March 8, 2002



     Long has been the history of distrust in Clay County. Someone receives preferential treatment, someone gets a job, and the like. In a county where there is so little for so many, the smallest Aslight@ is remembered for years. When an overt action is found out to be true, the county gets infuriated.
     This is one of those infuriating accounts that is a good indication that
Athe good ole boy@ network is alive and well in the county of Clay.
=s the rumor: during the first week of March, state school board member J.D. Morris received water service at his under construction home at Ovapa. Water service? How could that be a big deal? Doesn=t everyone have water service? Isn=t it just a matter of calling up the local provider, paying a hook up fee, and the water gets turned on? Not in Clayberry.
     Since the middle of March 1995, residents of the Queen Shoals, Procious, and Clay/Roane PSD service areas have been under a water moratorium imposed by the WV Public Service Commission. Those three PSDs receive potable water from the much too small Procious water plant, that at the time was treating water nearly 24 hours per day. It was over loaded! The PSC , in the interest of public health, in
>95, banned any new water hook ups. The idea was to not add any additional burden to the plant. The moratorium was lifted by the PSC in November 2001, but the County didn=t know that until January of this year.
     While the moratorium remained in place, the applications for water service backed up. For 7 years, waiting lists were compiled. Potential customers became annoyed with the prospect of drinking foul water in the 21st century as the rest of the world passed us by. At one point, while under PSC investigation and scrutiny, records, including the waiting list , disappeared one night. One Administrative Law Judge wrote that the actions to cover something up,
Aappeared to be criminal like in nature.@ Nothing was done except to start a new waiting list.
     The wait continues today even with the moratorium now lifted due largely to bungling leadership within the PSDs and the County Commission. For Mr. Morris, or for that matter, anybody to get preferential treatment in getting
Acity@ water is a call to battle for the hundreds of families that have patiently waited.
     Last week
=s rumor on Morris went like this: besides Morris getting water service, Morris did NOT pay a tap fee, did not have an application for service completed, and was NOT at the top of the waiting list for service.
     Over the 7 year moratorium period, only a hand full of Clayonians
Aacquired@ water service. In each case, the connection was met with hostility. At the insistence of angry locals, PSC Hearings were called when: Procious PSD board member Garrett Samples had PSD personnel dig and install water lines for his new home; when Prosecutor Jeff Davis hooked up; past PSD member Carl Woody; ditto for the little white church over at Wallback. In each of those cases, the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) let the individuals keep their newly acquired service. The thirsty went ballistic! In some cases, it looked like the PSC was supportive of preferential treatment for the Achosen few@.
     More recently, and under the advice and direction of PSC Engineer Jim Weimer, a new connection for Filcon Manufacturing at Ovapa, was introduced without Filcon even going through the steps! In only one case did the PSC curtail service. That case dealt with a laundromat, the Saddle Rack Tavern, and a private residence all hooked up on one tap (connection). In that case, the PSC ordered that only one unit could use one tap.
     By the weekend of March 2nd, the rumors reached this newspaper
=s ears. The following is the time line of our investigation.
Monday, March 4, Procious Water Plant Chief Operator Jennifer Traub was contacted regarding rumors of J.D. Morris receiving water service ahead of all others. Traub said that Mr. Morris had not paid a tap fee. There was a reason for that. Morris did not have water service!. Boom, story over, just another unfounded rumor. WRONG.
     By Tuesday evening, things were heating up. The muck was rising to the surface. The issue was just starting to show up on the
AI told you so@ radar screen.
     Wednesday, March 6, another call was put in to Ms Traub. That conversation went something like this. Traub,
AYesterday, I went out and checked the valve. He said he got that Ok’ed with Mr. TG.@ Traub was confirming that J.D. Morris DID have water service as the rumor had had it, and the inside deal was consummated by Clay Roane PSD Chair TG Cruickshank. Sort of retreating from her earlier statement, Traub, A I did know they were going to install the line, you know, and set the meter well thing... BUT to my knowledge he was NOT going to have service, No.@ Sam Taylor from the Clay County PSD dug the water line ditch and installed the equipment. Traub,@ Jimmy paid to get that line laid, he paid Sam to do it, that=s what he said.@ According to Traub, Taylor did the work as a Aprivate deal@ and on his own time. Traub confirmed that Morris is now using water. Traub,@ I physically seen it. I went out there. He has used 410 gallons. I looked at it to make sure that it was running.@
      Traub sent maintenance man Dale Deems out to the Morris house to cut off service. There Deems was met with resistance and after phone calls to Morris and then Traub, Deems was told to leave the water on and return to the plant. Traub received a phone call from Morris,
A He said he got it approved through TG. I said , I guess we will just have to let it ride until the next Board meeting. I told him I didn=t know what to do. It is on the agenda. I didn=t know what to do. I don=t want it coming down on me and all these other people coming in .... and getting mad at me, you know. I didn=t do it!@ Traub felt that the water connection was very recent.
     Operator Traub felt that an order from the WV PSC mandated how and in which order new water connections would be issued for new hook ups. According to Traub, those that had filed a petition for water service during the moratorium and had been denied by the PSC would be at the top of the
Apecking order@, so to speak. TG Cruickshank was out of town Tuesday.
     Wednesday, March 6, noon - Clay Roane PSD clerk Trina Neff is responsible for connection fees, applications for water service, and maintaining waiting lists for potential customers. We spoke with Ms Neff Wednesday. Did Mr. Morris have an application for water service in with the PSD? Neff,
A No.@ Neff said he was on a waiting list but not near the top of it. Neff, who was at home Wednesday, A I don=t know how many is on the list... I=d say 75 or 80 some. It was my understanding that we were to go by the date that they had signed up. Jimmy signed up in May 2001. There are tons of people ahead of him.@ Has anyone else on the waiting list been hooked up since the moratorium has been lifted? Neff,@ No. The only thing he asked me yesterday was , >how much is the tap fee?=... I think Jimmy Morris got water the week I was on vacation, ... the first week in February.@
     As for Morris getting water service without even having an application in , Ms Neff,
@ He told Jennifer that it had been approved by TG....he said, can I go ahead and pay my tap fee and deposit?... I said if you want to go ahead and pay it. I told him where to mail it to. I told him before you can have any kind of water service, you have to fill out an application for service .... He said he filled out all this in the spring of last year. I said no you didn=t. He said he came down there and signed up for water one day when I wasn=t there... Everybody that is down here [potential customers] is in the computer and you did not fill it out and give it to me. He said, >if I need to fill out anything you just let me know.@
     According to Neff, while she and Traub were doing errands in Clay yesterday, Mr. Morris gave Jennifer the $250.0 tap fee and the $50.00 deposit. To date no application for service has been completed. Neff,
@ I told her , he isn=t even supposed to have the water until he fills out the application. She said,=I know but TG approved it.= He has a meter and has used 400 and some gallons of water. He told Jennifer that they needed that water to mix the drywall mud. I told her, NO, there are people here that need that water for bathing their kids, Forget about some drywall....@ Neff confirmed that the meter and water was on location and being used. And one more interesting note from Clerk Neff, A Jennifer told me he had got it approved by TG and James Weimer. She told me James Weimer. I told her if it was approved by James Weimer or TG, it needs to be written down. Yesterday, James Weimer called and asked me when our Board meeting was... I asked him if he wanted to be put on the agenda and he said,=No, because those people from Punkin Ridge were on to him....@
So why is the water still on at Jimmy Morris
=s new home? Neff, A Because he had it approved by TG and Jennifer told Dale to just leave it alone.@
     Having some one jump to the head of the line puts Ms Neff in an awkward position. Neff,
A It looked like to me some people were ahead on the list when I came to work there. I told everybody that we should go by the date they signed up. This is upsetting because I know there are people out there that have kids that need that water more than Jimmy Morris. If I have to loose my job over saying he shouldn=t have it, that=s fine..... When I sit down there and tell people that we are going to go by the order by the date.... and then they turn around and give it to Jimmy Morris, that makes me a liar. I have never once lied for TG . I have never once lied for anybody down here and I am not going to! It=s just a mess! If he has got water out here we have never got a tap fee or anything. I said we have to have a tap fee before having water. And a deposit.. We didn=t get his tap fee until yesterday at noon. If somebody hadn=t told on him, we wouldn=t have had it. I kept asking Jennifer, if you think he has water, somebody needs to go out there. When it came time to do the billing, I said Jennifer, I need to know if Jimmy Morris has a meter. Does he have water or what. We=re going to have to do something. We have to be able to send him a bill or see if he is allowed to have it. I never got any information. I didn=t know anything about it. I sent out the bills Monday [March 4]. And he did not get a bill. I was being told the whole time that he did not have water. This puts me on the spot...@
     We confirmed with Sam Taylor late Wednesday that he did the installation, did the job on his own time, contractors for Jimmy Morris supplied the parts, and before starting the work , a map of the extension was given to Ms Traub. “And I told her, ‘here
=s what=s going on’.@ Even doing the work away from his official PSD responsibilities, and even after doing similar work for others in the communities, Taylor felt something, A I knew this was going to come back and bite me.@
     Did a prominent local politician jump ahead of the line? Yes. Did the politician pay the required tap fee prior to water service as required by the WV PSC? No. Has this person filled out an application for service? No. Has anyone else received water service since the moratorium was lifted? No.
Does this pass the rotten fish test? No way!

follow ups

*Fola Coal Co. President Gary A. Patterson stated in a letter dated February 26, 2002,@ We at Fola have always prided ourselves on our commitment to our community. This project [Bee Run Dam at Wallback] was an opportunity to insure funds paid by Fola could remain within our surrounding counties to the benefit of our employees. However, our decision at this point will have to be to make the $1,405,600.00 payment under the terms of the Mitigation and Compensation Agreement dated June 2, 2000.... Translation: We are not getting the 18 acre lake, long desired for tourism growth, in Clay County. The compensation for lost water ways, when and if paid by Fola, can be spent anywhere in the state.
*In the February 7 edition of this paper, a letter to the Editor stated that Deputy John McKown
A came to her at lunch, shuck his handcuffs at her, and told her that she had 10 minutes to get to the Magistrates office or he was arresting her.@ The AChatter@ was written by Darius and Melissa Cummings. On March 2, Deputy McKown responded to the letter by saying he did not shake his handcuffs at her . McKown said there was a habeas for her arrest and he told her to be at the Magistrates office by 1 pm or she would be subject to arrest.
*In last edition the Clay Development Corporation coverage included strong words from CDC Chair Earnie Sirk that he was going to have an ace cub reporter for this newspaper arrested for trespassing. At issue was newspaper coverage of the CDC Board of Directors meetings. The Sirk threats appear to have been just that and no more. No arrests were made.

??? DID YOU KNOW ???

  1. There is always something to be thankful for.
  2. Two unaltered dogs and their offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in six years.
  3. Ice cream and salad dressings use a part of the tree called cellulose to make them smooth and creamy.
  4. If you’ve experienced the dark, you can better appreciate the light.
  5. According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, Chlorine added to drinking water as a disinfectant may put pregnancies at risk.
  6. Nearly 20 percent of high school seniors across the state applied for the merit-based Promise Scholarships.
  7. If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.
  8. In a study at UCLA, 300 mg daily of vitamin C, including 150 mg in supplements, added six years to the lives of middle-aged men.
  9. 30,000 Americans will get oral cancer this year, and 8,000 will die.
  10. Less than half the population drinks fluoridated water.
  11. About 95 percent of the West Virginia coal distributed within the United States in 2000 was delivered to its final destination by railcar or river barge
  12. An estimated 3 percent of the world’s population now carries the mysterious virus “Hepatitis C”.
  13. Women who smoke are nearly 70 percent more likely to have low birth weight babies.
  14. A controversial study, which tracked the sleeping habits of 1.1 million Americans for six years found people who sleep six to seven hours a night live longer than those who sleep 8 hours or more.
  15. West Virginia takes in about $300 million in “fuel tax” revenue each year.
  16. A 2001 study by George Washington University estimated that West Virginia will have 2,200 more prisoners than prison beds by 2010.
  17. Enrollment in West Virginia’s public schools is expected to drop by 18 percent in 10 years.
  18. West Virginia ranks 11th in the nation for natural gas production, and 33rd for oil production.
  19. A bronze 9 foot statue of Dale Earnhardt is displayed at Daytona International Speedway.
    • Retinoblastoma affects one in 20,000 US children, mostly under age 2, accounting for 3 percent of all childhood cancers. LMM


         On a regular basis, each and every water provider is checked for problems with the operating system. The inspection determines if the system is meeting the regulatory requirements of the
    ASafe Drinking Water Act@; advises the administrators on how to improve the water quality; and , provides an official document that can be used to raise rates.
         Over the years, the town of Clay Water Plant has racked up a number of violations during such visits. At one point, less than 18 months
    =s ago, the regulatory agency, Office of Environmental Health Service, came with in a gnat=s butt of shutting the entire operation all together. The most current Sanitary Survey, done in January of this year, tabulated many violations. During the March Town Council meeting, only a cursory mention was even made of the inspection and the report provided Mayor Jarrett.
    The following are the major deficiencies provided in that report.
         Based upon the current operation, the system does not appear to have enough certified operators. State Regulations mandate the full time services of a chief operator and an adequate number of other certified operators to effectively operate the system. A certified operator must always be present when the system is producing water.
    The system does not have backup booster pumps in place at the booster station located at the lower Maysel water tank.
    Two of the three water storage tanks are not properly fenced. Although a foot high fence is in place at the upper Maysel tank, entry could easily be gained by simply crawling under it at any of several places.. the lower Maysel tank has no fence at all.... State regulations requires that fencing, locks on access ports, and other necessary precautions be provided to prevent trespassing, vandalism, and sabotage.
    The chlorine room at the treatment plant is not
    Aair tight@ and has no outside access with a control switch on the outside.
    Full cylinders of chlorine were stored in an open area of the basement of the plant they should be stored in a separate enclosed area which is vented to the outside.
    The chlorine room does not have a chlorine leak detection alarm system. This item is even more critical given the close proximity to a residential area.
    The existing chlorine gas chlorinator is not properly vented
    The system should install day tanks for all the chemicals that are currently being stored in large bulk tanks as required by 64-CSR-7-7.c k
    Lesser deficiencies included:
    Some distribution mains are less than two inches in diameter... State regulation stipulates that the minimum size of a water main for providing fire protection and serving fire hydrants shall be of 6 inch diameter.
    The system does not maintain a file of standard operating procedures, maintenance records, or customer complaints.
    The system has no distribution system mapping.
    The system has a 74% water accountability rate... Every effort should be made to keep this rate above 85%.
    A formal cross connection program has not been established.
    Although many tanks of the lower Maysel tank age are still in good condition, this tank by comparison, appears to be fast approaching the end of its useful life, perhaps due to lack of adequate maintenance.
    The system has no emergency/disaster response plan. The system needs to develop an Emergency Response Plan.
    The system has no , or inadequate, operation and maintenance manuals.
    There is no record of preventative maintenance, valve exercise, meter testing, or hydrant flushing programs.
         In all, 15 minor deficiencies and 10 significant deficiencies were noted by Engineer Michael Koch of the Environmental Engineering Division. Also noted on the public document : Is the system self supporting? NO. Income- $184,483.00; Expenses - $228,700.00. Even before September 11, 2001, security of the system has been an issue. Early last year reports surfaced of a sheep floating in a tank. Those rumors were disputed. One interesting note in this year=s report includes: The treatment plant is virtually open to the public. The main facility is within a few yards of Route 16 which runs through the town of Clay. The facility and surrounding grounds are not fenced. Doors to the plant are left unlocked since the plant is also used as a customer service area. In light of recent terrorist activity, managers and operators need to take whatever precautions are necessary to at least frustrate potential intruders who may want to cause harm to the community or otherwise wreck havoc on the system by contaminating, poisoning, damaging, or disrupting the water supply.
         Town leaders have just 45 days to respond in writing to the regulators indicating how and on what schedule the system will address the statutory requirements noted in the survey.        

    Capito Announces Over

    $10 Million
    to Repair 2001 Flood Damaged Roads

         On Monday, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito announced over $10.3 million in aid for West Virginia from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to repair bridges, roads and highways that were damaged in the disastrous floods that swept through the state in the summer of last year.         
    A     The floods from last summer left many of our communities stranded - roads buried beneath water and debris. West Virginia towns became islands, isolated from one another,@ said Rep. Capito. AI am so pleased that Secretary Mineta and the Department of Transportation have recognized the hardship that our West Virginia communities endured last summer and have provided this funding to help us continue rebuilding. When Mother Nature deals West Virginia a blow, people often need help rebuilding their communities. West Virginia is still recovering from the disastrous weather that ruined much of the infrastructure such as bridges, roads and highways,@ Rep. Capito.
         The DOT has released $10,345,000 Federal Highway Emergency Relief Funds to the West Virginia Department of Transportation to repair and/or reconstruct any bridges, roads or highways that were damaged in the flooding of last summer. Funds are allocated as follows: $887,000 for damage due to the May 2001 flooding; $8,000,000 for damage due to the July 7, 2001 flooding; and $1,458,000 for the damage due to July 26, 2001 flooding.
         Starting on May 15, 2001, several areas in West Virginia experienced severe and heavy rainfall over a short period of time. In that time, an estimated $5.3 million in damage occurred, including $3 million to roads.


    Hi Andy, Terri and Lindy,
         I thought I needed to clear up a little misprint that you have in your School tidbits section of the February 22, 2002, issue Vol.8 No.4.
         Scott Legg is not a member of the Clay County Library Board and has not been a member for approximately two years. Also, the Public Library has not received any money from the school system for several years. In fact, in 2000, a cooperative grant for books was written at the public library and we were able to receive $1500 worth of books each for the middle and high school libraries. I would also like to point out that the library receives no funding from the County Commission or the town of Clay. Our only local dollars come from donations from our patrons and from organizations such as the Women's Club and the Clay County Bank. The County Commission paid in kind dollars to us by paying our utility bill for several years but found that they were unable to do that after losing the coal severance tax money. The town of Clay supplied our water and sewer service, but were no longer able to do that when their financial problems began. The library is completely dependent on state funding.
    If you have any questions, please call me at the library. I have documentation with actual dates if they are necessary. Thanks for clearing the misunderstanding.
    Vickie Neeley
    Clay County Library


         On February 24th, 1969 in the midst of the tumultuous Vietnam war protest era, the US Supreme Court handed down one of the most important First Amendment rulings affecting students in Tinker V. Des Moines. The Court=s opinion stated that neither students nor teachers Ashed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate@ and public schools Amay not be enclaves of totalitarianism.@
         The constitution guarantees certain rights for all citizens including students. These rights include the right to privacy, due process, fair education, freedom of religion, and free expression.
         Privacy: all students have the right to make decisions about their bodies without interference from schools. School officials must have reasonable suspicion in order to perform a search. Laws regulating locker searches vary by state. Contact your local ACLU affiliate to find out more. All HIV tests are voluntary and confidential.
         Due Process: all students have the right to be treated equally by school officials. Punishment cannot be more severe than the offenses. Students have the right to appeal any suspension. The school cannot punish one student more severely than another for the same offense.
         Equality in Education: Students have the right to an education regardless of race, class, religion, ethnicity or citizenship.
         Religious Freedom: all students have the right to practice any religion or none at all. Schools cannot promote religious beliefs in the classroom. Students may voluntarily pray on school property. However, schools are not allowed to require students to pray or to hold official school prayers.
         Free Expression: all students can join clubs and form associations. Students have the right to create web sites that criticize school policy and administrators. Students also have the right to refuse to pledge allegiance to the flag.
    All these rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Schools are not allowed to infringe on student
    =s rights in any of these matters. If you feel you have had any of your rights violated, please contact the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia. Phone: 304-345-9246; FAX: 304-345-9246; Email:


         Over the last month, and after being brought to our attention by community activist Vera Beasley, a water survey was conducted by this paper. Nothing scientific mind you, just simple questions and answers. After collecting a hand full or so of responses, some very interesting considerations have been advanced by Clay Countians.
         Questions included: How many in the household, location of the household, are you currently being served by a municipal water supply, what is the quality of the water supply, are their health concerns with your current water supply, are you given adequate notice of Boil Water Orders, how much would you be willing to pay for municipal water, and a place was given for additional comments. Only responses from residents of the county were counted and interestingly enough, all responses tallied were from the southern end of the county ( Bomont, Glen, Bentree) or the northern end, Ivydale and beyond.
         The average number in the households : 2.7
         Do you currently have city water: Only one responder was without water service by a local PSD
         As for the
    Aquality of water@, it was a mixed bag of comments. Over half the responders felt the quality of water was fair to good with one person writing, A Who knows, I only use it in an emergency!@
    As for health concerns with the current water supplier, got good here readers. Many! General consensus, there are concerns but many felt uninformed of the issues. One individual felt his well water was better than what was supplied by the PSD while another felt that many of the family
    =s skin rashes and cancer was caused by inadequate water treatment. Only one responder felt their were no health concerns with his supplier.
         Further down on the survey was the question: Do you receive adequate notice of Boil Water Orders? The resounding reply was 100% NO. One commented ,
    @ Never, no one cares about public or children=s health.. only dollars!@ Another replied,@ I pay no attention to them.@
    How much would you pay for city water? One person check marked the $50.00 per month box but the majority noted the $20.00 per month spot. Comments included,
    A We have no choice, no competition!@
         Finally, at the bottom of the survey was a spot for any additional comments, and comments there were. General consensus: the local PSDs have a long road to go in the public relations area to gain public confidence. Comments included: lack of qualified operators; the current charges are way too high; just prefers well water above PSD water; one person sent in a nice attachment to the survey. Here the attachment in it
    =s entirety
         AI appreciate having city water and worked hard in getting it. Maybe others in the county should have followed our example. Get your community together. Labor, money, equipment, brain power and a County Commission who gives a damn about the county that they are suppose to represent. [They] should be working for, not against! But, one must have a good brain to start with. To be a good Rep. for the people and have their [the peoples=] priority, not a junk shop or a job out of the county or a business interest to impede their efforts for Commission jobs, etc. When was the last time our County Commissioners put Clay County citizens first in their attempts to do their job?@
         So what was gained by the Survey? Well, maybe not very much. For some, it was a chance to vent frustrations. For the one person without city water, it was one more opportunity to try for water. Of those responding, it is clear, the fair market value for water service is in the $30.00 range with few willing to pay higher rates.
    Thanks again to all the responders.


    Back in December 2001, the WV PSC told the town of Clay that they must supply water to Clay Roane PSD. Council had big concerns that their old water plant could not keep up with the heavier demand to supply water to Roane County. Council’s apprehensions appear to have been correct. Prior to the forced agreement, Clay Roane PSD bought an average of 42,000 gallons of water per month from Clay. After the agreement, for December 20 through January 20, Clay Roane purchased 1,138,300 gallons, and last billing period the amount skyrocketed to 1,230,000 gallons. How long will the old plant hold out with increases like that? The WV PSC have now stated that the amount provided by the Clay Water Plant must be much higher than the current 2 million gallon per month cap. The WV PSC has mandated 5 million gallons per month for the PSD which extends into Roane County .We
    =ll keep you posted readers.

    In Remembrance

         Jerry Procious died March 2, 2002 around 2:15 pm. He died at his service station, Procious Exxon. That
    =s the station he tended to for much of his teenage years and all his adult life. The station he loved.
         Whether it was a job to do, a bill to pay, a tire to change, a child that needed a piece of gum, or a local that needed a little credit to make it through the month, Jerry responded with kindness and caring decency.
         If there was ever anyone independent and absolute, it was Jerry Procious. That independent streak was admired by many and disparaged by others. Jerry was one of the first distributors of this paper. Back when the county was ready to lynch me over my stand on the seperation of church and state, Jerry stood firm on this issue. The bluebloods and church goers of the county started a
    Aboycott@ of any place that sold this newspaper. Jerry did not fold as many did. And, it cost him, too.
         At the time, his Exxon operation had a bunch of Columbia Gas Co. business. Lot
    =s of trucks filled up big gas tanks day in and day out. The Columbia drivers told him, AIf you keep selling that paper, we=ll take our business elsewhere!@ His response was absolute,@ When you pay the taxes here, you can run it your way!@ He lost much business but stood his principles. Did he bite his nose off to spite his face? No. Jerry Procious never once took one dime from the proceeds of newspaper sales in his service station. He knew the worth of an independent forum for change and stood up for his convictions.
         Many people sought his advice. From simple little daily, walk of life issues to politicians wondering if they had a chance at getting elected. Often, his responses did not suit them. Anyone seeking the truth of what was really going on this county could depend on the words that came from his mouth. He knew the county, he knew who was upright, and he knew the dirty underbelly of this county. He spoke the truth based on witnessing the events first hand. One thing was for sure. If Jerry said it, it was true and you could bank on it. Nothing fancy, just plain absolute truth was his main stay in life.
         While many sought fame and fortune, maybe a nice big granite plaque on a government building, while others sought all the gratuities that could be had, Jerry did not. He provided an honest days work, straight talk, and a mindset for caring. His values and morals were impeccable.
    Nothing could be greater than to have a son grow up with Jerry Procious=s reflection. There is no doubt that his father is proud of him as I will be if my son grows up in Jerry=s likeness.
    Andy Waddell


    TJWL_02: 35 (a prayer)
         Jesus, I'm so thankful for You! Why am I so thankful? Because with You the impossible becomes possible, the unlovely are loved, that which is beyond reach becomes obtainable, the mountains turn into valleys, deserts are transformed into emerald pastures, the invisible is visible, the handicapped are made whole, and the broken pieces are put back together again.
          Fatigue is turned into energy, and weights and worries become springboards to propel me to new heights. Frowns are turned into smiles; stormy skies give way to sunshine. Barren cupboards are filled to overflowing. Floods evaporate before Your eyes. Death brings forth new life.
         There is nothing that You cannot do. There is no one You do not love. There is no thought that You do not know, no words that You have not heard, nothing that You have not seen, no feeling that You have not felt. There is no hurt that You cannot mend, no illness that You cannot heal.
          How wonderful it is that You can do all these things! How incredible, how fascinating, how loving! And the most remarkable thing is that You, the One Who can do all these things, are my Husband and my Lover, the Creator of all things, Who loves to love me and take care of me and do all these things just for me--because You love me.
          Editor’s Note: Eric Goode is a missionary serving in the El Paso area of Texas and contributes to this newspaper on a regular basis. To contact Mr. Goode, email him at :

    Chafin Report
    By Jim Chafin
    Over The Hill To The Poor House

         Have you ever noticed that whenever any hullaballoo erupts involving those seeking the public
    =s ear, the real issues tend to be obscured by periphery arguments that draw our attention away from the central task? In this case the issue (s) are being delineated as MONEY (isn=t it always?) for salaries. AIf more money is provided for the nurses, treatment of, and for, the patient will be greatly improved.@ Dare I be comforted by that? I certainly wish it were that simple. Right here is where we need to inject a heavy dose of reality, common sense, and correct some misconceptions that abound in the public=s mind; let=s keep our eye on the bouncing ball, shall we? The great controversy is about the system itself, of which Alabor@ is but one manifestation. It is about custom, practice and procedures. It=s about enforcement, or the lack thereof, of already lax rules and regulations; it=s about railroading people of their civil liberties without representation by a competent attorney; it=s about doctors who do not adhere to the Hippocratic Oath in their treatment of the elderly and disabled; it=s about Afilling beds@ in long term facilities and mental institutions.
    =s about lawyers charging three hundred dollars to one thousand dollars an hour, exorbitant court costs, thereby denying access to the judiciary for more than fifty percent of the American population; it=s about stripping people of their character and dignities; it=s about institutionalized poverty in a land that is abundantly rich in material possessions; it=s about federal and state refusal to Aprovide a living environment as close to a home setting as possible@. AND, it=s about NO RECOURSE in the judiciary for those who are injured or abused in the course of being confined against their will; it=s about giving life sentences of confinement to people who have broken no law. It=s about a monolithic system pitted against the voiceless of this society; it=s about agencies such as Health and Human Services, West Virginia Healthcare Association and Ombudsmen who do a less than credible job of protecting those who must reside in what can only be described as unsafe conditions.
    It IS about the health, safety and welfare of this, the most productive and efficient generation in America
    =s history; it is about caring and protecting those who cared for us; it is, therefore, about providing competent workers for an industry that has a history of chronic understaffing, which should help alleviate the overload for those who labor under trying circumstances and often without thanks for their efforts. However, it remains to be seen whether or not additional funds will be distributed in such a way as to significantly improve living conditions for the residents.
    Acare@ industry has a long history of operating in the dark - SECRECY, if you please (for the good of the resident, don=t you know). Well, I don=t reckon!! Here=s a simple way to gage an institution=s commitment to the happiness of their residents - count the parking spaces devoted to the public. Then count the beds in the facility, remembering that more public access results in better living conditions for the residents.
    =s note: This is the second in a series of articles by Mr. Chafin concerning problems in West Virginia=s long term care facilities and the current debate on how to address these problems.


    01/10/02: Bailey - James L. Pawlak Jr., sexual assault, arrested, ROB, Hearing 03/01/02: probable cause found - to Circuit Court.
    02/08/02: Delk - Brian Lee Cutlip, possession of controlled substance with intent to deliver, arrested, ROB.
    02/11/02: Bailey - Lloyd Rapp, holding hostage, arrested, ROB, Hearing 02/26/02: d/m without prejudice; state
    =s witness did not appear.
    02/24/02: Belt - Walter R. Adkins, fugitive from justice, arrested, bench warrant from state of New York executed, defendant committed to jail.
    09/01/01: Foreman - Chris Joe Samples, possession of marijuana less than 15 gms, appeared 02-26-02, defendant placed on 6 months unsupervised probation.
    02/20/02: Foreman - John Hively, possession of marijuana less than 15 gms and possession prescription medication without prescription, warrant issued; Larry D. Legg - David Cummings, failure to cause child to attend school, summons; Larry D. Legg - Belinda Cummings, failure to cause child to attend school, summons.
    02/21/02: Larry Legg - Judy Taylor, fail to cause child to attend school, summons; Slack - Chad Salisbury, driving while license suspended, arrested, ROB; Delk - Donald Alan Bishop, domestic battery, arrested, ROB.
    02/22/02: Light - Ivan Scott Johnston, possession of marijuana less 15 gms, ROB.
    02/25/02: McKown - James McCune Sr., battery and destruction of property, warrants issued; Bailey - Jack R. Coleman, violation of protective order, arrested, ROB; Light - John Edward Ramsey, possession of marijuana less than 15 gms, ROB.
    02/26/02: Daisy Shoults - Doris Coulter, peace bond, summons; McKown - Jerry Howell, contributing to the delinquency of minor x 2, interfering with disp. Of court order x 2, enticing child from custody x 2, and obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB.
    02/27/02: Delk - Vernon Lee Farnsworth, driving while revoked for DUIA, arrested, pled no contest to driving while suspended 1st offense, a lesser included offense of DWR for DUIA, assessed fine and costs.
    02/05/02: Clay County Bank - Larry L. Hall, money due.
    02/20/02: Beverly Workman - Michael Rogers, money due.
    02/21/02: David Thomas - Susan Smith, money due.
    02/25/02: Silas Sattler - Chris Canter, wrongful occupation.
    02/26/02: Raleigh General Hospital - Jesse B. Contreras, money due.
    02/27/02: Kay Martin - James and Victoria Criner, money due.
    Worthless Checks:
    02/22/02: House
    =s Market - Michael L. Dawson (paid 03/01/02); Cunningham Motors Inc. - James B. Holbert Jr. and Sherry Jo Mullins, notices sent.
    03/01/02: Gino
    =s - Mary J. Truman, notice sent.
    Traffic Citations:
    02/05/02: State Police - Jimmy L. Gross Jr., left of center and driving on suspended/revoked.
    02/12/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Barbara Jo Gray, operator=s and seat belt violation; Pamela M. Rhodes, seat belt violation.
    02/16/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - David Lee James, registration violations and seat belt violation; Rocky Allen Keener, speeding; Dean L. Kelley, speeding; Randall P. Salisbury, speeding.
    02/17/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Edward L. Lawrence, speeding, no POI, and seat belt violation; Zhen Lei, speeding; Shannon E.Pence, speeding; Donnie Varney, speeding; State Police - Crystal D. Rose, speeding and operator=s.
    02/18/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Ralph J. Critelli, speeding; Nathaniel Finn, speeding; Karl R. Gerry, speeding; Larry L. Hall, speeding; Charles R. Livingsim, speeding; Karlie B. Price, speeding and no POI; Stephen J. Sawicki, speeding; Michael J. White, speeding.
    02/19/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Willie J. Hamrick, seat belt violation.
    02/20/02: State Police - Stepheanie Eastman, speeding; James L. Miller, seat belt violation.
    02/21/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Kathy Jo Persinger, no POI and seat belt violation.
    02/22/02: State Police - John Edward Ramsey, possession marijuana less 15 gms; Ivan Scott Johnston, possession marijuana less 15 gms.
    02/23/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Michelle C. Elder, speeding; Matthew D. Marosek, speeding; Carrie H. Turnbull, speeding.
    02/24/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Michael C. Mollohan, speeding, registration violations and no POI; David Junior Myers, no POI; Leslie A. White, no POI.
    02/25/02: Dept. of Natural Resources - Lora Griffin, permitting fire to escape; Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Jonathan F. Stutler, speeding and no POI.
    02/26/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Justin Aaron Hall, speeding; Brenda Nichols, speeding; William W. Squires, speeding; Tracy Lynn Wilson, speeding.
    02/28/02: WV Dept. of Highways - Richard Allen Butt, overweight, overwidth and overlength.
    03/02/02: Sheriff
    =s Dept. - Kizysztoe Zmuda, speeding.


         After being denied water service for years...after being funded for a water line extension and then having the money moved to a more affluent area of the community...after hearing lip service from politician after politician... many of the residents of the Pumpkin Ridge section of Procious, WV have signed and forwarded this official complaint to the WV Public Service Commission.

    State of West Virginia Public Service
    Commission Charleston
    Case No. ___________________
    Melissa Postelwait, Complainants.
    Clay-Roane Public Service District, Defendant
    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:
    (1) We the residents of Pumpkin Ridge Road filed for water service starting about 1983, when the plant was in the process of being built. Procious Public Service District received a Federal Grant that same year, that they said would be used to supply us with water. Instead our then County Commissioners along with the Procious Public Service District board members used the grant money to extend water to more politically correct areas. While only approximately 4/10 of our ridge received service, they rest of us were left out.
    (2) When the Clay-Roane PSD merged with the Procious PSD and absorbed all their financial trouble, they also took on the responsibility of supplying Pumpkin Ridge with water, which to this date, they have neglected to do. According to the current Clay-Roane PSD board members, the projects that are to be done are going to be done in the order that they were applied for. With that information, the Amma-Left Hand project was applied for in 1996, long after Pumpkin Ridge resident’s had applied for water. We feel that if the board members are going to do projects by the date that the residents applied for water, then Pumpkin Ridge Road should be placed before the Amma-Left Hand project, or at least started at the same time.
    (3) During previous meetings with the Clay-Roane PSD, the board members also made mention to the cost-per-customer that the PSC uses to determine which project comes first. If you were to use this system, the Amma-Left Hand project has a cost-per-customer of somewhere around $17,000 to $22,000 where as Pumpkin Ridge’s cost-per-customer is only around $12,500 to $15,000. So, using the cost-per-customer system, Pumpkin Ridge still should be done before the Amma-Left Hand project.
    (B) The remedy we want is for our project to be done before or along with the Amma-Left Hand project. Even though we do not have funding as of yet, we have spoken to a women at the USDA which stated that funding for our project should not be hard to obtain as long as the Clay-Roane PSD board members submit all the proper paperwork, and would only hold up the Amma-Left Hand project 3 to 4 more months. Mr. Hildreth (our project engineer) also stated that our project should get funded fairly easily because we had a good cost-per-customer and the income levels of the families out here where not too high.
    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 4 day of March, 2002.
    Signature of Complainant (Address)
    Post Office Box 182, Procious WV 25164
    (Phone) (304) 587-4836
    State of West Virginia
    Public Service Commission Charleston
    Case No._____________________
    The following individuals wish to be added as Complainants on the attached Complaint Form.


         So what do you do when local politicians won=t listen to your needs? In the case of the 35 or so residents of the Punkin Ridge area of the county seeking potable water, a complaint was filed with the WV Public Service Commission. In a further attempt to gain some support for their needs, Melissa Postelwait has turned to the regional media for help. The following is the letter sent by Ms Postelwait to TV 3, TV 8 and TV 13.
         Hello, my name is Melissa Postelwait and I live in Procious, West Virginia. We have been trying for the last 30 years to obtain a potable water source here in our community, and to this date have had no luck. Although Former Governor Arch Moore gave us a grant once, our then County Commissioners spent the money on other communities.
         We have been attending local water and County Commission meetings, and so far have gotten no where. Our County Commissioners seem eager to help us and have tried several attempts to do so, but they to have been pushed back by the Clay-Roane PSD board members. You see the Clay-Roane PSD for some reason is not trying to help us. They are now working on a 3.4 million dollar project for Amma-Left Hand, and after that is finished they are going to start on the new regional water plant in Clay. Our project is only $500,000 and was supposed to be done before either of those two projects, but like I said, Clay-Roane has put us off.
          So, I would like to invite you to hear our story, we will be at the next Clay County Commission meeting on March 12, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. at the Clay County Courthouse and also at the next Clay-Roane PSD meeting on March 14, 2002 at 7 pm at the Procious Water plant.
    Thank you, Melissa Postelwait


         Members of Challenge West Virginia, a state wide organization that supports small schools, spoke before the State School Board on Thursday, March 7, 2002. The state chairperson, as well as representatives from several counties spoke to members about their concerns regarding education, consolidation and the current state of school funding. Clay County
    =s Challenge Representative, Marge Bragg, offered the following thoughts.
    In Clay County our greatest problem is that the citizens are unable to have an open and honest dialogue with county school officials. One of the main reasons is that the county officials refuse to give us information about how education money is spent in the county.
    Recent news articles concerning the Freedom of Information Act have high-lighted the reluctance of our Superintendent to provide citizens with information about the county schools and have documented the unacceptable manner in which such requests have been handled.
    If you are not aware, a FOIA request by a Gazette reporter resulted in the Superintendent having the Sheriff do a criminal background check on the reporter after which he released incorrect and potentially inflammatory information to the media about the reporter. A similar request from a newspaper in a neighboring county was met with suspicion and continued reluctance to provide the information
    Requests from people within the county for specific information concerning how education dollars are allocated within the county are met with comparable negative responses. For many months I requested from our Superintendent an accounting of how levy dollars were being spent. Despite repeated assurances that the information would be made available, he was never able or willing to provide that accounting so that during the recent levy vote citizens could make an independent determination of whether they thought the Board was being fiscally responsible. Questions about such seemingly innocuous information as school bus schedules are routinely denied as not being available in any documented from.
         Citizen participation in and support of our schools is crucial to their success. Parents and community members can be a valuable resource for our schools but when they are unable to get accurate information about the schools' strengths . and weaknesses they are unable to use their talents to help schools succeed. It seems that the schools are reluctant to critically examine where they need to improve and choose to highlight their "successes." For example, a school sent home an announcement that they had the most improved scores on a standardized test. While technically correct, framing the information in that way failed to let the parents know that the school had barely escaped being on academic probation. The scores had indeed improved dramatically and should have been presented as an accomplishment, but the parents needed to know that there was much more to be done.
         Our main concern should be providing the best possible education for all of our children. We need to work together in a spirit of trust and cooperation to insure that each person who can and desires to do so is able to participate fully and without fear or intimidation


    Serving Size: 1 cup, Total Servings: 8

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    l large onion, chopped
    2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each)
    diced tomatoes, undrained
    2/3 cup hot salsa
    1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) red kidney beans,
    rinsed and drained
    1 large red bell pepper, chopped
    1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    1 medium-sized yellow squash,
    cut into 1/2-inch chunks

    1) In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
    2) Add the tomatoes, salsa, chili powder, and cumin. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
    3) Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
    Ladle into bowls and serve.
    Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch 2 Vegetable
    Calories 162..Calories from Fat 21..
    Total Fat 2 g.. Saturated Fat 0 g..
    Cholesterol 0 mg... Sodium 396 mg.. Carbohydrate 29 g..
    Dietary Fiber 8 g.. Sugars 9 g.. Protein 9 g...

    Serving size: 1/2 cup, Total Servings: 8

    6 medium apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
    3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    2 tablespoons reduced-fat margarine

    1) Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Coat a 9-inch microwave-safe pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
    2) In a large bowl, combine the apples, 2 tablespoons flour, the sugar, and cinnamon; mix well. Spoon into the pie plate and cover with waxed paper. Microwave on high power for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
    3) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup flour, the oats, and brown sugar; mix well. With a fork, blend in the margarine until crumbly; sprinkle over the apples. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Serve warm.

    Exchanges: 2 Carbohydrate
    Calories 144.. Calories from Fat 16.. Total Fat 2 g..
    Saturated Fat 0 g.. Cholesterol 0 mg.. Sodium 25 mg..
    Carbohydrate 32 g.. Dietary Fiber 3 g.. Sugars 19 g..
    Protein 2 g..


            3. EAT SMALLER MEALS.
            4. EAT ON TIME.
            7. READ FOOD LABELS.


         It=s not often locals get to have a say in the way government is run. At other times, citizen=s get their say but nothing comes of it. The later may be the case with the citizen= of Punkin Ridge who called for a Special meeting of the Clay Roane PSD last week.
    With an oral request for the assembly in hand, Chair TG Cruickshank, Lefty Summers, Gary Whaling, and Roy Ellis met with over 30 citizens from the Punkin Ridge area who are seeking water service for their community. With the 30 in attendance, the room looked like a can of sardines! Remember when the WV PSC all but ordered the PSD to find a larger room to meet in? To date, the request has fallen on deaf ears.
    Melissa Postelwait was the spokesperson for the delegation.
    =s the angle which has been advanced by several in the group. The idea is to create pressure on the powers that be to stop the Roane County Amma/Left Hand water line extension project until the 20 + year old, long stalled Punkin project gets back on track. Many Punkineers feel, if progress is not made before the May election, the opportunity for potable water will have fallen by the way side again. As for the stalling of the Amma project, Chair Cruickshank would not hear of such a thing. Even after Lefty and Garrett both agreed that Punkin had been bypassed over years ago, Mr Cruickshank would not budge. It appears that despite coaxing both all three County Commissioners, Mr C is walking in lock step with the WV PSC inspired plant to get the Amma project out to bid immediately and for the new Clay Water Plant built no matter what the long term cost to the County might be.
         So what was accomplished in the hour long meeting. Actually quite a bit. Foremost, the PSD has found out that the Punkineers are not giving up or going away. Secondly, they found that Lefty Summers and Garrett are sympathetic to their pleas.
         Another thing was noticed. Cruickshanks can get testy quick. At one point Chair Cruickshank told Melissa Postelwait that
    Ait=s your attitude@ that has kept water service from that area. Of course all there immediately knew that was not the time or the place for such a confrontation. At another point, some were called liars!. That too did not set well with the Punkin masses. That issue was over the given date for the start of the Amma project.
    It appears that there is a just a few stragglers left that do not know the tide has changed, and County Leadership (CCC) is now leading the charge to get water line extensions to the table before Roane County breaks ground. Soon even Mr Cruickshanks will realize this too.


         Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) held their regular Board of Directors meeting March 5 at 6pm as well as an earlier in the day Economic/Development Committee meeting. The following is compilation of both gatherings and offer just the highlights
    An audit has been completed but he results are not back yet. There appears to be one red flag. Something about the way property is listed and whether the land has a Federal lien attached.
         CAEZ is the lead economic developer for Clay County ( got $30,000.00 from us for the services). CAEZ was to finance an appraisal for the Clay County Business Development Authority. That appraisal was canceled when the owners of the Moore Fork ( Dice Boggs property at Big Otter) would not talk below $ 1 million price tag. The long defunct Panther
    =s Den Restaurant loan is still behind in payments. The State Road has agreed to forward $75,000.00 for road improvements within the CAEZ backed Mt Hope Industrial site.
    As for Clay County
    =s own Filcon Industries, and according to Director Jerry Sizemore, the owner has agreed to sign a third lien on property to better secure the way past due CAEZ loan and Sizemore is optimistic that Filcon will get moving along.
         Remember when Clay County worked hard to secure a juvenile detention center to be located somewhere near Big Otter? According to CAEZ Chair Michael Martin ( also Mayor of Mt Hope), Steve Canterbury from the Regional Jail Authority, called him up and said the agency was interested in putting the detention center on 3 acres at the Mt Hope Industrial Park. Martin said he supported the idea. Just one meeting ago, Martin commented that a detention center would not fit in with other development plans at Mt Hope. During both the Board meeting and the Eco/Dev meeting earlier, lengthy and nearly contentious debate insured over: who asked for the center to be at Mt Hope, how did it get over there when Clay worked hard to get it, and why couldn
    =t Clay also be considered for the 50 jobs for this county. During the making of the motion showing full CAEZ support for the Mt Hope site only, Martin,@... we=re not talking anywhere but Mt Hope.@ When Clay rep Darlene Morris asked if Clay could put in for the facility, non Board member (and sits at the Board table) Peter Selich replied,@ There is no site available.@ Interesting side bar, when the Jails= people was talking to this county, they commented that at least 10 acres would be needed and the property needs to be donated to them. Now, if they decide to use the Mt Hope site, only 3 acres is needed and the Jail Authority is willing to pay $100,000.00 for the land. Should be interesting to watch this one grow.
         It appeared that the decision to support the Mt Hope or Bust facility was worked out well in advance of March 5th. The motion passed and Director Sizemore will begin negotiations.
    Sizemore will present to the Board at the next meeting a new confidentiality policy. Sizemore felt that too much of the CAEZ business was getting on the streets.
          It appears that Washington DC is not willing to offer any additional funding for empowerment zones or empowerment communities. Mr Sizemore told the Board that other Empowerment Zones have already had their funds cut.
    CAEZ elected new officers for the next 12 months. Michael Martin returns as Chair. John Gibson replaces Elizabeth Sampson as Vice Chair in an 8 to 1 vote. Darlene Morris was the only supporter of Sampson. Linda Rhodes even voted for Gibson. After this vote and after the two candidates reentered the meeting room, Chair Michael Martin wouldn
    =t even tell Sampson how the tally went. Absent Wanda Taylor was elected CAEZ Secretary as was absent Matthew Bragg for Treasurer.
    CAEZ will begin an effort to improve their image with a public relations campaign.


         Lots of interesting stuff going on around the Town of Clay. And Yes as the March 5th Council meeting opened, Mayor (King) Arthur King did say he was drinking again, had wrecked the Town’s police cruiser and since taking Viagra, he had been out “slaying his dragon” all over the place! Later, he recanted those statements.
    Put your thinking hats on readers. Remember when Ms Zegeer hired attorney Jerome Novobilski and she took the Town to court over Council voting to sell off the water plant for scrap? Something about it being in State Code that an election has to be held before a major asset can be done away with? Remember the WV PSC warlords saying Oh No.. this is just getting rid of surplus property and no election is needed? Back then the power brokers got their way and the election thing was set aside. Of course we know why it is so important that the Town residents have no say in the plan. What person in their right mind would vote to raise water rates, go in debt by the millions, and insure that rates would have to increase as the Town shrinks in size. Nobody!
         Things have changed. From the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) web site comes the following:
         On June 5, 2001, the Town Council for the Town of Clay, Clay County, West Virginia, enacted an ordinance authorizing the sale of certain of its water utility assets, including the treatment plant, to the Clay Regional Public Service District. The Clay Regional Public Service District is being formed in order to consolidate all public water utility activities in Clay County, West Virginia. On December 4, 2001, the Town Council rescinded the original ordinance passed June 5, 2001, and enacted a substitute ordinance to sell and transfer all its water and sewer utility assets and all customers to the Clay Regional Public Service District. The Town of Clay reserved the right to have one member on the new District's Board appointed by the Town Council.
         The ordinance enacted on December 4, 2001, was filed with the Public Service Commission on December 5, 2001, and the Commission's Executive Secretary processed said letter and ordinance as a petition for consent and approval for the sale and transfer of those utility assets.
         On January 23, 2002, Commission Staff filed its Initial Joint Staff Memorandum in this matter. Staff detailed the procedural steps necessary to accomplish this proposed transfer as well as the statutes and Commission rules which apply to such a situation. Primary among these requirements is a municipal election authorizing the proposed sale, actual formation and proper authorization of the new regional public service district, bond holder approval and the performance of United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Utility Service (RUS), certified appraisals. This process is technical and specific, but not overly complex. The parties, Town of Clay and the Clay Regional Public Service District, should begin the steps required immediately and keep Commission Staff closely informed and involved in this process.

         By a Commission Referral Order entered January 23, 2002, this matter was referred to the Division of Administrative Law Judges for further proceedings with a decision due date of July 9, 2002.
         Consequently, the Petitioners, Town of Clay and Clay Regional Public Service District, by its surrogate the Clay County Commission, shall be required to provide public legal notice of this petition, by causing a prepared Notice of Filing, attached hereto as Appendix A, to be published once in a newspaper duly qualified by the Secretary of State, published and of general circulation in each of the Counties of Clay and Roane, West Virginia, and to make due return of proper certification of said publication to the Public Service Commission within ten (10) days of publication. This publication should commence immediately.
         Additionally, the parties and Commission Staff will be required to file, on or before April 5, 2002, a joint status report concerning the progress made in this endeavor. This report should include the date and authorization for the municipal election required by West Virginia Code ''9-12-17; the letters of appointment of RUS-certified utility appraisers and their reports, if possible; County Commission authorization of the legal formation of Clay Regional Public Service District as a water and sewer utility; copies of letters seeking bondholder approval; and such other matters as may be pertinent. The parties shall also indicate if a hearing is required and, if so, such dates as may be convenient.
    Isn’t that interesting. After near fights during Council meetings where the people spoke up and said you have to follow the law, the WV PSC now agrees with what us local yocals said all along. How refreshing!
         As for the March 5th Town Council meeting, all in attendance with King Arthur at the helm with the regular meeting opening at 4pm.
         The final $3,526.66 from the Johnny Woooofter Log Factory project has been spent. Where? To pay off attorney Jim Lane for services that the Town elders did not ask for. As a matter of fact the pay off was for services AFTER Lane was fired by the Council. Pay him off? Well.... at least part of what he says council owes him. Seems there is yet another invoice ($3600.00) for more services after he was fired.
    Jerry Cash was hired under some State program and will be under the command of King Arthur. Pay $6.00 per hour with no benefits.
    Another employee matter was to be discussed in secret but Recorder Betty Murphy stated, A we don’t have the answers for this employee matter, let’s table it.” They did. As for Sewer plant operator Chafin getting a pay raise... Nope. Consensus: wait until the new higher sewer bill returns start coming in and then consider a raise. Wanda, “ wait a while.” Council is still not making the loan payments on the Sewer plant.
         Just above is the mention of holding a Town Election so residents have a say in going into deep debt for a new water plant. During this meeting, no date was set for the election and discussion centered around what the locals would actually be voting on. Getting rid of the water plant; Getting rid of the water and sewer plant together; or, getting rid of the Arthur Jarrett ( just kidding readers about Jarrett). Is it a good thing to let people vote on their future? Wanda, “It is out of our hands if we put it to the public and that’s good!” Discussion on the time when the Town held an election and did not advertise the election until a day later.
         Each Council member packet included a copy of the recent Melba Butcher chatter from the Communicator. Butcher gave attention to the money that came up missing last summer and how long the Council has been dragging their feet on getting an audit to identify how much money is missing. Two weeks ago rumors circulated that King Arthur was considered not having an audit and instead was going to accept a settlement figure and forget the rest. Seems that rumor may have had some truth to it. During this meeting, and after looking at the Butcher letter, Betty Murphy, “are we covering up?” Helen Morris, “People say, what are we covering up?” Betty, “We could gather up some stuff and figure it up.…” Helen, “No Betty, we have to have an official audit!” Helen, “They called you a thief!” Sally, “She is a pain in the butt!” King Arthur, “You tell me how and I’ll do it”. It now appears that the Council is back on track with the audit and a true loss figure will be coming some day.
         As for the long standing issue of getting thousands of dollars of debris off the RR tracks at Pisquah is stalled again. Consensus: the tracks are so old, if they try to remove the gravel and dirt, the tracks will fall apart. Murphy, “We learned a lot from the sewer plant... the Engineers came highly recommended!”
         There will be a special meeting March 19 to discuss where the Town is with building the new water plant, laying the Levy for the new year, and when to hold that special election. Fed’s , Lenders, reps from the PSC will be in attendance. King Arthur,”I told Weimer to keep his arss in Charleston.” Council consensus: They will sell the water and sewer plant together or nothing at all. Helen, “I don=t understand. Are we losing the grants?”
         Johnny Woooofter brought to the Council’s attention the dismal performance of the local TV cable system owned by Thompson Cable Services of Sissonville, WV According to Woooofter, the prices are high, the number of channels is low, and the service ( down time) is real bad. Wooofter, A If you call them on Wed., they come next Thursday! We pay $36.00 per month and get 28 channels and you can’t see 2 of them!” Dave Derby, “Can we break the contract?” The King will check into the contract and report back to Council
    As to the Mayor hiring a bounty hunter to be the Chief of Police.. Ain’t going to happen. Will the Town election on the water plant be during the May Primary election? Nope. The cost to having a separate election is around $1000.00. Mention was made of the rash of burglaries and gas being stolen in Town. King Arthur Jarrett announced that Randy Holcomb wants to be the Town Cop. AW

    Clay Schools Applying For Head Start Program

         The Clay County Board of Education held their regularly scheduled meeting Monday, March 4, 2002, at the administrative office building in Clay. All five members were present - R.B. Legg Jr.(president), O. Gene King, Fran King, Scott Legg, and David Pierson, Jr.
    Legg offered prayer and called the meeting to order shortly after 6:00p.m. Following Board approval of the agenda, Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger introduced new substitute teacher Pam McKinney, whom the Board had hired at their February 18 meeting. Continuing with routine business, Board approved previous meeting minutes, payment of current bills, increased receipts of $216,099.33, and the voluntary removal of Paul Parsons, Donald Triplett, Edgar Price, and Toby Taylor from the substitute bus driver list.
    Business Manager Loretta Gray presented the monthly financial report.
         There was some discussion on a request from a Roane County High student wishing to transfer to Clay County High School (CCHS). CCHS Assistant Principal Jim Haynie told the Board that the student had no record of discipline problems, just attendance, apparently due to problems with other students. He said that CCHS Principal Cindy Willis wanted the student to be able to come to CCHS. Gene King expressed concern about accepting the student, noting that Clay has its own attendance problems. He, along with other Board members, requested additional information on the attendance problem, and then changed the motion to allow the Superintendent to make the decision on accepting the student after he receives that information.
         Thirty two regular and activity bus drivers were placed on the Administrative Transfer List for the 2002-2003 school year. Superintendent Linkinogger explained that Clay County Schools may be getting the Head Start Program (a federal pre-school program previously run by Multi Cap in Clay County), which would increase enrollment by about 100 children. Apparently, if the school system is awarded the grant program it may affect the current bus routes. Linkinogger said the buses currently being used by Head Start wouldn
    =t pass the school system=s state required inspections, so Clay would use their own transportation.
         Before discussing the next agenda item, placement of personnel on the Preferred Recall List for the 2002-2003 school year, Linkinogger recommended the Board go into executive session as some of the people on the list were looking at other jobs and didn
    =t want that discussed openly. Board went into executive session for about 30 minutes, and upon their return placed the 38 professional and 30 service personnel on the Preferred Recall List without further discussion. All motions passed unanimously.
         Kenneth Tanner, Director of Federal Programs, gave the Board an update on the proposal to acquire the Head Start Program. Tanner said he and Nancy Updegrave had worked for two weeks preparing the proposal, which looked to be several inches thick.
    Three organizations have applied for the program in Clay County - Wyoming County, the AFL-CIO, and Clay Schools. In the Clay proposal the existing Head Start building and buses would not be used. Clay buses would be used, modules would be placed at each of the four rural elementary schools to provide a classroom for Head Start, and Clay Elementary would have a Head Start room. Tanner said they would receive approximately $600,000 to run the program which is currently serving 93 children, plus they would receive about $225,000 for start up costs, which would include buying the modules. The program would employ 16 people - a director, a secretary, 5 teachers, 5 aides, 3 family service workers, and one parent involvement coordinator. Both Tanner and Linkinogger said they would like to work as many of the current Head Start employees as possible, and are structuring the positions to bring some of them on board, but would be unable to for the cook, bus driver, and custodian. Tanner explained that the Board employs only teachers with four year degrees, so Clay teachers will have to be used, and school employees have first bidding rights. Scott Legg cautioned of possible differences in state and federal laws and requirements, as federal laws would override those of the state. He stressed that the administration needed to research all of the issues to prevent any possible lawsuits. Linkinogger promised to run every job description by the Board before they proceeded with anything.
    Board was provided with the annual financial statement for the year ending June 2001, prepared by the auditing firm Sullivan, Ware and Hall. The required annual budget meeting is scheduled for April 16, 2002. Linkinogger reminded the Board that although this was during the spring break a quorum is required. Meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m. Next regular meeting will be held at Clay Middle School, Monday, March 18.

    CCC Wrap Up

         Clay County Commission meet in regular session Feb 26 at the Courthouse. Commission President Matthew Bragg at the helm of the mighty nation of Clay with able assistants Tim Butcher and Jimmy Sams at his side. The Commission room was packed wall to wall.
         Just before the CCC meeting, a public hearing was called to solicit public input on what grant projects to apply for. John Romano from the WV Infrastructure Council served as moderator during the Hearing. There is $20 million available for the entire state. Clay County can apply for $1.5 million in water projects and $1/2 million in non water projects. Deadline for the grant application for water projects is May 10, 2002. Any necessary engineering work has to be completed by March 20th. Last year the Nebo water line project was turned down by the Gov. Wise .
    Suggestions this year included: Marlin Starcher from the Big Otter Fire Dept asked that money for an addition to the fire house be considered. The last time they asked for $84,000.00.
         Keith King from the Clay County PSD endorsed reapplying for the Nebo water line extension. Patty Mollahan chimed in in support of the Nebo project
         One guy asked that grant money be applied for so Clay Roane PSD could finally buy the modern high tech touch type meters for their customers to cut down on water loss. Although the WV PSC Oked a $50,000.00 loan for the purchase last June and said they were badly needed, since receiving the loan from the Clay County Bank, over $20,000.00 of the loan has been used elsewhere and the balance of the money is being diverted to cheaper meters and installation of them. Gary Whaling from the PSD said they didn
    =t need any more money.
         With many Punkineers in attendance, Gary Whaling asked about funding for the Punkin Ridge section of the county. Romano suggested that the locals get organized and bug the bejebeez out of the Governor seeking his support for the extension. County Commission candidate Ronnie Haynes felt that the $500,000.00 price tag for the project was preposterous. Melissa Postelwait said there are 41 families seeking water service along the 2
    2 mile road. Romano brought out that in 1994 , the Punkin Ridge extension was applied for and the cost then was $300,000.00.
         As for non water projects, suggestions included: money for the Lizemore Fire House, and a canopy to house the ambulances in Clay.
         Back on the topic of this election year, Commissioner Sams felt that it would be a lot quicker to add the Punkin Ridge extension on to the nearly ready for bid Amma project over in Roane County. Postelwait,
    A We can=t get on Amma, Weimer said so!@ Romano, A I=d try to get on anything you can.@ Romano concurred with Sams and said it would be quicker to get added to the Amma Project.
         As often is the case, attention turned to the number of funded water line extensions that have never been started. Charlie Osborne,
    A How many years can you keep that Lizemore/ Tucker=s Bottom money?... Another 10 YEARS??@ Others asked why things never got started in this county. Romano reminded all that the money was still available, they could have taken the money back two years ago, lenders want to see the projects done in this county, and, A they seldom take the money back.@
         Others in the room reminded attendees that the Procious Bankruptcy had stalled everything and that original judgement was just $18,000.00 20 years ago. Questions continued on why nothing gets done in this county. Up for re election Tim Butcher appeared to twitch just a little. Ramona attempted to keep everyone informed of the time line on the projects. Not believing the lines, Ms. Postelwait,
    @ Will the money stay at Punkin Ridge this time??@ Romano, A Yes, the project will say Pumpkin Ridge.@
    After a pee break, CCC resumed. Next up was a decision on a Holographic will from deceased Evelena Bird. Acting under the advice of Prosecutor Jeff Davis, County Commission denied the will . Bragg declined to vote on the matter fearing conflict of interest.
    CCC will hold a CAEZ Election for Census Tract # 9579 at the Big Otter Senior Center March 18 at7 pm.
         Number five on the agenda was the need to fund a new 911 antenna somewhere in the Big Otter area of the county. Currently the UHF 911 Radios will not work in many spots called
    Adead spots@. According to Big Otter Fire Dept reps. in attendance, the situation is very dangerous and has left rescue workers without much needed communications during emergencies. Marlin Starcher, A We=ve got a problem. We can=t communicate! It=s a bad situation. We=re handicapped.” 911 Co-ordinator Paige Willis did not believe the situation was as bad as was being told. Willis went on to say, the complainers should go thru the chain of command and,@he hasn=t said anything to me!@ Willis had recently been in the area and at that time, the 911 radios ( not the hand-helds) worked fine on all three towers. Starcher, A we want the same service as Clay=s got.@ Willis, A Don=t spend the money if it don=t fix the problem!@
         Mr Willis said he didn
    =t want to start any new projects and went ahead and resigned from the Coordinator spot effective April 1, 2002. Commissioner Sams thanked Willis for his services and said without him, the 911 system would probably be as broke as the Ambulance Service. At last report, the 911 fund had over $170,000.00 stashed away. Tim Butcher will take charge of the radio problem and try to locate tower for the Big Otter emergency responders.
    Judy Moore reported that Ambulance Service bills were nearly caught up and the agency has about $20,000.00 to their name. Sams,
    A It=s [finally] working! It was never done right.@ As for serving Laurel Nursing Home, the county has lost that account. Currently our ambulance service is doing emergency only runs.
    And finally, one fellow asked the CCC to investigate and offer guidance to Clay County Development across the street from the Courthouse. The County Commission sends a representative to the CDC meetings and in the past, have provided money for the now private agency. Commissioner Sams told the fellow ,for him go get his ACLU buddies and sue the pants off CDC. The handsome man reminded the CCC that since they are represented by the CDC and fund the CDC, they too would be involved in any costly lawsuit. The Commission seemed confused. The meeting ended.

    1. Never raise your hands to your kids.
    It leaves your groin unprotected.

    2. I'm not into working out.
    My philosophy is no pain, no pain.

    3. I'm in shape. Round is a shape.

    4. I'm desperately trying to figure out why
    Kamikaze pilots wore helmets.

    5. Do you think illiterate people
    get the full affect of alphabet soup?

    6. I've always wanted to be somebody,
    but I should have been more specific.

    7. Ever notice when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you,
    but when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window?

    8. Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but
    anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

    9. You have to stay in shape. My mother started walking five miles
    a day when she was 60. She's 97 now and we have no idea where she is.

    10. I have six locks on my door, all in a row. When I go out, I
    lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there
    picking the locks, they are always locking three of them.

    11. One out of every three people are suffering from some form of
    mental illness. Think of two of your best friends. If they are OK, then it must be

    12. They show you how detergent takes out bloodstains. I think if
    you've got a tee shirt with bloodstains all over it, maybe your laundry isn't your
    biggest problem.

    13. Ask people why they have deer heads on their walls and they
    tell you it's because they're such beautiful animals. I think my wife is
    beautiful, but I only have photographs of her on the walls.

    14. A lady came up to me on the street, pointed at my suede jacket and said, "Don't you know a cow was murdered for that jacket?" I said, "I didn't know
    there were any witnesses. Now I'll have to kill you too."

    15. Future historians will be able to study at the Jimmy Carter Library, the Gerald Ford Library, the Ronald Reagan Library, and the Bill Clinton Adult Bookstore.