February 7, 2002

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     Water and lack of safe water has been an issue in the county for years. Politicians have and continue to make promises, “You will have city water if you vote for me!” In the past, for instance the Punkin Ridge area of the county, many have seen their promised grant dollars for water extensions go to more affluent neighborhoods where the politicos live. It’s election year again and as most would expect, Yep, it’s time to press the flesh and make the promise that you will no longer have to wash your clothes in frog pee ! Late night news reporters travel around the globe to bring images of the poor people that have to do without safe water. Those news crews need only to come to this county to see that only 24% of our 340 square miles has municipal water supplies.        
Just last summer State Health Department officials identified serious breaches in public well-being in the Widen section of the county where most depend on dug wells in their back yards for water. You may want to put down that burger about now... While in the streets, very near their wells, ran raw sewage leaching right back into the water table. Those conditions are deplorable anywhere they exist. They are doubly abominable when you consider that this is the 21st century and this is not India or some isolated third world country.
     Many in the communities have attended meetings and done their civic duty to try and drag Clay County out of the 19th century. One such person is Vera Beasley. Ms Beasley has gone the Internet surfing route and came up with some timely information on safe potable water, information on what boil water orders are all about and how serious they are, and what to look out for in the way of contaminants. Additionally, at the end of this article is a survey form to fill out and mail back in. Ms Beasley hopes that the responses from the surveys will give state regulators and funders a stronger incentive to hurry up the many long stalled water projects in Clay County.
     Ms Beasley, “In the past, there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding one of the most important resources that Clay County has to offer and that is its water. Whether your water comes from the well out back or from a public or private water system, safe drinking water is essential to maintain your health and sustain your life. What better time than now to join in the effort to help do what ever it takes to make our drinking water safe.!”
     Who takes care of the water? One mistake that people often make is to think the responsibility of keeping our water safe is up to the “authorities”. Actually, the safety falls on the hands of the federal, state and local government; water suppliers; and the public to maintain the quality and quantity of our drinking water.
     According to the EPA, 23 million U.S. citizens rely on their own private drinking water supplies. Most of this water is drawn from ground water and some comes from streams or cisterns. These households must take special precautions to ensure the protection and maintenance of their drinking water supplies. Private water supplies should be tested annually for nitrate and coliform bacteria to detect problems early. They should be tested more often for radon or pesticides, if a problem is suspected.
      Protecting your ground water supply is the best way to avoid water contamination. Make sure your well casing is not damaged or corroded and that the cap fits securely. Slope the area around the well to drain surface runoff away from the well. Avoid mixing or using pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, degreasers, fuels, and other pollutants near the well. You should disinfect your well and have the water tested at least once per year.
Oh that water looks nice and clear!
Even though a glass of water may appear to be crystal clear, there could be microorganisms, known as contaminants present that could be harmful to your health. If you develop an illness that can not be explained, or if you just want to know what is in your drinking water, have it tested.
      Drinking water can become contaminated at the original water source, during treatment, or during distribution to the home. Water that comes from surface water, such as rivers or lakes, can be exposed to acid rain and pesticide runoff and industrial waste. Cleansing of this water may be due to exposure to sunlight, aeration and microorganisms. Groundwater source supplies generally take longer to become contaminated, but the natural cleansing may also take much longer. Groundwater tends to move slowly and is not exposed to sunlight, aeration or aerobic (requiring oxygen) microorganisms. Causes of contamination may include landfills, septic systems, disposal of hazardous agricultural, industrial, and household and chemicals and leaking underground storage tanks. Some public water suppliers purchase their water to supply their customers. If the purchased water happens to have problems it may require additional treatment to ensure its purity before it is passed on down the line.
      Contaminants in drinking water rarely reach an alarming level, however, the fact is that there are times when they do. Examples of immediate or acute health effects include; nausea, lung irritation, skin rash, vomiting, dizziness, and even death. Chronic health effects, which occur long after repeated exposure include; cancer, liver and kidney damage, disorders of the nervous system, damage to the immune system and birth defects. There are four groups of contaminants; Microbial Pathogens, Organics, Inorganics and Radioactive Elements.
       Pathogens are disease producing microorganisms, which include bacteria (such as giardia lamblia), viruses, and parasites. They can cause gastroenteritis, salmonella infection, dysentery, shigellosis, hepatitis, and giardiasis (a gastrointestinal infection causing diarrhea, abdominal cramps and gas). Coliform bacteria is generally harmless, but could indicate the presence of other contamination.
      Organics worry people most, due to potential toxic chemicals and metals in their water. THMs or Trihalomthanes are formed when chlorine, used in treating drinking water is mixed with organic matter that has formed naturally. Pesticides are organics and include herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Volatile organic chemicals or VOCs include solvents, degreasers, adhesives, gasoline and other fuels additives. Common VOCs are benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), styrene, toluene, and vinyl chloride. Cancer, central nervous system disorders, liver and kidney damage, reproductive disorders and birth defects are among some of the possible chronic health effects.
Inorganics include toxic metals like arsenic, barium, chromium, lead, mercury, and silver. These metals can get into your drinking water from natural sources, industrial processes, and the materials used in your plumbing system. Toxic metals are regulated in public water supplies because they can cause acute poisoning, cancer, and other health effects. Nitrate is another inorganic contaminant. The nitrate in mineral deposits, fertilizers, sewage, and animal wastes can contaminate water. Nitrate has been associated with ``blue baby syndrome'' in infants. Blue baby syndrome is a rare but sometimes fatal disease that occurs primarily during the first four months of life. Symptoms include a blue discoloration of the lips, nose, and ears. Other symptoms include crying, vomiting and diarrhea. Boiling tap water does not eliminate the problem because nitrate is a chemical, not a form of bacteria.
Remember when the WV PSC themselves stated, “You need to keep on them and apply pressure”?
Please respond to the following survey by Feb 18, 2002. The results will be compiled and the findings reported in this paper and the info, except your name, will be provided to the local PSD’s , the WV Public Service Commission, and the Clay County Commission.                    


     For over 7 years WV
=s Department of Environmental Protection has been dragging their feet on forcing Fola Coal to either build a lake near the Wallback Exit of I-79 or pay a hefty mitigation fee for covering over streams during their surface mining operation in Clay County. Many consider the lake (known as the Bee Run Dam) would provide an excellent resource to attract visitors to the county and possibly be a development hub for economic growth in the Wallback area of the county.
     Over the years, Ivydale community activist, Fred Sampson has followed the foot dragging and campaigned for the lake. Briefly, the Clay County Business Development Authority (BDA) considered
Anurturing the project along@ but quickly backed away from the effort. After many letter writing campaigns by Sampson, something appears to have shaken loose. The following letter was received this month by Sampson
Dear Mr. Sampson,
     The Governor
=s Office forwarded your January 4, 2002 letter with attachments regarding the Bee Run Dam.
     In response to your June 18, 2001 letter, and at my direction, my staff provided you information on the status of the project, extended the certificate of approval for construction of the Bee Run dam until March 31, 2002, and sent you a copy of their June 21, 2001, letter to Mr. Gary Patterson, President of Fola Coal Company confirming the status of the project and the extension of the certificates of approval.
     An additional copy of the June 21, 2001 letter from Allyn Turner, Director of the Division of Water Resources, is enclosed for your convenience. In addition, I understand that Brian Long, Asst. Chief for Dam Safety program, spoke to you by telephone on June 26, 2001, to provide information as to the status of the mitigation project and to personally inform you of the actions taken by the agency regarding the proposed Bee Run Dam.
     As you know, pursuant to the certificate of approval, Fola Coal Company has until March 31, 2002, to decide whether to proceed with construction of the project or provide full payment in accordance with existing mitigation agreements. We anticipate a decision from Fola Coal Company on or before March 31, 2002. Further , if Fola Coal Company decides to build the dam, Director Turner expects written assurance that the dam will be constructed in the 2002 season and will consider extension of the certificate of approval accordingly.
I hope I have answered your questions, and I appreciate our continued interest in this project.
Michael O. Callaghan
Cabinet Secretary
Sounds like an answer will be given in less than 6 weeks and construction would begin this summer. Without public pressure, many such projects stay Ashelved A or go dormant all together. Fred Sampson appears to be the lone individual working hard for such a project and Fred doesn=t even like to fish! -AW

follow ups

     Back in January, this paper provided Matthew Bragg a great big frowney face for not attending the January 2002 Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone meeting. This week Mr. Bragg let us know that he was told before that cold snowy January meeting, to stay at home since there would not be enough in attendance to constitute a quorum.
     Last edition coverage was given of the Clay Roane PSD meeting. Comments included that Queen Shoal PSD had purchased an extra 182,000 gallons of water the month previous. Many at the meeting felt that Queen Shoals PSD had illegally added a bunch of new customers on their system. Note: Queen was covered by the water moratorium as was Clay Roane PSD and the old Procious PSD . Queen Shoals PSD Chair Tom Martin has disputed those charges. He commented that his PSD had had some major leaks in their system (Dec) which accounted for the additional water consumed and that he had never hooked up a bunch of additional customers.

???? DID YOU KNOW ????

  1. The beautiful colors of the rainbow can only be seen through the prism of rain.
  2. Love is magical, it’s a language the deaf can hear, the crippled can dance to, and a sunset the blind can see.
  3. According to a recent Roper poll, only 4 percent of teens eat red meat.
  4. Nearly two thirds of all Americans with diagnosable mental health disorders, do not receive treatment.
  5. By August 2002 M&M’s candy will add a new color either purple, pink, or aqua.
  6. According to the Medical Journal of Physician and Sports Medicine, Spondyloysis or painful tiny cracks in spinal bones, account for almost half of low back pain among active teenagers.
  7. Some 60 percent of teenagers have considered suicide.
  8. The Muslim population in the United States is approximately 7 million, according to the 2000 census.
  9. Nearly 40 percent of the state’s prison inmates used or possessed a firearm during their crime in 1997, and got the weapon from a friend or relative.
  10. People who switch from regular cigarettes to brands marketed as low tar or light, do not reduce their chances of smoke related diseases, says the National Cancer Institute.
  11. About 20 million Americans call themselves “vegetarians”.
  12. There are 488 Osteopathic Physicians in West Virginia.
  13. There are almost 2,000 more lawyers than doctors in West Virginia.
  14. Scientist have identified a second faulty gene that appears to make some families prone to developing prostate cancer.
  15. Monitoring the Future , conducted by the government, says smoking is declining sharply among teenagers.
  16. Jobs in the “Personal Supply Services” dropped by 20 percent last year.
  17. Records show 214,229 people visited the West Virginia State Fair last year.
  18. The WV National Guard has been rated number 1 in readiness for more than 5 years.
  19. More than 13.5 million Americans have chronic “Bronchitis and Emphysema”.
A 29 year Swedish study of 28,000 obese patients, found 33 % more cases of “cancer” among them then in the general Population.       LMM


by Jim Chafin

     When one thinks of
>colonialism=, our mind tends to run back through the pages of time to a period locked in antiquity; a faraway niche of eternity to which we can only relate in tiny bits and pieces - visionary fragments of long ago images of kings in bloomers, tights, and feathered hats. It=s a stage play, not unlike show business today. There are no feelings attached to it, therefore there is no pain and no consequences. We cannot feel the deprivation, unspeakable hardships, disease, and death, of those who braved the unknown for a chance of a new beginning in what we now call the United States of America. As we closely scrutinize our past, we begin to see an image of what America=s future will be - this nation was colonized by a system for commercialization. This was the American future.
     I believe it was McCauley who wrote, quote:
@No past event has any intrinsic importance. The knowledge of it is valuable only as it leads us to form just calculation with respect to the future.@ To which I would add that, in this era of many doubts and unfilled promises, it is incumbent upon us to know where we=ve been, in order that we may chart our course to the future. To many, this seems to be a painful mind game - we wish to be as those spoken of in Jeremiah 7:8 "Behold, ye trust in lying words that cannot profit.@ Like the little girl who was being told that there wasn=t any Santa Claus - and the little girl=s reply was@ Aunt Pam, don=t tell me any more truth!@ Friend, we find that collective hypocrisy can cause folks to look past injury, and even death, as long as it serves as a vehicle for individual or corporate gain. And , politics today is the same as it has always been - it is not about equity; it is about WHO gets WHAT. And the consequence of such a posture results in Aneeds@ being shunted aside in favor of political expediency. The citizens= Ainalienable rights@ are, therefore, walked on today in a manner of which I have never before witnessed in all of my lifetime. How are West Virginians affected by all this? Well, let=s take a look at the state of the State, via the printed record, shall we?
     From the Executive mansion to the Statehouse, to the Courthouse and City Hall, our tax coffers are leaking like a sieve. National/International mega conglomerates are milking the life blood out of this resource rich area and putting nothing back. Our legislators and bureaucratic types are being enriched at the expense of every person living in this state. These raiders of our public worth and dignity are unapologetic for their desecration of our resources and our people. In a state that has: the oldest population, lowest income, the nation
=s highest numbers of toothless seniors; a state that has lost more residents in the past decade of any state except Wyoming; has a national reputation of being politically corrupt of all the 50 states; an entity that lags far behind in roads and infrastructure; more heart problems; more respiratory disorders; more cancer; more disablements; where there is less healthcare, and costs are among this nation=s highest; a state where legislators refuse to confront the ill effects of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use; and, deny the severity of air, land, and water pollution - all of which have devastating effects upon everyone. All of these needs while government looks for more ways to addict more people to gambling. And let=s not forget that monument of vanity - the Golden Dome.
West Virginia is colonized by financial interests who rule behind the scenes by corrupting our electoral process and by forming unholy alliances with Representative (?) Government-no less so than did King George and his hand picked governors and magistrates. Yes,
@Their leaders cause this people to err.. that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed.@ Isa. 9:16;10;1. Bad boy, bad boy !!!
=s Note: Mr. Chafin is a new contributor to this paper and can be reached at 730 E. 4th #311;
Williamson, WV 25661


      Just wantin' to say hi. I've been reading a lot in the Communicator recently, and keep visiting your web site quite often (thanks so much for the site, as it helps me keep up with events in Clayberry while I'm on campus here at college).
From the looks of things up there, ANY person could run for office, and get elected. I may as well just toss my hat in the ring one of these days just for a laugh. I mean, if we can get people in there that don't know how to run things, but act like they do, why not get someone in there that doesn't know how to run things and will own up to it?
     Another thing, before the election we had people come by my home that were "pro levy", they spouted some stuff about it would raise our taxes 30%. Then, they said if we didn't vote for it, that a 70% tax increase would STILL take effect. Now, is it just me, or did they just tell us that they were going to increase our taxes 100%?
      And, is it just me, or does everything in the good ol' country of Clay just seem messed up? I mean, requiring CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS when someone asked for what is supposed to be public information? Things have become really sad when your elected officials on a local level seem to try to put themselves above federal law.
      Another big peeve I have is that we have a school board that wastes money on so many things around the county, and yet, our education is still not improving? The biggest indicator for how bad the school system really was when still I attended school, was that most (not all) teachers would send their kids to private school. Now tell me, if public education is so good, why would teachers send their own children to a private school, then say that public education is so much better? It makes no sense, does it?
      And another thing, why are teachers so hard up for more money? They make a better living than most people. Think about it. Let's say that, oh, John Doe earns what a teacher earns, only he makes it all year long, not for 9 months; he earns close to $40,000!!!!!! (estimate). And those teachers complain about making $30,000 or $35,000!!?? I'd LOVE to have a job that paid that much per year, and still had all the perks (off for all those holidays, and a three month vacation in the middle!). If the teachers (specifically, the thousand or so that visited the capital) are so bent on leaving if their demands aren't met, then let them leave! There are many young men and women just earning their teaching degrees that so badly want a job here in a state they grew up in and love. If a thousand leave to go out of state, that means 1,000 more will get a job. Coupled in with the fact that many older teachers will be retiring soon, and many MORE jobs will be created. Sounds like a fair trade to me.
Well, enough raving on my part.
The Clay Raver
      February 5, 2002, on an order against Darius and Melissa Cummings, Deputy John McKown came to her at lunch, shook his handcuffs at her, and told her that she had 10 minutes to get to the magistrate
=s office or he was arresting her.
      Her son Joseph missed 13 days of school - five days which was when he was kicked out of school, three days for funerals for relatives, and the remaining was sickness.
     Upon contacting Larry Legg, he said,
AThe order would stand@, that she would have to go to jail for 24 hours. I feel that I have been singled out in this matter since some neighbor children have missed more days with nothing said to them. I returned to WV from Ohio September 19,1999 and have had trouble from the beginning. I don=t know why my kids are being treated in this manner when other kids get by. The records should be pulled, check the others, and verify doctor=s excuses and written excuses for my children. My wife and I both work, and I have to take care of six kids while their mother is in jail.
Darius J. Cummings, Jr. and Melissa Cummings

Getting Information in Clay -AScary@

     The Clay County Sheriff
=s Department and Clay County Schools Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger have recently been highlighted in Charleston newspaper articles concerning WVU=s statewide Freedom of Information Act audit, due to the reported responses they gave the auditor who visited Clay County. According to those reports the Sheriff=s office refused to provide the weekly activity log, and the Superintendent was so scared with the request for his contract to the point that he ordered a background check done on the requester.
     Talking with Clay Deputies Miles Slack and John McKown at the Sheriff
=s office on February 4, we learned they have a different version of the episode. Both said the guy (auditor) was rude and demanding, and asked for their weekly log. He was told they had no weekly activity log, and never had. Slack said he told the man that the information he wanted was available from the Nicholas County 911, and McKown said they=d offered to let him look at their files, but he was insistent that they provide the weekly log. Both said the Sheriff=s policy was to always give requested information...they refused nothing, just couldn=t provide what he was asking for.
Concerning running a background check on the man, both said that never happened. The deputies explained the procedure to request an FBI background check and said they are only allowed to request one for four specific purposes - criminal justice information, gun permits, employment (criminal justice only), and domestic violence cases. Also, to do a check they have to provide a name, which they say they didn
=t know, and other identifying information. As for Superintendent Linkinogger requesting them do a background check, both said, as far as they knew, he=d never asked for one.
     Later in the week, during the County Commission meeting, Sheriff Harald Fields said he did do a license plate check on the man. As for providing information, Fields said,
AI never seen him...he didn=t say anything to me. I didn=t run no FBI background check. He can see anything in my office, even my own paycheck stub.@ (Fields was not in the office when the auditor visited.) When pressed about the license plate check Fields replied, AEven I was curious.@ Fields says he still has not responded to the written F.O.I.A. request the auditor left.
     Years ago when this newspaper asked the Sheriff for an activity log we were told the same thing - there
=s no log kept. But there is no doubt that information requests from strangers arouse quite a bit of suspicion in our county - can=t you just see all the faces peering out of windows trying to catch a glimpse of the license plate?
=s really hard to understand is why wanting to see an employment contract would cause the Superintendent to describe the experience as Aeerie@ and Ascary@, and allege the requester was a member of the ACLU. Why the fear? Bet that auditor was the one feeling Aeerie@ as he left Clay County. TK


     Clay Town Council met in regular session February 5, 4 pm at the Town Hall/Water plant. New Mayor Arthur (King) Jarrett was on the throne along with Council persons Wanda Chambers, Sally Legg, Helen Morris, Dave Derby and also new to the table, Okey Burroughs. Town Recorder Betty Murphy is vacationing and clerk Dwana Murphy filled in as recorder. Here we go!
As for the bills, Dwana reported some big bills for new water meters (Hughes Supply, $2000.00) and water treatment chemicals ($1800.00, CI Thornburg) had been received.
      It seems back just before then-mayor Joyce Gibson resigned last February, the Council neglected to pay her for her good deeds. Gibson resigned around the 15th of February and sought payment for the entire month. Council voted to pay her for just the 15 days while at the helm.
     Big change for new customers of the sewer and water service provided by the town. Ms Murphy stated that she was having problems with new customers not paying for new taps and hook ups. Wanda Chambers,
AIf they want water, pay the deposit in full.@ In addition to the water deposit already required, now there is a sewer deposit as well. Water taps - $300.00; Sewer taps - $300.00; and another $75.00 deposit is now required. The deposit is returned to the customer after one year.
The sewer plant operation remains in financial doo doo so to speak. There is just $3,526.66 in the account left over from the project. Dwana,
@ And we just got a $6000.00 bill from attorney Jim Lane..@ The little veins on Council members= necks turned into the size of garden hoses! Chambers,@ We let him go a long time ago!@ Dwana Murphy went on to say the invoices are dated up through December 2001 and that they are not old ones. Little Murph then informed all that there was yet another invoice from Jim Lane and that one was for over $3000.00. Heads turned blue.
King Arthur,
@ What did he do?@ Chambers, @We don=t owe him anything!@ Sally Legg, AThe last time we seen him was at the courthouse [months ago]@. Chambers,@ He was with Greg Belcher..@ Arthur,@ We need to get rid of him.@ Chambers,@ Send him another letter!@ Derby,@ Why send him a letter if he knows he=s fired?@ Helen Morris, AHe knows he=s fired!@
     Morris went on to say that she ran into Lane in Charleston last spring and Lane commented to Morris,
AYou fired me, remember?@ No decision made on sending Lane another letter or paying his bills.        
     Discussion turned to giving much over worked water operator Bobby West some relief with a substitute operator on both weekends and week days. Town is currently pumping water around 12 to 13 hours per day. Operator Jennifer Traub is already working every other weekend in place of West. Harold Walton will be the new part time operator. Concerns were raised that West was sucking up too much costly overtime by working 14 hours per day.
     Peaches Ferrebee wants 6 sewer taps installed on her property near the Betty Taylor property. According to those in attendance, the landowner is putting in a trailer park at that location. Arthur,
@ If she wants them, she=ll have to pay for them all at one time.@
As for parking meters, the town is netting between 300 and 400 dollars per month on them now. Currently there is no one assigned to taking the money out of the meters on a regular basis.
     As for a town cop, Mayor Jarrett will look at a Malcom Cottrell for the position. Cottrell has been a bounty hunter and private investigator in the past.
     And then ... and then, as they were ready to adjourn, came a question from the peanut gallery about the long standing issue of left over debris on the railroad tracks at Pisquah. The debris, dirt, gravel and other fill, is left over from the sewer plant construction project five years ago. Two years ago, estimates came in to remove the debris in the $45,000.00 range. As to the question about the RR now insisting that the junk be removed..... Jarrett side stepped. Another question came on the subject. Still dodging and side stepping. Grinning and with the crowd fixed upon him, King Arthur,
AI=m trying to get around that!@ What Jarrett was avoiding was a newly received big thick brown envelope full of back ground information on the dispute and a cover letter insisting that the stuff be gone, and gone now.
     Discussion ensued on how the deal to remove the trash was not between the town and the contractor but rather between the contractor ( Breckenridge) and the Engineering firm, Chapman Technical ( Greg Belcher). Dwana Murphy produced documents signed by then Mayor Joyce Gibson that indicated the town would be responsible for the costly removal. Council was appalled! Questions came up on whether they would be held liable for such work since they knew nothing about the arrangement nor did they [Council] ever vote to allow Gibson such authority to pen the letters to the RR. Chambers,
AWhat right did she have?@ Ms Morris said that Joyce was going to take care of that problem back some time ago.
     Burroughs, who was mayor some time back, gave a brief history on what he remembered on the arrangements and how he asked that the final payment NOT be made for the sewer plant project until the issue with the RR is resolved. Gibson went ahead and OK
=d the final payment three years ago. Dwana Murphy also read from a July 1, 2000 letter signed by then mayor Gibson that stated the debris would be removed! Burroughs, AMaybe we need that lawyer?@ Sally Legg, ACan they hold us to that, she didn=t consult with us?@ Chambers,@ It was done for the contractor=s convenience!... We were gullible..@
     Changing gears, Mayor Jarrett told the elected ones that Jim Weimer from the WV PSC had called that morning and has asked that Town Council go ahead and give up possession of the water plant, and the Maysel tank. Oh, boy... that didn
=t set too well with some members of Council. Back came the garden hose size arteries!
     From Sonny Moore of Rural Water,
AIf you want control of your rates, keep it@ Moore went on to say that with new regulations coming soon, the cost to treat water will increase. Chambers, A If we keep the plant, could the County Commission put in the lines?@ Moore,@ The Commission wants to consolidate...@ Burroughs explained that if they give up the water plant business then the town residents will have much, much higher water rates while those in the county will realize cheaper rates. Chambers, AWe have to protect our people!... we need upgrades [not a new plant].@ Okey, “Our rates are going up [if we give up the current plant].@ Mr. Moore felt that unless the town agrees to consolidate and give up the plant operation, the county cannot consolidate all the other PSDs. As to the town again considering building the new water plant themselves, Dwana, AThe PSC said we couldn=t do it!@
     And then, Dave Derby, who voted to give up the water business and give the current water plant away last year,
@This has all been decided.. the loans are OK=d.. This is a moot discussion... the loan people said no to us with the plant... they said NO.@ Countering that, Ms Chambers,@ Angela Negley said the money was ours and nobody elses.. I was standing there when she said it!...@
     No decisions were made about the long planned regional water plant. NOTE: The guess is, WV PSC project spearhead for the plan, Jim Weimer, will get his shirts all bunched up when he reads about this discussion!
     As for the computer hard drive that crashed two months ago with all the town records on it, according to Dwana, Joe Braley has it and to date nothing has been done. Little Murph also commented that the town will use $10,000.00 in grant money and purchase another computer.
As for an update on the fraud audit of the town
=s books,... mums the word!
     Mr. Jarrett said he would check into whether Council is complying with state open meeting laws by posting the monthly agenda just 24 hours before the meeting. As to the Jim Lane invoices, the actual amounts are $6,660.31 and the other is for $3,538.93 for water services.
Meeting adjourned around 4:45 pm

School Board Meets - Bus Incident Discussed

     The Clay County Board of Education met at the administrative office building in Clay for the first of their twice monthly meetings on Monday, February 4. Members R.B. Legg Jr., Fran King, Gene King, Scott Legg, and David Pierson Jr. were all present. A small crowd of 20 to 30 attended the meeting, many of them school service personnel.
      Board President R.B. Legg offered prayer and called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. After approving previous meeting minutes and the agenda, the Board recognized two employees chosen for
AExcellence in Service@ awards. Robin Litton, secretary at the board office, and Dee Murphy, secretary at Clay Middle school, were presented plaques.
     Increased receipts of $74,826.00, funds from grants for Title II and Gear Up for the year, were approved, followed by the monthly financial report presented by Business Manager/Treasurer Loretta Gray. Gray reported that receipts for the month were usual for January but noted that tax collections had been greater than in past Januarys. She said February is usually a large tax collection month. The Board had no questions for Gray.
      The resignation/retirements of L. Dale Davis, Connie Davis, and Nancy Fackner, all teachers at Clay County High School (CCHS), effective at the conclusion of the 2001-2002 school year, were accepted. Board employed Beverly Lanham and Pamela McKinney as substitute teachers. Superintendent Jerry Linkinogger explained that both have received their RESA certification, and will substitute in all grades.
Out of state travel was approved for Lizemore Elementary teacher Stacie Wanner to go to the National Math Conference April 20-25. The trip will be paid for through a Title I grant. Reimbursed for meals and mileage on out of state trips were teachers Tracy Wayne, to a music conference in Pittsburg, PA - $181.14, and Doug Wayne, to the Virginia Tech Honors Band Festival in Blacksburg, VA - $155.00.
A hearing was conducted to determine the status of a Clay Middle School (CMS) student. No representative for the student appeared. Linkinogger told the board that everyone pretty much agreed with what was in the letter sent to the family and recommended the student be placed in Alternative school. A second hearing was conducted in executive session, at the request of the student
=s family, to determine the status of a Clay Elementary student. When they returned to open session Linkinogger recommended the plan outlined in the letter to the family be followed. The Board approved both recommendations.
All motions passed unanimously.
     Connie Lane and Lisa Lane appeared before the Board to discuss an incident involving Connie Lane
=s granddaughter, a Clay Elementary student. Scott Legg suggested a closed session for the discussion as it involved an employee. Both Lane and bus driver Mike Taylor wanted the open session. Connie Lane described the incident involving her granddaughter. According to Lane, the child was not supposed to be on Taylor’s bus for the trip home after school, and had no pass. She said Taylor had transported the child once before to another family members home, and did so this time. After getting off the bus the child found no one home at the residence and became frightened. Lane said her granddaughter stood screaming beside the road where a passing man, who didn=t know the child, found her. Although hesitant to put the child in his car, the man drove her to House=s Market, where she was recognized. The family was then contacted. Lane said she later called and talked to the bus driver, Mike Taylor, and Director of Transportation Larry Legg to find out why the child was on his bus. She said Legg told her it was a teachers fault and he would take care of it. She also said Taylor admitted he never asked for a bus pass.
     Mike Taylor explained that he knew where the child was going as he
=d hauled her in the past. He said sometimes someone was there to meet the bus, sometimes not. He said if he=d known no one was home he would have never left her. He admitted he didn=t look at a pass. Taylor said he and Lane had had some Apretty rough@ verbal exchanges, he=d said things he shouldn=t have, but had tried to apologize.
R.B. Legg asked about bus passes. Larry Legg said the schools pass them out and destination and a phone number of someone to contact was to be on the passes. He said he was really concerned about the incident and the next day spoke with Clay Elementary Principal Danny Brown about it. He said apparently an aide had mistaken a piece of paper the child was holding in her hand as a bus pass and placed the child in line for Taylor
=s bus. Brown agreed that the school was partially at fault. Brown, AWe did a poor job...an assumption was made.@ R.B. Legg asked if the current policy says the bus driver is to check the pass. Larry Legg, AWe ask that they check.@
     A woman with the Lane party, identified as a relative, told the Board it was a rule that the bus pass must be checked by the driver. She said students were required to follow the rules of bus drivers, and drivers should be expected to follow rules also. She referred to a recent episode in Charleston concerning a bus driver, and noted that the driver had been suspended for breaking rules. She said,
AYou can=t pat him on the back and go on...@. R.B. Legg responded, AThen we would have to suspend the aide and Mr. Brown. They were part of it...@.
     Lengthy discussion between all parties on the incident and problems schools and drivers have with the passes. Larry Legg said he
=d had meetings with the drivers on the pass issue saying, AWe=ve tightened up big time. Don=t think it will happen again.@ Scott Legg said a thorough investigation needed to be done and that how passes are handled should be standardized. Scott Legg also referred to a past incident when a driver fell asleep behind Telford=s Chevrolet and didn=t pick up his kids, saying whatever discipline that driver received, it should be done the same way.
     Linkinogger apologized for the incident, and asked the Board for a little more time to make a recommendation. He said he thought Taylor was at fault, but not all the fault. R.B. Legg asked Lane to let Linkinogger investigate, as he didn
=t like to hurry things along. Linkinogger said that Taylor has a good record and that he=s not for covering things up, but would like to confer with the Board at a later date. Lane asked if she would be notified when that was to happen. Linkinogger explained when regular board meetings were, but Scott Legg told Lane that someone would call her when it was to be on the agenda. R.B. Legg told Linkinogger to get back to them next meeting. Meeting adjourned at 7:38 p.m. Next meeting Tuesday, February 19, at H.E. White Elementary in Bomont.


o2/01/02: Bailey - Jonathan D. Cook, (12-24) aggravated/non-aggravated robbery, preliminary waived to the Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay.
o1/18/02: Guthrie - Charles Eugene Auxier, registration violations, 01-11-02 defendant filed motion to dismiss traffic citation, state objected to motion to dismiss.
01/22/02: Slack - Chris Samples, harboring vicious dog, summons issued.
01/23/02: McKown - Melissa A. Drake, no POI, ROB.
01/29/02: Christina Bishop - Christy Holcomb, peace bond, summons issued; Belt - Roger Elliot, brandishing, appeared, ROB.
01/30/02: Foreman - Lloyd Rapp, warrants issued for speeding, no POI, no registration carried, possession less than 15 gms. marijuana, and carrying a concealed weapon; Foreman - David Wilson, shoplifting, arrested, ROB, trial set; Slack - David Lee Thomas, obstructing, arrested, ROB; Delk - Peggy Ann Dawson, obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB.
02/01/02: Delk - Kimberly B. Thomas, brandishing, arrested, ROB; Slack - J R Gill, harboring vicious dog, summons issued.
01/23/02: Price Properties Clay, Denny Wood, Agent - Jerry Quinn, Leonard McGothlin Jr., Jodie and Dusty Miller, all for wrongful occupation.
01/28/02: Clay County PSD - Rodney Runnion, money due.
01/29/02: Cletis and Patty Fugate - Harry E. Miller Jr., money due.
01/30/02: King
=s Wrecker Service - Mary Nichols, money due.
Worthless Checks:
Notices issued -
01/22/02: IGA - Tonya R. Sayre, $61.55 (paid 02-01-02).
01/25/02: Clay Farm Cooperative - Steven A. McCullough Jr., $19.60 (paid 01-28).
01/29/02: Clay County Middle School - Jason P. Taylor, $60.50, and Rachel Taylor, $18.50; Sizemore
=s IGA - Lisa D. Duncan, $41.53.
01/30/02: King
=s Wrecker Service - Brenda Asbury, $40.00 (paid 02-01).
02/04/02: Ivydale Elementary - Sara L. Diaz, $38.00.
Traffic Citations:
01/02/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Charles E. Shaffer, operator=s.
01/04/02: State Police - Charles Eugene Auxier, registration violations; Sheriff
=s Dept. - Thomas O. Bradley, speeding and MVI.
01/05/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Thomas R. Foley, speeding.
01/08/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Garin C. Osburn, MVI.
01/10/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Stephanie G. Klassen, speeding.
01/12/02: State Police - Manuel Lee Osborne, speeding.
01/13/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Jason M. Henry, operator=s and leaving the scene.
01/14/02: State Police - John Pringle, no POI and MVI.
01/15/02: State Police - David P. Tackett, MVI; Sheriff
=s Dept. - Dennis Cronan, speeding.
01/17/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Robert Earl Stutler, no POI.
01/18/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Tia Ann Phillips, registration violations, un-restrained child, and no POI.
01/21/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Ronald Short, no POI.
01/22/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Robert G. Igo Jr., no POI.
01/23/02: State Police - Charles F. Johns, speeding and no POI; Angela E. Leonard, speeding; William P. Morrison, speeding and no POI.
01/25/02: State Police - James C. Cunningham, speeding; Christopher Curry, speeding and no POI; Joshua A. King, speeding; Gary Steven Lewis, speeding; Emon A. Skaff, speeding; Sheriff
=s Dept. - Richard F. Trethewey, speeding and registration violations; Danny Wayne Morgan, speeding; Tara Jo Keener, seat belt violation, child restraint, and no POI; Jessica Rose Halki, speeding; Neil Franklin Gilde, no POI.
01/26/02: State Police - Jeffery Ray Neal, registration violations, operator
=s, and no POI; Gary Lee Ramsey, seat belt violation; Shannon Schoolcraft, operator=s; Christopher Stutler, no POI and seat belt violation; Robert E. Stutler, no POI.
01/27/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Amanda Carte, speeding.
01/28/02: State Police - Linda Sheryl Cutlip, no POI; Tad Henson Legg, no POI.
01/29/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Roger Blandon Smith, speeding and no POI.
01/31/02: Sheriff
=s Dept. - Billy Joe Keen, driving on suspended/revoked; Cameron Alan Neal, speeding.
02/01/02: State Police - Jeremy D. Alford, speeding, driving on suspended/revoked, registration violations, and no POI; Sheriff
=s Dept. - Harold W. Cummings, improper passing and seat belt violation.
02/02/02: State Police - Carolyn R. Moore, registration violations and no POI; Sheriff
=s Dept. - James Ryan Jr., speeding and operator=s; Matthew Rand Tanner, improper display (plate).


     It was June 14, 1996. Ambulance service was discouraging in Clay County. WV EMS Director March Tucker had met with Ambulance Service Director Glady Lanham over the last several months and had received little satisfaction. Just prior to the 14th, Tucker told County Commission President R.T. Sizemore, get a group in charge of the ambulance service or I
=ll shut it down. On the 14th, during a County Commission meeting, Sizemore made the Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority a reality. His first appointments to the CCEAA were those that had complained about the service the longest and loudest. Strong willed Director      Glady Lanham was to report to the newly formed group.
     At the time, county residents were very bitter over the then mandatory $25.00 ambulance fee. Chief concerns evident to residents were: slow response times, less than professional conduct of some of the employees, aging often broke down ambulances; there was a pattern of no units in the county when emergency help demanded it. As is the case with many government agencies, there were internal power struggles over who got favored treatment, who would get the most hours in a week, and who would get the schedule that served their needs. Emergency service was poor at best.
     On the 14th Commissioner Sizemore got the monkey off the County Commission
=s back. From that point on, all complaints and suggestions were to be directed to the CCEAA. Commissioner Ronnie Haynes commented several times that he didn=t Awant the corporate veil pierced.@ Translation: well,... we=re not sure.
     The group openly fought, fought behind the scenes, gave out illegal Christmas bonuses, tried to hide their meetings by posting their agenda down real low on a back side door of the courthouse. At one point four out of the five members of the CCEAA quit, leaving the CCC again in the lurch. There was yelling and tears, this paper referenced them to World Wrestling Foundation wrestlers, loans were taken out without CCEAA prior approval, and times when the public was about ready to lynch the entire crew.
     The following is the complete list of who served on the CCEAA over the 5 + years of stormy, complaint filled, fiscally irresponsible era of Clayberry at it
=s worst.
Loretta Bird beginning 8/27/1996, who was given the vote of no confidence by the CCC and was not reappointed; Tracy Rogers 6/14/96, resigned; Larry Rogers 7/8/1997, resigned in support of Ms Bird; David Pierson 10/22/1996 and 7/8/1997 who resigned; Jeannie Nottingham 6/9/1998; Stephanie Taylor 11/12/1996 who refused to even give the public meeting minutes despite an Attorney General ruling on the matter; and long timer Joyce White 6/14/1996 who was in charge of the finances as Secretary/Treasurer for most of her tenure before the CCC de-appointed her last June 31.
     Sure can
=t forget Deputy John McKown 6/23/1998. McKown was one of the members that voted to spend $50,000.00 to defend the CCEAA in a court challenge over Open Meeting Law allegations; Patricia Mc Glothlin 11/12/1996; Debbie Metheny 6/14/1996, an original founder; Crusty ole Norman Wilson 6/14/1996 who found out real quick that there was nothing that could be done with the CCEAA; Paramedic Tony Cafeco 6/14/1996, a founder; and Pete Johnson 6/22/99 who was not really allowed to serve since his wife, Cookie, was an employee of the service.
     Sure can
=t forget about Larry Cole 6/22/1999 who was the first guy to signal financial collapse was imminent without cutbacks; Larry Dietz 7/18/1999 and 6/13/2000; Damon Grose 7/18/1999; Jeff Krauklis 7/8/1999 who holds the record of having the quickest meeting in CCEAA history ( 13 minutes); the notorious Gene King 5/23/2000 and reappointed 6/26/2001; Phillip Morris 6/13/2000 who could not accept the position since he works for the State Road; Arlie Fulks 6/30/2000; Duane Legg 11/28/2000; and, the often @ Shoots her mouth off before thinking@ Fran King 6/26/2001.
      As the ship was sinking or had already sunk and they didn
=t know it, Bob Ore 8/28/2001; Jimmy Sams 12/19/2001 , and finally Sheriff Harald Fields 12/19/2001.
The CCEAA died at the last County Commission meeting in January 2002 as WV EMS took charge of the insolvent emergency service provider. Many in the county are grateful that the CCEAA is gone.

Grand Opening for Global &
Filcon Frustration

     The Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) Board of Directors held their monthly meeting Tuesday, February 5, 2002. The economic development committee met prior to the full board, at 4:00 p.m.
During the committee meeting members where updated by CAEZ Director Jerry Sizemore on the following:
Exit 40 property is set to be appraised.
=s Den Restaurant - Sizemore reported that two payments had been made on the loan, and they were now just one month behind. He said he wouldn=t recommend any formal legal activity.
     Filcon Manufacturing - Sizemore said CAEZ finally received the $2000 Filcon payment after he had pursued the worthless check through magistrate court. He
=s been unable to contact Filcon owner Manfred Kuentzer for the past three weeks, and was told Kuentzer may be in Germany. Sizemore reported that as of February 1, Kuentzer has failed to live up to his agreement ($130,000.00) with CAEZ, and was behind about 5 months. Sizemore asked the committee to develop a recommendation that Kuentzer sign a subordinate mortgage against the Filcon property and building. Clay County Bank and the Clay Business Development Authority both have liens on the property. Red Derring, AI suggest we foreclose on the man.@ Sizemore agreed they could foreclose and sell Filcon=s equipment - CAEZ has first dibs on the equipment. But, appearing leery that Filcon may file for bankruptcy, Sizemore urged that they first ask for a subordinate mortgage. The committee agreed to recommend placing a third lien. Elizabeth Sampson also asked Sizemore to tell Kuentzer that the committee strongly encourages him to seek assistance with business management help available.
      Mt. Hope Project - Global Contracting has 117 on payroll at their temporary facility. Currently, 128 people have passed (employment?) test, and are waiting for the Mt. Hope building to open. Sizemore said furniture arrives Monday, and Global moves in next week. He said there will possibly be 245 people on payroll, and the only employment problem they were having was a lack of computer programmers, at least 6 were needed. Sizemore announced a grand opening ceremony is tentatively scheduled for March, between the 4th and the 8th, depending on the schedule of Governor Bob Wise, who has been invited to attend.
     During the full Board of Directors meeting at 6:00 p.m., Jerry Sizemore reported that CAEZ received a $249,166.15 ARC grant in December which should insure that their doors will remain open in 2002. According to Sizemore, it takes right at $10,000.00 per month to keep the office afloat. $200,000 of the money will be earmarked for business development in the zone. Currently the agency uses the Bank of Gassaway and the Clay County Bank as depositories of their money. Motion was made and passed to put some of their new found money in interest bearing accounts in Oak Hill and Spencer.
     Sizemore brought the full Board up to speed on Filcon Manufacturing (which is now shut down) located on Main Street in Clay. Board motioned and passed for Sizemore to seek a 3rd lien on the land and building entrusted to Filcon at Ovapa. No indication if Filcon owner Manfred Kuentzer will agree to such an arrangement.
     First time to a CAEZ meeting, Clay County Commissioner Matthew Bragg asked the Board for assistance and guidance in securing funding for a water line extension in the Punkin Ridge section of the county. Bragg,
AThey have gotten the raw end of the deal for some time!@ Long time water purveyor Red Derring gave many suggestions on how to secure money for water lines. Here it is readers, what many have thought for over two years - finding another way to provide water for the county without building a new water plant. Bragg asked Derring (head of Gauley PSD) if it might be possible to buy water from them for the southern end of the county. Derring, AI=ll do everything I can to get water in Clay County.@ Derring mentioned that Gauley PSD was already supplying water via a 6 inch line into Clay County. It appeared that Bragg was looking for a Aplan B@ if the long stalled, long proposed Clay regional water plant goes zaplooey.
     Although not exactly specific readers...Mr. Derring made mention of a time when he left the Clay County Courthouse telling himself that he would not ever come back into the county! He was mad at the time over actions taken by our elected leaders. Long time followers of Clay politics will remember when Gauley offered to supply water all the way up Holcomb hill and our County Commission told them NO, that they didn
=t need outside help. To date, the only municipal water on the southern end of the county is supplied by Gauley and that service stops near Ida Baptist Church, leaving many in that end of the county with little or no potable water.
     Anybody needing some used computer equipment, check with the CAEZ now. Board ok
=d for Sizemore to toss out the outdated items.

BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon=s Corner

     It now appears that the orgy of backslapping and loud declarations of bipartisanship has suffered an untimely death, and the thinking, or lack of it, emanating from our nation=s capitol can once again be described as Apolitics as usual.@ The collective sigh of relief that could be heard when Jessie Helms, America=s chief impediment to entering the 21st century, and eternal naysayer announced his retirement turned out to be premature when the vile obstructionists, Tom Delay and Dick Armey, entered center stage.
     One of the more irritating habits of our politicians is their fondness for appearing on TV and telling us what the American people think. The most recent illustration of this offensive tendency was the repeated assertion by gaggles of conservatives on the national media that the American people are not interested in campaign finance reform. Can we have a loud
AHello!@ here?
     When the issue of federalizing the airlines and installing marshals on flights, both foreign and domestic, for reasons too obvious to list here, both Armey and Delay (a marvelous name to fit his political life) fought against it. Their objection was based on the old Republican creed, which states that the Grand Old Party stands for less government and that the creation of a new federal organization for the purpose of passenger safety would result in yet another bureaucracy. Of course, it could be argued that the famous conservative Republican hue and cry against big government is a
Acustom more observed in the breech than in the observance@, as Shakespeare says. Party platforms are useful election-getting devices, which are usually discarded by both parties, who tend to adhere to the unspoken motto: AThe only immorality in politics is not to get elected.@
     In taking the high road against bureaucracy, the Texas obstructionists, Delay and Armey, deliberately ignore the abiding concern among air travelers - safety, but the road in this case is not really a
Ahigh@ one. There is a practical issue (read: political) involved here. At first glance, we might assume that the initial concern is cost: federalizing the airlines would call for an enormous amount. However, let us indulge for the nonce in a slightly more cynical motive guiding these two patriots.
     When a government institution is created, especially one that is a subspecies of our elected representatives, it usually becomes unionized. Armey and Delay
=s motives may be suspect, but they are no fools. They know that union members usually vote the Democratic ticket. So much for what politicians love to call Apublic service.@ Case closed?
A     I will show you fear in a handful of dust@, wrote poet T.S. Eliot. One would be hard put to find an observation that fits the savagery of September 11, the looming horror of anthrax and the potential aftermath of its progeny, if one may strain the metaphor, to such near perfection. Eliot, (1888-1965) an American from St. Louis, was educated at Harvard and the Sorbonne, and Prufrock, protests, AI am no prophet@, although now it appears that his puppetmaster was.
     Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. For all his gifts, he emerges from his pages as a stuffy and snobbish fellow. It was fitting, therefore, that two Harvard students made him the victim of an imaginative practical joke. In that year, give or take, bandleader Ray McKinley had a hit record on which he sang the lyrics. It is called,
AYou came a long way from St. Louis@ (pronounced ALouie@). The two Harvard students sent Eliot the record. No report of his reaction has surfaced.
It is a consuming irony that our so-called intelligence agencies, busily engaged in investigating everything under the sun, including U.S. citizens, are now under investigation - by the media. We have discovered, for example, that almost none of the agents operating in the Middle East are familiar with Arabic, that such organizations as the CIA, FBI, and the national security agency jealously guard their own turf and often refuse to share information that might be essential to national security.
     This indefensible practice is, of course, a method of covering up blunders. Such as the tragic Waco fiasco, when the public learned after the fact that the FBI allowed the maniac David Koresh to make repeated trips to town without fear of being arrested, an act that would have averted the slaughter that ensued.
      Frederick P. Hitz discusses one of the aspects of our failure in foreign policy in
Ahow to build smarter spies.@ Hitz, who spent 20 years in the CIA, and was inspector general from 1990 to 1998, writes: A...America=s new terrorism target puts us in the challenging position we were in 55 years ago when we were trying to penetrate the Soviet Union with insufficient Russian language capabilities and little understanding of the tough totalitarian hide we were tryung to pierce. We are attacking an analogous kind of closed society where members have committed their lives to the cause and distrust even their own families.@
      It should follow here that an intelligent and efficient foreign policy should be implemented by people whose first loyalty is to national rather than party interest should implement an intelligent and efficient foreign policy, that our greatest weakness is in finding and training officers who speak the language and understand the culture of the Middle East and Central Asia. Not to mention other regions - after all: in the past, the U.S. intelligence community illustrated that it would have been willing to recruit Satan himself, so long as he declared that he was an anti-Communist.         
A     The Taliban is no longer functioning as a government.@ - Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense. It must be true and carved on marble if you said that, Rummy.
      There are three new books on the Kennedys. Isn
=t it about time the reading public was given a rest from that crew and Princess Di?
      Thomas Marshall, vice president for Woodrow Wilson, can rightly claim as his life
=s achievement the statement, AWhat this country needs is a good five-cent cigar.@
     ASama bin Ladin is only the fruit; Pakistan is the tree and Saudi Arabia is the roots.@ - Madhur M. Shirivastava
     In 1995 the CIA operatives were forbidden to recruit people with violent backgrounds as informants.
The veil worn by Muslim women is called
News from the Tooth Fairy?
AAirstrikes against Taliban troop positions have significantly increased in intensity and effectiveness.@ - Donald Rumsfeld, (AKA, Pinocchio).
     The government has recently solicited opinions from the people about dealing with terrorists. Here is one: find the most accomplished, the most brilliant computer hackers, even if they are in prison, and hire them to disrupt the terrorist network
=s communication system.

=s Note: Robert W. Clarke, a retired university English professor, writes a column about his take on politics, observations, humor, etc. Mr. Clarke most recently wrote for the Buckhannon, WV Record Delta.


Last month the Clay County Commission displayed a much overdue and long anticipated changing of the guard . The CCC voted unanimously to disband the Clay County Emergency Ambulance Authority and contract with WV EMS, a private non profit company licensed in this state to manage and operate the county=s only ambulance service. The contract is for 6 months. The on site manager for WV EMS is William W. (BJ) Willis. The following is an interview granted by Mr. Willis February 7, 2002.
=s your background? Willis,@ In emergency medical services, begins back in 1982 when I became a volunteer EMT-B in Wayne County. Since then I worked in radio television for 10 years with WSAZ. I still volunteer in Wayne County... In 1992 I took a full time job with Cabell County Emergency Medical Services as a field paramedic.... And now with WV EMS TSN starting out as a public information officer and now as Program Director. It=s West Virginia Emergency Medical Services, Technical Support Network. I oversee 9 counties.... the work I am doing up here is by a contract between our company and the County Commission A
     Since January 25 what changes have been made? Willis,
AWe have stopped the scheduled non emergency transports. We are doing emergency calls only. What was happening was a lot of the non emergency transports were to like eye doctor appointments, dental appointments and insurance won=t pay for those. I was paying a staff how ever many hours and in some cases overtime to take these people to a Dentist appointment that insurance, at the most would pay $25.00 for. .... the cost of fuel , the cost of salary for two employees... you=re losing money. That is a service that is not emergency and there are non emergency agencies out there who do that kind of transport...We were not fiscally able to continue those transports. Currently we just have one full time 24 hour advance life support [ALS] ambulance here and as employees are in the community and they hear another call come in , there are two other ambulances available that they can come and answer the call. When they do answer the call they do get, the employees , do get paid because they are back on the clock at that time. Because it=s [they] volunteer I don=t have to pay them to stand by.@
     So what about the Big Otter and Lizemore ambulance sub stations, what=s their future? Again, BJ,@Currently Big Otter has an ambulance there. It was put there before I came on board. I did not take it away because we are working with them to get a written letter of understanding . I meet with them Monday night to work out the details ... I fully anticipate that the ambulance is going to stay there. There is not currently an ambulance at Lizemore but I am going to meet with their Fire Department also and offer them the same letter of understanding that I am going to offer Big Otter. If they agree to it, we will put an ambulance back at Lizemore also.
     You=ve been on the job just two weeks, do you see any big changes coming up shortly? Mr. Willis,@ We went ahead on good faith and got started feeling sure they CCC] would reach an agreement. I think the Commissioners saw that something had to be done and they took the steps to do it. The big thing coming up next is Feb 15. We start new statewide protocols. It affects every paramedic in the state. I need to get all our paramedics up to date and in-serviced on the new procedures..... There are a couple new drugs and new medical procedures…”.
     What is the condition of our ambulances themselves? Willis,@ ... I took one ambulance out of service [ had bad tires]. Within the next week or two I’ll be taking those to an ASE certified mechanic to look at them and give me an itemized list of what needs to be done to fix any ambulances that .... whatever. I=ll get an estimate and after these estimates are done my goal is to pick the three best ones , the ones that will cost us the least amount of money to fix.... And to keep those three best and if the Commission agrees to it, sell the other three because we are out of the transport business right now. .... we sell those that are dangerous or cost us a lot of money and take that revenue and put it back in to help the agency. I am not going to say that we will NEVER go back into the transport business... if we see that it is profitable to do transports and we can afford to do it, ..... if it would support itself, that means that it would support the payment of new ambulances. We have to run that part like a business since that is not emergency.”
     Are the employees you have to work with trained and certified? Director Willis, @Yes. Everyone here has current certification. I have interviewed all the full time staff and anybody worked 20 hours or more and a couple that wanted to be interviewed. Within the next week , possibly two weeks, we will be sending out offers to these people that we have interviewed offering them a full time position and what their pay scale will be. We have not finalized what the pay scale will be or I would tell you. By the end of February if not before.”
     According to Assistant Prosecutor Barbara Schamberger, the ambulance service workers will no longer be considered county employees. Details are currently being worked out on a benefits package for the new workers. As far as benefits, vacation and sick leave days, Willis,@ I don=t think anybody is going to start out in the hole.. my goal is let them start with some vacation hours already banked...they can start using their vacation time now and spread it out through the year.”
     As to a change in using more full time employees than has been the case in the past, BJ Willis confirmed that will be the case. Willis,
@ Currently, I have put them on a fixed rotation. They are working a 48 hour week. So that=s 8 hours scheduled overtime a week..... I use part-times on the seventh day. We are staffed around the clock with one ambulance. We have two other ambulances available that can go out on calls. We are doing quite well. We are already over 110 calls so far this year which is ahead of last year. And that is emergency calls only. ... My theory was, and I can=t prove it yet, we were missing some emergency calls which insurance and stuff pays [for] while we were out on these non emergency transports... We were losing that revenue. It=s just a theory. I am encouraged with what I have seen so far. The employees have been very good so far.@
     Mr. Willis could not say how many full time employees will be rehired by WV EMS when the full changes are completed. As for the dismal conditions found when WV EMS first came on the scene two weeks ago, Willis,@ .. we came into the office here and found a stack of follow up billing that hadn=t been done . Marie has been busy with that and yesterday, four or five people came in and paid bills. That=s great. And we are getting positive feedback from the community.”
      As for one of the most contentious issues surrounding the financial insolvency of the ambulance service and CCEAA, has local dispatching stopped? Willis,
@ Yes, that=s right, Clay Control is no longer. They still answer the radio here as Clay Control if someone is here and someone hollers.... We still have the radio equipment here . We do not dispatch emergency calls with the exception , if our ambulance crew is here and someone comes up and says I need an ambulance, it would be silly for us to call Nicholas and have them tone us out and then say now we=ll respond. In other words, if someone is here and they say they need an ambulance , then we will respond to that call. If that crew is gone and there happens to be someone that is off duty and hanging out here, we have the capability to tone here. I have directed the people to go in there and set off the tones, call for a driver if you need one, but make sure that you notify Nicholas County that your second truck is now gone. We want our 911 center at all times to know the availability of our crews. We don=t want an unnecessary or unneeded delay in getting them help that they deserve. It is working great so far. There are a couple of people ... there have been a couple little hiccups, but it is a learning curve. It=s starting to smooth out some.”
     So what is the process if someone calls for help on the 587-2554 line? AI have instructed them to take down the information, the caller, the location, the nature of the call, go out get in the ambulance, and on the way to the scene call Nicholas 911 and say >We have a still alarm=, that=s one of the terms for it, we=ve had a call come into our office and we are answering it. That way, 911 knows that the next call will be the volunteers..…”
     Currently BJ Willis is on location 3 to 4 days a week. Once all the new policies are in place , Willis anticipates being in Clay no more than 2 or 3 days a week. Willis went on to say that he is available to answer situations via a pager and various other numbers.
In closing Director Willis wanted to reassure the public,
A I want to make sure they know, they need to call 911 if there is an emergency. This phone here is not staffed around the clock. To call here first, to see if anyone is here, and if it is a true emergency, could cause a delay that is not needed. They pay for 911 service, they should use that 911 service. That=s what it is there for.....People need to know to call 911 in an emergency.” Readers, how long have you been waiting to hear such a refreshingly professional thought process? It=s a new day and new start for emergency service in Clayberry. AW

Kay’s Cooking Corner

A frittata is an Italian omelet in which the “fillings” are combined with the eggs before the eggs are cooked.
Any leftover meats or vegetables can be substituted for the ground chuck and vegetables in this recipe.
1/2 lb ground chuck
l/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine
1 2-lb bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg + 4 egg whites
1/3 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 cup (4 oz) finely shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1) In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, brown ground chuck along with onion and green pepper. Drain well. Stir in seasoned salt and pepper. Remove meat mixture from skillet and set aside. Wipe drippings from skillet.
2) Add margarine to skillet and melt over low heat. Add hash brown potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with salt and toss to coat. Spread potatoes evenly over bottom of skillet. Spread meat mixture evenly over potatoes.
3) In a small bowl, combine egg, egg whites, and milk; whisk well. Pour evenly over ingredients in skillet. Cover and cook over low heat about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
4) Sprinkle evenly with cheese, cover, and cook an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into 6 equal wedges and serve immediately.

Exchanges: 2 starch..1 Vegetable..2 Medium-Fat Meat
Calories: 344..Calories from Fat..108..Total Fat..12 g..
Saturated Fat..5 g..Cholesterol..87 mg.. Sodium..419 mg..
Carbohydrate..36 g.. Dietary Fiber.. 4 g.. Sugars.. 4 g..
Protein..23 g..
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe

Banana, pineapple juice, and orange juice contribute a tropical flavor to this icy drink.
1 ripe banana, peeled
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 cup unsweetened orange juice
1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 packets NutraSweet artificial sweetener
4 cups ice cubes
1) Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and slushy. Serve immediately.
Exchanges: 1 Fruit
Calories: 76..Calories from Fat 0..Total Fat 0..
Saturated Fat 0 g.. Cholesterol 0 mg.. Sodium 1 mg..
Carbohydrate 18 g.. Dietary Fiber l g.. Sugars 14 g..
Protein 1 g..
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 Serving size: 1 cup
Cost per Serving: $0.15
        Please remember that making smart food choices is the key to taking care of your diabetes. Poor choices will cost you time, money, and your health. Eating well helps keep your blood glucose in control. It helps you avoid the expensive damage to your eyes, heart, and kidneys that occurs when blood glucose levels are high day after day. You can eat healthfully on a lean budget by using the diabetes nutrition guidelines to make smart food choices. Keep this example in mind: Five pounds of naturally fat-free baking potatoes costs $1.99. In contrast, you’ll pay $17.08 for 5 pounds of high-fat potato chips. It’s easy to see which choice is better for your budget-and your health.
Until next time Kay Kish*