July 28, 2002

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     Local residents are beginning to wonder if their holdings will be the next target of fire. Even sleepy, laid back Clayberry is beginning to notice a rash of fires this year.
     Last Thursday around 1:30 a.m. a fire was laid that destroyed several pieces of corrugated pipe behind the Clay Farm Store on Main Street. See photo. Just a few weeks earlier, a stack of Farm Store building material pallets had been ignited as well.
     Just a few days prior to that the dumpster beside the Rite Aid store on Main Street was torched. Assistant Prosecutor Barbara Schamberger left the Courthouse late that evening and reported flames leaping 10 feet in the air to emergency service providers.        Around two years ago, the back side of the Rite Aid store was set ablaze.
     This rash of arson activities comes on the heals of the June 13 fire that consumed two office buildings on Main Street just across from Rite Aid. Not so long ago, a Solid Waste Authority trailer was destroyed by fire while it sat behind the old Filcon building.
     On Tuesday June 25 we spoke with Town of Clay Chief of Police Miles Slack about the incidents. Slack said he was away on vacation when arsonists struck the Farm Store June 20th. He noted that a couple days before the pallets had been burnt, he saw something.      According to Slack, while driving on the Pisquah Bridge, he spotted a juvenile setting a fire behind the Farm store. The male youth was over the river bank working to start a fire as Slack drove past. Slack told the kid that he was trespassing and ran him off the property. The officer did not identify the offender.
     Slack would not comment on whether that youth was a suspect in other fires recently. Slack, “I have no idea they are related.” Slack went on to say that the most numerous complaints within the town’s boundaries are for loud music and cars speeding in the Two Run area.

Follow ups

      Last edition brought out that Lisa Slack was Pam Ramsey Taylor=s assistant for last year=s Knickerbocker photography shoot. Ms Taylor was an employee of Clay Development Corporation at the time and has since been fired by CDC Director Betty Stalnaker over allegations of co mingling of funds of the non profit social service provider in the county.
     Since that coverage, Ms Slack asked that additional information be provided our readers. According to Ms Slack, when she agreed to help Taylor, she was not an employee of the CDC. That she agreed to help out with the project in return for receiving free photos. That didn
=t happen. After doing several days of work, Slack was told she would only receive a small discount on the photographs she ordered. Slack was miffed to say the least.
     Slack went on to say that the only folks to receive free pictures was Pam Taylor and her family. During this year
=s Knickerbocker boondoggle , Slack was just as mad as every one else who had to cough up a $20.00 Asetting@ fee only to find out later , Taylor had padded the fee by $10.00.

??? DID YOU KNOW ???

  1. Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
  2. The Crime Victims Fund awarded $2.8 million to help crime victims in fiscal year 2001-2002.
  3. West Virginia ranks 21st in “toxic emissions”.
  4. In 2000, the Underwood administration wrote off as uncollectable $41 million in unpaid fines for coal mine environmental violations.
  5. Humans share 98.7 percent of the same genes as a Chimpanzee.
  6. An average of 80 Americans kill themselves each day, that’s one person every 18 minuets.
  7. One in seven Amish families has 10 or more children.
  8. Census figures show that 5 percent state wide and 7.7 percent of Kanawha County had incomes above $100,000 a year.
  9. In 1999, people age 70 or older accounted for 13 percent of all traffic fatalities.
  10. More than 200,000 teenagers are injured on the job in the United States each year and about 70 die.
  11. Children under age 11 are three times as likely to develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, compared with an adult who witnesses the same traumatic event.
  12. There are more than 17,000 “golf courses” in the nation.
  13. Charitable Bingo and raffle are still a big business in West Virginia, but their gross from games nationwide dropped slightly last year compared with previous years.
  14. 44 residents leave West Virginia each day.
  15. Thomas McBride is the new warden of the Mount Olive Correctional Complex.
  16. The state spent about $6.9 million on room, board and emergency shelter for foster children last year.
  17. New research suggests some of the most widely used pain killers like “Vioxx and Celebrex” may delay healing of a broken bone.
  18. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain a chemical that kills the bacteria responsible for most stomach cancers.
  19. Life is a paradise for those who love many things with passion.
Leo Buscaglia
20. For firecracker safety check:
www.fireworksafety.com LMM


      It’s June 18 and time for the annual Clay County Development Corporation (CDC) General Membership meeting. CDC by laws call for the meeting to be held in June. For years 20 or so of the general members showed up, rubber stamped any motion, ate a meal and went home. Not so now. There wasn’t even a toothpick to ‘chew on!
     Here’s the setting. CDC’s new Senior Center was packed. Additional chairs had to be brought in. Around 70 or so were in attendance and many of them were new faces. No, not pretty faces, new faces, faces like Morgan Gibson, Arthur Jarrett, Herschel Shamblin.... In the corner rocking chair sat Deputy Sheriff John McKown and he wasn’t there to sign up as a new general member. CDC Board President Sirk asked for a police presence after the rumors of a rumble. Note: Sirk had just got new store bought teeth and was trying to protect his investment.
     Something else was different. The norm is for Pam Ramsey Taylor to run the meeting. Didn’t happen. Taylor and a supporter of Ms Taylor sat in a side room. When Sirk entered the meeting room, up front at the Chairman’s table was Taylor’s purse reserving her spot as MC. Sirk moved it aside and took charge.
     Also, as a side note, Sirk and others had heard that recently fired from the CDC Pam Taylor has laid plans to topple Sirk from power during this meeting. Plans called for a mass gathering of Taylor supporters and then call for some other agency to replace Wide Glide Sirk. Didn’t happen. Sirk, who has little else to do than watch the flies....... well, has plenty of time for strategy, called up a bunch of folks that want CDC to start down a new path, and invited them to sign up as general members. The strategy worked. The new faces diluted the strength of the clan. Now you got to remember, newly signed up general members ( about 20 or so) can NOT vote for the first thirty days of membership... but we’ll get to that next.
     Sirk opened the meeting, and was grinning from ear to ear as CDC Director Betty Stalnaker sat to his side and CDC secretary Janet Fitzwater manned the corner position of the head table. After prayer by Board member Gary Whaling, Sirk thanked all for coming and informed them thirty days from today they had voting rights and could even call a special meeting of their own and make changes. Note: that’s one.
     Sirk read from the group by laws, the rights and duties of the CDC General Membership Committee and reiterated that they could call a special meeting of their own in 30 days. Note: that’s twice.
     During the reading of who is on the Board of Directors and what agencies they represent, Czar Sirk again mentioned the part about newbees could call a special meeting and he would even help them to do so. . Note: That makes three times in about 8 minutes!
     Now for some more background.... Sirk was afraid that somehow, the existing general members of the corporation would overthrow him from power just as he was doing some CDC house cleaning of his own. Sirk had planted the seed to the fresh faces, they could call a meeting in thirty days and change the make up of the governing Board of Directors. That happened just two years earlier when a special membership meeting was called and the powers then installed Sirk as the Captain of the H.M.S. ClayDevCo and ousted those that had been trying to clean up the ship H.M. S. ClayDevCo.
     Back to the meeting... Sirk explained that this meeting would be orderly and only certain things could be covered during this time period. After a bunch of jabs from Stalnaker, Sirk realized that he had neglected to have the roll call of members. Sirk, “I have been accused of many things but intelligence is not one of them!” After a quorum was determined, the meat of the meeting was brought up. It was explained to the assembled that a vote was to be taken to see if they ( General Membership) wanted to make any changes to the make up of the CDC Board of Directors. There was silence. Sirk’s shorts bunched up just a little bit. Still quiet, you could hear the whirl of the three ceiling fans at work. Deputy McKown rocked in the chair.
     And then the pep talk from Sirk which was along these lines, “There is something important here you need to know... We’re all volunteers, all advocates for the people of Clay County....that’s what it is all about, so its [people] are never neglected.. things won’t always run right... CDC is the basis for some livelihoods.. Without CDC some [people] would be living in a nursing home. this place is larger than one person or one group of persons.”
Motion made and passed to keep the Board the same. Sirk breathed easier. the coup had been foiled. With the vote done, Sirk was battered, beaten, and swollen, but still in charge.
     From new faces came questions on the number of board members that never show up at meetings and the number of vacancies. Sirk said that many Boardsters had quit and he was the only Boardster left in office with a title, President. No VP. No secretary. No treasurer. All others had pooped out.
     Minutes were read from last year’s July 17th membership meeting . Motion passed to accept the minutes as read. Somewhere in there, Sirk drove it home one more time, newbees can call a special membership meeting in 30 days. Those in tune with what the rotund one was doing ,started to grin.
     Minutes were read for the February 28 Special General Membership meeting. That’s the hurriedly called meeting last winter where the CDC tossed the public, and the media, from all board meetings. As the minutes were read it became apparent that someone had forgot to include what changes were made to the by laws. One lady asked what changes were made. Sirk began to explain. During his explanation on why the public was tossed out, Sirk, “I might have to eat crow on that one.” He went on to say, “Pardon my French, but I got into a little pi***** contest with Andy Waddell.”
     A new face, a Lay Battles spoke up and commented “It seems to me, this is public business.......... closing the meeting to the public indicates things are going on that you do not want me to hear..” Sirk responded, “I agree 100%.”
What? Didn’t Sirk lead the charge to close the meetings? Didn’t Sirk toss out three members of the media and then sent them letters never to set foot on CDC turf again? Didn’t Sirk call Trooper Foreman to remove a reporter from a board meeting?
Battles went on to say that she didn’t think anyone should have to petition to attend a meeting. Sirk, “That was a p***** contest and this is not in defense of Andy..” From the back, Morgan Gibson, “Can that be changed today?” Sirk, “No, the Board has to OK it and the members have to vote on it.”
     And now the new and improved Earnie ( Wide Glide, Osama bin, Czar, Mayor of Ivydale) Sirk, “It needs put back the way it was... to be run like the County Commission or the Board of Education ( Oh no and Sirk was doing so good up to now).... Just call , get on the agenda and tell the problems.” Sirk went on to comment on tossing the public out, “I stand guilty of that... I felt bad over it ever since.. I stand guilty... I got involved with Andy..... that he only quarreled with us.. I asked him to say something good about us.. Andy Waddell told me he would when he saw something good!”
     As was the case back during the February special membership meeting, CDC Boardster Gary Whaling acknowledged that the press needs to attend future Board meetings but since Waddell was a general member and writing for the Communicator, he was making a profit while on the CDC and “That’s not right! Don’t let the Corporation be used for profit!” Sirk, “How do you keep Andy out? We haven’t done so so far????” Whaling, “He needs to send in a letter of resignation.”
Chiming in on the “burn the hinny of the ace cub reporter”, a very terse Janet Fitzwater asked if Waddell had ever read the part in the by laws about “furthering the purpose of the CDC”. Waddell kept scribbling. Again, from full time CDC employee Fitzwater, “Are you going to answer me??” Waddell finally responded with, “Is this on the agenda?” Oh Man ! Fitzwater retorted, “We don’t have an agenda!!!!!!!!” Hmmmmm, maybe another problem has just been identified. Sirk stopped the dialogue before Fitzwater blew a gasket.
Boardster Jimmy Duffield, who asked to be referred to as James A. Duffield, said the CDC needs love and suggested that they have a pig roast picnic soon.
     The motion was made and passed to accept the minutes from the special meeting held in February 2002.
An hour after opening, an hour of holding the fort together by Sirk, an hour after Sirk appeared to change his attitude on keeping secret the doings of the CDC, and an hour with no fist fights or real yelling or screaming, the meeting adjourned.
Just in passing, the by-law changes that were read into the minutes of this meeting seemed to vary from what was voted on in either of the previous meetings.
     One last note on the Gary Whaling call to force a resignation of this reporter from the general membership ranks, the part about making a profit, the reaping of benefits .... Keep in mind , Mr. Whaling gets a free grass cutting service courtesy of CDC as do other Boardsters, many members of the CDC General Membership Committee are employees of the CDC, and as General Members they approve their own holiday pay, sick day pay, extended time off pay, what direction the CDC will follow, and even who will be their boss.        AW


( And that’s with the A/C on!)
     Clay Roane PSD has been under fire for months. There have been the Punkineers pushing hard for water service in that part of the county. There is the very controversial water tap for local banker J.D. Morris. Sure can’t forget the sudden resignation of PSD Chair T.G. Cruickshank. Even the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) has bad mouthed the group over not answering questions, not responding to correspondence in a professional manner. Late last fall Boardster Gary Whaling, after 8 weeks of hounding, publicly admitted that he tried to get his son hired at the PSD over more qualified candidates and apologized for his actions , something along the lines, “I was just trying to look out for my family..”
      During the June 13 Clay Roane Board meeting, all that controversy came to a head. With long time Boardsters Gary Whaling (Chair), Lefty Summers, Garrett Samples, and Roy Ellis present, new to the board Glenn Sutton was introduced to all. Around 10 watched the activities from the peanut gallery. Now to the meeting.
      A list of bills paid was sent around for inspection. Sutton, “We owe $25,000.00 in June?” Jennifer confirmed that amount and that all had been paid out.
     Item 4 on the agenda read: Jimmy Morris-tap needs moved-PSC. Does everybody remember that story from February of this year? OK, we won’t rehash it for the umptieth time. Whaling explained that there may be a way around Morris having to move his tap back to the main water distribution line like everybody else in the county has to do. Whaling’s interpretation of the PSC order centered around Morris just getting a right of way through the Blanton property and then all would be fine. Punkineer Melissa Postelwait wouldn’t hear of that and quoted from the same letter Whaling had been reading from and according to housewife Postelwait, Morris MUST move his tap back down to the main line like everybody else and he must pay for the expense himself. Whaling came back with since Morris’s tap is within the 10 foot of property line rule, IF he had a legal right of way through neighbor Blanton’s property.
     Questions came up on who would maintain the line through Mr. Blanton’s property, the PSD or Morris? Who’s responsible for the tap?
     And then the thorn under Whaling’s cap began to show. Whaling told all in attendance that he had been “accused” of knowing ahead of time about the back door dealings of the PSD and their involvement in getting Morris a water connection ahead of all others in the county. He went on to say that Sam Taylor laid the line, Robin Holcomb dug the line, and Sam Taylor OK’d the tap. From the back came “Can anybody do that???” Here it is readers, Clay Roane PSD Chairman Gary Whaling said, “Yes, but it would be better if we do it…”
Note: As for the part about being accused of knowing about the T.G. Cruickshank engineered plan to get Mr. Morris water ahead of all others in the county... several in the room remembered when Summers and Whaling both admitted to the knowledge.
During discussions to purchase a new water line detector, discussions on getting Internet service for the water plant, and when Paul Haggarman asked for a water line extension up Reed Fork, new man Glen Sutton provided a different perspective to the business as usual at the PSD. After hearing both sides, Sutton’s approach was along the lines of: If we need it, lets get it! Or, they deserve water, let’s get it started!
     As for the extension out Reed Fork, and with engineer Jim Hildruth in attendance, the conversation turned to the need for Health Department permits even if residents install the line themselves; it’s too late to add this extension to the Punkin Ridge project; and NO fire hydrants were included in the Punkin Ridge plan.
     With Boardsters Samples, Summers, and Ellis scattered around the air conditioned County Commission room, Chair Whaling up front, and newster Sutton sitting up in the center commissioner chair, things warmed up as Postelwait asked for an update on the issues she raised 30 days earlier. Postelwait had seen a kid riding around in the PSD truck, a son of a worker riding around in a truck, and questioned whether Jennifer Traub’s time sheets were accurate on the days she worked and the amount of time she took off from work. Almost immediately, Whaling warmed up as he explained the “kid in the truck” issue had been taken care of, on another issue of a non employee riding around in the company truck, Whaling said the Board had voted to hire the fellow. Jennifer Traub, who records the monthly meetings, corrected her boss, the Board had NEVER voted for the hire.
     Strong willed Postelwait asked if the guy was hired during an emergency situation, why were they just hanging around Bullard’s Exxon instead of responding to the crisis. Oh boy! Things got heated real quick. Words speeded up... Sentences got shorter... Field worker Dale Deems responded right now!! He was being accused of piking off , hiring his own son, and didn’t like it! Whaling got into the exchanges.
     Always trying to keep meetings short and without public discourse, Garrett Samples asked that the discussion be stopped since Postelwait asked to speak on the Punkin Ridge project only. Postelwait disagreed completely. She went on to say she wanted to asked about the recently signed agreement with the Town of Clay and how could that decision have been made without a Clay Roane PSD Board vote, without a Clay Roane PSD meeting, and without a Clay Roane PSD agenda, posting, notice. etc???? Again Samples, “NO IT’S NOT ON THE AGENDA.” Postelwait warmed to the occasion as well, “YOU SIGNED THAT WATER AGREEMENT AND HAD NO MEETING! LEFTY [Summers] CAME MUCH LATER!!, THE DECISION WAS MADE WITH NO MEETING!!” The agreement and decision came in May when the Town of Clay was forced into supplying water to the PSD by the WV Public Service Commission.
     Here comes the cute part. Whaling, setting up front, crossed his arms, puckered his lips and looked a lot like a little kid refusing to eat spinach. He refused to answer any more questions! Postelwait, “Are you not going to answer?????” Whaling, “I am not going to talk about it anymore!!!!!!!! I make a motion to adjourn the meeting!” Postelwait, “DO I NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TALK????”
     BOOM, Slam Shut, No more discussion! Whaling was trying to stop the meeting during some very prying public scrutiny. From out of the blue and in response to Postelwait’s question on having the right to speak at a public meeting, new man on the block, Glenn Sutton, “She is right.” Three words and the room went quiet. Reluctantly Whaling, “OK.”
Postelwait asked about two times in May when she felt operator Traub had fudged her time sheets. At an earlier meeting Ms Traub stated that she had worked the two days in question. During this meeting, Traub admitted to being gone 2 of the days, Traub “I guess I didn’t write it correctly…” Whaling was whispering to Sutton. Sutton, “I wasn’t here, I can’t say anything.”
     On the agreement signed by Summers, Whaling, and Samples with the Town of Clay, Postelwait, “Will the Town be fined $5000.00 because the signatures weren’t voted on?????” Whaling responded that the Board had agreed to the agreement months earlier. A short fat guy in the back asked, “Was that contract voted on by the Board in public?” No answer was given. Postelwait, “It is a violation, there was NO posted meeting!” Whaling, “We didn’t need an agenda!” Postelwait, “That contract is null and void!”
     Readers you got to come to these meetings. If for no other reason, the air conditioning is good!
From the back came questions about water service for the Left Fork of Sandy area. Hildruth said there weren’t signed right of ways nor users agreements. The elderly fellow reminded the Board that deposit money had been collected from the residents back in 1995!
     Discussion turned to supplying new water service to who ever paid up the money first for the service. Laugher was heard when someone commented that Morris got water service without first paying the fees or signing the agreements. Again the Board was reminded that the WV PSC had told them in writing that folks that had applied for waiver to the moratorium over the last several years were supposed to get priority in getting water service.
     And then Garrett Samples let slip that he had heard that a meeting was scheduled for June 19 with the lenders of loan money for the Town of Clay Regional Water plant. That he had heard there was a new plan, an alternative plan to have some other agency build the plant and get the Town out of the water business. After some questioning, Samples backed down from those statements It was along the lines of a ground hog sticking his head out of the ground and then quickly retreating back to the dark underground.
By 3 PM, an hour into the meeting, with Whaling’s blood pressure up, with Samples in retreat, a trend to leave J.D. Morris’s water tap right where it is, and Punkineers promising another PSC complaint against the PSD, the meeting finally did adjourn.             AW

By Don Greene

        Many times I have had so-called knowledgeable people advise me to not burn all my bridges behind me. For better or worse I've not listened to this advise very often. To me this advice is an excuse to not confront and deal with the failed practices a person faces almost daily in our State.
        It seems to me that burning a bridge that links you to users, losers and abusers is a step in the right direction, if your intent is to accomplish something positive and worthwhile. In that same vein, it is my opinion that if you have to maintain some degree of complicity in or approval of actions you know are unethical or even illegal to attain your goals, it is better to never get anything done. So long as you spend all your efforts on trying to make a silk purse out of this sort of sow's ear, you will never accomplish anything of worth.
        Another little tidbit of worthless alleged wisdom that comes out of the mouths of bootlickers far too often is the bit about compromising in order to attain your goals. I have yet to hear this advice without knowing that it meant that I would get nothing that I wanted and the other party would get everything that they wanted. Need I point out that this isn't compromising but more like knuckling under or prostitution. A true compromise is when both parties get a little of what they desire. When one gets it all and the other gets nothing, you might as well hang your red light out. Once you begin doing all the giving and no getting you have already lost out on your goals.
        These same bootlickers and scoundrels will tell you repeatedly to keep your fences mended. By this they again really mean for you to bow down to the alleged powers that be and go with the flow. It's not the easiest or most popular stance but I feel it degrading to put myself in that position. If I can't accomplish what I desire without doing that sort of posterior kissing then I just won't get it done.
        So there you have it. I don't worry about not burning bridges to greedy, dishonest people. I don't make any effort to compromise if I am not getting anything of worth from it. And I don't worry about keeping fences mended if those fences mean that I am acknowledging some acceptance of those mysterious powers that be. There is not a drop of bootlicking blood in my veins. I ignore this advice if it is in opposition to my own standards. If our forefathers hadn't done the same, we would still be British subjects today.
        So, stand up for your rights, refuse to accept less than you deserve and don't be afraid to take on city hall face to face and eye to eye. It's as American as apple pie to prefer to die on your feet than live on your knees.


     Lots of follow ups to do from recent Court rooms articles. For an update on Filcon and the Bentree Church of God cases now in the Circuit Court system, we spoke with Asst Prosecutor Barbara Schamberger Wed June 26.
     As for the Filcon mess, the Clay County Bank scheduled a foreclosure sale for June 5. A couple days before the sale the Clay County Business Development Authority legal advisor, Asst. Prosecutor Barbara Schamberger sought and got a temporary restraining order which prevented the sale to proceed. Around June 14 a hearing was held before Judge Rick Facemire. There, the judge heard the merits of that injunction but made no decision. Ms Schamberger,
A We hadn=t gone thru all the county=s witnesses at that time. Of course the defense is entitled to put on any evidence that they choose... We were asked by the court to draft a memoranda of law on a number of issues. We were instructed to workout the stipulations as to the documentation but we ran into a couple of snags. One Kevin=s [attorney Kevin Duffy represented the Bank] office had burned down that morning and he had things to do. And , two, I needed to subpoena them in order for the bank to release some documents. The Bank is under some regulations not to disclose some things. They can=t just voluntarily disclose even thou we agreed to stipulate all the documents. The Bank has not gotten their subpoena yet.@
The next court date for the case is July 2 in the BDA vs Clay County Bank.
     In another case and a couple of months back, the Bentree Church of God landed in the Court system as trustees appeared to be taking non profit church holdings and turning them over to a family member. The old guard of the church cried foul and sought assistance from the Prosecutor
=s office. Alsop instructed the parties to not mess with the church building property. Since then there was a second hearing before Judge Alsop, June 19th. Schamberger brings us up to date on the case, A First, in violation of the court order, they conveyed the church back to themselves as trustees. The court took notice of that. I would hesitate to comment on the court=s reaction to that. I am simply pointing out that they violated the court=s order and conveyed back to themselves, as trustees, as opposed to themselves, as private people.@
     Also during the last hearing, Scham,
A Their counsel raised an issue that even though they had had 50 to 60 days to raise a challenge because Mr Davis [Prosecutor Davis] had done the deed ... that I was conflicted out working in the same office with Mr Davis. Mr Lousch ( Larry Lousch represents the defendants in the case) raised that again and the court felt that the appearance of impropriety was just as important as any actual impropriety. I certainly support the Court=s analysis that the conflict is really real. The Court determined that it would be appropriate to have a special prosecutor to evaluate this matter and to determine how the State of WV wishes to approach this.@
      Ms Schamberger said that the judge contacts the Prosecuting Attorney
=s Institute and they send out the Special Prosecutor. Schamberger reiterated,@ I urge you to understand what I mean about the appearance of impropriety.... What we mean by that is we never want to give any appearance that any judicial proceeding in any way is tainted. Now that does not mean that there is any impropriety. It just means that because Mr Davis is the attorney to the deed and because I work as a Asst Prosecutor for him, any issues that would arise as a result of that deed would be theoretically comprised by our working relationship. The Court simply protects all the parties to the best of the Court=s ability.@
     So why is the Prosecutor
=s office involved with a Church issue. Schamberger explained, A There is a particular case holding, United Fuel Gas Co vs Hill, 1932, so it is long standing law....the State alone may enforce the restrictions of Chapter 35 [of the state code]. The State may enforce Chapter 35 in part because it is very hard for individuals to effectively enforce this area. Because churches are tax exempt, the State has an interest in assuring that the transfer and use of Church property is appropriate. It is a fine line to walk because the case law clearly says that we are not interested in doctrine..... there are limitations on the amount of property that a church may hold and there are limitations on how a church may be disposed of. It takes a very particular method. You can=t simply close the doors as was done in this case and convey the property away. The property has to go to the Circuit Court and the Judge makes the decisions as to the property. There are other methods of challenging what is appropriate. This was certainly not in compliance of the code which is why the State of WV was interested. The decision of whether to proceed criminally or civil will be up to the Special Prosecutor. Covering her tail,@ I am in no way suggesting that the respondents in this matter are under indictment. I have been very inspired by their faith and their determination to preserve their Church. Jim Hartwell has been a constant beacon of good ness when we=ve wanted to be either dismayed or angry....@
Barbara Schamberger would not speculate on when the case would again come before Judge Alsop.


     No No No, we
=re not going to talk about the three blind mice or even the School Board. There is no hope there! We=re talking about the Kanawha Valley Center on Main Street Clay. KVC is a non profit mental health organization. They are the only agency in the county that provides all programs on an in home basis. Services include supportive counseling which deals with day to day issues like Intensive therapy which is along the lines of the cause of their mental health issues.
     According to Administrative Asst Angie Dobbins,
A with intensive therapy we are working to find the cause and correct it. A Other services include behavior management which is teaching the parents how to correct the problems of the children. In the case management end of KVC, the agency advocates and links the client to any number of places like the court system, DHHR, or the school system.
     Changes are coming to KVC. According to Ms Dobbins,
@ Currently we only accept the medical card or other DHHR funding. DHHR gets a pot of money every year to use to meet the needs of their clients whether that may be putting in a well, helping the kids get clothes or paying off bills, whatever. In that money, so much of it can be used for mental health issues. We work with that money. Soon we are going to be accepting CHIPS. That=s the insurance where the parents can=t quite afford insurance yet. We are going to be taking that by probably this winter.@
     New staff has been added to the local service provider. Two new family service specialist have been added to the two already on duty at KVC. Dobbins,
A They are in the trenches doing what needs to be done to help the family.@ All clients of the agency must have a mental health diagnosis ( and just living in Clayberry don=t count readers!!). Additionally, Barbara Holcomb , the Office site Supervisor, received her credentials, gold card, as being a supervised licensed psychologist. Holcomb does therapy sessions at the center. Ms Dobbins, A Now that we have additional staff here, we are accepting new referrals. In the past some agencies have not been giving us referrals because we have had a problem getting workers with a social work license that meet all the criteria to work here.@ With many of the former Shawnee Hills clients did not go with the new owner and some of those folks are coming to KVC for services.

For more information and for referrals,
Call 304 587-4204



     There have been very few stories written about Clay County Development Corp (CDC) over the years that end happily. For the most part, the articles that have appeared in this newspaper and Charleston papers as well have been written to unmask questionable activities of the group, or court battles of the group or back in 1999, the fist fight during a Board meeting.
On June 26, CDC Board President Earnie Sirk decided to speak openly on recent activities of the agency. The following is that interview conducted in an off the cuff manner.
     How do you respond when you hear about something illegal, questionable going on at Clay Development? Sirk, “Up to now and before the last two of three months, I questioned Betty [CDC Director Stalnaker] a little bit about it, but I mostly took it with a grain of salt. I had heard that [stuff] so much.”
     So up until recently you thought that CDC was an absolutely clean organization? Sirk, “A Oh yell. My Executive Director said we was clean. Now when I hear we have something wrong , I wonder how much has really been hid from me. Have I been a part of the corporation or have... I don’t know how to say it. I don’t know that I have ended up being a part of something I wasn’t aware of. In other words, what should have been investigated and who should have been fired and the real questions and the real answers were never there. I now find myself in the very sad position of finding out that I have been in the position of protecting Clay Development. I feel sure now that what little evidence that has been shown, that it goes deeper than I can imagine. I just don’t know how far it goes! Am I involved? Is it my big fat a*** that’ll go with that big boy down to the cell block floor.”
Now that you think that there is a problem at CDC, how do you go about correcting it? Sirk, “Each illegal situation and one at a time. Whoever is involved has to leave the corporation.”
     How are you going to go about restoring confidence in the corporation? Sirk, “ I am going to put the corporation and all of its actions.... well the first thing , I am going to find out what confidential means. Otherwise I am going to put the corporation back out in the hands of the public. I want the seniors in Clay County to control their own senior center with their own Board answerable to the rules and regulations of the corporation. Let them plan their own trips, let them have their own money, and let them have an account. They can go to finance committee for the OK of their trips or whatever. The staff needs to be investigated to see if there is any corruption. The public needs to be brought in and all meetings need to be open to the public. All questions that have never been asked needs to be asked and answered. It’s the time now. I can’t believe that all of Clay County is in conspiracy again Clay Development. There is something wrong when you have got an $80,000.00 tax paid-for Senior Center and you’ve only got 7 or 8 Seniors. There is something wrong when you’ve got a transportation system that operates five days a week to all four corners of the county and only 5 or 6 people are using it other than the Shawnee Hills work shop folks. There is something wrong.”
     Can CDC be salvaged? Sirk, “Yes , but it will have to correct its mistakes and be honest with the public by opening up its books. Let the public take over. That place don’t belong to no staff member. That place don’t belong to no Executive Director. It don’t belong to no Board members, it belongs to the public. When it gets to the point that it defeats its purpose, then we have all failed as advocates for our people...…”
     Sirk continued, “ I am really serious about this. I really absolutely don’t sleep well at night for the thoughts of how much has really gone on. What is the depth of this?? All these things that I couldn’t imagine, the high paid, high salaried employees of a non profit corporation have been a part of sorting out what they want and then letting the public have the leftovers. There shouldn’t be a thing brought into that center that the Staff is allowed to touch. Everything ought to be given to the public and accountability is very important. Everything has to be documented in and absolutely documented back out to the public.”
     In a 180 degree turnabout from just a few months ago ( and a subpoena too), Sirk advanced this, “ If John Doe citizen wants to know, then he’s got the right to know.” Can you hear the band playing in the background readers?? I can!
     Turning his thoughts inward, the Czar, “I am disappointed in myself. I really am. You hear all this. Then you know all this, and then you find out, you don’t know all this. People are good about hiding things especially when it is dumb people like me trying to do the learning about how things really operate, I don’t think the Board has been enlightened in 99% of the things that go on in that corporation. That Board has to make Betty accountable. Betty has to operate by the rules or else she needs to go find herself a good day job somewhere else. If she is not going to be in control of that staff and make everybody accountable, then we have defeated the purpose of John F Kennedy when he created this program years ago.”
     As for Wide Glide being accountable for his words, Sirk, “Just write whatever you want. I don’t give a sh**. As far as confidentially, I’ll explain that to them down there sooner or later.... Whoever is wrong down there needs fired and not only fired, they need to go to jail. If that is a problem that I have to deal with, I will deal with it. If you ever hear the pig squeal, come look out the door and listen cause I am squealing. Sometimes you know things that you don’t even know how important they are.”
There you have it folks, as best as we can scribe. Can you believe him or is he just trying to keep his big white hinny out of prison? Time will tell and this newspaper will continue digging for info as we have for nearly 7 years on the most troubled agency in Clay County.             AW


Hi, how is everyone? God bless you as you draw near to Him! I have chosen a very inspiring article for you today, AThe greatest comeback@ by Joe McKeever Baptist Press.
Last November, Sports Illustrated magazine was covering the baseball World Series in which the Arizona Diamondbacks recovered from a slump to defeat the New York Yankees in the last inning of the final game. It started the editors thinking about the greatest comebacks in history. So they produced their list of the
AThe Top Ten Comebacks of All Time.@ The Sports Illustrated list was an eclectic one. Elvis Presley was on it as a result of his TV special in 1968 that revived his sagging career. Muhammad Ali made the list when he returned from
his forced seven-year exile from boxing, to reclaim the world championship. Even humanity was on the list
Aafter recovering from the Black Plague of the 14th
century when 25 million Europeans died
And number one, as named by the editors of Sports Illustrated magazine in the November 12, 2001, issue for the greatest comeback of all time: Jesus Christ. AD 33. Stuns Romans and defies critics by His resurrection from the grave. I sat there aghast, not believing my eyes. This was a men
=s sports publication. Secular stuff. And there they are, acclaiming Jesus Avictory over death@ as the most impressive comeback of the ages. If they had asked me, I would have added two little words to the whole thing. I would have said these are the top 10 comebacks of all time so far, Abecause there is yet another comeback in the offing, one that will dwarf everything else on this or anyone else=s list.
On trial before the high priest for His life, Jesus was asked,
ATell us whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.@ He answered, AYou=ve said it yourself. However, I will tell you this. Hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, coming on the clouds of Heaven@.
Jesus Christ is coming back. If you think the first time was spectacular, get ready to be shocked. This time, He brings with him all the angels in heaven, radiant in their splendor. This time, Jesus will not slip quietly into some out-of-the-way town, but we are assured every eye will behold Him. We are told that every knee will bow before Him. That every tongue of every human will
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. It staggers the imagination. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. And He
=s coming back to earth. Believers, get the word out. People need to know. Rejoice in what=s coming. The best news remains ahead. (comment) That=s for sure! The best is yet to come! Jesus will return to gather His elect unto Him from the four winds, from every corner of the Earth, and even from the grave. We=ll all rise to meet Him in the air and be whisked off to the marvelous Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven! Then we=ll make a comeback of our own, returning with Jesus on those white horses at the Battle of Armageddon to help Him enact His wrath on the wicked. Just when the Beast thinks he has things under control with no more Christians around to trouble him, wham, we come back with Jesus to take over! Invaders from space, armies from Heaven!
Good conquers evil, and there
=s a lake of fire burning with brimstone for the Beast and his False Prophet, and Millennial re-creation and renewal for the Earth and its people under the direct rule of Jesus Himself! Swords will be beaten into plowshares and there=ll A be war no more!@
    PO Box 2207
    Tulare, CA 93275
    Cell Phone: 559 308 6388


     Clay County PSD Chair Keith King has a tradition of keeping things away from the public. A tradition of not telling customers what is really going on. A tradition of only reacting, usually in a caustic way, to public comments when they find out the truth. That tradition continues today as the water provider lays plans after an early morning fire gutted the PSD’s office on Main Street June 13, 2002. His cohorts in confidentiality are Homer Triplett and Earl Long.
     Clay County PSD met for the monthly Board of Directors meeting June 25 in the basement of the old Courthouse. County Commission Oked the use of the space by the PSD after the fire. The room was the former home of the Clay Ambulance Service. Even after several days of disinfecting and cleaning, the office space air was heavy laden with a thick odor ... kind of like a veterinarian’s office or the kennel area if it had not been cleaned for say a week. Bad readers, real bad. Office furniture has been borrowed from around the county. A new computer was in place and a techie was busy installing software.
     As the 10 am meeting opened with Earl Long’s prayer, mention was made that their insurance provider had not as of that day, sent them any checks.         Local business man Frank Murphy asked if he could have 2 minutes of PSD time. After a long pause, King reluctantly gave the OK for Murphy to speak. Murphy offered to rent the agency office space on Main Street ( two story house beside the telephone company office building) for $300.00 per month. While most eyes perked up at the opportunity to have decent office digs devoid of the healthy stinch, King made no optimistic comments on the subject.
As for the minutes of the previous meeting, the fire got em. As for the usual treasurer’s report, burnt. Board did go ahead and OK the paying of the bills.
     Most important for this meeting was the Oking by the Board of the 2002- 2003 budget, something mandated by state code. Although the already typed budget was also lost in the fire, office manager Cindy Schoolcraft reported that a copy of the document had been mailed to another agency prior to the fire date and she had obtained a copy from the other agency. It was that copy that the PSD was studying and making very quiet remarks about. Only after 10 minutes of scrutiny did the assembled realize that the document was NOT the new budget which needed passage but rather was a copy of last year’s budget, the one they had been using for 11 1/2 months. Schoolcraft looked flustered. No budget was passed during this meeting of the Board.
     Sam Taylor gave the field report which included: in May there had been four new hook ups within the system and they had issued a Boil Water Order in early May. When asked for the reason for the BWO, Taylor responded that their water supplier, the Town of Clay, had let the chlorine tank run dry.
     As the group was ready to adjourn without mentioning any plans for the future, questions came from the lone spectator.
     What are you going to do with the old building site? Keith King, “We don’t know what we’re going to do. There’s too much up in the air. There’s too many things that can influence it…” Of course word on the street has it that the plans are being made to buy a metal trailer and plant it on the Main Street property.        
King did not comment on the unsafe conditions of the charred remains still standing on Main Street. Some have already commented on a heavy metal girder barely hanging on to the remaining cinder block and possibility of a child getting clobbered by the beam during even a weak wind storm.
As for when something may get done. King, “We won’t know for probably a couple of months.... At least.” King appeared to be content with the current underground situation. Office Manager Schoolcraft let the public know that the PSD is NOT covered by the county’s insurance policy, but rather a private company, Commercial Insurance Co. King replied to further questioning about the service provided by the insurer, “They have already been here.”
     Question: Do you have coverage to replace everything? Again , the tight lipped PSD Chair Keith King, “We hope.”
     Now about like pulling teeth, when will you get your first checks? King, “They haven’t said.”
As for the current office equipment, “Most of it is on loan.”
As for the loss of records, maps, right of way agreements, easements, users agreements? Schoolcraft, “I probably won’t know until after today.” She was referring to the computer techie up front working to see what was on her back up disc. Schoolcraft continued, “For the customers, I have a lot of background.” Mr. King said much of the easements, etc., is recorded over in the Assessor’s office.
King also said the PSD had not talked about rebuilding, “We can’t tell you anything about what is going to happen.....We’re going to look at the situation and see what we got.”
     So will the taxpayer operated PSD accept public input into building plans? Does it make sense for the PSD to build a new building or buy an ugly trailer when a Regional PSD is supposed to be formed very soon? For those answers and to find out what makes Mr. King Famous, a final quote from Mr. Happy, “ ... this does not need to be out in the public until we make up OUR mind what WE want to do.”
Ah, Clayberry, gotta love it. AW



06-07-02: Belt - Robert Owen Johnson, malicious assault, arrested, ROB 06/04, hearing set.
06-11-02: Slack - Peggy Conley, retaliation, arrested, ROB 05/22, hearing continued; Delk - John A. Hively, child neglect, arrested, ROB, trial set.
06-17-02: Belt - James Dale Jackson, DUI 3rd offense, arrested, hearing set.
06-25-02: Foreman - Nathan Toler, grand larceny, warrant issued.
06-10-02: McKown - Ivan Scott Johnston, battery x 2, appeared 06/11, ROB, trial set; McKown - Nathan Lee Johnston, battery, appeared 06/11, ROB, trial set; Foreman - Shari D. Bullard, driving on suspended/revoked - 2nd offense 06/03, appeared, ROB; Cunningham Motors - Chester E. Boggs, warrant issued for WC; David M. Asbury, warrants for WC x 2; Jamie D. Jarvis, warrants for WC x 2; Vaughan V. Deems, warrants for WC x 2.
06-11-02: Belt - William Anthony Graham, possession less than 15 gms marijuana and registration violations, appeared, ROB; Belt - Mandy Jean Sams, speeding, appeared; Bailey - Tommy E. Young, speeding, appeared, ROB.
06-12-02: McKown - Joe Weiland, brandishing, arrested, ROB.
06-13-02: Larry
=s Grocery - Chadwick W. Muck, WC x 2, arrested, trial set; Slack - Chadwick William Muck, driving suspended/revoked, arrested, ROB, trial set; Bailey - Chadwick W. Muck, driving suspended/revoked - 2nd offense, arrested, ROB.
06-14-02: Light - Melissa Drake, hit and run, appeared, ROB; Ellyson - Timothy Harold Harris, possession less than 15 gms, appeared; Guthrie - Rickey Darnell Dowden, DWR for DUIA, arrested, ROB.
06-15-02: Foreman - Hoy K. Osborne, reckless driving, arrested, ROB, pled no contest to reckless driving, paid fine and costs; Guthrie - Silvio V. Cucit, domestic battery, arrested, ROB.
06-17-02: Belt - James Dale Jackson, no insurance and registration violations, arrested.
06-18-02: McKown - Samantha Johnson, reporting false incident, appeared, ROB; Slack - Connie Sue Rogers, failure to maintain control 05/24, attorney requested hearing.
06-19-02: IGA - Christopher Canter, warrants issued for WC x 3; Ameya Proctor, warrant for WC; Hartland Superette - Ricky A. Moore, warrant issued for WC; Big Otter Food Mart - Krista Jones, warrant for WC; Marsha Eagle, warrant for WC; Katherine Grose, warrant for WC; Samples Market - James E. Dozer, warrant for WC.
06-21-02: Delk - Christopher Ryan Nottingham, possession of marijuana less 15 gms, appeared, ROB.
06-25-02: Slack - Thomas Holcomb, domestic battery, warrant issued..
All for money due -
06-11-02: Norma Chapman - Lynn O
06-14-02: Johnie Dodrill - Greg Maynard; Phillip Duffield - Greg Maynard; Jeff Arnold - Greg Maynard.
06-17-02: James Asbury - Greg Maynard.
06-25-02: Micki Boggs - Allen King, DBA Variety Wood Win.
Worthless Checks
Notices issued -
06-11-02: Larry
=s Grocery - Marsha K. Eagle x 2 (paid 06/21).
06-12-02: Clay
=s Supermarket - Larry N. Truman.
06-18-02: Connie Brown - Alicia D. Coulter (paid 06/25).
06-21-02: NAPA - William Nichols.
Traffic Citations
05-30-02: State Police - Tommy E. Young, speeding.
05-31-02: State Police - Teresa Dawn Copen, operator
=s, no POI, registration violations, and defective equipment; Timothy W. Casto Jr., speeding.
06-01-02: State Police - Tina M. Burch, failure to keep right; James P. McCune, reckless driving, no POI, and defective equipment; Lori R. Smith, speeding; Robert Earl Stutler, driving on suspended/revoked and registration violations; Robert Keith Suits, speeding.
06-03-02: State Police - Shari D. Bullard, driving on suspended/revoked - 2nd offense; Joseph Craddock, operator
=s; Mellisa Ann Drake, hit and run.
06-04-02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Michael L. Griffin, driving on suspended/revoked and no POI.
06-05-02: State Police - Amy Ray Brown, MVI, registration violations, and no POI; Johnny E. Brown, driving on suspended/revoked - 2nd offense and MVI; Christopher Canter, MVI, seat belt violation, and operator
06-07-02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Jerri S. Drake, registration violations and MVI.
06-08-02: State Police - Patrick Blankenship, no POI; Ronald R. Dobbins, no POI; Harvey F. Hersman, speeding; Ricky A. McClanahan, driving on suspended/revoked; Gary Ramsey, failure to yield right R/O/W and defective equipment x 2; Sheriff
=s Dept. - Steven Douglas Hill, failure to dim lights.
06-09-02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Gerald Dean Holcomb, registration violations; Christopher Litzinger, speeding; Mandy Jean Sams, speeding; Christopher Sattes, speeding and no POI.
06-11-02: State Police - Jarrod W. Coleman, speeding; Justin M. Ramsey, no POI; Michael E. Shoults Jr., no POI, seat belt violation, passing no passing zone, and registration violations; Sheriff
=s Dept. - William A. Graham, possession less than 15 gms and registration violations; Christopher Nottingham, possession less than 15 gms.
06-12-02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Jimmie Lee Grimes, no POI.
06-13-02: State Police - Dencil R. Casto, alcohol on public stream access;
Chadwick W. Muck, driving on suspended/revoked - 2nd offense; Sheila Witter, no POI.
06-14-02: State Police - Rickey D. Dowden, speeding, operator
=s, and no POI; Sheriff=s Dept. - James L. Loving, MVI and no POI.
06-15-02: State Police - Wilma Ruth Boggs, registration violations and no POI; Michael P. Childers, no POI; Terry D. Johnston, no POI; Harry Eugene Miller, driving on suspended/revoked, no POI, MVI, and registration violations.
06-16-02: DNR - Margaret Faye White, illegal sale of fawn deer.
06-17-02: DNR - Samuel L. Stephenson, illegal possession fawn deer.
06-20-02: State Police - Jason E. Doss, speeding and no POI.


     School Board members R.B. Legg, Fran King, Dave Pierson, Gene King, and Scott Legg met in regular session June 24, 6 PM, at their Gump Street office. As the meeting opened, Board President R.B. Legg commented, “Those that wish to join me in prayer, do so, if not ,you can talk or comb your hair if you have any.”
     More levy dollars were spent covering teacher aids, bus maintenance, increased supplies, and support from Casto Technical Company.
     A new pre school class will be added this year at Clay Elementary. The Board will have to cover the cost of the program for the first year and then the state will cover the expenses. Superintendent Linkinogger, “There is a large waiting list.”
And boy was there a bunch of bail outs and transfers. Here we go: April Kearns bailed out as cheerleader coach at Clay Middle (CMS). Linkinogger said that her own family had to come first; Brian Collins resigned as Asst. football coach at CMS. Linkinogger told the Board that Mr. Collins was doing graduate work at Marshall and didn’t have the time; and, Lavern Taylor resigned as volleyball coach at Clay High (CCHS). Linkinogger said that she “had been struggling there…”
     Also, Grithel Holcomb was hired as extended year teacher for two elementary schools for two Special Education kids, as was Nina Mays for two BD students during Camp Mustang last week at CMS. The Superintendent commented that federal law requires such additional support for Special Ed needs. Over at CCHS Lois Asbury was hired for two PMI students.
     And the shuffling continued with Michelle Hamrick taking Steve Osborne’s spot at Ivydale Elem; Tina Witt from Lizemore Elem. transferred to Hamrick’s old job at Ivydale Elem.; Tasha Pennington got the nod to be a behavior disorder teacher at CMS with Principal Haynie’s blessings according to Linkinogger. That was Witt’s old job.
     And now for the coaches. Who’s the new volleyball coach at CMS? Anissa Collins. It was noted that Collins may jump ship later this summer and end up at CCHS. As for the new golf program at CCHS, Principal Cindy Willis’ hubby, Richard, got the nod from the Board and Linkinogger explaining, “He was needing an excuse to get out of the house.” The golf program will be open to males and females and some golf clubs have been donated to the school.
     As has been speculated for some time Scott Gibson got the OK for the CCHS Varsity Basketball Coach slot . Comments included: there had been three applicants but the other two dropped out of the running. Athletic Director (also football coach) Ron Sirk did the interviewing of applicants. Still vacant is the assistant B ball spot. Knowing the politics of the additional dollar jobs, Boardster Gene King asked about the assistant vacancy. Linkinogger said he had no word on that yet.
     And the changing of the guard continues.... Jason Nichols hired as assistant football coach at CMS. Linkinogger, “He is thrilled to death.” Eric Cole is head coach.
CCHS Band heads over to Camp Shepherd July 28 through August 2 for band camp; Dorothy Childers will be the head cook at band camp. Scott Gibson will also head up the Boys Summer Basketball League as will Mary Ramsey for the girl’s program this summer. Price: $8.00 per hour for each.
Now it gets a little sticky here readers. On the agenda was “approve the drafting of a policy that prohibits any one coach from coaching two or more varsity sports during the school year”. During the vote it sounded more like the Board approved the new rule and the superintendent will bring back to the Board the paperwork based on a similar Putnam County policy. Behind the scenes, the policy is known as “the Ramsey Rule” since Mary Ramsey is the only person the rule will effect. During the discussions, both Fran King and Scott Legg asked that wording be inserted in the policy to allow them to disregard the policy when the need comes up in the future. The policy passed and will go into effect April 2003.
Bellying up to the trough continued with Arza William Cain, Opal Frances Duffield, Tera Lee Ferrebee, Regina Ranson, Connard Glen Workman and Edna Belt accepted as substitute custodians. New substitute aids will be Cynthia D. Cantrell, Kelly Parsons Flake, Vickie Lynn Gency, Amanda Lynn Schoonover, Suzanna Lea Tanner, and Patricia Ann Taylor. The employment of substitute bus drivers was Oked for Vercel Ray Douglas, Shannon Dwight      Lane, Genevie May Deboard, Allan Herman Morris, and Patrick Hugh Beets.
     Number 26 on the agenda was “approve the proposed increases in coach’s salary.” Got interesting here readers as coach Sirk commented that “a tabloid” said that he was getting a 200% increase. Note: Great news all. The Communicator has come a long way from “that dirty wipe sheet” to a now bona fide tabloid!. Sirk went on to say that he had been there 31 years and had received only one other raise during those years and he was asking for a $200 raise. Sirk, “.... and it’s not because of the levy!” From the Board came comments of not being able to do math ( the tabloid), R.B. Legg, “Andy, where did you go to school??” Gene King chimed in in support of the raises, stating that even Sirk cuts the grass. Board passed the raises for CCHS and CMS coaching staff.
     As for new students transferring into the county school system, CMS Principal Joan Haynie admitted one from Nicholas County ( to CMS) was “a little rough around the edges”. Gene King, looking at the students previous discipline report, “He’s got three pages of rough around the edges.” Another student will be coming in from Herbert Hoover HS to CCHS.
Big discussion was held on a Nicholas County female student transferring to CCHS. According to the Superintendent, CCHS Principal Willis had checked the kid out and she had not been alternative school there but was a homebound student, “She was afraid of being beat up.” There was also an issue of attendance with the student. Willis has received assurances from the parents, the kids will come to school. All three kids Oked for attendance in Clay schools.
     And the spending continued with an OK to purchase a used truck, most likely from Bruce Cunningham for use by bus garage mechanics. Bruce has picked out a 1995 model 3/4 ton Ford with around 60,000 miles on it. The price on the vehicle will be less than $10,000.00.
     Newest CCHS Band Director Chuck Mohnacky provided an update on band department activities and performance. The 10 minute discussion period included: Jeff Nestor did a good job holding things together when Ms Knight quit unexpectedly last fall; the band had 40 members then including elementary students; Clay Middle School had 120 students involved; there was 40 to 50 4th and 5th grade students in band classes which began after Christmas; and there is now 63 students in CCHS band and Concert band now. Mohnacky, “Participation needs to increase..... We have good ground work for success.” Director Mohnacky did comment that block scheduling remains a big problem at the high school and limits the number of students who can be involved in the program.
     CCHS Principal Cindy Willis also provided information to the Board mostly on scheduling and changes in scheduling planned for upcoming years. As for changing the block scheduling concept, the staff has agreed to “take baby steps” in this area. For any students scoring below the 50%, an improvement plan has been put in place for remedial classes . Willis did cite concerns that some classes may be overcrowded this year. As to changes in scheduling this year, Willis, “They have a wide variety of choices now…” Linkinogger on the scheduling, “It’s one of the most diverse schedules I have ever seen..”
     Board President R.B. Legg acknowledged Jenny Sirk as the new Special Education Director replacing retired Dixie Jarvis.
     As the meeting ended , Gene King made mention of juvenile problems during 4-H camp this year. No discussions.
After an hour of new hirings, new pay scales for coaches, transfers galore the meeting ended. For those that just want the news, stop reading, the rest is stuff after the meeting and commentary, too.
     But is really wasn’t over. Coach Sirk engaged in a lively discussion with this ace cub reporter on “Who told you I was getting a 200% raise?” The question was raised by Sirk both during the meeting and at least three times during the after meeting discussions. Seems Sirk was a little rattled at commentary made not in the Communicator but rather on a web site , clayberry.org.
Sirk said he had not seen the site but had heard about the commentary there. (Really???) Between the after meeting exchanges and during the meeting, attention was given this reporter. It was almost like being at your own birthday party. Wonderful!        
     Probably more along the lines to get Sirk’s attention, the following is provided.
     Let’s see now, Sirk makes around $40,000.00 per year for whatever he does during the day. He receives another $4000.00 for an extra month of coaching in August. Let’s do the math here readers, help me out, an aught here and an aught there. Yep, that’s $44000.00. Then add the $1000 coach contract from last year... right at $45,000.00 minimum (last year). According to the hand out given to Board members, Coach Sirk’s raise amounts to $1400.00. Start adding readers, R.B. says we don’t know how to over in tabloid land. Lets just round it off to $50,000.00 a year. Divide that by 10 football games and you can see the fellow with the baggy pants ain’t doing so bad after all. The guess is, Clay High Football Coach Ron Sirk makes more than the big boys down in Kanawha County!
     And over the 31 years on the job, Sirk has actually done better. Back in the beginning, coaches were paid extra for the month of August because teachers didn’t come back until September 1st or so. Now with teachers reporting for duty around the 17th of August, Sirk still receives coaching pay for August plus his regular salary kicks in when the rest of the staff reports for duty. Sort of “double dippin”.
OK Ron you can stop reading now....
     Has he gone? OK , about that one coach rule, the one many are calling the Ramsey rule. Of course our commentary explains that about the only one that it effects is Mary Ramsey. Ms Ramsey has been on the root end of the Board for many years. But take a second look at the new policy. Has Sirk left for sure? Coach Sirk is Athletic Director and Head Coach. Isn’t the AD job sort of “head coaching the coaches”? Along that vein, and since you can’t be head coach of two things in one year, maybe Ron Sirk should consider stepping down from one of the positions.
     So what are the raises? According to the paperwork given the Boardsters labeled: COACHES RAISE, the following is provided for Clay High. Head Football $1400 + 20 days; Asst Football $1050 + 20 days; Def. Coordinator $1150 + 20 days; Basketball Head $1600 + 3 days; Basketball Asst $1200 + 3 days; Head Wrestling $1400 + 3 days; Asst Wrestling $1050 + 3 days; Baseball and Softball $1400 + 3 days; Asst. $1050 + 3 days; Golf $1200; Volleyball $1200; Cross Country $1200; Athletic Director $1500. In 2003 - 2004 all coaches will get a $50.00 raise; In 2004 - 2005, all coaches will get a $50 raise. Any coach’s team who advances to a post season tournament will get $100 each.
There are too many numbers there for us to add up, but the raises add thousands to the budget!
Andy Waddell, ace cub reporter of that tabloid.


     The Rest of the Story...

Sunday May 26, 2002 was a day of celebration, renewing old friendships, and catching up on family gossip, as over one hundred family and friends, from West Virginia, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and South Carolina gathered at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Wallback, to help Dennis Sutton dedicate a newly paved road in memory of his parents, Chesley and Olive Wilson Sutton.
     The opening prayer was delivered by Jeff Davis. Dennis spoke briefly of his parent
=s lives, and a pleasant surprise to all came when Ann and Dorlas Woods of Little Birch performed the song Beulah Land, which was a favorite of Chess and Olive. The song was written by Squire Parsons, a local boy. Assisting Dennis in the cutting of the ribbon was Ruth Gray, Olive=s only living sibling, and Mary Sutton Hanshaw, niece of Chess Sutton. Wanting to be part of the ceremony, but unable to attend, Elsie Sutton Mollohan, niece of Chess, sent her scissors to be used for the ribbon cutting ceremony. The closing prayer was delivered by Preacher Jerry Hanshaw, Chess and Olive=s friend and former neighbor.
     A lovely buffet luncheon of finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, vegetables, chips, and assorted desserts was prepared by Dennis
= cousins, Dee Satterfield and Norma Darr.
Dennis, Ruth Gray, and Mary Sutton Hanshaw cut the beautiful cake that had a picture of Chess and Olive holding the family famous
AAunt Olive Tomatoes@ on it. With some help from his cousins John Sutton, Lois Sutton Wilson, and Norma Darr, Dennis released balloons with a small picture of his parents attached.
     The WV Paving Company did a superb job on the road. Everyone had a good time and my hat
=s off to Dennis for continuing his quest in the face of adversity.
C     Cody Magnotta
        Medina, Ohio


     The Democrat Executive Committee held their first meeting on May 18 2002. Congratulations to Harald Fields who was chosen as their new Chairman. Most of the newly elected members were present. Judy Moore did the swearing in and Barbara Schamberger is the new Secretary, while Joyce Gibson will be the Vice Chairperson and Francis Sutton is the treasurer.
      Another meeting will be held later to discuss plans for a Fall picnic. Chairman Fields commented about absenteeism in the past, and that sometimes there was not enough members present to make a quorum. Fields continued, if you can’t make a meeting, you can send a letter of Proxy. Hopefully the new members will be more active and show some interest to revive the Democrats in Clay County. Chairman Fields reminded everyone that the upcoming election would be here soon and the committee would need Democrat Headquarters where state and local candidates could place and distribute their campaign materials. If anyone knows of such a place contact anyone on the committee.
      Lindy Myers

Kay’s Cooking Corner
Quick & Easy Diabetic Recipes
Sweet-and-Sour Chicken
Serving Size: l cup, Total Servings: 8

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast,
cut into thin strips
1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks in heavy syrup,
drained and liquid reserved
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup fresh snow peas, trimmed

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until no pink remains.
2) Add the pineapple chunks, water chestnuts, broccoli, and bell pepper. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
3) In a small bowl, combine the reserved pineapple liquid, the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, cornstarch, and sugar; mix well. Stir into the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Add the snow peas and cook for 1 minute, or until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately.
Exchanges: 1-1/2 Carbohydrate - 3 Very Lean Meat -
1 Vegetable - 1 Fat Calories: 265
Calories from Fat 58 Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 1 g Cholesterol 68 mg
Sodium 245 mg Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g Sugars 19 g Protein 26 g

Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serving Size: 1/6 squash, Total Servings: 6

1 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the squash        halves cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet.
2) In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; mix well. Distribute the mixture evenly in the squash halves.
3) Bake for 1 to 1-1/4 hours, or until tender. Cut each squash half lengthwise into thirds, and serve.
Exchanges: 2 Starch - 1/2 Fat Calories 62
Calories from Fat 37 Total Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 2 g Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 138 mg Carbohydrate 7 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g Sugars 3 g Protein 0 g

Have you had your pectin today? Apples are full of the stuff! Pectin is a soluble fiber, which can lower blood cholesterol levels.
    Enjoy - until next time...
      Kay Kish

BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon=s Corner
     The great eighteenth century Irish satirist, Jonathan Swift, once wrote that the object of newspapers is ATo afflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted.@ Put another way, the media=s chief purpose was once deemed to maintain an adversarial relationship to the government, perhaps to be as much a part of the checks and balances as the congress was viewed in the time of Thomas Jefferson. AThe more things change, the more they stay the same@, cautions the old French proverb. Grade school civics lessons declared that the role of the Congress is to provide advice and consent. The current behavior of our so-called lawmakers seems to indicate that they are long on consent and shamefully short on advice, apparently feeling, in this time of war, as we are constantly reminded, that their chief duty is to act as Agood soldiers@, cheerleaders for an administration that wraps itself in secrecy, arrogantly bypassing any other division of government that might dissent.
     What is suggested here is that, despite the wisdom of the old proverb, (plus ca change) important and disturbing changes have occurred. For example, during the Persian Gulf war for the first time in modern history journalists were prohibited from being near the battle lines during an American conflict. A number of American newspaper columnists have argued that the reason for this ban was for the first Bush administration
=s effort to sanitize the carnage the United States fighter pilots and ground troops were wreaking on the Iraqui forces. Correspondents were herded into military installations, as they are now in Afghanistan, where they are briefed by military officials. It is not too far fetched to suggest that when a reporter can write or broadcast only what he is told, accuracy, and in fact truth, may be the most significant casualty. This form of censorship has become so rigid that even good old uncle Walter Cronkite has protested on national TV. It is interesting to conjecture what Ernie Pyle could say about this state of affairs.
     It seems difficult, if not impossible, given the shadowy and fiery aftermath of September 11, to convince people that criticism can be an act of love, that those who criticize a country most are often those who love it most, not the conspicuous, posturing
Apatriots@. This theory seems to be lost on the preposterous Dick Cheney, whose latest assault on the first amendment came a few weeks ago when he blustered that criticizing the administration Ais thoroughly irresponsible and totally unworthy of national leaders in a time of war@. No doubt his chief targets were Senators Byrd and Daschle who had the audacity to inquire, in the mildest terms possible, if the administration had any long term plans, both militarily and economically in the conduct of the war on terrorism.
     During the presidential campaign, the vice presidential candidates were allotted only one national debate, which was unfortunate, since both Cheney and Lieberman are highly intelligent men whose image of civilized amiability contrasted vividly with Bush, who came off as an inarticulate dolt, and Gore, who sounded like a pompous schoolmaster. It is irresistible to cite author Frank Bruni who said of Gore:
...at the democratic convention, Gore sought to show that he possessed a pulse, a passion - and, one hoped, a breath mint - by gathering Tipper in his arms and performing surgery on her tonsils with his tongue...
     At one point in the debate, the genial Lieberman remarked to his opponent,
AYou=ve done well in the private sector.@ Cheney said something to the effect that the government had nothing to do with it. That Lieberman let this comment pass without challenge boggles the mind, because while serving as Secretary of Defense Cheney made contacts in the Middle East which brought him countless millions as an executive of Haliburton Oil Company. His service with Bush the elder paid off handsomely, and it is barely possible that the government played some small part.
      Yours, etc., Cur

BWO: Beans in the Water

     Clay County is blessed with a lot of things like people and beautiful mountain scenes. We have a lot of both. We also have a lot of confusing things like boil water orders. Such was the case Tuesday, June 25, confusing. Here’s the way the most recent BWO unfolded.
     Tuesday around noon thirty folks over at Clay County PSD were mad. Field worker Sam Taylor had checked the water provider’s distribution lines and found zero chlorine in the system, a real no no! Back at their office digs in the basement of the old Courthouse, Taylor checked the water there. Again, no chlorine was detected. Their entire system was unsafe to be used for potable water. Clay County PSD buys their water from the Town of Clay. By noon thirty or so, they were steamed because no one from the town had called to say the town was producing unsafe water. Further, the town knowing full well of the unsafe conditions, town water operators did NOT issue a BWO as required by WV Health Dept. rules.
     Doing the responsible thing, Clay PSD immediately imposed the BWO and informed their customers and media sources. The town did not!.
     According to Clay PSD sources, the town’s water plant chlorinator had gone down MONDAY and they had continued to pump untreated water into the system which feeds town, Clay PSD, and Clay Roane PSD customers. Word was on the street that on Monday, a part time water operator had operated the plant.
     Around 1:30 PM Tuesday, chief water operator Bobby West took a water sample from the rest room of the historic Henry Clay Hotel which Mayor Arthur Jarrett owns and operates. There ,according to West, the chlorine was 1.0 to 1.1 which is well above the state minimum standard for chlorine levels. West said he had not worked the day earlier and Harold Walton, a Class IV operator had run the town’s water plant. Based on the sample just taken, both West and Jarrett felt the Clay County PSD’s BWO was wrong.
     At 2:15 , Tuesday June 25, West and Jarrett took a water sample from the new Courthouse and there the findings were quite different. There, the chlorine levels were “trace” according to Mr. West. After some questioning, the “trace” amount really meant, nearly zero chlorine in the water! NOTE: Water providers use a small black box with 2 sample tubes side by side in the black container. If chlorine is present in the sample, one of the tubes will appear pale to rich pink in color. The sample taken at the courthouse, was clear as glass. West confirmed that he had been gone the day earlier but neither would say when the chlorinator went bad. Jarrett commented that the chlorinator, which dispenses the liquid chlorine, had been cobbled back together and was again working. Jarrett also said he had been at the water plant on Monday, everything was fine. West advanced that earlier Tuesday morning, the amount of chlorine in the system was “low” but within guidelines.
King Arthur went on to say that a new $2400.00 chlorinator had been ordered that day. The two public servants went to check other locations for chlorine levels. At the Courthouse some folks openly wondered: How could the water sample taken just 45 minutes earlier and two blocks away have read perfect and then, here, at the new Courthouse, the water was completely unsafe to drink. Our 99 year old Sheriff commented on finding small pieces of beans in the water supply as he made coffee that morning.
     As for Mayor Jarrett’s comments on what’s wrong with the system, Jarrett, “We’ll have to find out... We’ll check the system.... You ask too many questions.” As for Sam Taylor and the Clay County PSD BWO, again Jarrett, “Last time he hollered that S***, we had chlorine in our system, we had plenty!!”
     So... by 2:30 PM Tuesday, Clay County PSD had zero chlorine in their system, a Boil Water Order had been issued and the supplier of the water, the town, was still maintaining that the water was fine. By 3:30 PM Mayor Jarrett himself finally issued a BWO for town customers.
And as Paul would say, and now for the rest of the story...
     Normally, Town clerk Dwana Murphy issues the BWOs for the town. It is Little Murph that calls the media, calls the Health Department and does the paperwork. Remember, just above we noted that Jarrett made the call, not the Murph. Dwana commented on Wednesday June 26, she refused to do so. Murph was rebelling. Something was up.
     Here’s the clincher, while Clay PSD and town folks are saying that the chlorinator pooped out on Monday, records indicate that a WV Dept. of Health Engineer named Koch had inspected the water on Monday, the day in question , and found the chlorine levels to be fine and maybe just a little on the high side! Hmmmmm... So who passed the untreated water on through the system? Was it Harald Walton on Monday? Was it really Bobby West that ran out of chlorine early Tuesday morning? Did Jarrett tell the operators to go ahead and run the plant without chlorine? What’s going on here.? Who’s covering for who? King Arthur says we ask too many questions.
According to Sam Taylor, in an attempt to restore some chlorine to his system now that the chlorinator has been cobbled back together, Taylor went through out the system and opened fire hydrants to drain out the untreated, unsafe water. As of noon, Thursday, the Boil Water Order remains in place, according to Ms Murphy, the new chlorinator has been installed and is working, “like a charm.” Water samples will be taken to Charleston for testing later Thursday. It is anticipated that “good” test results will come back sometime Friday afternoon and the BWO can be lifted. In the mean time watch out for those undigested beans and boil any water used for consumption!       AW

County Commission Meeting

     Clay County Commissioners Matthew Bragg and Jimmy Sams met Tuesday, June 25 in regular session at the courthouse. Commissioner Tim Butcher was absent. Commission President Bragg called the otherwise well attended meeting to order shortly after 10:00 AM, and Sams offered the prayer.
     Jim Lively, of Lively Insurance, presented their proposal for the county insurance policy for fiscal year 2002-2003. The hour long presentation contained discussion on coverage for county buildings, debris removal after a fire, other peoples property (such as courthouse displays), pollution clean up if county at fault, movable county property (radios, ambulance and fire equipment, etc.), invaluable papers, liability for county elected officials, appointed board members and officials, county employees, and volunteers, law enforcement liability, employment liability, health care professional liability (health department nurse, EMTs), auto liability, coal mine subsidence insurance, and coverage for employee theft and commercial crime.
     Lively said this year coverage for the new multi-purpose and livestock buildings at the Clay Park on Maysel Hill had been added. Another addition was adding Housing Authority members to those under public utility management liability. Lively explained that primarily meant the Commissioners, if they were sued for wrong doing, along with any elected official, commission appointed board member or volunteer.
Health Department Director Karen Dawson, present during the presentation, was surprised to hear yet a third addition, this under the health care professional liability - the health nurse. Dawson said she thought the nurses were covered, and were always included on the list of employees provided to the county every year. Lively said nurses had never been on the policy, but would be July 1. Dawson,
     Mr. Lively told the commission that the policy has a 2 million dollar limit on liability, same as last year, but they would no longer have a 2 million umbrella as before due to three reasons - the Sheriff
=s Department had no policy/procedure manual, there was no employee handbook outlining hiring/firing, and the explosion in premiums for liability insurance since September 11. Lively said he understood the policy/procedure manual was being prepared, and County Clerk Judy Moore said there was an employee handbook, but Lively pointed out that the estimated premium cost for 2 million of extra coverage would be about $10,000 for the year.
     Total premium cost will be $67,649.88, a little higher due the additions made this year. Lively, addressing the county employees and officials present, said,
AClay County does more than many counties do covering all of you.@
A group from the Big Otter Fire Department had questions on their coverage under the policy, and after a bit of discussion, Lively said an agent would go to one of their meetings to discuss their concerns under the policy.
     The two Commissioners agreed to have Lively Insurance as the county insurance provider for fiscal year 2002-2003.
After a brief recess, Lizemore resident Cathy Shuler addressed the Commissioners about her concern with the quality of water in the Lizemore area. Shuler said she was speaking for many in her community. After talking together they discovered they knew of 46 people in the area who were ill with cancer or had died of cancer. She said they didn
=t know if the water had anything to do with that, but it worried them. Shuler held up a jar of brown/green tinted water she said had come from her tap at home, saying, A This is what we have...we need water in Lizemore.@ Sams responded by telling her that he and Bragg want the new regional plant and are pushing for it. Shuler asked why they couldn=t hook up to Gauley Bridge. Commission candidate Ronnie Haynes commented that Lizemore already had grant funds for a line, and, A If Gauley has the capacity, let them do it.@ Sams agreed that they got the funds six years ago for the Tucker Bottom/Lizemore area. Shuler said she=d paid for water five years ago, and something needed to be done. Sams and Bragg said they=d talked with Randy Plumb, who said all they needed was a plan, that the plan had been shot down by the town of Clay. Bragg asked for Shuler=s jar of water to take to the next meeting on getting the water plant. Shuler said, AIf Clay don=t want to fool with us, let Gauley Bridge.@
     Karen Dawson responded to Shuler
=s comments about cancer in the area, suggesting that perhaps the Health Department should be investigating. Shuler said a bunch of women in the area got together and started coming up with names. She also said she had been told there was no way to know what had been dumped in the old Sagimaw dump in that area. Dawson and Shuler agreed to talk later, and Dawson said she=d get information on how to go about investigating the cancer issue.
     Other business conducted by the Commission: approved erroneous assessments, bills and purchase orders, budget revisions; re-appointed Tom Martin to the Queen Shoals PSD, retroactive to December 1, 2001, to expire 2007; gave the assessor permission to work with Mckenzie Engineering on E911 addressing, the naming of currently unnamed roads; appointed Sams as Commission representative to the Regional Intergovernmental Council and Denise Taylor as the citizen representative; designated Sheriff Harald Fields as the temporary Emergency Services Director until a permanent appointment is made; noted the Commission is the pass through agency and ultimate responsible party for the Watershed Association Grant; passed a proclamation declaring February, May, July, August and September 2002 as
AWV Click It or Ticket@ months for correct use of seat belts and child safety seats; approved the probating of wills, final accountings and settlements, waivers, etc., as listed on the agenda; approved a request from the assessor to change county Route 11 from Dundon Widen Road to Triplett Ridge Road from Dundon Bridge to the Ivydale cut-off, and Widen Ridge Road from that point to Dille at the county line; and, to extend the current tower on Pisgah Ridge about 3 feet in hopes of improving service for the fire department, cost about $3000.
     Appointment of a State Police member to the Clay/Nicholas E-911 Advisory Board was tabled until Bragg can get in touch with them. A request from attorney John R. Mitchell asking that a final distribution be made for the estate of Opal D. Baker was referred to Glen Sutton. No action and no discussion on agenda item 12 - monthly reports filed by B.J. Willis for the months of April and May.
Meeting adjourned 11:50 a.m. TK

The Chafin Report
by Jim Chafin
One Man - One Vote?

Both national political parties
represent great wealth.

     Long ago, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the principle of
Aone man, one vote@. In a nation wherein we have been taught that the ballot box was the ultimate tool wherein the common man could seek redress to all those injustices being levied against him by powers beyond his control - where tradition says that the will of the majority is right for everyone - and where one=s natural inclination is to suffer abuse, so long as wrong is sufferable - in this context, then, one man - one vote would seem to be a giant step forward from the days when the color of one=s skin or economic status worked against the right of access to the electoral process in these AUnited@ States of America. Gone, we thought, were the deprivation of rights so prevalent in those states who maintained the discriminatory policy of taxing the right to participate in the selection of public officials. But we would be terribly wrong.
     Now, those robed imperialists of the Parthenon Society have again spoken (much to their discredit) on an issue at least as vulgar and disruptive of our constitutional right to vote as those abuses of decades ago. I refer to their recent ruling that gave first amendment rights to money. Money is a form of free speech, they have said. Sheeeesh!!! Money, it must be noted, has no feet - it must be carried around in a bag; money has no hands - it is incapable of flying an airplane, operating a piece of construction equipment, or fixing a piece of broken plumbing. AND, contrary to the pronouncements of those august elite of the Admiralty variety - money cannot recite a poem, cannot read a dictionary, nor can it write an essay of three hundred words or less.
     To equate money as a person is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. Money IS a robotic tool of the possessor; it is a multiplier of whatever traits its owner has. Given the discriminatory role that men of means play in this dog-eat-dog society, money gives amplification to the voice of those who have lots of it. Money, for example, in the hands of so-called professional politicians, breeds corruption, perverseness, domination, intimidation, and creates an atmosphere of dire consequences for the entire voting process. Money, in the possession of those whose history records a larger than life propensity to buy and sell votes, who trade on the gullibility of less than dedicated folks, and who, with knowledge aforethought, go about their unsavory business of rendering null and void the aspirations of those who still believe in the validity of the ballot, should be assigned an ice flow in the Arctic Sea, to live out their lives in the frozen tundra to contemplate the error of their ways.
Under the watchful eye of the Supreme Court, the American political process has become a stage play, the conclusion of which, most always, results in a scripted end that coronates certain individuals - placing crowns of power and authority upon their heads no matter how checkered their past. This political system IS NOT about meeting the needs of the minorities, the disabled, or the disenfranchised of this society. It is about filling the greed of the already have
=s and of those who wield power in this nation. It has, as its primary goal of installing corporate executive officers into positions of high government office, as a means of enhancing and protecting monied interests in this country - promises to the common folks are, mainly, illusionary, and not to be taken seriously. The Aright of free speech@ accorded money is a farce and a tragedy foisted upon this nation that obliterates the notion of Aone man - one vote@, drowns out the cries of the needy, and bloats the image of the cigar-chewing, back room politician who has only his hip pockets in mind.