May 3, 2001

Click on article title to read that article then use your back button to return here.

Primary Health Goes Secret—Primary Director Fired!!!
Follow Ups
Short Shorts
Magistrate Report
County Commission Metting
The Excess Levy Campaign Begins— Threat of School Closings
Capito and West Virginia Religious Outreach Leader attend National Faith—Based Leadership Summit
Property Transfers
New By-Laws & Budget @ CCEAA
last word
Recorder Writings

Primary Health Goes Secret—Primary Director Fired!!!
        A local tax payer funded health care provider chose to bar the public from attending monthly Board of Director meetings. Shortly thereafter, the agency Director was fired. Read on for the full story!
        Monday April 23, noon time. This paper made a call to Clay Primary Health Center at Two Run to find out when the next Board of Director’s meeting was to be held. The innocent enough question was left on Primary Health Director Gary Johnson’s voice mail. Seems simple enough doesn’t it readers? In the middle of the afternoon and from employee Cindy Potasnick via the tele came the response. According to Ms Potasnick, the Board of Directors meetings are closed to the public ( secret) and the agency’s Articles of Incorporation say just that. Hmmm Others in the past have attended the Board’s meetings. As a matter of fact, this newspaper covered one of the meetings back in the winter months. Could the meetings be closed to JUST the media?
        Upon hearing the Johnson inspired comments and Potasnick transported decree, a rep from the Communicator asked to see the Article of Incorporation and to be put on the April 30 Board meeting agenda to discuss Open Meeting Law. Potasnick said she would have to talk to her CEO, Johnson.
        Tuesday, April 24, early afternoon Primary Health Director Gary Johnson in a very rude, offensive, abrasive, unprofessional manner, told the lady answering the Communicator phone, Andy Waddell would be allowed a ten minute slot to discuss Open Meeting Laws and then, he would have to immediately leave the premises!
        Wednesday April 25 Again after wading through the tape recordings, a voice mail message was left on Mr Johnson’s voice mail system. The message was: thanks for the cordial invitation to come and speak on Open Meeting Law and how Primary Health may be breaking WV Open Meeting Laws by keeping the public out.
        Thursday April 26, 2:15pm CEO Johnson calls ace cub reporter Andy Waddell and informs Waddell that Primary’s Executive Committee had met Wed April 25 and they had decided NOT to allow Waddell to speak at the upcoming meeting. Johnson,” They directed me to inform you not to come to the meeting and you cannot discuss Open Meeting Laws.” Johnson volunteered that Max Moore was in Chair of the super secret Executive Committee and President of the Board of Directors. Waddell asked Mr Johnson ,” Wouldn’t it be better to discuss this issue at a meeting instead of dragging it through the court system?” Response from Johnson, “NO,...We don’t want to end up in your Communicator in a bad light.” Waddell,” Right now you are on the front page, do you want to be in the courts instead?” With silence on the other end of the line, Waddell asked the CEO if HE ( Johnson) would just give him one minute right now to explain the issue. Johnson said no to even the one minute request.
        APRIL 26, 27, 28 ,29 Word spread on the locked door policy of the non profit approved Primary Health Care and information was posted on the Internet web site, State Code 16-5G-1 was posted there that states that even small, rural hospitals that receive public funding had to be open to the public
APRIL 29 An employee of the Infernal Revenue Service (IRS) told the Communicator that there are no specific IRS regulations that refer to Board meeting having to be open to the public but that non profit groups must abide by state laws of their area. Non profit status is granted by the IRS.
April 30, am Deputy Attorney General in charge of WV Open Meeting Law, Dawn Warfield, was contacted about the closed door policy of the health center and on State Code 16-5G-1. Ms Warfield, after checking the wording of the statue, said that the reference to “hospital” in the code was too broad and that would NOT apply to the clinic, Primary Health. Warfield went on to say that another section of the code would have to be found to apply to this situation.
APRIL 30, 6:00 pm SHOW TIME! With all Primary Health Center Board of Directors present and with Max Moore at the helm, the meeting got under way behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny. It has been reported to this paper that a lengthy discussion got under way on the performance of CEO Gary Johnson. Johnson’s short tenure with the agency appears to have been pot marked with controversy. Something about 23 employees fired and resigning over the last 10 months, something about large pay raises for a select few of the staff, something about causing the Medical staff grief and loss of doctors, and more. Johnson showed print outs of the web site accounts of the time line of events and told Boardsters never to speak to Waddell. About then, Board member Joyce Gibson left the meeting. It appears that Gibson was a big time supporter of MR Johnson.
        Here it comes readers. The Board voted unanimously to fire CEO Gary Johnson effective that day. Word spread quick in the community
Since the firing, several Boardsters have publicly said that their meetings have always been open to the public and again will be. Only time will tell

         A three year battle involving illegal hiring practices by the Clay County Board of Education has been settled in Circuit Court. Teresa Ramsey brought the suit before Judge Jack Alsop April 25 .
        The suit stems from the 1998 hiring of a contract bus driver position of which Ms Ramsey was a bidder. Ramsey alleged that the bids were not sealed, that the bids had been tampered with and had even been whited out and that the job had already been promised before the opening had occurred. Not much doubt on that last matter. School Board member O. Gene King made that very clear during Fall 1998 board meetings when he yelled out that he had promised the bus driver job to Brian Holcomb two years prior and that he only gave jobs to his friends. The contract bus driver’s job became vacant when Mr King’s brother, Earl, retired from the system.
        The contract was awarded to Brian and Vicky Holcomb. Bus Czar Rus Harper soon left the position and returned to classroom duties.
        Before going the Circuit Court route, Ramsey went through the four step Citizen’s Appeal process. In each of the steps, the local Board of Education found that no illegal activity has transpired.
        That Citizen Appeal process is available to all citizens alledging illegal activities and the forms are available upon demand.
        The trial was to begin at 9:00am sharp. Didn’t happen. After waiting just a few minutes, most in the court room peanut gallery knew a behind the scenes settlement was going on. In the hallway were Board employees and officials Jeff Krauklis, Rus Harper, Jerry Linkinogger, Fran King. Noticeably absent was Gene King himself who had been served papers to appear one day earlier.
        9:10, 9:20, 9:30.... Through the open door behind the Judge’s bench could be seen lawyers back and forth, Link and gang back and forth, and then finally, Brian and Vicky (wife) Holcomb pass past the door and on to the meeting room.
        With Kevin Delk assuming the Bailiff job instead of Bailiff Gene King, attorney Greg Baily for the School System and Michael Farber representing Teresa Ramsey took their seats as Judge Alsop entered the court room. Alsop said he understood that a settlement had been reached between the parties. Mr. Bailey, with Linkinooger at his side, informed the Judge that the issue had been resolved and that: the contract will be rebid, the School System has agreed to observe all State mandated requirements, that the bids will be sealed, that the bids will be opened publicly and done so during a public meeting. It appeared that the School boys had been caught once again.
        Attorney Farber added a couple requirements to the settlement including the bidding has to be properly noticed to the public.
        In less than five minutes of court room time and after telling Ramsey ( previously) during the Citizen’s Appeal process that nothing illegal or questionable had happened during the bidding process, Ramsey had caught the “friends network” in their game and had won.
        As Mr Linkinoogger was leaving the court room and as he looked to the several bus drivers seated in the peanut gallery, he commented,” You guys missed the show!” In reply, long time bus driver Dave Mullins, “ Why didn’t you let us come into the main arena??”
        Look for the rebidding to be done in June of this year. Will the bidding be on the up and up? One thing is for sure, Link is batting 0 in the court room.
AW end

follow ups
         Last edition we speculated on how Senatorial redistricting may go this Spring in the Legislature. Clay County Bank President Jimmy Morris made it clear to Randy Schoonover that Jim Dawson will be the next Senator representing Clay County. Schoonover told Morris, also a State School Board member that he was marrying school teacher Vicky Walker and that Vicky Walker Schoonover would be a candidate for State Senate. Political lines already drawn and redistricting hasn’t even begun yet!!
          What will happen to the old 11th Senatorial district and our Senator Mark Burnette? The speculation is: Greenbrier County will be split in half and the 11th will contain part of Greenbrier, all of Fayette, Braxton, and most all of Nicholas. Senator Shirley Love is on the redistricting committee.

  • A poll of 1000 adults taken by the American Museum of Natural History, concluded that 92% of Americans wouldn’t approve of Cloning to reproduce a favorite person or pet.
  • Lot’s of solar storms this summer are likely to disrupt telecommunications.
  • 60 percent of teachers say they spend half an hour or less online at school each day, and only 6 percent spend an hour or more.
  • According to an ABC news poll, 76 percent of Americans report that they form their opinions about crime from what they see or read in the news.
  • George W Bush is the only president to father twins.
  • Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • Undercover congressional investigators, using fake ID’s were able to skirt mandatory background checks and purchase guns in all of the five states they tried, including West Virginia.
  • The Social Security Trust Fund will not run out of cash until 2038, a year later than earlier estimated.
  • West Virginia High Schools are among the worst in the nation in terms of preparing students for college.
  • Internal Revenue Service workers, in person and on the phone, gave incorrect information almost half the time to Treasury Dept. Investigators posing as taxpayers.
  • Americans are drinking 56 gallons of soda pop a year.
  • Of the 1,000 homicides committed yearly in the US workplaces it is estimated that 75% are robbery related.
  • In Central America more than 40 percent of the forest canopy has been destroyed in the last 30 years, as the population of that region has doubled.
  • Hasbro has teamed up with the makers of Jelly Belly Beans to create “Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans”. The beans from Harry Potter series of novels, include flavors such as: grass, sardines, horseradish, and black pepper, and packaged in a little drawstring bag.
  • Worldwide, 10 million men have taken Viagra.
  • Only two of West Virginia most populas small cities, Summersville, and Barboursville had more than three police officers per 1,000 residents in 1999.
  • CAMC Hospitals have changed their phone prefix to 388.
  • In West Virginia, 15% of those employed by correctional complexes are women. At Mount Olive, 31 percent are female.
  • Tattoos are the leading cause of Hepatitis-C, according to the March issue of the Journal of Medicine.
  • Eighteen percent of consumers, rated their last hospital stay, fair or poor according to a survey by Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health. LMM

    Dear Editor,
            As a taxpayer and one who pays the voluntary ambulance fee, I would like to question the new operating hours of the CCEAA at the Big Otter Station or in the Big Otter Area. It seems that the daytime and weekday =
    only hours have been established, not for the benefit of the community , but rather to meet the needs of the Laurel Nursing Home since these are the times that they most frequently use the ambulances to transport their residents to doctors appointments. My question to the CCEAA, how many of these routine transports to doctor's offices are covered by Medicare and Medicaid? If they are not covered, by what means and how many are actually ever paid ? Why are we subsidizing the transportation of these people who are paying a for profit, out- of- state company to provide their health care needs? Have any of the residents or the corporation ever paid an ambulance fee?
            On Sunday, April 29,2001, I needed an ambulance to transport my three year old grandchild to the hospital but no one was on duty in the Big Otter area and rather than wait for someone to come from Clay we opted
    to transport her ourselves.
    Marge Bragg

    ***The Dept of Highways announced the road repair projects for Clay County this summer, they are: renovate the Big Otter bridge; pave 4.42 miles near Spread Park; and , pave 5.17 miles near the end of the world curve
    ***Clay County’s Parks and Recreation Committee has asked for $65,000.00 from the Legislature’s Budget Digest money. The money would be used for a septic system at the Maysel Park. Early word has it that just $45,000 will be funded from the state. Just a couple years back , then Mayor Joyce Gibson tried unsuccessfully to get the Town’s sewer system extended thru the Maysel area. Gibson is a big supporter of the Park and her husband, Morgan, is on the Parks and Recreation committee.
    ***This paper gave big time coverage to a Public Service Commission (PSC) rate case #1802. The concern was that Town Council never voted on or discussed the 1802 case. Mayor Gibson said she never ordered the PSC paperwork nor knew anything about it while then Councilperson Jeff Krauklis commented that,” it looks suspicious. ”That case provided for the construction of the 4 million dollar water plant being built by the town. With the Town now out of the water producing business, the controversial 1802 case is off the table.
    ***Does anybody remember when County Commission voted to consolidate all Public Service Districts just a few years ago? That effort was put on hold.
    ***April 4, nice afternoon. State Police set up a road check on the Procious straight a way on Rt.. 4.. The cruisers were off to the side of the road with a car pulled over when Richard Samples traveled North on Rt. 4. Without seeing the cruisers, Samples slam bangs into the tail ends of the waiting cars. Injuries involved. Let’s see if this ones grows.
    ***Word on the street has it that Clay County High School was again the target of a breaking and entering last week. This time money was taken from the Vocational building
    ***AS for the earlier ( April 21) break in at CCHS, most of the trophies had their tops torn off except for the wrestling ones. Hmmm.
    ***Paralegal Lynn Drake had her car stolen two weeks ago while it was setting on the Dawson garage parking lot for repairs. The car was later found by loggers in the Lower Sycamore area of the county stripped and burned. Total loss.
    ***Usually ALC is for disciplining students at Clay High. Not so on April 24, second block. Anybody unwilling to clean ramps for Coach Ron Sirk spent their time in ALC. Lot’s parents are peed. Now that’s the way to get a Levy passed!!
    ***Although not mentioned during the Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority meeting April 30, during the secret session time, word came that long time employee Joretta Gray had quit her job. Gray had been considered by many as the next in line for the Director’s job after Jackie Peirson retires.

    Magistrate Report
    Criminal Cases
    04-25-01: Delk - Danny Hanshaw, ROB preliminary hearing set for firearms violations.
    04-16-01: Jennifer Salisbury - Vivian Mullins, peace warrant, summons sent; Cunningham Motors - Bobby G. Hall, WC ($250)
    04-17-01: Belt - Melissa Ann Peck, battery, ROB trial set.
    04-18-01: Bailey - Eric Dale Smith, possession of marijuana less than 15 gms, ROB; Delk - Chadwick Muck, domestic battery, ROB trial set
    04-20-01: Slack - James McCune, Dest. of property, summons sent; Delk - Jody Lee Miller, Spd.
    04-21-01: McKown - Doyle M. Brown, public intoxication and obstructing, arrested ROB.
    04-22-01: Delk - Michael E. Haines Jr., driving on susp/revoked-3rd offense, no POI, registration violations, ROB trial set.
    04-23-01: Belt - Leon Holcomb, driving on susp./revoked-2nd offense, ROB trial set; Delk - Scotty Lee Stone, reckless driving; Larry D. Legg - Melissa Cummings, failure to cause child to attend school, summons sent; Larry D. Legg - Loretta Stewart, failure to cause child to attend school, summons sent; Slack - James William Stone, domestic battery, ROB trial set.
    04-24-01: Cunningham Motors - Kenneth Davidson, WC x 2 ($32 & $29.31), warrant issued; Big Otter Food Mart - Vincent Samples, WC ($30), warrant issued.
    04-25-01: McKown - Shawn M. Shaffer, driving on susp./revoked, registration violations, ROB trial set.
    04-26-01: Slack - Raymond Hall, battery, ROB; Guthrie - Carroll Lee Fitzwater, DUI, improper stopping, ROB.
    04-28-01:McKown - Kenneth L. Norton, violation of protective order, arrested ROB.
    Civil Cases
    04-16-01: Samantha Johnson - Chad Muck, DV, 90 day final protection order entered; Jennifer Salisbury - Jeanetta Salisbury, DV, d/m with prejudice due to a circuit court order in effect with parties.
    04-18-01: Samantha Naylor - John Hively, DV, 180 day protective order entered.
    04-23-01: Daphne Stone - James William Stone, DV, petition filed motion to d/m protective order.
    04-24-01: City National Bank - David C. Parcell, $1370.93.
    04-25-01: Donna Elliot for SB Juvenile - JM Juvenile, DV, d/m by court without prejudice, parties agree to be civil to one another; Peggy Hanshaw - Danny Hanshaw, DV, hearing set.
    04-27-01: BB&T - James Loving, $5000; Karen Nichols - Jeffrey Morris, DV, trial set; City National Bank - Jarrel L. Truman, $4163.53; Clay County Sheriff’s Dept. - Frank S. Young Jr. and Sherri Young $140.65, Sandra S. Weaver $16.22, Dan Mullins $22.43, Jackie Johnston $195.51, Buttes Resources Co. $2967.92, Union Gas Associates Inc. $296.73, Shellie S. Cutlip $149.59, William Dunn $80.66, Randy Meyer $87.15, June M. Adkins $41.11, Michael V. Brown $30.21, Paul Hanshaw $109.84, Ruth Legg $71.22, Claude Lyons $210.82, Carl Neal $188.10, Johnnie Neff $35.93, Venice Nichols $121.56, Everett Rogers $48.16, Melissa Taylor $25.86, American Pet Association $839.89, Gilbert Lumber Co. $541.87, Indore Grocery $265.28, Maple Valley $47.61, Bill’s Upholstery $40.64, Billy R. Stewart $1212.30, Family Restaurant $200.06, Mitchell Paul Adkins and Wanda Adkins $24.68, Mylia Adkins $122.19, Delma Blankenship $69.75.
    04-30-01 Mitchell King - Julie Brown (Hudson), $789.28.
    Worthless Checks
    Bob’s Muffler Shop - Sarah Rogers, $112.36
    House’s Market - Teresa McCourt Cutlip, $10; Karissa Leigh Clodfelter, $20; Gregory L. Sizemore, $12.23, $40, $9.42, $50, $20.
    Helen E. Brown - Amy Brown, $150.
    Traffic Citations
    04-16-01: Harold W. Cummings, no POI; Michael J. Metheney, defective equipment.
    04-17-01: Eric Dale Smith, possession of marijuana.
    04-18-01: Jonathan D. Hopkins, speeding.
    04-19-01: Dewayne J. Cottrell, defective equipment; David R. Hamilton, no operators, no seatbelt; Aaron R. Meadows, no operators, no POI.
    04-21-01: Thomas Aaron Vance, failure to maintain control.
    04-22-01: John W. Holley, speeding.
    04-23-01: Charles K. Stone, speeding, no operators.
    04-24-01: Michael D. Kendall, speeding, no POI; William N. Pringle, defective equipment, registration violations; Thomas L. Stump, no operators, defective equipment.
    04-25-01: Shawn M. Shaffer, driving on susp./revoked, registration violations, no POI.
    04-26-01: David Lee Thomas, speeding.
    04-28-01: John Michael Mason, speeding, driving on susp./revoked; Arthur Ramsey, no POI, no seatbelt.

    ***The financial health of the county looks pretty bleak. Even with the recent receipt of the $110,000.00 for the Town, it’s not much better there either. One often over looked cost cutting savings for the county has been the home confinement sentenced pioneered for this county by the Sheriff. On the other hand, expenses are nearly out of control as he tries to deal with mental cases and the housing of them in confinement institutions. Recently during a one week period, the Sheriff’s Dept. Logged over 1000 miles just hauling these folks back and forth to confinement centers. The situation does not appear to be getting any better either. Expense wise, if any prisoner not just mental hygiene cases has blood on him or her, the jail system will not accept them and law enforcement have to seek medical attention for the culprits at tax payer expense!
    ***If you add up the numbers and do the ciphering, there are real questions as to whether the Courthouse will make it to the end of the fiscal year without layoffs. Since most of the tax dollars have already been accounted for, there is a real chance that some will loose their jobs this summer.
    ***Prior to the 90s, the tax payer funded Clay County Courthouse was not used by the general public for meetings and hearings. That changed at the beginning of the last decade as citizen groups called for public hearings and for the hearings to be held at the most central location, the Courthouse. Commissioner Jimmy Sams has commented that something had to be done about all recent break ins at the Courthouse. Sams decided that keeping the law abiding citizens out of the public facility would be best. Sams along with Commissioner Butcher have closed down the facility to public meetings to all groups except those that “know” somebody with a key. Many local groups like the Farm Bureau, Radio Station group, and the host of others that regularly use the rooms, do not have facilities of their own to meet in. Already locals are feeling the weight of the short sighted decision. Maybe Sams was actually accusing the users of the building as the punks that break in.
    ***Just back from “internment”, Randy Schoonover has hit the decks a running so to speak. During the April 17 unannounced Special School Board meeting, Schoony gave a presentation on holding an Archery Shoot during the Apple Festival this fall. Schoonover said he was representing Vicky Walker who owns a new company in the County called Central West Virginia Outfitters. The plans call for holding the world class tournament on the Schoonover/Bradley Field beside Clay High School. The School Board and superintendent Linkinooger appeared to be supportive of the idea. Board member Dave Pierson expressed reservations on the idea until the company had 1 million dollars worth of liability insurance and was covered by Workman’s Comp insurance. Board President RB Legg, “ I’d say proceed slowly with the plans.”

            The Clay County Commission met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 24. All Commissioners were present - Jimmy Sams, Tim Butcher, and Matthew Bragg. Bragg called the meeting to order at 10:10a.m. and Sams offered prayer.
            County Clerk Judy Moore provided the Commissioners with two quotes on a security system for the courthouse and said she was waiting on another. After a lengthy discussion on the quotes and what they provided, it was decided to wait for the third quote and take it up again at the next meeting. Jimmy Sams said the locks should be changed. A lot of discussion on that, who would have them, and it was decided (I think) that elected officials would have one and courthouse officeholders would have two. The new keys won’t be able to be duplicated. This discussion was followed with more discussion on night time meetings at the courthouse, and it was decided (I think) that there will be no nightly meetings unless an official with a key is present. The Commissioners approved something - the new keys, no night time meetings, or both of those things - it wasn’t very clear.
             Without discussion the Commission approved previous meeting minutes, bills/purchase orders, erroneous assessments/refunds, budget revisions, the Clerk’s financial statement. A resolution was passed to submit the HUD Small Cities Block Grant applications.
            Regarding the Liter Control Grant, Judy Moore said she’d asked for an extension on the grant. Moore received permission to run an ad in the paper seeking proposals for disposal of old appliances. Meeting adjourned at 11:05a.m. TK

    The Excess Levy Campaign Begins— Threat of School Closings
            The Clay County Board of Education held their regular meeting at Ivydale Elementary on Monday, April 23. All Board members were present - Gene King, R.B. Legg Jr., Fran King, Scott Legg, and David Pierson Jr. After calling the meeting to order at 6:05p.m. and approving the agenda, the Board was entertained with a song performed by the Ivydale kindergarten class. Ivydale Local School Improvement Council (LSIC) Chairman Barry Curry presented plaques to Rick Hanna, Cunningham Motors, Big Otter Food Mart (accepted by Karen Vaughan), Ted Underwood, and Linda Deems for their volunteer work at the school.
             Board approved: previous meeting minutes for meetings on March 19 and April 2; employment of Dale Mullins as substitute bus driver and Lisa Dolin as substitute teacher; the school calendar for 2001 - 2002 (option 3); an overnight trip to Charleston for the Clay Middle School (CMS) choir; out of state FBLA trip to Orlando, Florida for Joyce Legg (she’ll pay part of expenses); and, an out of state trip to Atlanta, Georgia for Crystal Bullard, cost $530. Also approved was an administrative request to hire an independent CPA firm to do the audit instead of using the state. Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger said the cost would be about the same, but it would be done in about one fourth the time, as the state takes from 6 weeks to 3 months. Action on an attendence policy was tabled until next meeting. All motions passed unanimously.
            Clay County High School (CCHS) teacher Warren Mullins distributed information packets to the Board and requested expenses be paid to send 34 CCHS and CMS TSA students to national competition. Mullins said Clay had two state officers this year, Nancy Legg and Alex Zimmelgard. Linkinogger told the Board the amount asked for was sizable, but the group had not asked for anything during the year and had raised their own funds. He recommended that the Board make it an action item for next meeting. Mullins said registration had to be in May 1, so Linkinogger said he would contact the Board individually for approval before that date.
            The Board then met with the Ivydale LSIC. Barry Curry spoke for the group saying their main question for the Board concerned closure of the school. He asked that they be brought up to date on plans. Linkinogger held up a copy of the 10 year plan, explaining that it took 18 months to form the plan and that each school had a representative on the committee which designed it. He said in the plan they will request funding for a regional school at Big Otter (combining Ivydale and Valley Fork Elementaries). Linkinogger said to do that they (School Building Authority) would have to make an exemption due to economy of scale - 400 students are required, but the combined two schools have only 250 students. He also pointed out that the excess levy had only one more year and the Clay school system was in the black for the first time in 13 years. Linkinogger said the only way the school will survive until the regional school is built depends on the levy. Linkinogger, “If we loose the levy, my recommendation to the Board would be to close Ivydale.” Assistant Superintendent Jeff Krauklis pointed out that they don’t own land to build a school and the levy could fund that. Linkinogger was asked if Ivydale would be the only one to close. Linkinogger, “ I’d recommend closing all four. We lost 50 students this year. Taxes are down...we lost $200,000...” He also said if the schools closed, students would be bussed to Clay Elementary. Some discussion with the crowd on the need to pass the levy, getting the SBA to fund the regional school (Linkinogger mentioned that former Clay School Board member J.D. Morris, now State School Board member, was also on the SBA Board), and that school systems could be taken over like what happened in Lincoln and Logan Counties.
            Superintendent Linkinogger then presented Ivydale with the Superintendent’s Cup, which Clay received for having the most improved test scores. The cup will remain at the school for the next month. Meeting adjourned to a sit down dinner at 6:54p.m. TK

    Capito and West Virginia Religious Outreach Leader attend National Faith—Based Leadership Summit
    WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and local faith and community leader Matthew Watts attended the House-Senate majority Faith-Based Summit tomorrow in Washington, D.C. Matthew Watts is the minister at Grace Bible Church in Charleston, West Virginia, and the Chairman of Hope Community Development Corporation, a faith-based organization working with local, at-risk youths.
            “This summit will provide new insight into hwo community and faith-based organizations can better serve the areas around them,” said Rep. Capito. “Faith-based leaders like Mr. Watts haven’t been successful by accident. He understands how to work with communities and to reach out to our youth. I am eager to hear Rev. Watts share his ideas and thoughts with myself and other national leaders.”
            The summit began Tuesday evening and continued all-day on Wednesday with many activities such as a U.S. Capitol tour and a luncheon featuring keytnote speeches by members of Congress, the Bush Administration, clergy and community leaders. Congresswoman Capito and Rev. Watts together attended small group sessions to discuss different faith-based initiatives, community renewal, schools and issues facing the modern family.
            The faith-based summit, organized by House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts Jr. (R– Okla) and Senate Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) brings together lawmakers and several hundred faith-based and community leaders to explore ways to effectively address the most difficult challenges of society, such as strengthening families, expanding economic opportunity, ensuring educational opportunities for all Americans and replicating successful faith-based and community initiatives.
            “Rev. Watts, myself and other leaders intend to use these talks to identify the most effective ways to make West Virginia’s children, families, school and communities safe, strong and full of potential for the next century, said Rep. Capito.”

    Property Transfer
    4-1 through 4-25 2001

    Andy Adkins—Jerry Hanshaw—1/2 acre, Henry Dist.
    Betty Adkins—Jerry Hanshaw—1.2 acre, Henry Dist.
    Kendral Blanton—Jimmy D. Morris—Right of way, Henry Dist.
    Lena Boley—Robin McKinney Int. 2 tracts, Union Dist.
    Butler Real Estate—Jackie L. Brown—Surf. 10 acres, Union Dist.
    Carol A. Carver—Michelle hamrick—Suf. Lot, Buffalo Dist.
    County Clerk—Lexington Land Co.—1 acre fee Big Sycamore, Pleasant Dist./ Surf. 6 Island, Henry Dist./ Surf. 4.5 Island, Henry Dist.
    County Clerk—Jackie L. Brown—Surf. 10 acres, Union Dist.
    County Clerk—Brett Stover surf. 1.60wts, Sandy, Henry Dist.
    County Clerk—James A. Facemire—Surf. 1wts, Ugly Run, Henry Dist./ Surf. Int. 25 acres, Pleasant Dist./ 1/2 Surf 25 Big Sycamore, Pleasents Dist.
    County Clerk—Glen Facemire, Jr.—Surf. 1acre. Big Sandy, Pleasants Dist.
    Dora Jane Crawford—Lorenza K. Summers—13 3/4 acres, Union Dist.
    Bernard Dorsey—James A. Facemire—1/7 Surf. 25 Big Sycamore, Pleasants Dist.
    Elk Development Co.—Lexington Land Co.—Surf. 6 Island, Henry Dist. / Surf. 4.5 Island, Henry Dist.
    Filcon Inc.—Sandra A. King—1.06 acres, Henry Dist.
    Sandra Frick—Thomas Coulter—Lot 6 & 7, Otter Dist.
    Delbert W. Gray—Delbert W. Gray, Jr.—Lot 3 & 4 , Henry Dist.
    Dennis R. Gray—Delbert W. Gray, Jr.—Lot 3 & 4, Henry Dist.
    Benlah Hamrick—Harry Hamrick—.95 acres, Henry Dist.
    Billy Harold—Billy Harold Trust Surf. 1/2 acre Union Dist./ 16,500 sq ft., Union Dist.
    Barry Ray Holcomb—Mabel Pyatt—Tract, Pleasants Dist.
    Della & Robin Holcomb—John Coleman—3.53 acres.
    Sharon Ann Holcomb—Mabel Pyatt—Tract, Pleasants, Dist.
    Randy Shon & Travis Heath Jackson—Clen Facemire, Jr. Surf. 1 acre, Big Sycamore, Pleasants Dist.
    Sandra A. King—Filcom—1.72 acres, Henry Dist. & Jimmy D. Morris—12.64 acres, Henry Dist.
    Wayne King—Jimmy D. Morris—Right of way, Henry Dist.
    Bill Lambey—Steven M. Parilac—35 acres, Union Dist.
    LC Assoc.—James A. Facemire—Surf. 1 wts Ugly Run, Henry Dist.
    Arnett D. Legg—Ray Nottingham—Surf. Tract, Pleasants Dist.
    Mae Legg—bill Williams—79.85 acres, Pleasants Dist.
    Dianna J. & James C. Markle—Lisa Holcomb—Surf. Tract, Henry Dist.
    John R. Mitchell—Ricky Rose—Surf. 1/2 interest, 9/10 acre, Union Dist.
    Nettie & Otis C. Mollohan—Hurbert Mollohan—35 acres, Otter Dist.
    Charles Allan Moore—Linda J. Moore—Surf. 7.67 acres, Otter Dist.
    Pamela Rose—James A. Facemire—Surface Int. 25 acres Pleasant Dist.
    Arbutuas Osborne—Jeremy Burrows—2.30 acres, Henry Dist..
    Ethel A. Osborne—Ray Nottingham—Surf. Tract, Pleasants Dist.
    Sibert W. Osborne—Jeremy Burrows—2.30 acres, Henry Dist.
    Cecil & Shirley Parsons—Brett Stover—Surf. 1.60 wts Sandy, Henry Dist.
    Mae Parsons—Bill Williams — 79.85 acres, Pleasants Dist.
    Hilda Paul—Daurel M. Kryzak—Surf. 2 lots, Union Dist.
    Berry Smith Pittman—Reed Bros. LTD Partnership—Surf. 1,475 acres, Union Dist.
    Carol Pitt—Carol Pitt—Lot #101 Town of Clay.
    Inez Ramsey—Danny Young Jr.—1 acre, Buffalo Dist.
    Gilbert Schoonover—Lexington Land Co 1 acre fee Big Sycamore, Pleasant Union.
    Vickie Wilmoth Smarr—Kenneth Price—3.10 acres, Pleasants Dist.
    Emogeue Stone—Gary Franklin Foster—2 tracts, Pleasants Dist.
    Paul Nelson Summers—John Knisely—Surf. 41.98 acres, Otter Dist.
    Marie Tucker—David Tucker—.087 acres, Otter Dist.
    Marie Tucker—Varis Lee Canfield, Jr.—.860 acres Otter Dist.
    John Woofter—Town Of Clay—.87 acres & right of way, Henry

    by Andy Waddell
            Can this county stand 8 more years of prosperity. Around the country people keep talking about how good things are, plenty of jobs, low interest rates, and the like. Sure not true in Clay County. In Clayberry, we neither support local businesses nor encourage growth of money making ventures. We just let good stuff die
            A case in point is the 4th of July celebration which has been held for the past four years. The festival began as an idea of the Clay County Business Development Authority (BDA) in conjunction with the CAEZ and the Town of Clay. The group was known as the Renaissance group. Dave Derby was elected Chairman of the group and the charge was to promote a festival for locals and for business growth.
             The celebration brought thousands into the County and into the Town of Clay. Money flowed and Americana was alive and well even in this humble area. Even fireworks filled up the sky. With changes in both the make up of the BDA and the CAEZ, the group has all but petered out. Last year, town employee Dwana Murphy was the spark plug and the chief organizer. This year, Murph has said it’s too much for so few to do.
            Another good idea appears poised to die. An opportunity for local businesses to bring in much needed dollars appears ready to die. An opportunity for local candle makers, wooden bird house makers, band and athletic booster groups, and quilt makers appears poised to gain no more. The death of a once a year opportunity and social event is just one more sad reminder of how life is without any leadership or foresight at the helm.

            Don’t hear much out of the Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) these days do ya? There’s a reason. They’re out of money and have been for some time. About the only hope for the survival of the group is for now submitted grant requests to come through. With Director Jerry Sizemore now on a half time schedule ( to cut costs), finding time consuming funding opportunities is doubly hard.
             Now that the CAEZ and almost all other groups have been moved out of the Courthouse , the CAEZ Board of Directors ( must be a security risk, ooohhh, they’re an ornery bunch)met in regular session May 1 , 6:00pm at the little teeny CAEZ office on the far end of town.
            Topics during the meeting included: the most recent financial sheet appeared to indicate a negative $196,000.00 balance in the Mt Hope Industrial Park account. Mr Sizemore said that was not the case that it was a month ending accounting glitch; Board approved new Clay Mt Housing revolving loan guidelines after discussing several issues of loans (3) in default and loan agreements that have been extended over four weeks; and, Braxton Hospital has stopped supporting the Braxton Wellnees Center in an attempt to get away from a money loosing venture.
            Mention was made of a State Juvenile Detention Center that appears to be slated for the Mt Hope area but not in the Mt Hope Industrial Park. Long time readers will remember when local leaders worked to get that center for Clay County. Another one bites the dust.
            Looks like Clay County will finally get a web site to promote business opportunities here. The fellow contacted to develop the site died of a heart attack April 29 and now it appears that the group will let CCHS students develop the site. It is doubtful that anyone on the Board even knows that the name for such a web site was purchased by the county four years ago and many pages of information have already been assembled and done up in html.
            The CAEZ has their hopes up that a $70,500 RBOG grant will soon be awarded to the group. Everyone’s fingers are crossed for the needed cash.
            And finally during discussion on project benchmarks and in a mid sentence question by a Clay County Board member, long time Boardster Red Derring called for adjournment and all left. Hmmm

    New By-Laws & Budget @ CCEAA
            With 8 or so in the peanut gallery the Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority (CCEAA) met in regular session April 30, 6:00pm at the Health Dept building. Boardsters present: Chair Larry Cole, Joyce White, Arlie Fulks, Gene King, and Duane Legg along with Director Jackie Pierson.
             Always fun to watch... Ms Pierson announced that the state code mandated budget for the new year was not finished and some of the information has not been filled in. Joyce White,” I thought we were all finished” Pierson,” No, I called you and told you .” Here’s the fun part, the CCEAA went ahead and approved their next year’s operating budget without knowing what it contained. Yelp same budget that the auditors raised H about over being out of whack and do many changes made during the operating year!! Got to love em folks.
            On another topic, new member Duane Legg announced that he had revised the by laws of the group. Legg had done some leg ( sorry about that) work at the courthouse and found NO signed and dated by laws for the group anywhere. Fulks concurred with the statement since he too could not find a paper trail of previous members. Legg said that the new document allowed for telephone meetings of the group away from the public eyes and there were new duties for the officers of the group. Did he say telephone meetings? Without discussion, without reading the bylaws, without running the bylaws by an attorney, and without even a cursory look at the binding document, the motion was made and passed with a unanimous vote.
    As for the money coming in, Marie Haynes reported she had billed last month: $41,700+ to Medicaid; $26,400+ to         Medicare; $14,900+ to private payers. When Haynes mentioned the total billing was around $83,000.00, questions came up over how much they will actually receive. Cole,” You’ll see about $35,000.00 of that.” The ambulance service provided a little over 130 runs in         April. The agency has $22,000.00 to their name and a $12,000.00 pay roll is coming up in just a few days.
            Ms Pierson commented that unemployment rates went up April 27 to add to the doom.
            And then the secret session. Ms White called for the closed door session over “personnel problems.” Chair Cole was asked,” What is the reason for the secret time.” Cole responded that he didn’t have a clue and to ask Ms White. When told “personal problems” is not a legal reason for going into an executive session, White could not come up with a legal reason for throwing the public out of the room but did so anyway. A protest was lodged by the reporter in attendance.
            During the 14 minute secrecy period, no yelling or screaming could be heard through the oak doors and no employees came or went. Out in the hallway came discussion on the cutting back of hours at the Big Otter Station to just 12 hours per day and no weekend work. Mention was also made that long time employee Joretta Gray had quit her job one week earlier.
            Making amendsabout the less than legal reason for secrecy, Chair Cole said, upon reconvening the meeting to the public,” That was a disciplinary matter and no decisions were made.”
            Now the central discussion of the night. The Ambulance Service is going broke. Why? A big part of it is: many runs that go unpaid for; the many doctor’s office visits that the Federal government won’t cover, and shoddy from filling out by the employees which reduce the chances of reimbursement. Haynes, “ We can’t do these transports to doctor’s offices. They just won’t pay.” Haynes hauled out stacks of unpaid transport forms that insurance companies refuse to honor. Upon reviewing some of the forms, CCEAA members appeared alarmed at the reimbursement figures. Haynes cited one example where the Govt. disallowed $435.00 on a $620.00 bill and commented,” Some are only paying 21% of the bill.” Ms Haynes also commented that the agency had won all three of their recent lawsuits to garner backs bills but in at least one case, the defendant may file for bankruptcy and the CCEAA will get nothing anyway!
             King, “There is no way we can keep running.....Marie, We can’t run an ambulance service on Medicare!!” Other forms were examined that revealed a similar pattern where insurance companies only pay a small portion of the enormous ambulance runs bills or disallow $ all together. Fulks reading from documents,” A $750.00 claim and [we’re] only paid $225.00. King,” A $704.00 claim and we got paid $45.00?”
             And then. And then. A little stinker. Mention was made of recent legislation that “may” have passed that will allow for a NEW $25.00 mandatory fee for emergency services for all residents of the state!! Oh Boy
             As has been reported many times in the past, Laurel Nursing Home is still the center of much controversy financially. Laurel , a for profit, private, out of state company, continues to ask and receive ambulance service for patients to be taken to routine doctor’s appointments knowing full well that the Fed folks will not pay for the run. CCEAA has for years continued to provide this free service to Laurel Nursing. Haynes,” They are using us as a taxi service...technically those aren’t emergency runs..”
             Lot’s of complaining about what they receive and little if any mention of the high overhead costs with the Ambulance Service itself!
               No mention to this point on the new scheduling that reduces the number of hours of operation at the new Big Otter Ambulance Station. Patty Mollahan brought it up and complained about how their volunteer group had worked their butts off raising funds to buy a new trailer to house the ambulance station in the Big Otter area and how her group had received assurances from the CCEAA that the station ( new trailer) would be a 24 hour per day facility! Mollahan,” When we put in the trailer, we were assured this wouldn’t happen. We worked to get this station and now no 24 hour shifts????”
    Just as a note readers. It was just two months ago that Chair Larry Cole was nearly run off from the CCEAA when he presented a proposal that would cut $140,000.00 in operating costs. At that time, Cole said that the only way to save any ambulance service for the county was to make drastic cuts. Without even reading the proposal, Cole was labeled a SOB by fellow boardsters and was all but told to take his out of county ideas back to where they came from. Gene King and Joyce White were two of the most vocal to oust Cole and were also two that never even read the Cole plan.
             Know what was in the plan? Now don’t tell anyone, but that SOB Cole wrote that the Big Otter Station had to be cut back to 12 hours per day, weekdays only as a starter. Now Pierson has done just that and the CCEAA kids are in lockstep behind her in support!!! Hmmmm... Hard to figure and, if you turn the page on the SOB report, you’ll see what the next step is just to keep the doors open!!
               Also, in retrospect, last year when the group upped their budget estimates a couple hundred thousand dollars, the question was asked, “Where is that money going to come from??” We now know the answer, it ain’t coming, period!
    Back to the meeting
              Discussion on telling folks that they may have to pay for runs ahead of time. Cole asked the Director to see that all calls are screened and to assess the ability to pay before,” spinning the wheels.” Hmmmm , thought the dispatching was coming from Nicholas county??
    Ms Mollahan asked about the large number of 911 calls that keep coming from the same persons. Haynes commented that she cannot bill when a “refusal” is signed Director Pierson commented that when a patient has paid the $25.00 fee and has no insurance, the $25.00 fee is all the Ambulance Service receives. King,” We can’t stay in business with $45.00 for a 5 hour run.... You can’t keep your doors open!!”
    Still no mention of reducing costs instead of complaining about the game they are in!!
             How serious is the financial crunch of the CCEAA? The group decided to again start meeting twice a month to better oversee the mess. Motion passed to meet the 2nd and last Monday of the month.
             According to book keeper records, 50 folks need to be sued right now and the total debt owed to the CCEAA is $250,000.00. King,” We ought to sue them!” Haynes,” We don’t have the $45.00 to sue them {court costs}.” King, “ They got to be sued and the sooner the better.” Haynes mentioned one client that had $19,000.00 bill and that one will never be collected because of how old it is. Mention was made that it had fallen through the cracks when Jeannie Nottingham was in charge of collections. Discussion on Prosecutor Davis drafting a nasty collection letter to encourage folks to pay up while the CCEAA refuses to tighten their own belt.
            As the meeting ended, lots of side bar discussion on how to collect from some of the poorest folks in the state and what a dirty trick it is to cut back at Big otter after those folks busted their rumps purchasing a new station.
    Next meeting May 14 6:00pm

             It’s been a long tough battle on both sides of the aisle, but it now appears the war is over and Clay County may finally be the recipient of a high dollar, high tech water plant to serve the area. Clay County and town of Clay residents have all been assured by the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) that is the best thing for the county and at the best rates as well. At one hearing on the matter a PSC commented that “ WE are not going to get a royal screwing.” Doubts linger on.
               Here’s the background. Over six years ago the Clay Town Council voted to build a water plant. The plant would be owned and operated by the municipality and sell water on a regional basis to recoup the $3.5 million investment. Since then there have been many holdups. One holdup was a local Public Service District, Procious, filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying a long overdue court ordered construction loan. The other holdup was Clay County PSD going into default on their bonds. For the last 10 months, Town leaders have been at odds over the sensibility of building such a large plant, raised concerns over how to pay the 2.5 million loan dollars back,, whether their is a need for any new plant period. There has even been a lawsuit to try an kill the monster.
             During some of the Town Hall meetings, tempers flared, at some of the public hearings, upwards of 90 local town’s people and business leaders attended and spoke out in an attempt to stop the plant. To confuse the matter even more, the Town went broke and had to be bailed out with loans and grants.
            Most interesting has been the last four weeks. During this time, the entire scope of the plant has changed countless times. From week to week the PSC would come up with one plan only to be changed just days later with still a “bestest yet” deal. All along, the PSC gang has contended that the government knows best and these drastically higher rates will be good for us. Many in the community have openly challenged the competence of both the PSC and Town leadership. On April 5, the PSC announced that all the previous plans had been thrown out the window and the Town would NOT be allowed to operate or manage the new plant when constructed. They would only own it and buy water from it as any customer would do. On April 16, to make sure that the Town would not get back into the water business, another proposal was floated. This proposal called for the Town to auction off the existing water plant and those profits would go directly to the town. Oh boy, sugar coating on a “log” as they say. And again, the town would not operate the new plant and would have little say in it’s operation if any and be out of the water business.
            All along the way, the PSC’s Jim Weimer has strongly urged the Town to immediately vote in favor of each new proposal brought down the pike and in many cases, do so without reading it or having it looked over by an attorney. In the most recent proposal, local yocals dug up a bunch of State Law that appeared to force Town leaders to let the residents vote on the plant. The slick willy PSC attorney’s couldn’t let that happen and wording was used employed to circumvent the law. Additionally, at least twice Town leaders were told they would have more than one appraisal on the value of the existing plant. That too was worded in the most recent PSC inspired scheme to allow only the funding agency’s appraisal to count.
    And now for the grand finale.
            Clay Town Council meet in regular session with a properly posted agenda on May Day at 4:00pm. The agenda called for the up or down vote for getting out of the money making water treating business, auctioning off the existing water plant, moving out of the existing Town Hall/ Water plant , and hemming the town distribution network in so that it can never grow again. After much passionate discussion the vote went FOR Dave Derby, Helen Morris, and Arthur Jarrett; Against: Sally Legg, Betty Murphy, and Wanda Chambers. The tie vote was broke in favor of the agreement by new Mayor Glenn Nichols. In a final attempt at bringing rational thinking to the group, Recorder Betty Murphy made public that she would not sign any paper work on the deal until her own lawyer said it was OK to do so. Big Murph felt the deal was illegal and usurped the WV Constitution to boot. After the Vote, Weimer ( the aluminum siding salesman as one fellow put it) commented,” This is in everyone’s best interest... There is progress being made......The consolidation is proceeding, I’m am grateful to have come to this point..”
            The agreement requires one more reading and vote to be complete. That vote will come in June during the regular meeting of Council.With the ink dry on the agreement, we are now nearly certain that the exisiting, paid for, functional, Clay Water plant will be torn down, the 19 year old Procious PSD water plant will likewise be thrown away, and water rates will be the highest in the state or nearly so.
            For the boys that worked hard to grease the tracks and get this passed, it’s victory time. For those that have been around a while and have seen how promises made & then forgotten and then construction costs sky rocket, it is truly a sad day in Clayberry. To quote the head of the WV Development office and Clay County resident Bobby Lewis, “ That’s progress.”

    last word
            Recently the town of Clay and the Ambulance Authority went after dead beat payers in the court system. When lawsuits are filed a $45 fee is involved. Part of that money goes to the Sheriff’s dept for serving the paperwork and he uses that income to purchase new vehicles. With both above mentioned groups, the names of the offenders were printed in this paper and in many cases, printed before Deputies had a chance to serve the papers. A lot of folks saw their names and came running to the Town and the Ambulance Service and paid the long overdue debts. Sounds like a happy ending. Wrong! Since the folks came in and paid the debts before the papers were served, there is no debt. The Sheriff and the court system can’t get the fees.
            It’s Spring Time and you know what that means. Test Score time. It’s along about this time that the Stanford Nine test scores come back to the county and are massaged by the School System to put the best face on them. Just a couple years back when more than one local school was on probation partly over the scores, Yelp, from our Superintendent, came glowing remarks. Whether the scores are good or not will never be truly known after they are refaced but one thing is for sure, after taking the same test for several years, even without the massage, they have to improve somewhat.
            Although the water plant appears to be a done deal, there are still some questions , like: who runs and maintains the existing water plant during construction?; the town doesn’t own the parking lot across from the current plant, will that parking still be available after the new plant is built and will the rent on it go up? And, when will Town hall have to move out of the existing water plant, when construction begins or after the auction, since they won’t own the land in either case?

    The following is the letter presented to Mayor Glenn Nichols and Town Council May 1 by Recorder Betty Murphy.
    To Concerned Citizens:
            I want to go on record as saying that I do not believe what we are attempting to do with the water system is lawful or in the best interest of the citizens of the Town of Clay. It seems to me that it would not be in the best interest of creditors who have the water and sewer services on the same bond to sell a profitable water works and keep the sewer system which continues to lose money since the water and sewer services are on the same bonds. Also, any possible misrepresentations in the proposed Ordinance and the lawful interpretation pertaining to State Code.
            I have consulted my personal legal counsel ( at my expense) for advice as to whether this is a lawful transaction. He said he would research it and give me an opinion. I asked him to expedite and give me an answer as soon as possible. I will not vote to approve the motion and if the motion passes, I will not sign any legal documents of any kind, what so ever, relating to this project until I receive a legal opinion telling me it is lawful to do.
    Betty Murphy, Recorder