Administrative Law Judge, Mr. Weimer confirmed that a project had been approved for the Clover Public Service District which would supply needed water to the Clay-Roane system, but that no certain connection date has been established. Additionally, the Town of Clay is seeking to upgrade its water plant and will be an alternative water source as well. (Tr., pp. 52-54).”
Entered: March 7, 2001
CASE NO. 00-0048-PWD-PW
CARL G. WOODY, an individual, Wallback,
Clay County, and, CLAY-ROANE PUBLIC
SERVICE DISTRICT, a public utility.
Who cares if Clay Roane PSD buys it’s water from Clover?
All the Town’s blue bloods who are fighting to get the overpriced ,under funded Clay Water Plant built. During last fall’s public meetings and according to Chapman Technical Co engineer Greg Belcher, without the Clay Roane customer base, the Town’s water plant can’t be built. Belcher was referring to paying back the massive loan payments after the plant is built. Without Clay Roane ‘s current customers and without many, many, many new customers from that PSD, there would not be enough revenue to pay the monthly loan payment back to the Federal Government.
According to the Weimer testimony, it now appears that the plan has all along been for Clay Roane PSD to buy from Clover instead of from Clay. --AW


         Talk about having the stroke, Keith King from the Clay County PSD sure must have it! During the March 13 PSD monthly meeting, the Board voted to apply for a 30 B water rate increase. The vote was unanimous. Note that the vote was on the 13th. King mentioned that he had already applied for the rate increase before the Board had a chance to even vote on it. From the WV Public Service Commission web site comes the following notation:
DATE ENTERED: 03/09/2001
        Get this, without a hearing, without public notice, and even without the Clay County PSD voting on the matter, IT”S A DONE DEAL!!!
         The WV PSD gave the thumbs up to the PSD on Monday March 19, 2001. The public will now see little bitsy classifieds on the topic next week in that little paper over in Clay. How much of a rate increase? A bunch!
         Currently, Clay PSD customers pay a base rate of $ 30.12 per month and get 3000 gallons of water included. Now, to get that same 3000 gallons, customers will pay the $30.12 and then pay $1.30 more for each 1000 gallons they use. For the average 4500 gallon usage per month customer, the new price will be right at $36.00.
       How ever you figure it, that’s quite an increase in anybody’s books. Even more confusing in this case, is that PSD Chair Keith King told the public just a few months back that no rate increase would be necessary that, “the increases have already been built into their rates.”


         Seems like we just finished with an election when talk is already popping up on Sheriff candidates for the next election. Word on the street has it that perennial candidates Morgan Gibson and Randy Holcomb will try again for elected office along with not new to politics, Gene King.
          Procious PSD Chair Debbie Samples quit the position after the 14% water rate increase was implemented without a public hearing. Get this, after the WVPSC approved the interim rate increase they scheduled a public hearing on the issue for March 30, 2001. Now even that “after the fact “ hearing has been canceled.
          Clay County PSD just applied for a water rate increase and watch, the guess is, no public hearing until after the increase is approved in the next couple of weeks.
          Over in the town of Clay, possible candidates to replace resigned Mayor SS Jamie have included: Paige Willis, Norman Wilson, Bobby Stover, Randy Schoonover, Walter Schoonover and Arthur Jarrett.
          Clay County Development Corp again canceled their monthly meeting that was scheduled for March 20, 2001.
Some town of Clay Council persons are suggesting that they will NOT vote to approve requesting the recently announced low interest $50,000.00 loan to help the Town thru the crisis. That’s right a loan in addition to the “hoped for” $50,000.00 grant. The concern is, if the Town can’t makes ends meet now, how would they do it with a loan payment added on.
         Central Appalachian Empowerment Zone’s office manager Timberly Hamrick resigned her position in early March for the more financially secure Clay Mountain Housing spot. Hamrick’s replacement is Michelle Morris.
        Unless Town Council gets their act together real quick the customers will be back on a Boil Water Order by the end of the month when WV Water supplied operators leave the local plant.
         Seems to be a problem with the town of Clay receiving that big $50,000.00 grant from the Governor’s office. It appears one of the hold ups is with a $10,000.00 grant request from the previous administration of Mayor Joyce Gibson. State rules say that money has to be spent and accounted for before any new money can come into the Town. The problem is, although Gibson said that money was OK’d for Clay, the town has never used it.
         In the last edition of this paper, we published the long list of unpaid bills owed by the town of Clay. You can add to that list over $7000.00 in unpaid attorney fees too.
          Long time readers will remember when ace reporter Mike Carper brought to light all the illegal water taps that had been hooked up during the Clay Roane and Procious PSDs moratorium period. One such identified connection was over in Roane County where a tavern, Laundromat, and a private dwelling were all hooked up on one tap. The WV Public Service Commission has now ruled what Carper brought to light was true and ordered that only one customer can be on the Roane County tap. The Laundromat will receive the service only.
        The Town’s water plant has been pumping upwards of 18 hours per days for several months. Many Council members as well as others have speculated that the problem may have been the plant being “throttled” back by a past operator in an attempt to gain more overtime. 10 days ago WV Water Co.s leak detection crew found a monster leak between Clay proper and the Two Run area. With the 100 gallon per minute leak patched, the town’s water plant is now down to pumping just 9 hours per day. The savings in manpower and chemicals should be substantial.
         Get this, if the four week old Procious PSD water rate hike wasn’t enough, the WV Public Service Commission has approved 6.6% more. This additional 6.6% was not even requested by the PSD.

        A March 7, 2001 threatening correspondence from an 11 grade Clay High School student remains the talk of the county. Other papers including that little one over in Clay have floated all kinds of figures and facts in print. The one over in Clayberry has now admitted that they did no background research, no interviews, and in fact based their coverage on hear say. This paper has always taken a different approach.
         In the threatening letter case, we chose to interview CCHS Principal Kenneth Tanner on March 9 and again March 20. For the truth and nothing but the truth from the horse’s mouth, here we go
As to the student , the threats ( bodily injury and rape) made in the letter to fellow students and Clay High Principal, Kenneth Tanner,”There is no letter. I can tell you this, the kid made some statements some time past and we first started looking into it Monday (March 5). The kids were apparently referring to a list that he had. The kids didn’t really take it serious at first. We investigated, we can’t take a chance.”
        Was the student thrown out Thursday March 8? Tanner,” I can tell you the kid is not here now and I can tell you the timing of the situation in regard to everything happening in other states hasn’t been good.” Tanner was referring to the shootings in California. “We are handling it like any other case. A lot of kids heard things. Apparently there was a list although we were not able to obtain it. It was off of an electronic device [hand held pocket organizer]....I can only speculate whether the kid would do anything or not and I can’t take the chance...”
        What’s the normal discipline? Tanner,”We have not taken an official action yet. First of all, we want to make the sure the kid gets looked after, this is a complicated situation. We have to look at all the factors.... He has to get the appropriate attention what ever that may be. I can’t speculate on what may happen without violating his rights. This is a serious thing for us. We have to go by what we know and what we found.” Tanner did not mention what scanner listeners heard March 8 around 2:00pm. Over the scanner came a police officer saying what address they were going to and shortly there after, they reported they were taking the juvenile to a hospital.
         How serious are you taking the threats to students and Staff? Tanner,”I have 6 or 700 kids that I have to look out for..We are taking it very serious.” As to when a student makes a threatening statement,” You can’t make a statement that throws everybody into a scare or a tizzy. You can’t make statements that create havoc in the school.”
        What will happen? Tanner,” We have some options available to us. This is something that you cannot ignore. We have done everything appropriate up to this point. I have talked to a lot of parents and kids that feel like they need to talk about it. We were already looking at this before everything happened in California...We have a little time to deal with it. I go to great lengths to make sure parents and students feel good about being here. It’s important to fell like you are safe..We have taken every precaution and have notified every agency....”
        Our web site readers have been kept up to date with accurate information since March 8. Newspapers picked up on the kid getting booted out for just 10 days while another printed the 11th grader will be out 45 days. By March 13, the beauty shop rumor mill had the kid at school with a machine gun.
For a more current report on this, again , we turned back to Mr Tanner on March 20, 2001. Those conversations follow.
        Where is the School system in regard to the student that made the serious threats? Mr Tanner,” That 45 day thing [ in the other newspapers], they didn’t talk to me they talked to Jerry [Link]. The student in question is now out of school for 45 days. Within that 45 days and after all the information is gathered, a meeting will be scheduled. At that point we will make an appropriate decision as to whether this is a purely disciplinary case or whether there may be medical factors, that sort of thing that may be involved. If there is a medical factor involved, there is another path we go down. In either case, it does not appear that he will be in school at any time this year and it will likely be well up into the next school year before he will be back.”
Tanner commented that the student is now a home bound student during the 45 day period. Can the student attend school activities during the home bound period? Tanner, “ In this particular instance during the 45 day period, remember he is NOT on a medical placement but rather because of school safety. In that 45 day interim, no.” As for whether he can attend school activities later, no decision has been made. “At this point there is no reason to think he is going to be back this year....Everybody is cooperating well...”
        If this case turns out to be just a safety issue the maximum penalty is 12 months out of school. Tanner suggested that if and when the student returns to school the parents may have to supervise the time during school activities. “It would be appropriate to do that. We don’t know that the kid will come back period. But it will be an extended period of time.” If it turns out that there is a medical condition relating to the youth’s actions, school administrators and committees will make the decision in this case. If it is a disciplinary matter the School Board handles the situation. Tanner also commented that the School Board may be able to override any decisions made.
“We want to be legal and proper with everything we do.”
        As to a parent a mother telling the world at Gino’s on Wed that the student is already out till Jan 2002 and can attend all school activities, Tanner,” The Mother can speak to what she anticipates what she may think will occur but it’s a little presumpuance to think it is written in stone. In this case, I have spoken to the parents to allow interaction at ball games. It has been discussed that we will discuss that [later] at some point. Parents can speak to what they think the outcome will be. If it is a medical condition, a doctor could say next year is not appropriate. It’s what he would say at that point.”
        And finally, “For the good of everyone, the faculty, staff, and students, it is good that he not be here. Everybody is in agreement to that... Officially he has been placed out of school for 45 calendar days.”


3-01-01:Public Service Commission - Thurman E. Christian for no MVI, regis. violation.
3-02-01: State - Marilyn L. Chambers for speeding, no P.O.I., no operators & no seatbelt.
3-03-01: State - Anthony A. Boling for no operators & regis. violation.
State- Tonya R. Carte for no seatbelt x2.
State - Chris E. Crites for no P.O.I.
3-05-01: Sheriff - Johnny W. Cobb for DWS.
Sheriff- Darius Cummings for speeding, no seatbelt.
State - Tad H. Legg for def. equip & regis. violation.
3-08-01: Sheriff - Christopher Herrada for no P.O.I.
State - Jackie R. White for speeding & operators.
3-09-01: State - James L. Hughart Jr. for speeding & no P.O.I.
3-10-01: Sheriff - Justin M. Lawrence for speeding.
3-11-01: Sheriff - Jessie W. King for no operators, no seatbelt, no P.O.I. & regis. violation.
State - Stephanie Metheney for no seatbelt.
Sheriff - Troy D. Rabel for speeding.
DNR - Lora A. Truman for illegal burning.
3-12-01: Sheriff - John Jarvis for speeding & def. equip.
DNR - Michael J. Metheney for illegal burning.
3-14-01: DNR - Opal M. Taylor for illegal burning.
Sheriff - Adrian R. Thompson for speeding.
3-17-01: Sheriff - Brad J. DeBoard for def. equip.
3-18-01: Sheriff - John Gazset for no P.O.I.

3-10-01: Debra R. Rapp - Lloyd E. Rapp purged for DV
3-13-01: Chester K. Legg - Freda J. Parsons purged for DV
Freda J. Legg - Chester K. Legg d/m for DV.
3-14-01: Sheriff - R&P Sales, S K Murphy, Poca River Mining, Paul E. Vaugan, Ershia R. Hersman, Jeffrey E. Mollohan, Orville C. Mollohan, Edward W. Shifflet, George S. Asseff, George S. Asseff Oil x4, Jim - Morris Exploration & Prime Operating all for other.
3-16-01: Gina R. Blankenship - Timothy Blankenship purged for DV
Bank of Gassaway - Samuel L. Burhamer x2, Michael Burdette, Earnest Blankenship & Misty Chapman all for breach of contract.
3-19-01:Debra Runion - Randy L. Runion purged for DV
Teresa G. McDivitt - Robert B. McDivitt purged for DV.
Cindy Dotson - Paul Dotson for DV

3-06-01: Slack - Gelinda Skaggs warrant issued for DWS
3-10-01: Bailey - james Moore for brandishing deadly weapon.
3-12-01: Cunningham Motors - Jennifer L. Brady d/m for wc
SS Jamie MD - Kenneth Davidson warrant issued for wc.
Big Otter Food Mart - Hannah R. Legg warrant issued for wcx2
Wiles - David L. Young for poss. of marijuana less than 15grms.
3-15-01: Slack - Maggie Falls for obtaining goods under false pretense.
McKown - Robert B. McDivitt for DB x3.

Worthless Checks
Clay Foodland - Andrea L. Graham for 8.17, Michael D. Hill for 48.05, Mary J. Adkins for 32.73, Linda Coper for 60.98, Samatha Cummings for 26.10 paid, Reti H. Barlett for 30.00 & 27.03 paid, Lynn M. Pringle for 20.00, Karen Boggs for 50.00, Sarah Rogers for 51.54 & 75.00, Richard Postelwait for 150.00 paid, Kenneth Davidson for 40.00 & 100.00, Marthia Harper for 104.00, Terrica Douglas for 41.27
House’s Market - Lora Peck for 78.00.
IGA - Marsha Eagle for 20.00, June Sampson for 71.16 & Telenia Starcher for 30.00
Clay County Magistrate - Yvonne J. Tyree for 77.00

News Release

Contact: Father Christopher Bender 304-292-8670
:        A Conference on “Faith, Community and the Environment”
         Speakers and workshops will address why it is important for people of faith to be concerned with God’s Creation. Participants will develop positive action plans to help themselves and others address these issues: Global Climate Change; Energy Deregulation; Energy Developments & New Alternatives; Consumption Patterns; Mountain Top Removal / Water Quality; and International Perspectives.
WHERE:         First Presbyterian Church
456 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV
WHEN: Saturday, March 31, 2001 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
WHO:         Sponsored by the Monongalia Ministerial Association

Mr. Paul Gorman, Director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment and Recipient of the Heinz Award for Environmental Leadership
Cost is $10, including a pizza & salad lunch
To register, contact Rev. Susan McGhee at 304-296-8236 or e-mail
by March 26.
Contact conference chair Rev. Fr. Christopher H. Bender, Pastor, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 447 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
Tel.: 304-292-8670
Fax: 304-292-8671

Service Commission Updates
The following listings are orders and or decisions found on the WV Public Service Commission web site



AS an update on the recently approved Town of Clay Water Rates:

NOTICE OF INCREASED WATER RATES On March 6, 2001, the Public Service Commission entered an order in the above- styled case, in which it approved the Staff-recommended immediate increase in the Town of Clay's water rates. This increase in water rates is known as the Phase I water rates. In determining the Phase I water rates, Commission Staff combined the Town of Clay's previous dual tariffs and, pursuant to the Class Cost of Service Study, modified the parameters of the declining rate blocks to reflect the first 2,000 gallons of usage per month, the next 18,000 gallons of usage per month and all
usage over 20,000 gallons per month. The Phase I rates will result in an expected yearly cash flow surplus of approximately $7,000. The reason for the Phase I rate increase is that the Town of Clay's water system is currently operating at a monthly deficit and has required emergency monetary aid to simply make the payroll.
The Town of Clay may impose the Phase I rates which follow below on all customers, other than resale customers, for service rendered on or after 12:01 a.m., March 15, 2001. The Town of Clay may impose the Phase I
rates which follow below on its resale customers for service rendered on or after 12:01 a.m., April 1, 2001.

01-0342-PWD-30B CLAY COUNTY PSD DATE ENTERED: 03/09/2001

Dear Mr. Waddell:
        I thought you might be interested in this story. But please don’t print a word of it, if you can’t print all of it. Because I’m sure that if what happened to my nephew, had happened to a Governor’s or a Senator’s son, then the whole story would be printed. And my nephew is just as good as they are.
        This is the same thing I told Clinton Nichols, before I gave the story to him, and he assured me that the story would be printed in its entirety. I hope you will do the same. I would be grateful.
        My family and I are really big fans of the Communicator.
        We wish you would sell Tee Shirts.

Thank You
Beth Duffiield

Letter to the Editor

        My family and I are trying to get information on policy and procedures for how reports and charges are filed by the Sheriff’s office when deputies respond to incidents involving physical violence.
        After the basketball game on Friday, March 2, 2001, between Braxton and Webster, two of my nephews and one of their friends were at the Go-Mart in Two Run. This is a popular “hang out” among the high school students after home ball games. I was not present for the incident which occurred, my information relies heavily on statements from several teenager and adult witnesses, including the manager of Go-Mart, and of course one of my nephews and his friend who were beaten up. My other nephew, who was beaten unconscious, cannot remember what happened. When he regained consciousness, his memory of the whole attack was gone.
        The three boys from Webster had a confrontation with some people in a little red car at Go-Mart, the red car left. The witnesses said the Webster County boys then walked past a large group of Clay High school kids and straight to where my two nephews and their friend was standing about 20 or 30 feet away. The boys from Webster started yelling at them, wanting to know who that was in the little red car. My nephews and their friends told them they didn’t know anything about the red car, or who was in it. The Webster boys kept yelling “Yes you do, now who is it?” My nephews told them, that they didn’t want to fight them and that they didn’t even know them.
        The Webster boys then accused my nephews of smarting them off and started spitting on them, and then one of them started pushing my youngest nephew. My older nephew told the boy to stop pushing his brother. That’s when one of the Webster boys picked up my oldest and ‘body-slammed’ him to the concrete, rendering him unconscious. Even after my oldest nephew lay helpless and unconscious, the boy from Webster continually pounded his head into the pavement while the other boy beat my youngest nephew, and the third boy from Webster picked up my nephews’ friend and threw him over the guard rail.
        At some point, responding Deputy Sheriffs Rider and Belt arrived on the scene. The three boys were taken into custody, and one of them was taken before Magistrate Boggs and was charged with ‘obstructing an officer,! the other two boys were not charged with anything. We later found out that no one ever mentioned to Jeff Boggs about my nephews or their friends.
        An ambulance was called to the scene for my oldest nephew who was suffering from apparent head trauma. A request was made for a Health Net helicopter, but the nearest helicopter was in Morgantown and the ambulance transport would be faster. During my nephew’ transport to Braxton County Hospital, my nephew (who had never had a seizure before) suffered a 4-5 minute seizure and his heartbeat was down to 19. After he was stabilized at Braxton County Hospital, he was later transported to CAMC General where he was admitted. My youngest nephew was also admitted to Braxton County Hospital, where he was examined and x-rayed to be certain that there were no broken bones in his jaw or ear area. His ear looked like something from a horror movie and, from the video tape which my husband took of my oldest nephew in the hospital he looked as if he had been in a terrible car accident.
        My nephew’s mother was told by Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Davis that she “could not file charges against the Webster boys, that Jeff Rider had to file the charges.” It has been two weeks since the attack, and still no charges have been filed. My sister-in-law gave Jeff Davis and Sheriff Fields a list of witnesses who have been waiting to give their statements, but so far, no one has bothered to talk to them. Jeff Rider has never bothered to take statements from my nephews or their friends. We learned that the Webster County boys were released into the custody of their parents the night of the attack.
        When my sister-in-law went to Sheriff Field’s office to talk to him about the attack, he said he “didn’t know anything about any boys getting hurt.” He also told her that Deputy Rider had been doing this kind of work for a lot of years and if any charges had needed to be filed, he would have filed them that night. My sister-in-law and Sheriff Fields got into an argument, and before she left his office, she asked him what he was doing smoking in the courthouse (since no one else is allowed to). Sheriff Fields then took a couple of puffs on his pipe and blew it at her and then said to “Now what are you going to do about it?”
        My sister-in-law said that her experience in dealing with the law enforcement in Clay County was like dealing with the ‘Dukes of Hazard’- with Sheriff Fields being Boss Hogg and Deputy Rider as being Enus. In other words folks - There is no law enforcement in Clay County!
        My nephews and their friend are home now and are recuperating. The doctors are uncertain whether my oldest nephew will have any long problems from his head injury. He has lost some of his memory. My nephew will always be reminded of this incident, because on just about every form required for medical reasons, including his driver’s license and any insurance forms which he may have to complete, he will always have to answer the question regarding history of seizures.
        Clinton, I’ve tried to imagine what could have happened that night. It scares me to think that these boys, after attending a school function, were so full of anger and hate that they could inflict so much damage to another person. I’m not so certain that it would have mattered to them who was standing there that night. As with any horrible situation, you always have the question of “What if?”. This question haunts me because I keep asking myself “What if” it had been my boys standing there?”
        If you know of anyone having additional information about what happened that night, could you have them call me at 286-5305? As always, your assistance and advice is greatly appreciated.

Beth Duffield

Hard headedness

        The state of the town of Clay, and Clay County in general, is in terrible shape. There is hope for both if we had someone at the helm who knew what they were doing. The biggest trouble in the town of Clay is hard headedness. It seems like everyone wants to have it their way or not at all. The town will not survive headed in this direction. Someone has to take the initiative and make hard decisions to get the job done. When West Virginia American Water pulls out the operators, loaned to Clay, they will be back in the same old mess.
          The County Commission at the last meeting discovered that they are broke. Why does this come as a surprise, as they have been headed in this direction for the last couple of years. The commissioners blame it on the lack of coal severance tax. We started loosing this 10 years ago. Now they are talking lay-offs and cut backs. Shouldn’t we have done this several years ago? Give-aways by the Commissions have come back to haunt them. We had two chances to add some brain power to the Commission in the past year, in the primary and again in the general election. The voters failed to do this. When little league baseball comes asking for money, as they have done in the past, what will they tell them, that they didn’t know that they were running out of money, or, that they were asleep at the wheel? Paul A Myers - Glen,

          Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) held their rescheduled monthly Economic Development Committee meeting at 4:00pm on March 20, 2001.
          During the Eco/Dev meeting much time was spent on $8,000,000.00 Federal Govt.. RBOG monies that are available. Project that could be funded include business support centers, training centers, and technical assistance grants to name a few. Counties within the CAEZ appear to be readying themselves by organizing proposals for the money. CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore mentioned that a businessman is proposing to set up a tire shop in Clay County.
          A request came from the Big Otter Fire Dept seeking monies. Since the CAEZ has none, Elizabeth Sampson suggested directly the group to look “online” for possible sources of $.
          Estimates are being received for a 50,000 square foot shell building on the CAEZ’s Mt Hope Industrial Site in Fayette County. Appears bids will come in around a half million dollars for the shell without wiring nor a concrete floor.
          There is a hang up in CAEZ land. The group cannot ask for more Federal dollars until they close the old accounts that have lingered around for years.
Mention made that the Clay County Commission did not approve giving the county’s $30,000.00 from the Governor’s office over to the CAEZ for Economic Development work. Mr Sizemore mentioned the dead line for submitting the paperwork for the $30,000.00 is April 1, 2001. Some feared that unless the Clay Commissioner OK’d the CAEZ to get the $, the County may loose it all together,
           Clay County’s Fred Sampson asked why the Mt Hope Site is not being marketed as promised by another Eco/Dev group, 4-C. Sampson, “Things are going down the tubes fast, We can’t get more money now....” --AW

Commission Meeting - County Facing Financial Crisis
        The Clay County Commission met for their regular meeting Tuesday, March 13, at the courthouse in Clay. Members Jimmy Sams, Tim Butcher and Mathew Bragg were in attendence. Bragg called the meeting to order at 10:05a.m., asked Sams to offer prayer, and then announced that the county was facing a financial crisis due to the decrease in coal taxes. Bragg said the Commission would have to cut off (financial assistance) to all outside agencies. He said, “ If we continue as we have been, we’ll be broke. We can’t do that...not good management. I wish I could wave a magic wand...things are looking pretty bad, to be honest. We must look ahead.”
        Dr. S.S. Jamie, mayor of the town of Clay, appeared to request funds for the financially troubled town. Jamie spoke to the Commissioners concerning the water plant and suggested a combined town and county effort pointing out that the plant serves not only the town, but many areas in the county. The Mayor said they needed supplies and reminded them that WV-American Water Works ( who are donating water plant operators for the plant) won’t stay forever, only 2 to 3 more weeks. Tim Butcher told Jamie the town should be receiving $60,000.00 from Oshel Craigo. County Clerk Judy Moore explained that $50,000.00 of that was a partnership grant that cannot be used for salaries, but that Terry Martin and John Romano were working to have the scope of the grant changed so the town would be able to use the money as needed. She said they were doing the same for a $10,000.00 grant that was to be used for flags and signs. Also, she said they were trying to have the grant monies go directly to the town instead of through the County Commission. If it goes through the County Commission she said it would take more time to get the money to the town. Jamie told the Commissioners the town cannot have a boil water (advisory) again, that already they have a lawsuit, someone claiming they were made sick due to the water, and they would probably have to go to court. Jamie then asked the Commissioners if they’d had a chance to discuss co-signing on the loan for the proposed new water plant. Butcher told Jamie they’d have to put it on the docket. Jamie said asking the 250 people in the town of Clay to pay off the 1.1 million dollar loan was asking too much. Butcher suggested getting all of the Public Service Districts (PSDs) together so the town would have enough customers, instead of three PSDs maybe just one. Jamie again suggested combining county and town as responsible for the loan. The proposed water plant would cost 3.6 million dollars, 2.5 million will come from grants and 1.1 million a loan at 5% interest. Jimmy Sams said, as he has in the past, that the County Commission can’t get involved in selling water, that the PSDs must do that. No action was taken.
        Next, members of the Big Otter ambulance station and Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority (CCEAA) member Joyce White addressed the Commission about their concern that their station would be closed. The CCEAA is also having financial difficulties. White told the Commissioners that CCEAA Board member “Dewey” (Larry Cole) was the only member of the Board that wanted to close the station, the rest did not. White said, “ One of the authority members is the problem...Jackie ( Pierson, Ambulance Director) was asked to, and did, come up with a proposal to cut costs. Dewey comes along with a proposal to close the Lizemore and Big Otter stations and sell all but three ambulances. Jackie has implemented her plan...” CCEAA employee Joretta Gray explained to the Commissioners some of Pierson’s plan to contain costs and said, “ She’ll go further if this doesn’t work.” A lot of discussion on the benefits to the communities served by the two ambulance stations. White said that everyone supported Pierson except Dewey. She invited the Commissioners to come to the CCEAA’s next Board meeting. Jimmy Sams said, “Let the director run it.”
        Karen Dawson, Director of the Clay County Health Department, told the Commission she was preparing the budget for the next fiscal year and needed to know if they were going to continue to pay the utility bills for the ambulance service, which uses part of the Health Department building. Bragg told her that they were in a financial crunch and making cuts at the courthouse and outside agencies. Bragg, “ I hate to tell you, no, Karen.” Butcher told her, “ Right now, no, until we find out what we’re going to end up with.” Dawson next asked if the ambulance service could take up their half (of the utility expense). She said that it was not fair to expect the Health Department to use part of their budget to pay all of the utilities noting that the Health Department was only open five days a week, while the ambulance service was open all the time. Dawson suggested maybe having separate meters installed.
        Dawson also had information to share. The Clay County Health Department has been asked by the State to participate in a surveillance project in Clay County to detect if rabies is present in the county. About 17 counties will be involved. A bait drop, the bait carrying the rabies vaccine, will take place in the fall, in hopes of vaccinating healthy animals and perhaps slow the spread of the disease which has continued to move across West Virginia. The bait drop approach has had good results in Ohio. The project is looking particularly at raccoons, but also other animals such as foxes and skunks. The public is asked to call the Health Department if they see sick- acting raccoons or other animals. Road kill will also be looked at. The head of the animal must be present to test for rabies.
        The Commission approved: previous meeting minutes; bills and purchase orders presented; the February financial statement; an agreement between the Clay County Business Development Authority (BDA), Clay County Commission and Filcon, Inc.; final settlement of the estates of Paul Arlington Allen, Edward L. Argabrite, Jack W. Hamrick, Loren B. Strickland, and Junior Guy Samples; budget revisions as presented; erroneous assessments as presented.
        The Commission tabled the motion to designate CAEZ (Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone) as Local Economic Development Organization as their representative in the Certified Development Community program. Tim Butcher asked, “What’s the Certified Development Community program?” Butcher said he believed Clay was the only county that supports CAEZ financially, giving CAEZ $30,000.00 a year (in business development money). Butcher, “ We have a fantastic BDA. Maybe we should give them the $30, 000.00 in the future and get other counties to help (CAEZ).” Paige Willis cautioned that they should give that serious thought as it (business development) was a full time job, and there would be the expense of an office. Referring to the lack of business development in Clay County, Willis said, “ Seems to me...blame us(Clay County), not CAEZ. They’ve been here along time and not done much...but other counties have pursued projects.”
        Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Davis’s request to employ Brent Wolfingbarger as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney was denied, but the Commission agreed to pay Wolfinbarger for what he’d already done. Bragg said, “ Personally, I can’t see laying off and cutting a position in each office (at the courthouse) and then hire an assistant prosecutor.” Bragg also mentioned there were some things in Davis’s budget that needed worked on.
        The Commission approved notifying the different agencies that the Commission will no longer be paying their utility bills effective with the April billings, and, that no extra help be hired for janitorial services for either courthouse. They also denied a request for funds made by Shawnee Hills at the previous meeting. The different agencies include, but are not limited to: Widen Community Center, Big Otter Community Center, Clay Fire Department, Clay County Library, Putnam Area on Aging for the nutrition center, Coonhunters Club, and Jimmy Sams added, “Probably the Health Department.”
        Clay County Sheriff Harald Fields told the Commission there was about $88,000.00 in unpaid personal property taxes the past five years. Fields said, “I plan to bring suit for any of those taxes not paid. This has gone on forever. Nobody was willing to sue - but I will. That’s my intention.” ( For more coverage on the Sheriff’s announcement see page one of this issue)
        Meeting adjourned at 11:53a.m. Next meeting Tuesday, March 27. -TK

          As you’ve read in the County Commission (CCC) coverage in this paper, our Three Blind Mice have voted not to OK the hiring of an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Prosector Jeff Davis. The CCC is in a cost cutting mode and are concerned with just making it to the end of this fiscal year. Davis is peeeeed to say the least.
         Mr Davis commented on the decision March 14 at 3:30pm. According to the Prosector, the County Commission had already appropriated in this years budget funding for an Asst.. in the Prosector’s office and “they can’t decrease it.” During the CCC meeting, mention was made that Davis’s office was already in the red on some line items. Davis,” Unforeseen things came up.” As an example, Davis volunteered that as usual this year, he ordered law books and reference material needs to stay current. Those materials came in and were paid for. After some reflection, Davis decided to use “online” reference material from the West Law Library source and return the books. Accordingly, and since the money has not been returned by the company yet, that account’s line item appears to be in the red. “The charges for the books has not been removed yet,..... Everything is covered as far as the budget is concerned” he replied.
        As to the hiring of an Asst.. again , Davis explained, Brian Lanham ( the last asst..) left in mid Dec 2000 and no replacement was sought until Feb. because a new Judge was coming to the bench and he felt he could get by for a couple of months without assistance. When Davis was recently hospitalized ( with TB, tired butt syndrome, just kidding). Brent Wolfinberger covered the office duties. Wolfinberger was the lone applicant for the opening and was to put to work. There is more to the Wolfinberger story. Davis hired him as Lanham’s replacement at a salary rate. The CCC will only pay him at an hourly rate of $12.50 per hour. Davis explained that even defense attorney’s are paid $65.00 per hour. Needless to say, Wolfinberger is now mad and refuses to return to the county until he is paid for services already rendered.
        When Davis was told by Commissioners Sams and Bragg about the CCC not hiring an asst.., Davis threatened to sue. Davis,” I hope it doesn’t come to that....Once appropriated they can’t take it away.....County Commission and I have always worked amicably... I have a constitutional obligation to the Circuit and Magistrate Courts..”
         Davis mentioned that with the new term of Circuit Court coming March, “the pace quickens..” and,” I don’t know what to do about the Magistrate Court, we may have to do that nights and weekends... I hope we don’t come to that.”

An Act of Courage
        Covering the meetings of the Clay County Board of Education for this newspaper is not always easy, especially when a lot happens and a lot has been said. In fairness I try to include everthing that takes place, even what may seem trivial, as you never know what information our readers may be looking for. Not all statements and questions made at these meetings are reported. That would be impossible, so you try to choose ones that are most representative of the discussion, or most informative, and occasionally, the most outlandish. It is a rare occasion that I have purposefully chosen not to repeat a particular statement. This I did in my coverage of the Board meeting in our last issue, March 8. And I now regret that.
        My motive was not to withhold information, but rather to afford this person some privacy, for she impressed me with her courage. I hope if you are reading this you have also read my coverage of the last two meetings, in particular Sandy Mitchell’s two appearances before the Board.
        Ms. Mitchell came to the Board with concerns about the doors being locked to the gym at Clay Middle School during basketball tournament practices. What I didn’t report were statements Mitchell made during that first meeting, the reason she gave for her concern about allowing doors to be locked, even to parents, at a school. Sandy Mitchell told the Board, and all who attended that meeting, that as a 1st and 2nd grade student at H.E. White Elementary she was sexually abused by her male teacher for two years. She said this teacher routinely locked the door and covered the windows, the reason for doing so, he told people, was to keep the students focused. No one disputed Mitchell’s statements.
        What Mitchell asked of the Board was for them to not allow doors to be locked. Repeatedly, she told them her concern was not with the coach who locked the doors, that she would be voicing the same concern regardless of who had locked the door. Repeatedly, she explained her concern was with a policy that allowed locked doors, because if one coach or teacher is allowed to do it, all must be allowed. Observing the meeting, Mitchell thoroughly convinced me that her motive was not to accuse this particular coach, but to prevent something from happening to a child, like what happened to her, in the future.
        In my opinion the issue was always prevention. But, it seems the Board, administrators, and the coaching staff felt the issue was an imagined accusation against that particular coach, regardless of how many times Ms. Mitchell refuted that. Perhaps she anticipated that reaction as one of her first statements at the first meeting was, “I’m not accusing anyone.” And she did emphasize that word. Mitchell readily agreed to return to the next meeting, as Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger requested that the Middle school be given a chance to address the issue. At the second meeting there was a lot of talk about supporting the coach (who had been accused of nothing), making waiting parents more comfortable, problems with traffic through the gym, preparing kids for the tournament...but no mention of what could occur when doors are allowed to be locked. No other alternatives to locking the door were explored. All who spoke seemed to feel that locking the door was appropriate in this situation - the jock culture? Anything to win that game?
        Board member Gene King said, “This shouldn’t come before the Board.” I hope he meant that administrators and coaching staff should have resolved Mitchell’s concerns to her satisfaction. But, I don’t think so.
        It is easy to understand why the thought of locked doors would alarm someone who has experienced what Ms. Mitchell did. What’s not so easy to understand is how the members of the Board and the administrators could fail to grasp the real issue here. Principal Larry Gillespie told the crowd that he and Ms. Haynie were always in the building. I assume that a principal, not to mention teachers and other school staff, were in the building when the events Ms. Mitchell described occurred years ago.
        Sandy Mitchell had the courage to stand before this Board, twice, in the presence of at least 50 people, and reveal what must be very painful to remember, in hopes of preventing another child, maybe your child, from ever suffering what she did. Sadly, the people that could help her achieve that goal weren’t listening. This rare act of courage should not go unnoticed.
Terri Kerns

School Board Meeting at CMS
        The regular meeting of the Clay County Board of Education was held at Clay Middle School (CMS) Monday, March 19. All Board members were present - Gene King, R.B. Legg, Fran King, Scott Legg, and David Pierson. After prayer R.B. Legg called the meeting to order at 6:05p.m.
        Entertainment was provided by the CMS band 6th grade percussion ensemble and show choir Impressions. The 6th graders performed “Temple of Yang”, for which they received a superior rating this year. Band Director Doug Wayne presented the students with medals for their achievements. Impressions sang “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “In Flander’s Fields”. Soloist Wayne Cunningham sang “Beautiful Dreamer”. All received certificates from Chorus Director Ms. Thomas. An announcement was made that the show choir will have a concert March 31, at 7:00p.m., at the Clay County High School (CCHS) auditorium. The concert is dedicated to the veterans of Clay County, especially of World War II.
        Board moved on to approve: Placement of drivers and service personnel on the preferred recall list for the school year 2001 (individual names were not read); the proposed levy schedule for 2001-2002; three foster grandparents at Clay Elementary; an overnight trip to the TSA conference at Cedar Lakes for CCHS TSA students; an out-of-field authorization for Amanda Grose; employment of Amanda Grose as regular part-time teacher at Lizemore Elementary; and, a trip to Charleston for CMS FBLA students March 23 and 24.
        Under discussion topics, the Board returned to a concern brought to them during their last meeting by Clay County resident Sandy Mitchell.( Mitchell’s concern was that the CMS gym doors were locked during basketball tournament practice sessions to everyone, including parents. Mitchell had said her concern was the precedent it set, allowing teachers or coaches to lock doors.) Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger said that he had asked the Board to let CMS give their point of view. CMS Principal Larry Gillespie said he considered a coach a teacher, and the practices were no different than rehearsing for choir. Gillespie said the vending machines, the only ones in the school, are located in the gym and caused a lot of traffic. He said the idea was to have a controlled environment to get the kids ready for the tournament. Gillespie said he and Ms. Haynie, CMS Vice Principal, are always in the school ‘til dark. Also, Gillespie said the building wasn’t locked and parents could have come into the building (apparently some parents waited outside while their children practiced). CMS basketball coach Scott Gibson told the Board it was hard to hear in the gym and it (locking the doors) was to help prepare the kids. Gibson said he told the kids their parents could come into the building. He said everyone that comes in the building comes through the gym, the door has to be opened and ended up propped open, causing the temperature to vary in the gym, which wasn’t good for the kids. Gene King said it would be nice to have a special room for parents to wait in while their kids practiced, and, “This shouldn’t come before the Board.” Ms. Mitchell tried to explain her concern, “ I am not accusing anyone. My 1st and 2nd grade teacher abused me for 2 years. His idea of ‘focusing’ was to shut and lock the doors, cover the windows. His reasons - ‘I want them focused’. Five girls were involved. I feared. We were threatened.” Mitchell went on to repeat what she’d said at the previous meeting - that a policy allowing doors to be closed and locked could lead to problems in the future. Mitchell, “ If you allow one person, you have to allow all.” She then reminded the Board it wasn’t long ago that a well respected band teacher ran off with a 15 year old, and that what happened to her can still happen today. Referring to Gibson, Mitchell again said, “ This is not a personal issue. I’m not accusing anyone.” Scott Legg asked Mitchell if Gibson had covered any windows. R.B. Legg talked of when his daughter played ball and said, “Nothing like winning when you’re playing ball” and “Leave it to the administrators.”
        The Board then met with the Local School Improvement Council (LSIC). Larry Gillespie introduced the various members then reported that the on sight inspection had only one finding and they may get that taken care of. Regarding teaching a foreign language at CMS, Spanish was their preference. Also, he said that 50% of 7th graders were enrolled in the Gear Up program. The LSIC’s only requests were to have the old board office building torn down (Gillespie said this is the 4th time he’s asked for this) and have work done on the gym. Linkinogger said they hope to get it torn down this summer.
        R.B. Legg announced a budget meeting April 17, and said this meeting would be recessed until then. The Board then moved into executive session at 6:52p.m. to discuss confidential information, asking Director of Special Education Dixie Jarvis and CCHS Principal Kenneth Tanner to attend the session. Board reconvened in regular session at 7:29p.m. without comment.
        Assistant Superintendent Jeff Krauklis reported on text book adoption. He said books had been on display at CCHS and CMS since January, and books would be on display at the elementary schools starting next week. He said the textbook committees were asking the Board to approve the books at their next meeting.
        The meeting was recessed until April 17. Next regular meeting of the Board will be Monday, April 2, at the administrative office building in Clay. - TK


I         t was a quiet Monday evening March 5, feet were propped up around the county. Across the scanner came a license check. It came back to Jeffery A Davis. Later, a data base check on a Moore subject. By putting two and three together and coming up with 7, the rumors began. By Wed. the story went that Prosecutor Davis had been caught with a one pound bag of pot in his car, the police were in on it, no arrests, some woman was pregnant, and everything was covered up.
           We went to Mr Davis himself for the truth. Davis,” John and Kelly Moore live in one of the trailers over there. They rent off me...I gave John a check for doing some work up there. His wife and son asked to borrow my Jeep to go and cash the check.....I said OK......Two and ½ hours later she shows back up. She went and picked up her husband and they couldn’t get the check cashed at Big Otter Exxon and went to Cunninghams. They picked up a hitch hiker, an acquaintance of theirs. A Jeffery Neal. They got stopped in a road check ( Bailey and Delk).One recognized the Neal boy...Gave him a pat down and found a pipe [dope] on him. They searched the vehicle and didn’t find anything. They were in the glove box, the console and the back end...Stuff was mixed around....”
          As to a cover up. Davis said Kelly Moore was charged with driving open a suspended license although she did have plastic license with her. Due to a conflict of interest, Davis said he immediately asked to be recused from the case.
          As to him knowing about the suspended license, Davis,”Is her license suspended? I don’t know. If someone has a driver’s license and I’m at home of the evening, I can’t call up Charleston and ask if this person has a valid license.
           Did the cops smell anything like pot? Davis,” Not to my knowledge. I think that this Neal had a prior charge of possession....So they just asked to search and were given permission. When permission is given to search, they do a safety pat down so they don’t get knifed or shot while they have their backs turned. They found a pipe in his pocket. That’s the story from the officer..”
           Davis,” No drugs were found and citations were issued for driving on a suspended license and no seat belt. I think. Mr Moore was cited for the pipe I believe. They took the pipe. Kelly did not immediately tell me she had picked up the hitchhiker ( Neal).
         Rumor on the street is that when Officer Delk telephones you, he got a cussing from you. Davis,” Not exactly...AT first it was me asking what was going on... I was already aggravated. I took it that he meant to smart me off. I’m sure he didn’t mean it. And then we got into a little yap yap yap. I have since apologized to him and to the Sheriff for the whole Dept. For loosing my temper. He accepted my apology.”
           To finish off the story, Davis commented that he has pretty thick skin, that rumors generally don’t bother him except for the ones mixing him in with drug activity. Davis,” I don’t do drugs, I don’t sell drugs and I don’t buy drugs.”
          Cover up? No. Charges not filed? Charges were filed. Drugs found? No. Davis ugly?....

        Since there has already been newspaper coverage of the March 15 Clay Town Council meeting in another local paper, we ‘ll report just the highlights of the explosive dialogue and then get into the other important dealings of that meeting held at the Water Plant/Town Hall.
           It’s 4:00pm March 15. Town Council is quiet as they sit around the wooden conference table. Very little discussion, very little joking. Mayor Jamie is not looking around nor is he going over various correspondence as is his usual practice. Something is different this evening. Those at the table as well as the 10 or so in the peanut gallery knew this was a night where anything could happen.
          In addition to the tension in the air, something else was different. Town Recorder Betty Murphy was back at the table after a month long vacation. Murphy’s long tenure with the Town of Clay provides a “paper trail” of her conservative ways, her direct approach to dealing with tough issues, and a historical perspective on how things have been done in the past. This was also her first Council meeting since Doc S Jamie had been appointed Mayor Feb 15, 2001. Long time Clay residents and follower of Clayberry politics remember the last time Jamie was Mayor and Betty was there as Recorder in the late 80's. At that time friction between the two lead to Jamie taking her office keys and firing her from her water clerk day time job. Murphy sought and received an injunction from the courts and her follow up lawsuit resulted with getting her job back, her keys back and maybe even some egg on Doc Jamie to boot.
           After opening the meeting Dave Derby gave a denominational prayer and the usual minutes approved, blah blah blah, some bills were paid to local vendors, blah blah blah. Mayor Jamie told the assembled that WV Water will continue to provide the water plant with a free operator for just a couple more weeks and the Town could not ask them back for more help if certified operators are not in place at the plant. Jamie,”... that means that a Boil Water Advisory will be in effect again..”Jamie asked the Council to authorize him to hire a Class II Water Operator. New to Town Council Arthur Jarrett made a motion to allow the Mayor do the hiring. Murphy, “I feel that is the Council’s responsibility, they were elected to do this. This affects all of Clay county. We need to discuss and hire him.”
           As to whether there was any back room politicking before the meeting, Council member Helen Morris said that although she had indicated she supported Jamie doing the hiring before the meeting, she had changed her mind. Jamie made his plans more clear, he wanted to hire Jim Williams as the operator. Come back from Murphy, “ I don’t see how with the problems he has caused this town.” Morph.. was referring to Williams being fired from town payroll two years earlier. Doc,” what’s past is past.” Jamie wanted to hire a local person because they could respond quicker to emergencies. In support of the new Mayor Council person Sally Legg suggested that the new hire be on a trial basis and all this discussion should be done in secret. Jamie came back with no way on being secret and,” I will be responsible for Mr Williams.” Didn’t wash folks. Murphy suggest that another person is wanting the job and, “No way, he has worked her before ( referring to Williams).”
            The voices are getting louder. Council person Wanda Chambers, “ I am definitely against hiring Jimmy Williams.” Legg came back again with the idea of a probation period since she too had had run ins with Williams. Murphy, “He has a suit against the town.” With Helen, Wanda, Helen already speaking out against the hire, Jamie is starting to get agitated. Then Dave Derby,” I don’t think we should hire him.” Helen,” I said that I would vote for him, but with a clear conscience, I can’t.”
            With the majority against him, Jamie warmed up with stronger louder words explaining all his accomplishments over the last three weeks. Things like phone calls made, getting loans for the Town, a $50,000.00 grant, all the time he has spent on the business of the town, etc. Doc,” My purpose is to help the town.” With many talking at once, Jamie backed himself into a corner with,” I see there is no confidence in my employment, I RESIGN AS MAYOR.”Uh oh...
Talking over Council members , the Mayor explained again how he would be responsible for Williams actions. Murphy, “ I think we need a stable, honest, knowledgeable person.” Still talking over other comments and knowing now the Council was not supportive of his pick for the job, Jamie told all that he had already promised Williams the job, was 99.99% sure the job was his, and that Williams had already quit his other job. Now open bickering between Chambers and Jamie and Murphy and Jamie. Murphy now much firmer, “ It’s not the will of the people to get Jim back!”
          In the middle of all the side discussions and the Mayor louder and over them, Arthur Jarrett again made the motion to allow Jamie hire Williams. Sally Legg seconded the motion. Against: Derby, Chambers, Murphy, Helen Morris.” Motion voted down!
          Jamie was fully boxed into the corner and shouting began. Murphy, “We’ve been there and done that.” Legg,”I just want to support the Mayor.” Louder and pleading, Jamie,”MS MURPHY HAS A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE TOWN TOO!!! Morph.,” I do NOT have a lawsuit!!!” Back and forth. Jamie,” It’s the same thing. What’s the difference you or Jim??”
         Getting much warmer readers, Jamie,” Who authorized these bills NOT to be PAID??... Who AUTHORIZED THESE PEOPLE THEY DO NOT HAVE TO PAY THEIR WATER BILLS.... FOR TWO YEARS” The Mayor was referring to all the past due water bills that should have been cut off months ago and someone told the employees to leave the customers hooked up. Murphy looking him square in the eyes,”YOU’RE GOING CRAZY! I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!” Jamie, “I’M NOT CRAZY AT ALL! WHO AUTHORIZED THIS. LET THE PEOPLE KNOW! SHOW ME ONE SINGLE CUT OFF IN A YEAR!” Lots and lots of talking ! With all the side comments, someone pointed the finger at past Mayor Joyce Gibson as the person who would not allow any cut offs. Wow!
        And then just 13 minutes into the stormy meeting, Jamie,” IF MS MURPHY CAN HANDLE THE JOB, THE JOB IS HER’S.” Doctor SS Jamie, Mayor for just four weeks left the room. Within a gnat’s second, Murphy was in the Mayor’s chair and called for order. The crowd was stunned and the shock period was broken with this from Sally Legg,” Is losing Jamie more trouble than having Jim Williams?” By the time Jamie made it to the door, new Chief of Police Linda Gray had her gun belt and badge off and followed close behind out the door. Jamie’s resignation was accepted by Council.
It’s not over readers, go get another beer and come back for the rest.
Here are the highlights that followed.
          Discussion ensued over the Town being responsible for a damaged water pump owned by Clay County PSD. The PSD is blaming Town employee Terry Traub for forgetting to turn off a pump that caused the PSD pump to burn up. Much of this discussion went unnoticed since most of the peanut gallery and Council were still in shock. No decision made.
        Discussion turned to the many churches that receive free water from the town. With the Catholics charged for their water and Fairview Baptist not charged , Arthur Jarrett, “ If you’re going to charge one, charge them all.” Motion passed to start charging for water service at all churches. Additional talk on billing the Fire Dept. and will the churches have to pay a $300.00 tap fee.
          Herea cutey. Council voted to hire Dowell Jones as a water operator. Jones has no certificate and no training for operating a water plant and is a cousin to water clerk Dwana Murphy. Some felt that Jones could get a waiver on his lack of experience since he has two years of college. Jones will start to work in two weeks. There was no discussion on his rate of pay.
          Town decided not to use their attorney in the Billie Zegeer lawsuit against the town but rather turn it over to the insurance provider, the Board of Risk.
Council voted to officially make Arthur Jarrett town manager.
         Discussion then turned to the various grants and loans coming to the Town and not here yet. Dwana Murphy made mention of a $50,000.00 interest free loan that Doc Jamie engineered. Mention made of a $10,000.00 grant the town never received and that grant is now holding up getting a bigger $50,000.00 grant to operate the water plant on.
         During all these topics, lots of mini discussions and commotion around the room. After a brief secret session, the announcement was made that the Town had wrongly sued a customer and that person is now suing the Town for making her kids sick during the past Boil Water Order.
         Acting Mayor Betty Murphy told the elected ones that law requires them to be paid. NOTE: 6 weeks ago Council voted NOT to accept their $90.00 per month salary during the financial crisis.
         Dwana Murphy told the crowd that a receipt book is now missing.
         Betty Murphy will again work on the State mandated Town Budget due April 1, 2001
          Around the table came comments on who does NOT want to be Mayor. Those were : Betty Murphy, Dave Derby. Arthur Jarrett said he will think about it. Suggestions for Mayor included Bobby Stover and Randy Schoonover. Remember Jarrett narrowly lost to Joyce Gibson the last time around by just a couple votes.
           With Helen Morris’s prodding, the office staff will again get an hour of paid lunch.
NOTE : The Special Town Council Meeting scheduled for Thursday March 22 has been rescheduled for Tuesday March 27 at 4:00pm.
One heck of a meeting came to a close. One that will be remembered and go down into the history books!

Back in the summer of 1998 readers will remember School Board coverage of Teresa Ramsey raising concerns over rigged job hiring practices. She had bid on a contract bus driver’s opening and the job went to another person. Board member Gene King showed himself during two school board meetings with comments that he had promised that job to another long before it ever come up for bid and “ I give jobs to my friends..” After two years of “whipsawing” between different court systems in Clay and Kanawha Counties, it appears now that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Ramsey. Judge Jack Alsop ruled on March 21, 2001 that there will be a trial, it will be held on Clay County, and the date will be April 25, 2001. Raise your hand if you remember Superintendent Linkinogger gleefully commenting last year that the Ramsey case was dead.

***In the continuing saga of how to waste tax payer dollars, Clay County Development Corp (CDC) has a lawsuit against the Nutrition Site at Two Run over the use of the Nutrition Site using the words “seniors, senior, & senior center” on their signs and brochures. Trial date for the warring factions is now scheduled for Friday March 23 at 9:30am in Judge Alsop’s Courtroom.

***In the last edition of this paper was the complete rundown of the Health Dept rules on smoking in a public building. There was one problem. The law cited for ordinance was wrong. The law cited had actually been repealed two years ago. Don’t light up yet smokers. According to Health Dept Director Karen Dawson, the new law that gives authority to county Health Depts. is 16-2-1.