| Clay County Bank President Scott Legg stepped down from power just after the Board of Directors meeting Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2003. 17 year bank veteran Greg Gency immediately took over the reigns as Interim President. Scott Legg, a former CCB Vice President, assumed the position after long time bank leader J.D. Morris resigned in disgrace in April 2002.|
In small town America, changes in local bank administration can send shock waves through a county. Embezzlement pleas can double the impact of change. Such has been the case for Clay County Bank (CCB) over the last 20 months as the public sorted through various FDIC cease and desist orders last spring and again this April; the guilty plea by J.D. Morris for stealing $172,000.00 from the CCB; the mandated reforms by federal regulators; and, the hands on management guidance by outsiders, Davis Trust. For many it was too much and, according to our sources, several long term customers now bank elsewhere.
| CCB President Gency agreed to be interviewed Thursday September 18. Earlier Gency had explained some banking rules and guidelines. Gency, “ don’ care to give you some information… Banking is a very confidential type of industry. You know that. The Board and the Officers have a fiduciary duty to our share holders to keep them confidential. I can’ talk about a lot of this.” Concerning the abrupt leaving of 16-month on the job Scott Legg, Mr. Gency, “r. Legg did retire Tuesday. That was after nearly 30 years of service to the bank. The reason for his retirement was health issues. He decided that his family and his health were more important. I think we can all understand that. The Board was …regretted that that was the decision that he made, but of course that was a decision he and his family had to make. We’e thankful of the time he has been here and guidance he has provided. A lot of that time has been the most difficult time this bank has seen. He has done a good job and we regret him gone.” Legg was referring to the many changes made after the feds caught on to the troubled institution’ plight. For decades the Clay County Bank proudly printed on letterheads and monthly statements, “he Nation’ 9th Strongest Bank” Of course that was then and this is now.|
During television interviews after Morris got caught with his fingers in the bank cookie jar, Legg commented that measures were already in place to straighten out the mess. Under the FDIC cease and desist order, in effect as he was being interviewed but unknown to the public in general, Legg had his hands full. Mandated by the feds were many serious issues. Things like :
Previous examinations of the Bank have revealed a pattern of unsafe and unsound practices as well as violations of state and federal laws, rules and regulations; the Bank entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the FDIC and the Division wherein the Bank agreed to take certain actions and conform its practices to state and federal laws, rules, and regulations. This Memorandum of Understanding followed a joint examination of the Bank which found a number of unsatisfactory conditions; and, The Division of Banking conducted an examination of the Bank, prepared as of December 31, 2001, which revealed continued serious deficiencies in the operations of the Bank and substantial noncompliance with the Memorandum of Understanding. It also documented violations of state law….
As far as specifics, again from the original cease and desist order: The formal review of management required by paragraph 1 of the Memorandum of Understanding has been inadequate. The summary sheets for each officer listed only biographical information, education and work experience.
There was neither a discussion of any weaknesses or exceptions requiring any redress nor of employee strengths and attributes. The Board also neglected to address both management and board succession; The Bank’ budget for 2002, as approved by the Board, is inadequate since it projects an increase in income without setting forth supporting assumptions. A pro forma balance sheet for year-end 2002 was not developed and there was no supporting documentation for management’ review of income and expense accounts or the review of officer compensation and other overhead
Expenses; The Board’ methodology for assessing the adequacy of the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL) produced inaccurate results, which required an additional provision for loan losses of $1,000,000 that was unanticipated by management or the Board; A violation of the state legal lending limit set by W.V. Code 31A-4-26 by lending to two entities that are in reality a “ommon enterprise”as that term is defined by state regulations; A violation of 12 C.F.R. 323.3(d) by failing to obtain appraisals by a state certified appraiser before making loans greater than $1,000,000; A violation of Appendix A to Part 364 of the FDIC standards for internal routine and controls. Specifically, risk assessment procedures are lacking due to repeated failure to maintain an adequate ALLL; there is no independent loan review and grading system; there is insufficient monitoring of interest rate sensitivity and liquidity; operational and regulatory reports are deficient due to an inadequate ALLL and insufficient procedures for handling nonaccrual loans; and the deficiencies previously noted in the internal audit system remain uncorrected.
The Clay County Bank was in serious stuff to say the least. Legg set to work to save the strapped 100 year old institution. Greg Gency would not comment on specifics of this week’ board action but did provide, “he Board just followed a succession plan that we have in place….. and that was appointing me as president, interim president, and Brett Stover as senior vice president. Our plans with the help of the other employees and the other officer of this bank are to strive to restore this bank to financial strength. We are a very well capitalized bank. The deposits are still insured and we’e making loans everyday. It is just a matter of restoring the bank back to a strong financial institution.” Various regional media sources brought to light over the last 18 months questionable lending practices approved by previous board members and then-president J.D. Morris. Charleston newspaper reports highlighted the very questionable dealings with Filcon, Inc. and over extending practices given locals without collateral. Mention was made of one local who, shortly after bank policy changes, filed for U.S. Bankruptcy protection. As Legg had his hands full before him, Gency has an arm load to bear. Again from Greg Gency, “e’e here to provide a friendly service to our community. We are a community bank. That’ what really lies ahead for us. We hope to progress with the times. Banking is an industry that changes quite frequently. That’ something that we have to do. There is no doubt about that. As far as the public seeing any changes in the bank other than a face or two that hasn’ been here over the years, no. Everyone else is still in place and we plan to provide a full service bank that takes care of the needs of our community.” From the latest cease and desist order (at the least the latest we can find) dated March 3, 2003: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that the Bank, its institution-affiliated parties, and its successors and assigns take affirmative action as follows: MANAGEMENT - Within 90 days of the effective date of this ORDER, the Board of Directors ("Board") shall have and retain management having qualifications and experience commensurate with his or her duties and responsibilities at the Bank including the following: (i) a chief executive officer with the proven ability in managing a bank of comparable size and in effectively implementing lending, investment and operating policies in accordance with sound banking practices; and (ii) a senior lending officer with significant appropriate lending, collection, and loan supervision experience, and proven success in upgrading a low quality loan portfolio;
an (iii) a chief operating officer with significant appropriate experience in managing the operations of a bank of similar size and complexity in accordance with sound banking practices.
Additionally from the FDIC order, changes were mandated in the make up of the Board of Directors including: Within 120 days from the effective date of this ORDER, the Bank shall add to its Board two new members who are independent directors. For purposes of this ORDER, a person who is an independent director shall be any individual: (i) Who is not an officer of the Bank; (ii) Who does not own more than five percent of the outstanding shares of the Bank or its holding company; (iii) Who is not related by blood or marriage to an officer or director of the Bank or to any shareholder owning more than five percent of the outstanding shares of the bank or its holding company, and who does not otherwise share a common financial interest with such officer, director or shareholder; and (iv) Who is not indebted to the Bank directly or indirectly by blood, marriage or common financial interest, including the indebtedness of any entity in which the individual has a substantial financial interest in an amount exceeding five percent of the Bank's total Tier 1 capital and Allowance; or (v) Who is deemed to be an independent director for purpose of this ORDER by the Supervisory Authorities.
|Now that’ a mouth full. Already some of those directives have been implemented. As for the future of Scott Legg, Greg Gency, “r. Legg is going to remain on. The Board has asked him to remain available in consulting capacity. He is going to take a little bit of time off and rest and get his health restored a little. He is going to be available for some help. I am sure I am going to have to pick the phone up and ask him a few things.” Clay County Bank’ home page leaves no impression of the rocky 18 months with wording: The Clay County Bank was formed on the banks of the majestic Elk River in Clay County, West Virginia, in 1902. The bank opened for business in a frame building on the lot beside of the present bank building. A new building has constructed in 1960. In 1980, construction of additional bookkeeping space and drive in windows at the main bank building brought the bank to its current size. Our Two Run branch was opened in December of 1986.|
The Clay County Bank has grown from its meager beginning in 1902 to the viable banking institution of today. The bank has actively supported the business community, the public school system, as well as other public and civic facilities within our county and surrounding areas. We will continue to serve these areas as well as the consumer needs of our customers.
To make doubly certain the community knows CCB is stable and viable, Greg Gency, “t has been a tough couple of years. We remain very well capitalized by industry standards. The deposits are insured…. We hope the community and our customer base understand that and they will continue to support us.”As for all the rumors around the county, Gency made it clear he will answer whatever questions he can, “ hope that if you have any questions that you will come and ask us. That’ why I agreed to this. There is no better way to get answers than to come to the source and I we’l do what we can to help you.” Still there after 100 plus years, the Clay County bank is now in the rebuilding phase with a new Board of Directors in place and Greg Gency in the pilot house. With many questions still floating, the next few months should be worth noting….. and we will of course. AW
Always watching our elected and appointed leaders with a sharp eye, that ace cub reporter spotted an Open Meetings Law infraction during the most recent Business Development Authority meeting, Sept 4th, 2003. Our coverage of that meeting in the last edition of this publication included mention of votes taken during the BDA’ secret time and off hand remarks made during secret time by board member Arthur Jarrett. See last edition for details.
After being made aware of questionable dealings many public agencies respond, “e messed up and will do a better job in the future.”Such responses often deflate any raised eyebrows or allegations of illegal “oins” No such response came from BDA Chairman Paige Willis
Last week, just before the County Commission meeting, Mr. Willis did respond to our newspaper coverage of the BDA meeting. According to Willis: That’ the way we done it. If you don’ like it, sue us! In reply, that Mel Gibson look alike reporter said such lawsuits are costly for the county.
Finishing off his remarks, Willis cited boardster Jarrett’ earlier remarks during that controversial Sept 4th meeting , “on’ tell him. I don’ want to hear his mouth.”Ah, Clayberry, a controversy at nearly every meeting!
|??? DID YOU KNOW ???|
|1. Alone we can do so little, together we can do much.|
2. According to a worldwide tobacco survey, slightly more girls smoke than boys.
3. Nearly 3,500 people drowned in the United States in 2000, about 1,300 of them children and teens.
4. About 11.3 percent of men and 1.8 percent of women born in 2001 will go to prison during their lifetime.
5. Fifty-three percent of college students have credit cards, up from 52 percent in 2002, but down from 57 percent in 2001.
6. Court officials in Kanawha County alone estimate as much as $250,000 in fines and cost go uncollected each year.
7. Data from the West Virginia Water Company shows about 0.1 parts per million of copper in its tap water.
8. Some studies show an excess of cholesterol may increase the risk of Alzheimer’ disease, researchers say.
9. The August edition of Archives of General Psychiatry suggests adults with children are less likely to commit suicide.
10. More than 55,000 Americans are awaiting kidney transplants.
11. Beginning in 2004, Sunoco will replace Union 76 as the official fuel of NASCAR’ top three series.
12. For the second year in a row, West Virginia University has reported record enrollment.
13. Former WVU running back Adrian Murrell has signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
14. More than $75,000 in taxpayer’ money has been spent this year to send lawmakers to out-of-state conferences.
15. In West Virginia children under five are more likely to die in a fire than in a traffic accident, according to statistics compiled by FEMA.
16. Pete Rose has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated 19 times.
17. Last year more than 42,815 people died in traffic accidents. The highest number since 1990.
18. Researchers at Stony Brook University found that 42 percent of workers surveyed say Americans would be healthier if we all got more paid vacation.
19. Nearly 13 percent of 200,000 of the country’ 1.6 million adopted children were born outside the United States.
20. Based on “heft claims”per 1000 insured vehicles, five of the top ten vehicles stolen or broken into are SUV’.
09/03/03: Barbara Harmon-Schamberger – Walter L. Burdette, warrant issued 08/22/02 for fail to pay child support, arrested, ROB, preliminary hearing 09/22.
09/09/03: Slack – Donna Carte, arrested 08/14/03 for wanton endangerment, preliminary hearing: probable cause found; bound to the Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County.
09/11/03: Bailey – Dencil Pritt, preliminary hearing for 07/17/03 arrest on warrant for breaking and entering waived to Circuit Court.
08/22/03: Bailey – Timothy D. Graham, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
08/30/03: Bailey – Paul B. Baker, DUIA-2nd offense and driving revoked DUIA, arrested, ROB.
09/01/03: IGA – warrants issued for worthless check complaints for Mark R. Holcomb, Donnie Welch, Jeremy J. Cummings, and Regina Ranson.
09/02/03: Rider – Cindy Faircloth, driving suspended, no POI, and failure to report accident, summons issued; Belt – Paul Austin Truman, speeding, appeared, ROB.
09/05/03: Clay County High School – Teresa D. Martin, warrant issued for worthless check.
09/09/03: Belt – David D. Lane, no POI, appeared, ROB; Butcher – Jacqueline R. Keener, battery and obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB; Butcher – Elizabeth Dennis Holcomb, battery, arrested, ROB; Carte’ Quick Stop – Mary A. Hickman, warrant issued for worthless check complaint.
09/10/03: Slack – Jesse Rodgers, obtaining money under false pretenses, appeared, ROB.
09/12/03: Dale G. Legg – Catherine Duffield, passing stopped school bus, summons; Slack – Bill Mollohan, domestic battery, warrant issued; Ellyson – Randall Glen Nottingham, warrant issued for destruction of property.
09/04/03: Eddie Ray Sizemore – Sandra Guy, wrongful occupation, judgment 09/09 in favor of plaintiff, defendant to vacate property.
09/05/03: Hilda Walker – Sandra A. Frick, wrongful occupation, subpoena.
09/08/03: Country Short Stop – Michael W. Claypool, breech of contract, subpoena.
09/09/03: Cheryl Duffield – Clarence Williams and Zella Williams, money due.
09/11/03: Stonewall Jackson Hospital – Kathy Taylor, money due; Nichols Furniture – David L. Pritt, money due; Thomas Ratliff, money due; Eric D. Thorne and Maria Schoonover Thorne, money due; Yvonne J. Tyree, money due; Jonathan Pritt, money due; Allie M. Stewart, money due; Alan R. Rhodes and Karen J. Rhodes, money due.
Notices issued –
09/03/03: IGA – Jennifer D. Grose.
09/04/03: Clay Supermarket Inc. – Huntington Health Care; Alexandria Dobbins.
09/09/03: IGA – Ronnie Beasley; Jason M. Adkins.
09/11/03: Clay County High School – Peggy A. Greathouse X 3; Market Express – Donald Wayne; Thomas Eagle; Wilma Adkins; Deana Hudnall; Connie Moore (paid 09/12).
09/12/03: Sizemore’ IGA – Bruce Fugett X 3; Myrtle Jane Taylor; Nancy A. Brown; Telenia Starcher.
08/19/03: State Police – Gary R. Cutlip, no POI.
08/21/03: DNR – Wanda Jean Brown, littering; Sheriff’ Dept. – Roger L. Damron, driving suspended.
08/22/03: State Police – Timothy D. Graham, speeding and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Nathan R. Malick III, MVI, no POI, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 2nd offense, registration violation, seat belt violation and possession marijuana less/15 GRMS; Lawrence Stewart, registration violation and MVI.
08/23/03: Municipal Police – Angela Lee Holcomb, failure to stop/yield.
08/24/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Alexander B. Davis, speeding.
08/26/03: State Police – Mendy S. Mullins, no POI.
08/28/03: State Police – Miranda McLaughlin, speeding.
08/29/03: State Police – Paul B. Baker, driving under the influence – 2nd offense and driving revoked for DUIA; Fred L. Boggs, no POI; Anthony Osborne, seat belt violation; Sheriff’ Dept. – James E. Ryan Jr., speeding; Municipal Police - Jason Marcus Adkins, failure to stop/yield.
08/30/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Michael Lloyd Paxton, speeding; Municipal Police – Joseph M. Brown, no POI; Carl Mark Neal, no POI.
08/31/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – James Lovell Davis, possession controlled substance-3rd offense.
09/01/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Patrick Blankenship, registration violation; Varis L. Canfield Jr., speeding; Paul Austin Truman, speeding.
09/02/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Jamie Allen Morris, failure to maintain control and driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
09/03/03: DOH – Randall Nottingham, overweight, overlength, overwidth.
09/06/03: Sheriff’ Dept. – Joseph M. Brown, no POI; David Dexter Lane, no POI.
Clay County Commission met in regular session Sept 8 at 10 am. Commissioner Peter Triplett and Mathew Bragg attended along with just a scattering of folks in the pews. Commissioner Sams remained home and laid up. Operating in an outspoken mood, Bragg lightheartedly remarked on Sams’absence, “e won’ come to his meeting, He’ not interested.” First thing on the agenda was the passage of a hazard mitigation fund. What is that? Haven’ a clue. The small document will probably end up stashed on some shelf . Just a guess? It’ a signed sealed and delivered document encouraging long time residents that live in flood prone areas to pull up roots and move to higher ground. Just a guess readers.
The usual stuff sailed thru, minutes passed as did erroneous assessments and refunds and budget revisions.
The center of attention was discussion on the need for better radio coverage for emergency service crews. Since the purchase of ultra high frequency (UHF) 911 radio equipment 6 years ago, many areas in the county have been without coverage. Lack of service leaves police and other services in dangerous situations when backup is needed and no way to get it. Chief areas of concern have been the Big Otter/Nebo, Bomont/Lizemore sectors of the county. Nicholas county resident Dave King, our paid 911 Director, presented the CCC a propagation study ( service area map) for a antenna to be located on Punkin Ridge at Procious. King felt locating an antenna there would offer some additional coverage for Big Otter plus lots of coverage in the Queen Shoals/Bomont areas. As far reaching over to Lizemore, Not much. Columbia Natural Resources owns the Punkin Ridge tower.
After looking at the map presented, Commissioner Bragg noticed that Roane County would benefit and sounded against such a location, “They get as much coverage as we do. They should foot half the bill…” Put your thinking hats on readers. You’e a cop. You’e somewhere out in Podunk Clayberry and you need help. You key the mic and make the request. …. No one hears. With the radios we have and the proposed new antenna equipment and such, the cop, maybe with someone coming after him with a gun, or a paramedic with someone nearly dead, or a fire fighter needing assistance, has to fiddle with a switch and try the same thing over again and again until he finds a tower/antenna with coverage.
Paige Willis suggested using a tower on Dutch Ridge which would offer service to Procious area as well as Lizemore and beyond. Mention made of an existing tower at Moore Fork. A Pilot Knob site suggestion seems to offer the best alternative for Clay County.
Somewhere in there Mathew Bragg is on the phone to absent from duty Jimmy Sams, Bragg could be heard: “e’ got hemorrhoids… real bad …. He said Andy is his biggest one. A real pain in the butt!”Laughter came from most. No decisions made as King said he would try and test the Punkin Ridge site for coverage area and do so before the leaves start falling this fall.
Bragg read from a letter sent to Prestera ( old Shawnee Hills) by Town Mayor Arthur Jarrett. Jarrett asked Prestera to take better charge of their clients and listed recent incidents where one client broke a leg, another nearly fell off a bridge, and a final one got himself arrested for panhandling. Bragg questioned why the letter came to the CCC.
Commissioner Triplett provided an update on the long stalled water extension projects in the county. According to the big one, Clay County PSD has two problems keeping the project on the shelf. Clay PSD can’ get an OK to build a storage tank at Bickmore and some fellow up Fola Road refuses to let the PSD locate a booster station on his property. As for Clay Roane dragging its feet on the Amma Left Hand project, Triplett, “the lawyer is working on it, That’ all I can get out of them.” And then the stuff they didn’ do. Agenda Item 11: Request a change of scope for Court Security Agreement grant for renovations to the Courthouse for Family Law Judge. What’ all that mean? Translation: 8 months ago, our CCC voted to rent the Commission room out to the Family Law Judge for a fee. During those discussions before the vote to give away the people’ room, criticism was voiced. The elected ones, after hearing the dissenting voice of the people, went ahead and voted to turn over control of the room to the WV Supreme Court, the folks that operate Family Law Courts in WV. At the time, those seated up front were pleased with their decision, they make a little money for the county, the CCC would get to use the room for their meetings, and the room would receive over $12,000 in renovations. Holcomb remodeling was given the contract to do the work and all was good.
Number 11 was not covered at this meeting. When asked about it, Triplett confirmed that Commissioner Sams wanted that on the agenda and they would have to wait until Sams returned to duty before discussing the topic. After more questioning, Triplett did say that the CCC is considering moving the Judge and his paid for Court room upstairs into a small storage space beside the Prosecutor’ office. As for the renovations, Holcomb has been told to hold off starting the work.
Now all the scribble above is documented and kosher. The following is just the word on the street With that in mind, here’ goes.
Our Supreme Court, in light of the Alabama case with Judge Moore, does not want Commissioner Sams’election year 10 Commandment Plaque in the Court room. Sams came in and discussed the plaque with the Judge on Wed Aug 27th. Since then, the idea of moving the Judge into a broom closet has surfaced. Watch for this one to grow readers as all the bible thumpers show up in force to support keeping the “0”on the Courtroom wall instead of following the law of the land. Just a guess readers but watch this can of worms to open up real wide as regional media forces once again come into Clayberry and put us on the national media circus map. As for prying anything out of Triplett, nothing doing as he appeared wanting away from the hot potato issue. About we could get out of Pete, “We don’ have a clear picture.”Not bad for a rookie!
Bragg said he didn’ have a problem with sharing the room with the Judge but then commented, “This is our County Commission room!” Another item wasn’ discussed as well. Item #12: Discuss law suit Clay County Commission vs. Filcon Inc. Attorney to represent the CCC for the Sept 23rd hearing. As of this meeting date, the CCC has no one designated to represent them in court. The “ilcon”thing is actual the suit against the Clay County bank in an attempt to regain control of the taxpayer paid for ( $90,000) land out near Ovapa. Our Business Development Authority gave the land to Filcon in return for Filcon owner Manfred Kuentzer promising to create 10 full time jobs in the county. Didn’ happen as Kuentzer high tailed it out of the county. Triplett said he would talk to Prosecutor Grindo about the matter. With Sams away, this entry was left to later but not before Bragg was able to interject a rye comment. Bragg, “[ Prosecutor?] I didn’ know we had one!” What’ all this about? The Commission has to have a lawyer present during the hearing process. By law, the County Prosecutor represents the Commission in such matters. With the Hearing date looming, our CCC has not used Grindo, has not talked much to Grindo about the matter, and quite frankly, at least Bragg may have reservations about using the young attorney.
More later in this edition on this topic.
Thanks for tuning in to “Life in Clay Commission land” AW
Clay School Board MeetingStudents Will Have Therapy in Clay
For their second regular monthly meeting, the Clay County Board of Education met Monday, September 15 at their administrative office in Clay. Members present: Board President R.B. Legg, Jr., Scott Legg, David Pierson, Gene King, and Fran King. During the 40 minute meeting the board employed Douglas Cook as a half time physical therapist. Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger explained that they had never been able to get a therapist in Clay, and students that required physical therapy had to be transported to therapy. He said there are about 20 students now receiving physical therapy. Clay will share Cook, and the cost, with Webster County Schools. Cook will work two to three days a week in both counties, two days in one county and three in the other, rotating every week. Other business conducted by the Board: employed Mike Kearns as assistant wrestling coach at Clay Middle School (CMS), Gary Keen as school bus driver for the Pumpkin Ridge/Reed Fork route (Caroline Taylor's former route), and Glenwood Nichols as school bus driver for the Sycamore/Brown route (Mike Evans' former route), all successful bids; approved transfers for bus drivers Mike Evans, to the Elk River Road route - Bus #4 (Joe Lanham's former route), Brenda Griffin to the Procious/Two Run route - Bus #1 (Clinton Nichols' former route), and William Schoolcraft to the special needs route - Bus #35 (Brenda Griffin's former route), all successful bids; awarded extra curricular contracts to teach Spanish at the elementary schools, paid through a Foreign Language grant, to Kathi Linkinogger at Clay Elementary, Debra Johnson at Ivydale Elementary, and Stacey Dorsey at Lizemore Elementary, all successful bids. Assistant Superintendent Larry Gillespie said that of the about 20 Spanish teachers available Clay couldn't get one of them. Linkinogger said those they were contracting with had all had Spanish in either high school or college. No mention made on whether Valley Fork and H.E. White Elementary schools will also be receiving instruction in Spanish; approved transfers for eight students to attend Clay County schools from Roane, Calhoun and Nicholas counties; and, the out of state/overnight trip to National Competition in Oklahoma City, OK for Ag Science and 4-H teams in May was approved, and the board will pay the $1919.60 asked for. All motions passed unanimously.Clay County High School students Sara Graham and Valerie Lane asked the board for help with the cost of bringing a speaker to CCHS in October. The speaker, Eric Reneger, would talk on suicide and drug prevention, as well as cigarette smoking. The girls provided the board with some statistics, noting that smoking among Clay teens was increasing. They also provided a video of the speaker for the board members to watch. Sarah said they were trying to get stuff started in Clay, and the Health Department was going to donate $500 to the project. The cost to bring the speaker would be $2,150, and although grants had been written, none had been received. They had also checked into using money from the Drug Free Schools grant, but were told by Ms Willis that couldn't be used. The two asked the board to help fund the speaker. Board had a lot of positive comments on their proposal, and R.B. Legg asked that the proposal be placed as an action item on the next agenda.Grandfather Roy Runion appeared to ask the board for help getting his 8 year old granddaughter to school and back. Much discussion on this one between board members, Runion, Transportation Director Larry Legg, and the contract bus driver on the route in the Elkhurst area. Runion said the family had been offered payment in lieu (mileage reimbursement) if they would transport the child themselves. Although road condition was discussed, Legg saying it could only be traveled at 20 miles an hour, it would only be a real concern in bad weather. Currently the contract bus driver does not go down the 2 ½ mile road to the child's home, and she explained that the real problem was that they were already making double runs and having trouble meeting the other buses and getting the students to school in time for breakfast. Runion said he didn't want the money for taking his granddaughter to school; the problem was the family couldn't provide transportation all the time. He said his daughter had no driver's license, the father left for work at 4 AM, and he couldn't leave work to take her home in the evening.Runion, "People have jobs, you know, they can't jeopardize to drive this child to school and back." Runion said he could get her to school, but not bring her home. Board finally asked Legg to work out some way to get the child home every day, with Runion bringing her in the morning, by their next meeting on October 6.
IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? Clay Roane PSD Meets
It’ never dull at a Clay Roane PSD meeting! Such was the case Sept 11 as the water provider Board of Directors met in regular session in the CDC building on Main Street. Present: Chair Melissa Postelwait, Gary Whaling, Dave Saulsgiver, and Larry White. Absent: Glenn Sutton. Around 20 sat in the gallery to watch the action up front.
Chair Postelwait announced the Queen Shoals service areas was currently under a Boil Water Order because a land owner had post hole dug thru a main water line near the Glen Post Office. With the line fixed, the BWO remains until state labs can OK the water sample from the system.
The PSD continues to dig out from under $40,000 in debt. Motion made and passed to pay bills for the month which left only two old debts left to clear up. And then the winner of the night. Lead by the Chair, discussion centered around the PSD making employees injured on the job go to a “ompany doctor”a doctor of the PSD’ choosing. Postelwait said that employee Burdette was recently off work for a long period of time and his doctor would not even acknowledge that Burdette was a patient. Postelwait wanted to tell the MD that Burdette could come back to work under “ight duty”conditions. Larry White, “We need to get a company doctor.”Gary Whaling, “e could only go to OUR doctor?”Postelwait affirmed her statement, “If he is hurt on the job, a comp case, [he would] use our doctor not his family doctor.”Mr. White, “You’e got to talk to the doctor, it’ a big deal.” White was referring to the shortage of trained water plant operators and what happens to operations at the Procious Water Plant when someone is absent from duty.
After a long Bd. discussion, attorney Tom Whittier set the Board straight. Now Whittier didn’ say they were a bunch of dumb bunnies for even discussing such a deal, but he should have. Whittier did say: an employer cannot deny an employee his own doctor; an employer can only request the employee to see a specific doctor at the PSD’ expense; no doctor can release ANY information, and, they can’ even tell you if the employee is a patient there. Didn’ seem to sink in, Postelwait, “ill investigate further.” Problem time, the problem is with the engineering contract. With project engineer Jim Hildruth present, the explanation came. In a contract drawn up by Hildruth for services on the Punkin Ridge water extension project, a contract approved by Federal Govt. lenders, the WV Public Service Commission doesn’ like one provision that calls for Hildruth to receive interest $ on the money spent before getting paid for the job. For example: If the contract engineer works on a project for several months ( or several years in the case of the Amma Left Hand project) and spends a bunch of his own loot, the contract calls for the engineer to receive interest earned on the spent money.
Hildruth commented that he has been in the business for 30 years and this is the first time the PSC has raised a fuss over the provision. According to Hildruth, the WV PSC gave no reason for their dislike for the provision. Since 1997, Jim Hildruth has been working on the Amma Left Hand project out of his own pocket! Hildruth, “I can’ borrow at the bank now…. I don’ expect payment until the job starts…. I am a little perplexed.. The lender, RUS has no problem with the contract….”Attorney Whittier was given the task to approach the PSC and discuss the hold up with the boys in Charleston. Whittier said the issue is causing another delay.
In other matters, mention was made that the local PSD has to show they are competent. Many in the audience laughed.
Remember back last winter when the PSD took over the operation of Queen Shoals PSD? Remember when WV Health Dept big cheese JD Douglas cautioned Clay Roane over serious health issues within the Queen Shoals service area? That nasty little problem is back.
Boardster Larry White informed the group that they had received a nasty letter from the state Health Dept over low water pressure conditions at Queen Shoals. At issue is the PSD not filing “anitary survey”forms in a timely manner and the lack of content in the form when it was sent. Postelwait said Dave Saulsgiver and Bobby Burdette had filled out the form and she looked at it only after it had been sent to Charleston. She commented, “I wouldn’ have approved it!” Saulsgiver sat quietly but his lather was starting to foam up.
As the discussions continued, little did they know that Michael Koch, the district engineer for the state was sitting in the audience. Koch told the Board that the response received was “derogatory in nature” inadequate, and did not address all the issues. Koch was not joking around! Koch said he personally had been in the Queen Shoals area looking the low water problems for years, “I’e been there a dozen times…”He explained that this was a VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM for three homes and he COULD turn the problem over to the Feds and “You don’ want that!”Bobby Burdette was the Chief Operator when the report needed to be filed according to now Chief Operator Jennifer Traub. Koch went on to say that “he district needs to open its mail.”Koch complimented Traub as a one of the best operators in the district and very professional. Did we mention Koch was not a happy camper and was not grinning?
So what do you do when you’e nearly out of debt? Go into debt. Postelwait said she had received a bid from Telford’ Chevy for a new 4WHD truck, Cost $19,000. She said they were currently paying out $1000 per month for truck repairs and the new truck ( at $379/month) would actually be cheaper than running the old unit. Saulsgiver asked why the PSD needed a full size truck when a compact model would be cheaper on gas used.
As discussion was turning to Punkin Ridge project funds being used to pay for the new truck, Punkineer Coon came a little unglued. She was unhappy with such a small project footing the bill on a new truck that would service the entire PSD. Concerns were also raised over the Punkin Project paying off a $50,000 loan secured by the PSD four years ago. The explanation came from Jim Hildruth. According to Hildruth. The lenders gave ( a grant) $70,000 to pay off the old loan and a truck. The PSD would only have to pay back $30,000. Total:$100,000. When tempers turned to the slow poke Town of Clay draggin its feet and holding up projects, Hildruth corrected them. Hildruth, “The Town is making good progress… it’ a cohesive group now,….” Questions came up on the water lines in the Queen Shoals service area with many of them running thru the woods. Ms Coon asked about recent pay raises being funded by using money set aside for a full time maintenance man slot which has gone unfilled. White and Postelwait tried to make it sound like that didn’ happen. Explanation didn’ go over well with most in the gallery realizing the wool being pulled over their eyes.
As for JD Morris having to move his tap back to the property line, doesn’ look like that will happen.
And to top it all off, Sutton and Postelwait will be attending a PSD paid for conference ( Flatwoods) this month. Saulsgiver ended the 1 ¾ hour long meeting with comments on it being much cheaper for the PSD if Postelwait and Sutton would drive to the conference each of the three days. $30.00 a day compared to over $70 per day for a motel room for each Board member. Postelwait, “I am NOT driving it… I am sorry.” As for a rate increase in the works…. White,”We may have to do that.”
Now doesn’ that make for a perfect meeting? Free too!
BDA SURVIVES But for how long?
County Commission held a Special meeting Sept 16. Present, CCC President Jimmy Sams, hobbling around on crutches (recent knee surgery), Peter Triplett and Mathew Bragg . The Commission room was packed with Business Development Authority members and more in the peanut gallery. On the agenda were two items, #1, the status of the Business Development Authority (BDA); and #2, the CCC/BDA vs. Clay County Bank court battle scheduled for Sept 23, just a few days away.
On topic #1, Status of the BDA? Before the meeting, word on the street had it, that Commissioner Sams wanted shed of the BDA and shed of the group before the Sept 23rd court hearing date. The BDA hired attorney Barbara Schamberger some time back to represent them in court and of course, long time readers of this paper will remember the various runs-in with Schamb and Sams. The most recent? Schamb has a lawsuit against the CCC over the hiring of Daniel Grindo for the Prosecutor’ opening last Dec. Sams resigned his position on the BDA after the BDA voted to retain Schamb for the court battle. Since then, the CCC voted to NOT pay Schamb for her services. The vote was split 2-1 with Bragg supporting the BDA’ hire.
According to state code 7-12-3, the County Commission can remove any and all BDA members. Although the BDA is suppose to operate independently of the CCC and have the authority to even take out loans and float bond initiatives, development authorities are the only appointed group that can be removed from office anytime they pee off the local Commission. The law went into affect four years ago. With that in mind, and with Sams steamed over the retaining of Schamb, Sams wanted the BDA gone … at least in many people’ minds anyway.
So much for background stuff, no back to the meeting. After opening and prayers, Bragg asked if there was a gag order in place which would make it illegal for the CCC to discuss the matter. Bragg wanted no part of violating a Judge’ order, Bragg, “ won’ be a part of this… I’ done.”BDA member Morgan Gibson said there was a gag order with BDA Chair Paige Willis nodding in agreement. Prosecutor Grindo didn’ know of such an order but left the room to check the files up stairs.
With Grindo out of the room for 10 minutes of longer, the discussions centered around the what could be said, Sams, “alkin’to our attorney can’ hurt?” Gibson said they could talk behind closed doors but not once out in public. Ivydale resident Elizabeth Sampson asked for the CCC to go ahead and handle item #1, the status of the BDA while waiting. Nothing doing. Didn’ happen.
Around 1:22 Mr. Grindo came back and reported he found no such gag order in place and “here’ nothing on record.”With Bragg still present the CCC motioned to go into secret time. All were tossed out of the room including the BDA members present. Gibson, “We represent the CCC, don’ we have the right to stay in here?”Sams, retorted, “No. You have your own attorney, we have ours!”as the 10 or so BDA gang stomped out of the room, someone let out,”I don’ like the sound of this!”All nodded in agreement.
The all volunteer group was jovial as they stood in the hallway, 5 minutes, then 10 minutes. Then longer still. They made remarks on the fate of their organization. They discussed the law relating to the BDA and closed door meetings. Paige Willis sang a song about an old dog that got kicked every time it came to town. Chair Willis gave that ace cub reporter double H on coverage of the last BDA meeting where the group violated open meeting laws… something about those that live in glass houses and stones.. he referenced a May 16th political ad that was printed in this paper that according to Willis was illegal. Others surrounding Willis added to the butt chewing. As the wait continued in the hallway, some watched thru the large glass door. Grindo was up, then Grindo was down, first sat with his arms in his lap, then with arms stretched atop the pews, then leaning against a partition followed by standing at attention. Triplett scratched, rubbed and gazed. Bragg twitched, switched and rubbed his eyes followed by looking down at the floor. Sams was over in the corner and for the most part could only be seen when he waived his arms and such. No loud voices could be heard.
After 35 minutes or so, attorney Grindo invited the BDA boys into the closed doors dealings. Thru the glass doors, Bragg had his hands in the air, Grindo was up, hitched his britches up a bit. He appeared to be explaining to Bragg, maybe correcting Bragg. Pete didn’ move nor did he read from any paperwork. Out in the hallway, one fellow introduced himself to CAEZ Tourism Director Connie Lupardus. The older fellow told Connie that her boss Jerry Sizemore, “Wasn’ worth a dime!’The guy mentioned the CAEZ involvement with getting Filcon into the county and his distaste for the favor given the taxpayer. After an hour of standing in the hallway, Elizabeth Sampson opened the Commission room door and asked if they were still closed to the public. With a Yes coming from Triplett, Sampson, “[and now] with the BDA now?” Triplett, “Yes Mam!”Sampson retreated.
Around 2:24 and with Commissioner Triplett on the phone, the public was allowed back into the assembly. They waited on County Clerk Judy Moore. A few seconds more they waited on wayward Commissioner Bragg. Finally, with all the parties and the public back, CCC President Sams said they had talked with their attorney and with the BDA and NO DECISIONS HAD BEEN MADE DURING SECRET TIME.
Grindo explained to the group that by law he is the person that normally represents the Commission in court but there was a problem. Prior to being hired by the CCC in Dec 2002, Grindo had worked for the Court ( Judge Alsop) as a clerk and while employed there, the CCC/BDA vs Clay County Bank case was filed… conflict of interest issue. Mr. Grindo said the CCC needed to motion and pass his appointment as their attorney (CCC) and that they waive any right to the conflict issue. Motion passed unanimously.
As for the Sept 23rd hearing date, according to Grindo, the date has been changed and no new date has been set with the Bank and the BDA continuing in mediation.
Ms Sampson asked about agenda item 1 which referenced the “status of the BDA” Again Sams said no decisions were made. Sams was getting impatient and it was fairly apparent, he wanted out of the meeting room before any other questions could be raised. Grindo explained that the status of the BDA had not come up during secret time. Grindo told the Commissioners that maybe they should dismiss that item on the agenda. Nope, Sams wanted out. Sams, “They [BDA] are still on the job.”With Sampson in the middle of asking a follow up question, Sams quickly asked for a motion to adjourn. He got it. The public did not get a chance at another question. Sams got his wish, he was off the front burner without open discussion on the purpose of the meeting.
But then But then….. Remember when Sams said they had made no decision in secret? Chair Willis reminded the boys up front, they had voted during secret time to come out of executive session, the same exact thing the BDA had been accused of just a few days prior. Sams face turned red. The BDA had survived. The CCC had not fired them from their appointed positions.
The rift between the two groups continues. At the center of the rift is attorney Barbara Schamberger who charges the BDA just $14.00 per hour for her services and who recently said she may not even turn in a bill for her work to the county. As the rift continues, the only true question should be whether the taxpayers get their $90,000 land investment near Ovapa returned to them. From the outside looking in, it appears that the only thing Commissioner Sams wants is for the lawsuit to go away no matter what happens to the $90,000. AW
One of the more enjoyable indoor sports provided by scribblers, both significant and obscure, is the seducing and self-indulgent practice of armchair psychological analysis. A more fitting subject for this particular exercise could not be found than our fearless leader, George W. Bush. If by some magic incantation, we could bring back the eloquent style of Cicero, he could provide Bush with a motto, which would perfectly fit the Bush personality. Translated from classical Latin, inscribed on the family crest it would read: “own deep where it counts, I’ shallow.” What more appropriate conclusion can be reached in view of Dubya’ recent behavior and public statement?
The contemporary political scene rarely witnessed a spectacle of preening narcissism to equal Bush’ incredible appearance on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, shiny new flight suit bedecked with a leather patch trumpeting the message: “ommander-In-Chief” Some of the more cynical and legitimate veterans have dubbed him: “light suit in chief.” The repulsive Ann Coulter has even claimed on national TV that the president actually landed the plane. Oddly, none of the other panelists challenged the utter absurdity of this assertion. Ask any navy pilot if a man who had not been at the controls of a jet fighter for over two decades, who earned his wings flying a plane that was too obsolete for service in Vietnam, whose time was spent in uniform whenever he felt like it, could possibly duplicate the skill of a carrier landing. Even the top guns in the Air Force couldn’ do it without the proper training. The ship was deliberately maneuvered so that the San Diego skyline was not visible. The entire tableau was a pathetic - and probably successful - bit of show business to give Bush the warrior image his handlers think necessary in these trying times. No doubt this heroic scene will clog our TV screens incessantly during the coming presidential campaign. However, if the cunning political guru, Karl Rove is as clever as the press tells us he is, Bush’ smiling proclamation that victory is ours, hostilities are ended, will be omitted from future ads. Our current leader had come a long way from his devil may care fraternity days and as a cheerleader on the playing fields of Yale.
Now we come to another famous episode in the live and happy times of the Crawford Rambo. Informed of the Baghdad insurgent’ murderous attacks on our troops, Bush, with his famous mastery of the English language, smirked: “ring ‘m on.” This kind of shameless bluster is worthy of a schoolyard bully. What a world of analysis is possible in such a display of insensitivity. One wonders what the parents of combatants who have been lost to us think of such a statement coming from a man who is probably the most protected figure on the planet. Even more revealing is Bush’ growing habit of using the first person pronoun. The austere egomaniac Charles de Gaulle once wrote: “hen I want to know what France thinks, I question myself.” He also once said: “ am the state.” For Bush, the “e”of government has become the “”of his strutting majesty.
Long ago, in a mythical land far away, there was a king whose awkwardness was well known. His courtiers took great care to avoid pointing it out. When the king spilled gravy on the tablecloth, the functionaries around the table immediately spilled theirs. With a skill that is almost breathtaking in its mindlessness, the hardliners in the media, the government and the think tanks have turned Bush’ glaring weaknesses into virtues. His poisonous self-certainty, arrogance and inability to consider any view outside his own, or those provided for him have been translated as leadership, confidence and strength. His mangling of language and tendency to dismiss as unimportant anything beyond his limited sphere of knowledge is smoothly morphed by his handlers into a portrait as “ man of the people.” One brief, but telling moment in Dubya’ diplomatic odyssey was when an American reporter spoke in French to Jacque Chirac. According to reports, Bush sneeringly ridiculed said newsman, asking him what he thought he was - an “nternationalist?” Dare we speculate that this is a man who feels threatened by and must ridicule someone who may be more cultured than he is? Dr. Freud might agree.
Loyalty, as we all agree, is a beautiful quality. There had been much ballyhoo about Bush’ support of his followers. Take, for example, Don Rumsfeld - please! “ummy,”he of the stratospheric ego, has been wrong about everything. The Iraqis will greet their conquerors with the same joy as our troops experienced in the liberation of Paris. An absence of rose petals has been duly noted. Rumsfeld’ lifetime of slurping at the government trough led him to the conviction that he is a military expert. Against the advice of seasoned military experts, he insisted that he, and he alone [with some support from the sheepowitz in Wolfowitz’ clothing] knew the exact number of troops needed to control that hapless country. Subsequent events have illustrated the flaws in Rumsfeld’ endless capacity for self-deception. More authoritative voices may apply here. In the weeks before the war General Norman Swarzkopf went public with the army’ grievance against Rumsfeld, calling the Defense Secretary’ “icromanagement”of the war “cary.” Here are his words.
...When he makes his comments, it appears that he disregards the army ...That he is the guy driving the train and everybody better fall in line behind him-or else. There are guys at the Pentagon who have been involved in operational planning for their entire lives, OK? And for this wisdom, acquired during many operations, wars, schools, for that just to be ignored, and in its place have somebody who doesn’ have any of that training, is of concern.
While it may be true, as someone once said that war is too important an endeavor to be left to the generals, Rumsfeld’ unwillingness to consider any counsel but his own and the lackeys who surround him makes him dangerous. A civilian voice maintains:
...The drawing of the larger picture of the war was left, not to the commanding general, as had been the case in Desert Storm, but to Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon.
-Peter J. Boyer -The New Yorker
When he is not indulging his Napoleonic complex as a would-be Field Marshall, Rumsfeld spends most of his time insulting the countries that were in full and sympathetic support of our anti-terrorist efforts after 9/11. The global antagonism stirred up by Rumsfeld’ foot-in-mouth diplomacy, echoed by our warrior-king has come back to haunt us. Now we are forced to go, hat in hand to an organization the hardliners have dismissed as “rrelevant,”the U.N. as well as countries the secretary sneeringly referred to as “ld Europe.” In a rational world, Rumsfeld’ pathological ineptitude would get him fired. It may be that Bush’ vaunted “oyalty”is nothing more than blind stubbornness. He is incapable of admitting error. The accident of birth that places one among the elite and privileged provides little room for self-doubt or introspection. The Brahmins of the establishment must be well-pleased with Bush’ so-called economic plan: it is the very model of the British upper class attitude of the fifties and sixties: “___ you, Jack: I’e got mine.” One can only hope that the slogan has been sufficiently laundered for tender eyes.
It must be said, however grudgingly, that Rumsfeld should be credited with one significant achievement - his rise to power has completely eclipsed the Secretary of Sate, once, arguably, the most important post below the President. Powell has virtually vanished from the international scene. This is the former “ero”when reflecting on his experiences in Vietnam in the autobiography My American Journey wrote:
...I had gone off to Vietnam in 1962 standing on bedrock of principle and conviction, and I had watched that foundation eroded by euphemisms, lies and self-deception.
It is almost inconceivable that the same man who wrote this could have participated in the tawdry and dishonest charade in his presentation before the U.N. Security Council. More than one reporter has maintained that, when General Powell was presented with the bogus “vidence”detailing the potential and immediate danger of Saddam’ WMDs, he blurted: “his is _______. I won’ read it.” But he did, reducing his stature to that of an apostate, sentencing himself to becoming and remaining just one more of the administration’ stooges. Nothing would have become Powell’ career more, had he submitted his resignation upon first discovering the administration’ tendency to obscure or distort the truth. One of the abiding ironies in this era of the double standard is that Clinton lied, but Bush only “isled.” As always, where you stand depends upon where you sit.
Lord Acton was squarely on the mark when he wrote: “ower corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The old Texas maverick, Jim Hightower, in a reference to big-shot executives, remarked that they “ee lightning, and think it’ God snapping pictures of them.”
Non semper erit aestas [Be prepared for hard times]
Patriotism Isn’… By Jim Chafin
Of all the tools available to those who would hope to undermine a people or society, SECRECY is probably the most hurtful, demeaning, and effective weapon that any would-be dominator could ever conjure up that would most surely accomplish his purpose (s). In an open society wherein the general population has little recourse but to rely on information provided it by the power structure, secrecy in formulating public policy is a sure-fire method that a political system can employ to quickly gain the upper hand over the `good and welfare’of the citizens “ight to know.” For example, laws formulated behind closed doors without the light of public scrutiny are, most always, against good public welfare and in favor of embedded hangers-on whose only interest is their own enrichment. Whenever and wherever secrecy exists we can be assured that in most instances, public interest winds up on the short end of the stick. No matter the name by which a society wishes to be identified, secrecy employed in formulating public policy (it’ laws) is the fundamental element by which power is designed and put into effect. Secrecy is the glue that binds abuse, bad domestic and foreign relations, coercions, domination, fraud, injury, intimidation, even death. It strips people of their identity, even character. Laws written in darkness are the ways of kings, potentates, emperors, and dictators. Laws, so written, are the products of a mind-set that denies man’ rightful place in choosing his own station in life, and it robs folks of their dignity. And people so affected become alienated whereupon the system loses some of its strength in dealing with real enemies of the state. Secrecy imposes a code of silence upon its participants that gives rise to the social doctrine known as “ollective hypocrisy”- hear no evil, see no evil. In such a group, individual members are encouraged to remain silent even in the face wholesale law-breaking, injury of person and property, even death isn’ excluded –all for the good of the clan, so to speak. Secrecy deprives individuals of their right to due process under the law, thereby rendering null and void the right to be innocent until proven guilty.
A nation so painstakingly carved from the despotic rule of church and state Europe of the Middle Ages; a form of government so laboriously welded together by so dedicated a group of freedom loving folks who were driven by personal hardships and tragedies and so knew the meaning of true despotism first hand; “ tiny acorn that grew into a might oak tree,”it is said; in this land of liberty loving people, how could all the nurturing of early-America been brought to this point in 2003 where this goodly land is being treated so haphazardly? Do we not have any sense of history left in us at all?
Aside from the fact that immorality has taken center stage in this generation, how would one describe the process wherein we, seemingly, have lost all commonality with out kindred spirit that has been so helpful to this county in its quest for greatness? Or, is this an allusion to a time that never was? Looking at this nation’ past relationship with its citizens, one will find that society has always been in a state of war with itself. Less than powerful people have always borne the brunt of discrimination from a less than caring majority. So, we must conclude that we are no less selfish today than were those tyrannical forces that gave rise to the mass emigration that swelled the population on the shores of Eastern America in the 1600’. What of the feeling of those ‘uddled masses’who yearned to be free? What kind of spirit inhabited the breasts of those gaining freedom for themselves? What were the public policies of the dominant majority once they had established themselves? Well, wonder of wonder, wouldn’ you just know it? Once gaining freedom for themselves, they proceeded to pass laws that denied the same privileges for others. Severe penalties were written in the law for such things as, now hear this, failure to attend church on Sunday. There were floggings, stoning, jail time, the stockade, banishment form the colonies, and, yes, even death as a penalty for some. The privileged majority was then writing replicas of the laws of which they once held in such high disdain in merry old England.
One Roger Williams, probably America’ first patriot who lived in Boston Colony during the 1600’, preached religious freedom to his countrymen and advocated paying the Indians for the land we took from them. He was rousted out of bed in the middle of the night forced to flee for his life into the wilderness of a cold Massachusetts winter– leaving behind his wife and children. “hey wanted me to die” said Williams of his tormentors. And nearly die he did! He sought shelter in the hollow trunk of a large tree and covered himself with leaves from the forest floor. That is where he was found the next day by a band of Indians who were out hunting for food. They took him to their camp, clothed him, gave him food and shelter and nursed him back to health. Later Williams would write in his diary, “he savages of the forest were more kind than the savages in my own colony.” The Yen gees, so called by the Indians, were so intolerable of Williams’religious freedom message that he lived with the Indians for two years, during which time he translated the New Testament into their language. A true patriot in spirit of freedom and liberty was our man Roger Williams. Unlike the spirit of greed that pervades this land today, he personifies the commitment to a free nation ‘nder God,’to which we all should aspire. He is patriotism in its finest array. May God send us another of such perseverance in our hour of need today!
DON GREENE: WV Radical
TOURISM YOU SAY?
I was pleased to see the word tourism mentioned recently as a possible employer and job-creator in Clayberry. But I’ afraid it will follow the path that tourism has down here, lots of talk and no walk. I have beaten the tub for decades that our best bet for the future of West Virginia is to develop a network of tourist attractions and events. These would draw millions of tourists to the state and generate not only thousands upon thousands of jobs, but also literally millions of dollars in revenue, directly from the tourists and in the form of taxes, income, personal and real estate. This revenue, in turn, would pay for improvements to our decaying infrastructure, pay salaries and be reinvested in the attractions and events.
Unfortunately West Virginia seems to have very few people, and certainly an extremely small number among the bureaucracy, that can envision the development of tourism on even the smallest scale. We all hear about the ski resorts, white-water rafting and great ATV Trail but do the numbers actually match the talk? How many jobs does each of these create? How much do they pay their employees? Have any of them raised the standard of living or quality of life in their regions? These are the sort of questions that ought to be answered quickly and easily by our tax-paid bureaucrats when any tourism oriented business, attraction or event is proposed.
Tourism, like any other industry, requires infrastructure - roads, water, sewer and electricity. I know Mason County is nearly helpless when trying to address these subjects and have learned over the last year or so that Clay County is no better. Even the most basic primitive campground needs running water and sewage treatment. Would the leaders of Clay County be able to answer these needs in a timely fashion? That would be, “an they get the needed elements in place in time to allow the business to get up and running?”You all make your own call on that. I know the answer down here and figure you all know the answer up there.
Another problem that our leaders, from the state level down, can’ seem to grasp is that “indy’ Hot Dogs” “erri’ Camping & Hiking”or “ndy’ Woodcrafts”are all tourism and are all part of the big picture. Merely building a car-racing track or another ATV trail won’ do the trick. For tourism to have any positive impact on the county, it has to improve the infrastructure, create jobs and generate revenue, both in wages and later in taxes. Anything less than this is nothing more than more of the wheel spinning our state and county governments are infamous for doing. This brings me back to the lots of talk and no walk scenario. If we are going to have tourism, we have to break that cycle first. Then we can move quickly into the “ield of dreams”and see tourism grow in our counties and state.
One out-of-state person asked me the other day, “hy isn’ Clay County building up like other counties around Kanawha County?” I told them the answer was easy.
|(1) No safe water, and people who don’ care if it’ safe or not even at schools where children can catch diseases. He said isn’ the Elk River clean? I said no, because most sewer lines eventually end up in the Elk, even human feces, the WV Health Department knows this and should give tests and shots for hepatitis among other things that can be fatal or damage the learning process. No one wants a good company to come in and run things properly. Why? Who knows?|
(2) Not enough law enforcement for this large of an area, reason for this is population not area.
(3) People in high places control the good jobs and it seems like you must be family.
(4) If someone does want to build a good spot the people who own it want to get rich very quick!
(5)-(6) He asked why I live here - I said when I moved here twenty-eight years ago I thought I would see business growing up all around in Clay, because it had to be the next county, but it wasn’ meant to be. Business kept going west, south and east, and when business came up I-79 it skipped Clay County or good roads that go into Clay County, but who cared right? If I could find a place to move to, and some place I could afford, I would move. There are other circumstances though, one is caring and trying to help the people.
(7) Trash piles right next to the road and church lot. No one cares about this from the state to the county.
(8) A lack of fire and ambulance service. This is not from people not wanting to work or help, it’ the lack of caring again from the state. How do you get help from the state? It’ the lack of county leadership.
These are just a few of the questions that I was asked, but I’ trying to keep it short. How many times have you been asked these questions from your neighbors or friends?
Caring and being active is the answer, but finding people like this in Clay County is impossible. If there isn’ anything in it for them, forget it! On the up side, there are a few around! Thank God for the few.
Frank L. Kish, Jr.
I would like to respond to “art before the Horse” The supervisor for the Dept. Of Highways doesn’ know when the lines will be painted on the highways. This is all contracted out. They come in and paint without telling anyone. With all the floods this spring many people within the Department of Highways were working in many areas. Many pot holes needed to be patched, and could only be done when personnel was available. This was prolonged also by vacations. Which would you rather have lines on the roads or potholes?
Love your site - I check it all the time. I’ not from Clay County or WV, but I’ very interested in the history and people. I began genealogy research about two years ago and the road led me to Clay County. My great-grandmother was born there in 1877, the daughter of Elizabeth McKinney, born in NC, who married a King, and later a Nicholas. My McKinneys came to Clay sometime after the 1870 census was taken. My father’ people are from Greenbrier, been there since about 1800. Daddy left in 1947, came to New York, and here I am.
I visited Clay last year and the year before and fell in love with it. I find your site very informative and helpful to my research. Many of the names I find on your obit page are people whose names I’e seen on old records as well as some of their parents. History is wonderful! From my research I believe that all the McKinneys who are now in Clay are all descendants of Elias and Milla Green McKinney from Yancey, NC. I’e checked the census for Clay and Nicholas in 1850 and there are no McKinneys there. I first find them in the 1880 Clay County Census. The census taker has their place of birth as Kentucky - wrong!
I’e been trying to contact the Historical Society to see if they are still in operation. So far I’e received no answer from them. I really hope they haven’ closed for lack of funds; it would be a pity if such a great organization were closed. I know your site keeps up on all that’ going on in the county, so I’ sure you’l know what’ going on with them. I will be sending my membership dues off this week.
If there is anything I can do to help with the Santa’ Helper Program please let me know - I’ on a lot of My Family sites and will be glad to get the word out to help with this cause.
Great site, hope to be in Clay next July!
Betty Jane Perkins
New York City
WATER HOLD UPS
Several weeks back Clay Roane PSD reported that the long stalled water line extension project for Lizemores, Fola, and Tucker’ Bottom was ready to be advertised for construction. That hasn’ happened. During a recent County Commission meeting, Peter Triplett commented that there were two hold ups.
We spoke with Clay Roane Office Manager Cindy Schoolcraft Thursday September 18 for details. The following are excerpts from that interview.
So what are the two hold ups? Schoolcraft: We’e working on one of those hold ups this morning. Our engineer and the surveyor are talking to Randy Holcomb. That’ for the tank site. On the other one, they are going to go up Fola this morning… now Punch Legg has said we cannot put the booster station on his property. So, we are talking to some other people up there where it [booster station] could possibly go. They are over there working on all that this morning.
Ms Schoolcraft acknowledged that the ideal site for the Fola area booster station would be on Punch Legg’ land but continued: It needs to be there because of that hollow that goes up through there, it’ called Legg Hollow. If we go any further [than Mr. Legg’], we are going to have to run lines back down and then go up that hollow. We can do that but the ideal place would be Mr. Legg’ but he is just not willing to deal with us….” Unless both details, the storage tanks site and the booster station, are finalized, the project is not complete and therefore cannot go to bid according to the office manager
As for the issue with the tank site at Bickmore, again Ms Schoolcraft: .. Randy was first saying that we would not be allowed to come on his property and put anything back there. He is now talking to us and telling us what he would consider taking for this piece of property. Of course, what he would consider and what we can offer may be miles apart. But, he is willing to talk to us now and he is meeting with our engineers this morning. So we’e hoping there will be some progress from this…
So, if these two problems are corrected, can the project be advertised for construction? Cindy: As soon as they work out the details, then yes, we should be able to go to bid. How long is it going to take to work out the details and get this settled? I don’ know. This project has to go to bid as soon as possible. We want this done… Now
Letter to Brother Bill
Dear Brother Bill:
By the time this reaches you, Isabell will have been there and gone (maybe). I was in Georgia when Hugo was doing his thing. We had only been there six weeks, and knew nothing about hurricanes. Emogene Samples Morris of Jacksonville, Florida, called and asked if we wanted to come to their place. Also, Don and Shonette Shearer of Sebring, Florida, called and wanted us to come to their place. The area schools were closed so that there would be room for the folks coming in from the shore. A teacher I had just met offered to come get us if things were really bad (we were in a small trailer). As it happened, Hugo went up the coast and devastated Charleston, S. C., and some of the islands. I was watching the sky around two in the morning and a very calm, cool breeze came by and that was it for us.
Wood piles are being stacked, and gardens, what is left, brought in to put away. Mom used to tell us about the harvest (when she lived with her family on Big Laurel Creek). She said after the fodder shocks were made, cabbage and potatoes put in the holes, and cellar filled with their goodies. Grandpa Hooge would then say, "Let her snay". He was then ready for the snow.
Say hello to Danny and Lucy Boggs, of Jackson Center, Pa. I hope they are doing well and that Lucy's health is improving. Jordan Varney,of Blue Knob, is back in the hospital at Bethesda, Md. His mother, Karen, is also having some health problems. Dixie Jarvis is doing well. Her reports from the doctor were good. God DOES answer prayers. Cousin Steve Samples, of Pensacola, Florida, emailed me this morning to tell me that Aunt Maycle, of Twistabout Ridge, was back in the hospital at Montgomery. We need to put these folks on our prayer list.
So sorry to learn of Alan Shaffer's death. You probably remember his parents, Euhl and Norma Shaffer. Death is no respecter of person, it is coming to all of us, sooner or later. We just need to be prepared. Brad McLaughlin will be celebrating a birthday next week. I tell him I am just 18 years older than him. Mary Vaughn, of Blue Knob, also celebrated a birthday this month.
Russell Davis, of LA., called me last weekend. I hadn't talked to him for years. We had a nice conversation. You know his mother and ours was first cousins. Junior Burdette and I were telling Connie Schoonover that she was related to us on the Paxton side. Abner Jehu Paxton has "oodles" of descendants around here and elsewhere. Aunt Delphia O'Dell of Ovapa has been visiting her daughter, Mary Ellen Friend, recently. Norma Samples Johnson, of Tennessee, and John and Dixie Samples Hill, of Texas, are visiting with friends and relatives this week. I guess lots of folks will be here for the Apple Fest (if they don't get rained out.)
Have you ever noticed how you can be having a wonderful day, go to the store, bank or someplace else and meet up with an old "Bag" - I mean someone who is nasty and hateful. They can simply ruin a good day. I just threw that in for good measure. In the mean time, help us all to be brave. —Love and prayers, Sis