May 17, 2002

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Agitated Health Board Meeting

     There was a time when a Clay County Board of Health meeting would draw maybe 2 or 3 people=s attention. The meetings would take maybe 35 minutes or so and for the most, the quarterly board meetings were dull. That was then and now is ..... well, actually, they=re pretty wild. For small town Appalachia , they=re down right entertaining to say the least!
     Clay Board of Health met Wednesday, May 15, 7 pm, at the Health Department building on Main Street. Mary Lou Devlin chaired the group and members Lynn Sizemore Romano, Joretta Gray, Loretta Bird, and Connie Harper were present along with around 30 folks in the peanut gallery. The conference room was nearly full. Our readers will remember the last time this group met in March and comments were made that tension was in the air from the get go. Comments were also advanced that Health Dept. Director Karen Dawson looked like she had been through the wringer with additional comments made on the stoic complexion of the board. Not so this time. As the meeting got under way, they looked much more at ease, there was even some chit chat, some quiet discussions among boardsters, and the peanut gallery was mingling about. Looks can be deceiving readers, as you
=ll see, as the stormy 2 hour meeting progressed.
     Chair Devlin opened the meeting about on time and immediately got it out in the open that she as chair person for the group can vote as any other board member. Quoting from Robert
=s Rules of Order and later from the group’s by laws, Devlin,@ I have the right to vote..@
There is a rift among the board. It has festered over the last several meetings. During the last three meetings, there has been open bantering when even the most basic questions are asked. During the discussion on paying the bills from April, it surfaced again as a question was raised by Lynn Romano on checks being issued to board member Connie Harper and ( I think ) the second one for husband Russ Harper. Now there wasn
=t cussing or such, but as the answer was given there was an air of Ashe is asking too many questions@ or A this should not even be brought up@ or something along those lines. The two checks were written from the Health Department accounts because the Dept. acts as a Apass through@ agency for the Family Resource Network. No biggy!
     Here comes a real rupture readers. County Sanitarian Teresa Morton asked for a pay raise during the March meeting. Back then she said she did much more than just sanitarian work with many Registered Nurse duties done within the department. No raise was given Morton. Instead Director Dawson was asked to check into the issues raised and report back to the Board during the May gathering.
Since then, the WV Division of Personnel has been forwarded Morton
=s job duties and after an evaluation by that agency, Morton has been reclassified as a Class III Nurse which requires a pay raise. Oh boy, that=s not what some on the Board wanted to hear! According to Dawson, the new classification ( promotion) requires a 10 % rate increase and another 7% to boot.
     Knowing full well the Dept. is short on funds, and grants are harder than ever to get, Boardster Romano,
@ Didn=t we cut 2 jobs at the last meeting?@ Member Gray reminded the Board that the last sanitarian ( Roger Hannah) made just $22,000.00 per year. The peanut gallery was quiet. Director Dawson enlisted the help of a fellow on the state level, a Ron Foren, who spoke in favor of Morton getting a raise, stating that she was a valuable team member, does much more than just check water systems and septic tanks, and the new buzz word is A disease surveillance@. Gray questioned the Director on the need for the increase based on nurse duties since 70 % of Morton=s time was spent on sanitarian duties. As questions continued on what Morton was hired to do a year ago, you could see the tension build. Ten minutes into the discussion and as Ms Romano was saying, “This is not personal, Teresa@, Morton retorted,@ THIS IS PERSONAL!!!!!!!! WHY DO YOU DOUBT WHAT ALL THE OTHERS SAY?@ She went on to tell Romano and Gray that even the Division of Personnel said the raise must be given. Uh, oh, Romano,@ We need a sanitarian. Do we need her in a dual job?..... We don=t know what you do.@ Director Dawson, AYes@. As Jeanne Perdue and Sandy Graham said they didn=t want a bigger work load if Morton was trimmed back from doing nurse duties, Gray asked how much did each make. Chair Devlin came unglued,@ WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?!@ Oh boy.
Here it is folks. The Board appears to be made up of two groups. Group one is Devlin, Harper and Bird with group 2 being Romano and Gray. Group 1 has Director Dawson with them and a select few employees while group 2 seems to be a more prying, investigative house and has supporters from employees outside of the
Afold@. Now that Devlin has said she can vote on motions, group 1 has the upper hand. Now, back to the meeting.
A THE LAST MEETING WAS AN EMBARRASSMENT!!@. Bam! The tension surfaced. From the far end of the table came a response that Gray ( and Romano) had been a big part of the embarrassment. Poof... faces turned red. And then and then and then.......... Gray said she was only asking because she wanted to give Morton a BIGGER raise than 17%. Devlin in disbelieve,@ Well Holy Cow!!@ Morton=s jaw dropped.
Currently, Morton makes $26,700.00 and with a 17% increase that would go to about $28,569.00 plus benefits. Dawson recommended that Morton go to $31,000.00. Morton, A Teresa has a BS and 4 years experience.....@ Romano questioned what the other nurses make. Answer: Perdue $32,244 and Sandra Graham $33, 048.00. More entered the meeting room. Morton chimed in that she was now a Class III nurse like Perdue and Graham and wanted what they got, Morton, A Just make it equitable.@  
Romano,@      I think we should have stuck with just a sanitarian. We keep going in the red.@ According to Director Dawson and contrary to what had been printed in one local paper, Dawson,@ We are not running a deficit!@ The exchanges between Gray & Romano with Dawson were at the very least terse .
     Motion made to
Aequalize@ nurse pay and get Morton up to $32,800.00 or in between Graham and Perdue, with Perdue being the lowest paid nurse on staff. Motion passed 4 to 1 with Romano being the only nay vote.
NOTE 1: Adding in benefits, that
=s over $125,000.00 per year in 3 nursing salaries! NOTE 2: During the December 2001 board battle, Perdue asked for and received a 10 % rate increase to get her close to what Nurse Graham was being paid. Now with Morton at $32,800 or so, Perdue is once again the lowest paid RN. There was a change here readers. It appeared that once the hefty increase was passed, Romano was ready to vote everybody a rate increase. Ditto for Gray.
     During discussions to raise the amount the Health Department pays on PEIA premiums for employees Romano made the motion to increase the cap $100.00 above the current $452.00 level. Devlin tried to hurry the discussions along. Motion to increase the PEIA payout passed unanimously.
     Next came the vote on the 2002-2003 budget. It too was stormy with many questions on the chain of command within the agency and who could hire and fire when the director is away. The center of attention was again Teresa Morton. Dawson,
@ Do you want me to make Assistant Administrator??????? I have the right to appoint!@ Forceful was Dawson=s message. Devlin reverberated Dawson=s comments. In the middle of some comment about going behind someone else=s back and talking, Gray,@ If that=s a reference to me, I came to talk to you [Dawson]!@ Gray kept trying to get the others to see that the diagram on the chain of command was flawed. After many minutes of re explaining by Gray, and after Romano spoke in support of the confusing hierarchy and after Devlin again tried to move the meeting along, Gray more or less retreated from her position as Ms Dawson explained that it was just a diagram, that Teresa would not hire or fire, that those decisions were made by her and management staff. Gray,@ The wording throws me.....Something needs reworked or changed to reflect what is real.@
     The innuendo was that office secretary Linda Klotzbach may actually be in charge when Dawson was away. Klotzbach,
@ I DO NOT DISCIPLINE EMPLOYEES..... I WOULD NEVER DISCIPLINE A NURSE...... I DO NOT SUPERVISE!!.. MY JOB DESCRIPTION DOES NOT GIVE ME POWER TO.......@ Klotzbach=s voice was cracking as she spoke. Romano,@ Could you retype it [diagram]?” Oh boy, that didn=t set well. Morton retorted something about ,@ That=s not my plan at all.@ And more about her seeking Dawson=s input before she would ever make some drastic decision as hiring or firing. Gray,@ ..just trying to keep problems down later!@ Gray asked that the wording and diagram be better worded. Finally after hard, strong, forceful,, heated exchanges, the budget was passed with corrections made.
     Folks, it
=s not over yet. During nearly every item on the agenda, the action continued. There was the exchanges on the policy manual and a provision there that allows for the director to abolish all rules if need be without board approval. There was another passage in the manual that once again referred to others on the staff being allowed to fire employees in addition to the director. Questions on taking lunch breaks and more. After changes were made, the Policy Manual was approved.
     And again back to pay raises. This time it was Jeanne Perdue asking for a clarification on the December board action where she got a 10% pay raise and a promise for another in December 2002. Some in the peanut gallery who attended the December meeting felt that the board decided that Perdue would automatically get another 10% raise in December 2002. According to the minutes, read and recorded by Ms Klotzbach, the raise would not be automatic, but rather, the Board had agreed to look at the raise this coming December. From out of the gallery came spouse Jim Perdue,
A So Jeannie is still the lowest paid nurse here?!!!!!!!@ Husband Perdue was agitated to say the least!
Next on the agenda was Judy Brown. Something going here, readers. Mention was made of her program being cut, that she was being moved to some other program, and she would not be full time nor salaried then. Brown
>s old program was called TDL, Training for Daily Living. After long, often confusing discussions, Ms Brown will receive around a 7% pay raise getting her up to around $8.67 per hour. NOTE: Keep an eye on this one, something ain=t right here!
@ Can I walk in next board meeting and ask for a raise?@ From the back, long time clerk Kim Thomas,@ I plan to ask for a raise...@
Usually the appointment of the Chair is a simple thing. Not so here. During the election for the board chair, Romano asked Bird, Harper and Gray to accept the nomination. None would and Devlin won by default. Doc Boggs was appointed as County Health Officer.
OK readers, with the meeting well over 1
2 hours into it, it=s time to cover your ears and run the little kids out of the room. It=s heated potty mouth time! First the action and then some commentary.
     Finally on the agenda was Dave ( Stump) Morton, husband to Teresa Morton. Morton stood and said,
@ This is directed to Joretta. I ran into her at Bullards. Frankly the things you said, Joretta, were the most vulgar things that I have ever heard being a member of a Board. You are supposed to be in the best interest of Clay County. This man, whose name I won=t mention , I am not going to say who,.... said that eventually if she[Joretta] got rid of Mary Lou Devlin they had a person in mind to put in your [Mary Lou] position and THEY WOULD RUN THIS BOARD AS THEY PLEASED!@
@ Noooooooooooooo..@ Morton,@ Let me speak please! You took me outside and kept talking...@ Gray, A Ohh no, no, no, no!@ Morton, @You said you spoke to the Division of Personnel, to Ron Forn, you brought up Matthew Bragg=s name, Tim Butcher=s and Jimmy Sams. You said these were big dogs that you were going to bring to this meeting!..... I have never been to a meeting before. I do not involve my personal life with my wife=s job. Everybody in this room can see the conflict that you have going with my wife=s job. You said you had planned this amongst= yourself and you could not let the rest of the Board members know about it because it would be blown out of the water..... You said if you all could get her [Mary Lou] off the board you could get things done.@
     With gallery very quiet, some board members with their heads down and Joretta Gray
=s face red, Morton continued,@ That was not the vulgar part of that conversation. You specifically mentioned this man=s name .... You said if my wife appreciates her job, NOW THIS IS HOW MUCH POWER YOU THINK YOU HAVE IN CLAY! If my wife would write a letter of apology for fraudulently lying to you and Lynn Sizemore, if she would step aside....@ Gray, A I did NOT say that Mr. Morton!@
@ If she would step aside and write a letter of apology ... YOU were going directly after Karen Dawson! IF she would get out of your and Lynn Sizemore=s way , so you all could get to Karen Dawson !......... WHEN YOU TOLD ME THIS GUY WAS GOING TO BLIND SIDE MY WIFE SO BAD THAT HIS *!** (censored due to content) ****!!!!!!!! IAM GOING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING, DON=T EVER MAKE A REMARK LIKE THAT AGAIN AROUND ME! I DON=T CARE IF YOU ARE DRINKING!!!!!!!!!!@
     Mouths fell open, all movement stopped, Devlin looked appalled, Dawson had her head down. More faces turned red than just Gray’s. Gray denied it all. Gray,
A I did not say that. You know better than that.@ Devlin tried to get a word in. Devlin pried in that Joretta had called her and asked about Teresa=s Adual classification@.
A ... As God as my WITNESS, YOU SAID IT!@ Gray,@ I=m telling you now as God as my Witness, I did not. Those words have never come out of me.@ Morton, AYou did not say these people are going to blind side my wife????@ Gray, A NO I did not! No I did not. I did not say any such thing!!!!!!!!@ Devlin, A Let=s move along@ Didn=t work.
     What did all that mean? Morton appears to be saying that potty mouth Gray was working behind the scenes to get rid of Devlin, Dawson and Teresa Morton. Gray of course denied all of it. But it is curious and as an observation only, if Gray said that potty mouth part, why did it take so long for Morton to respond? Why not an immediate response like smacking the stuffings out of her during the time of the conversation? One further observation... Could this have been , say, staged to stagger Gray’s and Romano’s efforts or get them to resign from the board? Just an observation readers.
After a 10 minute secret time, the meeting ended around 9:07 pm. So what=s going on at the Clay Health Department? A couple things are for sure. One, all employees should step up to the plate and ask for a pay raise. And, two, there are big problems within the agency . Mark your calendars for their next meeting scheduled for September 25th at 7:00 pm. AW

follow ups

     In response to last edition’s ‘Stumbler’ article, Commissioner Matthew Bragg said Not True. During the May 7th Special County Commission meeting, Bragg said the facts of the story were all wrong.
The story dealt with an end run play by Bragg which included comments of “getting the Sheriff off his butt” and “getting Gene King out of the bailiff’s position”. Bragg said he never wanted to be a bailiff and the part in the story about him wanting to work in the county a couple days a week..... that was to have been volunteer work. After those statements, Bragg did mention that he had gone to the Sheriff and Gene King and apologized to them as the article said. Let’s see now, Bragg didn’t want the bailiff’s job and he didn’t say anything about getting the Sheriff off his butt, but then he apologized. Hmmmmmmmm...

??? DID YOU KNOW ???

  1. Never regret, if it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.
  2. The average life expectancy for blacks at birth is 71.8 years, compared to 77.4 years for whites.
  3. New research bolsters the growing suspicion that some arthritis drugs, Vioxx and Celebrex could increase certain peoples risk of heart attacks by causing a chemical imbalance that spurs blood clots.
  4. Kanawha County schools will be ranked by the number of safety violations and accidents they have each quarter, and those at the bottom of the list could face penalties.
  5. Gypsy moth caterpillars defoliated 603,627 acres of forestland in May and June of last year.
  6. State officials are considering widening the West Virginia Turnpike to relieve traffic congestion in the Beckley area.
  7. The government owns more cars than the largest rental company in the world - Hertz.
  8. According to the National Restaurant Association , baby boomer households spend about $2,600 a year eating out.
  9. Potato chips, French fries and other high carbohydrate foods contain a substance called Ary-lamide that may cause cancer, according to a study released by Swedish food authorities.
  10. In West Virginia, 38.5 percent of high school students and 18.1 percent of middle school students SMOKE.
  11. Emergency rooms treat more than 500,000 people for insect stings each year.
  12. Pain killers have a more potent effect on women than men, because a woman’s digestive system works more slowly than a mans. Pain killers have more time to be absorbed.
  13. Currently more than 700,000 sick Americans are waiting for new kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, and other organs.
  14. Pepsi will begin selling “Pepsi Blue” a berry flavored cola in August.
  15. West Virginia has 4.6 students per computer.
  16. More than 60 children younger than two years die from suffocation each year after being placed in adult beds.
  17. The South Charleston Stamping Plant has been fined more than $100,000 for repeated workplace “safety violations”.
  18. Roane County’s Montreal based wood veneer plant has been cited by OSHA for 13 work “safety violations”.
  19. West Virginia’s ginseng harvest is down by about 37 percent due to dry weather and a drop in prices, caused by a glut of the popular plant in Asian markets.
20. Lawsuits and allegations of wrongdoing against the West Virginia State Police have cost the state nearly $5 million in the past five years.       LMM

More Savings, More Choice:
Capito=s Fight for
Prescription Drug Relief

     Washington - on Monday, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) made a giant step forward in her fight for a prescription drug benefit by unveiling her own bill, the
AMore Savings, More Choice Prescription Drug Plan.@
AThe men and women of West Virginia have made it clear that passing a meaningful prescription drug benefit is a priority, so I have worked over the last year and half to create a plan and make it a reality. The time is ripe on Capitol Hill to put forth this plan. My unique leadership position on the Prescription Drug Task Force and the current momentum in Congress to vote on a plan in the next month makes this an opportune time to introduce this bill.@
AMore Savings, More Choice Prescription Drug Plan@ would be available to all seniors as an entitlement of Medicare. The benefit would also be voluntary, so that seniors who are satisfied with their existing drug coverage could continue using such programs. The plan also targets extra relief to seniors who need it the most, providing full coverage for seniors whose incomes fall at or below 150% of the poverty level. Seniors whose incomes fall between 150 and 200% of the poverty level would also receive substantial cost savings and have either a portion of or their full premium fee waived. Under the plan=s cost sharing structure, Medicare picks up 75% of the drug costs up to the first $2,000 of annual drug costs, and 50% from $2,000 to $5,000. After $5,000 in annual out-of-pocket drug costs, 100% catastrophic coverage ensues.
     AI will push for this plan, as I feel that it would provide real relief for our West Virginia seniors through more savings and more choice.@

Only in Clayberry

     Dennis Sutton is just a regular ole’ guy. Years ago, in the early ‘70's he taught at Clay High. Since then a career in real estate has been good to him.
=s mother , Olive Sutton, passed away on the last day of December in 2001, 92 years young. Ms Sutton spent a great deal of time and effort to maintain Pleasant Hill Cemetery during her life. Pleasant Hill Cemetery is located at the Wallback Exit of I 79 and just beside Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. One road is used by both the church and the cemetery. D,@I promised myself after Mom died that I would pave the road to the cemetery, the hill road. I used to haul sand and gravel to put on it. It was a pain.@ In addition to the paving Sutton wanted to place a memorial marker to his mother along the road.
@ I had a computer print out of the exact size of the marker. I called Ellen Cottrell to arrange for a [church] business meeting . I went to the meeting probably three months ago. Wayne Smith, who was a deacon and now a minister, Jr. Burdette, and a Mr. Mick, were there, there was three there and Ellen Cottrell. I told them I would pave the hill and not ask for any donations. I would pay for it myself. I said I am having a marker made and would like to have it put up right out there in the curve of the road..... They were ecstatic about it. They said there=s plaques on the window where we got names of the people that paid for the windows. We went out and looked where I was going to put it. Nothing more was said.@
Sutton arranged for WV Paving to pave the road going up to the church and cemetery . He also paid for the 24 by 24 inch marker. On Mother
=s Day, Sutton went to the location for the monument, dug the foundation, mixed a couple bags of Quick Crete, and erected the 2 foot tall memorial. That was in the afternoon. The next morning Sutton went back to check out the granite addition.
A I drove up on the hill and my monument was laying on the ground. I sat down and cried. Vandals do this already? A After driving over to Ms Cottrell=s, D found out Preacher Mike Schoonover did not like the marker’s location and Schoonover and others had pulled it out of the ground. A phone call was made to Preacher Schoonover and shortly thereafter, Schoonover came over to the Cottrell home on school time for a meeting for an hour or so. Sutton, A He told me he lifted the monument out himself . I called him a liar. That=s impossible. I do know that Mike and Wayne Smith, who is a deacon, were involved in it.... I told him, there=s not an ounce of man in you, I had just set that, all you had to do was come and tell me if you didn=t want it there. I would have moved it. 3 of the 5 trustees was there . They were all ecstatic about it.@
     The road was paved Monday, May 13th. The $6000.00 donated paving job was perfect. The memorial marker was laying face up on the ground. The monument reads, ‘Road paved 2002 in memory of Chesley and Olive Sutton , Love, your son Dennis. Sutton,
A I have never been hurt so bad in my life.@
      A specially called business meeting of the church was called for Wednesday, May 15. There the trustees admitted that they had given the OK for placement of the marker. 26 members were in attendance and heard the discussion. Twice during the meeting, Sutton was told to sit down. Although the church had never voted to allow the paving, the church voted to go with the now changed recommendation of the trustees. The trustees said: move the monument to the bottom of the hill, move it to the cemetery behind the church, or get rid of it entirely.
One last note, there will be a dedication ceremony for the paving on May 26. According to Sutton, Preacher Mike Schoonover has refused to do the dedication prayer,
@ He said he didn=t want to do that.@
For Sutton, a nice act of kindness has turned sour real quick.       AW


     Not so long ago when J.D. ‘Jimmy’ Morris took over Clay County Bank duties after Murray Smith died, changes came. There was a new paint job, the lighting was changed and improved, and there was a general sprucing up of the place. Back then, that was considered a big change. Compared to the last three weeks or so, that was nothing.
From out of the blue Morris resigned Wednesday, April the 26th. According to that little paper over in Clay, Scott Legg had been named interim bank president.
     About that same time the bank foreclosed on Clayberry’s most costly folly, Filcon Industries. With Legg at the helm, financially strapped Clinton Nichols felt the hammer of foreclosure May 6, 2002. It appears that the Nichols family is about to loose possession of the old Rite Aid building , the motel, and other prized holdings on Main Street. To protect their newspaper, ownership was changed over to son Jacob Nichols. By Monday May 13 word was on the street that the bank had foreclosed on Prosecutor Jeff Davis with $313,000 in liens. According to Davis on May 15, in the afternoon, that was not true and although he too had heard that story, “If it were so, I have not been notified.”
So what’s going on? Is the bank solvent? Has there been a bad audit? Was Morris forced out due to a bad paper? As for the public seeing the quarterly audit which was just completed the first week of April, not going to happen. According to Sally Cline with the WV Banking Commission, bank audits are not public record and State Code says so. Interim bank president Scott Legg was telephoned Wednesday, May 15. After waiting on hold through two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we hung up.
     What isn’t secret is the FDIC information on the Clay County Bank. The FDIC provides a pretty good look in documents known as call and thrift financial reports. All such information is available to the public on the web site. Easily found are figures on: Consolidated Report of Income; Changes in Equity Capital; Report of condition of Insured State Chartered Savings Bank; Past due and Non-accrual Loans; Charge Offs and Recoveries on Loans; and loans to executive officers. Although the last audit was completed the first week in April, those figures will not be posted until later this month. What is available are the reports dated December 31, 2001, the year’s end.
From the Consolidated Income Report comes the following sources of income: loans secured by real estate-$1,993,000.00; Commercial Loans - $250,000.00; Individual loan interest (like student loans, and revolving ) - $1,269,000.00; TOTAL INTEREST INCOME on Loans - $3,512,000.00. Additionally other sources of interest income came from U.S. Treasury securities totaling - $921,000.00. Add all that up and a few bucks here and there more, grand total for interest income at the Clay County Bank -$4,608,000.00.
     As with any business, there are expenses involved. A thousand here and a thousand there and then ........ $1,051,000.00 for salaries and employee benefits. Not too shabby for around 20 employees!
As for assets, they’re there for sure. Total assets to date: $64,93,000.00. Retained earnings were $5,866,000.00. When you add it all up and do the ciphering, total equity capital is just $7,458,000.00.
     Now we’re not CPA’s and for the most part can barely walk and chew gum at the same time BUT on the Consolidated report is this: Total Liabilities - $56,635,000.00. Farther over in the Consolidated Report is a listing of liabilities of $64,093,000.00.
So did Morris get axed due to the numbers? According to the Past Due and Non-accrual Loan Report, the Clay County Bank had past due loans on family residential properties totaling $1,663,000.00 and another $102,000.00 in loans past due over 90 days and yet another $695,000.00 in non-accrual loans. And there is more, in the Commercial and Industrial Loan heading, there is $120,000.00 in bad debt less than 90 days old and another $237,000.00 past due over 90 days out. Not done yet! Under the heading of OTHER ( includes single payment, installment, all student loans, and revolving credit plans other than credit cards) is listed $886,000.00 less than 90 days old and $174,000.00 in bad debt over 90 days old.
Doesn’t sound too good but as they say on TV, “But wait, there’s more!”
In a completely separate report named Charge Offs and Recoveries on Loans, is this listing: Charge Offs - $589,000.00. As for loans made to bank executives, there were none.
     So was it bad paper that forced Mr. Morris out? Is Scott Legg under regulator pressure to bring in the past due loans? The only way to know is to check the classifieds. According to Circuit Clerk Mike Asbury and County Clerk Judy Moore, foreclosures do not go through the courthouse. Asbury commented that only when it turns into a civil case does his office get involved.
More foreclosures coming as the guard changes? Sure looks like it.
      Will Mr. Legg be named president of the bank? Of course, Martha’s name has been mentioned around. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
Last Saturday, long time J.D. Morris friend Jack White, had the bank owned, maroon Chevy truck taken from his use.
It’s change readers, and as the song says - you ain’t seen nothing yet.     AW


     For many newspaper readers, the State Code mandated publishing of County Courthouse budgets is of little interest. Normally the reader glances at the columns of figures and goes on to reading more interesting stuff. Around the Courthouse over the last five weeks have been rumors of lay offs when the new budget year begins, July 1, 2002. County Commission approved the new budget four weeks ago without comment. Of course since the election was just around the corner, any plans for lay offs would be kept close to the chest until after May 14th.
     Last year, County Commission announced that since coal severance dollars were way down, some Courthouse workers may have to be laid off around December of 2001. That didn’t happen. The County squeaked by.
To get a trusted opinion on lay off plans this year, County Clerk Judy Moore was quizzed Wednesday, May 15. Keep in mind that this was just a rolling conversation and exact figures were not asked for.
     Are there reductions in staff for the new budget year? Moore, “Yes. There is one in each office cut.” Moore said the exception to that is in the Prosecutor’s office where a position was not filled last year after Farah Facemire resigned. “That position was not put back, and I don’t think there is any cut in law enforcement because of the COPS (grant) retention policy.”
     So how do you deal with reductions? Moore, “I am hoping that when they revise in July there will be enough money to at least put back for three months if they have to do it three months at a time. I am not laying off when July 1 gets here. It is always the 15th or the end of the month before we actually revise because you don’t have totals [until then]. If there is not enough to do three months , I am sure they will give us enough to do the one month that we kept [employees].” Clerk Moore said they have to wait until the June 30 bank statement comes back on the 10th of the month in order to reconcile the checkbook and get the totals from the Sheriff’s office to see what the actual balance was on June 30th. ..
     Based on the estimates, there is not enough money to even keep the employees for 6 months according to Moore. As for last year’s scare of layoffs around Christmas, “It ended up we had enough to keep them the whole year.” As for knowing how much money there really is coming, again Moore, “You don’t know what your receipts are going to be. You have to guess.... like, in the budget we estimate that this office will bring in $6000.00 during the year. It depends on if there is a big land contract and we get a lot of transfer stamps. I might bring in $18,000.00. Whenever we were doing the figures, there was grant money that had been spent but not reimbursed. We think we are going to get that money reimbursed but anything could happen and we wouldn’t get it reimbursed. When it is reimbursed, it makes your bank balance more.”
     So, is this year going to be a tighter year than last year? Moore, “I think it could.... Tighter? It will be as tight. What’s hurting us right now is the lack of coal severance dollars. We got $15,000.00 all year last year. We didn’t think we were going to get any last year. We had to make our budget up as none. They told us we would not be getting any, that it would be withholding. That it would take all that from where we were over paid . Where they said we were over paid.”
     This year’s budget was based on receiving very little coal severance money. Moore, “When we make our estimate it is all a guess. You don’t know what you are going to get. We try to make the guesses conservative because if we don’t , and you put the money in people’s budget, you cannot cut the budgets during the year. Once you give it to the elected official’s budget , you can’t take it back.....If we guesstimate it too much, there is no where to cut it from. If it is a conservative guesstimate, you can always revise and up that. I am hoping that we don’t have to cut anybody.”
     If layoffs come, how do you cut them? Clerk Judy Moore, “It is up to each elected official... They get money in different line items. The elected officials themselves can transfer around. Of course, nobody has any excess. Nobody has anything in equipment [the line item]. Supplies and materials are minimal. Say there was some money in supplies and equipment, the elected official could transfer that to a salary line. But... there just really isn’t any.”
      So are the employees antsy now? Moore, “I don’t know what the offices told them. I told mine that there could be cuts but I don’t think it will happen in July if it’s going to be... it would be more like September or October if it’s going to be.... It’s bad on the employees because they don’t know what is going to happen.”
     As for a prediction on layoffs coming this fiscal year, from the one that knows, Judy Moore, “ The chance is as great as last year.”
     So why not cut back courthouse hours being open or a different work schedule? “I don’t think that I would do that. I don’t know what others would do.... The County Commission sets the hours for the courthouse.”
Raise your hand if you remember the time when if you got a job in government or a utility, the chance of getting laid off was about zilch. Those days are long gone.         -AW

Thanks from H.E. White Elementary
May 9, 2002

     The H.E. White Elementary School’s 37th Annual Ramp Dinner was a HUGE success!!! We had over 830 satisfied guests and raised over $7,000 (before expenses!) Our actual net profit, in conjunction with various fundraisers, will allow the PTO to not only pay for next years’ dinner, but, more importantly, to provide activities for and fund specific needs for the students of H.E. White in the coming school year.

     This year, the PTO encountered many obstacles in trying to make the whole thing come together. However, despite the weather hampering the ramp digging efforts, despite our money concerns, despite the time constraints we were up against, we still pulled together and made it happen

     I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of you who had a hand in making this year’s dinner a success. In the 37 years H.E. White has been hosting the annual ramp dinner, it’s grown way beyond the abilities of a handful of PTO members-without the help of our extended community, we could never have done it.

     Whether you helped dig ramps, clean ramps, serve food, loaned a crock-pot or skillet, offered a dessert, helped with parking, helped with cooking, lent a healthy dose of moral support and a word of encouragement, or simply came to enjoy the result of all the hard work.
Rose Cantrell, H.E. White PTO co-President

     General Tommy Franks has recently announced that the conflict in Afghanistan is an unqualified success. The old cynics among us may be inclined to take such observations with a grain of salt. No military figure in living memory ever seems to have been inclined to report that any mission attempted since the dawn of time has ever been described as a disaster, washout or dismal failure. Anyway, what kind of a commanding general is called Tommy? Anyone calling MacArthur Dougie or Patton Georgie would probably have his head handed to him.
     Perhaps as a hedge against overconfidence one might suggest that we remember the words of that noted philosopher, Yogi Berra: It’s deja vu all over again. As uncomfortable as it might be, it is well to consider the recent history of the incursion into that unhappy country by the former Soviet Union. The Russians held all the major cities, as we do now, but they did not secure all the mountain caves. Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain is hostile to and probably impossible for would-be occupying forces. Moreover, we still don’t know the location of Osama bin Ladin. With his beard removed and wearing western clothes, he may be taking the sun on the Riviera or sipping wine on Paris’ Left Bank. Despite the seeming advantage of having one of the world’s largest standing armies, the Soviets, stung by unceasing guerilla raids and weakened by the economic drain on their resources, cut and ran.
     It is not suggested here that the United States should hesitate in its resolve to destroy the Taliban and to continue to ferret out and demolish al Queda, but that the administration, the military spokesmen and the media should temper the inclination to keep patting ourselves on the back and to realize that the American people are sufficiently mature and intelligent enough to face realistic reports of progress - or the lack of it.
     There have been some strange birds occupying positions of power in the short history of this republic, but perhaps none so memorable as Roman Hruska, a United States senator of a few decades past. To say that Hruska, who represented Nebraska, had the I.Q. of celery would be an insult to that vegetable. What is remarkable about Hruska was that he readily admitted his shortcomings as well as those of other politicians. In 1970, defending Richard Nixon’s proposed appointment of G. Harrold to the Supreme Court, the Nebraska senator’s argument was so stunning in its simplicity as to be quoted down through the ages. A...even if he is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t all have Brandeises, Cardozos and Frankfurters and stuff like that there.
     On the other end of the intelligence spectrum we are burdened with the alarming and preposterous appointment of the sitting Attorney General, John Ashcroft. Ashcroft is a puritan, a racist and an autocrat. Brimming with moral certainty, he has covered the nude statues in the capitol building with shrouds at a reported cost to the taxpayers of $9000. Art lovers of the world are doubtlessly rejoicing that Ashcroft has no influence in Italy where he would unquestionably obscure the sublime work of Michaelangelo to protect the slobbering multitudes from evil influences. In addition, Ashcroft is earnestly at work in an attempt to subvert the first amendment by public warnings that to criticize or even question the actions of the administration gives aid and comfort to the terrorists, and may even be considered treason. Moreover, Ashcroft has moved to cancel the attorney-client right of private consultation. It may not be much of an exaggeration to suggest that Ashcroft’s idea of Heaven is the imposition of martial law. It is well to remember that our current Attorney General is a man who lost the Missouri senate race to a dead man. At least the voters in the Show Me state knew what they were doing.



     This email is directed to the writers for your web site. I’m writing in response to your section titled “News.” I wouldn’t waste my money on your paper, so I visit the web site out of mere curiosity of what you may be up to now. It is my opinion that your reporting is very negative. To read your so called “news” is infuriating. Whether I know the people you are reporting (slandering is my opinion) on or not, I always feel as if you are out to find the worst part of everyone. My heart goes out to the people you rant and rave about. What specifically sparked my need to write you, was how you reported the car accident involving David Pierson. I believe your words specifically said, “Seems Dave Pierson creamed a little blue compact car.” To the common reader, it sounded like it was completely his fault. You failed to report all of the details. Perhaps it would have been more informative to state that the little blue car with a 92 year old man driving it pulled out in front of him. Of course, that wouldn’t be your style would it? You enjoy making public figures out to be the horrible villains of our town (maybe a look in the mirror would do you good). Do you not think David Pierson has been through enough lately? Was losing his business to a fire not enough for you to get your kicks? I know he doesn’t care what you say about him. I’m sure he doesn’t even know you reported about his car accident. Your reporting yesterday was just a small example of your lack of common respect for fellow citizens. There is a lot about David Pierson that is to be commended. He works hard everyday. He has a wonderful wife and three excellent kids that are involved in the community in so many ways I can’t list them. He provides jobs for the people of Clay. If you spent one day at the sawmill, and actually witnessed him in his everyday life, you would see tremendous generosity. Do you realize how many people he has helped in his lifetime? Whether it be a loan, advice, or even doing work with his equipment (for free), he is always helping someone. Yet, I’ve never found anything you’ve written about him in a positive tone. Maybe you should consider being more of helping hand in this county instead of spending all of your time reporting with sarcasm to make stories sound much more interesting than they really are. I simply wonder why you feel so compelled to report negatively. Anything you report on, whether it be the school system or a simple citizen, is made out to be less than it really is. When I read your “work” I wonder what is wrong with you inside. I wonder what has caused you to be so unkind to others. Can’t you find anything better to do with your time? News reporting is one thing, but being rude and crude for fun is another. I realize the report of the car accident is minor in comparison to many of your reports that degrade good people in our county. I just felt it was time to express my opinion. Honestly, if you were a personal friend of mine, I would recommend getting mental help. You seem to have a grudge against the world. It’s really quite sad. Hate simply eats at people, and you seem to spread yours to the world. Is that something to be proud of?
Erica Samples

Editors Note: All comments are appreciated. Isn’t it wonderful that there is a place where comments are available to the public?

E-Chatter 2
     I live now in Mingo County where part of the flooding occurred (not where I live, thank goodness!). I’m glad to see that you all are willing to give to these people. They need lots of cleaning supplies, water to clean with, and drinking water especially. Big things like shovels and wheelbarrows are helpful, and I’m sure clothing, food, etc. We/they were hit as bad as Welch, where a lot of the schools were even destroyed. Hope the Good People of Clay can give a lot.

      Lisa Adkins

by Jim Chafin
A Massive Conflict of Interest?!!

     “No man shall have for himself particular gods of his own; no man shall worship by himself any new or foreign gods; unless they are recognized by the public laws.” - Cicero. Quoted in Neander’s History of the Christian Religion and Church, section 1, div. 3, par. 2. The Roman state being the supreme deity, the Senate and people were but the organs through which its ideas were expressed; hence the maxim, Vox populi, vox dei - the voice of the people is the voice of God. As this voice gave expression to the will of the supreme deity, and consequently of the highest good, and, as this will was expressed in the form of laws, hence again the Roman maxim, “What the law says is right.”
     It is evident that in such a system there was no place for individuality. The State was everything, and the MAJORITY was, in fact, the State. What the majority said should be, that was the voice of the State; THAT WAS THE VOICE OF GOD; that was the expression of the highest good; that was the expression of the highest conception of right; and everyone must assent to that or be considered a traitor to the State. There was therefore no such thing as rights of the people; the right of the State only was to be considered, and that was to be taken as absolute. The right of the State over the Citizen was the paramount principle in Roman law.
     In fashioning the American form of government, our forefathers openly courted the Roman system for ideas upon which to lay the foundations of representative (?) Government; and they called this deliberative body, (what else), the Senate. They also brought forward the Roman idea of ORGANIZATION that had been whetted and polished by the Brittanic Majesty’s Imperialistic Court - so brilliantly designed and crafted that no one could for long escape its ever widening scrutiny. This, then, is the foundation upon which our self-proclaimed American style of governance is laid. Rome is our legacy and the chief reason why ETERNAL VIGILANCE is demanded of everyone.
     “I was unmercifully driven from my chamber to a winter’s flight. A monstrous paradox that God’s children should persecute God’s children, and that they should not suffer each other to live in this common air together.” - Roger Williams, New England’s gadfly and firebrand in the night who, in the middle 1600's, was turned out into the cold of New England’s bitter winter - chased from his home in the colony of Boston for, now hear this, his rebellious audacity to say openly that the New England settlers “should pay the American Indians for the land they were then occupying”. The colonists fully expected Williams to perish in the winter cold - my, my, weren’t they humble, God fearing people? Williams goes on to relate how his life was saved by a tribe of Indians who brought him into their tents and nourished him back to health. His tribe, called Yengees by the Indians, had turned him out without sustenance, however, “My life was saved by the wild savages, when the other savages, my own countrymen, condemned me to a white death.” This is the first record of an American Patriot - a rebel who fought for religious liberty and equality between people(s).
     Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of “A Massive Conflict of Interest”.

By Don Greene

        If West Virginia is going to break its' downward spiral and become economically healthy it must break the patterns of the past. We must immediately begin to focus on the employers of the future. Our dependency on coal, electric and bureaucracy as our major employers must be eliminated. We need new employers that are locally owned and operated. We must dedicate our resources to becoming part of the 21st century economy and cut our ties to the old, patronage, polluting past. To do this we can focus on three viable aspects of employment; alternative power generation, local agribusiness and tourism.
        Our development bodies could be focusing on the industries and employers of the future instead of feeding the same old dinosaurs. The manufacturing of fuel cells, solar cells and panels and wind turbines will become more and more important sources of power generation as the years go by. We could be getting in on the ground floor of these power sources of the future. All evidence indicates that our old familiar industries are dying on their feet. We have to put them behind us and become part of the future.
        Our Department of Agriculture has more potential to move this state into the future than any other state body. We could be focusing our efforts on developing small, locally owned and operated agribusiness's that are part of the growing national markets. The Latin and Asian food markets in America have to get their produce from somewhere. Why can't that source be West Virginia? Hydroponic farming is growing elsewhere, often in combination with fish farming. Again why can't this become a viable employer in West Virginia? Indications are that giant corporate farms are fading away. They are being replaced with smaller localized providers of pasture fed livestock and chemical-free produce. The options are very nearly endless and can play a major role in West Virginia's future.
        Tourism is already making an impact on the state's economy. Every county can support some tourism attractions. By accenting the natural beauty and historic interest of our state we can become the destination of literally millions of tourists from the urban areas within an easy drive of West Virginia. Some of the viable locally owned attractions are Bed & Breakfast Inns, campgrounds, biking, canoeing, tubing and rafting. Locally owned, for profit tourism attractions can provide jobs, support the local tax base and draw millions of tourism dollars into our state.
        The choices are clear. We can join the future or remain mired in the past. The good old days of polluting industries, runaway bureaucracy and giant corporate farming are dead and dying. The choice is ours.


Serving Size: 3 meatballs, Total Servings: 8
1 pound extra-lean ground turkey breast
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 medium-sized green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup shredded wheat cereal, finely crushed
2 eggs whites
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper jelly, melted

1)        In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, onion, bell pepper, cereal, egg whites, garlic powder, ground red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Shape into 24 one-inch meatballs.
2)        Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no pink remains, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.
3) In a large bowl, combine the meatballs and the melted jalapeno pepper jelly, tossing to cost completely. Serve immediately by placing on individual plates if an appetizer, or on a platter with toothpicks if an hors d’oeuvre.

Exchanges..1/2 Carbohydrate..2 Very Lean Meat
Calories 115... Calories from Fat 20... Total Fat 2 g...
Saturated Fat 0 g... Cholesterol 35 mg...
Sodium 200 mg...
Carbohydrate 8 g... Dietary Fiber 0 g... Sugars 6 g...
Protein 15 g ...

Serving Size: 1 square, Total Servings: 20
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 can (15 ounces) light fruit cocktail, drained with juice reserved
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1)        Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Coat a 9” x 13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2)        In a large bowl, with an electric beater on medium speed, beat the flour, brown sugar, butter, the reserve juice, egg substitute, vanilla, baking soda, and salt for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Stir in the fruit cocktail.
3) Pour into the baking dish and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. All to cool completely, the cut into squares and serve.

Exchanges..1-1/2 Carbohydrate.. 1/2 Fat
Calories ...125.. Calories from Fat 22 ..
Total Fat 2 g.. Saturated Fat 1 g...Cholesterol 6 mg.. Sodium 282 mg... Carbohydrate 24 g ..
Dietary Fiber 1 g...Sugars ..13 g.. Protein 2 g..

        Kay Kish



??-??-??: Ellyson - Brad Joe Stone, 4/10 warrant for burglary, hearing set.
05-01-02: Guthrie - Ernie Pat Dawson, breaking and entering, warrant issued; Guthrie - Patrick Blankenship, warrant issued for breaking and entering, arrested 5/08, ROB.
05-09-02: Bailey - Robert J. King, malicious assault, probable cause found - to Circuit Court; Ellyson - David Albert Johnson, sex offender - fail to change address, warrant issued.
05-13-02: Light - Ronald J. Amate, fail to provide new address as sexual predator, warrant issued.
04-29-02: Ellyson - Jarod James Douglas, speeding, defendant requests trial; Foreman - Jeffery Jumper, battery, summons; Light - Lorraine Snyder, battery, summons; Connie Rogers - Oscar Lee Adkins, peace bond, appeared 4/30, ROB.
04-30-02: McKown - Melanie Groves, destruction of property, summons; Belt - Michael C. Mollohan, speeding, registration violations, and no insurance (2/24), appeared, ROB; Clay Supermarket - Brian M. Jarvis, WC, warrant issued, and, Teresa Armstead, WC, warrant issued.
05-01-02: Chief Slack - Louise A. Keener, DUI-2nd offense, arrested, ROB.
05-02-02: Delk - Billy Joe Keen Jr., driving on suspended/revoked - 2nd offense, appeared, pled guilty, assessed fine, costs, and 10 days jail.
05-03-02: Ellyson - Daniel Nichols, shoot within 500 ft. of dwelling, appeared, pled no contest, assessed fine and costs.
05-05-02: Guthrie - James Preston McCune Jr., domestic battery and inhaling intoxicating compounds, arrested 5/07, ROB.
05-06-02: Telford’s Chevrolet - Chester E. Boggs, WC, warrant issued; McKown - William Joey Smith, trespassing and battery, arrested 5/07; Clay Supermarket - Terrisa L. Sheridan, WC, warrant issued.
05-09-02: McKown - Samantha Adkins, warrant for battery, arrested 5/13, ROB; McKown - Candy Adkins, warrant for battery, arrested 5/13, ROB; R.E. Wright - John B. Sears Jr., over width 1 ft. 6 ins., appeared, ROB.
05-13-02: Slack - Leon Franklin Holcomb. DUI - 3rd offense, warrant issued.
04-29-02: Michael Taylor - Jason Dancy, money due; Julia Summers - Susie Mayes, money due.
04-30-02: Walter Schoonover - Timothy and Melanie Groves, money due.
05-03-02: Rodney and Jennifer Nutter - James Loving and Joanna Nutter, wrongful occupation, judgement 5/09 - order of poss./removal granted to petitioner; Carlous Shuler - Mary Loudermilk, money due; Tan-A-Max Tanning - John Dancy, D&D Pawn and Tanning, money due.
05-06-02: Robin Walker, Administratrix Estate of Opal Baker - Kimberly Sizemore, wrongful occupation, and Teresa Holley, money due; Allen Stephenson - Manfred Kuenser, DBA Filcon Inc., money due; Kevin Dennis - Manfred Kuenser, DBA Filcon Inc., money due; Junior West, West Tire Center - Bill Tanner and Dusty Tanner, money due.
05-08-02: Richard Adkins - Manfred Kuenser, D/B/A Filcon, money due.
05-13-02: Stephen P. Raskins, MD - Sherman W. and Sherry Mullins, money due.
05-15-02: Billy C. Davis - Jodie and Jennifer Pierson, wrongful occupation.
Notices issued -
04-30-02: Sizemore’s IGA - Harley D. Adkins (paid 5/03) and Christa D. Smith Schoolcraft.
05-01-02: Girl Scouts of Black Diamond - Felicia Burkhamer (paid 5/13).
05-10-02: Clay Supermarket - Kimberly A. Robinson, x 2.
04-21-02: Sheriff’s Dept. - Jonas D. Clarke, speeding.
04-25-02: Sheriff’s Dept. - Billy Joe Keen, driving on suspended/revoked - 2nd offense and no POI.
04-30-02: State Police - Timothy H. Harris, possession less than 15 gms; Kermit E. Mullins, no POI, registration violations, and driving on suspended/revoked; Daniel Lee Nichols, shooting within 500 ft. of dwelling.
05-01-02: Municipal Police - Nathan Ralph Malick, registration violations and driving on suspended/revoked; Sheriff’s Dept. - Robert Blake Moore, no POI and registration violations; WV Dept. of Highways - John M. Adkins Jr., registration violations and MVI; John B. Sears Jr., over weight, over length, and over width; Brian Ray Sparks, disregard highway bridge posting; Elton Dale Workman, disregard bridge posting.
05-03-02: State Police - Michael P. Lawson, seat belt violation and operator’s; Timothy Rose, seat belt violation.
05-04-02: Sheriff’s Dept. - Barbara Gray, operator’s and registration violations; Lisa A. Koch, speeding; Anthony W. White, speeding; Joseph Lee Moore, defective equipment.
05-05-02: State Police - Alta L. Davis, failure to maintain control.
05-07-02: Sheriff’s Dept. - Melissa R. Beckett, no POI; State Police - James F. Canfield, no POI.
05-08-02: State Police - John R. King Jr., failure to yield right of way.
05-10-02: State Police - David Lee Pritt, speeding.

Weekly Message From Senator Rockefeller

Dear Friends:
     It has been several months since I have been able to update my website. The Senate rules regarding elections prevented me from posting any new information on my website from March 14th through May 14th.
Since my last update, West Virginia has again been hit with devastating floods. Nearly everyone has seen the horrific images of communities virtually being swept away. In the wake of this disaster, nine people were tragically killed, and hundreds of homes and businesses have been destroyed in the coalfields for the second time in less than a year.
Immediately after the floods, I visited with victims, relief workers and local officials in McDowell County, and was struck by how amazingly resilient West Virginians are. Unfortunately, many who lost so much to the floods last summer have again been pounded by forces of nature beyond anyone
=s control. Others who had not been directly affected by earlier floods were not as lucky this time.
     Many residents in the flood areas I visited expressed concern about the role timbering or mining practices may have played in the floods. After last summer
=s floods, Governor Wise commissioned detailed studies to address those concerns. I am confidant that he is doing everything possible to see that these reports are completed and released.
     Nothing can be done to prevent the torrential spring rains that are part of life in West Virginia. But with each incident of flash flooding, it becomes more crucial that we determine exactly what can be done to control the affects of these annual rains. The immediate goal is to serve those in the flood-affected areas and help rebuild their communities, and then to determine how to reduce the severity of flash flooding.
The recovery and clean-up effort will take many months. There are many ways West Virginians can contribute, either by giving money to a charity or volunteering to help with the clean-up. Governor Wise is recommending people contact the WV Gives flood relief collection effort toll-free at: 1-888-984-4837.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you on these and many other issues in the weeks and months ahead.


     By now most in the county have the May 14h Primary Election results. For the county, there were two defeats. In an upset victory Peter Triplett beat the pants off incumbent Commissioner Tim Butcher. Butcher was the heir to the throne in the family dynasty of elected service. Truthfully, whether it was Sams or Bragg up for re election, either would have been beaten. There were many reasons to be disappointed at the County Commission’s performance over the last couple of years. It seems what was on everyone=s mind was the foreclosure order for County Commission backed and supported Filcon Industries. Butcher just happened to be the man in the hot seat as the house of cards collapsed.
Even with the county supporting Jim Dawson by a 10 to one margin, Dawson bit the dust in District wide Senatorial voting by a long shot. This county may suffer in the long run with such a weak showing of support for Democrat Randy White. Only 188 folks voted his direction. Interesting to note, the strong support of Fayette County Senator Shirley Love for Jim Dawson did not materialize. In Fayette County, Dawson and White pretty much split the votes down the middle.
     During the final week of the campaign season, Clay County once again made Fanny Seiler
=s column in the Charleston Gazette. This time Butcher and Randy Schoonover were caught destroying ‘Leland O=Neal for House of Delegates’ signs by stapling ‘Tom Louisos for House’ signs over O=Neals. O=Neal came and removed his property shortly there after.
     The school board incumbents Fran King, Dave Pierson and Scott Legg finished in that order and were again elected to the board. Fran Naylor from Bomont finished a respectable fourth place.
     For now there will be peace and quiet in the county as we wait for the November general election. November? Yes. This year we have Republicans running for office and the race may get interesting even on the local level. Pete Triplett is no shoe-in for county commission with one time commissioner Ronnie Haynes on the ballot. Sure can
=t forget about our senate race with Republican challenger Rick Rice on the ticket and armed with enough $ to make Democrat Randy White=s campaign challenging.
And some famous quotes...
An honest politician is one that who will stay bought when he is bought.-Simon Cameron
I have come to a conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to politicians. - Charles
Politics is an excellent career unless you get caught.-Robert Hauf
The election season was a quiet one with only about 2000 voters coming out to voice their opinion on the future of the county. For the many that say nothing will ever change in Clay County, they have been proven wrong. In politics it just takes time to make change. For this county, it may take several election cycles for strong leadership to surface and provide a brighter future for the constituents. Look back just a little and remember that last time around, Commissioner Sams lasted out his competition by only 130 some votes. With Commissioner Bragg already saying he will be running for Sheriff in 2004, there is a real chance for more leadership at the county commission bench.
There is hope. AW

Where Did The
Elk River Go?

     It stopped at Dundon Bridge. Clay County has no dump site, but some people use the Elk River, under Dundon Bridge, as their dump.
     I was born in Widen fifty-eight years ago, but I spent thirty-eight of those in Maryland. I moved back three years ago, and I have been looking for that same beautiful Elk that I remember. All those years in Maryland my son and I had told our friends, and my now 13 year old grandson, how beautiful the Elk River was. Well, my grandson went fishing, got several bass, then had to throw them away. They had worms in them. My other grandson, 6 years old, told me and Auntie Sheila it looks like chocolate milk. Some of our Maryland friends came to visit us. They were disappointed. And, no, they haven
=t been back.
Well folks, what I
=m trying to say is - Clayberry, clean it up for those tourists you=ve been talking about. The tourists stop at Burnsville. If the county and state would keep their eyes open they would see that Ivydale saves their trash until the river overflows. They make trash bags for dirty diapers and such.
=m sure if people with a little extra money would get together and clean the Elk River up, it would be the same beautiful Elk again. I=ll do my part, and I=m sure others will join in and help.
     There is something else that is very unsanitary - people spitting in the parking lots, throw their tobacco and snuff, then let their children walk barefoot in it. And then they wonder why the children stay sick.
I hope there are other people who feel like me. I
=ve always loved nature. In 4-H I took trees, leaves, and birds. If Clayberry would clean up the county, just think of the tales of Elk River! Burn old trashy things along the highways!
Clayberry stays the same - dirty, trashy, and nobody cares.
      Emily King


     Gone are the times when just a hand full of people show up for a Clay Roane PSD meeting. During the May 9th board meeting over 25 showed for the public meeting. In addition to the regulars, CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore, project engineer Jim Hildruth, Commissioner Jimmy Sams, and WV PSC=s finest, Jim Weimer were in attendance. The meeting was held at the courthouse and got under way at 7 pm
     No Chair. T.G. Cruickshank resigned. What to do, what to do? Boardsters Gary Whaling, Lefty Summers, and Roy Ellis motioned and voted to make Gary Whaling the new leader of the pack. Soon after the election was completed, Boardster Garret Samples arrived.
The usual stuff was done like oking the bills. Of course the checks had already been cut for the bill. Just a formality readers. Now to the good stuff
There is a small glitch with getting the Amma Left Hand Project to bid. Jim Hildruth informed all that there are eight items that needed to be completed before the bidding could be done. One of the issues deals with having a lender requirement that 80% of the residents be signed up for water service in the area. Other issues that need to be completed before going to bid include getting a list of users, preliminary bond documents, right of way agreements all in order, etc. Hildruth explained that once all the needed information is secured, it should take an additional 4 weeks before the Amma Project can
Ago to bid@. All seemed optimistic.
     During the Roane County extension discussions, one older gentlemen raised concerns over Clay County residents getting water service since they have waited so long. This fellow lives on the Left Fork of Sandy. The man said he had paid fees years ago and they were promised water service long before the Amma project was even dreamed up.
A We paid tap fees 6 years ago. We ain=t got anything... We have to go back and pay more dollars??? I want interest!@. When Boardster Samples asked, A Where is the money?@, Chair Whaling responded, A In the bank drawing interest... I think it is down there.@ Under questioning, clerk Jennifer Traub said she had not seen the old paperwork on the earlier paid for tap fees. After giving a brief explanation on what could have happened to earlier plans on extension projects proposed while Procious PSD was in existence, Jim Weimer explained to all that technically, those early tap fees should have been returned to the customers.
     If there is a way to screw up, Clay County has a way of being in the middle of it! Such was the case as local Dave Morton addressed the board over recent bidding activities . Two months ago, the PSD opened bids for installing new water connections, taps. Mr. Morton
=s company was one of the bidders, and the low bidder at that. One month later, at the next PSD meeting, Dave Starcher and Company submitted a proposal for the work at a higher rate and was given the job of connecting 7 water taps on the spot.
     Morton raised many issues about the process, things like how can you give the job to someone that didn
=t even bid on the work when the others did; how do you decide what equipment is best for the job and which bidder has it; how did the PSD decide on how much time to pay a contractor for each job done, etc. Chair Whaling waded into the situation with wording something like: Starcher and his son were the only ones here at the last meeting, they were the only ones available.
That did not set well with Morton as he got warmed up. Morton,
@ Are you capable of using a phone?????? You=re using the people=s money.... You took bids!!@ Morton went on to explain that he had talked with now ex chairperson T.G. Cruickshank who had told him the board messed up with giving the work to Starcher. Boardster Samples got a little huffy with Morton and mentioned: I have listened to you for 45 minutes and the motion was made to set just 7 taps. Morton still feeling that his company was being done dirty, A Stupidity is what is wrong!! This is a poor way to conduct business!.... You come across with this off the wall stuff!@ Morton went on to say that other contractors had been used with much older equipment and that his bid , $35.00 per hour, was cheaper than Starcher’s. Commissioner Sams, A We don=t have to accept the lowest bid.@
     Along about then Punkineer Postelwait asked: In what order are they being hooked up? Samples and Weimer almost in unison,
A Who ever pays first!@ Postelwait had them. According to a Public Service Commission ruling, those that had asked for a waiver to the water moratorium were supposed to be hooked up first. Jennifer Traub explained that everyone ( 60) that are on the waiting list had been sent a letter informing them that water service was now available.
      Back to Morton and the contracting dispute. Morton said that his son
=s company has proper road boring equipment. Morton asked about how much it had taken Starcher to do the already completed water connections. Sams, A The Starchers have done a good job. They have worked hard!@ The issue of proper road boring equipment came up again when it came to light that it took Starcher 18 2 hours to bore the Charlotte Riddle connection. Total cost to do the first 7 connections was $2900.00.
     The Board was getting upset with Morton as Whaling suggested that Morton and Starcher both could work on the connections. Lefty Summers,
A It will cost more with experimenting!@ Questions were raised over: If Starcher has the contract to do the job, why is PSD labor ( Dale Deems) over there helping them out? After some bickering over price, Morton said he would supply two workers and equipment and do the job for 2 bucks an hour cheaper than Starcher. Something was up readers, the Board did not want to have anything to do with Morton getting the work over Starcher. Whaling called for a motion to use Morton several times . No one would make the motion to use Morton.
And then something happened. Somehow, someway, Chair Whaling asked if anyone was opposed to Morton getting the work for the next 6 taps. This reporter heard the motion but NOT a call for
AAYE@ votes. Chair Whaling said something along the lines of: not hearing any nays, Morton was giving the job of setting the next 6 taps. Morton became quiet.
     CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore asked the PSD for permission to use their Newton Building to store the now defunct Filcon equipment. Sizemore got the nod for use of the building for three months for a small donation. Sounded like they agreed on $300.00 per month.
And now for the Punkineers. For months on end a delegation from the Punkin Ridge section of the county have been relentless in their efforts to gain water service for their community. Some progress has been made on the paperwork side of the project. By hanging around meetings and by doing some research, Melissa Postelwait has seen some questionable activities going on. During this meeting, questions came up on: use of the PSD truck to haul kids; someone other than an employee driving the vehicle; the hiring of person that is the son of a PSD laborer. Postelwait went on to question why the PSD pays for Caller ID each month instead of just using the existing answering machine. Just as a note, it is believed that Postelwait has not been getting her calls answered due to the Caller ID. The meeting got heated up when Postelwait asked why the plant remained unlocked when no employees were present.
     The bantering went back and forth over other issues like: why was Jennifer Traub hired to do the clerk duties when Trina Neff left and that position was not posted to the public? And .. and... and... that got it going good. Postelwait asked about the Traub practice of asking board members for permission before giving the public any information. It got warmer in the room as Boardsters rallied in support of Traub. At one point Chair Whaling
=s wife got into the heat of things and provided some Alively@ replies to the intense questioning by Postelwait. Along about here Weimer and others at the table all felt the discussion was getting personal and AOut of line@. As was the case last summer, questions came up on the amount of time charged the PSD for operating the plant. Two Punkineers felt that Traub had turned in time for work not performed on April 15th and 25th.
     At one point , Traub was heated up and at another point her voice cracked. Time sheets were pulled and Traub explained where she was when the Punkineers found the plant unattended. Postelwait said on numerous occasions she had found the plant unlocked and a note stuck on the door,
AThis needs investigated!!!!!!@ She also told the board that they don=t try to get things straightened, A Be a board member ALL the time!!!@
     Last year, the PSD agreed to provide a time schedule when locals could come to the plant and purchase water. According to those in attendance that has not been done.
     Somewhere in the middle of the yelling, Postelwait asked Lefty and Gary Whaling if they were going to resign as they promised last month if T.G. resigned. A feisty Lefty Summers replied,
@ I=m staying now!@ and later,@ I wouldn=t give you that pleasure!@ Postelwait informed all that she planned to take them all to Circuit Court over the J.D. Morris water tap matter. Postelwait, A THINGS NEED TO CHANGE!@
     The PSD wants to hire a full time maintenance man. Garrett Samples,
@ Show me how we can afford it.@ Summers, A We can=t!@
     From the McColgin Gap area of the county came a request from Jim Ferrebee for water service. He had spoken to engineer Jim Hildruth earlier. Hildruth and Wiemer both agreed that because of the high elevation, the water line extension would be very costly. Ferrebee asked about signing a low pressure waiver and his family installing the lines themselves. That didn
=t go over too well either since each of the three houses would have to lay their own lines and each add their own pumps. Consensus: It won=t happen in the near future.
From over in the corner came questions on the recent rate increases and how he had informed the Board months back that maintenance man Ric Burdette was not reading the meters. The Board started squirming. The guy from the back asked if the rates could be lowered since the PSD had found the problem, the meters not being read. From the PSC Jim Weimer provided info that the peanut gallery did not want to hear. Instead of rates going down, Clay Roane PSD had put in for another rate increase and that customers on the old Procious PSD system would feel the increase the most. Of course,... the PSD has never publicly said anything about raising rates. Others in the crowd questioned why different PSDs charge different amounts for water service. One fellow commented that they might all have to move to the town of Clay to get cheap water service. That might have been the truest words spoken during the entire meeting
Two hours after opening, the Clay Roane PSD meeting adjourned with a new chair, lot=s of unanswered questions, and a rough road ahead.  


Board of Education Meeting

     The Clay County Board of Education met for their regular meeting Monday, May 6, at the administrative office building in Clay. All members were present - Gene King, Fran King, David Pierson, R.B. Legg, and Scott Legg. R. B. Legg offered prayer, called the meeting to order, and Board approved the lengthy agenda - 38 items and 11 discussion topics.
     After approving previous meeting minutes and payment of current bills, Business Manager Loretta Gray presented the Board with the April financial report. Gray said they collected $227,000 in regular taxes and $66,000 excess levy taxes in April, and told the Board they were close to what the levy order said they
=d collect for the year. She pointed out travel expenditures were up due to all of the trips approved the previous month. Board had no questions on the report. A request for a CPA firm to do the yearly audit was approved, and Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger said he=d get a list of approved firms from the state auditor.
     Employment was approved for the following: Sherry Ramsey as Special Education MI/LD teacher at Clay County High School (CCHS) for 2002-2003 (Jenny Sirk
=s previous job); Jason Nichols as Special Education LD/BD teacher at CCHS for 2002-2003 (Rick Young=s previous job); David Wayne as part time Gear Up Coordinator at CCHS for 2002-2003, successful bid; Renee Hubbard as Allied Health/Nurse Educator at CCHS for 2002-2003 (Nancy Fackner=s previous job); Suzanne Renea Cummings as substitute teacher, effective immediately; Denise Taylor and Kim Workman, currently working as truancy division workers but soon losing the funding for their positions, as sub teachers, both pending RESA certification; Tasha Pennington as sub teacher, effective immediately; Gary Tanner and Arthur Smith as part-time Handyman/Truck Drivers, effective immediately, successful bids; Jim Mollohan, Mike Taylor, William Schoolcraft, and Ronald Tanner as extra curricular bus drivers August 5 - March 2003, successful bids; William Schoolcraft, Ronald Tanner, and Paul Edwards as bus drivers for Camp Mustang, successful bids; Jim Mollahan and Tony Salisbury as summer bus painters for 15 working days, successful bids; Clinton Nichols and Earl Tanner as summer bus drivers as needed, successful bids; June Holcomb as cook at CCHS July 1 - August 20, successful bid; Ann Triplett as cook at Clay Middle School (CMS) June 17 - July 19, successful bid; June Holcomb, Dorothy Childers, Nancy Priest, Francis White, Robin Belt, Mildred Bullard, and Anita Holcomb as summer sub cooks; Debra Cantrell as cook at CCHS June 17 - August 20, successful bid; Summer School Teachers at CMS - Dave Ellison, Steve Stanley, Vince Young, Nada Waddell, Beth Butler, Mike Smith, and Phil Dobbins; probationary employees for 2002-2003 : Teachers Susan Canterbury, Anissa Collins, and Mistie McKown; Bus Drivers Brenda Griffin, Wyona Ramsey, and Caroline Taylor; Cooks Betty Adkins, Anita Holcomb, Della Holcomb, and Jennifer Koch; Custodians William Johnson and Rachel Thorne; Maintenance - Robin Holcomb; Secretary - Mary Dawson; summer sub bus drivers: Mike Taylor, Clinton Nichols, Ronald Tanner, Paul Edwards, Earl Tanner, Richard Talbot, Jerry Cunningham, Arthur Smith, Delno Coen, Goldie Woods, Pat Legg, Michael Evans, Mary Kincaid, Randy Holcomb, David Belt, Brenda Griffin, Caroline Taylor, and Wyona Ramsey.
     Andy Haynes was hired as Computer Technician, effective August 21, 2002. Linkinogger explained the August hiring date due to the fact that Haynes was currently employed and that his wife was expecting a baby in the summer. Linkinogger said he
=d like to contract Haynes until the hire date so that Haynes could take care of his family. David Pierson asked if Haynes had been the best applicant for the position. Linkinogger said they had four applicants, all from Clay County, and in his opinion, Haynes was far superior due to his experience and training, and he noted that Haynes has A+ certification. Scott Legg said he=d had inquiries about the applications, and both he and Pierson asked to look at the applications. After looking over the applications neither offered any further discussion, Legg making the motion to hire with a second from Pierson.
     Item 27, approving the employment of workers for Camp Mustang, was tabled until next meeting at the request of Fran King. There was no discussion on the item.
     Transfers were approved for the following: Charlotte Fitzwater to Cook II at CMS (Norma Tinney
=s previous job), Kathy Legg to Cook II at CCHS (Fitzwater=s previous job), and Mary Kathryn King as Special Education Aide/Autism Mentor at CMS (student moving from elementary to middle school), all successful bids.
      The resignation/retirement of maintenance worker Junior Burdette was accepted, effective June 29. Linkinogger noted that Burdette had 30 years of service and has been one of their most dedicated workers.
     The following out of state/overnight trips were approved: Jessica Ramsey to attend the National FBLA Leadership Conference in Nashville, TN, June 28 - July 3, cost $453.78; Lizemore Elementary students pre-school through 5th grade to Pittsburgh Zoo June 7; Ivydale Elementary 5th grade class to Canaan Valley Resort May 18 & 19 (they raised the money themselves); and, for the State HOSA winners (Megan Backus was a 1st place) to the National Competition June 20 - 30 in Anaheim, CA, cost $1400.
     Board approved the transfer of four students from Kanawha County to Clay County schools, and three Clay students to Nicholas County.
        All motions passed unanimously.
     Under discussion topics, Linkinogger provided the Board with the State code regarding the posting of notice of board meetings. He said he believed they were doing correctly by law, but noted that the Ethics Committee recommends that media should receive it three days in advance. Linkinogger said that, to him, media meant the Free Press. Pierson agreed that they were following the law like they have been doing.
      Report and findings of the Special Education on site review, a letter from math coordinator Dave Ellison, and a letter from attorney Basil Legg were given to the Board, with little discussion.
     Concerning the projected increase cost next year of $300,000 due to teacher certification upgrades, Linkinogger said he
=d gone to see State Superintendent of Schools Dave Stewart. He said they worked it out to decrease the amount by about $100,000, and said that Stewart will help lobby the Legislature for money to cover the rest.
Clay received School Building Authority (SBA) grants for computers at CMS for the 6th graders, and for new furnaces and air conditioning at Clay Elementary. The SBA approved use of money left over from the roofing job to re-tile, and a roof that connects the gym.
     Board was given a Procurement Policy to look over. Linkinogger said one of the audit findings was that they didn
=t have a policy.
     Kenneth Tanner, Director of Federal Programs, gave a short presentation on the Stanford 9 test results. Looking at the basic skill scores, Clay
=s scores either increased (the 3rd grade had the highest increase with 6 points) or stayed about the same. Linkinogger noted that there were two schools on probation last year but no school was on probation this year.
     Last, parents Alice Pritt and Joe Mosley asked the Board that the tape recording of an incident on the bus concerning their child be viewed. R.B. Legg and Linkinogger said they had legal advice from their attorney that the viewing of the tape can
=t be open to the public, and they would have to get parental permission from the parents of any of the children seen on the tape. Mosley agreed to view the tape in Linkinogger=s office and left with the board members. Special Education Director Dixie Jarvis, Principal Danny Brown, and Assistant Superintendent Larry Gillespie were asked to go in to view the tape, and the driver of the bus and Dave Mullins were also allowed to view. Ms Pritt chose not to view it and remained. After about 25 minutes Mosley returned, and without comment left with Ms Pritt. He was followed a few minutes later by everyone but Linkinogger, Gillespie, and the Board, all of them returning about 15 minutes later. Without further discussion meeting adjourned at 7:54 PM.
Next meeting Monday, May 20, at CCHS. TK