March 21, 2003
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Justice: Civil Procedures or Subject Matter?
??? DID YOU KNOW ???
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon?s Corner

Been hearing a lot about water service in and around the county haven’ you readers? There’ more! Here’ the very latest from the Clay Roane PSD Work Shop meeting held March 20th at the Procious water plant.
        Remember in Dec and Jan when we reported the Clay Roane had been operating without vehicle insurance. Now it’ worser. Is that a word? At Clay Roane, it is. According to Chair Postelwait, their insurance carrier dropped coverage Friday March 14, 2003. None! No coverage on the building, no liability if someone were to get hurt, and none on the vehicles! She said that the insurance refuses to restore coverage due to the number of times the PSD has been cut off.
        The purpose of the work shop was to work on a budget. New Boardster Larry White took charge of the efforts. After much debate, it appears that severe budget cuts, including reductions in employee insurance coverage and maybe even reducing employee hours worked, may be the only way to keep the water service provider in business next year.
        Glad you kept reading, here’ the juicy part. According to Postelwait, the WV PSC is demanding that they immediately ask for another rate increase or! Or! Or!, the WV PSC will put Clay Roane PSD into receivership. But wait there’ more! Also, the big boys in Charleston are demanding that Clay County PSD, Mr. Happy land, take over all billing and meter reading duties! Sherry Mullins commented that she had talked to Gert Bakker who said the PSC will call for an investigation and then force the PSD into receivership! No decisions made readers but look for another rate increase request within three weeks. Note: this has all the markings of our favorite PSC aluminum siding salesman, Jim Weimer!
         As a temporary stop gap way to stay afloat, Boardster White worked it hard to get the Board to sell the little used, Newton building for some instant cash. No decisions made. Next meeting March 27th at the Senior Center on Main Street. Be there for sure.                                AW
        Clay County Development Corp (CDC) Board of Directors met in regular session March 18 in their Main Street Clayberry digs. Even after waiting for the Bingo game to end, attendees were few. With Francis Sutton and Kathleen Morris absent only Gary Whaling, Peter Triplett, Eunice Thomas, Teeny Taylor, Jimmy Duffield, Gary and Reva Whaling, Janey Patterson showed.
        Probably most interesting during the hour long meeting was discussion of a new Court ruling from Taylor County that forced a local Senior Center there to comply with state Open Meeting Laws, Sunshine Laws. According to the fellow in the peanut gallery, Judge Allan Moats ruled in early March that any non profit government agency that accepts Federal or State tax dollars MUST comply with state law.
        NOTE: Although not read during the meeting, from the Charleston Gazette: The Dominion Post won a case last month that may open the books of more quasi government agencies to public scrutiny. Judge Alan Moats ordered that Taylor County Senior Citizens Inc. must open its records to the public
. “here is no question that it is non profit. It would appear that when a non profit corporation chooses to seek state and federal funds, it gives up certain rights it would not have to otherwise – such as denying access or information. Once it goes that route, it is subject to the same laws as other public bodies. Taylor County Senior Citizens Inc is subject to the state Freedom of Information Act,” the judge ruled.
        Over the last two years, our local Clay Development Corp (CDC), the parent provider for the Clay Senior Center, decided it was a private, non profit agency and not subject to the prying eyes of the public. At one point, up to 60 days ago, the public was not allowed to even attend their Board meetings and to this day, the public is not allowed access to financial records.
         Now back to the meeting.
         Chair Whaling felt that since the public was allowed into Board meetings, they were “pen” Whaling,”I thought we had settled that at our last meeting. It was voted on and passed that we would have open meetings… What’ that [Taylor County] have to do with us?”In response, the fellow went on to say that Open Meeting Laws provide for more than just meeting attendance.”Whaling, “What do you want???” CDC Director Betty Stalnaker, “What do you want to know Andy? YOU have something in mind! What do you really want?”Again, from the Mel Gibson look alike, “Would you all re look at this Board being covered by Open Meeting Laws?”
         Whaling , “We are a non profit, not governed.” Whaling questioned whether the Taylor Center was non profit. Secretary Janet Fitzwater questioned into Taylor County’ organization being completely different from CDC. Fitzwater,” they are not even classified with us…This is Board of Directors of Clay Development not of the Clay Senior Center. Do you understand what I am saying? The Clay Senior Center has federal and state funds. They are also funded by $ that come into the Medicaid waiver program for services rendered…. Probably 25% of what supports this is federal and state funds BUT because this is the Clay Development Corp., that’ why the WV Ethics Commission passed a ruling that we are not subject to Sunshine Laws or the Governmental Open Meeting Laws. The Clay Senior Center does not have a Board of Directors…. It’ a whole different thing… We are private… We have a contract with the state to run the senior center…”Whaling, “What more can we do? ..You say to make it broader. What more can we do?”
         After longer discussions and much hesitation ( almost resentment), the Board under the guidance of Gary Whaling, agreed by motion and second, to check and see if Judge Moats’recent decision may apply to the operation of Clay County’ most stealthy social service provider. One big happy face to Chair Whaling. Oh and the rest of the meeting was just hum drum discussions. Next meeting April 21 at 1pm.        AW
         SHHHHHH IT’ Secret at CCC
                 Being the tight wads that we are and trying to keep this edition to a financially manageable 16 pages, we’e giving just the highlights of the 2 ½ hour, March 13th Clay County Commission (CCC) meeting. With Sams Bragg and Triplett primed and ready to go, it was tight budget time.
                 With the Health Dept roof leaking like an onion sack, CCC agreed to cough up $5000.00 for repairs. The Health Dept will allot $50,000.00 from their nest egg.
                 The rental site of the old ambulance sub station at Lizemores? It’ gone. CCC voted not to renew the $50.00 per month lease agreement with Ben Murphy. As for the newly installed septic system there, Ben gets to keep the poopster.
                 As for replacing retired Kathy Britt on the Clay County Housing Authority, no decision. Humor wise, from Peter Triplett, “Maybe put Melissa [Postelwait] on there…”        Currently the CCC pays $68,000.00 a year for insurance which includes Fire Dept coverage. Sams, “I am not satisfied with current carrier. They didn’ do anything for the Fire Dept. Sams was referring to the damaged along the Interstate last year, Big Otter Fire Dept pumper. No decision but changes coming readers.
                 As for the community supported Big Otter Ambulance Station trailer, it goes on the Auction block April 11 at 2pm. CCC wanted to put the proceeds from the almost new trailer ( $18,000 two years ago) into the Ambulance Service fund. After much community snarling, looks like the proceeds will be sent over to the Big Otter Fire Dept.
                 In the way of an Ambulance Service update and according to Commission President Sams, they’e got $9500.00 as of this date. Consensus: They are barely holding their own.
                 Listed on the agenda: Discuss CCC/ Business Development Authority vs. Clay County Bank lawsuit, payment of attorney fees, expenses, and discuss strategy of lawsuit. Secret time readers beginning at 3:15 and lasting, get this, until nearly 5 pm. With the public out in the hallway looking thru the glass door, Clerk Judy Moore, the three blind mice and Prosecutor Daniel Grindo remained within. Keep in mind, Grindo is not the CCC’ attorney for this case. Of course, what they were discussing was Jimmy Sams gripe that the County is paying for the BDA’ attorney, Barbara Schamberger. In other court action, Schamberger is suing the CCC over the appointment of Grindo as Prosecutor and Sams is miffed.
                 With our nose pressed against the glass and outside looking in: Grindo checks to see if the ace cub reporter’ tape recording machine has been left on. Not feeling secure, even after checking for it, Grindo asks the standing in the hallway reporter about the tape. Bragg ( a Schamberger supporter) has his arms folded, talking a bunch with his head laid way back in the big leather chair. To the right, Big Pete is spitting in a white cup. Grindo now seated in the front pew, has his back to the door. Bragg is rubbing his right eye. Triplett, both hands in the air followed by shuffling thru some papers… to emphasize his point, Sams puts both hands in the air. Triplett appears to direct questions at Bragg. Bragg buries his head in the leather chair with both eyes closed. It looked like Bragg was the brunt of the conversation. Bragg left the room.
                 While looking at his watch, Grindo mans the telephone. Back in the room, Bragg talks with Sams. Bragg words to Judy Moore followed by both Sams and Bragg talking to Judy.. Again Sams expressing with his hands to Bragg. Bragg on the edge of his chair talking. Bragg’ head goes down on the desk top. Triplett shuffles papers. Judy Moore leaves the room in search of BDA Chair Paige Willis. Now off the phone, Grindo reads from a thick green State Code book.
                 4:10pm and with all other Courthouse offices closed down, Bragg acts like he is punching out Triplett and Sams. Laughter could be seen. Paige Willis enters the secret time. Because Paige has a loud voice, something about $28.00 per hour could be heard thru the glass. Bragg’ head is back on the desk. The conversations get quiet, much less agitation seen but Bragg frowned. Pete sat motionless. Sams gets on the phone. Bragg’ chair turns side ways. After an hour and a half, the public was allowed back in.
                 Motion made and passed for the County Commission to pay Schamberger’ legal fees through March 13, this date, and for the Business Development Authority (BDA) to pay any new attorney fees from this date on. Currently the BDA has around $9000.00 in their coffers. Note: Ms Schamberger has not turned in an invoice for services for months according to the CCC.
                 Willis looked pleased with the decision as the group left the Courthouse Willis, “. Glad to get this squared away.”                AW
         Justice: Civil Procedures or Subject Matter?

         By: Jim Chafin
                 In an article in the May 17,1998, Miami Herald, Paul Levine, lawyer and writer, called for an end to the system of law clerks, and “equire judges to do their won work, starting with reviewing the petitions seeking review.” Levine goes on to say, “f we must be subjected to the political and personal slants of the adjudicators, let it be from those appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate – not callow youths enamored by their own self-importance.” In the book, ‘ Scorpions,’Levine shows how a few dozen clerks, about four to each judge, wield power at the Supreme Court.
                 In the book, ‘losed Chambers,’by Times Books, Edward Lazarus makes the same point in his memories about his days as a law clerk for Judge Harry A. Blackmum, of Roe vs. Wade infamy. Both of these writers speak about the conflicts of ‘onservatism versus liberalism’as espoused by law clerks and confirmed by Supreme Court Judges; who, by law, are supposed to be free and independent administrators of the law;
but are they? These writers and other scholars, present a picture of justice in this country that, we are sure, the legal system would rather be forgotten.
                 The thread of continuity that ties all this rhetoric together is the commonality all these individuals and groups share – the legal system itself. All have been, or are presently, deeply involved in the workings of the system; either as officers of the court, or, as someone who has been before the court as a defendant or plaintiff. Some are enriched by their activities while others, it is fair to say, have been impoverished. But all have seen the system in ways that not many folks are ever privy to. They have seen both the good and the bay sides, and have knowledge of what can happen when the judiciary fails to live up to the standards prescribed for it under moral law. Folks who have supported their government all their life, myself included, do not believe they should have to fight with their representatives over accessibility in order to have wrongdoers know how difficult it is for civil rights to be enforced in a court of law. That is precisely why both government and private industry, each, drag their feet in controversies involving private citizens, saying: “et in line; get yourself a lawyer; and sue me!” And some citizens do just that, and in the process, add to the costs of an already expensive corporate exercise – with little chance or winning – something akin to hitting the lottery.
                          A legal term that the court uses in excess is the word “rivolous.” While recognizing there probably are such cases in the system, again, it is the function of a jury to determine if such is true; because, without a hearing in a proper court, the tone and content of a case cannot be properly determined. And one thing for sure, financial or physical injury is not a ‘rivolous’filing. But the court, acting as judge and jury, determines, before a jury trial is convened, that the suit is ‘rivolous,’and summarily dismisses it. That is not a constitutional use of judicial power! For citizens, walking a line between ‘aw’and ‘awlessness,’we must deal with reality, not presumptions, as in legal circles. From historic sources, then, we can draw several conclusions:
                 Legal counsel is not available for most elderly, disabled, or poor. Counsel, if available at all, is very expensive. Legal rights are treated as any other commercial product – one must be able to pay for them. Courts are sworn to uphold the Constitution but routinely operate under Admiralty law – not common law. Presuming statutes to be constitutional, the judiciary routinely “ubber stamps”thereby covering the Constitution with tons of paper that may not fit into constitutional guidelines.

                 KING TROUBLES Remember reading about our County Commission hiring Nicholas County 911 Director Dave King to serve as 911 Coordinator for this county? King, the first time ever paid 911 director, receives $1500 a month for his part time duties in Clayberry. During a recent Commission meeting, first mention came that King did less than a spectacular job for this county during the February 2003 ice storms. During those candid discussions, those in the know felt King spent all his time working the Nicholas County problems and giving little help to this county. Those in the know in Clayberry may not be in the know after all. Seems Mr. King didn’ do so well in Nicholas County either.
                 During a recent Nicholas County Commission meeting at the Courthouse in Summersville, it was kind of noisy as 20 fire trucks circled the courthouse with air horns blasting. The Emergency Responders demanded the Nicholas County Commission fire Dave King and get a qualified Emergency Service Director. Channel 3 and 4 TV news crews covered the affair as did the Nicholas County and Beckley newspapers. The Nicholas paper gave front page coverage. Oh small town America….
         CCC OPPOSITION TO PSD Three months ago, after some prodding and prying, it became public that Clay County PSD was purchasing a $50,000.00 double wide trailer to house their offices. Back on June 13 2002, the PSD’ Main Street Clay facility burned to the ground. With ground skirting, steps and such, it is expected that the new trailer will cost closer to $80,000.00 when completed.
          Two weeks ago, and done away from a public setting, our Clay County Commission filed a formal complaint against the Clay County PSD in an attempt to stop the costly purchase. Seems the Commissioners are questioning the decision to purchase the office space since the PSD is receiving FREE office space in the basement of the old courthouse. Additionally, the PSD is poised for merger with other water service providers which already have office space in use.
         WIDE GLIDE One time leader of the Clay Development Corporation (CDC) pack, Earnie “ide Glide”Sirk had his day in court March 17 before Judge Jack Alsop. Sirk was tossed from his chairmanship of the CDC board after employees and friends of employees led a coup to remove him from office. Sirk had been investigating allegations of serious improprieties within the office staff. Since being tossed, Sirk headed off to Circuit Court land for help. Without the aid of legal counsel, three weeks ago, Sirk amended his petition and was given a March 17th hearing date.
          On the 17th, around 11:30 am, the CDC clan (Betty Stalnaker, Pam Taylor, Faye Asbury) entered the court room with their CDC paid for lawyer, Benjamin Bryant. On the near side sat Sirk with local attorney Jerome Novobilski at the throttle.
                 There were problems according to the Judge. Alsop said any citizen can bring items to court but even private citizens must follow court room procedures. Sirk had not followed the rules and was ready to crash and burn. Jerome explained that he had only recently been retained as counsel and agreed that Sirk had not crossed all the “’”
                 You could almost see the CDC clan giggle as their attorney asked that the case be tossed with prejudice. Bryant, “… this is a disturbance for Clay Development…”Jerome asked that he be allowed to re-file the documents.
                 Mention was made that the various CDC parties had NOT been served the court documents as required by law. Jerome explained that Sirk had paid for the service and could not explain why the authorities had not performed their jobs. Sheriff Fields had an uncomfortable at this point.
                 Noting that a citizen has a constitutional right to file with the Circuit Court, Alsop ditched the CDC request to dismiss with prejudice and said the plaintiffs could file a new proceeding.
                 With the suit dropped, the CDC folks grinned from ear to ear. Bailiff Gene King went over to Ms Asbury and Taylor. Gene, “eels good to be a winner!”All laughed.
                 Watch for Earnie Sirk to be back in court within a month or so.
         LETS TALK WAR
                 For our Middle School and Elementary students, the Gulf War is just something in text books. High school students have only vague CNN memories of booms, green screens, and burly ‘tormin Norman.’For the rest of America, we remember night after night, glued to the TV screens, waiting as each blow by blow detail was advanced to us.
                 Last night, Wednesday, March 19, our new war began around 9:34 as American missiles tried to decapitate Saddam Hussein. The surgical strike, as newscasters have come to say, came up lame. Within hours, the Iraq leader was on Baghdad TV informing his constituents, “ay, nay, nay, they didn’ get me!”and to fight back with all your might. Here in Clayberry, just before the missile launch, the winds came followed by three strong bolts of lightning and the strong rumble of thunder. It was eerie, almost as if someone was trying to tell us something.
         Whether it’ being glued to our TVs, paying higher prices for fuel, or seeing our sons and daughters in harm’ way, war affects us all. In an attempt to get a local prospective on war, we interviewed those who know it best, those that served our country. For each we asked almost identical questions. For one, Delbert Davis, who has a son training in the Marine Corps for infantry, additional thoughts were solicited.
         First up was Paul Myers from Glen who served in artillery, Vietnam from 1962 to 1965. Many know Paul as a guy who served on the Democrat Executive Committee and as one of the community activists who worked to save H.E. White Elementary school from the chopping block seven years ago. Army veteran Myers said while he was “ropped”in Vietnam 5 times, including once without any ammo for his M-16, he was not actually in a combat situation. Now for the questions.
         How is this war different from the first Persian War? Myers
, “he first Gulf war was because the Iraqis occupied another country and we went in to drive them out. Now we are based in this country, the one we drove them out of, right on their border (Iraq) and we are calling the shots We’e the aggressor, not the savior.”
                  Are we better organized for this war? Myers, “bsolutely, we have studied them for 12 years. We know what he’ going to do because of what he did before. We know his army is weakened and has less potential than before. We know he doesn’ have the up to date equipment we have. We have some awesome equipment.”What’ your prediction on how long this war will last? Myers, “If it starts tonight, I predict it will be over by Saturday.”What’ the effect of all the other countries not being with us this time around, just American and British forces being used? “’ say, there is a wait and see attitude with those countries… they’l wait and see, if we seem to be taking the upper hand almost immediately, they’l jump in and say, ‘ell, we didn’ want to be the leadership in this, but we support you, now we’e behind you.” If America would loose a bunch of soldiers, will America continue to support the war effort? Myers, “ lot of people will except the people that lost a family member or the family of the people that loose. There is going to be some losses. I predict that he [Saddam] will unleash some chemical warfare. He’l find out where we’e concentrated and that’ where he will try to drop it.”Will America support the massive rebuilding of Iraq? Myers, “I don’ know but I’l tell you what I’ like to see. I’ like them [USA] to take control of the oil fields and say we spent x amount of dollars to liberate you people, to set up a free government, [now] I’ like us to take control of the oil and sell it until we get our money back…. And it not have to come from the taxpayers…”Don Jarvis has been a volunteer community leader for 23 years. Jarvis has dedicated his retirement years to Lion’ Club, helping with the Apple Festival, and the Maysel Community Park project. Before community work, Jarvis was U.S. Navy Captain Don Jarvis who ended his military career in 1981 after 23 years of service. Jarvis is considered a WW II era vet although the war was over when he enlisted in 1946. Jarvis is also considered the most senior officer living in the county.
As for this war being different, Mr. Jarvis,
“he purpose is different. This one can almost be compared to the start of World War II. Everybody was trying to appease Hitler. It is almost history repeating itself.”Are we better organized this time around? “t’ hard for me to say after 23 years retirement of what they are using these days.”In your opinion, is this going to be a long or short war? “hat’ really just looking at a crystal ball. The major hostility should be over rather quickly but there is going to be an aftermath. You’l have to watch your six, your enemy is going to be all around you.”If there is a big loss of life, if it gets messy, will America support the war? “hat, I have no idea.” As for this country’ support to rebuilding Iraq, Don Jarvis, “ope so.”Delbert Davis spent 20 years, 6 months, and 23 days in the Marine Corp finishing with a rank of Master Sergeant. Retired since 1994, Mr. Davis lives on Upper Falling Rock Road near Bomont and works as site superintendent for Trimble Engineering Company. Davis now has a son serving in the Marines receiving training at Camp LeJune, North Carolina in infantry.
How is this war different? Davis,
“e have less world support, therefore we have to deal with rebuilding. I think more people will get on board as the war progresses.”Are we better organized now? “ think our military is in much better shape.”As for the length of the war, “I really don’ want to even speculate on that. It could be over in days or weeks, the actual shooting war. But it’ going to be years before we get out of there.” He also felt the air campaign will be shorter, “The bombs have improved so much.” Being interviewed just minutes before the air campaign began Thursday March 20, Davis added, “f you’l notice they’e not highlighting the Air Force part of it. That should be the part scaring the **** out of them. They haven’ said a thing about the Air Force. Here it is just before they start and we haven’ heard a word about them.”As for this country going into war without a strong coalition, Davis, “See, that gives the Arab countries a…. more of… a reason to hate us. If it starts going bad, it gives others a chance to jump on board or off… Like, if they start using gas, they may join [USA]. It also is an indication that there should have been other diplomatic ways out. We built up a heck of a force there and stall [now]? We’e running out of time to use it. We wanted to get in there and out before it gets too d*** hot and you can’ fight the war in that area. If the rest of the world don’ want us in there, and we had a way to delay it … we’ be better off waiting on diplomatic efforts. Also, our economy is going to pot. We got to get out of there and think about the economy and an election just 15 months away. You got to think about the election and the economy in less than 2 years.” Davis felt that this country is now boxed into the war.
As for this country supporting war efforts if there are big American losses. Davis,
“ don’ think so. The generation that has kids there [Iraq] now is the generation that was opposed to the Vietnam war. We’l support our troops but not our politicians that worked for the war.”What about our support for rebuilding Iraq after the war? “I don’ think the common people will support rebuilding, but the government will support it and sell it to us, that it’ good for us.”As for recent Clay High graduate Alex Davis, son of Delbert Davis, some thoughts from the Dad Davis, “I have thought about this, I am a little more worried about him than I am the guys that are there now. His training will be over and he’l be ready about the time the war is over. He’l be standing around doing security in Iraq, just waiting for some frickin’sniper to shoot ‘m all. At that time, America won’ even be thinking about Iraq. That’ when my son will be there when the rest of the world is not even thinking about Iraq. Like we have 37,000 in Afghanistan now and we don’ even think about them now. There is a lot of young military in there right now and I, we, don’ even know who they are. It’ kind of f***** up if you know what I mean.”A community volunteer, a truck driver, a contractor, all insight readers and from those with experience.
War is never good and never without loss. And finally a quote from the late Basil O’onnor:

The world cannot continue to wage war like physical giants and to seek peace like intellectual pygmies.


Jimmy D. Morris headed off to the Ashland, Kentucky minimum security Federal Prison Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at 2 pm. Morris faced up to 2 years behind bars, five years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine. Judge Charles Haden sentenced the 67 year old, local former bank president and one time state school board president to 18 months in the slammer after Morris pled guilty to stealing $135,000.00 from customers of the Clay County Bank.
        During the February 2003 sentencing, Judge Haden said, “… Morris abused his position of trust he enjoyed with the bank” With a cracking voice, Morris made apologies, “ brought shame and embarrassment to my wife, daughters, sons, and brothers…. I want to say how sorry I am for my wrongs…. I especially regret the negative publicity brought to the State Board of Education…” Morris chose not to apologize to the citizens of Clay County during the February court hearing.
        Morris changed his Democrat party designation to Independent which allowed Governor Cecil Underwood to appoint him to the State School Board in 1998. He had just been elected to his second term as president of the group when he resigned. J.D. was also a member of the School Building Authority and served on that agency’ finance committee. Morris served on the Clay County School Board for 27 years prior to the statewide appointment.
        According to federal prosecutors, the one time pillar of the community stole from customer’ interest bearing accounts, expense reimbursements, and a student loan organization during his time as Clay County Bank president. He was asked to resign from the bank April 24, 2002. The next day, as bank officials met with FDIC investigators in Charleston, Morris made a $34,600.00 payment to the bank. The money covered student loans from the Penn. Education Assistance Agency. He made full restitution to the bank just days before charges were filed against him last October. Attorney Wayne King hand delivered a check to the bank for about $135,000.00. Morris resigned from the state school board October 11, 2002, nearly a week after he had been charged.
        To date, the Clay County Bank has made no public statements or provided any reassurances to its customers on whether or when the local dollars would be returned to the rightful accounts.
                It is expected that Morris will serve 8 ½ months in the old Arch Moore cell, 6 months at a half way house and the balance of his 18 month sentence and four years supervised release on home confinement.                                         AW

??? DID YOU KNOW ???
1.        May the most you wish for be the least you get?
2.        Coca Cola was originally
green in color.
3.        There are 300,000 girls involved in high school sports.
4.        America’ favorite Crayola color is blue.
5.        Up to date addresses are missing from the databases of 32 states, for more than 77,000 sex offenders.
6.        A 2001 survey by the US Fish and Wildlife Service found that 843,000 people participated in outdoor recreational activities in West Virginia and they spent $540 million.
7.        Approximately 45 percent of high school girls drink alcohol, compared with 49 percent of boys.
8.        In a survey of 1,042 adults and 400 teens, 42 percent of the adults and 34 percent of the teens ranked the toothbrush as more important to them than cars, computers and cell phones.
9.        According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the lives of 200 children could be saved each year if parents buckled them up in the back seat instead of letting them ride in the front.
10.         Several of the states most popular trout streams have not been stocked yet, because the US Forest Service roads that parallel them are impassable.
11.         There are 24 satellites orbiting the earth at an altitude of 11,000 nautical miles.
12.         A nationwide survey shows that 90 percent of today’ teenagers approve of interracial marriage.
13.         People who drink coffee regularly may be less at risk for Alzheimer’ disease, than people who don’ drink coffee.
14.         Bankruptcy filings jumped to a record high last year gaining 5.7 percent over 2001.
15.         According to Telecommunication and Internet Association, 70 percent of college students use mobile phones.
16.         Smith & Wesson has introduced it’ biggest handgun ever, a “0”caliber magnum, a five shot revolver with an 8 ½ inch barrel and weighs about 4 ½ pounds.
17.         America’ population of senior citizens is expected to double by 2030 to 71 million.
18.         27 West Virginians were killed in ATV accidents in 2002.
19.         There are 244 missing children in West Virginia.
20.        If you get only four to six hours of sleep a night, the effects could be the same as not sleeping at all for several days.         LMM

Dear Brother Bill...
By Evelyn McLaughlin
          Here we are again, hoping this finds you and everyone else in good spirits and health. After the cold of winter, we are beginning to see signs of spring. The little frogs are making their noise, the PeeWee bird is back and the Robin.-------Sorry you did not get my last letter. No! it did not get lost in the computer, it did not even get to the computer.-------Guess you are beginning to plan your garden. I needed to prune my grape vines----and I have found a really easy way-----Just pull on them until they break and there goes the dead ends (well, yes a few of the live branches also). Criss and Alyce Bragg of Ovapa have had several visitors recently. They include Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Loomis of Given, Larry and Alice O'Dell of Porter's Creek. Others visiting were Mike, Peggy and Crissy Bragg, Ronnie O'Dell, Alexis Bragg and Donovan Craft, all of Winfield. Aunt Delphia is staying with the Braggs during her illness. It is always a pleasure to visit with Alyce Faye. So sorry to learn of the death of Clarence Moore. He graduated with the class of 1955 (CCHS), and at one time was with the Brighter Side Quartet. LeAnn Bennett, of Valley View, has recently received several honors. LeAnn is a business management student at West Virginia Tech. She is listed in the America Colleges and Universities, The National Dean's List and she is an All American Collegiate Scholar. Last semester she was placed on the President's list at school. She and her parents, Dennis and Rheenetta Benett, and brother, Tyler, attend services at the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Elkview. LeAnn also likes BIG trucks. I ran into Barbara Schamberger at Elkview a few days ago. She is a very nice lady and we are fortunate, in Clay County, to have her with us. Linda Boggs Cunningham, formerly of O'Brien, now of Mercer, Pennsylvania, has been visiting friends in Ohio. Linda surely has as beautiful home in Pennsylvania. Some folks recently on the sick list---Rita Davis Kirk, Linda Love Scott and Dolly Lyons. Get Well wishes going their way. Did you know that our family history can be traced back to Londonderry, Ireland? That is the Rogers side of our family. The parents staff and students at the H. E. White Elementary will certainly miss their principal Joe Paxton, when he takes on a new job. He has been a wonderful asset to that community. Congratulations should go to him on his new assignment (for he's a jolly good fellow) Mr. and Mrs. Brian Collins ,of Valley Fork ,are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. It seems every time I find a penny laying around I think of Carol Ann "Tiny" Eagle (passed away May, 2002). The other day I found a penny on the parking lot and just after that I found a plastic one-----I thought to myself-----"Tiny is playing a trick on me." Caleb Ian McLaughlin fell on a stick and really messed up his hand. He missed a couple days of school. Can you see any better since your eye surgery? Some thoughts to chew on, "Scatter your flowers as you go, for you will never go over the same road again"; "Aim high and hold the aim"; and—Don't worry, it won't last, nothing ever does. Many times we are troubled with problems that we think we cannot solve----perhaps we can't-------but there is ONE that can.
        Until next time "Help us all to be brave."                         Love, Sis

Greetings from beautiful downtown Bomont! First and foremost, congratulations Joe Paxton! Mr. Paxton has accepted the position of Vice Principal of Clay Middle School. Though Mr. Paxton has repeatedly said it was a tough decision, he is excited about his new prospects and justifiably proud of his accomplishments at H.E. White. During his tenure at H.E. White, he fought a hard battle to keep our school open, a State of the Art computer lab was built, and the school achieved Exemplary Status for the first time ever. He also hosts a great Year-End Banquet/Awards Ceremony to acknowledge his appreciation of his students and their parents. Mr. Paxton will be sincerely missed by all he leaves behind at H.E. White and we wish him well in his new endeavor. (Don’ harbor any disillusions, Joe, you’l be dealing with us same rowdy parents again in just a few short years. You can run, but you can’ hide.)
Congratulations to H.E. White’ B-team on their
FIRST PLACE win in the Clay County Basketball League! After going through the entire season undefeated, it came down to Valley Fork and H.E. White in the playoffs. Valley Fork took them down, beating them 12-2 in the first playoff game. Don’ let that score mislead you into thinking it was an easy win - those Rockets wanted it bad and fought hard for it. Had H.E. White maintained its undefeated status and beat Valley Fork, we could’e all been home grilling burgers and having a cold one (yes, Mom, I mean Coke) while it was still daylight. Double elimination makes for a long day, though. For Round 2, H.E. White was back in stride and beat Valley Fork 9-7. Congratulations to Valley Fork for a hard-won 2nd place.
Coach Extraordinaire Jim Kearns was awarded the Coach Appreciation Award in the 3rd/4th-grade bracket. This was a very well deserved award, as he was part of one of the only coaching teams that stayed within their boundaries, out of the referees’faces and maintained their composures. With cool-headed Chase Robertson by his side as the Assistant Coach Extraordinaire, they did an excellent job in teaching the team how to work together, play hard and win fair. As Granny liked to say, “ream always rises to the top.” Coty Robertson and Montana Barker took home All Tournament trophies and Garrett Ellison’ trophy shelf now displays a MVP trophy. It was a team effort, though - they all deserve recognition. In addition to Coty, Montana and Garrett, here’ the rest of the winning team: Nichole Westfall, Josh Cantrell, Morgan Jackson, Dana Lesher, Adam O’ell, Star Kish, and Tommy Young. You all rock!! The A-team brought home 5th place, with Tyler Pullins taking the MVP trophy. The trophies look very impressive next to those 2nd place ones both teams brought home from the Walton Invitational.
While we’e handing out congratulations, Bob Morris and Steve Thomas, both coaches for Clay Elementary, deserve the “ Can’ Believe Your Head Didn’ Explode”Award. Admittedly, there were some close games and stress levels rose high at times. Granted, these coaches are volunteers and I’ sure their efforts are appreciated. However, if shoving kids, squeezing their heads and screaming at them like deranged banshees is the kind of sportsmanship Clay Elementary athletes are being taught, any future thoughts of consolidation should be banned based solely on lack of athletic principle. As the parent of a 3rd grade basketball player whose school zone says he’ supposed to attend Clay Elementary, I’ once again reminded of the many reasons why I bus my children to H.E. White in the Cantrell Express each day. Parents need to stay in the stands, coaches need to set an example, and refs need to be accepted as human, even if some of them do appear to be blind as bats (AK & BT - your eyesight is just fine). It’ much like sneezing with your eyes open - a simple concept that’ impossible to accomplish.
As long as we’e on the topic of teaching good sportsmanship, it bears noting that there was an embarrassing lack of school staff present at any of these games. During the entirety of my middle and high school years, I don’ remember ever attending a sports function where Jerry Linkinogger and Larry Gillespie weren’ present. Say what you will about either one of these guys, they always showed school support. Or maybe they were just there to keep my wayward friends and me in line...
In the 5th/6th-grade bracket, Valley Fork took home 1st place. Neither Valley Fork’ principal, nor the principal for H.E. White, was in attendance on Saturday to congratulate these kids. In fact, the only principals to be seen at all during the tournament - or at any other point during the season - were the Principals Paxton, who were spotted on Friday night. It wasn’ just the principals who were woefully absent, there wasn’ much showing of teachers, either. Where has all the school spirit gone? Not only does this reflect very poorly upon our county educators, it sends a message to the kids that their teachers just don’ care. All of you teachers and principals who had a student in this league and didn’ bother showing up for the games should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. Especially you principals, who are supposed to set the example. Did I mention that the Principals Paxton did put in a 3-hour showing?
At the March 3rd board meeting, H.E. White requested money to replace the school’ gym floor. This floor was cracked to begin with, then suffered even more serious damage when it recently flooded. Word is that the county education budget is in dire straits because of the higher salaries now being paid to all the teachers who took advantage of the Masters degree program. It’ great that our teachers are now over qualified to do the jobs they were already doing just fine for a lot less money, but it still soundth like pith poor planning to me. However, I have been assured that the Legislature has been asked to help bale us out of this one-time potential deficit and as soon as they come through with additional money, the floor will be repaired. In the meantime, who’ going to pay for the lawsuits when someone trips over this massive crater? Though opinions on the safety of this floor differ greatly, nobody can deny its existence and there will be over 800 people in that gym for the ramp dinner in a mere six weeks. I doubt seriously that a plaintiff in a wheelchair would lose.
Now then, lest anyone forget, let’ recap. H.E. White Elementary has the #1 3rd/4th-grade basketball team in the county; it’ earned Exemplary Status; WV PBS chose it to film for its
Outlook program; it brings in people from hundreds of miles away for its annual ramp dinner. The #1 A-team and the #2 B-team in the county is Valley Fork, which also earned Exemplary Status. Clearly, these students are all excellent scholars who obviously work well as a team. Could all of this cohesiveness perhaps have something to do with the lack of size of these schools? Could it possibly be that students in small schools actually do better than ones from larger schools? Perish the thought! What a novel concept!
It should be pointed out here that the same principals who couldn’ be bothered to cheer their teams on throughout the basketball season were honored at an awards banquet for Exemplary School principals. There’ been no banquet for the students and/or teachers at H.E. White. Though Mr. Paxton did ceremoniously congratulate the H.E. White basketball teams and the entire student body gave them a rousing round of applause, I understand that Valley Fork’ principal hasn’ even done that much. You Valley Fork parents might want to give your principal an up-close and personal look at those trophies.
As an added feather in H.E. White’ cap, the Wildlife Expo on the 9th was a huge success! So huge, in fact, that an encore presentation is being planned for October. Special thanks to Jerry Jones for hatching such a plot and for donating the majority of the raffle prizes. Thanks, too, to all of you who brought trophies to display and joined us for dinner.
The Community Open House Yard Sale at H.E. White is coming up on Saturday, April 5th, rain or shine, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’ still plenty of table space available inside the gym and lots of space outside. PTO will be hosting a concession stand to help raise money for a picnic shelter at the school. There are a limited number of available tables - once they’e gone, you’e free to bring your own. Give me a call at 548-7014 to reserve a table inside the gym or space outside - no charge for either!! It’ FREE! Bring all your unwanted stuff and earn a few bucks to help pay those ever-rising water bills!
Congratulations, Sarah Ellison, H.E. White 2nd grader! Sarah won the Young Writers Contest and will be traveling to the University of Charleston on the 28th to attend a special ceremony for all the state winners. Way to go, Sarah!
That’ about it from this end of the county this time. Remember, today’ mighty oak is just yesterday’ nut that held it’ ground. Stay tuned!

By E.B. Goode
In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and there shall His children find that place of refuge. This place of refuge is promised to all My children, yet so few venture therein. I say unto you, come aside, My dear one. Come under My wings, into My place of refuge, that you may experience My love and My peace that passes all understanding of your own. When the storms blow about you and you are tossed and buffeted and carried to and fro with the winds of tribulation and adversity and difficulty, then I would say unto you, come into My chambers for a little while, until these calamities be over past. Come into the warmth of My arms. Rest your head upon My shoulder and see how I will care for you, and how I will stroke your brow and make these mountains of problems melt away entirely.This is the refuge that I have promised you--the solace in My love, the comfort in My arms, the peace that flows from My heart to yours, that fills you and envelops you and transports your spirit to another realm, a Heavenly realm where you see things with new eyes. You experience new thoughts and new feelings that you never had before, because they are being taught you by Me. In those quiet moments when we commune together, I can change your perspective. I can give you new ideas and new thoughts. I can plant little seeds in your heart and mind, which over time and with careful watering of My Word shall grow into strong trees that shall bear much fruit to benefit many, that shall be a source of comfort and encouragement, and of restoration unto many. So you can see how many things I can do for you, if you would just step aside into the chamber of My refuge.

Editor’ Note: E.B. Goode is doing missionary work in Oregon and is a regular contributor to this paper.

BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner

While this America settles in the mold of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire, and protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens…                                                - Robinson Jeffers, “hine, Perishing Republic”
        Years ago, comedian Mort Sahl did a routine in which he illustrated the thinking of that figure of towering integrity – Richard Nixon. Sahl contended that if Nixon saw a drowning man, twelve feet out in the water, Tricky Dick would throw out seven feet of rope, and point out that he had gone more than halfway. There is a parallel here in the transparent charade currently being played out with the Security Council of the United Nations. Bush and his gang of Cossacks, recently-promoted from wealthy right wing think tanks have already made it abundantly clear that the decision to invade Iraq was made months ago, and planned even earlier. The administration has recently journeyed to that international body, with the illusion of appearing hat-in-hand, seeking a second resolution for war. The hardliners’contempt for the U.N. has been demonstrated almost daily. They are “elevant”if they agree with us, “rrelevant”if they don’. The theater of the absurd lives! Be reasonable: Do it my way!
        Meanwhile, into this gripping drama comes France. All across the nation, Americans in a country that was once (pre-Ashcroft) called the “and of the Free”are asking: “here does that country whose (you know what) we saved get off voting against us?” To point out that over 80% of the French people are against the war, that France is a sovereign, independent country, a democracy, and that Jacques Chirac is laboring under the delusion that he was elected to bend to the will of his people apparently is not enough. It might also be mentioned that Major Jean Baptiste Rochamreau, with 6000 Frenchmen fought at the battle of Yorktown in 1786. And there is Major L’nfant, the French architect who took the swamp at Jenkins’Hill and transformed it into our nation’ capital. Further, it would be taking coals to Newcastle to mention an obscure Gallic figure named Lafayette who had a small role in our emergence as a nation. George Will, whose long career has been spent in service to the rich and powerful, revived an old joke, somewhat altered.
How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris?         We don’ know. They’e never done it.
Jokes about the French are difficult to resist. They are a proud, contentious and frequently arrogant lot. However, a few historical facts are called for here. France lost over one million men in World War I, a conflict the United States did not enter until one year before the armistice. Moreover, more than one hundred thousand Frenchmen were killed defending Paris in World War II, two years before the United States arrived to “ave”the Allied cause. The most damning charge against the French, besides the disgusting fact that they eat snails, is that France has commercial interests in Iraq. Quel surprise! So does the United States. We are, after all, still buying Iraqi oil. But, lest the United States be accused of operating under the dreaded double standard, let the clarion call ring around the world that what drives us to military action is to get in on, and possibly control Iraq’ enormous supply of broccoli and asparagus. To close this epic length paragraph with a second reference to George Will, a man who, when he is not toadying to the conservative establishment, probably spends the rest of the time caressing his dictionary. Last week, in a statement breathtaking in its declaration of his aristocratic and intellectual superiority, Will’ mentor, conservative icon William F. Buckley proclaimed: …nobody who matters thinks the U.S. wants to colonize the U.S. Class warfare, anyone? It is amusing (and frightening) to speculate what old Sigmund Freud would do with that “obody who matters”crack.
        As mentioned in an earlier effort, the demonization of Saddam Hussein did not begin its relentless propaganda campaign until a convenient time, eight weeks before the midterm elections. His tyranny and brutality are well-established. “hat said,”a hideously overused construction that all the “xperts”are blathering these days in the absence of thought, let us examine the heresy of suggesting that the privileged think tank warriors concluded as long as a decade ago that Saddam Hussein might have his uses over the long term in establishing the
Pax Americana.
        There is an organization on 17th Street in Washington, D.C. called the Project for the New American Century. This group is explicitly committed to U.S. mastery of the globe for the coming age. The members, some of whom will be named later, use terms such as “ull spectrum dominance,”translated as American invincibility in every field of warfare – land, sea, air and space, a world in which no two nations’relationship with each other will be more important than their relationship with the U.S.                          
Continued on the next page
Washington’ dictates will reign supreme. This plan will necessitate a ring of bases surrounding China, with the “iberation”(dare we say “ontrol?” of the People’ Republic the ultimate prize. One of these loonies is cited as having gushed: “fter Baghdad, Beijing.” If memory serves, there was once a certain ex-corporal who boasted: “oday Germany; tomorrow the world.” “omparisons are odious,”someone once said, hence the villain in question shall remain nameless.
        At this dramatic juncture in the narrative, you are doubtless consumed with curiosity. “ho are those guys?”asked Butch Cassidy on a number of occasions. The cast of characters is all too familiar to those of us who read the editorial section of newspapers or watch TV news. Most of these would-be empire builders are part of George W. Bush’ junta: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Richard Perle. Incidentally, Richard Perle, next to Wolfowitz, the most ardent hawk of them all, has a villa in France where he occasionally invites important friends to visit. Presumably, Perle will be watching the war on TV while he sips expensive wine, if the French don’ throw him out of the country because of the insulting comments he has recently uttered about them. Perle’ repeated performances on TV, with a knowing smile of omniscience leads one to shudder at the thought that our government could be influenced by such a revolting creature.
        A somewhat lengthy excerpt from an important judicial figure from an earlier era seems in order for our time.
…that community is already in the process of dissolution where each man begins to eye his neighbor as a possible enemy, where nonconformity with the excepted creed, political as well as religious, is a mark of disaffection; where denunciation, without specification or backing, takes the place of evidence; where orthodoxy chokes freedom of dissent; where faith in the eventual supremacy of reason has become so timid that we dare not enter our convictions in the open lists, to win or lose.
                - Learned Hand (1872-1961), Speech to the Board of Regents, University of the State of New York, October 24, 1952
        The long nightmare of peace and prosperity is over.
P.S. Ancient Arab Proverb: Blessed be the snake that biteth not me.

        I was just perusing through the daily mail website and saw an article about teachers being upset at their “OW”salaries and how they want better pay. I just went and researched what teachers earn in West Virginia (compared to other states) and it is eye opening.
FACT (US Census Bureau): The average West Virginian earns approximately $16,477 a year.
FACT ( The average teacher in West Virginia earns $33,258 a year.
        Now I know that there is fluctuation in the teaching ranks depending on degrees and amount of experience, but come on, is earning 2 times more than your neighbors a year not enough? Especially since all of your pay comes out of the NEIGHBORS’salaries? Also, look at it this way, this average also comes in 8 ½ - 9 months, not 12 months. If teachers had to work all 12 months of the year, then they would be earning upwards (on average) of $38,000 - $40,000.
        You know, I wish I could work for that little and earn that kind of money. It would be nice. That is why I do not feel pity for school teachers in West Virginia when it comes to their salary. They earn twice as much as the average person in West Virginia, and they complain it is not enough. Get over it already teachers. Count your blessings of having steady work and a good paycheck. You could be jobless and not have that nice fat paycheck.
                                --Frank Bennett


        The biggest scare for most of our lives was Communism, the dreaded situation where the state owned all the property and everyone worked for the state. The big bad booger-man from overseas.
        What has alarmed me is how closely these statements are beginning to fit WV. The government, be it federal, state, various and sundry districts, counties, municipalities, government regulated utilities, the massive education system and hordes of appointed boards and positions, is the biggest employer in WV. The People work for the State. Didn't I just say that above?
        Then when you look at the vast amounts of property owned or controlled by all of the groups listed above it gets a little eerie. Does the state through these groups own most of the land? Add to this state monolith the number of overseas corporations that are now locating in WV and any thinking person would get a little jittery.
        If we, an alleged democracy, meet most, if not all, of the criteria of being communists, then just how free are we? Before anyone starts waving flags and guns at me think about this: how about all the little dictatorships that we suffer under every day? All the governmental, quasi-governmental, government mandated or government regulated bodies that operate totally free of and oblivious to the public's opinion, needs or desires. That, dear readers, is fascism, if not communism.
        In my county I unearthed four dozen groups that handle the public's money and/or the public's property. Of that forty-eight, only eight are actually elected by the people. The rest are appointed somewhere along the line, most usually under the guise of the county commission, but there were a couple that nobody knew exactly who picked them, they just sort of continued to be there. There are literally only one or two that advertise their meetings in a legal fashion. There are even less that ever print their financial statements in the newspaper as called for by the law of WV. Each of these bodies has anywhere from three to twenty-four members, multiply that and you have a lot of votes. Let's add all that up. Dozens of un-elected people controlling public money, dozens of un-elected people controlling public property up to the point of denying the public access to that property. That doesn't sound very democratic or free to me. These appointed and inherited positions can and do generate enough votes to put anyone in office or keep anyone out of office. If WV is ever going to prosper and move into the future these old "you scratch me and I'll scratch you" type maneuvers have to stop. The public's alleged impact on the polls is nullified by this army of cronies. It is up to you and me to put an end to it. To make the connection between our two counties, can you spell Jimmy?


Serving Size: 1/6 recipe, Total Servings: 6
8 cups water
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound turkey kielbasa sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium potatoes, cut in half
3 medium onions, cut in half
2 large ears corn, husked and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 pound medium (20 to 30 per pound) shrimp, unpeeled

1) In a soup pot, combine the water, seafood seasoning, and ground red pepper and bring to a boil over high heat.
2) Add the sausage, potatoes, onions, and corn, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
3) Strain the stew and serve immediately, along with bowls of broth for dunking.
Exchanges: 2-1/2 starch.. 2 lean meat Calories..309
Calories from Fat..71 Total Fat..8g Saturated Fat..3g
Cholesterol..140mg Sodium..1010mg Carbohydrate..36g
Dietary Fiber..4g Sugars..10g Protein..25g


Serving Size: 1 square, Total Servings: 12
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
2 packages (4-serving size) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
1 package (8 ounces) light cream cheese, softened
1 package (3 ounces) ladyfingers
2 cups frozen light whipped topping, thawed
1/ 2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

1) In a small bowl, combine the water and coffee granules; stir to dissolve the coffee. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the mixture.
2) In a large bowl, beat the pudding mix and milk until thickened; stir in the larger part of the coffee mixture. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Split the         ladyfingers apart and line the bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish with half of them.
3) Drizzle the ladyfingers with the 1 tablespoon reserved coffee mixture. Spoon the pudding mixture evenly over         the ladyfingers. Place the remaining ladyfingers on top of the pudding and top with the whipped topping.
4) Sprinkle with the cocoa, then cover and chill for 2 to 4 hours, or until ready to serve.
Exchanges: 1 Carbohydrate.. 1 FatCalories..135
Calories from Fat..52 Total Fat..6g Saturated Fat..4g
Cholesterol..22mg Sodium..334mg Carbohydrate..16g
Dietary Fiber..0g Sugars..8g Protein..4g

02/11/03: Delk – Aaron C. King, arrested and ROB on warrants for burglary, receiving or transferring stolen goods, and grand larceny (10/18/02), preliminary hearing continued by Def. to 03/31/03.
03/10/03: Rider – Anderson Wayne Keen, arrested for fleeing from officer, vehicle, while DUI, preliminary hearing 03/12: probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury.
03/11/03: Bailey – Thomas Ray Holcomb, arrested and ROB on warrant for retaliation (11/12/03), dismissed without prejudice.
03/12/03: Foreman – Nathan Toler, arrested and ROB on warrant for grand larceny (06/25/02), preliminary hearing: probable cause found – to Circuit Court.
03/14/03: Slack – Jesse Lee Dwier, arrested and ROB for burglary (02/26/03), preliminary hearing: probable cause found, bound to Circuit Court.
03/06/03: Slack – Jesse Lee Dwier, possession of controlled substance x 2, no insurance, registration violation, operators, deadly weapon, warrant issued, arrested 03/10/03; Jarod Lanham, destruction of property, summons.
03/07/03: Bailey – Charles W. Ellis, domestic battery, arrested, ROB.
03/09/03: Rider – Anderson Wayne Keen, DUI, arrested, trial set 03/12/03 at 2pm.
03/10/03: Larry Legg – Loretta Stewart, failure to cause child to attend school, summons.
03/11/03: C.A. Light – Emma Jean Carton, petit larceny, warrant issued.
03/12/03: Ellyson – Shawn Butler, battery, pled guilty, assessed fine and cost.
03/16/03: Butcher – Ali R. Dabiri, speeding, received letter requesting a hearing on citation.
03/05/03: Clay County PSD – Franklin Legg, OT; Lisa Lewis, OT; Lisa L. Smith, OT; Carolyn Peck, OT; Tammy Shepherd, OT; Clinton Nichols – Teresa Bird, WO, trial 03/11/03, continued by court to 03/18/03 at 9:30am; Jody Miller and Starlett Miller, WO, trial 03/11/03, continued by court.
03/06/03: Clay Supermarket – Bernie Johnson, money due.
03/17/03: Monogram Credit Card Bank of Georgia/Lowes– Candice Murphy, breach of contract.
Worthless Check
Notices Issued: IGA – Judith A. Myers; Clay Supermarket – Robert K. Vaughan, paid 03/14/03; Angela D. Gill x 2; Teresa Rock; Judith A. Myers; Connie Brown – Delbert L. Rose, paid 03/17/03; Cunningham Motors – Kellie Greenleaf, paid 03/17/03; Shellie Cutlip x 3, paid 03/12/03; Michael Murphy x 2, 03/12/03; Darlene Morris – Amanda Fitzwater, paid 03/14/03; Lizemores Grocery – Sherry McKown Taylor Adkins; Marsha K. Eagle; Naylene Harvey x 2, paid 03/17/03.
Traffic Citations
03/04/03: Alicia D. Adkins, operators, no proof of insurance; Cliffton Butcher, operators; Cliffton L. Butcher, possession of prescription medication.
03/06/03: Jeffrey A. Morris, speeding, underage consumption of alcohol; Justin B. O’rian, underage consumption of alcohol, littering.
03/08/03: Robert Stutler, unsigned registration card, defective headlight, left of center, DWMA under 21.
03/09/03: Alicia D. Adkins, registration violations, motor vehicle inspection; Michael Barillari, speeding.
03/10/03: Russell D. Swindler, motor vehicle inspection; Ricky Taylor II, no proof of insurance.
03/11/03: Larry Edward Jones, overweight, overwidth, overlength.
03/13/03: Ali R. Dabiri, speeding.
03/16/03: Renea Lynne Bloom, battery.

Sexual Harassment, Budget Woes, Rate Increases
         Clay Roane PSD is known for it’ eye brow raising public meetings.
         March 13, the 4 ½ hour meeting was an exceptional example of, “hat did they say? Did they say that?”With over 25 in the peanut gallery and the Board seated up front near the kitchen area in the Senior room at the CDC office on Main Street Clay, action started at 7 pm. Special note. Commissioners Bragg, Sams and new kid on the block, Pete Triplett were in attendance !
         With no prior meeting minutes available for approval, Boardster Larry White got right to the point, “ow much money do we have?”New secretary Sherry Mullins reported that the PSD had just $2026.36 in the bank and another $233.00 ready to deposit. Mullins felt that the money in hand was just enough to cover the soon to be paid, three employees. Consensus among the two newest Boardsters, White and David Saulsgiver, pay employees first and then pay others, like contractor Phillip Linger, second. Past Chair Gary Whaling questioned an agreement signed by the Board just months earlier which mandated paying contractor Linger on the Friday after each Board meeting. Linger’ invoice totaled $702.00.
         You could feel the tension. Whaling was pushing for Linger’ check while White and Saulsgiver knew that employee wages and benefits have to have priority. Glenn Sutton was not showing his hand. Now a clinker readers, PSD attorney Tom Whittier spoke up with a reminder that the PSD has an obligation to their lenders (like USDA) and unless the lender payments are kept current, NONE (hear that Roane County water wanters?), none, of the water line extension projects can proceed. Frowny lines were seen around the fake wood table.
         Chair Postelwait reported the USDA loan had recently been paid. Here’ some insight readers, that loan payment was paid using reserve funds. We’e not sure exactly what that means, but by the look on Whittier’ face, it ain’ good.
         When asked by Board if he would be willing to take a partial payment for the work already performed, contractor Linger was hesitant and said he was real concerned about the outlook “own the road” He went on to say that he was a small company and could not afford to carry the PSD.
         Finances continued to be the center of attention as White read from financials in hand. White raised issue with the report since it listed the PSD as owing $37,000 on February 27 2003 and having just $10,000 in the bank and then all of a sudden on March 12th, the PSD noted having debts of $21,700.00 and making payments of $13,000.00. White was questioning: Where did all the $ come from?; How did you pay so many bills all of a sudden?; and, when is the PSD going to learn that some $ must be held back to cover employee and contractor expenses. White, “e got to have something in reserve…. Make partial payments to the power company and the big venders…. The income is enough to cover the bills.”Remember this part readers, after much more warmed up discussion, motion as made and passed to pay employees first and contractors second. Got that?
         Postelwait moved on by putting her spin on recent newspaper coverage dealing with the need for County Commission dollars to help the PSD out of financial insolvency. According to Postelwait, although she, in a heated moment, did say she didn’ want any Commission help now, she meant it in a different way. Hmmmm…. As for the sad state of finances, Postelwait, “uite frankly, it’ poor management by the previous Board.”Past Chair Whaling flinched.
         Postelwait sought a motion to approve a $344,200.00 new year budget which called for $56,249.00 loss. Motion tabled with White saying they needed more time to look over the figures. The Chair said that the WV Public Service Commission had recently helped them come up with the new budget and the budget was to the PSC’ liking. See that $56,000 figure, remember that too.
         As for folks in the Amma/Left Hand areas of Clay and Roane County, there has been little progress in getting rights of ways signed. Before any extension projects can begin, another 50 or more rights of way MUST be agreed to, signed, and notarized. Attorney Whittier, “… We have a long way to go but we’e closer…”Translation: just 5 new right of way agreements have been signed in the last 30 days. White, “e’e not any closer!”In the way of progress, Clay Roane set up a committee to prepare a policy and procedure manual. Postelwait and Saulsgiver will handle the duties.
         Somewhere back in the murky waters of PSD management of old, the Clay Roane PSD purchased the vacant Newton Fire Department building for $37,000.00. No mention of the purchase or the OK to purchase is recorded in PSD meeting minutes nor is there an appraisal on record of the building’ worth. With the PSD in deep financial doo doo, Boardster White inquired about selling the white elephant and using the money to make ends meet. Glen Sutton wondered out loud if the Fire Dept even had permission to sell the holdings to the PSD. He went on say that he felt the building was worthless. The subject of selling the huge metal building has come up in the past and on each occasion, the Board has said, “o Way!!”Motion made and passed to find an appraiser and discuss the findings at the next Board meeting.
         With the PSD in financial quagmire, with debts backing up left and right, with questions still coming over the paying of the last bills, Chair Postelwait asked for a motion to hire a full time maintenance man ASAP and do so without formal interviews. Postelwait pushed hard for the immediate hire. Being a person that didn’ just fall off the apple cart yesterday, Larry White spoke out against such a hire and read from the State Code. According to the Gospel of White, a Board vote to hire must be unanimous if the hire is outside the current budget. Translation: White would not vote to go further in debt and without his vote, no hire could be made. White’ pleas were many, stuff like: Queen Shoals can’ pay their bill to us; wait until things “evel”out; it’ the wrong move now; and, “OU CAN’ HIRE PEOPLE UNTIL YOU CAN PAY THEM!”Motion made by Sutton to delay the hiring for 60 days. Motion passed with Postelwait voting nay and stomping her feet (almost). Now for the juice.
         Part time employee Matt Mullins addressed the Board concerning in-appropriate sexual contact by new to the job, Sherry Mullins. The packed room went quiet. Chair Postelwait asked Ms Mullins if she wanted the discussion done in secret. Sherry said yes. Before they could bar the door, bunches of insight, like….
         Punkineer Celia Coon asked: How did you all of a sudden find enough money to pay $1000s in back due taxes? Are the taxes paid? Where did the money come from? Postelwait explained that the PSD paid $6952 in back FICA taxes on March 3 and another $4000 owed on March 10th. As for where the money came from, Postelwait replied that the money had been found in their primary fund and “… it needs investigated..”Feeling the heat as the immediate past Chair, Gary Whaling, “ can comment….. I can show you .. Hand me the check book!!”Whaling mentioned two or three check book entries in his defense. Commissioner Triplett “EPOSITS CAME THAT QUICK???? 3 DAYS AND YOU GOT $10,000.00???”Whaling, “Yes!”Delving even deeper into the shadowy PSD finances, Coon came back with questions on what happened to the $34,000.00 left over from a $50,000.00 Clay County Bank loan. Coon, “here did it go?” Again Whaling feeling the jab, rallied. Whaling said Phillip Linger had got part of it, it had been an extreme winter… Coon, “ut it [loan] was for new water meters! Whaling, “. we don’ have new meters..”From the audience, Tracy Metheny confronted the Board over his heavy duty water bill, “ use 4000 gallons a month…. I got a bill for 8000 gallons… the meter was checked by Dale [Deems]….. And I was out of water for half the month!!!!”After saying adjustments would be made, Postelwait let loose with a little known secret. According to the Chair with Saulsgiver nodding in agreement, the PSD’ water meters will register water usage when AIR RUNS THROUGH THEM!. Get it readers? During all the recent water line breaks and repairs, when that air is gushing through the lines, the CUSTOMER IS BEING CHARGED FOR IT! Someone, I think Postelwait, commented, “he bills doubled for most water leak customers”Oh boy, the doo doo was hitting the fan. A fired up Metheny retorted that even when the water was on he had to buy bottled water, “OU CAN’ DRINK THE CITY WATER!!”Not satisfied with the explanation on finding the mysterious money, one short little fat guy asked again for a better explanation. Postelwait explained that the money had been there all along and the bank went back through the statements and actually found the loot, “e just didn’ know it was there.” Here it comes readers. What we’e all been expecting….
         From the side of the room, clean cut, quiet talking, Jim Hildruth gave an update on engineering done on water line extension projects in the mill. Somewhere in the comments, buried deep down in the savvy engineer’ message came the words, “ou need a rule 42 done by an accountant..”As soon as the word “ule 42”cleared his lips, several people in the audience caught the code words! Not so for Postelwait who said they hadn’ paid for their accountant’ last work. After the gray cells clicked on, Postelwait, “RE YOU TALKING A RATE INCREASE?” Before Hildruth could sugar coat a response, from three or four in the peanut gallery came loud and CLEAR, “ESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!”Postelwait was livid, “e’e had three!!!…. We’e paying the highest rates in the state!!!!!!!!!! I won’ vote for a rate increase!!!!!!!”Here it is readers. A few days earlier, the WV Public Service Commission gang had been to the PSD office and figured up a budget for a new year for the PSD. When done, the budget called for a $54,000 short fall. Since state law says no budget can be approved if it doesn’ balance, Clay Roane would have to ask for a rate increase. Hildruth was the person that drew the short straw, the fall guy, the guy that would first break the news to the public. Although smooth as silk, the Rule 42 code word is well known to those that regularly attend PSD meetings. Rule 42 is a quickie way of getting a rate increase without public comments and exposure.
         As the public and Postelwait was reacting to the news, Tom Whittier tried not to laugh out loud. Smooth Hildruth, “It’ a revenue problem!” NOTE: the rate increase, when passed to the customers, is for current operations and would not cover any expense of building a new water plant. Keep that in mind.
         Discussion, discussion, hot discussion. Commissioner Triplett told the Board of a recent correspondence he had seen that indicated Congresswoman Capito was unable to secure funding for a water line extension project needed in the county. Commissioner Sams asked that the PSD get in high gear and gather the much needed and long overdue rights of way agreements.
         Adding to the already mentioned financial ills, Punkineer Investigator Coon asked about a high dollar Pitney Bowes postage machine that was purchased without Board approval, a long term and very costly purchase agreement that went with the machine and overdue postage bills with a $18.9% interest rate accruing. Secretary Mullins confirmed Coon’ thoughts and added that the PSD owes $1400 in past due postage at 18.9%
         Secret time from 8:32 to 8:50. Back in open session, been on the job just three weeks, Sherry Mullins informed the Board, “t’ a shame the PSD is in such sad shape..”The soft spoken Mullins wasn’ done. She went on to say that the reason for the problems, “Was gross negligence of the Board.”You could have heard a pen drop, readers.
         Discussion on various customer disputes (Like Darrell and Mary Ferrebee and Jessie Parsons) and how to correct the problems, Glenn Sutton, “t’ going to be a mess any way you go.”Discussion on Newton Baptist Church’ $500 water bill for 58,000 gallons of water. Again Postelwait felt that the overcharge was due to air running through the meter!
         Here’ one. Sherry Mullins turned in her resignation! Mullins, “… My stress level has gone through the roof..”Fully 2 hours into the Clay Roane PSD meeting, it’ time for secrecy again as the appointed ones head to a side room to discuss the Matt Mullins accusations of sexual impropriety by Sherry Mullins. With Glen Sutton outside for part of the secret time, Matt spent 30 minutes behind the closed doors. Then came Sherry for questioning. With the Board away, we asked Matt to comment, “..I was approached in an unprofessional manner!”Sherry came out, Bobby Burdette went in. Sherry told this paper she was advised by Tom Whittier not to talk. 10:04, Bobby Burdette out and Jennifer Traub in. Get this, then Melissa Postelwait came out saying she had a conflict of interest in the issue! Dale Deems went into secret time for another 10 minutes. Around 10:50 pm, with the Board back in public, Larry White motioned and passed to take no action, that there was insufficient information, that it was a personality conflict. Matt Mullins was mad!
         With the Board once again going dark to the public, Matt Mullins let go, “ was treated unfairly… Assaulted!.. Had this been a male assaulting a female, it would have been different!!….. I was mistreated….. I have retained an attorney!”Also, while the Board was away from the public’ prying eyes, the person that bought that Pitney Bowes postage machine, Jennifer Traub commented that she did NOT buy the machine without Board approval, that Chair Gary Whaling gave the OK for the purchase!
         Remember earlier when the Baord motioned to pay employees before contractors? Before leaving, contractor Linger picked up his $702.00 check!
         By 11 pm, this ace cub reporter was sleepy and left. Who knows what else went on then.          AW                        AW