March 22, 2002

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     With the opening of their doors May 1, 2002, Clay County will have a much needed mental health provider in the county.
During a public meeting March 19, Kara Prunty from WV Mental Health Consumers Association, announced that her organization has rented space beside Murphy Floral on Main Street and if all goes as expected, a local county wide center for mental health consumers will expand into this county. Ms Prunty is Project Director for the federal funded endeavor. The sparsely attended meeting was hosted by Prunty and Jessica Stewart from the Charleston based organization. The new service agency will be the Clay County Mental Health Consumer Services and Drop In Center which will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
     As explained to the attendees, the Center will offer a host of programs that can be tailored to meet the exact needs of the County. Core program services are peer support and advocacy. Much of the support services will be one on one and within the center. As advocates, the agency will help find needed services for mental health consumers. Prunty explained that consumers is the correct terminology for individuals previously referred to as
      Six more program areas round out the services funded under this $75,000.00 grant for the county. Those areas of service are now needed in West Virginia as the federal Medicaid program turns away more long term consumers of services after deeming their long term care ,
Anot medically necessary@.
Those other areas of benefit sponsored by the center include:
     Peer Transition: as many leave federally paid for facilities and enter into independent living arrangements. For many, phone calls may be all that is required for them to live on their own.
     WRAP: or,
Awellness recovery action planning@ may serve as a replacement for the long term treatment previously paid for by Medicaid.
     ESSA: emotional support services.
     Warm Line: which is similar to a Hot Line, but is used as a stop gap measure so a Hot Line does not have to be employed. Prunty explained that for many, just having someone on the other end of a telephone to talk to may be all that is necessary for reassurances and to avoid a crisis situation.
     Transportation: can also be arranged to meet the needs of the mental health consumer. As described, this service will only be available with a 14 day reservation notice appointment. Transportation can be used for something as simple as a grocery store visit or to go to a doctor
=s appointment.
Currently, WV Mental Health Consumers Association operates in Harrison, Monogahalia, Berkely, Wood, Kanawha, Cabell, and Kanawha counties of this state and has been in business since 1987. New grant dollars will fund a rural initiative in Clay, Logan/Mingo, and Greenbrier counties.
It was explained to those assembled that more than one job will result from the new office. A local program director will be needed and advertising for the position will begin in two weeks. It is expected that the person will be in place by mid April. Additionally, transportation drivers will be employed . To contact Ms Prunty, dial 1-800-598-8847, extension 218. The headquarters is located at 1036 Quarrier Street, Charleston, WV .
During the meeting there seemed to be some confusion as to the group’s purpose. A rep from KVC, a local social service provider, wasn
=t aware of what the group promoted. Another fellow wondered if this would be the replacement for Shawnee Hills if and when they pull out of the county. Continued on page 3
It was explained to all, unlike Shawnee Hills, WV Mental Health Consumers Association does not provide clinical services, but rather sort of fills in the gaps of other providers. Additional local program offerings may include training in day to day needs like check book management plus a computer center.
     One major component of the agency will be the
Adrop in@ center for consumers. In one corner of the office will be chairs and a TV along with a bathroom nearby for use during day time hours.
So how did the new to the area agency figure out what our needs are and how do they plan to keep the area informed of services available? Ms Prunty explained that there had been two earlier public meetings where public comments were taken. As for informing the county of services, brochures will be available and a media campaign will be employed.
      After the meeting, on March 20th in her Charleston office, Kara Prunty provided additional information. Is the office just for Clay County? Prunty,
@ Other counties can participate. We are hoping to include Roane County in the project. Any of the surrounding counties can attend meetings and use the drop-in center.”
So who can receive these services? Prunty,
@ Consumers of the behavorial health services.”
     Will there be programs for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients? Prunty,
A It can be a project of that office.... we haven=t gotten off on that specific direction yet but it could be.. Once the Project Director is found for that center, they will come up with their own project. Alzheimer’s support could be one of those projects.@
     Many of the Shawnee Hills clients wander through the Courthouse and Rite Aid on a daily basis. Can they use the drop in center? Prunty,
@Hopefully, all the agencies will be able to refer them to this place now, and they will be able to come there and drop in and receive services instead of just wandering around looking for a place to hang out.@
     As for the public meeting March 19, Project Director Kara Prunty offered a few comments, A I wish more people had attended, of course. I also think we are headed off in the right direction. I got some positive feedback from those that did attend.@                           AW

Follow ups
*In the last paper, we reported “King Arthur” commented that he was drinking , wrecked the town
=s police cruiser and, since taking Viagra, he has been out slaying his dragon all over the place. Mayor Arthur Jarrett has asked that we make a correction. The Mayor explained (on the 19th), others said he had been drinking and had wrecked the cruiser. As for the Viagra, King Arthur proudly proclaimed, AIt=s doing great!@
*Last edition, this newspaper broke the story of J.D. Morris getting water service to his new home in Ovapa under very
Aquestionable@ circumstances. Despite strong protests by many in the county, Morris remains the only person in the county to have received new water service since the lifting of the water moratorium in November 2001. A complete follow up of the community outrage is published in this week=s Clay Roane PSD report.
*As for the Bee Run Dam near Wallback, and Fola Coal
=s plan to pay a fee for the damage to the county instead of building the dam... there is news. Check out the follow up coverage this edition on the project not being completely dead yet!
*For our readers that purchase their paper from Big Otter Food Mart ( Exxon), sorry they ran out last time, we
=re adding more this time around.


     I have known Arthur Jarrett for quite a while, and was very happy when I learned that he was elected mayor of Clay. I believe that under his guidance, Clay will prosper. He has always been there to help when Clay has needed help. He has been referred to as “King Arthur” - I think that fits him to a tee. The real Knights of Clay need to gather around the round table and give service to the King. If we are lucky, he will be around for a long time, LONG LIVE THE KING!
    Jeff Myers - Clendenin

??? DID YOU KNOW ???

1.        Happiness comes from within your heart, not from your surroundings.
  1. Hydrologists with the US geological survey tested water samples in 30 states for 95 common compounds; some chemicals found were caffeine, contraceptives, pain killers, insect repellant, perfumes and nicotine.
  2. Officials want school systems to come up with innovative programs that will make the final year of high school more challenging for students.
  3. The Postal Service expects to lose 2 billion dollars or more this year.
  4. Researcher’s using a highly sensitive laser say they have detected fossilized traces of bacteria 3.5 billion years old.
  5. Only 2 percent of 600 teenagers recently surveyed by Automotive Retailing Today said they would choose a career in automobile mechanics.
  6. Orange is the “in color” for home interiors in 2002.
  7. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is blamed on 500 deaths and 10,000 emergency room visits in the United States each year.
  8. More than 130 million homes in the United States are on the internet.
  9. This fall, the State Department of Education will require that middle schools in West Virginia offer at least one foreign language.
  10. In 1994 Americans ate 5.7 billion pounds of potato chips, popcorn and pork rinds.
  11. West Virginia sold 6,143 commemorative license plates last year, and 4,718 say “Earnhart”.
  12. Hemp is produced commercially in 22 countries, including Canada.
  13. Wood products were among the top 10 products exported by West Virginia in 2000 according to data compiled by US Census Bureau.
  14. Nationally, the shoe industry has gone from 235,000 jobs in 1978, to 28,000 in 2001.
  15. Americans drink an average of 5.3 cups of water per day. 3.6 cups of that are tap water, while the rest is bottled.
  16. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, about 77,000 Americans are in line for transplants each year.
  17. Of the 63 State Police Detachments in West Virginia, 45 have seven or fewer troopers, and 22 have fewer than five.
  18. In West Virginia today, nearly 80,000 women who live alone, own their own homes, about 51,000 are age 65 or older.
  19. Researchers report people who slept more than eight hours a night or less than four hours showed an increased risk of death, although the study could not explain why. LMM

By Don Greene
     Is it possible for a state to be somehow stuck in a bizarre dimension, where people don't think like others in the world do? There are many indications that may be the problem in our home state. Five problems top the list of indications of this bizarre thinking.
Political Patronage constantly generates a work force with no incentive to perform on their jobs. The simple act of showing up semi-regularly and drawing their pay is good enough. When you consider that the majority of these jobs are within our largest employer, the government, it becomes obvious where many of our problems originate.
     Short-term goals are reflected in the inability of our state and counties to develop any sort of realistic long-term plans. This can be seen in the lack of useable infrastructure; no roads, water or sewer where and when we need them.
The old logic of "What's good for GM is good for America" is being played in nearly every county. If it is good for the dominant industry then it is good for the county. Obviously the difference between what is beneficial for a profit-driven industry and what is beneficial for the citizens of a county is enormous. A company will do anything to make a profit. A government has further obligations, like improving the quality of life for its' citizens.
"Big Me-Little You" thinking is also rampant in WV. It shows in the lack of growth in fifty-three of our counties. It shows in the servile attitude of our government to certain industries and utilities. It is revealed in the outflow of our young people, fleeing this state, to find better paying jobs that don't come with strings attached. It is most insidiously shown in the overt concern throughout this state in "maintaining control". This is the seeming collusion of political bosses, captains of industry and weak-kneed government officials, elected, appointed and hired. This stops development and growth dead in their tracks. You can't get better and stay the same but that is what is expected to happen here.
Lack of accountability can be easily experienced by any citizen by simply calling on any alleged government servant. You will quickly be told that is not their job, or that it is their job but they can't take care of it right now. In some cases you will even be attacked by these servants for expecting them to do their job.
     It is astounding and heartbreaking to think these antiquated concepts are still playing in our state. Complacency and timidity has put us here. Courage and selflessness will get us out. Until we can break free of these issues, we may be doomed to remain in “Bizzaro World”.
      Editor’s Note: Mr. Greene lives in Leon, Mason County. Greene is a community activist in labor, civic, environmental and political fronts. He served as mayor of his community for ten years, served on the economic/development committee, and on the county Democrat Executive Committee. His professional background is varied from a laborer to a construction superintendent to field engineer duties eventually working in the nuclear power houses from the Atlantic to beyond the Mississippi.
Mr. Greene has agreed to contribute columns for this paper as time allows.



03/13/02: Delk - James McCune Sr., obstructing an officer (disarm officer), arrested, hearing set.
02/22/02: Light - Terry Lee VanMeter, possession of marijuana less 15 gms, appeared 03-05, ROB.
03/04/02: Belt - Erica Keener, harassing telephone calls, appeared 03-11, ROB, trial set; Belt - Clifford Jennings Kincaid, destruction of property, warrant issued; Cunningham Motors Inc. - James B. Holbert Jr., worthless check, appeared 03-04, ROB, trial set.
03/05/02: Foreman - Kermit Eugene Mullins, driving suspended, appeared 03-05, ROB.
03/08/02: Belt - Carolyn Sue Neal, DUI, arrested, ROB.
03/10/02: Belt - Jeffrey Allen Conrad, driving while revoked for DUI, arrested, ROB, trial set.
03/11/02: Belt - Martha Keenan, battery, arrested, ROB; Ellyson - Jason A. Dancy, battery, appeared 03-11. ROB.
03/13/02: Clay Supermarket - Teresa Cook, worthless check, warrant issued; King
=s Wrecker Service - Shannon Butler, worthless check, warrant issued; Delk - James McCune, battery on police officer, arrested, trial set.
03/18/02: Light - David W. Starcher, brandishing deadly weapon, arrested, ROB.
03/05/02: Norman Johnson - Amos L. Adkins, money due; Norman Johnson - Frank Beasley, money due; Arrow Financial Services c/o Paul S. Atkins - Gary L. And Joyce K. Stuber, money due; Cindy Dotson - Dana Holcomb DBA Holcomb Garage, money due, trial set.
03/08/02: Stephen P. Raskin, MD - Hanna J. and James Bird, money due.
03/11/02: Daniel and Bonnie Fisher - Robin
ASue@ Bird, wrongful occupation.
03/12/02: James Scott Bass - Robert Flint, Southeastern Water, ???
Worthless Checks:
03/12/02: Shirley Houk - Connie Preast, Sherman Mullins Estate, notice issued; Mary Dawson - Connie Preast, Sherman Mullins Estate, notice issued; Joe Mullins - Connie Preast, Sherman Mullins Estate, notice issued; Dencil Mullins - Connie Preast, Sherman Mullins Estate, notice issued.
Traffic Citations:
02/20/02: State Police - Derrick G. Dalton, speeding; Michelle M. Good, speeding.
02/21/02: State Police - Ruby M. Thomas, disorderly conduct.
02/22/02: State Police - Jason Allen Dancy, batter; Terry Lee VanMeter, possession marijuana less 15 gms.
02/27/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Ada M. Aliff, no POI and seat belt violation; Shawn Harrison, seat belt violation and loud exhaust; State Police - Sheila D. Grose, speeding; Timothy W. Lemley, speeding and no POI.
03/01/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Jason Alan Jones, speeding; Gary G. Rakosy, speeding; Deedrea J. Wilson, speeding.
03/03/02: State Police - Kelly L. Moore, driving on suspended/revoked, no POI, registration violations, and fail to use signal; Sheriff
=s Dept. - Jesse R. Mullins, no POI.
03/05/02: State Police - Richard C. Hanshaw, no POI; Sheriff
=s Dept. - Kenneth C. Schindler, speeding.
03/06/02: State Police - Micheal L. Pierson, operator
=s, no POI, MVI, and registration violations.
03/07/02: Sheriff
=S Dept. - Eric Shane Johnson, speeding; Hazel Stewart, operator=s.
03/08/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Carolyn Sue Neal, driving under the influence; Mark Anthony Stone, speeding; Paul R. Young, stop sign.
03/10/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Johnny E. Brown, no POI and registration violations; Jeffrey A. Conrad, driving while revoked for DUI; Phillip Michael Fox, possession marijuana less 15 gms, no POI, speeding, and driving suspended; Ryan J. Lewis, speeding; Stephen T. McDonald, speeding; Brian L. Poling, speeding; Claudia Williamson, speeding.
03/11/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Dana D. Bloomfield, speeding; Ernest E. Edwards, no POI; Rocky L. Legg, speeding; Brian Joseph Schaum, speeding; Calvin T. Woods, speeding.
03/12/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Harold G. Martin, speeding.
03/13/02: State Police - John B. Helms, no POI and registration violations.
03/14/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Allison Nicholas, driving on suspended/revoked; Christine Williams, no POI, seat belt and registration violations.
03/17/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Eric Shawn Cadle, MVI; Stephen L. Hairston, speeding and no POI; Jessica L. Price, speeding; John P. Siemering, speeding; Nathan W. Stephenson, speeding and no POI.

The Stranger

      A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
      As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example. Fran, my younger sister, gave me am opportunity to play 'big brother' and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors - Mom taught me to love the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventure, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.
     If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I watched.
He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league ball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. My brother and I were deeply impressed by John Wayne in particular. The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn't seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places, go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.
You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house - not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home - not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life, he offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages.
He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.
The stranger began to discuss personal issues and ailments without regard to the tender ears that might be listening or the fact that it was at mealtime - some of the topics caused mom to leave the table.
     As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if you were to walk into my parent's den today, you'd still see him sitting over in the corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
He never told us his real name - we just called him T.V.

Widen Water Update

     Last year the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) applied for funding from the Abandoned Mine Lands Division to fund a water project for Widen. This project would involve using water which flows from the hillside near the community. The Application For Assistance, as the funding application is formally known has been approved, which means that a feasibility study for that particular project will be conducted.
     Terradon Engineering, of Nitro, WV, was selected by the WV Department of Environmental Protection to conduct the feasibility study. Terradon will be able to use some of the information which was gathered by Tri-Ad Engineering last year during a study of the feasibility of bringing water from Birch River PSD, through Dille, to Widen. The Dille/Widen project costs estimated that it would cost $3.8 million dollars to extend service from Birch River PSD.
     Under the plan of RCAP, Widen would receive an independent water source, costing much less and being affordable to local residents. RCAP favors an extension from Birch River PSD to supply Dille residents with water. It is anticipated that Dille would be more likely to receive water also because a considerable amount of cost would be dropped from the project if Widen is not included.
Terradon Engineer Gary Facemyer met with Rick Proctor of the Rural Community Assistance Program, David Pask and Vipin Bardwhal of the National Drinking Water Clearing House, and Danny Bess of the WV Department of Environmental Protection. The feasibility study began immediately after the meeting. Findings by the study will be used to place Widen on a priority list to receive funding.
The timeline for a community to be selected and to receive funding is not entirely clear because it can be influenced by a number of variables. It is possible that funding could be received this year, however, it is necessary to wait for developments.

Editor’s Note: This information was supplied by Rick Proctor from RCAP


     Oh, how the reader cries for those meetings of old... the table slapping, blue veins sticking up on necks like garden hoses from days gone by. Well, here it is, different from one of those past Ambulance Authority meetings, but just as powerful in it=s own way. The way? Yes, sir! The general public in the Clay Roane PSD service area have risen to the challenge of water service for their community! Local community activists Celia Coon and Melissa Postelwaite rallying the health concerns of fellow neighbors and just about all those needing water on Punkin Ridge were in attendance or at least outside the door trying to get a say in the action.
     Clay Roane PSD met in regular session March 13 at 7:00 pm, with the little room at the Procious water plant packed wall to wall and an equal number outside with their noses mashed against the plexi-glass storm door at the entrance way. The fire marshall (if we had one) would have had a field day with this overflow crowd. In attendance were Boardsters Lefty Summers, Gary Whaling, Roy Ellis, and Chair TG Cruickshank. Absent: Garrett Samples. Also of note, Commissioner Jimmy Sams, PSD Engineer Jim Hildruth, Roane County Commissioner Larry White along with WV Public Service Commission (PSC) engineer Jim Weimer.
     With the paying of the bills and the approval of the last meeting minutes over with, water clerk Trina Neff announced that she was resigning her position effective March 22, 2002. She said she had heard there were people mad over her comments in the Communicator , that every thing said was her opinion, and that ,
@ I stand by it!@ Neff suggested that operator Jennifer Traub do the clerk duties and be paid for such. Neff=s resignation was accepted without a thank you, a good luck, or a best wishes in the future. Before the meeting Neff said she had had it with everything going on at the PSD and was ready to resign at the beginning of February of this year.
     Operator Traub has been in contact with Bobby Adkins who is refusing to pay part of the clean up bill from a couple months back when his log truck rolled down a hill and turned over. DEP crews came in and cleaned up possible contamination in the soil from the diesel while PSD crews reconnected the damaged water line which were severed by the wreck. Adkins is willing to pay half the costs, $700.00. TG,
A I can=t help what it cost to get it repaired...@ Lefty, A It=s not up to him to say he=d pay half..@ TG,@ I don= think so!@
     And now the main attraction. The issue of J.D. Morris getting water service in front of many others who have been waiting for water service for years. Chair Cruickshank said: Morris had paid the fees, applied for water and had called him and asked if it was OK to go ahead and hook up. Cruickshank,
@ He paid everything himself.@ Hmmmmmm...doesn=t that sound different than the recent newspaper accounts?
     Boardster Gary Whaling,
@ Did he pay before it was turned on?@ A little more sheepishly, TG said that Morris had paid sometime after the water had been turned on at his new home in Ovapa. The truth was out and it wasn=t setting well with the peanut gallery. Melissa Postelwaite came back with questions on why the local PSD had not followed the guidelines for water service that all others in the county were forced to follow. Sidestepping around the corner just a bit, TG tried to salvage the moment by saying that the WV PSC Engineer said it was OK to go ahead and hook up several in a neighborhood while working in the neighborhood. That sugar frosted explanation made no sense what so ever and was not even related to the issue at hand, someone using influence to get ahead of the pack! Postelwaite saw through the facade real quick and came back with official PSC orders which mandate who and when and in which order new water service will be given.
     Gary Whaling,
@ It=s NOT because he is Jimmy Morris!@ Postelwaite, A We were on the WAITING LIST!@
     You could feel the tension in the room and the folks outside had their collective ears smashed hard against the door trying to hear every word.
     Long time readers know full well that this newspaper has covered the dealings and wordings of Jim Weimer pretty thorough, right? We
=ve even reported some name calling and some in the community calling Weimer, Athat aluminum siding salesman@. During this tense time, WV PSC Engineer Jim Weimer stepped up to the plate and said he too had some real concerns over what had happened and was going to talk to the PSD members in private. Weimer,@ What concerns me even more is, he is the only meter set.@ Weimer said Mr. Morris had called him last year about the tap, and other than that, he didn=t even know about this until he saw his name in print. Weimer tried to simmer the crowd down by saying he would talk to the board about the situation.
     Was TG off the hook? Nope. Punkineer Celia Coon retorted that Morris did NOT fill out an application as is required of everyone else, nor did he pay the fee others had to before they could get water!!!! Coon was not budging a bit and had the paperwork to prove her statements.
     Think people aren
=t mad? Senior citizen Charlotte Riddle was in attendance and spoke her mind with full gusto. Ms Riddle said she had built her new retirement home on Elkhurst Road in 1997 and had her name put on the waiting list in 1995. Since completing her home, she had not been able to spend one night in it because of no water service!!!!!!!! She was hot and TG knew he would probably get his eyes scratched out if he gave her any grief! Riddle, A I CAN=T LIVE IN MY OWN HOME!@ Referring to the water moratorium being lifted months earlier, AWHY WEREN=T WE TOLD????????? NO ONE TOLD ME!!!!!!!@
     Gaining a few points, Mr. Weimer tried to comfort with words of “this is unfortunate that you are all upset” and “Yes, the PSD has to go by the PSD order.” Chair Cruickshank in an attempt to soothe the tensions, explained that he had told Morris about paying the tap fee and that he had known Morris was having the tap set. But then, he stepped into it again..... So far, the Board is now in agreement that Morris did not pay the $300.00 in fees ahead of time. And now for the part about him not even filing an application for service. Cruickshank went on to say that Morris HAD filed an application for service prior to the hookup.
     Oh Boy, went over like a lead balloon readers!        
Jennifer Traub,
A No he didn=t.@ All eyes were on TG again. Celia Coon, A It appears he got FAVORED treatment!” TG was in the grease deeper.
     As for the requests to have J.D. Morris
=s water disconnected, Nope! No board member, nor Weimer would stand for that. When TG stated that the PSD had NOT tried to turn off the Morris service after the news hit the streets, once again he was corrected. Field man Dale Deems explained that he had been sent out to the new Morris home to cut off the water service. After receiving a call from Chief Operator Traub ( who had just talked with Morris), Deems had been told to leave the water tap connected and return to the office.
     Again, PSD Chair TG Cruickshank had been corrected. Weimer also admitted that the Morris connection
Ahad not been done right this time.@ Ms Coon,@ So you are not going to do anything about it?????@ The silence from TG was answer enough. Postelwaite promised to file a complaint with the PSD.
A LET HIM HAUL IT!!.......YOU=RE MISSING THE ISSUE HERE!...... THEY KNEW IT WAS ILLEGAL!...... HE HAS TO GO BY THE RULES!.. DO YOU THINK THIS IS FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!@ Coon, ATURN IT OFF.... MAKE HIM WAIT HIS TURN!@ Postelwaite asked the board to vote on turning off the politicos water supply. They refused to call for a motion but instead all spoke in unison, “No”.      The illegal Morris hook up was finally on the table. Morris had received preferential treatment, was not required to pay the various connection fees before turning on the water and J.D. Morris had not even filled out an application for service. The rotten fish were on the table and the stink was ubiquitous. With irate consumer Awant-ta-bees@ all around, TG knew it was time to ask for mercy. TG explained that his memory was a little shaky on the matter but he was sure he had told Jennifer ahead of time and Morris had paid for everything, TG, AMy mistake..... He was told to pay the tap fee... I=m sorry.@ Chiming in in support of their leader, Lefty Summers said he too knew about the hook up. Mr. Whaling reverberated the scheme of things, Morris paid for everything and since Sam Taylor did the work, the job was done right, and leave it on. From the outside came a comment from an older man. A I THINK WE NEED A NEW CREW [PSD] !!!!!@
All is well? Nope. Postelwaite,
@      The rich get water!...@ Charlotte Riddle, A So I can dig my own?@ A whole new can of worms has been opened. With the PSD saying it is fine for Morris to dig his own ditch and lay his own water line, new territory has been opened up! Weimer said this issue was not covered in the PSC Order.
     NOTE: through out the meeting many in attendance, both inside and out, could be heard making just above their breathe comments of disbelief and outrage.
     With the attention turning to hiring a contractor to hook up the new customers, something happened. Didn
=t quite catch it all, but...... Two bids were received. One from Verlin Adkins for $60.00 per hour and a second from T&S Construction for $35.00 per hour. Somewhere in the discussion on quality of equipment, size of equipment and what equipment would really be needed, from T& S Construction, a Mr. Morton got hot real quick. Morton, ATHAT=S THE PROBLEM DOWN HERE!!!... THE CLICKS!.... IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE ON HIS EQUIPMENT.. YOU=RE NOT GOING TO QUESTION HIS EQUIPMENT!@ And a little later from Mr. Morton,@ YOU ALL HIRED HOLCOMB WITH A 1950 JOHN DEERE!!!!!! HE HAS NO BUSINESS QUESTIONING MY SON!@ Whoa, readers... this reporter missed something for sure. Mr. Weimer suggested that they not decide on a contractor now but rather study the situation. Others questioned why the PSD would pay for equipment when Queen Shoals PSD just down the road has a nearly new backhoe that could be used.
     With space limited readers, here
=s just a couple more notes of highlight. Right under most people=s noses, Clay Roane PSD Ok’ed the motion to purchase a new truck Awhen they had the money@. It=s tricky to follow admittedly, but here is what that meant. With a motion in hand for a new vehicle, that expense can now be added to the soon to be implemented WATER RATE INCREASE! Yes, yes, yes, a water rate increase is in the works and now it can be EVEN higher! So how can we get an even higher rate increase? Raise salaries! That will be on the agenda for the April meeting.
     Additionally: Norma Wallace asked for a
2 mile extension on the Oak Hill Ridge Road area; Punkineers showed documentation that funding had been approved for their extension years ago and the money was used elsewhere; at one point Lefty Summers yelled out AWHEN YOU KICK HIM OFF, KICK ME OFF TOO!; with disputes raging, one guy said AWe are all going to have to carry tape recorders!@
     Certainly it is a sad mess at Clay Roane PSD as has been the case for years in that service area. If there is one glimmer of hope, it is that the people have finally come alive and are now demanding more of the appointed, paid leadership.
        n one last note on Chair TG Cruickshank, had he not had the sense to stay calm through out the entire meeting and try and soothe the masses, it is this reporter
=s opinion, there would be many more names in the Magistrate Court Report this week.



     A second complaint against the Clay Roane PSD has been filed with the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) this month. Here it is in it’s entirety. Make special note of what Ms Postelwait seeks as remedy near the bottom of the form

The petition of the above-named___Melissa Postelwait _, complainant respectfully shows:
1. That the above-named Clay-Roane Public Service District___, defendant, is a public utility engaged in the business of Water at Procious__, in the State of West Virginia, and as such is subject to the provisions of Chapter 24 (or 24A) of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, and the provisions thereof applicable to said class of public utilities.
2. That the said defendant has violated the laws of the State of West Virginia, governing said public utility business, in the following particulars, to-wit:
     ( I ) The Clay-Roane Board Chairman, T.G. Cruickshanks, purposely and willfully violated several rules and regulations set forth by the Public Service Commission. The first violation is Title 150-7-4.1.6 Applications for water service. That states the following: (a) All customers desiring water service must make written application at the office of the utility on printed forms provided therefore, setting forth in said application all purposes for which water will be used upon their premises. All users of service from a water public service district shall be required to designate on every application for service whether the applicant is a tenant or an owner of the premises to be served. If the applicant is a tenant, he shall state the name and address of the owner or owners of the premises to be served by the district.
During the first week of February 2002, Mr. Cruickshanks approved water service to be turned on at the home of J.D. Morris with no written application being submitted for the water service. A written application was completed in March after it had been uncovered that Mr. Morris had obtained water in violation to the Public Service Commissions rules and orders.
     ( II ) The second violation is Title 150-7-4.2.1 Security deposits. That states the following: (a) Security deposits for public service districts -- All new applicants for service from a water public service district shall deposit a minimum of fifty dollars ($50.00) with the district to secure the payment of service rates and charges in the event they become delinquent. The district shall not be bound to supply water until this condition is fulfilled. In any case where a deposit is forfeited to pay service rates and charges which were delinquent at the time of disconnection or termination of service, no reconnection or reinstatement of service may be made by the district until another minimum deposit of fifty dollars ($50.00) has been remitted to the district. After the customer has paid bills for service for twelve (12) consecutive months the utility shall promptly and automatically refund the deposit plus the rate of interest as determined in accordance with 4.2.1.c. Calculation of the above twelve (12) months= period shall commence from the first regular payment or following the payment of a past due bill or bills. All security deposits shall be placed in an interest bearing account at a local federally insured financial institution. The district shall have a reasonable time, not to exceed thirty (30) days, to read and remove meters and to ascertain that the obligations of the customer have been fully performed before being required to return any deposit in the case where there has not been an automatic refund.
     During the first week of February 2002, Mr. Cruickshanks approved water service to be turned on at the home of J.D. Morris with no security deposit being submitted for the water service. Security deposit was paid by Mr. Morris in March 2002 after is was discovered that he had obtained water in violation to the Public Service Commissions rules and orders.
     (III) The third violation is Title 150-7-4.3.1 Billing information. That states the following: (a) Bills shall be rendered periodically, and they shall show the readings of the meter at the beginning and end of the period for which the bill is rendered, the date of the meter readings, the number of cubic feet or gallons of water supplied, and the authorized rate. If the utility must, for any reason, render an estimated bill, the bill shall be clearly marked as an estimated bill.
     During the first week of February 2002, Mr. Cruickshanks approved water service to be turned on at the home of J.D. Morris. As of March 14, 2001 had used approximately 410 gallons of water that had not been billed for. In fact until early March is wasn't even discovered by the billing clerk or the plant operator that Mr. Morris even had water. They had been made aware by the public that he had obtained water. The plant operator sent someone out to terminate the water connection, knowing that there had never been an application made, and no deposit received. Mr. Morris refused to turn off his water stating that it had been approved by Clay-Roane PSD Chairman, T.G. Cruickshanks. The water was left on until the next Board meeting on March 14, 2001. It was there that Mr. Cruickshanks stated that what he had done was wrong and he was sorry. Buy the water would be left on.
     (IV) The fourth violation is Title 150-7-5.6.11 Service Connections. That states the following: (a) The customer's service pipe and all connections and fixtures attached thereto shall be subject to the inspection of the utility before the water will be turned on, and all premises receiving a supply of water and all service pipes, meters and fixtures, including any and all fixtures within the said premises, shall at all reasonable hours be subject to inspection by any duly authorized employees of the utility.
     During the first week of February 2002, Mr. Cruickshanks approved water service to be turned on at the home of J.D. Morris. Mr. Morris had an independent contractor do all the water line installation for him, at no time was the water line or meter inspected by a Clay-Roane PSD board member or employee. It was covered and turned on without any proper installation guidelines being followed. Mr. Jim Weimer of the PSC told the board members at the March 14, 2002 meeting that they were required to inspect the lines before turning on the water, however he would let it slide this time, just don't let it happen again.
     (V) The fifth violation is Commission Case Number 01-0712-PWD-PC and 94-0368-PWD-PC (Reopened). That states the following: (a) IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that once the agreement between the Town of Clay and Clay-Roane, for the sale of water, is final and approved by the Commission, then Clay-Roane and Queen Shoals may begin to connect and provide service to applicants pursuant to the following order:
* First, service should be provided applicants for service who filed formal waiver requests with the Commission. Service should be provided in the order in which the waiver requests were filed, oldest to most recent. * Second, service should be provided to all those who filled out a formal application for service in the order in which the applications were submitted to the PSDs, regardless of whether the applicants paid a tap fee when they filed their applications. The PSDs shall personally notify the prior applicants that the moratorium has ended and the applicants may pay the tap fee immediately upon such notification. * Third, service should be provided to all customers in the order in which they apply, after publication of the attached notice.
During the first week of February 2002, Mr. Cruickshanks approved water service to be turned on at the home of J.D. Morris. Mr. Morris did not file a formal waiver with the PSC. He is only on the Clay-Roane Tap Request list, which by the above listed order is to be started on after the applicants that filed a formal waiver with the PSC. And in fact, even if the applicants that filed a formal waiver had been serviced, Mr. Morris is still number 61 on the Clay-Roane tap request list. So upon the above order and the facts in question Mr. Morris should have not obtained a water tap approval from Clay-Roane Chairman T.G. Cruickshanks.
( I ) The remedy I seek is as follows:
(a) Mr. Morris water connection be immediately terminated.
(b) Mr. Cruickshanks be immediately removed from the Clay-Roane PSD Board and be barred from participating on any future PSD Board.
(c) Mr. Whaling and Mr. Summers be removed from the Clay-Roane PSD and be barred from participating on any future PSD Board for knowing that Mr. Morris had been given water by Mr. Cruickshanks and not immediately reporting it.
(d) Mr. Weimer of the PSC be barred from participating in this said complaint for knowing of the violations by the Clay-Roane PSD board members and not immediately taking action to halt them.
     Wherefore, the complainant prays that the said defendant Clay-Roane PSD__ be required to answer the charges herein above set out, and that, after due investigation, an order may be made commanding the said defendant to cease and desist from the wrongful conduct aforesaid, and for such other and further order as the Public Service Commission of West Virginia may deem necessary, reasonable and just in the premises.
[Prayer may ask for the ascertainment of lawful rates of practices, and an order requiring the defendant to conform thereto.]

Dated this 18 day of _March, 2002.


     Other than pedophile Catholic Priests recently in the news and in the courts, it=s not too often that Churches end up in the Court System. On March 18, it happened in the County of Clay.
     Judge Jack Alsop heard a petition for injunctive relief brought by the State of WV.. At issue were the assets of Bentree Church of God , an independent congregational assembly at the far Southern end of the county. Responders to the petition were Arthur Koch, Sr., Arthur Koch, Jr., Karen Koch and David Auxier. Asst. Prosecutor Barbara Schamberger represented the state in the proceedings
     With 25 or so of the church members in the peanut gallery Ms Schamberger opened the proceedings by saying that she was fully prepared to present the full case to the Judge. She said that the hearing was stop the demolition of the church, to protect all financial records of the church, and to order the Responders not to carry off any other assets.
     So how does the State get involved with this? What about separation of church and state? According to the Schamberger presentation, when a church closes its doors, Chapter 35 of the West Virginia State Code kicks in and certain procedures have to be adhered to. According to the code, if a church ceases to exist, the Circuit Court is the agent that divides the belongings. In most cases, courts awards the property to a similar non profit organization. For instance, if a Girls
= Camp went out of business, the holdings would be given to another service provider for females doing comparable work.
     Schamberger presented that the Church building had been padlocked and congregational members could not get in and there were serious questions about the $5000.00 in the treasury (or not in the treasury). Additionally, Church by laws required that before property could be sold off, the congregation had to be informed, there had to be a vote by the people, trustees & Pastor must post the notice to the congregation.
Additional documentation from the State indicated that the new members on the Trustee Board were all close relatives to the Pastor of two years. Schamberger
@ We can show all this today your Honor.... What has been done in this matter is wrong.... This may be a criminal matter.@
     So what is this all about? It appears the allegations are as follows.
     A new preacher comes into the church and adds many members of his close family to the Trustee Board. Shortly there after, the Trustee Board votes to sell the Church to the Pastor for $5000.00, While all this is going on, many members of the congregation are leaving the church family. Only after the piano and pews were removed from the building, after rumors of the Pastor ready to tear down the building, and after being denied entry into the building to fix water lines, the long time members of the Bentree Church of God got into gear and went to the Court system for relief
     In response to the allegations, Ms Koch asked for a continuance of the hearing saying that she had only recently received notice of the hearing.
Judge Alsop,
A ... this is a temporary issue to prohibit destruction.@
Ms Koch,
A Everything is as it was.. the Church has always been padlocked.. Nothing has changed.@ From her left came this,@ We have tried to get people to come to church for 2 years...@ Alsop responded that he was just concerned about violations of the State Code ( property). And from the left , more,@ We did nothing wrong.... We tried to get them to come.... >didn=t have the money to keep it going, the Church needs a lot of work. Every thing that was there, is there..@
     The State responded by saying ,
@ they decided to raise the building... the Koch=s refused to turn over the keys to the building.@ As for the allegations of members not coming to church, Schamberger,@ not coming to church is not illegal.@ Responding further, there was no reason to change the title, the padlock is indeed new, and the pews & piano have been removed. Again Scham asked for the injunction to be granted.
     In response, Ms Koch admitted that the lock had been changed, that the pews & piano had been removed by a Rev Blankenship but had been returned , and,
A We have no intention of destroying anything.@ As for the Koch statement that they were not planning to tear down the building, Ms Schamberger made mention that paperwork from the Assessors office indicated something completely different.
     Judge Alsop said they were not dealing with the separation of church and state and that the courts are reluctant to get involved in matters of religious nature. Alsop,
A But the Court has a duty to see that Church assets are taken care of ..@ Alsop said State Law on Church real estate is explicit... that notices have to be sent out, and that does not appear to have happened. Alsop,@.. Based on the documentation, there was an attempt to remove the assets....@
     Alsop granted the State
=s petition and set a full hearing for June 5 at 9am. The petition states in part : The Court does hereby Order that a Temporary Injunction be issued enjoining the Respondents, Arthur Koch Sr, Arthur Koch Jr, Karen Koch, and David Authur, from causing further destruction of the Church=s real and personal property, including financial records in any manner whatsoever.
And as they say on TV....But wait! There
=s more!
Near the end of the 35 minute hearing Ms Koch asked about the conflict of Interest issue with the Asst. Prosecutor handling the case for the State. Conflict of Interest? According to Ms Koch, Prosecutor Jeff Davis wrote up the deed that transferred the property to the new owners. After hearing this, from Judge Alsop, You cannot dispose of the Church, property, assets and ,
@you have to preserve the status quo..@ Alsop said he would hear the issue of conflict of interest and the responders had 20 days to forward it to the court. As for the padlock coming off the Church now so it could be used by worshipers, ... Nope!
     Now back to the good stuff... Jeff Davis. Davis prepared the deed and as for it being proper, Mr Davis commented later in the day,
A It is proper on face value.@ Davis also said that he not performed a title search on the property.
Face Value???????????? AW     AW

$300,000 Needed for Increased Teacher Salaries Next Year School Board Meets at CMS

     The Clay County Board of Education held their regular March 18 meeting at Clay Middle School. All the members were present - Gene King. R.B. Legg Jr. (President), Fran King, Scott Legg, and David Pierson Jr. After offering prayer R.B. Legg called the meeting to order and introduced the Board members and central administration staff to the crowd of 30-35 present. A local Boy Scout troop working on their Citizenship and Community Service badge were welcomed.
     The Board quickly and unanimously approved all of the following agenda items with little or no discussion: previous meeting minutes; the Scheduled Proposed Tax Levy for the 2002-2003 school year; accepted the resignation of cook Dorothy Tanner, effective this month; employed Linda Truman as Cook III at Clay County High School (CCHS), successful bid, and Shawna Taylor as a substitute teacher; placed ?Natanya? Jackson on the recall list; and, approved an over night trip for CCHS and Clay Middle School (CMS) TSA students to go to a spring conference at Cedar Lakes April 4,5, and 6.
     A hearing to determine the status of a CMS student was tabled until next meeting at the request of the child
=s parent who said she didn=t get hold of her lawyer yet. Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger pointed out that the child would be unable to return to school until the hearing, and the parent said she understood.
     Under discussion items, Superintendent Linkinogger made the Board aware of an approaching financial concern. Linkinogger explained that 41 teachers had taken advantage of a grant at H.E. White Elementary that allowed them to pursue their Masters degree there. The grant paid the expense for the classes for the teachers at H.E. White, and paid half the cost for other teachers in the county. He said they all will be graduating in December, and when they receive their certification, their salaries will go up, some as high as $7,700. Linkinogger said the Board will have to pay the increased salaries until the state aid kicks in the next year. The amount to upgrade the 41 teachers and their fixed costs will be almost $300,000. Linkinogger told the Board he hopes to lobby the legislature to provide the money for the one year increased cost from the Budget Digest. He said it had been done for other school systems under similar circumstances, and urged them to also lobby their legislators. Board didn
=t have much to say.
     A list of FBLA students from both CCHS and CMS was read in recognition of their participation and the awards they received in competition.
     The Board then met with the CMS Local School Improvement Council (LSIC). Teacher Dave Ellyson spoke for the group and made the following requests for the Board to consider - tear down the old board office building (this has been a standard request in recent years), as grants have been applied for to put a tennis court there and that is where they would like to construct a greenhouse as water and gas is available at the site; the LSIC also asked that worn school furniture be replaced. Linkinogger said the problem with tearing down the building was asbestos, that testing had been done twice, and they were in the process of testing a third time. He said they had a certified inspector now. Many present at the meeting volunteered to help tear the building down.
     Entertainment was provided by two CMS students. CMS Choir member J.R. Davis sang an African-American folk song. The young soloist received a superior rating this year, and is the tenor/alto section leader. CMS Band member Emily Wayne played a percussion solo,
ADouble Solo@. Emily received a superior rating this year. Both received enthusiastic applause for their fine performances.
Board recessed the meeting until the third Tuesday of April, April 16. Next regular meeting of the board Monday, April 1, at the administrative office building in Clay.



     There are times in the county when some feel an appointed official needs to be removed from office. Maybe because they are a dumb bunny, showing favoritism, never showing up for the appointed meeting, sticky finger allegations or something along those lines. With the exception of Economic Development Committees, whose members can be removed by the County Commission at any time, it is real tough to get rid of those on locally appointed committees like a Public Service District, Ambulance Authority, Parks and Recreation and the like.
     According to state code, some one appointed to a committee without a fixed term, it can be done! An example of a committee without a fixed term is the new ad hoc Ambulance Service Committee that is strictly advisory in nature. Translation: no power.
=s what the law books say: 6-6-8. Removal of appointive county, district or municipal officers without fixed terms. The court, board, body or officer authorized by law to appoint any person to any county, magisterial district, independent school district, or municipal office, the term or tenure of which is not fixed by law, may remove any person appointed to any office by such court, board, body or officer, with or without cause, whenever such removal shall be deemed by it, them or him for the good of the public service, and the removal of any such person from office shall be final.
     As for the more common appointment made by the County Commission, those that have a term of service provision, removal is next to impossible.
     According to State Code 76-6-7, locals can petition for such removal and in most cases it only takes a few signatures to do so. In most cases , that number is 1 % of the number of voters from the last election.
So what are the grounds of taking such action, according to the code? a) Any person holding any county, school district or municipal office, including the office of a member of a board of education and the office of magistrate, the term or tenure of which office is fixed by law, whether the office be elective or appointive, except judges of the circuit courts, may be removed from such office in the manner provided in this section for official misconduct, malfeasance in office, incompetence, neglect of duty or gross immorality or for any of the causes or on any of the grounds provided by any other statute.
     After collecting the petition, it must be submitted to the Chief Judge of the Circuit who must immediately send it on to the WV Supreme Court . From the code: The chief justice of the supreme court of appeals shall without delay designate and appoint three circuit judges within the state, not more than one of whom shall be from the same circuit in which the petition is filed and, in the order of such appointment, shall designate the date, time and place for the convening of such three-judge court, which date and time shall not be less than twenty days from the date of the filing of the petition.
      Sounds pretty complicated doesn
=t it? Commissioner Sams commented recently, A It=s harder than you think to remove someone.@ For once he was right!


     Now fully two months into this election cycle, many are saying, AWhat election?@ Locally there is little excitement. Yes, there are a few tiny ads in the papers, but little else for sure. With that being said, here=s the installment of Election 2002, the most glorious time of all.
      Since 90 % of the registered Democrats in this county are actually Republicans, there is little to be said or gained by being on either Republican or Democrat Executive Committee spots. With no or little money coming down the line to buy votes , the power of the local committee is long gone. Internally, there are hard feelings too. The died-in-the-wool Democrats remember all too well the number of prominent local Democrats that supported Cecil Underwood and W. Bush. Ditto for those that steered clear of Charlotte Pritt for Governor four years earlier. Hard feeling, no money, internal bickering... no race here.
     There are a few interesting races to watch.... School Board, County Commission, and State Senate. Forget about the House of Delegates election. After redistricting four months ago, Stemple from the north and the three incumbents from Fayette have little chance of a serious challenge from anyone.
     In the county wide only races, watch the Commission race to be a close one this May. Incumbent Commissioner Tim Butcher
>s promises of 300 jobs at Filcon and water service for all, will undoubtedly come back to bite him. The pressure is on for Butcher to show anything accomplished over the last 6 years. To counter this, Butcher is pulling out all the stops! Watch for his name to continue to appear on the front page of that little paper over in Clay weekly through May. Now that he has attached himself to getting cleaner water for better fishing in the county, property owners may soon realize that cleaner water will mean more restrictions on what they can do with their creeks= edged land they bought and are paying higher taxes on. One thing is for sure, Clayberry voters have long memories! The years of do nothing leadership like the loss of local control of the ambulance service will be hard to overcome in these last 6 weeks of campaigning.
Commission challenger Peter Triplett ran for the spot three cycles back and garnered over 600 votes. With little political baggage associated with his name, Triplett has a shot at toppling the heir to the Joyce Gibson political dominance.
     With only one challenger on the Republican ticket, Ronnie Haynes can coast it out to fall 2002. While it is true Haynes was beaten by new kid on the block Matthew Bragg two years ago, Haynes has a following and by many accounts, while serving on the Commission in the past, Haynes demonstrated some brain power and a business like approach to county business. From the street comes suppositions that Democrats may vote for Triplett since Triplett may be easier for Haynes to beat in November. Remember ... Republicans in Democrat clothes will count in this race!
     Is there any doubt that the strong arm tactics of school Superintendent Link and associates ensured the passage of the Jan. 19 excess levy? Some of that vented anger may surface in the non partisan school board race this May. It has happened before. Link lost two board members (Paul Allen and Charlie Osborne) after winning the excess levy vote 5 years ago. It could happen again if Bomont challenger Fran Taylor Naylor kicks into gear and makes an effort. So how will they put down Naylor in her bid for elected office? Start rumors! Say stuff like she sent her kids to out of county schools, say stuff like she hasn
=t supported the local P.T.O., or ... well you get the idea, back door stuff. Up for reelection are Scott Legg, Dave Pierson and Fran King. From the southern side of the county Charles Vance may garner some votes as those voters try to have more influence in school policies.
     Probably the most intriguing race to watch will be the WV Senate race and our home town candidate Jim Dawson. Dawson of course will carry this county overwhelmingly, but the new district is huge! Made up of Clay, Webster, most precincts in Fayette, all of Nicholas, and Upshur , Clay
=s 2000 voters are insignificant. The race will be won by capturing the vote in Fayette and Upshur. Dawson has an edge in Fayette County. Having served as an appointed Senator and having worked with Fayette Senator Shirley Love for two sessions, if Dawson can get Love and the Fayette Delegates Perry, Pino and Lousios pulling for him, he has a real shot at winning. Dawson has a much better shot this time around than when he ran against Mark Burnette two years ago.
But then there
=s the money and enthusiasm issues for Dawson. To run a first class campaign for this senatorial district, Dawson will need right at $80,000.00 for TV ads, radio ads, campaign literature and such. Since only 40 or so showed for his campaign kick off dinner here in the county last week, the money may be hard to come by. As for the enthusiasm issue, Dawson has already said he is going to work much harder than in previous attempts for public office. He has competition too. From little bitty Webster County is candidate Randy White. As a member of the House of Delegates, Delegate White is well respected by politicos and may be able to pull some votes from Fayette and the thousands of voters in Upshur County.
     That $80,000.00 figure is enough to get through the May primary, but with a Republican challenger in November, much more dinero will need to be raised by which ever Democrat this summer. Dawson has a real chance at being elected this time if he gets off his duff.
The next 6 weeks or so will separate the winners from the rest. Keep your eyes open! AW

The Chafin Report

By Jim Chafin
Over The Hill To The Poor House
     Admiralty law (designed for the express purpose of being a dominating force in the lives of citizens) is heavily weighted in favor of the facility, and against the resident. Lack of counsel for these needy people gives license to management to exercise its will against those who, in all probability, have no knowledge of their rights at all. And even if some do know their liberties are being abridged - there is little likelihood of them ever being able to prosecute a claim in court. Being behind locked doors is a sure-fire way to deter activism on the part of a Asmart-mouth@. And, think about this: visiting hours end all too soon - and darkness comes too fast - then fear can really take hold. For many, being alone, without family or friends - among strangers whose main reason for being there is a pay check - is a great incentive for one to keep his/her thoughts wrapped tightly inside their chest. Quote: AJim, when you=re here, I can make it all right; but when you=re gone, I am scared to death. I don=t like these people Jim; go get the car - get my clothes; please take me home Jim.@
     A bill entitled, The Senior Protection Act of 1999, co-authored by Senator Byrd, lies somewhere in the dungeons of the Senate
=s X files - bottled up in procedural red tape and apparent disregard for the urgent needs of this select group of American Citizens. This piece of legislation, anemic though it be, was a step in the right direction - a beginning of recognition by this nation for the safety and welfare of our blessed loved ones. But there it lays collecting dust while injury and death continue to plague those neediest of all Americans. How much longer must we wait for justice to be served on these brave folks?
     In a strongly worded letter to then Governor and Mrs. Cecil Underwood, in which these issues, and more, were given meticulous attention - I received a reply from Human Resources Secretary Ohl, in which she wrote, quote:
APresident Clinton is going to reform the healthcare system.@ Scouts honor! And my retort to Ms Ohl was: AWhen pigs fly!@
Alluding to my previous statement that
APolitics is not about equality - it is about WHO gets WHAT@; we find our legislators responding to those with the loudest voice - freely translated as MONEY. They give very little credence to requests based on need, unless accompanied by large out-pourings of CASH. They have broken contact with the spirit of America=s conscience; they are denying equal protection of the law under our Constitution and Bill of Rights to those upon whose backs the prosperity of this nation is laid - our seniors are the source for this present generation=s guidance and well being. No single human act could (would) better endear us to our future posterity than for this nation to rise up and Ahonor our fathers and mothers@.
We urge our legislators to restore the civil liberties to our seniors, AND, provide for their health and welfare in a manner consistent with what they would want for themselves and for their own family. We ask for nothing more - and nothing less!!
=s note: This is the third in a series of articles
Mr. Chafin has written concerning problems in our long term care facilities.

ON THE SOAPBOX by Andy Waddell
      Over the last 6 years or so, on numerous occasions, during board meetings and in the office too, employees of Clay County Development Corporation (CDC) have admitted there is a need to do a public relations (PR) campaign, the need to make the public aware of the various services provided the county, and certainly a need to show a favorable presence in the community. As a matter of fact, many of the grants they apply for require documentation of such a presence. To date, public relations has happened but not to their liking.
     There has been press coverage. Much of that coverage of the tax payer funded organization has not shed a positive light on their dealings. For the once quiet organization, a call from the Charleston Gazette or Daily Mail or this paper is an alarm signal that some
Aquestionable practice@ has been discovered and about to be exposed. CDC just hasn=t been able to stay out of the limelight.
      CDC wants only good words spoken of them in the media , and that the public should only receive select
Asnippets of information@. To insure that and to combat the negative press coverage, the General membership of CDC, under the leadership of Board Chair Earnie ( Mayor, Wide Glide, Osama, Czar... you name it ,the satire has been heaped on) Sirk, a special meeting was called on February 28, 2002. At that meeting the by laws were changed to eliminate the public from attending the Board of Director meetings in an attempt to shelter the agency from public scrutiny. Additional wording was added that allows for the removal of board members that say anything negative in public about CDC.
      So does a gag rule stop anything? Yes. A gag rule certainly leads to more rumors flying around everywhere and certainly prevents rumors from being disputed. On at least three occasions, Chair Sirk told a newspaper reporter to get his information
Afrom the street@. It seemed Sirk was saying that would be more accurate than what was being offered during board meetings. Maybe he was right.
     Such is the case now, word on the street coverage documented by only one side of the story.
Two workers and their supervisor abruptly quit their jobs Wednesday, March 20 under allegations of sticky-finger-itus. The workers had been accused of taking building materials. Recently those same workers reported being shorted on their pay checks. And here
=s one to note for sure: the supervisor was a CDC board member just prior to taking the paying job. The workers were employed via a federal grant to spruce up homes and allow an independent living accommodations instead of being warehoused in some old folks home way from family members.
On the street, there appears to be more. The three employees may have been railroaded out of their jobs. On the street is the story the three refused to be a part of taxpayer funded building materials going to private, personal use by a higher up long time employee of CDC. Were they forced out when they refused to mindlessly follow along in lock step? Is there an issue of a board member accepting employment within the same agency she was charged with regulating?
     Although this newspaper used first hand sources on the resignations, we will never know the other side, the CDC side of the story. CDC decided in February it is absolutely private and beyond public inspection. At one point, a long time employee of CDC said that no one controls them! She was wrong.
      The public always controls a government agency. As for stopping the public from attending meetings as a way to control dissemination of information, that won
=t work either. The locks on the door can only stop the public from getting both sides of the story and deciding for themselves what to believe. CDC=s long struggle to be considered a professional, well managed social service provider can only be hampered by gag rules.
     As more stories hit the street, the family run non profit corporation can only be further weakened by it
=s haste to duct tape shut public information. In a county where so much is needed, this is truly a pitiful situation.

     The following were presented to the County Commission March 12 by BG Willis, site manager for WV EMS, the management groups operating the Clay County Ambulance Service. The report is for January 28, 2002 through February 28, 2002.
        Met with Dave King to discuss restructuring of Clay EMS to an emergency only system. Informed him that we would have only one full time , 24 hour, duty crew truck.....
        Held staff meeting to announce the new structure of agency and establish basic ground rules.
        Held interviews with everyone who was regularly scheduled to work 20 hours per week...
        Held meetings with Big Otter VFD to introduce myself and tell them what needed to happen in order to have an ambulance located in their area. The meeting went well but they decided to not sign a letter of understanding between the tow agencies and the ambulance was returned to Clay. However, since that time, I have been approached and asked to revisit BOVFD. There is apparently some confusion about what is required of them. I will be visiting with them soon
        Found several follow up invoices that had not been sent. Some of them were almost a year old. They have now been billed and money is starting to come in for deposit. This money has now gotten us to a point that we now have no past due bills.
        Met with ad hoc committee and county assistant prosecutor to discuss employees. No final decisions were made.
  Re established an account with KCEAA to purchase supplies....
        Provided training to paramedics to update them on new medications and procedures...
        Starting rotating ambulances through KCEAA to be looked at and repaired....
        Met with Lizemore VFD. They will be a licensed rapid response agency soon and will then sign a letter of understanding with Clay in order to run a volunteer ambulance.
The following is the Income Expense Report presented to the County Commission March 19 by BJ Willis of WV EMS.
Carry Forward Balance -23,000.00 Levy or User fee revenue-1000.00; Service revenue - 70,000.00; Other revenue ( sale of ambulance) 12,000.00; TOTAL: $106,000.00
Total Personal Services $61,611.00 ( salaries and wages 44,223.00; FICA 3,383.00; Group Insurance 6,915.00; retirement 4,041.00; Overtime 1,700.00; Worker Comp/Unemployment 1,349.00)
Telephone 300.00; Building maintenance 300.00; equipment repairs 250.00; Truck repair 6,000.00; Copier rental 175.00; Legal Publications 100.00; Bio Waste 200.00; Contracted Service ( EMS, Willis) 6000.00; Loan payments 4,289.00.
Dept Supplies 100.00; Fuel 2,500.00; Uniforms 1000.00
Projected ending Balance $23,275.00

     With a sprinkling of by-standers in the peanut gallery, Commissioners Matthew Bragg, Tim Butcher and Jimmy Sams held their regular 2nd Tuesday of the month County Commission (CCC) meeting on March 12.
As required by the management agreement ( signed January 22, 2002) for the ambulance service, BJ Willis from WV EMS provided the Commissioners with a progress report for the month of February 2002. Additionally, Willis forwarded a proposed budget for the ambulance service for CCC approval. Major excerpts from both documents can be found elsewhere in this edition.
     Willis told the Commission that he had met again with reps from Big Otter Fire Department in another attempt to get volunteer support for the reopening of the Big Otter Ambulance Station. Willis said he needs to meet with the ad hoc advisory committee for the ambulance service to discuss upcoming employee salaries. Currently, all workers at the service are technically contract laborers. After the EMS budget is approved, some of those long time workers will be rehired as employees of the agency. County Clerk Judy Moore reported that all bills had been paid and there was around $23000.00 left in that account now. $3800.00 in current bills have just come in. Willis is considering selling one ambulance to generate additional revenue while another unit has just received $2000.00 in repairs making it road worthy again. There are two ambulances ready to operate now and a third one should be operational soon. Willis,
AIt=s not cheap to run an ambulance...@
     After questioning by the CCC, Willis reported that a second duty crew was just possible at this time. Currently there is only one crew on duty in the county and when that crew is on a run, other private ambulance companies are called in by 911 Dispatch in Nicholas County to meet the needs of the county. It appears that our County Commission is under pressure (by county residents, voters) to have locals respond in emergencies instead of out of county providers. Willis,
@... with current revenue, there is not enough dollars to have two more full time ambulance crews.... The revenue stream is just not there right now.@ Sams, A I=d like to see a second crew up here ( Clay) now.@ Willis,@ I do too, but how do you pay for it?@
     As to the Big Otter Fire Dept. letter of understanding that was shot down last month by the volunteers, Willis admitted,
@.. I did not present it well.@ Willis is working out a simpler, more straight forward letter that would allow fire volunteers to drive ambulances and thus allow the Big Otter Ambulance Station to reopen in the future. The original letter from WV EMS was very demanding of the volunteers. Willis reiterated that the new agreement still must provide assurances that volunteers will be available when needed, Willis@ ... there has to be control to assure that ambulances will be there....@ Commissioner Sams agreed ,@ We don=t have it right now.@ Willis explained that even if Charleston would provide a $50,000.00 grant to help out the service, down the road, there has to be assurances that salaries can be met on a continuing basis, @for job security.... the call volume has decreased in the last year@ Sams concurred again.
      And then what makes elected ones quiver... Sams,
A We might have to pass a levy.. if they want a quality ambulances service, they are going to have to pay for it!@ With BJ Willis agreeing, you could see up for re election Tim Butcher twitch.
     Finally, one long standing question was answered. According to Willis, when an out of county provider ( Jan Care, General, etc) answers a Clay County call, and the patient has paid the voluntary $25.00 ambulance fee, will the fee cover the cost of the run? Willis, (here it is readers),
ANo... they bill them direct.@
     On another alarming issue that many scanner listeners are aware of , Commissioner Butcher asked about the many local ambulance runs that have been met at the county line and another provider takes the patient on into the hospital emergency room from there. Willis explained that this county does not have enough paramedics on the crews and state protocol ( and a doctors order) requires that the patient be put in paramedics control as soon as possible. Paige Willis complained that in many instances the Clay ambulance unit would be at Elkview and only 10 minutes from the Charleston hospitals. While waiting for a Kanawha County ambulance, Paige,
AYou could have been there!@ Again, BJ Willis said they have to go by protocol and AThe doctors orders.... a paramedic can do emergency room work.@
=t know if Sams was doing it just to see Butcher squirm or not, Sams got back on the CCC pushing for a county wide LEVY to fund local ambulance service. Sams,@ We=ll put it on the April meeting agenda.@ No comments from Bragg or Butcher!
      County Commission accepted the resignation of Fran King from the Ambulance Service Ad Hoc advisory committee. It looks like Ms King left the committee as a result of the recent court case where two Fayette County school board members were thrown out of office for serving on a committee while seated on the school board. Ms King
=s school board seat is up for reelection this May. CCC chose not to fill the vacant spot on the ad hoc committee.
     Number 5 on the agenda read: Sheriff requests $2500.00 be added to his budget for uniforms/equipment. Something appeared to be up, readers. Through out the meeting, that item #5 was brought back up but no discussion or decision was advanced to the public.
     Ditto for number 6: PSD members who have not attended the mandatory training are to be replaced. Sams did comment that it is much tougher to get rid of a PSD board member than you might think. This agenda item appears to be in response to February 2001 actions of Clay Roane PSD Chair T.G. Cruickshank.
     Punkineer and community activist Celia Coon, “Where do we stand with water?
@ Sams, ASame place.@ Coon, A And that=s no place!@ Ms Coon was referring to recent attempts to get water service into her section of the county , Punkin Ridge. Coon reminded the CCC that if Clay Roane PSD Awould play by the rules@, her community=s needs could be met by adding the Punkin water line extension to the Amma/Left Hand extension in Roane County. Coon, A T.G. said he wouldn=t approve that!@ Sams agreed with Ms Coon and felt it was the best deal IF it only held up the Amma project for a few months. Sams also said there was a possibility that the Fola Coal Company mitigation fees might be used for water line extensions. Sams,@ We need the water more than a fishing lake.@
     And on the top of many peoples
= minds, Coon asked about Jimmy Morris getting water service ahead of many others on the waiting list. Coon, A He should be like everyone else!@ Butcher, A I don=t know why everyone else isn=t hooked up!@ Coon asked that a new PSD be formed, Ato do something.@ Sams, A It=s not easy to get rid of them..... we appoint them [PSD] and hope they make the right decisions.@ Sams, referring to State School Board member and local bank President J.D.. Morris getting favored status with his recent water hook up, Sams, A I read that in one of those little papers.... you can=t believe everything you read.... especially about the IQs!@ Sams was referring to a recent posting on the web site that reported the IQ of all three Commissioners being about that of the posted speed limit on Route 4.
     Coon related an accurate account of how Morris received the preferential treatment. Butcher,
A I=d do everything I could to hook up... the moratorium stopped everything.... we=re trying to get the dollars [for Punkin].... we=re making every effort we can for Punkin Ridge@ Coon, A He got treated better than everyone else!!!!!!!... why can=t the PSD write the grant?@ CCC President Matthew Bragg,@ That=s what I tried to tell them.@ Another Punkineer commented on the water line going only a short distance up Punkin Ridge,@ That=s politics! They stand there and lie to you!@
     Now back to getting rid of T.G. from the Clay Roane PSD , Sams asked that the removal from office item be put on the next agenda. Sams,
@ We need to find out about the PSD... It=s mandatory... they have had plenty of time to attend the class...@ Sams said those PSD members that have not attended the mandatory board training will be asked to resign from office.
     CCC was reminded that in WV Public Service Commission orders, who gets water service and when was spelled out. According to the PSC, the first people to get new water service would be those that had filed a protest with the PSC while the water moratorium was in place. After those receive service, then those at the top of the waiting list would receive service next. Currently there are 78 on the waiting list for water and J.D. Morris was no where near the top of it. Morris was actually number 62 on the list. Coon,
     There is $20,000.00 or so left to spend in the litter Control Program which must be spent by June 30th of this year. Three people will need to be hired for the program. Appliance pick up days will be scheduled and announced to the public in the near future.
     And one final item. County Commission was asked about the Ad Hoc Committee for the ambulance service and their meeting behind closed doors and away from the public. Commissioner Sams felt they were not covered by Open Meeting Laws since they make no decision. EMS site manager BJ Willis,
@ They have no power over me....I=m just seeking community input.@         

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito Setting the Record Straight:

Stimulus Will Help West Virginia
        Washington- Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) set the record straight by re-emphasizing how the economic stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law last week will help West Virginia-both the people and the state’s economy.
        “The economic stimulus bill that the President recently signed had broad bipartisan support and it was the right thing to do,” said Capito. “Many hard working men and women of West Virginia are struggling right now and this bill will provide a financial safety net for today and better job opportunities for tomorrow.”
        Last week the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.R. 3090, “The Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002,” by a vote of 417 to 3. The following day, the Senate passed the same plan with large bipartisan support by a vote of 85 to 9.

Sorting the Myths from the Truth in H.R. 3090:

Myth: H.R. 3090 handicaps West Virginia’s ability to support the rising number of unemployed workers.
        Truth: H.R. 3090 transfers a total of $8 billion to states-$36 million for West Virginia-to help unemployment insurance benefits, enabling each state to extend benefits an additional 13 weeks beyond the normal 26 weeks. The plan also includes a trigger mechanism, which provides ANOTHER 13 weeks of benefits for states experiencing unemployment rates above 4%. (This would be a second extension for a total of an extra 26 weeks of benefits on top of the base 26 weeks.)
Myth: H.R. 3090 will drag West Virginia’s economy.
        Truth: The biggest drag to our state and national economy is the recession. H.R. 3090 provides measures to stimulate business, create jobs and bost our economic activity. The provisions of this bill serve to generate business revenue, leading to more state and federal revenues.
Myth: H.R. 3090 forces West Virginia to lose tax
        Truth: Providing ways for businesses to thrive and expand results in more jobs-jobs that are secure because businesses are solvent and strong. When businesses are financially healthy, the state receives more tax revenue.

Rx Benefit A Must
        Washington-In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert (R-IL.), Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) urged the House leader to place the highest legislative priority on reforming Medicare to include a meaningful prescription drug benefit for seniors.
        “Medicare has become the bread and butter of senior citizen’s healthcare,” said Capito. “Because the program plays such an important role in safeguarding the health of our parents and our grandparents, we must act now to reform the system to include a prescription drug benefit.”
        “80% of our retirees use prescription drugs every day, and too many seniors are forced to adopt a “sink or swim” mentality when it comes to paying for their prescription drugs,’ said Rep. Capito.
        In her letter to Speaker Hastert, Congresswoman Capito referenced the numerous prescription drug benefit plans ready for debate, and urged the Speaker to take up the issue as soon as possible.
        “America’s senior citizens are in desperate need of reform and fast. No one should have to choose between heating their house or buying their prescribed medication. This has gone on long enough. American’s seniors are entitled to fair and just prescription drug prices.”
        In July, Congresswoman Capito and Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) introduced a plan to provide immediate prescription drug relief to seniors. The plan, called the Medicare Prescription Drug Card Program, offers seniors the option to purchase their drugs at a discounted rate and capping the total amount spent by low-income seniors.

Challenge WV- State Board Asked to Enforce Bus Travel Time Guidelines

Challenge WV Chairperson Linda Martin made the following presentation to the West Virginia State Board of Education on March 7, 2002 -

Challenge West Virginia is a statewide organization committed to maintaining and improving small schools in West Virginia. We are working to keep our schools small because we know that small schools work best for our children. The research on school size is extensive and quite consistent. It shows that:
1) Smaller the school - higher the achievement level
2) Claims that larger schools cost less are not true
3) Claims that larger schools offer a higher-quality curricula are not true
4) Student attitudes are more positive in small schools
5) Student social behavior - as measured by truancy, discipline problems, violence, theft, substance abuse - is more positive in small schools
6) Student attendance rates are higher in small schools
7) Extracurricular participation is higher in small schools
8) Drop out rates are lower in small schools
9) Teacher attitudes toward work and their administrators are more positive in small schools
10)Parent and community involvement is higher in small schools
     Since 1990, West Virginia has closed 324 schools. The national trend toward building large schools has changed. In many states, particularly urban centers, policy makers have begun to break up those large schools by designing schools within schools. Let us not repeat the mistakes that other states have made and are trying to change. Let us instead look at what states are doing to keep their small schools. One example is North Carolina. They have made policy decisions based on the research of school size and its relationship to student learning and well-being. As a result, their policies now are for not only saving the small schools they have but also they are building newer schools of smaller sizes and breaking up the schools they consider too large. Why is West Virginia going in the wrong direction?
     One of the things that is never added in when West Virginia talks about closing schools to save money is the cost of transporting children. West Virginia has a higher percentage of its total education budget going to busing than any other state in the nation. 6.8 percent. It is higher than Alaska, Vermont, Montana, Iowa and other states one thinks of as rural.
     West Virginia operates the most expensive transportation program in the country based on cost per pupil and cost per mile. The $129 million dollars the state spent last year did not include salaries for bus drivers, maintenance people, secretaries or others working for the transportation system.
      We need to recognize what it means now that we are living in the 21st century - the age of technology. Our priorities should be to bring technology to where are children live - in those communities that support and care for them - not bus them long distances away from their homes and communities. Some 5 year-old children in West Virginia are currently riding a school bus an hour and a half one way to school. Yet, the state of West Virginia has announced that it plans to close an additional 151 schools during the next eight years. 80% of those closures are to be elementary schools.
     The state set guidelines for the amount of time students should spend on buses, but those guidelines - 30 minutes for elementary students, 45 minutes for middle school students, 60 minutes for high school students are totally ignored. Challenge WV has a bill before the house and senate seeking to make those guidelines into law. We think the guidelines you set are reasonable, we urge you to enforce them.
     Please do not tell us that it is up to our local boards of education to make decisions about school closures. Many of us tried to participate in the comprehensive facilities planning process, but try as we might, the message was clear, if you don
=t consolidate schools, the state will not give you money.
      West Virginians have a history of supporting schools in our communities. Most of the original schools in our state were built by local people coming together to do so. Parents and grandparents for years have sold hot dogs, held carnivals and community suppers to support schools. But, things have changed and I suspect that you are aware of those changes. People in community after community, across this state, have said no to school bonds - because the forced closing of their schools has given them no other choice. As one of our fellows has said,
AGive us our community schools and we=ll give you bonds and levies.@ The people in West Virginia have spoken in a loud voice to you. When will you listen?
     You are the people who make the policy decisions that will impact education for generations to come. We know that you are in the middle of policy review. As you go through that task, we urge you to consider the research, take a hard look at the priorities you are setting, see yourselves as advocates for every child in this state and make decisions that will provide the best education for the children of West Virginia. Thank you.
For more information about Challenge contact:
Marge Bragg, or 286-2655