February 24, 2002

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     For over 6 years, Clay County has had Clean Indoor Air regulations in place. For many in the county, and based on how those rules are followed, that=s news. The rules were implemented by the Clay County Board of Health and adopted by the Clay County Commission. The existing rules allow for some areas of some public buildings to be designated for those who want to light up. Other counties in this state have similar provisions to eliminate and reduce smoke and second hand smoke situations.
     Less smoke is on the horizon! The Board of Health has been considering toughening the current rules by banning all indoor smoking. There has been heated debates among the Board members themselves and the public as well. Twice the decision to pass the smoking ban has been tabled. Members of the Health Department Board are : Chair. Mary Lou Devlin, Loretta Bird, Lynn Sizemore ( aka Melinda Romano), Connie Harper, and Joretta Gray. During the most recent Health Board meeting, the decision was made to hold a public hearing to gather comments before voting to implement the stricter constraints.
      Although many complained that they had not been informed of the hearing date, the public hearing was held February 20, 6 pm, at the Health Dept. building on Main Street. Moderator for the event was County Sanitarian Teresa Morton. In attendance were just two Health Boardsters, Connie Harper and Lynn Sizemore. Also at the front table were supporters of the tougher requirements and their spokesman, Mike Harmon with the Tobacco Prevention Program. There were a dozen or so in the peanut gallery.
     Harmon started things off with various statistics on the evils of smoking and the effects of breathing second hand smoke. Harmon said that Morgantown was the first to have clean indoor air regulations way back in 1991. Now 6 counties in WV have banned all smoking indoors. With the cancer stories, the evils of tobacco commentaries finished, the public was asked to comment. And comment they did!
     Prosecutor Jeff Davis was first to speak up. Davis felt that the there were some major flaws with the proposed new rules. Davis,
@The ordinance is not enforceable.... you cannot impose criminal liability... this can=t be enforced!!@ He was very firm in his comments. The various coughers and hackers in the gallery seemed pleased with the opening volley!` In response Mr. Harmon cited several examples in other counties where the clean indoor air rules had been upheld in court since 1995. He went on to mention that an Attorney General opinion also validated his position.
     And then something happened. Don
=t know the back ground here readers, but, about half way through Mike Harmon=s comments, Davis wanted to respond and Harmon refused! Harmon, A I wasn=t done with my answer!@
     That sat the stage! When finally done, Davis let loose with comments on: a Circuit Judge
=s decision in another county does not set the precedent for the entire state, that only a Supreme Court decision can do that; an Attorney General=s opinion is just that, just an opinion; and AI am charged with enforcing the regulations!@ Here it comes folks, as Davis was almost, but not quite, done with his reflections, Harmon tried to butt in, Davis,@ I wasn=t done finished talking either!!!!@ Davis went on to talk on the constitutional issues of a local Health Board implementing rules with criminal penalties. Harmon read from an earlier Cabell County Judges= letter.
A Those Judges have no jurisdiction here.... only Legislature can pass laws!!.... you can=t do criminal provisions by the Health Department!....@ Sort of a tit for tat deal, again Harmon attempted to interject a comment. Davis,@ EXCUSE ME, I STILL WASN=T DONE AGAIN!@ Davis explained to all that there is a difference between civil and criminal penalties and they [Health Dept.] Ashould not be bootstrapping the code@ to their regulations.
     In rebuttal, Mr. Harmon gave accounts of Monogahalia County Court decisions that forced a bar owner to comply and when the owner refused, was held in contempt of court! Davis wasn
=t finished yet and went on to question whether Open Meeting Laws were considered during the hearing and Board meetings; the hearing appears to be overly slanted toward non smokers; and some issue on the Board of Health voting on the matter.
     From the back came peanutster Jean Jarvis,
@ Didn=t the Judge just overturn the ruling in Cabell ?@A Ms Jarvis was referring to a decision made just hours earlier which threw out much of the tougher Cabell County Clean Indoor Air Act. Jarvis is a strong supporter of the local Lion=s Club Bingo and knows full well, if smokers aren=t allowed in, their Bingo proceeds will diminish a bunch!
In acknowledgment of the decision, Harmon felt the decision would be appealed to the WV Supreme Court and much of the new law was left standing and could be implemented. Sort of a win situation for that county
=s Health Department. Sort of anyway.
     Miles Slack , now a non smoker, raised issues of smoking in the courthouse and could he sue the County Commission for not enforcing the current rules? Harmon said , yes, that there have been cases won where the employer was held liable for unhealthy work environments. Ms Jarvis,
AIt is my decision to work somewhere.. How can I sue my employer??@ Harmon,@ The employer has to provide a safe place to work... You can=t put employees at risk..@
     As for the feelings of our local Health Board, Lynn Sizemore said that she was against the new ordinance and she is now a non smoker! She mentioned that the existing laws were never enforced
Afrom the beginning@ in places like the Henry Clay Hotel. Health Dept Director Karen Dawson acknowledged the same, A The Board is pretty much split@ and before the new regulations can be put on the books, the Board has to vote on them. Dawson also questioned how they can enforce the current rules in places like Go Mart where the building does not lend itself to smoking and a non smoking area. As for the effects of second hand smoke on non smokers, Dawson.@ It=s like peeing in one section of a public pool.@ Sizemore,@ If we can=t do 50 % non smoking, how can we do 100% non smoking [in public places]?@ Consensus of those at the front table: They have to have the support of the Prosecutor, Magistrates, and all others involved.
AWhat if the business owner doesn=t want to be smoke free?@ Harmon,@... it compels the owner to post signs.. there is usually grumblings.@ Harmon admitted that some places would not comply.
     Grape grower extraordinaire R.T. Sizemore explained that the plan won
=t work in Clay County, there is no support for the total ban in this county, and gave a history on how the Lion=s Club could not operate the Bingo enterprise in a public school after the schools were made smoke free. According to Sizemore and others in the Lion=s Club delegation, attendance hit rock bottom when smokers were eliminated from their endeavors!
After reading the recently passed out copies of the proposed rules, Prosecutor Davis commented that even the hotel bar would have to be smoke free since it is not a free standing building.
     In support of keeping smoking for Bingo players, Ms Jarvis listed the many donations and proceeds from the Bingo movement and how those dollars had benefited many in the county......$10,000.00 in scholarships, eye glasses, paid for leader dog training, donations to missionaries,
Athat=s just a part of it!@ She also stated, without the Bingo dollars coming in , they would have to file bankruptcy on the building=s mortgage. Jarvis,@ It=s their choice to come!@
     Does the County Commission have to vote on this ? It
=s election year, you know. Director Dawson was not sure whether it was a vote or just recorded with the County Commission.
     Miles Slack disclosed that his allergies go bonkers when he
=s around smokers and that in his line of work ( cop), he has to go into smoking places as well as non smoking areas. He also felt that your place of employment has to be considered differently, since it=s really a voluntary situation when you=re there. (Since Slack=s boss is a smoker... hope his car payments are paid up in advance.... just kidding.. sort of.)
      Smoker Davis explained , in his courthouse office, he smokes just in his back office and has fans and such to reduce the smell. Slack replied to that with,
A I can smell it when I come into the Courthouse.@ Davis,@ Others smoke there, too.@
     Beauty Salon owner Linda Jarvis felt that since she paid for her business expenses and many of her customers wanted to smoke while getting worked over, if the state came in and said no smoking, she would just shut operation down!
From Clay Auto Parts, Reggie Sparks likened the new rules to having lost just one freedom and compared the framework to when Rosa Parks was forced to sit in the back of the bus. Sparks,
@ I should have the right to decide . I pay the rent!@
     About then someone read from the proposed regulations which all but eliminates a smoker from walking down the sidewalks in Clayberry while smoking. Further over in the law is wording making it illegal to smoke a cig within 10 feet of a public building. Oh, boy.. Harmon,
AThat=s not the intention of the words...@ As to getting arrested for Asmoking while walking,@ Ms Morton, AThat would never happen.@
Morton said that the decision to implement the 100% smoke free world will take place March 27, 2002. Discussion on modifying the proposal, discussion on how few Bingo players there are at Lizemore Elementary where no smoking is practiced. Dawson reminded all again on the serious health concerns in the county related to smoking illnesses. Didn
=t go over too well. Sizemore, AThey go home to smoke anyway!... All I see is lawsuits.. Why do we dare to do this if it=s going to the Supreme Court?@
     Again, and from some little fat guy,
AWho gets the citation, the smoker or the business owner?@ The table responded with side steps, and dodges. Harmon,@ Educate them first...@ Morton felt that both would be held liable. Harmon commented that a judge could shut down the business for non compliance. Davis came back with concerns that there are other legal issues with the proposed law. Morton said that she had been receiving about 5 complaints a month and many were on the Bingo operation. Davis, AOut of 10,000 residents??@ Slack,@ I value my health very much!@
     R.T. came back with the slippery slope theory, now smokers, later.. maybe they would go after fat people or old people or ugly people and get them out of public buildings! R.T.,
@ Why not say ‘R.T. you=re eating too much?@ Peanut Gallery consensus,@ The new 100% no smoke regulations appear to be over kill.
The 90 minute session ended with few minds changed. A note: Senate Bill 604 is now being considered that would word a state wide regulation that would then be voted on by each county. That bill, if it becomes law, would exempt Bingo halls, bars, bowling alleys, churches ( just kidding) and night clubs.

follow ups

     So concerned over the water conditions in Clay County, Vera Beasley provided our readers last time around with research she found on the various Federal Government web sites. Ms Beasley has been disturbed over the amount of health related diseases in this county and maybe their link to the various treated and untreated water supplies used by area residents.
As part of that story a survey form was provided and readers were asked to fill it out and mail it to our office to the attention of Vera Beasley. The deadline for submission was February 18. To date, we have received several completed forms. The results so far are very interesting. In an attempt to get a even better unscientific sampling of the needs and desires of the community, we have extended the mail in date to February 28, 2002.
The information collected will be made public in the next paper for sure and your name, address, etc., will NOT be included when the results are shared. Thanks for the responses and for the rest of you... Get them in NOW!

??? DID YOU KNOW ???

  1. The world is full of could’ve been. A could’ve been is worse than a has-been. At least the has -been was there once.
  2. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
  3. Every experience you have is designed to make you stronger.
  4. The Ford Escort, Mercury Cougar, and Lincoln Continental will be discontinued in an effort to start making money again for the Ford Motor Company.
  5. The life expectancy of Afghanistans is 44 years; one in four dies before age five.
  6. Inmates in West Virginia prisons serve some of the longest sentences in the country, according to the Bureau of Justice.
  7. There are only “two” ways of spreading light, to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.
  8. Of the 417 calls last year to problem gamblers hotline, 234 were from men and 173 were from women.
  9. Only 11 of the state’s 23 public and private colleges are considered affordable for “low income” students.
  10. There are more than 50,000 miles of Tootsie Roll candy made every year.
  11. Scores of almost 24,000 West Virginia school students who last spring scored poorly on standardized tests weren’t counted in overall results.
  12. More people than ever visited West Virginia last year, up 7.4 percent over the 19.8 million who came in 1999.
  13. 87 percent of businesses in West Virginia restrict smoking.
  14. Only 14 percent of West Virginians over the age of 25 have college degrees.
  15. For the first time since 1979, women are producing enough children to offset deaths in the United States, says the National Center for Health Statistics.
  16. There are about 14,000 adults on “welfare” in West Virginia.
  17. According to the 2001 pet owner survey, 63 percent of owners say “I love you” at least daily to their pets.
  18. Customers calling the IRS for help with their tax returns are waiting 15 percent longer than they did in 2000. They wait 4 minutes on average.
  19. 5,700 people die each year because of a shortage of donated “organs’.
  20. During 2001 a total of 17.18 million vehicles were sold in the US, making it the second best year on record. LMM


*H.E. White Elementary=s Chili Cook Off event was lightly attended this year. The first Sunday in February event serves as a fund raiser for the school. Usually by 1:00 pm the parking lot is packed full of vehicles with visitors galore sampling various chili recipes. Some in the area feel the low turn out was a result of the wording on the flyers that were sent out advertising the shindig. Whether intentional or not, the wording made it sound like the event was only for the folks that supported the January 19 excess levy election.
*Folks out Harrison way are real concerned over soon to be started clear cutting of the Fola Company held lands surrounding their homes. For years the various coal barons practiced select cut timber harvests which had little impact on the private homes. The clear cutting comes in preparation for a major strip mining operation in that region of the county.
*As for bus driver Mike Taylor and the incident where a young passenger on his bus was left at a home without a current bus pass allowing for such, a letter has been put in his personnel file.

BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon=s Corner

The Incredible Story of Floyd Snively, Spy

     Floyd Snively is one of those virtually faceless people we see every day. As the old song puts it,
AYou=d see him on the street and never notice him@. His undistinguished presence and understated personality are a perfect combination for his profession, for Floyd is a deep-cover espionage agent whose fingerprints have been burned off and whose dental records have been destroyed.
     Floyd is fluent in 16 languages, an achievement which underlines his value in foreign assignments. Despite his brilliance, however, Floyd finds himself confused these days. He works for a government that has more than 40 intelligence agencies, each of which is more concerned with protecting its own turf than with sharing information. Rivalry, rather than cooperation, is the prevailing order in the spy game. Competition is so intense that Floyd is not always sure of the source of his assignments. His cover is so deep he receives his orders by telephone in a carefully coded language.
     One morning during the Cold War in an obscure midwestern town, Floyd Snively, known by his neighbors as a mild-mannered stamp collector, receives a call on his private line. A vaguely familiar voice barks:
A...You are to proceed immediately to JFK. Tickets will be waiting for you at the international desk. Your night flight will take you to Berlin=s Templehoff Airport. Upon arrival in Germany a large man with red hair will hand you a sealed packet. Do not speak to him, and go immediately to the nearest men=s restroom. Enter the third stall to the left; lock the door and open the packet. Upon reading your instructions, drop the entire contents into the commode - they will immediately dissolve in water. Flush toilet and proceed to taxi stand.@
Previous missions have provided Snively with intimate knowledge of the city. His instructions are to go immediately to 1616 Wilhelmstrasse in East Berlin where he is to contact his control agent, a Mr. Goldberg. Against the threat of being followed, Snively, experienced spook that he is, changes taxis three times. Finally reaching his destination, he enters the opening of a large apartment building. Scanning the array of names on a wall panel, he spots the name
AGoldberg@, followed by the information ASC@. He pushes the button. The doors open silently. He enters the elevator (Alift@ in European). On the fifth floor, Snively finds the apartment and pushes the buzzer.      The door opens, and a small, bearded man with thick glasses is standing in the opening. A strange dialogue ensues.
AThe moon is blue.@
Snively: It
=s only a paper moon.@
Snively: (Desperately)
AThe moon is made of green cheese.@
AWhat do you want?@
AYou Goldberg?@
AYes, but I=m Goldberg the watchmaker. You want Goldberg the spy. His apartment is three floors up, 8D.@
Make of this what you will, perhaps a modest fable for our time, or a veiled comment on the past triumphs of our crack intelligence agencies at such places as Ruby Ridge and Waco. We should not demand unrealistic standards from agencies which are forced to struggle along on a modest $30 billion budget.        Cur


      February is the yearly, state code mandated, opportunity for businesses and individuals alike to come before the County Commission and seek a reduction in property taxes. The people have to document either where the Assessor screwed up or prove that the property has changed in value.
      Many did just that. The following are few of the changes in assessments voted on by Clay County Commission so far this month.
      Mitchell King brought before the Commission several parcels where he owned
2 of 2 interest. According to King, last year one 70 acre tract was $300 and this year it=s $2300.00; a 50 acre tract was $300 and this year it rose to $1630.00 . Several other tracts were cited. After going over the findings with WV Tax Dept. reps., County Commission voted the following changes: the $4,621.00 value reduced to $745.00; a $2562.00 value reduced to $407.00; $3971.00 to $849.00, $2755.00 to $600.00.
      Keith Barkley from Fola Coal brought before the County Commission several pieces of equipment that were over valued. Two pieces were CAT 988Fs, another was a JOY mining head, some kind of Komatsu equipment as well. No decision was made during this presentation but on Feb. 19, and with Larry Smith from the State Tax Dept. on hand, big changes were voted on by Bragg, Sams, and Butcher. After doing a bunch of ciphering, taking into account what similar pieces of equipment sold for and based on a buyer
=s guide similar to a NADA blue book for cars, the following reduction was given to Fola Coal: total value on rolling stock went from $9.624 million down to $7.299 million.
=s Gene McClure sought relief from high values on wells and mineral holdings. McCLure,@ Why should I be assessed on something that isn=t there?@ His taxes had gone up.. McClure, A The only well was plugged in 1940!@ After conferring with State Tax officials, McClure=s assessments went from $1,362.00 to $282.00 on one parcel and from $1,122.00 to $165.00 on the second holding.
Ditto on a William Elliot. County Commission lowered values from $30,411 to $162.00 and $8700.00 down to $1721.00
     On Feb. 19th, Bobby Jones gave the “Three Blind Mice” a little history lesson before asking for relief. Mr. Jones compared today to Biblical times and felt that things were no better today as they related to politics and leaders. Jones showed pictures of his home that had gone up in classification from
Apoor@ to Afair@. Jones said no improvements had been to his home and how could the values go up when it had just got a year older?? Jones, ANothing was done to it!@ Assessor Legg said it was the opinion of her office that the house was not in poor condition and a similar home built around the same time had been listed in the fair category. Legg, AYou could bring in an appraisal.@ Jones ,@ One politician gives and then one takes away..@ The 74 year old ended with ,@ It=s a dog eat dog world.@ Ms Legg said the difference in tax rates amounted to $5.00 per year. Jones, A Why should I continue to pay on something I already paid for…?@ Sams, A We=ll take a look at it.. there may not be anything we can do about it for you... we=ll see if it compares to your neighbor.@
For the few that took the time to address the over valuation of holdings, results were good. For Fola Coal, the results amounted to $2.4 million. Not too shabby for a couple trips to the courthouse! Hopefully, in the next edition we=ll be able to post all the changes

Forgive Your Trespassers

      Ever wonder what the West Virginia code says about trespassers? The following is the current code on the subject.
''61-3B-1. Definitions. As used in this article:(1) "Structure" means any building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof.(2) "Conveyance" means any motor vehicle, vessel, railroad car, railroad engine, trailer, aircraft or sleeping car, and "to enter a conveyance" includes taking apart any portion of the conveyance. (3) An act is committed "in the course of committing" if it occurs in an attempt to commit the offense or in flight after the attempt or commission. (4) "Posted land" is that land upon which reasonably maintained signs are placed not more than five hundred feet apart along and at each corner of the boundaries of the land, upon which signs there appears prominently in letters of not less than two inches in height the words "no trespassing" and in addition thereto the name of the owner, lessee or occupant of the land. The signs shall be placed along the boundary line of posted land in a manner and in a position as to be clearly noticeable from outside of the boundary line. It shall not be necessary to give notice by posting on any enclosed land or place not exceeding five acres in area on which there is a dwelling house or property that by its nature and use is obviously private in order to obtain the benefits of this article pertaining to trespass on enclosed lands. (5) "Cultivated land" is that land which has been cleared of its natural vegetation and is presently planted with a crop, orchard, grove, pasture or trees or is fallow land as part of a crop rotation. (6) "Fenced land" is that land which has been enclosed by a fence of substantial construction, whether with rails, logs, post and railing, iron, steel, barbed wire, other wire or other material, which stands at least three feet in height. For the purpose of this article, it shall not be necessary to fence any boundary or part of a boundary of any land which is formed by water and is posted with signs pursuant to the provisions of this article. (7) Where lands are posted, cultivated or fenced as described herein, then such lands, for the purpose of this article, shall be considered as enclosed and posted. (8) "Trespass" under this article is the willful unauthorized entry upon, in or under the property of another, but shall not include the following: (a) Entry by the state, its political subdivisions or by the officers, agencies or instrumentalities thereof as authorized and provided by law. (b) The exercise of rights in, under or upon property by virtue of rights-of-way or easements by a public utility or other person owning such right-of-way or easement whether by written or prescriptive right. (c) Permissive entry, whether written or oral, and entry from a public road by the established private ways to reach a residence for the purpose of seeking permission shall not be trespass unless signs are posted prohibiting such entry. (d) Entry performed in the exercise of a property right under ownership of an interest in, under or upon such property. (e) Entry where no physical damage is done to property in the performance of surveying to ascertain property boundaries, and in the performance of necessary work of construction, maintenance and repair of a common property line fence, or buildings or appurtenances which are immediately adjacent to the property line and maintenance of which necessitates entry upon the adjoining owner's property. ''61-3B-2. Trespass in structure or conveyance. Any person who knowingly enters in, upon or under a structure or conveyance without being authorized, licensed or invited, or having been authorized, licensed or invited is requested to depart by the owner, tenant or the agent of such owner or tenant, and refuses to do so, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars. If the offender is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon while in the structure or conveyance, with the unlawful and felonious intent to do bodily injury to a human being in said structure or conveyance at the time the offender knowingly trespasses, such offender shall, notwithstanding the provisions of section one, article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code, be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or be confined in the county jail for a period not to exceed twelve months, or both such fine and imprisonment.


     Clay Roane PSD holds their monthly meetings in the control room at the Procious Water plant. The room and a small lab room adjacent to it measure around 12 by 16 feet or so. During the Feb. 14 Clay Roane PSD meeting, 25 people crammed into the way too small confinement to see the happenings. Clay Roane Boardster T.G. Cruickshanks, Roy Ellis, Gary Whaling, and Lefty Summers present; Garrett Samples absent. In addition to the members, Roane County Commissioner Larry White along with Clay Commissioners Matthew Bragg and Tim Butcher, and engineer Jim Hildruth were in attendance.
      Note: Months ago, big shots from the WV PSC advised the PSD to meet in a larger more accommodating room and suggested the courthouse may be better suited for the public assembly. To date the PSD leadership has refused to move to larger digs.
      Dana Sloan who lives near the golf course in Roane County, asked the board to consider running a water line extension on past the Amma State Road garage for his community. Total 2.6 miles and 26 homes. Mr. Sloan said the tap fee for the project had been collected years ago. As many “Punkin” Ridge residents listened, Chair T.G. Cruickshanks,
A We’ll look into it and see if it=s feasible... We=ll have it explored.@
      With darn near all from “Punkin” Ridge crammed into the room, Celia Coon asked why “Punkin” Ridge is NOT tied in with the Amma water extension project. Ms Coon said she had been in contact with WV PSC
=s Jim Weimer who said the local PSD is responsible for submitting a grant application for funding. Cruickshank said that he had been to a meeting the other night and had been advised not to do anything that would slow down the Amma project. After more Coon questions, T.G. refused helping the “Punkin” Ridge folks to get water until after the Amma project goes to bid.
      Commissioner White explained the history ( back to 1996) behind why Roane county was getting water ahead of Clay County. Another lady,
@ We were in line before >96!!@ T.G.,@ Randy Plumb told us to get to bid! ... you=re not funded!@ Coon, AWe>ve been told that for 20 years!!!!!= All agreed that “Punkin” had been funded years earlier and @magically@ the funding went to more politically affluent areas.
     Commissioner Butcher asked Chair Cruickshanks to do engineering and environmental work for the “Punkin” Ridge extension and put “Punkin”,
Aon the front burner.@ T.G.,@ It=s not on the front burner??@ Again Butcher made the request for the front burner status and said he had talked to the WVPSC and they felt it would only slow the Amma Project down a little. T.G.,@ You=ve probably been talking to Weimer, he=ll tell you anything.@ Seeing that PSD Chair Cruickshanks was not willing to oblige the Commissioner=s request... Butcher left with, AThank you for your time.@ T.G.,=@These agencies talk in circles.@
     Many of the thirsty residents spoke up and reminded the Board of past promises and promises unkept. Commissioner Bragg asked about funding “Punkin” Ridge separately? Again, strong resistance from the PSD with the push being for giving Roane County priority before Clay gets new extensions. T.G.,
AWe can=t hold up Amma.”
      With two commissioners leaving without satisfaction, with 15 area residents pushing for water service, it appeared that only the PSD folks were unaware the tide was changing and they hadn
=t figured it out yet.
Travis Mullins referenced coverage from this paper that sounded slanderous to him. The article in question reported comments from Gary Whaling and the driving habits of Mr. Mullins. T.G., referring to Communicator reporting, A Things get taken out of context.@ Disputing that, Gary Whaling, A I saw you driving it!@ Mr. Whaling later apologized to Mullins for what he had said during that meeting and to the ace cub reporter for disputing the coverage. Sorry for such short coverage readers!

School tidbits

     Just a few little notes from over in school board land. By last Wednesday night, the story had spread across the county of a high school basketball player had mooned parents during a practice session. Supposedly, with pants to his knees, all in the stands got a free shot.
      Not so says CCHS Vice Principal Jim Haynie. According to the VP, the kid had spandex biker shorts underneath the uniform and no one saw squat. A couple of parents in the stands said the white spandex covering was hardly visible. Haynie said a close-by Rick Willis went over and told the youth to get ‘em back up.
      Since the incident, others in the community have questioned why no discipline has been handed out. What would be the difference if the free shot had been a sports bra? Would punishment have been in order?
      Seems things are not happy in sports land. One parent, a Mr. Hardman, brought up issues during the Feb. 19 school board meeting. Mr. Hardman appeared to be raising concerns over uneven discipline policy during the basketball season by Coach Woods. Both of Mr. Hardman
=s sons have quit the team and as the season comes to an end, and with play offs nearing, only 5 varsity starters remain with the Panthers. Potty mouth language seems to be at the center of controversy.
      Finally, during that same board meeting, member Scott Legg asked about the recent hit and run accident with the school bus driven by Brenda Griffin that happened two Fridays ago. When we asked about the accident, no one knew if the police had come to investigate and the feeling was, the incident would be handled
>internally= by the school system.
      And finally, two Fayette County School Board Members were tossed from office by Judge John Hatcher. Hatcher threw the two out of office stating that board members cannot serve on a school board and on any other board like a local PSD. Although the two members, Lawrence Boley and Leon Newman, had resigned from the PSD earlier, the Judge ruled that did not matter and
Atheir resignation changed nothing.@
Over here in Clayberry, three of our school boardsters, Gene King, Fran King, and Dave Pierson have all served on the Ambulance Authority while being in office. Certainly a conflict exists here since the Authority accepted excess levy dollars and used it to train ambulance personnel, not to mention the years of free ambulance service during home football games. Today, Fran King still serves on the >ad hoc= advisory committee for ambulance service. Can=t forget about boardster Scott Legg, who also serves on the Library Board. Certainly the conflict is there since many school system dollars flow that way.

     The following information was supplied by Clay County Sanitarian Teresa Morton February 21, 2002. Ms Morton reports that not all eateries are listed since some have gone out of business, some are just opening, and others have not recently been inspected.
     After Hours, Procious, Jan. 17, 2002; No violations, routine inspection
=s Pizza, Bentree, Feb. 2&3 critical violations - clean utensils stored improperly, shelves in grocery store dirty, no covered trash container in bathroom
      Bessy and Sandy
=s Café, Ivydale, Feb. 5, 2002; 3 critical violations - not substantial amount of chlorine in sanitation; evidence of smoking in kitchen; beef stew at 121 degrees, all potentially hazardous
=s Exxon , Maysel, Jan. 16, 2002 - no violations
     Shawnee Hills, Clay, Feb. 8, 2002 - 3 non critical violations - dishes in cabinet inverted, no door on cabinet; dishwasher not capable of required hot water temp.; no thermometer in milk cooler
      Clay County Nutrition Site, Oct. 4, 2001 no violations
     Cross Roads Best 9-18-01, no violations
     Clay Foodland, 10-10- 01, 3 critical violations, 5 non critical violations; freezer unit- on food contact, surface dirty; no hand wash sink in meat room; dead roaches in walk in; dumpster lids not closed; floor and floor drain dirty in walk in; no covered trash can in woman
=s bathroom C 10 Day Notice Given
      Clay Foodland 10-24-01 All violations corrected
     Ginos/Tudors 9-18-01; Follow up visit; 2 critical violations - no chlorine detected in sanitization in use; carton of egg product out of temperature
     Ginos/Tudors 104-01; Follow up; 2 non critical; floor in front of refrigerator not clean; food not protected from possible contamination ( pizza unit)
     Go Mart Jan. 08, 2002 - 3 critical, 1 non critical; evidence of smoking in food storage areas, cigarette butts on top of mash potato box; evidence of drinking in food prep areas, open drink and straw next to meat slicer; sub sandwiches out of temp, 43 degrees; personal items, hairbrush, found in food storage area and hat, coat, pocketbook
     Go Mart Jan. 16, 2002 follow up visit; no violations
     Go Mart, Feb. 5, 2002, follow up, 1 critical violation; food products not stored above oils and cleaners
      Henry Clay Hotel, Jan. 10, 2002 no violations
      Kings Grocery, Jan. 17 , 2002, no violations
      Laurel Nursing, Jan. 31, 2001; 1 critical, crock pot and bowls stored with chemicals in storage area
      Laurel Nursing, Feb. 5 , 2002; 1 critical violation; 2 containers not labeled in dishwashing area
      Clay High School, Feb. 8, 2002; dumpster not on concrete pad; fan dirty in walk in; lighting in dishwash room not shielded
      Samples Market; Feb. 5, 2002 no violations
     Harland Superette; Feb. 8, 2002; dumpster not on concrete pad; cleaners, toxic substances stored above single use articles
      The Kitchen; Feb 14, 2002; OK given to open


     February is the busiest month for the Clay County Commission. During this month they almost earn their keep! The following are the highlights from about three meetings where CCC business was conducted in between Board of Equalization dealings. As for those Board of Equalization doins
=, take two Rolaids and read about them elsewhere in this edition.
      Poooof! Almost as fast as it came up, the issue of putting Sunday hunting to the voters was off the table. Number 5 on the Feb. 13 Commission meeting agenda read,
@ Request from the WV Farm Bureau to place on the primary election ballot a referendum concerning Sunday Hunting.@ With Commissioners Tim Butcher, Matthew Bragg and Jimmy Sams all at the helm, Sams said he had just a couple of folks comment about the new law allowing, effective last July 1, Sunday hunting in WV. Ditto for Bragg who said he had had 2 people in the last 6 months ask him about putting the issue on the ballot, Bragg,@... [I] need a bigger response than 2 people.. it doesn=t bother me, I go to church on Sundays. Sams felt that since written permission is needed to hunt on private property anyway, there wasn=t much of an issue for county residents. With election year looming for Butcher, the issue almost died away until Clerk Judy Moore informed the fellers since there had been a request, the CCC had to vote one way or another on the matter. Butcher replied, “Let=s leave it alone.@ Motion was made and passed to NOT put the Sunday hunting issue into the voters= hands. Translation: All can continue to hunt on Sundays
     The folks down “Punkin” Ridge way , the folks fighting to finally get water service into the community, were back in force with Celia Coon at the lead. Coon,
@ Where do we stand??@ Ms Coon was seeking an update from the three blind mice after being told by the WV PSC gang: The way to get water is to come to public meetings and keep digging >till you get it!= CCC President Matthew Bragg informed them that he had just recently made requests to the Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) and was following up on that avenue. From the packed peanut gallery, a Mr. Deel, AWe need to know what to do!@ Coon, APut your cards on the table... The moratorium has been lifted... when are we going to get started??@ Commissioner Sams, A We can try to help.@ Citizen activist Coon reminded the elected ones, that Feb. 26 is the public hearing for grant monies for water projects and the application for the grant, preliminary engineering and more had to be done prior to the hearing. NOTE: to date, the CCC has been sitting on their thumbs
     Several in the delegation have to buy and haul water from the Procious Water Plant. Recently the plant was locked up preventing them from having potable water for an entire weekend. The CCC knew they were in the hot seat! Dale Deems,
AMaybe a valve on the outside?[of the fence]@ Sams, A If they are not there, they don=t know how much to charge!@ Coon, A Billy Cummings was there Friday afternoon, it was locked up, [he] has to wait to Monday for water??@ No answers given, no decisions made, and the “Punkin” Ridge folks were not happy campers
=s all this mean? It appears that the County Commission is now in favor of getting some local water projects started before the folks over in Roane County get their water projects on line. It is election year, you know
     As for the much talked about Bee Run Dam near Wallback... the one that was supposed to be built 9 years ago by Fola Coal Company to replace streams damaged by coal mining? Sams,
@ I called Patterson, some other guy said they would rather just pay the fine.@ Decision? Butcher will call Bobby Lewis for some help
     As for the ambulance service, new Manager BJ Willis from WV EMS gave the following info: The Ambulance Service has been restructured and they ONLY do emergency runs; they no longer staff the local dispatch center 24/7; the current employees have been interviewed but no one has been rehired by WV EMS to man the agency; the ambulances are not in the
Aworld=s best shape@; the advisory >ad hoc= committee has met one time ( Hmmmm, was that meeting posted? Was there an agenda? Was the public given notice?) ; Willis has met with Big Otter Fire Dept. and has offered them a deal to keep that sub station open and will meet with Lizemore Fire Dept. and offer a similar deal. Their goal: “To help the community the best way we can@; there is not enough money to pay all the bills ( duh); including the receipt of the $20,000.00 Budget Digest Grant, the ambulance service has $22,000.00 to their name!; and, there are a bunch of old fuel bills for Jan., Feb., April, and Sept. 2001 as well as three months past due on PEIA premiums.
      As for the Big Otter ambulance station and the agreement with WV EMS... It doesn
=t look too promising according to several of the BOVFD members.
     And something new. You know that WV EMS is now running the ambulance service. And you know that contract is good for 6 months. You know that our 911 Coordinator , Paige Willis, is a volunteer. And , you know that Barry Curry, our Emergency Services Coordinator is also a volunteer.
     Tom Burns and Lee Gray met with our Commissioners and discussed federal program dollars through FEMA that could provide funding for an Office of Emergency Services Director in Clay County. The federal program dollars reimburse the county up to a certain amount IF you agree to certain guidelines. About the money, looks like maybe the county could max out around $7000.00 per year. Funding is based on population and the amount of local matching dollars the CCC would be willing to cough up. Since the county
=s 911 fund has amassed nearly $200,000.00 in their pot of gold, local matching funds are available.
About those guidelines.. according to Mr. Gray, he is very strict and they must be followed to the “T”, or else the funding never comes. Funding comes quarterly and even though the Federal fiscal year has already begun, some funding is possible as early as April 1 of this year if the CCC gets their butts in gear. To be sure you get it readers, Gray said at least 6 times during the 20 minute discussion, the money comes if you can document where the money was spent, and the money has to be spent on guideline items ONLY.
     They also told the CCC that someone has to be in place BEFORE they apply for the program and funding. Better get in line folks, there
=s only one spot open.
So what does all that mean? It looks like the CCC has found some funding to help pay for a local Ambulance Director and call him an OES Director... just a guess though.

by E B Goode

     Hi everyone! Long-time no see! I'm still rockin'-out here in El Paso. We continue to intensify our dedications & commitments with the Activated Program of "teaching others to teach others" (2Tim 2;2). I also continue to sow the mags, tracts, videos ,CDs etc., along with showing concern & praying for people along the way! I am a spiritual street-fighter still, even at 54, so thanks for your prayers, friendship & support!
      Here is a good quote related to the Olympics: "If two runners line up to run a race and one has prepared and practiced and built up his muscles, and the other has done nothing, when the gun is fired at the starting line, the one who is prepared will run the race with speed, with strength, and with energy. The one who wasn't
prepared will run the race in pain, gasping for breath, slowly dragging behind, and yet still running.
     So we must choose which runner we will be, and we choose by making those choices today in the days of preparation. We must ask ourselves if we are taking seriously the things that the Lord is asking us to do. Are we learning to tune in to His Spirit? Are we shedding the things of this Earth and becoming more Heavenly minded? Are we setting our affections on things Above and not on things of this earth?
     Are we living His Words? Are we loving our brothers and our sisters? For these are the things that strengthen the spiritual muscles that we will need in the days ahead.
     So, I think it was Churchhill who said, "Never, Never, Never give up"!
Please send any donations to:
Eric B. Goode, 915 373 4963
c/o 816 Monclova Ln.
El Paso, Tx., 79907
God Bless you.


      Captains star day log 53: Having arrived at a place called Clayberry my first observation had me thinking that this is not a hostile environment, until I ventured out. My first observation: I want to discuss how no one seems to be working, and when they want to work someone seems able to halt it. Case in point is the Ambulance Authority. The commissioners, otherwise know as the “Three Blind Mice” have been able to stay any activity known as work in the county. My summation is lack of brain power.
      A War Lord, aka Earnest Sirk, has an ongoing battle with everyone who questions his authority. He thinks he is above the law, what ever it may be here. The education Chief Linkinogger thinks that the situation is scary and eerie. These leave with no conclusion.
     On Sunday 02/17/02 I observed a snow plow on dry road with the sun shinning where no plow has gone before, on Glen Road. I am confused and need more observation.
     The Communicator, or the Editorial Staff, has a stringent policy, being that if you don’t sign your name, they don’t print the article, period. In the last issue an article was signed “The Raver”. To my understanding many articles have gone to file #13 because they weren’t signed or signed as Concerned or such. I have come to the conclusion that there is no intelligent life in Claybery! BEAM ME UP SCOTTY. CAPTAIN KIRK

the PUBLIC !!!

     Clay County Development Corp (CDC), a non profit, 501C3 WV corporation, almost held a meeting February 19, 1 pm at their Main Street location in Clay. As has been the case many times in the past, not enough board members were present for a quorum. Those present : Chair Earnie Sirk, Sharon Mullins, Eunice Thomas, Gary Whaling, Peter Triplett Janey Patterson, and Mr. Eagle. Absent: Mike Truman, Kathleen Morris, Jimmy Duffield, Mary Fugate, Della Rider.
     As ace cub reporter Andy Waddell entered the public meeting, and even before the meeting opened, Chair Sirk,
@ Andy, why in the world are you here stirring up trouble.... Andy, if I am forced into it, I am going to take a trespassing warrant for you!@ For our new readers, Chair Sirk, sometimes affectionately referred to as >wide glide=, asked the Board for a motion to toss out the reporter for the Communicator during the December 2001 Board meeting. At that time, Sirk refused to allow any questions to be asked by the public and after the affirmative vote, Waddell left the meeting.
     During the January 2002 meeting Communicator reporters Terry Kerns and Lindy Myers attended the CDC meeting along with Waddell and Sirk, acting without Board comment, told all three to hit the streets and that they were banned forever from such meetings. Waddell chose to stay at the public meeting and Trooper Travis Foreman later escorted the Mel Gibson look alike from the premises. According to Clay Development
=s by laws, all meetings are open to the public except when they discuss sensitive personnel issues.
     Now back to this meeting. With six or so sitting around the rich cherry conference table in new padded arm chairs, the group waited for more to show and chit chatted. Everything from trash pick up to the number of visitors at Sirk
=s home. The Chair commented that it is hard to get Board members out on a pretty day like this. After opening with prayer by Boardster Gary Whaling, Sirk,@ The first thing that I got to do, Andy, is to ask you to leave... I have advised you... I want to make it plain to you , over in our by laws, article 3 page 6.. you have been given certified letters that we are not under the Freedom of Information Act . Not under Open Meeting Laws. Under section 9 it [reads]=all meetings of the Board of Directors shall be open to the public except that at the discretion of the Board a closed meeting may be held when matters under discussion might adversely affect the character, reputation or legal rights of employees or officers of this corporation...@
     Sirk went on to explain why Waddell was being threatened with arrest,
A The part that says you are bring left out and not be here is the part that says effects the character, reputation or legal rights of a employee or officer of the corporation..... You have related me to a terrorist group... You have wrote many many things about this corporation. YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF THIS CLAUSE. YOUR PRESENCE INTERUPTS THIS MEETING... We=ve got people that are sick and disabled and can=t make these meetings and when your paper comes out they are highly upset... in the public=s eye. We don=t need that...@ Sirk went on to say any other member of the public may attend the public meetings. Sirk, AWe have nothing to hide.. I am going to ask you to leave at this time. Even though we don=t have a quorum we can have our meeting. If you don=t I am going to adjourn for 30 minutes and go up and take a trespassing warrant out for you. I need an answer out of you. ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE???????@
@ Is this the public part of the meeting?@ Sirk, A Did you not hear me call the meeting to order?@ Waddell,@ Well, I sort of did. What=s the question?@ Sirk, A I have asked you to leave. I asked you before and you were escorted by the law and the first time you left. I AM ASKING YOU LEAVE AND NOT RETURN AT ANY OTHER TIME TO A PUBLIC MEETING OR I=LL GO RIGHT NOW AND I=LL GO TAKE A WARRANT FOR YOU FOR TRESPASSING. IF I CAN, I WILL GET AN INJUNCTION... PLEASE GO AND NOT PUT THIS CORPORATION INTO FINANCIAL DEBT .. Are you going to leave or not??@ Sirk was referring to the many times CDC has been involved in court action. During the last such case , CDC had to cough up $350.00 to pay for their own attorney Michael Farber.
     In response, Waddell,
AYou don=t want to talk about it?@ Sirk retorted,@ Noooo, There=s nothing to talk about!! We=ve talked and we=ve talked and talked. We sent you certified letters and the Communicator can send anybody else..... IT=S BEEN DECIDED BY THE BOARD THAT YOU=RE NOT TO BE HERE! Now, are you going to leave or do I have to go press charges?@ Waddell, A I was coming to a meeting that was open to the public.@ Sirk,@ You are in violation of the rules and regulations of this corporation .If you are not going to leave then I am going to get charges again you. At this time this meeting is adjourned for thirty minutes... We=ll resume this meeting at 20 minutes to 2.@
     CDC Chair Sirk left the room. Peter Triplett left the room. Executive Director Betty Stalnaker left the room. Time passed. Janet Fitzwater went to another room and closed the door. Fitzwater came out and headed upstairs. Chit chat from those remaining The clock ticked.
Around 1:30 or so Chair Sirk breathing heavily re entered the recently remodeled digs and ,
@ Well, there ain=t nothing to vote on here. There=s no quorum... We=ll call this meeting back into order at this time. There=s no quorum. Andy, at the moment, there are no law officers in town right now. But as soon as Miles Slack gets back I=ll press charges for trespassing. Is there a motion on the floor to adjourn due to no quorum?@ With motion passed, the meeting ended. Sirk, AAndy I am sorry you have to put this outfit through the turmoil.. This is something else!@
As for what happens next? As for members of the public wishing to attend future CDC Board of Directors meetings, you might want to remember what your Mother told you.... be sure to wear clean socks and underwear when you go out, you never know where you may end up! AW


     Fola Coal Co., one of Clay County=s largest employers, has been in the news over assigning a very low tax value to property recently purchased from Vandalia Mining. The property was listed in the deed books in the Circuit Clerk=s office as belonging to Appalachian Land Company. The thousands of acres were sold for less than $100.00.
     Many in the community have raised concerns over the loss of tax revenue from the questionable transfer. G.O. Young noted on the deed “Appalachian hereby declares that the total consideration paid for the property conveyed by this deed is less than $100.00 and is exempt from excise tax on privilege of transferring real property. The Prosecutors office is investigating the matter”.
In an attempt to keep the public up to date on the investigation, Prosecutor Jeff Davis agreed to an interview February 20 in between court duties. The following are Mr. Davis
=s comments.
     Where are we in the investigation? Davis,
@ Barbara [Schamberger] kind of picked up the ball on that one. She was checking into various case law regarding the sale of property and that sort of thing.... I went down and researched the last deed for that property that was filed in Clay County. Now, I am speaking off the top of my head here.....,I believe that the consideration for this Clay County property was $3 2 million dollars or something of that nature.. the last time it was sold.@
     So what
=s Clay County get out of that? Davis,@ I believe that Clay County=s portion of the transfer stamps was about $12,000.00 or maybe $15,000.00. And now, this time , the consideration was $100 or so and there is no transfer stamps. On a transfer stamp when you record a deed you list the consideration, what you paid for the property, you have to list that on the deed. For every $1000.00 , $4.40 is charged as a transfer stamp fee. Out of that $4.40 , Clay County gets one half of that. The State gets one half of that. So basically, Clay gets $2.20 for every $1000.00 of consideration. If it is less than $100.00 , there is no transfer stamp. The only exception is if it=s less than $100.00 consideration for a gift from parent to child or child to parent. By them putting $100.00 on that, Clay County did not get any transfer stamp money.@
     So what
=s the background on this property? Davis@ If I am not badly mistaken on this, and I gave that deed to Barbara.......the last time that property was sold, part of it is in Nicholas, part in Clay and maybe a little bit is in Fayette. But most of it is in Nicholas and Clay , I believe it was either 5 or 6 million dollars and the Clay County part of it was listed as $3 2 million if I am not badly mistaken. The transfer stamp ended up being 12 to 15 thousand dollars.@
     Who gets to write down the value? Davis,
@ On the tail end of a deed there is a paragraph that says >Declaration of Consideration of Value=. When the owner signs that deed he is also declaring that that is the consideration received. It is my understanding through the grapevine that the company is saying , part of the consideration for this deal was their agreement to do some reclamation jobs. If they agreed to do that , that is still consideration. The value of those reclamation jobs is still part of the consideration and should have been listed ... the value there of. Sort of a in kind consideration.@
     Prosecutor stated that if the reclamation costs had been listed on the deed, that value would have been subject to the transfer stamp fee. Davis,
@ That=s the only thing the county=s Clerk has to go by. If they are reclaiming property as part of the consideration , then the value of that should be included in their declaration of consideration.”
     Does our County Assessor have any discretion in what is set as the value? Davis,
A Not necessarily. If I have a piece of property and it is worth $20,000.00 and I am in a pinch and want to sell it for $10,000.00, I can do that. The transfer stamp is not based on the value of the property but what was actually the amount that was given for the property.@
=s the next step in this investigation? Davis,@ Barbara Harmon Schamberger is doing some research and I believe she has already contacted the state tax department who has an interest in this matter because the state gets half of the transfer stamp money. I am not sure what the status is at this point. It is being checked into.... We do intend to take some sort of action.@
     As for what could be done, again Mr. Davis,
A I am assuming that an action could be filed before the Circuit Court to cause the property owner, the buyer and seller to list the correct consideration that was paid for the property and pay the appropriate transfer stamps. She did the research and I did the leg work and that=s where it is at.@


     As you=ve read elsewhere in this edition of the paper, Clay Development Corporation (CDC) tossed out newspaper reporters from their Board of Directors= meetings in Dec, Jan., and Feb. of this year. In response to those actions, Delta Communications, publishers of the Communicator, mailed the following letter to CDC funding sources: Bureau of Senior Services, Senators Mark Burnette and Shirley Love, Delegate Bill Stemple , Budget Digest funds and the Clay County Commission.

WV Bureau of Senior Services
Region 4, AAA
att.: Director Ramona Stanley

February 15, 2002

RE: Request for intervention

Ms Stanley,
     Your agency provides funding and oversight to Clay County Development Corp. (CDC) located in Clay County WV. Currently the CDC Board is choosing which, if any, members of the public may attend their Board of Directors meetings held the third Tuesday of each month at their headquarters on Main Street, Clay, WV.
     During the Dec. 2001 Board of Directors meeting, CDC President Earnest Sirk asked for, received and passed a motion to throw out newspaper reporter James A. Waddell from that meeting. Sirk said during the discussion that Waddell was being told to leave not because of disruptive behavior during meetings but rather because Sirk and the office staff did not like the nature of the reporting, that it was not in the CDC
=s best interest to have newspaper accounts shedding light on questionable behavior, shedding light on lawsuits brought by and lawsuits against the CDC , and because Waddell had recently used FOIA in an attempt to gain access to the group=s financials. Waddell is co-owner of the Communicator, one of two local papers serving Clay County. An email was sent to Waddell after that meeting and a copy of that email is attached. Still later a letter was sent to the Communicator office indicating that no one from the Communicator would be allowed to attend Board meetings in the future. A copy of that letter is attached as well.
     During the January 2002 CDC Board meeting, Waddell, along with fellow owners Terry Kerns and Lindy Myers, were told to leave the premises and that they were barred from CDC property forever. For Myers and Kerns, this was their first attendance of a CDC Board meeting. Kerns and Myers left without being allowed to even ask a question and Waddell was later removed from the tax payer supported property by State Police Officer Travis Foreman. Later, a letter was sent to Myers and Kerns indicating they would be allowed at future meetings. With this letter in mind, the CDC Board is now picking and choosing who may attend their public meetings.
     The role of the press is both allowed and provided for by the First Amendment of the Constitution and publishes in absolute independence of what CDC, or any other agency for that matter, thinks should be reported and what should not be presented to the public.
This is an urgent request for your agency to investigate, intervene, and give guidance to CDC in the matter of the CDC denying public access to their      Board meetings as required by page 6, section 9 of current CDC by-laws, also attached.
James A. Waddell
co owner, Delta Communications
Additionally, courtesy copies were sent to WV State Police Colonel Howard Hill since Trooper Travis Foreman was mentioned in the correspondence.


     Clay County PSD met in regular session February 12 with PSD Chair Keith King and Earl Long present and Homer Triplett absent. Before the 10 am meeting opened with prayer by Earl Long, and is the norm for the group, back room discussions could be overheard. Keith King, @... act as if you didn=t get it.. she was not fired, she was NOT fired..@ Hmmmm.
     Also, just before the opening of this meeting, mention was made that the boil water order (BWO) for the Hartland service area had been lifted that morning after test results came back clean.
     On financials, the PSD
=s beginning balance for January 2002: $2530.40; Income for Jan.: $18,896.32; Expenses for Jan.: $20,83.51; and, the ending balance for January was $573.21.
     According to maintenance man, Sam Taylor, the district used 40,000 gallons of water flushing the system
=s lines in the Hartland area during the BWO and Mayor Arthur Jarrett has been asked to reimburse the PSD for the water used. The town of Clay supplies water to Clay County PSD. Taylor asked for the reimbursement since it was the town that sullied the water which forced the BWO. Taylor also reported that there was a big time leak on Triplett Ridge.
The Adair water line extension is finally done and the water is scheduled to be turned on in just a few days.
     Pay raises for the employees was the next topic on the agenda. Keep in mind that the PSD just ended the previous month with only 573 bucks to spare! Earl Long,
A They deserve it. They work... They know what they are doing..@ Chair Keith King concurred with his fellow boardster and commented that some had never had a raise. King, A We don=t want to take a chance on loosing them.@ Long asked for a $1.00 per hour increase for all employees, Aacross the board@. The motion passed.
Let=s see now... 4 employees times 40 hours per week times 4 weeks in a month... carry the aught that=s 160 hours labor times one buck more per hour, ... an aught here and an aught there.... Yelp, we=re about ready to ask for another rate increase!!!!!

short shorts

*Clay County has more than it
=s share of non profit organizations operating within it=s borders. Recent newspaper reports have shed new light on the legitimacy of some of the groups. According to Daniel Borochoff of the American Institute of Philanthropy A You can=t count on the regulators to check them out. People will incorrectly make the assumption that a government approved charity is legitimate, that it is fully vetted, fully screened. It has not. Since the September 11 attack, 243 new, non profits have been licensed by the Internal Revenue Service, many of them with no track record or experience of doing charitable work. Currently donors may have a hard time deciding which non profits are valid and effectively use contributions.
*Many of the current ambulance service employees are quietly raising concerns over the management of the agency under the leadership of WV EMS. Morale appears to be waning as well. Under the terms of the new management agreement signed by the County Commission last week, the workers will no longer be county employees and pay scales and benefits will also be changed. At risk is the saved up sick and personal leave days amassed by several long time employees. Down in Putnam County, and under a threat of a lawsuit, Putnam County Commissioners awarded paramedics $15,000.00 in back pay. Commissioners there acknowledge the ambulance staff are county employees and neglected to give them 5% pay increases as was the case for other county employees
*Due to redistricting by the WV Legislature last fall, Clay County is divided into two House of Delegates
= Districts. The northern end of the county is within District 33 currently served by Delegate Bill Stemple. In addition to Democrat Stemple seeking another term in office, Republican Lyle E Kerby is in the running. From the town of Clay on south, and including the Bomont area of the county, representation from the House will be in the 29th District. Incumbants Tom Louisos, David Perry and John Pino again are seeking re-election to their seats, Additionally, contenders for the three seats are: Leland O=Neal Diana Smallwood and Republicans Tom Fast and Keith Spangler. Here=s a note: although the filing deadline has past, third party candidates from the Mountain Party may still file and run for office.
*During the February 7, 2002 Clay County Business Development Authority (BDA) meeting, community activist Fred Sampson read a letter from the WV DEP which indicated that Fola Coal will decide by March 31, 2002 whether it will build a dam and 14 acre lake at Wallback or pay 10 year old mitigation fees for covering up streams in the county. Sampson asked the BDA to pen letters of support for the dam to the County Commission and the WV DEP. BDA Chair Paige Willis was skeptical over the economic worth of a lake in the county and sited lack of growth around Big Ditch lake in Nicholas County. Willis also cautioned attendees about strongly worded letters that might
Arub them the wrong way.@ As for getting a certified appraisal for the Moore Fork property before negotiating a purchase price... that=s changed now. Willis said they had waited 6 months on an appraiser and that they should go ahead and make an offer on the potential industrial site without knowing what the real value is. The BDA agreed and negotiations with the land owner of the flood prone locality will begin.
*Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin introduced a bill that would ban oxycodone, the main ingredient in OxyContin. Southern West Virginia has been hit hard by abuse of OxyContin. The drug gives a time released dose of oxycodone and is meant to be prescribed to those with acute or chronic pain. Chaffin said he’d like to have a public hearing and hear the other side of the debate.

The Chafin Report by Jim Chafin

     AUh, oh. Houston, we have a problem!@ Short, and to the point, that terse little statement was sure to raise the adrenalin level of all those who were anxiously awaiting the news as to whether or not their space probe had achieved orbit. Most assuredly, anxious moments would follow until their craft had reached its objective. In like manner, we sound an alarm concerning the care and treatment of America=s elderly and disabled. Hello! Our fathers and mothers are at risk in this, Athe land of the free and the home of the brave@. Do we really care?
     Currently, we are undergoing a controversy of the knee-jerk variety as the Golden Dome Club seeks refuge behind a plethora of proclamations, media announcements, and various self-serving slogans, as they seek shelter from a barrage of flaming arrows being hurled at them from, this time, the nurses who work in those long term care (?) facilities. All in an effort to calm the approaching storm of criticism over the way medical care is dispensed to those who must live in those communal warehouses. Bureaucratic types lead forth with such statements as:
AWest Virginia is above average@ and AWest Virginia is in the top ten percent of all states for nursing home care@. To which I would hasten to inform those august members of the social trust that, if West Virginia=s care of our most needy folks is Aabove average@, then I would not want to be subjected to Aaverage@ or less. To my way of thinking, Aaverage@ is a subjective term having no fixed point of reference; the very meaning of which, when applied to our fathers and mothers, denotes a degree of callousness and unconcern that is not acceptable in this day when society is demanding more and bigger things for itself. ACare@ in this nation=s long term facilities IS, most assuredly, below what society demands for itself, and is a pock mark upon the history of this would-be great land. This is not acceptable in a land of law-abiding people and reforms must be initiated forthwith.
     Before proceeding further, we wish to make it abundantly clear that we are not painting everyone who is involved in the
Acare@ business with the same brush. It takes a special person to undertake the duties of a care giver, whether the setting is in a hospital, private home, or wherever. There are caring and dedicated people whom I know, who should be applauded and encouraged for their commitment to those deserving patients. Full credit is given to all those who devote their time and effort towards providing a kind and loving atmosphere for our elderly and disabled. Our work is geared towards identifying problems and to propose solutions - beginning BEFORE one finds himself/herself deprived of civil liberties - BEFORE they find themselves behind locked doors. It=s the system that needs reforming!!
     The issue(s) in the
Acare@ industry are so varied and complex that we simply cannot deal with their magnitude in one sitting. Therefore, our next few writings will scrutinize our fields of interest, then, hopefully, weld them together in a conclusion piece.
In this way, we hope to provide enough information that will allow the citizens a comprehensive look into what, until now, has been hidden. SECRECY is the glue that binds the ills of the long term care business. It empowers the profiteers of human misery, and it isolates individuals in such a way as to render them voiceless. America, tear down this veil of darkness that is hurting our seniors.


     Clay County Commission made the WV EMS bail out contract for the ambulance service official February 13, 2002 as the unanimous vote was given. Although WV EMS has been operating the service since January 22, the actual contract had not been consummated until now. The following are excerpts from 8 page document for services to be provided by West Virginia EMS Technical Support Network, Inc.
Whereas, the County Commission has established and operates and maintains emergency ambulance service for Clay County, referred to as Emergency Ambulance Service....
The County Commission desires to employ Manager to supervise and manage the operation of the Emergency Ambulance Service and Manager desires to perform such services for the County Commission.....
The term of this agreement shall commence January 22, 2002 and terminates on July 31, 2002. The agreement shall be automatically renewed for successive one year terms unless either party gives the other party written non renewal notice at least three months prior to the expiration of its then current term.
In the event that Manager or County Commission shall fail or refuse any of its covenants, obligations or duties......the other party shall have the right upon giving written notice specifying such failure and a period of 30 days... to terminate this agreement.
Either party may terminate this agreement without cause by giving the other party 60 days written notice.
Manager shall use all reasonable efforts to perform, at the sole cost and expense of the County Commission .. and on behalf of, and in the name of County Commission, the following duties:
Obtain and maintain all governmental approvals and permits necessary for the operation of the Emergency Ambulance Service. The County Commission represents .... the premises comply with all current regulations and that the County Commission agrees to indemnify Manager from all loss, cost, expenses, reasonable attorney fees and liability which may be imposed on it by reason of any violation or alleged violation of such regulation
Hire , fire, supervise, and set salaries, benefits, and compensation rate for, consistent with Manager
=s personnel policies and practices and approved by the County Commission=s ad hoc committee for emergency ambulance services, full and part time employees ( including without limitation, maintenance personnel) and all independent contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and service agents required for the property management, leasing, maintenance, furnishing, equipping, repair and operation of the Emergency Ambulance Service.....
Maintain all financial and business books for the County Commission....
Solicit, negotiate, and cause to be prepared, leases or agreements and renewals and extensions of leases and agreements in the name of the County Commission for space to house the Emergency Ambulance Service.....
... pay all fees, charges, expenses and commissions of all independent contractors, architects, engineers, subcontractors, suppliers, and service agents utilized in the management, operation, maintenance of repair of the Emergency Ambulance Service....
All personnel hired or retained by Manager.. shall be placed on the payroll of the County Commission and the County Commission shall be solely responsible for payment of wages, salaries, commissions and employee benefits and all worker
=s compensation insurance, social security taxes, unemployment insurance and all other taxes and levies now in force or hereafter imposed with respect to any such employees.
..purchase all supplies and equipment required for the operation and maintenance.....        
Make and cause to be made all repairs, replacements, renovations and capitol improvements.........        
Contract and pay all charges for utilities used in the operation....including without limitation, water ,sewer, electricity telephone
.. pay all taxes.
Review current insurance coverage and make any recommendations to County Commission in regard to premium coverage
handle any legal matters involving the Emergency Ambulance Service...
Manager shall have full and complete authority and discretion to act for and in the name of... County Commission...
Manager shall not.... expend any sums or incur any obligation for the expenditure of sums.. other than for expenses estimated on the annual budget .. except for in the amount not exceeding $5000.00 ...[or] emergency situations posing a danger to life and property.
Manager may by written notice to County Commission request County Commission written consent, approval.. there to. County Commission agrees not to unreasonably withhold such consent, approval, or authorization
Manager is not responsible for any acts or failures to act prior to the commencement of this agreement..... If Manager shall discover.... wrongdoing in the operation of the Clay County Ambulance Authority, Manager shall have the right to report such misconduct or wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities. The County Commission shall indemnify and hold harmless Manager for any claim made against it for acts of failures to act by any person or entity prior to .. this agreement...
Manager shall maintain ... true accurate books...
Manager shall prepare.... and shall furnish County Commission within a reasonable time after the closing of each calendar month an unaudited statement of receipts and disbursements reflecting the operation of the Emergency Ambulance Service....the cost of having such unaudited receipts and disbursements certified.. shall be borne by the County Commission.
The County Commission or any designated agent of the County Commission or employee of the County Commission shall have the right, at County Commission expense, at all reasonable times during normal business hours, audit, examine, and make copies.. of business records.... maintained by the Manager .....
County Commission hereby indemnifies the Manager against and agrees to hold and save the Manager harmless from any loss, damage, or expense resulting in any negligence, willful misconduct, or fraud of County Commission or its employees and agents.....
Manager hereby indemnifies the county Commission against and agrees to hold and save the County Commission harmless from any loss, damage or expense resulting in negligence, willful misconduct or fraud of Manager or its employees
County Commission.. on the first day of each month... shall pay Manager $2000.00 per month in advance.
All three County Commissioners signed onto the agreement February 13, 2002. It=s a new day for Clay County residents.  


     Greetings from Valley View! For those of you who don't know where that is, it's located near the Clay-Kanawha County border (Bomont-Queen Shoals area).
Nevertheless, it's still Clay County, even though for years some people never recognized it as such.
     My name is Fran Taylor Naylor and I'm running for Clay County Board of Education, District C. Some people in the county don't know me. I am the wife of Bill Naylor, owner and operator of Bill's Used Cars in Clendenin. In March, I will be fifty-four (54) years old. I am a mother of three (3) grown and married children and a grandmother of ten (10). I am very proud of all my children and grandchildren, who are all very different. My family and I have lived here for twenty-six (26) years. I have been involved as a volunteer in our local schools, community, been a long standing member of the Local School Improvement Council at H. E. White Elementary and I am a Christian (and very proud of it). I did not graduate from Clay High School, but from Herbert Hoover High School.
      I was a stay-at-home mom, only working part-time while raising our children. At the present time, I help some in our business and work part-time at Capital City Auto Auction in Elkview. My main duties are to manage employees at the front counter on sale days, be a cashier, running reports, and making sure the accounts balance at the end of the day. I work by choice, as I would for you, the taxpayers of Clay County.
     The Board of Education is like a business or family, you are going to have problems and you can't always make everyone happy. It's up to the people you elect to achieve the best solutions for problems brought before them. We need to identify problems, set goals, create a plan of action, implement the plan, and then evaluate to see if the goals are achieved.
     We have been blessed with people who care about the future of all Clay County's children. Passing the excess levy gives them advantages that all children deserve, but don't always fit into the regular school budget. All children do not live within a ten (10) mile radius of Clay. We are a rural county!
    The children living in those areas have needs and the right to get a good start in education. It is a proven fact that small schools do work. I could go on about the pro's and con's. I haven't been very political in the past, but plan to stay in the race, regardless of the negative comments. I've been told that this is a popularity contest, or not what you know , but who you know. That may be true. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. So win or lose, it's up to you.
    To set the record straight, I did not buy or open "The Kitchen" restaurant in Clay. My best wishes to the new owners, whoever they might be. I would like to use that "Mom type diner" as a comparison. Why would you eat there? We have Subway, Gino's, and Go Mart's good fried chicken, all my favorites. It's all a matter of choice! Do we have a choice? How many people want to take time to represent you and your children or challenge the incumbents? Not too many! I've been told that I was crazy for wanting to run for this position and that I'm only one voice, if elected. Well, we all have a right to a voice. Your voice on a local level, is your vote. It can make a difference.
I look forward to visiting your area. I will be attending the Clay Woman's Club "Meet The Candidates", date to be announced later and the H. E. White Annual Ramp Dinner, May 5. If you have an event in your community, I welcome an invitation. I encourage you to register to vote, if you haven't. Visit or call the Clay County Clerk's office or call me for the registration form, it can be mailed in.
Most important is to vote on May 13, in the Primary Election. I need your support. Community (Wallback, Widen, Nebo, Lizemore, Ivydale, Clay, and Bomont) volunteers are welcome and needed. You can reach me at 548-5990 (leave a message) or write me at P.O. Box 9048, Bomont, WV 25030.


No new felonies
01/29/02: Mckown - Clarence Pauley, registration violations, ROB.
02/05/02: Belt - John Hively, destruction of property, arrested, ROB; McKown - Michael S. Davis, DWR/DUIA and no POI, trial set; Bailey - James Emanuel Auxier, DUI, failure to keep right, registration violations, no POI, defective headlamp, and possession of marijuana less than 15 gms., arrested, ROB.
02/06/02: Slack - Andy Moore, petit larceny, arrested, ROB.
02/07/02: McKown - John Hively, battery, arrested, ROB.
02/08/02: Slack - Michael Shoults Jr., destruction of property and trespassing, ROB; Slack - David Shoults, trespassing and destruction of property, ROB; Slack - Alexendra Dobbins, assault, summons issued; Delk - Daniel Madison Woods, battery, arrested, ROB; Delk - Brian Lee Cutlip, Possession marijuana less than 15gms., arrested, ROB, trial set.
02/11/02: McKown - Andrew C. Slaughter, DWR/DUIA, arrested, ROB; Bailey - Lloyd Rapp, battery, ROB; Belt - Brandon Agner, battery, summons issued; Belt - Christy Breeden, battery, summons issued.
02/14/02: McKown - Harry Paul Dobbins, DWR/DUIA and no insurance, arrested, ROB.
02/19/02: McKown - Christopher Joe Samples, driving on suspended/revoked, summons issued; Larry Legg - Douglas Grose, fail to send child to school, summons issued.
02/06/02: James Sams - Kevin Kelly, money due.
02/11/02: Monogram Credit Card Bank (c/o Paul S. Atkins) - Lea A Burnside, money due, and Matthew D. Jarrett, money due; Industrial Acceptance Corp. (c/o Paul S. Atkins) - Roger Holcomb, money due.
02/14/02: Chilton H. Nichols - Michael W. Cummings, money due.
02/19/02: Arthur Jarrett - Michael Dawson, money due.
Worthless Checks:
Notices issued
02/06/02: IGA - Judith Taylor (paid 2-11), William Adkins Jr. (paid 2-15), and Debra Brown.
02/13/02: Connie Brown - Erika Dee Mollohan; King
=s Wrecker Service - Shannon Butler.
02/15/02: King
=s Grocery - Bridgette A. Poteet.
Traffic Citations:
01/27/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Hak C. Wang, speeding.
01/29/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Jeremy L. Morris, no POI and registration violations; Clarence E. Pauley, registration violations.
02/01/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Gina Renee Caldwell, driving on suspended/revoked; Shane Conrad Payne, speeding and driving on suspended/revoked.
02/02/02: State Police - Robert Owen Johnson, speeding, no POI and registration violations.
02/05/02: State Police - James Emanuel Auxier, DUI, failure to keep right, registration violations, no POI, defective equipment and possession of marijuana less than 15 gms.
02/07/02: State Police - Connie A. Blake, speeding; Sheriff
=s Dept. - Elvis H. Dawson, speeding; Thomas L. Grubb, defective equipment; Darrell Keener, defective equipment and seat belt violation; Jeffery R. Neal, operator=s, no POI and registration violations; Jason Stalnaker, stop sign, seat belt violation and no POI; Herman Lee Starcher, seat belt violation; Joseph Ray Weese, speeding; Randall K. Woods, seat belt violation x 2.
02/08/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - William A. Burchett, seat belt violation; Earl Dunlap, registration violations; Amy Jones, seat belt violation; Mary Lea Neal, seat belt violation.
02/09/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Toby Andrew Taylor, defective equipment and seat belt violation; State Police - Charles L. Wyant, failure to maintain control and leaving the scene.
02/11/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Chi Chao, speeding.
02/12/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Nelson R. Bollinger, no POI and MVI; Barbara Jo Gray, operator=s, seat belt violation, registration violations and no POI.
02/13/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Harry Paul Dobbins, DWR/DUIA and no insurance; Christina Holstein, speeding.
02/14/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Kimberly Jo Baker, speeding; Patrick W. Morris, speeding; Andrew M. Rogers, speeding.
02/15/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Richard L. Nicholas, seat belt violation; Christopher A. Ward, speeding.