MAY 2, 2003
LOCAL BANK DISCIPLINED
A local long time pillar of the financial community has committed to changing its ways. Under orders from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Clay County Bank agreed to follow federal guidelines mandated by a Cease and Desist Order dated March 3, 2003. On April 24, 2003, the FDIC released orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals from March. The FDIC processed a total of 10 orders in March including 5 cease and desist orders and two civil penalty orders.
Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 9,354 banks and savings associations and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars - insured financial institutions fund its operations.
Last spring while under media spotlight, Clay County Bank, once touted as the nation’s 9th strongest bank, received much scrutiny as long time bank president J.D. Morris pled guilty to embezzling $172,000.00 over the previous 5 years. In the same media blitz (May 2002) came word of a faltering bank institution known to be upside down as used car salesmen call it. The center of attention in area newspapers were the high number of past due loans, charge off loans, and the high salaries given top bank officials. As Morris walked out the back door with the FBI in hot pursuit, Scott Legg was named interim bank president. During TV coverage of the embarrassment, Legg said everything is under control and they had a plan in place to cover such situations.
It now appears the plan was not locally developed but instead mandated by Federal regulators. During the last 12 months of difficulty, the bank never issued any press releases to assure their customers of the continued viability of the locally managed organization Months after the May 2002 media blitz came word from Davis Trust of Elkins that they had assumed a major guidance role in getting the CCB back on even keel.
So what does a cease and desist order do? What does it mean? From the FDIC document released April 24, 2003, comes an explanation as follows: Clay County Bank, Inc., Clay, West Virginia ("Bank"), having been advised of its right to a Notice of Charges and of Hearing detailing the unsafe or unsound banking practices and violations of law and/or regulations by the Bank and of its right to a hearing on the alleged charges under section 8(b)(1) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act ("Act"), 12 U.S.C. § 1818(b)(1), and having waived those rights, entered into a STIPULATION AND CONSENT TO THE ISSUANCE OF AN ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST ("CONSENT AGREEMENT") with counsel for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") and with the Commissioner of Banking of the State of West Virginia ("State"), dated February 21, 2003. The State may issue an order to cease and desist pursuant to Chapter 31A-2-4 of the West Virginia Code. Solely for the purpose of this proceeding and without admitting or denying any of the alleged charges of unsafe or unsound banking practices and violations of laws and/or regulations, the Bank consented to the issuance of an ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST ("ORDER") by the FDIC and the State.
The FDIC and the State considered the matter and determined that there is reason to believe that the Bank had engaged in unsafe or unsound banking practices and had committed violations of law and/or regulations. The FDIC and the State, therefore, accepted the Consent Agreement and issued the following: ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST.
An earlier draft copy of the Order was made public by this newspaper 7 months ago. This final version was signed by the Banking Commission and Bank President Scott Legg. No official notice has been given the public that Mr. Legg is anything more than the previously announced Interim President. After the FDIC investigation last spring and further findings by the Feds, 7 key areas of change are now mandatory. Those 7 areas include:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that the Bank, its institution-affiliated parties, as that term is defined in section 3(u) of the Act, 12 U.S.C. § 1813(u), and its successors and assigns cease and desist from the following unsafe and unsound banking practices and violations:
1 Operating with management whose policies and practices are detrimental to the Bank and jeopardize the safety of its depositors;
2 Operating with a large volume of poor quality loans;
3 Engaging in hazardous lending and lax collection practices;
4 Operating with an inadequate allowance for loan and lease losses ("Allowance");
5 Operating with inadequate internal routine and controls policies;
6 Operating in such a manner as to produce net operating losses;
7 Operating in violation of laws and/or regulations as more fully described on pages 22 through 25 of the Report of Examination dated September 23, 2002 ("Report").
In addition to telling the bank what illegal activities they have been up to, the FDIC also told the CCB what they MUST do to comply with the law. In response to the 7 illegal activities of the bank comes seven specific changes they must make. Much of the following has to do with the quality of top management within CCB. Due to the secrecy of the private bank’s practices, it is not known if current management can be retrained and keep their positions or if current management will be replaced. From the recently released FDIC documents, those changes are as follows:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that the Bank, its institution-affiliated parties, and its successors and assigns take affirmative action as follows:
1.(a) Within 90 days of the effective date of this ORDER, the Board of Directors ("Board") shall have and retain management having qualifications and experience commensurate with his or her duties and responsibilities at the Bank including the following:
(i) a chief executive officer with the proven ability in managing a bank of comparable size and in effectively implementing lending, investment and operating policies in accordance with sound banking practices; and
(ii) a senior lending officer with significant appropriate lending collection, and loan supervision experience, and proven success in upgrading a low quality loan portfolio; and
(iii) a chief operating officer with significant appropriate experience in managing the operations of a bank of similar size and complexity in accordance with sound banking practices.
(b) The qualifications of management shall be assessed on each person's ability to:
(i) comply with the requirements of this ORDER;
(ii) operate the Bank in a safe and sound manner;
(iii) comply with applicable laws and regulations; and (iv) restore all aspects of the Bank to a safe and sound condition, including asset quality, capital adequacy, earnings, and management effectiveness.
(c) During the life of this ORDER, the Bank shall notify the Regional Director of the FDIC's Atlanta Regional Office ("Regional Director") and the State (collectively, "Supervisory Authorities") in writing when it proposes to add any individual to the Bank's Board or make any changes or additions to senior executive staff. The notification must be received at least 30 days before such addition or employment is intended to become effective and should include a description of the background and experience of the individual or individuals to be added or employed.
Sound serious? The regulators found problem with more than managers. Accordingly, big changes have to be complied with for the Board of Directors. Again from the FDIC :
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
2. (a) Within 120 days from the effective date of this ORDER, the Bank shall add to its Board two new members who are independent directors. For purposes of this ORDER, a person who is an independent director shall be any individual:
(i) Who is not an officer of the Bank;
(ii) Who does not own more than five percent of the outstanding shares of the Bank or its holding company;
(iii) Who is not related by blood or marriage to (Concluded on the next page) an officer or director of the Bank or to any shareholder owning more than five percent of the outstanding shares of the bank or its holding company, and who does not otherwise share a common financial interest with such officer, director or shareholder; and
(iv) Who is not indebted to the Bank directly or indirectly by blood, marriage or common financial interest, including the indebtedness of any entity in which the individual has a substantial financial interest in an amount exceeding five percent of the Bank's total Tier 1 capital and Allowance; or
(v) Who is deemed to be an independent director for purpose of this ORDER by the Supervisory Authorities.
(b) The addition of any new Bank directors required by this paragraph may be accomplished, to the extent permissible by State statute or the Bank's bylaws, by means of appointment or election at a regular or special meeting of the Bank's Board.
Five weeks back word on the street confirmed that T.G. Cruickshank of Telford’s Chevrolet and Bruce Cunningham of Cunningham Motors were appointed to the CCB Board of Directors. As for preferential treatment for the ‘blue bloods’ of the county and getting questionable loans and not having to make payments, that too has changed. Locals have noticed the number of foreclosures on the rise among the upper crust of Clay. The toughened up collection practice forcing some into U.S. Bankruptcy proceedings.
In the next section of the cease and desist proceedings, mention was made of substandard record keeping making additional findings less likely, plus dubious loans to the officer of the bank.
The following are excerpts from LENDING AND COLLECTION POLICIES Within 60 days from the effective date of this ORDER, the Bank shall revise, adopt, and implement a written lending and collection policy to provide effective guidance and control over the Bank's lending function, …. In addition, the Bank shall obtain adequate and current documentation for all loans in the Bank's portfolio. Specific procedures shall be included for prior approval of loans to directors, officers and principal shareholders and their related interests in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. ….. Beginning with the effective date of this ORDER, the Bank shall not extend, directly or indirectly, any additional credit to, or for the benefit of, any borrower who has a loan or other extension of credit from the Bank that has been classified, in whole or part, "Loss" or "Doubtful" and is uncollected…. during the life of this ORDER, the Bank shall not extend, directly or indirectly, any additional credit to, or for the benefit of, any borrower who has a loan or other extension of credit from the Bank that has been classified, in whole or in part, "Substandard" and is uncollected.
The 8 page order includes how Clay County Bank must handle the hard to collect loans . They must be collected or written off the books. With un-collectable assets listed (secured) , bank records become skewed and reflect on the reasonable asset value according to one source. The result is a bank in a much more risky financial posture.
The big boys out of the Atlanta office now require tougher loan standards for the common man. To the general reader, it sounds like long gone are the days of walking into the Clay County Bank and getting money without fully filling out loan paperwork, even if you have the right last name. Internal audits are now required of CCB.
As for having enough capitol on hand, that too has changed:
The Bank shall develop and adopt a capital plan designed to maintain an adequate level of capital protection for the kind and quality of assets held by the Bank. The Plan should address both internal and external sources of capital augmentation, including capital infusions and retention of earnings.
Not waiting until things get out of hand again, the Clay County Bank must finally provide quarterly progress reports.
It appears that locals at the Clay County Bank got caught at a cat and mouse shell game with the Feds finally discovering the illegal activities after years of fraud and deception. It also appears, with increased scrutiny from both state and federal watchdogs, the Clay County Bank may once again gain a foot hold and remain a viable business in the future…. Maybe.
STUMBLER OF THE WEEK
Here’s a cutey over an Arthur Dale Morris’ gas line hook up. The issue came to the Court’s attention in the third week of April. According to the arrest warrant issued April 1 2002, Dale Morris unlawfully with intent to injure or defraud, make or cause to be made any pipe wire or other connector of gas, water, electric and connects the same with any main service pipe… without passing thru the meter…. The warrant was issued back then by Magistrate Jeff Boggs.
The written complaint stated: based on the statement of John Habjan owner of Beechy Gas, Dale Morris had hooked up to a service line coming to Myrtle Marlings residence. Officer John McKown went to Mr. Morris’ residence and observed the illegal hook up. Mr. Morris stated that he would go to Beechy Gas and get a meter and hook up properly. This was in Oct or Nov. As of this date, 4 –1 –02, the defendant has not obtained a meter or hooked up properly.
With the guidance of his attorney Kevin Duffy, Bickmore resident Dale Morris asked for a jury trial. If found guilty, Morris could have spent 12 months in the slammer and be fined up to $1000.00.
The witness list for the April 17th jury trial included: John Habjan, Lanny Workman, Brent Morris, Chris Boggs, Doyle Fitzwater.
Here’s the stumbler. After deliberating just 14 minutes, the Jury found Arthur Dale Morris not guilty. Daniel Grindo represented the state in the courtroom of Magistrate Mike King. AW
Letter to Bro. Bill:
Here we are already into the month of May????? Time surely does fly by and, it seems, the older we get the faster it flies. Correction from last letter, it wasn't Irene, it was Janet that is nearer you age. Bet you already have that first Social Security check spent---ha. You may not catch up with me but you are certainly in the race. I was nearly three years old when the midwife, Nancy Keller, came calling at our house. She came in with that big black bag . She told me that she found little girls under apple trees-----and little boys in brier patches. Mrs. Keller delivered most of the babies born on the Twistabout Ridge during the 1930's and 40's. There are lots of graduations during this time of the year. A former student of mine, Tracy S. Samples, of Procious, is graduating from Edinboro University the 10th of this month. She sent me an announcement of her graduation. Tracy is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Randall Samples, of Procious.
This is the first college announcement I have received from a former student. Thanks for remembering me Tracy. Congratulations to all graduates.---------The Blue Knob Church at Blue Knob is planning an evening of gospel music for June the 7th. We would be most happy if you could attend.--------Guy Moore and his wife, of Minnesota, recently returned home after a three month stay in Florida. Guy graduated with the 1955 CCHS Class (my class also). His family lived near the Bomont P. O. at that time. His brother, Duane, lives at Anderson, Indiana.-------Aunt Maycle Samples, of Twistabout Ridge, has returned to her home after several days in the hospital. Jack Stephenson, of Elkview, was in a motorcycle accident and messed his arm up. He is married to Betsy Samples. They have a son, Matthew who has been attending West Virginia State College. Denise Hopkins Taylor is working toward a Masters Degree in Social Work.---------News is rather scarce at this time so I will close. Until next time "Help us all to be brave". Love ya, Sis Evelyn McGlothlin
???DID YOU KNOW ???
| ||1. Hope is the best possession. None are completely wretched but those who are without hope. William Hazlitt|
2. A 7 percent rate increase at Summersville Memorial Hospital has been approved by the state’s Health Care Authority.
3. The average salary in 2001 was $27,982 in West Virginia.
4. Patients in the Veterans Health-Care System wait an average of 7 months to see a primary-care doctor, the American Legion reports.
5. US customers spent 6.7 percent less on compact discs in 2002 than in 2001.
6. Every day, more than 16 million people eat at least one meal outside the home.
7. Cholesterol lowering drugs are the third most widely prescribed drugs in the nation.
8. People with slightly shorter than usual thighs have in increased risk of diabetes.
9. Each year about 148,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed and 56,000 people die from the disease.
10. New Census Bureau data shows in West Virginia, people marry others of different races less often than they do in any other state.
11. Peanut allergies account for 50 to 100 deaths in the United States each year.
12. Lung cancer is expected to kill 157,000 people this year.
13. Americans bought 17.6 million DVD players in 2002 compared to 13.9 million VCR’s.
14. The Snack Food Association notes that potato chips have become a $6 billion retail market in the United States.
15. West Virginia has the lowest percentage of people with four-year college degrees and the second lowest percentage of residents with high school diplomas.
16. One of every four college students now takes psychotropic medication.
17. The federal government says more than half of the 141,000 people using or dependent on inhalants are teenagers.
18. 50 percent of rapists are less than 24 years old.
19. According to the National Eye Institute, in West Virginia more than 160,000 people over age 40 have cataracts.
20. When we loose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free. Charles Evans Hughes LMM
DON GREENE: WV Radical THROWING A FIT
You all remember the episode of Andy Griffith where the spoiled kid taught Opie how to throw a fit? I think that spoiled kid is traveling West Virginia, teaching our citizens, employers and government right now.
A prime example is the overweight truck ruckus. The coal companies urged them to buy trucks that when loaded are heavier than the law allows. So all of a sudden it is unfair that the state won't let them run on the highways illegally. Instead of just acknowledging that the law is the law and that it is such for the benefit of all of the citizens, we get to see a fit thrown. If you remember the episode that I am referring to, the spoiled kid wanted to ride his bike on the sidewalk and squalled it was unfair that he couldn't.
Despite the fact that our education system has as many employees that don't teach as it does teachers, and the fact that our system lags behind the nation, our legislature faces at least biannual fits being thrown for pay increases. And if you want to see a real fit thrown, just suggest that the increase in pay be tied to some sort of improvement in the test scores of the students.
Our roads seem to keep getting worse and worse but if you mention that the sacred Department of Highways is somehow not doing its' job, the fit is pitiful to see. They are too busy, the equipment they need is in another county, they don't have enough money - excuses roll on and on. The funding for every road is calculated and allocated in Charleston then doled out to the counties to spend basically as they see fit. Any concept of actually trying to maintain the roads instead of doing political favors will cause fits to be thrown everywhere from the Capitol complex to the local headquarters.
Why is West Virginia not developing and growing? A person can ask that question with good intentions and get to see a royal fit thrown. Millions of dollars are allocated and dedicated to make West Virginia develop and grow every year. The number of bureaucratic patronage jobs would fill a phone book but little is happening. This isn't a theory of mine; I've had some personal experience in expecting county and state development employees to actually cause development. As far as I know, they are still laying in the floor, holding their breath.
But they're not spoiled you say. They are just used to getting their own way in all ways, all the time. It isn't their fault that what they like is not advantageous for the rest of us. If we want things to be different, better somehow, then why don't we just move away? A look at the Census will show that thousands do that every year. This is what we should be throwing a fit about ourselves.
Shock and ‘Awe’ful! By Jim Chafin
What has morality to do with legality? Is there a connection between the two? Or, is this simply another feeble attempt by a stronger power to lord it over a weaker one? And while we’re discussing legalese, why not inject a few local issues that ride on the same premise: What about the United States Congress’s refusal to carry out it’s constitutionally mandated duties of providing advice and consent on the issues of the current war in Iraq? Senator Robert C. Byrd, as close as one will come to being an authority on our Constitution, has authored many speeches on this and other matters in the past few years. In one such speech he made the following observation: The general unease surrounding this war is not just due to ‘orange alert.’ There is a pervasive sense of rush and risk and too many questions unanswered. How long will we be in Iraq? What will be the cost? What is the ultimate mission? How great is the danger at home? A pall has fallen over the Senate Chamber. We avoid our solemn duty to debate the one topic on the minds of all Americans, even while scores of thousands of our sons and daughters faithfully do their duty in Iraq.
What is happening to this country? When did we become a nation which ignores and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome military might? How can we abandon diplomatic efforts when the turmoil in this world cries out for diplomacy? Why can this president not see that American’s true power lies not in it’s power to intimidate, but in it’s ability to inspire?
I believe in this beautiful country. I have studied its roots and gloried in the wisdom of its magnificent Constitution. I have marveled at the wisdom of its founders and framers. Generation after generation of Americans have understood the lofty ideals that underlie our great Republic. I have been inspired by the story of their sacrifice and their strength.
But today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of a strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed… Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or threaten recrimination…
We will have to agree with Senator Byrd that there has, indeed, been a change in these United States of America. We see this in the vitriolic comments of politicians, bureaucrats, media personalities and civic leaders in business and industry. Why so? What has happened in America to cause this nation to turn from a benevolent lamb into that of a dragon spewing all manner of misconceptions and erroneous dogma? Well, perhaps we can understand the difference between our founding fathers and our present day leaders, by looking at the differences in individual and corporate circumstances. Our founding fathers knew about adversity. They had to endure hardships of the kind this society has long forgotten. One hundred years or so after the first settlers migrated to these shores, they were in a life or death struggle with tyranny that did result in lost fortunes, great injury, privation and even death. Those of that generation had to fight for the rights we so blithely take for granted. Today, our leaders are so enshrined by wealth and position that most do not even care to see the plight under which most Americans live. And, we the people are so accustomed to the propaganda that spews forth from the thrones on the lower end of the economic ladder, well; all we have to do is work a little harder. Man’s law as differentiated from the morality of our Constitution has effectively muted the impact of the Bill of Rights on average citizens – justice is for sale. It would be only a matter of time before that same attitude would be passed on to our allies and foreign nations.
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’s Corner
The eighteenth century had a term, now pretty much buried in the recesses of time, which admirably suited the purpose of describing a type of person who, alas, will always be with us. The contemptible trimmer can be found in any human endeavor, particularly in politics. He is a person who, through manipulation, flattery, a calculated conformity, can always be found on the winning side, a constant moth hovering near the flame of power. Devoid of any sense of honor he may once have possessed, the trimmer is motivated only by ambition, the desperate need to maintain his status. He knows when to polish the apple, but he is clever enough to promote the impression that he has a mind of his own, and perhaps before he was seduced by the aphrodisiac of power, he actually had one. In the nauseating circle of toadies and sycophants surrounding Junior Bush, many of them had not far to fall, including the United States Congress which has been sentenced to obsolescence, having willingly contributed to its own demise.
The repulsive think tank mob is secure in its niche, having established Israel, with the influence of the American-Jewish lobby, as our fifty-first state. But there is one, much like the tragic heroes of ancient times, may have become, or is becoming, the architect of his own destruction, the once larger-than-life Colin Powell. It seems that only yesterday the ex-general was regarded as a figure of towering integrity, independent mind, the voice of reason. Powell’s disgraceful performance at the United Nations may have/should have blighted his reputation from that time hence. In short, as Charles Dickens was fond of saying, the good former general has sold out. In a show and tell presentation before the General Assembly Powell exhibited a vial (probably flour), and recordings of Arabic speakers mumbling about hiding something, possibly their mistresses or Swiss bank accounts. Now comes the Secretary’s piece de resistance, the dreaded truck which may or may not contain chemical weapons, and the shack which appeared about as ominous as the average outhouse. These items Powell produced as evidence and proof of Saddam’s sinister intentions. It may be, that with his cool and measured serenity, the administration is using Powell as an antidote to the preposterous, loud, foot-in-mouth Donald Rumsfeld, a variation of the good cop – bad cop technique. The stratospheric ego of Rumsfeld, who has achieved the status of a TV rock star, has propelled him to the position where Powell has become his subordinate.
It is not yet time to let Powell leave the witness stand in this particular court. In a jaw-dropping appearance before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, Powell contributed what could be classic textbook case of what the psychologists call projection, i.e., transferring one’s own motives to the other fellow. It is tempting here to borrow Dave Barry’s trademark statement: I am not making this up. Colin Powell speaks: …this is a conflict that we did not ask for, we did not seek, we did not want, we did everything to avoid. What? Everything? It would have been interesting had Powell tried that pathetic spin before the United Nations or the weapons inspectors the United States ignored and dismissed. The only appropriate response to such transparent blather is available in black culture: Say what? But, let us turn to a more elegant source – Voltaire.
…Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.
It is a satisfying moment when someone has the courage or the gall to write or say what many of us think, but dare not say. Such a daredevil in this rapidly growing police state is Ted Rall. In a piece entitled The Moron Majority Rall announces: …Now it’s official: most Americans are idiots. Decades of budget cuts in education are finally yielding results, a fact confirmed by CNN’s poll of March 16, which shows that an astonishing 51% of the public believe that Iraq President Saddam Hussein was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Jefferson did not say, but might have; that the price of liberty can only be paid by an informed citizenry, but it is difficult not to agree with Rall’s charge. Literacy in this country is in its death throes. A recent poll produced the appalling result that 10% of those questioned could name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In the same group, 75% could name the lead guitarist of the rock group U2. In the interest of fairness, a habit which is no fun at all, it should be mentioned that the results of most polls are determined by who pays for them. Still, it is a stomach-turning experience to witness man-on-the-street interviews where people, upon hearing a passage from the Declaration of Independence, reply that it sounds like a communist document or have difficulty answering correctly the direction to Canada or Mexico.
This is a nation sinking deeply into the swinish mire of apathy. How else can we explain the non-reaction to superhawk and Caligula clone Dick Cheney who, when asked why he had sought out received multiple draft deferments enabling him to avoid service in Vietnam replied, I had other priorities? Marie let them eat cake Antoinette could not have better expressed utter contempt for the lower orders of humanity. How this insulting dismissal of civic duty and the rage it should have created in the millions of combat veterans and the grieving families of those lost in that unhappy period of our history remains an unsolved mystery. It was and is a time to ask the old question: Where’s the outrage? It can be said, however, that an administration capable of mounting a successful campaign to eject Max Cleland, a triple amputee resulting from combat in Vietnam from the Senate, belongs in one of Dante’s lower circles. Cleland, it seems, was not patriotic. He objected to some of the more questionable provisions in the so-called Patriot Act. When the history of this administration is written the apt title should be: No Concept Too Vile.
This effort began with a discussion of the notorious trimmer. You know him. He is everywhere. If you have ever had a job, he is the one who told the boss that you took an extra ten minutes for coffee break or lunch. This week, the Bushies added another candidate for the Trimmer’s Hall of Fame. Enter retired Lieutenant General Garner. He has been given the job of leading Iraq’s rebuilding efforts. Garner’s history is that of a militant pro-Zionist. He has visited Israel a number of times at the expense of that government. Last week, in a statement which will endear him to the present administration, and would virtually guarantee him another star if he were still in uniform, Garner proclaimed: …Vietnam took too long…If President Bush had been president, we would have won. If they had ears, even maggots would gag over that level of imbecility, but Garner’s political success is assured. There is no limit to the heights a man can climb that is willing to spout such utter claptrap.
Al Capp, the late cartoonist who gave us Lil’ Abner, had a fictional senator named Jack S. Phoggbound. (Motto: Good Old Jack S.) It seems fitting to pay tribute to that obese, cigar-chewing gasbag that the first annual Jack S. Phoggbound Award be created herewith. And the winner is… Bob Ney, R – Ohio. It is almost beyond irony that a congressman who represents one of the most literate states in this republic would demonstrate the level of his intellect by announcing, impelled by his position as the House Administration Committee Chairman, that the word French had been banished from menus in House office buildings. It is too much to hope that Ney be prohibited from returning to Ohio, but if he does, let us pray that some sweet young thing will give him a big, juicy Freedom kiss. The subject has been raised in other sources, but if Ney wishes to carry out this idiocy to its logical end, he could become a foreman of the crew assigned the task of ripping up the Statue of Liberty and sending it back to La Belle France. Should the occasion arrive, Lady Liberty will undoubtedly be replaced by one of the Bushes.
Regime change begins at home. Cur
Clay County Board of Education Meeting
The Clay County Board of Education had their second monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 15, at their administrative office building in Clay. We were unable to attend that meeting, but the following information was obtained from the meeting minutes.
Board members present were R.B. Legg, Jr., President; Gene King, Vice-President; Scott Legg; David Pierson; Fran King. They approved the agenda, previous meeting minutes, textbooks recommended by the Textbook Committee for 2003-2004, transfer for Connie Salisbury from Ivydale Elementary to Clay Middle School (CMS) as Special Education supervisory aide, on overnight trip to Travel, WV on May 30 and 31 for H.E. White Elementary 5th grade students, advertising for more substitute aides and substitute cooks, employment of Michelle Paxton as Vocational Director/Community College Coordinator for 2003-2004, successful bid, accepting Roger Mullins resignation (hired last meeting) as Principal at Valley Fork Elementary effective immediately, employed Pam Mullins as Principal at Valley Fork for 2003-2004, pending certification, and an out of state trip to National Competition in Orlando, FL June 25-29, 2003 for Clay County High and Clay Middle School TSA state winners, expenses figured at $10,880. All motions were passed unanimously.
The only discussion topic listed was the 2003-2004 school year calendar. Next regular board meeting is Monday, May 5 at their Clay office at 6:00PM.
CLAY FM UPDATE
In 1997 a group of concerned citizens met for the first time to discuss the many unmet needs in Clay County and explore ways to meet those needs. Because the county has no radio or television station and no daily paper it was believed that a radio station could offer a lot to the community. This group formed a non-profit corporation and began the long process of applying for an FCC radio license.
The years of hard work are paying off. Clay FM has finally gotten off the ground. The group plans to have their FCC license by this summer. In the meantime they have purchased the Internet station formerly owned and operated by Delta Communications and have begun broadcasting online from Frank Murphy’s historic Gulf station at Two Run.
Clay FM is a community radio station. The Commission on Religion in Appalachia has provided grants to the group to help with the startup. CORA believes in justice for all people and shares our belief that informed citizens are empowered citizens. There is a place for everyone in the community to express their views, an opportunity for local talent to be showcased and a chance for public meetings to be broadcast.
Recently two students from Clay High School, through the Human Resource Development Foundation, have begun working at the station. This learning experience will enable them to gain valuable skills that will benefit them in the future. They are learning positive employment habits, broadcast and interview skills and will be able to move through a career ladder of employment at the station. With the help of volunteers the students have produced and recorded their first documentary about drugs in the schools and are now hard at work on their second project. Two more students will begin work the first week of May and two more the first of June.
Also, we are in the middle of our first membership campaign. For only $20 a year you can become a member of Clay FM. Members decide who is on the board and have a say in future programming. Visit our station any afternoon from 3:30 to 6 PM or visit our website at www.clayfm.com. And, be sure to attend our Twangy First Century fundraiser at Big Otter Community Center on May 10th from noon until 4:00 PM.
Clay FM radio, it’s right for Clay County.
Delbert Davis, President, Clay FM
Last week was tire amnesty week for Clayberry. The collection point was the State Road garage in Maysel. Residents were allowed to bring in car and pick up tires, up to 50 tires. And boy, did the tires ever come rolling in! By week’s end one tractor trailer was completely full with another ready to be loaded. Seems Clay County responds to litter clean up when given the chance.
We’re still waiting for the Cellular One tower to come on line. The bright red light is flashing every night and the structure appears to be complete. Once online, this county should have cell phone coverage greatly improved between the town of Clay and I-79.
The town of Clay issued a ‘Boil Water Order’ Friday, April 18 due to the upper Maysel tank booster pump pooping out. Notification of the emergency condition was sketchy at best.
Sort of an update on the Elvis Dawson/ Dave Starcher feud. On Monday, April 28 previous charges against both were heard in Magistrate Court. The charges and court proceedings have been on hold as the attorneys commented, We’re working things out. Didn’t happen, Circuit Court will now hear the cases.
During the April 24th Solid Waste Authority meeting, County Commissioner Peter Triplett was voted in as chairman after the sudden resignation of Kelly Fulkerson from that spot. Leawanda Whaling accepted the nod for vice-chair. Currently, the group has over $18,000 saved up for projects.
As you’ll read elsewhere in this edition, Clay Roane PSD went ahead and voted to purchase $8500 in computer software programming April 24, 2003. That purchase was made without the WV Public Service Commission’s mandatory OK. According to the WV PSC web site posting, Clay Roane asked to purchase the high dollar disc APRIL 25, 2003. That’s the day AFTER they told the salesman they’d take it. As of May 1, the local water provider has not been given the OK to purchase
According to one time state senator Randy Schoonover, wife Vicky Walker Schoonover is now a candidate for the 2004 sheriff race. Schoony made the announcement May 1. Gene King has said in the past that he will run for Sheriff Fields’ post if his health holds up as has Republican bus driver Dave Mullins. Other names being batted around include Morgan Gibson and Randy Holcomb.
County Commission announced courthouse custodian Ann Osborne’s replacement Wednesday, April 30th. The new full time, with-benefits, employee is Patty Fugate.
Clay FM, Clay County’s coming REAAAL soon FM radio station, is needing some help right now. Clay FM has two Clay High School students working at their station at Two Run. With more coming May 5th, a second computer is needed post haste. Clay FM has put out an urgent request: Does anyone have a good working computer that Clay FM can borrow for a few weeks until their new computer arrives? IF you can help out, call Marge Bragg at 286 2655.
04/16/03: Rider – Elvis Dawson, malicious assault, arrested 04/17, ROB, hearing continued by state to 05/06.
04/19/03: Elswick – William Lanham, fleeing from officer while DUI, arrested, ROB, hearing continued by Def to 05/06
04/20/03: Elswick – Bradley Joe Stone, arrested on warrants for forgery of other writing and uttering of other writing (03/28/03), ROB 04/23, hearing continued by Def to 05/22.
04/23/03: Bailey – Travis Welch, grand larceny (04/09/03), preliminary hearing: probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County.
04/28/03: Ellyson – Elvis Dawson, wanton endangerment (08/29/03), preliminary hearing: probable cause found, bound to Circuit Court.
04/15/03: Simms – Amy Ellen Jones, fail to obey police directing traffic and no POI, appeared, ROB, trial 05/13.
04/16/03: IGA – Orville K. Hilderbrand, worthless check complaint x 2, warrants issued; Slack – James McCune, destruction of property and trespassing, warrants issued; Slack – John Eric Hunt, trespassing, appeared 04/28, ROB.
04/19/03: Elswick – William Lanham, DUI, arrested, ROB, received motion 04/30 for jury trial.
04/20/03: Bailey – William Lanham, DUI-2nd offense, arrested, ROB, motion received 04/30 for jury trial.
04/21/03: Hunt – Robert E. Stutler, underage consumption, appeared, ROB, trial 05/13; Slack – James L. Davis, possession less 15 grams – 2nd offense, appeared, ROB, trial 05/14; Dixie Used Cars – Candy Adkins, worthless check complaint, warrant issued.
04/22/03: Clay Co. Middle School – Brian L. Fearby, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; IGA – Mark E. Tarr, worthless check complaints x 3, warrants issued; Connie Brown – Joseph L. Mollohan, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; Chief P.D. Butcher – Jerry W. Cash, disorderly conduct, appeared, ROB, trial 05/13.
04/23/03: Slack – Brad Stone, violation of order of home confinement, arrested – violation of Circuit Court order; case bound to Circuit Court; D. Burgess, Employment Prog. – Marina Lanham, false representation, summons; Slack – Melody Stlering, fugitive from justice – State of Maryland, arrested, ROB – case sent to Circuit Court.
04/28/03: Clay Supermarket – Judith A. Myers, worthless check complaints x 2, appeared, ROB – Def. To have checks paid on or before 05/08/03; Lewis Duffield – Stanley Hamrick, peace bond, summons; Slack – Russell Moore, Jr., warrants issued for no insurance, reckless driving, driving suspended – 3rd offense, leave scene of accident w/personal injury, accident – failure to render aid or info, and failure to report accident.
04/29/03: Market Express – Deanna F. Lowery, warrant for worthless check complaint, and Brian L. Fearby, warrant for worthless check complaint.
04/30/03: Ellyson – Adam Alexander Jarrett, reckless driving.
04/15/03: Clay County PSD – David Thomas, money due and Melissa Conrad, money due.
04/17/03: Marshall W. Samms – Mandy Sams, money due.
04/21/03: Clay Furniture & Appliance – Mildred Dobbins, money due; Walter Schoonover – Sally Legg, money due, and Ronald and Susie Carol Adkins, wrongful occupation, trial 04/28: judgment in favor of plaintiff.
04/25/03: Thomas Underwood – Philip David Stone, money due.
04/28/03: Larry’s Grocery – Jarrod Lanham, breech of contract; Bill Mollohan – Justin Hamrick, money due; R.B. Legg Jr., DDS – Ronald G. Rogers, Emma Jean Harris, Mary Swindler, Orville Hilderbrand, Sandra Eagle, Patricia Gumm, Franklin Carl Wilson, and Mary Pritt, all for money due; Norman Johnson – Wayne Hill, breech of contract.
04/29/03: Clay Municipal Water Works – Misty Tanner, Teresa Tackett, Diana Taylor, Tom Murdock, Rhonda Nichols, Ronald Williams, Angela Kincaid, Cassie Cunningham, Rhoda Dennis, Teresa Hill, Melissa Hill, Angela Holcomb, Thomas Holcomb, Jeff Robinson, Betty Dennis, Regina Carpenter, Carole Brown, Ronald Boggs, and Amos Adkins, all for money due.
Notices issued –
04/17/03: Clay Furniture & Appliance – Jennifer Stone Boggs (paid 04/28).
04/21/03: Clay Supermarket – Orville K. Hilderbrand and John Thomas Woodrum (paid 04/30).
04/23/03: Magistrate Court of Clay Co. – Barbara J. Thacker (paid 04/28).
04/28/03: Clay Supermarket – April L. Arbogast x 3.
04/09/03: State Police – Robert E. Stutler, underage consumption.
04/11/03: State Police – Joseph A. Desiderio, speeding.
04/12/03: State Police – Don L. Adkins, no valid driver’s license – no F endorsement; Bryan E. Freeman, speeding; DNR – Cindy Mae Dotson, contributing to open dump; Amy E. Jones, fail to obey police officer directing and no POI.
04/13/03: State Police – Corey Joe Bostic, speeding and no POI.
04/16/03: Municipal Police – Jerry W. Cash, disorderly conduct; Mark Anthony Stone, no POI; DNR – Thomas Gillenwater, obstructing conservation officer and fishing violations; Brian K. Thompson, fishing violations, MVI, and conspiring to commit Chapter 20 violation.
04/17/03: State Police – Ryan D. Arthur, operator’s.
04/19/03: State Police – Jvette Renee Davis, speeding; David A. Laughlin, no POI; Amos J. Sublett, speeding.
04/21/03: Sheriff’s Dept. – Jarrod N. Dieppa, speeding and no POI; Matthew M. Fleming, speeding; Richard W. Skiles, speeding.
04/24/03: State Police – Adam A. Jarrett, reckless driving and no POI.
With precious little space left in this edition, we have to be waaaay too brief with our Clay Roane PSD meeting coverage from April 24, 2003. Here goes.. Remember three weeks ago when they said they would pay employees and bills before paying contractor Phillip Linger? They didn’t and the hospitalization coverage, PEIA is now further behind ( $7000.00). The PSD has just $5000.00 to their name and over $38,476.00 in bills. Chair Postelwait openly questioned Larry White’s judgment over paying Linger before paying employee PEIA. The secretary was told to call venders and ask for a reduced payment schedule. As for the take over of Queen Shoals PSD, still murky. With Larry White saying Clay Roane has control of Queen Shoals, Chair Postelwait replied, We have control of the finances only. It’s murky here readers and few think the PSD nor PSC nor County Commission know what’s going on!
The elected from the Town of Clay showed up in force. King Arthur, Big Murph, Wanda Chambers, Little Murph, Terry Traub, the whole gang! The officials made it very clear: Clay Roane PSD has NOT been denied water service from the town, the town is more than willing to supply the PSD water BUT the PSD MUST pay for water already purchased and do so NOW. Chair Postelwait didn’t like the sound of it. As the PSD OK’d paying only a small portion of $4000 + owed to the Town, Little Murph, You haven’t paid a dime this month. … It needs to be paid.. Big Murph, We can’t carry you.. Chambers, We have our bills to meet too, If you are getting water, you have to pay! After the Board said they couldn’t give the Town a date they would pay for the past due water, Big Murph, We can give you an exact day we will cut you off.
Boardster Glenn Sutton spoke of asking for a rate increase. Once again, cloudy… Larry White, They won’t give us one now. When questions came from the public, Chair Postelwait snapped back, WE DON’T TAKE PUBLIC COMMENTS!!
Glenn Sutton made it known, two more previously unknown PSD accounts have been found at the Clay County Bank. The finger was once again pointing at past Board Treasurer Gary Waling for doing a less than stellar job. Friction was seen between Whaling and Sutton. Whaling, I didn’t do it! You came behind me! Sutton, It is not taken care of yet! Whaling, Then YOU do the job! Town elders giggled at the exchanges. Responding to rumors of old records being destroyed, Sutton said no records can be destroyed. Whaling, those records cannot be found.. [they’re] lost or destroyed. Note: Sure sounds like something is being kept away from the public readers.
Questions came from the Pinkineer Celia Coon on a three time requested audit of the books to see where all the $ are going. Coon, You been asked to do something… How can you afford new software when you’re not paying the bills??? YOU CANT PAY EMPLOYEES! Postelwait replied , the PSD does not have the money to pay for an audit.
| During discussion of the Amma Left hand Project, right of ways are still the issue. Seems last meeting’s talk of having enough right of ways on hand to go to bid ( according to L White), may have been premature. Making the obvious more open, Mayor Jarrett, YOU CANT PAY YOUR BILLS NOW. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO [with 383 new customers when Amma/Left Hand comes on line]. WHERES THE WATER COMING FROM?????|
And what makes Clay County West Virginia, Clayberry. Are you sitting down? In deep financial quagmire, with out of control spending at hand, with less money in their accounts each month, with no accurate financials depicting monthly income and expenses, the Clay Roane PSD Board of Directors voted 4 to 1 to go even further in debt and purchase $8500.00 in computer software. Without discussion, and as a result of last meetings secret time away from the public, Melissa Postelwait, Larry White, Glenn Sutton, and Gary Whaling voted to enter into a lease purchase agreement( Yes there is interest involved). Now we’ve given Dave Salisbury double H in the past ( and rightly so) but this time, Dave was the only Nay vote in the bunch. Later in the meeting, when the public commented on getting deeper in debt, Chair Postelwait noted that no formal bidding was done, and the PSD doesn’t have to do formal bidding for such small amounts of $!!
Chair Postelwait informed the crowd that an extensive complaint against Chief Water Operator Bobby Burdette had come to her attention. With saying he knew nothing about, guess what time it is? Yelp, it’s secret time at Clay Roane PSD. After much much time behind closed doors, it was announced that no decision had been made and the complaint would not be pursued, no further action.
One last thing readers. Talk has it that Burdette sent OIT Matt Mullins out to ask residents along Elkhearst Road, those currently without water service, if they would like water service. Watch for this to develop. Something is up and in the works behind the scenes. Watch for a turf war to develop between Clay Roane and Clay County PSD over who gets to build a high dollar, unaffordable, water plant and who gets to keep what customers. Just a guess but keep your ear to the ground.
Sorry to be so brief this time around readers but basically, Clay Roane PSD is digging a hole deeper and deeper. So what happens when added expenses are heaped on? You got it. Another rate increase and another rate increase to a PSD without financial control or budget restraint! And who’s to blame? The same people that allowed this nightmare to continue for years and years….You! That’s right you, not the Board, You for not demanding something of the elected and appointed leaders of the county. You!! AW
FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE COUNTY By Rose Cantrell
Dinner in the Making
Oh, the sweet, sweet smell of ramps ... That’s right, folks, it’s ramp season once again and H.E. White Elementary is oozing the aromatic elixir that only tons and tons of ramps can produce. The preparations for the H.E. White Annual Ramp Dinner, scheduled for May 4 from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., are almost complete.
For anybody who’s never participated in this process, it goes something like this: Every Saturday morning in the month of April, a lonely handful of dedicated parents and community volunteers meet at the school at the ungodly hour of 7:00 a.m. Then begins the 100-mile trip to Hacker Valley in Webster County, where ramps grow in glorious abundance. After kicking in the 4-wheel drive and crossing creek after creek, it’s time to get out of the truck and trek up the mountain, where the digging lasts until darkness looms. Then it’s back to the school where the ramps are deposited, home to catch a few hours of much needed shut-eye, then up at the crack of dawn again on Sunday for an encore presentation.
Only very special, high endurance people have what it takes to sacrifice what little time off they get to devote to this thankless job. This year’s diggers included: Sandy Mitchell, Deborah Gould, Frank Kerr, Connie Kerr, Gary Walker, Jerry Jones, Zack Walker, Freddie Myers, Charles Jones, Chris Johnson, Jeremy Jones, Brian Jones, Charlie Jones, Ike Litton, Robert Jones, Tammy Myers, Brenda Holcomb and Justin Myers.
Monday morning, a half dozen or so volunteers (in some cases, the same ones who did the digging) start the long tedious process of cleaning the beautiful bounty. This beautiful bounty stuff lasts through the first day of cleaning, when the choice of descriptive words becomes more colorful as the weeks wear on. Once cleaned, the ramps then have to be washed, chopped, blanched and tucked away in the freezer for The Big Day.
A ramp dinner, though, is so much more than ramps. Nobody’s ever figured out the actual quantity of ramps we have to have in any sort of mathematically correct volume - we measure by milk crates because that’s what we have available to us. To feed the over 1000 people who will attend this dinner, it takes about 125 crates of ramps (the equivalent of a massive buttload). That may not sound like much in the overall scheme of things, but believe me, after you’ve cleaned a crate or two, you have an all new appreciation of just how much one of those crates will hold.
The Saturday before The Big Day, the same faithful, dedicated handful of volunteers meets at school to peel over 700 pounds of potatoes. No, that’s not a typo - over 700 pounds of potatoes must be peeled, chopped and fried. While some of us are peeling potatoes, our spouses and any other willing recruits are off digging yet more ramps to be fried fresh with the potatoes.
The Big Day dawns well after the dinner preparations are underway. Frances White, our beloved, much appreciated cook, shows up around 3:00 a.m. With a little help from her friends, she starts pinching what will eventually become over 3000 rolls. While she’s doing the rolls, she’s also baking 450 pounds of hams, cooking over 200 pounds of brown and white beans, tending to over 600 pounds of corn and green beans, whipping up cornbread and creating various delectable desserts. Mind you, this is all in addition to the 100 gallons of sassafras tea she’s made on Friday.
As the mouth-watering aromas of weeks of preparation waft across the schoolyard, the parking lot begins to fill. People start lining up at 10:00 for a dinner that doesn’t officially start for over an hour. The frenzy begins. Cars must be parked so that nobody gets blocked in, runners must navigate the masses to insure the take-out room is constantly stocked, fried potatoes must be delivered from the frying room to the serving line. It’s a frenzied, non-stop phenomenon that borders on the surreal.
By the end of the day, when all the guests are full and looking forward to next year, that same handful of dedicated, faithful volunteers stays behind for countless additional hours of cleaning to make sure that when school is back in session Monday morning, nothing is amiss. Around 7:00 p.m., we all sit down, breathe a sigh of relief, share a group hug and congratulate each other on another miraculously successful dinner. Then we very discretely start praying that some freak act of nature wipes all ramps off the face of the Earth....
As far back as anybody can remember, H.E. White Elementary has put on the best Ramp Fest for miles around. In the old days, all the food was donated, volunteers were stepping on each other’s toes and Dig Days were quite an event to look forward to. In these modern times, though, things have drastically changed. The same handful of people faithfully donate food, pop, delicious homemade desserts, and other much needed supplies, but there’s still an abundance of things that need to be purchased. Trying to find anybody willing to drive the 100 miles to Hacker Valley to dig ramps on cold, wet weekend mornings is almost impossible. Attempting to get people to come in to clean, wash and blanch the ramps is even harder.
The H.E. White PTO hosts this dinner every year. I don’t profess to be any sort of authority on the legalities of the exact function of a PTO, but literally defined, it means Parent Teacher Organization. Which would lead one to believe that every Parent and Teacher should help Organize the dinner, right? Every single H.E. White staff member – custodian, cooks, teachers, aides, AmeriCorps, and principal - is involved in this dinner in one way or another. Whether it’s cleaning and/or digging the ramps, preparing and/or serving the food or bringing in donations, there’s not one staff member at H.E. White who doesn’t participate. It’s a crying shame the same can’t be said for the parents.
The proceeds from this dinner benefit every single child in the school. The money funds field trips, parties, pays for basketball and cheerleading uniforms, etc. Additionally, 10% of PTO’s profits go back into the school coffers to fund whatever the allotted budget misses. PTO has never denied any child participation rights, regardless of how little his or her parent(s) might put into the effort of making it all possible.
TATTOO VINCE IN COURT
Last October, for three weeks, the death of Judd Reid was a mystery. Cops of all colors and uniforms roamed the area. Rumors were rampant. Stories of severed limbs, bashed in heads, drug wars, other missing bodies and fights were everywhere. Three months later, Roane County resident Vince Golosow was arrested for murder. The Tariff Road resident was known for his size, attitude and many tattoos. With the fellow solidly locked up, locals and the media began to refer to him as ‘Tattoo Vince’.
The charges against Vince Golosow are now being heard before Judge Evans in Roane County. Jury selection was complete by day’s end on Tuesday, April 29, and opening statements were taken the following day. Here’s our account of what we saw while sitting on the wooden pews of the Roane County Courthouse Wed., April 30, 2003.
With metal detector blinking, all entering the court room were checked by a State Trooper. All attending the proceeding had to give their name, address, social security number, date of birth. Bags were checked and cameras were seized. Once inside the imitation walnut trimmed hall, Judge Evans sat high and up front. To his left was a deputy. Between the Judge and the peanut gallery sat the 7 woman, 5 man jury which blocked much of the proceedings from the public’s view. Defending Vince were Drew Patton and Leah Boggs. Seeking jail time for Vince was a special prosecutor named Scott Reynolds. Beside him was the ever quiet Roane County Prosecutor.
Among other things, the tall, thin, sandy headed, be speckled Evans told the jurors they were not allowed to take notes. They were to sit there and listen. Through out the day, they did just that.
Opening comments came from attorney Reynolds. Dressed in his suit and tie, Reynolds spoke and walked with authority. Now these aren’t his exact words to the jury but they are about as close as I can get them: Golosow is charged with first degree murder. Around October 10, 2002 the 52 year old victim Judd Reid had agreed to buy pot from Vince’s son-in-law. Vince had Reid’s money. Richard Cummings and Melissa Somebody were there. Instead of buying pot with Reid’s money, Vince went to Elkview and purchased a hand gun. Cummings was with Vince and raised concerns over using Reid’s money to purchase the gun.
On October 11, Judd’s wife Marilyn and daughter Sarah went looking for Judd. They found Reid sleeping in Sarah’s car. Later Sarah and her boyfriend Russell Davis came back. They heard a gunshot. As they went to the back of Vince’s house, another shot was heard. A puddle of blood was seen outside of the house by Russell Davis. Later that day, Vince called Richard Cummings and his girlfriend Sandra Kalaf and told them he had shot a deer and needed help cleaning it. Cummings and Kalaf entered the rear of the house. Just inside the door was a bathroom on the left.
Cummings was unable to push open the bathroom door once inside the house. Vince did and revealed the remains of Judd Reid with his face blown off. Vince told Cummings that he had killed Reid.
The Special Prosecutor continued: Richard Cummings and Vince put the body in a car belonging to Sarah Reid, Judd’s daughter. With a Chance Towner with them, the car containing Judd Reid’s body came to Clay County. Once up on Pisgah Ridge, and about 25 yards from the pavement, the body was dumped and covered with a little dirt plus some sticks and leaves. During the ride to Clay, Vince told Towner that he had killed Reid. Towner later called the State Police and led them to the decomposing body. The body was found October 18, 2003.
Reynolds looked the jurors squarely in the eyes and walked about with a slight limp. All was quiet. To the right was Vince Golosow taking it all in. Vince looked different from earlier photos. Now clean shaven, thinner, and with hair closely trimmed, Vince appeared to be the guy next door, your next door neighbor. A nice looking guy. Occasionally he whispered to attorney Drew Patton.
Reynolds, without finger pointing, without drama, continued his account of what happened next. According to Reynolds….
Two search warrants had been issued, one on October 18 followed by another on the 24th. Lots of evidence was taken. Golosow was being held on some other charge in South Central Regional Jail on charges which were later dropped. On December 6 as he left SCRJ, Trooper Baylous arrested Vince on murder charges and read him his rights. During the drive to the Kanawha County Magistrate’s office, Vince told the arresting green shirts, My boys are on the hill, pop…pop…pop! After arraignment in Kanawha County, the driving continued into Roane County. In route to Roane, Vince commented, I know where Jack Ramoli (a FBI agent on the case) lives. While still in route, Vince opened up again. This time the handcuffed suspect asked How much money does it take to make this all go away, $200,000?
Near the end of his 20 minute opening statement, Reynolds described the wounds. Reid had sustained a gun shot wound with the bullet entering the left side of the mouth and exiting near the top of his head. Also visible was an abrasion from a three pronged instrument near the top of Reid’s skull. Reynolds gave a detailed account of items covered with blood in Vince Golosow’s residence.
By 9:39 am, it was time for the defense to address the jury. The slightly built, young Drew Patton took over. Patton spoke in quiet tones. He moved very little. During the production, Vince nodded ever so slightly. Ms Boggs sat. Once again, Patton’s exact words, these are not. However here’s the best run down we can provide.
Patton disputed the part about Reid being alive and well. Patton explained that Reid had mental problems, that as a Vietnam Vet, he had flashbacks, he had nightmares, he suffered from paranoia. The mental problems prevented him from holding a job with 15 job attempts failing in the last several years. For Reid, stress could not be handled. Often Reid would fly into a rage.
Reid was on 20 different medications. He had no spirit in his life and was depressed. Illegal drug use was his self medication. He was suicidal, he was lackluster, quiet. To get drugs, he hung around with the kind of people that do drugs.
Near the end of his life, Reid was doing better. His daughter produced a grandson. His spirit improved greatly.
On September 10, 2003, according to attorney Patton, Reid’s best friend Vince took him in for help at a Westbrook center. A contract was signed there.
And here it is readers, Patton told the jury that Reid committed suicide. That his death is consistent with suicide. The jury did not move. According to all evidence, Reid put the gun in his mouth and blew himself apart. He went on to say that many others had a motive to kill Reid, others in the drug trade, that Russell Davis had lots of money missing. That Davis had come to the house, that Richard Cummings had been there and Cummings immediately left the state!. All of them had guns and drugs. They lived on the fringes of the law, according to Patton.
Without even a cough to be heard, the quiet spoken defense attorney explained that Vince, when he came back home, found the body. He couldn’t just leave it laying there nor could he go to the police. On the fringes of society, those in the drug trade could not go to the police. He turned to Sarah and Richard for help….. Vince Golosow did not leave the state…… If he reported it to the police, he would have immediately gone to jail… by not reporting, it gave him a few more days of freedom…. All the witnesses are accomplices to the crime, they’re all in hot water…. The accomplices are in street clothes now and are free to roam around…. They may have problems with unspoken deals…. Vince was held in jail for 70 days only to have the charges dropped…He was then charged with Judd’s murder and out in another car…. Those statements made in the car were just trash talk… If you follow the Judge’s instructions, you can’t prove murder or that Vince did it.
There was a pause. While one lady in the peanut gallery worked her cross word puzzle, a photographer in the corner took pictures. Break time came and the jury left the room. Once out of ear shot, Judge Evans made it absolutely clear, he wanted more security in the room. The Bailiff was not to leave his post beside the Judge! Note: Each time the attorneys came forward to speak in hushed tones, Vince came with them. Prior to this decree by Evans, one time, the attending bailiff was NOT standing right beside Golosow. It seemed the bailiff got the message as did a plain clothed officer on the front pew. As the morning wore on, with Trooper First Class Mike T Baylous on the stand, lots of evidence was introduced. Stuff like carpet fibers, a piece of the bathroom door, vials and petri dishes with DNA samples, a light switch cover, a big metal grate too big to carry easily. Lots of pictures were added to the exhibit list. With the exception of the metal grate, all items were in brown manila envelopes with red sealing tape affixed.
Now here’s an interesting part and something to watch for during the rest of the trial. With each exhibit, defense attorney Leah Boggs objected to such. Mention was made of violation of search and seizure laws. Although acknowledged by the Judge, each objection was over ruled. Just as a note, it seemed that this evidence issue may have been addressed during pre-trial hearings and some kind of deal had been struck preventing much public discussion.. just a guess readers. Now back to the action.
The short and stocky TFC Baylous gave details. Chance Towner had provided Baylous with the location of the body. The State Police Crime Scene Team arrived in Clay County. Baylous had gotten the search warrants for Golosow’s home. On October 18 during the execution of the first search warrant, over 40 from State and FBI took part and so on and so on
Exhibit #22 was a little different. Baylous asked for rubber gloves. Out of a blue Wallmart bag came a small single shot looking hand gun. The chromeless weapon, a FMJ Model D 45 caliber, without a trigger guard, was the murder weapon.
As questions came on, Baylous was telling of Vince’s comments during the ride to jail. OBJECTION! came from Ms Boggs. With all up front including Vince Golosow, the lanky bailiff stood almost in front of Vince in a protective posture for the Judge.
That’s all we’ve got readers for now. The trial continues this week. Attorney Patton commented out of the courtroom, they may even continue on Saturday. We’ll keep you posted as best we can. AW