|1. “y the time I get to Phoenix”by Glen Campbell has been played over 10 million times on the radio.|
2. The Mortgage Bankers Association of America released a report that 5.79 percent of all mortgages were at least 30 says late and 1.3 were in foreclosure between April and June in West Virginia.
3. A study suggests people with naturally red hair need about 20 percent more anesthesia than patients with other hair colors.
4. State enrollment has plummeted by nearly 20,000 students since 1998.
5. On September 30 2002 the state had 5,145 licensed doctors and 3,510 of those were practicing in West Virginia.
6. The snowcaps formed 111,000 years ago on Mount Kilimanjaro will be gone in 2 decades, scientist has predicted.
7. During 2001, there were 50,890 vehicle crashes on West Virginia roads according to DOT data.
8. The “ational Highway Safety Administration”estimates more than 800,000 get “hiplash”each year.
9. The state will spend 2.7 million to construct three rest areas for Interstate motorist passing through Cabell and Berkeley Counties.
10. Some schools around the country are administering “rine”test to teenagers to find out whether they have been using tobacco.
11. The “tate Police of West Virginia plans to transfer an undetermined number of the Turnpikes 31 troopers to other detachments across the state to relieve a statewide shortage of troopers.
12. Last year, West Virginia tourism accounted for 83,000 jobs.
13. Of the 3,095 “pecial Education “positions in West Virginia’ last Dec. 1, 545 were filled by teachers who were not certified for the classes they taught.
14. The statewide population of bears is at 10,000 to 15,000.
15. What governor’ men is the fear of the truth…..Henri Amiel.
16. Almost two thirds of Americans including a majority of investors, say it’ a bad idea to make a substantial investment in the “tock Market”right now.
17. At least one in three adults are affected by “rthritis” and West Virginia has the highest rating.
18. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace.
19. The average number of people “irborne”over the United States at any given hour is 61,000.
20. There are in the end three things that last: Faith Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is Love…1 Corinthians 13:13 LMM
SOLID WASTE UPDATE
Clay County Solid Waste Authority received an $18,500.00 grant to provide recycling services to the county. Lynn Sizemore was hired as Project Coordinator in Sept. 2002. Kelly Fulkerson is Chairman of the group. According to Ms Sizemore,”Every time one aluminum can is recycled, the energy saved could power your TV for up to 3 hours.”Kicking off the year long grant is the : America Recycles Day, November 15th, 2002. Sizemore has provided the following details of her initial efforts to reorganize an aluminum recycling program in the county
Recycling bins have been cleaned, have new stickers, and have been delivered to each school. (The two bins already at Ivydale Elementary School will be getting new stickers).
Each school has their recycling bins in place and are accepting aluminum cans only, no paper or plastic. IGA has a bin and is collecting cans for Shawnee Hills. Clay Elementary bin is located at the board office and their cans are also being donated to Shawnee Hills.
Sizemore suggested ways to recycle which included: Instead of throwing away a pair of shoes or clothing you can no longer wear, donate them to a charity on the 15th; Send your cans to school Nov 15 and thereafter; and, send an email instead of a letter. Also from Ms Sizemore, “mericans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 12-foot-high wall of paper from New York to Los Angeles. Paper takes up as much as 50% of all landfill space. The average American throws away 4 pounds of trash every day! For details on how you can help get Clay County recycling, give me a call at 587-2125
DON GREENE The WV Radical
YOU CAN'T TEACH ALGEBRA
Trying to make sense of this whole WTC/terrorist thing is like teaching algebra to a hog, it can't be done.
First, why and how could something like this happen? Where were our fighter jets that supposedly protect the skies above the U.S.? Then in the aftermath, why was all of the steel rushed off to be melted down? Where were the fragments and parts of the airplanes and why wasn't the usual reconstruction of the events leading to the crashes done?
Another thing that doesn't ring just exactly true is why was the WTC considered an "American icon"? I would guess that prior to the attack 75% of the citizens of the U.S.A. had no idea what or where they were. The Statue of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, even the Hollywood sign are true American icons, so why weren't they attacked if the goal was to create disruption by destroying American icons?
Maybe the attacks weren't aimed at icons of the American public but rather at icons of the international industrial-military monolith? Another point that puzzles me is how can there have been less than 3,000 souls lost in the WTC towers when there should have been nearly 50,000 employees etc. in them? Eyewitnesses saw thousands of people hurling themselves to their death from the burning buildings. The numbers we have been given reflect that only about 13 people per floor actually lost their lives. That's bad but doesn't it seem too low for such a catastrophe?
Then we were told that this was an act of war. It was, sort of, but does a war against a single man and his followers make any sense? I have an uneasy feeling that by describing the attacks as acts of war was more to absolve the insurance companies of having to pay up on the departed. It's in there, just look at your policy. There are more people dying of starvation every day than are being killed by terrorists. Speaking of terrorists, wasn't the U.S. founded by what would have called terrorists? Wasn't the nation of Israel formed by a group that the other Arab nations considered terrorists? Anyway, it was off to war for the usual sons and daughters of working class Americans. Lives, even West Virginians were lost in a vain attempt to capture or kill the leader of this terrorist group. We came close but that's about all.
Then we decided to go after the senior Bush's old nemesis in Iraq. Sure he's a dictator, with all the usual violations that go along with dictatorships but what's he done lately? Aren't there dozens of dictators in the world? Don't many of them hate the U.S.? Is the U.S. about to begin a literal reign of terror, bringing our version of money-fed, corporate backed democracy to nations that don't want it and can't sustain it?
ACTIVATE by EBGoode
Sorry folks, I have been neglecting ya, but He loves ya & will never leave nor forsake you, ever!!! Here are some legal battles Christians have won recently through firstname.lastname@example.org & their fire-ball converted Jew, Jay Sekulow!
* A nine-person federal jury agreed with our 1998 lawsuit that Minnesota officials violated the constitutional rights of state employees by punishing them for reading their Bibles during a state-mandated diversity training session.
* After the American Center filed a lawsuit against a Dallas, Texas, school district, citing violations of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the district agreed to change its policy prohibiting employees from sending religious messages through the district e-mail system.
* U.S. District Court granted a preliminary injunction against a New York City Housing Authority's religious discriminatory policy. The American Center filed suit after the Housing Authority denied a Christian pastor's request to use a public housing facility for prayer and grief counseling after September 11. The Court called the city's denial "not reasonable."
* A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a Washington state school district violated the Equal Access Act of 1984 and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment when it refused to recognize a student-led, student-initiated Bible club because it was "religious." The American Center represented the student in this case of discrimination.
* The American Center scored a victory for ministries' rights with a judgment requiring Maricopa County officials in Arizona to restore complete property tax exemption to Good Friends, Inc., a non-profit Christian ministry. Officials had denied the ministry exemption from county and state property taxes for land which houses the ministry's television production facilities.
* In a major victory for the American Center's defense of the Ten Commandments, a federal court ruling against the ACLU will protect a Mercer County, Ky., courthouse display that includes the TEN COMMANDMENTS. We argued for the defendant, Mercer County, and are involved in more than 15 similar Ten Commandments cases nationwide.
Still going daily onward for JESUS!
Editor’ Note: Mr. Goode is a regular contributor and is currently serving as a missionary in California
Letter of Appreciation
There are so many people I would like to thank for the outpouring of thoughtfulness and support that was so generously given during the week we put Chuck at rest. Chuck touched the lives of so many special individuals, and it was amazing to see all the flowers, cards and faces during that tragic week. It wasn=t possible for me to hug each and every one of you and tell you how much I appreciated everything, but please know that every hug, every word of support, every shoulder to cry on was much needed and most appreciated.
To my best friends ever, the Cantrells. Thank you not only for opening your home to me for as long as I needed, but for remaining such pillars of strength for me to lean on, even when your own grief was more than you could bear. There is no end to the support and caring you showed and continue to show as we all work through our pain.
Thank you to Gary and Lesha Butcher. You took care of so many things that I wouldn=t have even known or thought of to take care of myself. It=s so nice to know that the boys and I still have Afamily@ in West Virginia. The love and comfort extended beyond Gary and Lesha to each of their immediate families - The Sonny Butcher Family and The Bud Thorne Family. It was so helpful to see how much Chuck meant to each and every one of you.
Special thanks to Clifford and Debbie Samples. I was so pleased when David suggested that you do the service. I can=t imagine anyone else having performed it in such an honorable and sincere manner. Clifford, you have known Chuck for so many years and it was so fitting that when he finally found peace, you were there. Your heartfelt service was truly a comfort and an inspiration to us all.
Special thanks as well to Romie and Greta Samples, who, as always, have been a tremendous source of love and support to the boys and myself. Your presence in our lives always held such a special place in Chuck=s heart and to have you with me during such a heart-wrenching time has meant so much more than you know.
A heartfelt thank you to those of you (you know who you are) who helped to keep such a sacred time for family and friends just that - sacred. You all are the best!!!!! Your teamwork and discretion insured we were all allowed to mourn in peace and comfort each other without the distraction of those who neither shared our grief nor understood it.
To those of you who made time in your own lives to be with me during that week and those who have helped at the house - thank you so much for your love and quiet understanding when I needed it most.
To all Chuck=s Aclosest friends@ (and the list is a long one!); to those who called him Abrother@, Ason@; to those who offered a family to a boy who really didn=t have one; to those who made hunting season the highlight of the year; to those who knew him best and loved him most, remember: Chuck will live on in our hearts forever and the memories we have of him can never be diminished. We will all get through this and be okay
Because we have each other...
All My Love and Deepest Appreciation,
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
Last month, in a fit of adolescent temper, George W. Bush shouted over national TV that the U.S. Congress does not care about national security. Bush’ behavior at that dramatic juncture in our history resembled a level of statesmanship not far removed from a teenager’ temper tantrum that erupts when he does not get exactly what he wants or when his judgment is questioned. The reaction of some congressional members was almost as childish as that of our nominal chief executive, resulting in a kind of ‘ore patriotic than thou’contest.
The blanket insult to our elected representatives (it is important to note here that members of Congress were elected, not appointed by Antonin Scalia) brought angry replies from Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and several fiery speeches from Robert Byrd, who will brook no attack on his beloved Senate. In this particular instance, Byrd covered himself and what is left of the democratic process with glory. It is not without reason that he is often referred to as the ‘onscience’of the Senate. Daschle, who earlier had the gall to question the administration about its long range war plans, has been thoroughly demonized by the Republican right wing as well as the civilian chicken hawks that surround Bush and mold, if not control, his program. If Daschle’ calm and reasonable behavior on national TV is any sort of indication, painting him as the congressional ‘rince of Darkness’makes about as much sense as portraying Mr. Rogers as an agent of evil.
“e are a nation of laws.” It is probable that every person who has aspired to or secured public office has said this, or even may have a tattoo with that noble declaration. However, if U.S. history has taught us anything it is that a more accurate version of that famous statement is: we are a nation of laws as long as they are laws that we agree with.
It is a simple matter for any leader to change or avoid an inconvenient law by changing the terminology; thus ‘ggression’becomes ‘reemptive’action. The stricture in United Nations policy as well as the U.S. Constitution which prohibits a first strike is dismissed on the basis of what might happen. In terms of logic this argument makes about as much sense as the general who says that he did not retreat from a battle. “e advanced backwards,”he protests. The Reagan administration used this kind of tortured reason in its Central American adventures, employing the terms ‘reedom fighters’and ‘errorists’interchangeably, depending upon the flavor of the moment.
With considerable help from the war drums consuming the White House, a minor Mideastern despot has been elevated into the personification of evil. Where before he only lurked, he now looms, thanks to the corporate-controlled media and the 24 hour TV deluge by those intrepid warriors; Cheney, Rumsfield, Ashcroft and company. Saddam Hussein – a Hollywood studio could not have created a better villain. There is no disputing that his reign has been a hideous and brutal one. But, the question arises: why, after more than a decade, has the administration decided to start bleeding in sympathy for the gassing of the Kurds, orchestrated by Hussein in Iraq? Where is the evidence that Saddam is about to attack the United States? Where is the proof that he provided aid to Osama bin Laden? Of one thing we can be sure: if there is no evidence to certify that we must invade Iraq the administration, with the recent help of Prime Minister Tony Blair, will manufacture it.
There is historical precedent to support this skeptical position if anyone out there is old enough to remember the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. In one of the most cynical illustrations in living memory Bush’ political guru and resident genius, Karl Roue advised, “ocus on the war.” This is sound and dazzling practical advice to a President who presides over a plummeting stock market, who has made the U.S. Congress irrelevant, except for those who agree with him, who, with the influence of his father’ old cold war retreads seems to have maneuvered the American people into a state of amnesia where they have forgotten the administration’ role in the vast corporate corruption. Even now the oil barons are slavering in anticipation of the control of those giant Iraqi oil reserves. Nothing succeeds in politics like a good diversion, and war is one of the best. And lest anyone in the inner circle of the power elite forget: there were elections coming up. Happily, that thought is ‘npatriotic’ as the thought police define the term.
A note to Tony Blair: Congratulations on remembering that “here’l always be an England.”– As long as there is a Fort Knox.
If you insist on trampling through other people’ flowers, you can’ complain when you get stung.
– Louis Menand
The United States will use international terrorism in the same way it once used international communism, as a standing excuse to intervene in the affairs of other nations. – European View
Your, etc. - Cur
As the story of J.D. Morris and his crooked ways become common knowledge, most of us in the public already knew he was crooked. Just not how bad! I base my comment on my first memory of J.D. Morris.
When I was in the fourth grade at Maysel Grade School, Mayesl was playing Clay in the final game of the basketball tournament. Maysel players were Jimmy Van Kirk and Fred Davis, guards, Jerry Nicholas and J.R. Mullins, forwards, and Ronald Mullins, center.
Throughout the game, several questionable calls were made by one of the referees – J.D. Morris; and, were in favor of the Clay team. Clay was ahead until the last second of the game, when Jerry Nicholas, from the corner, made a swish shot that tied the game 49 to 49, and sent the game into overtime. Maysel went on to win the game 54 to 49.
As the buzzer rang out the crowd exploded; J.D. Morris really turned colors that night and exposed that purple head he is now so famous for.
Whether it’ your $100.00 or 100,000.00, the stability and security of your life’ earnings in a banking institution is important. Locally, the Clay County Bank has been the root of much discussion this year .
Back in April as JD Morris was resigning from the CEO spot, media coverage made mention of the bank loosing money and the controversial relationship with Filcon Inc. By May , and according to TV 8 news reports, the bank had received a cease and desist order mandating immediate changes at the bank. Then came the charges and now a guilty plea from Morris where he admitted to stealing from bank customers. Last week and reported in that little paper over in Clay came word that an outside group, Davis Holding Co. will assume a stronger management position at the once ninth strongest bank in the country.
For the bank that made it thru the Great Depression, 2002 has been rocky with many locals predicting, “We’e just seen the tip of the iceberg.” Thos folks may be basing that judgment on little snip its of info found in the printed media. An example is the one liner found on the front page of that little paper over in Clay, two weeks ago, which read….”Federal bank inspectors are still considering the ultimate fate of the community bank..” When Morris was making front page news in Oct., reporter Scott Finn (with the Charleston Gazette) finished off the article with, “he same month that Morris retired, the FDIC released a report saying that the bank lost $264,000.00 in the last quarter of 2001.” Clay County is worried. Little has come in the way of reassurances from the Clay County Bank. What has come in the way of public relations has been conflicting at best. During the first week of Nov came the notice that Davis Holding Company assumed a bigger role within the Board of Clay County Bank. The wording went along these lines,”What we want to do is become more active with the local bank Board of Directors and perhaps have a director appointed to better represent our investment. Our goal is to restore confidence in Clay County Bank”and, “This past year has a been a difficult one for Clay County Bank and we simply want to be in a better position to assist in their continued development…” As that carefully worded statement was making the rounds, the existing Board felt compelled to “take this opportunity to explain the notice from Davis Trust Financial Corporation.” So what are the “umbers”at the Clay County Bank. According to the FDIC web site, not too reassuring to say the least. In 1999 in the Charge Off on loans, leases and Credit Losses, the Bank under the direction of JD Morris gave up on collecting $133,000.00. In 2000 and under that same heading, the charge offs rose to $271,000.00. By 2001, total charge offs, un collectables went above ½ million, $649,000.00. Although well above estimated budget for non pay items, 2002 is the tell tale loss. During the first quarter is this year charge offs for non farm, non residential loans soared to $1,218,000.00.
So is it possible to charge off so many loans and still show a profit? It tough to do so. From the FDIC web source for the 1999 year, and listed under the Consolidated Income Report, the Clay Bank lost $269,000 even after reporting total interest income as $4,185,000.00. Even with some growth in the total interest income column, then up to $4,457,000.00 in year 2000, the bad yearly loss grew to $329,000.00.
The great Clayberry Bank sunk in the red more through 2001 when bad loans topped $733,000.00 in the red as total interest income increased less than $200,000.00. Although interim bank President Scott Legg has commented to the media , things are looking up, the most currents numbers don’ reflect that optimism. With the year half done, and according to the FDIC documentation, as of June 2002 total interest income stood at $2,093,000.00 or down a little from the previous year. There is some good news however, as of June 2002, the Bank’ net income was not in the red but rather, $250,000.00 to the good.
Another indication of a bank in distress, was the lowering of the bank’ credit rating by independent National Raters this past summer. Back four years ago, and long before this all became public, taxpayers went to the Clay County Commission and challenged the elected ones on why all the county $ were housed in just one bank, the Clay County Bank. The public also requested them to follow State Code by asking both local banks to bid on banking services for the Courthouse so the tax dollars could realize the best interest income. After resistance by the CCC, bank depository bidding was done and the county received higher interest rates . During following years, little attention was paid to the state code mandated bidding process.
For many in the county, the stability of the financial power base for the county remains troubling. The figures seem to document the reason for the alarm. AW
So what is the pay range for the Clay Development Corp Director? According to the top secret Board manual, Directors earn between $34,662 and $86,630.00 Betty Stalnaker currently holds that top spot. As for the person that runs the Senior Center on Main Street? The pay range starts at $34,652.00 and goes up to $86,630.00. Faye Asbury holds down that position now. And no, these are not new pay guidelines. These salaries were approved over 5 years ago.
Other nice paying jobs include: Operations Coordinator with a top end of $39,493. This position doesn’ even call for a high school diploma nor a GED!; can’ forget about Outreach Workers which top out at $39,493 per year where the job qualifications call for the worker to be able to read and write; and, did you know chore workers can earn up to $39,493.00?
All this information and much much more can be found in the Policy and Procedures Manual. Care for one? They are available from ousted CDC Chair Earnie Wide Glide Sirk.
TIM BUTCHER RETURNS!
Low and behold, and out of the wild blue yonder, it’ none other than Commissioner Tim Butcher at a Clay County Commission meeting. Yes, it’ true for the second time since May 2002, Butcher showed up to earn his keep. With Commissioners Jimmy Sams and Mathew Bragg along side wayward Butcher, the Clay County Commission (CCC) opened regular session Nov 15 after Sams offered his prayer. Around 15 or so gathered in the peanut gallery to watch.
Did we mention that Butcher did not show up for the voting machine check before the election? Did we mention Butcher did not show election night when Commissioners sign off on the election results? Did we mention that Commissioner Opten Butcher did not show up for the voter canvass held earlier this week? Oh, well back to the meeting….
Clay Roane PSD Chair Gary Whaling asked for money to pay half of a $6000.00 raw water pump invoice. The pump has already been purchased and installed at the Procious Water Plant. According to Whaling, the Roane County Commission will cover the other half ( $2798.00)of the emergency expense incurred last month. With Sams in the lead, motion made and passed to pay the expense from coal severance monies.
With arms out stretched, Clay County PSD Chair Keith King asked the CCC to advance $5000.00 to the PSD to cover part of the cost of an engineering study being done by Chapman Technical Co. According to King, Chapman is finding another source of water for the PSD. Currently Clay County PSD buys from the Town of Clay. With the Town not willing to go in debt and build a larger capacity water plant, no new water line construction projects may begin. The total cost for the study will be between $14 and $20,000 according to Mr. King. It looks as though the engineer will present the options later this winter to the PSD. Option 1 will be purchasing water from Spencer while option 2 will be to build a new water plant for Clay PSD customers. Sams mentioned that Hartland may be the location of the new plant. With Sams once again leading the discussion, it appeared that our 8 year veteran Commissioner has learned a few things over the years! Here it is…. Sams insisted that Greg Belcher of Chapman Technical fame keep the CCC informed and do so on a regular basis. Ahhhh, how refreshing! In a giving mood, County Commission coughed up the $5000.00 for Clay County PSD.
After conducting two infant hearings in secret, our elected ones heard from Kate Whittaker. Ms Whittaker asked the CCC to purchase a $500.00 flat bed truck for food delivery use. Whittaker operates the non profit group Aid for Families in Need. The proposal called for the Commission to purchase the truck from government surplus and her agency then buy it from the CCC. Idea didn’ float. Whittaker walked away empty handed.
CCC Ok’ the Big Otter Fire Dept to use tire chains donated three years ago to the now defunct Big Otter Ambulance Station. The auto chains will fit on one of the Fire Dept.’ rescue vehicles.
Kelly Hamrick resigned from the County Clerk’ office with Cathy White hired in as her replacement. AW
| LITTLE ITALY ISSUE @ CLAY PSD|
With about $1528.00 to their name, the Clay County PSD met in regular session Nov 12 in the basement of the old courthouse. 8 or so attended the meeting in addition to Boardsters Keith King, Earl Long and Homer Triplett. After the meeting opened and Triplett offered the prayer service, a couple things stand out.
Lizemorette John Humphry with the “WE WANT WATER GROUP”asked the appointed ones for an update on getting water into the Lizemore/Indore section of the county. Mr. H commented that letters to various politicians were being mailed out . Although Humphry was seeking information, little was provided. Readers, there has been a change. It was just a few months back that Chairman King was less than polite with Humphry. King, certainly not a people person by any stretch of the imagination, during the earlier encounters was at the least, rude and by many standards, hostile to the community oriented organization formed in Lizemore. Back then, the locals had signed a petition to seek water service not from this county but rather from Gauley Bridge. They cited a history of mis information and ( for some) down right fibbing from the Clayberry establishment. That seems all behind them now with King feeling much more comfortable with the Lizemorette bunch. Having said that, still no word on when the long stalled water line construction may begin in that section of the county.
Another fellow, Larry McLaughlin was not so agreeable with the Clay County PSD. Long a closely held secret ( almost), many customers in the Little Italy section of Ivydale go without water service between 11pm and 5 am on a regular basis. According to McLaughlin, the lack of service has been standard for a number of years and thru correspondence, the unhealthy condition was suppose to have been straightened up some time back. . At one point private citizen McLaughlin asked about who was being untruthful while looking at Keith King. Oh Boy, That didn’ set too well with King who doesn’ like any dirty laundry out to the public. McLaughlin listed the many people he had talked with over the years. With little water available during the day light hours and none after 11pm nightly, the customer asked why the unhealthy predicaments didn’ demand a continuous Boil Water Order for those customers. King retorted that a BWO was mandated
After asking for information, King replied “It’ a long long story.”McLaughlin, “It’ a long dry spell too!!”McLaughlin, not making any headway with the Czar, I mean the Chair, continued on by bringing up pee poor engineering in his service area where a 4 inch water main feeds into a 6 inch line. Suggestions by McLaughlin pretty much fell by the wayside.
With a short attention span, King tired of the public comments after just a few minutes, “We’e just batting around the breeze!”and later, “We can’ help you with anything!”And then the keeper of the meeting, McLaughlin, who pays the minimum $30.12 rate for 3000 gallons of water a month, asked the PSD to refund his money since he could not receive that much water due to no or little water in the delivery line. King said no way to the request. McLaughlin read from his 7 year old water service agreement that said the PSD was obligated to provide the water. NOTE: Watch this one to grow, it looks like McLaughlin may have a point.
And: the PSD is looking to purchase a double wide trailer to use as office space on Main Street; The PSD is looking at buying a new 4 WHD truck, the last one purchased now has 68,000 miles on it; and part timer Beverly has quit her clerk position. Job opening readers! AW
CLAY ROANE MAKES CHANGES!
With a packed agenda and a peanut gallery holding a dozen or so, the Clay Roane PSD met in regular session Nov 14. Beginning at 7 pm, the discussions and votes lasted well past 9 pm. Present: Chair Gary Whaling, Roy Ellis, Garrett Samples, and Melissa Postelwait. Absent: Glenn Sutton.
One thing has to be mentioned before this meeting’ coverage. During the Oct meeting, Chair Whaling made comments on the unsatisfactory performance of independent contractor Shane Morton. Late last month a special meting was held to clear up issues surrounding the contractor and address the comments made by Whaling. With apologies made and a clearer understanding of what is expected from water tap contractors in hand, all in attendance appeared to be happy.
Now for the 15th meeting. Talk about changes!!! Probably the longest agenda in Clay Roane PSD history. Even after the recent rate increase, the water provider remains cash poor.
During the Nov 4th Boil Water Order, there was a break down in communications resulting in the Health Dept not being informed of the BWO. Although the School Board was informed the BWO, the school system chose not to adhere to it at Valley Fork Elem.
On the long standing issue of an ex employee who did not read meters for ages and ages which resulted in a $15,273.28 loss for the PSD. With Garrett Samples abstaining, Board voted to have attorney Tom Whittier look into going to court to retrieve the $. Whittier explained that the PSD has a duty to at least investigate any loss.
Currently many water lines and valves are not listed on topographic maps. County Sanitarian Teresa Morton explained that knowing where the cut off valves are is very important during emergency situations. Motion passed to upgrade the maps over the next several months.
As for meeting the WV Public Service Commission standard of having all water meters within 10 feet of property boundaries instead of placing the meter close to the building or home, Whaling,”…moving meters is a can of worms we don’ want.” Motion tabled to enforce PSC rules on meter placement except on all new installs.
Big time discussion on part time maintenance employee Dale Deems working way too many hours. As a recipient of Social Security benefits Deems is to work only 5 hours a day at 6 bucks per hour. With Chair Whaling saying that the PSD does not need a full time maintenance man, and with Boardsters Samples and Ellis commenting on the lack of PSD funds, Motion made and passed to use contractors to fix water line breaks in the future and keep Deems at his normal 5 hours per day.
Many of the agenda items were requested by new Boardster Melissa Postelwait. Such is the case with item # 8. After much debate and soul searching by Whaling, motion made and seconded to go after 24 current customers with big time long past due bills. Employee Jennifer Traub will take the past due folks to Magistrate Court in the few days.
Also, a motion was made and passed to go after 15 ex PSD customers owing $5996.04 in past due bills. One customer, a landlord, owes over $800.00 . To Magistrate Court they too will go!
Change readers, that’ what you’e seeing at Clay Roane PSD. Postelwait appears to the spark plug for this new streamlined approach for operations. And get this, never once on the 15th did those little blue veins pop out on Chair Gary Whaling’ head! The next agenda calls for more discussion on moving JD Morris’controversial water tap. Stay tuned, should be fun!
KAY’ COOKING CORNER
QUICK & EASY DIABETIC RECIPES
BOTTOMLESS CHICKEN POTPIE
SERVING SIZE: 1 SLICE, TOTAL SERVINGS: 8
1 can (l0-3/4 ounces) condensed cream
of chicken soup
1/4 cup fat-free milk
3 cups cubes, cooked chicken breast
1 package (16 ounces) frozen peas and carrots,
thawed and drained
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 refrigerated folded pie crust
(from a 15-ounce package)
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the soup, milk, chicken, and peas and carrots; mix well.
2) Pour the filling mixture into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Cover with the pie crust, pressing against the pie plate to seal, and flute, if desired. Make several slits in the crust to create steam vents.
3) Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until heated through and the crust is golden. Let sit for 5 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.
Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch . . 2 Lean Meat . . 1 Fat . .
Calories . . 288 . . Calories from Fat . . 104 . . Total Fat . . 12 g . . Saturated Fat . . 5 g . . Cholesterol . . 53 mg . .
Sodium . . 468 mg . . Carbohydrate . . 22 g . .
Dietary Fiber . . 2 g . . Sugars . . 4 g . . Protein . . 20 g . .
NOTE: TO GIVE YOUR CURST A NICE GOLDEN BROWN COLOR, LIGHTLY COAT IT WITH NONSTICK COOKING SPRAY BEFORE BAKING.
“HAT’ MISSING FROM THIS PIE? THE BOTTOM CRUST! YUP, THE FACT THAT IT’ BOTTOMLESS MAY MEAN IT HAS LESS FAT THAN TRADITIONAL POT PIES, BUT ONCE YOU TASTE IT, YOU WON’ FEEL LIKE YOU’E MISSING OUT ON ONE THING!”CHERRY BONBONS
SERVING SIZE: 1 COOKIE, TOTAL SERVINGS: 24
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’sugar, divided
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fat-free (skim) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
24 maraschino cherries, drained
with 2 teaspoons liquid reserved
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and 3/4 cup confectioner sugar until creamy. Stir in the flour, milk, vanilla, and salt; mix well.
2) Shape into 24 balls. Press each ball around a cherry and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until light golden. Cool on a wire rack.
3) Place 2 tablespoons confectioners’sugar in a shallow dish and roll the bonbons until lightly coated.
4) In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup
confectioners’sugar and the 2 teaspoons reserved cherry liquid; mix well. Place in a resealable plastic storage bag. Cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle the glaze over the bonbons.
5) Allow the bonbons to cool until the glaze is firm, then serve, or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Exchanges: 1 Carbohydrate . . 1/2 Fat . .
Calories . . 95 . . Calories from Fat . . 35 . . Total Fat . . 4 g . .
Saturated Fat . . 2 g . . Cholesterol . . 10 mg . .
Sodium . . 52 mg . . Carbohydrate . . 14 g . .
Dietary Fiber . . 0 g . . Sugars . . 7 g . . Protein . . 1 g.
“es, you can have sweet treats, like old time favorite bonbons, as long as you properly count your carbohydrates. And don’ forget, one gram of carbohydrate has four calories.”Enjoy.. until next time...Kay
Home Service Provider Meeting
Representatives from Homeless Service Provider organizations met yesterday at Flatwoods, WV in a combined collaborative effort to improve services for homeless individuals and families statewide.
Directors from Scott's Place in Fairmont, Bartlett House in Morgantown, Union Mission/Crossroads and Sojourner's Women's Shelter in Charleston, Aid For Families In Need in Amma, The Clarksburg Mission in Clarksburg, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans, Family Resource Networks and WV Department of Health and Human Resources and other interested representatives met to formalize a statewide information assimilation collaborative to streamline and improve the existing supportive services for the state's homeless persons.
Speakers included Melissa Loder from Criss-Cross from Harrison County, Tammy Gorby from the Homeless Veterans Outreach Program in Clarksburg, Kate Whitteker, Executive Director for Aid For Families in Need, Cathleen Davis from Nicholas County Family Resource Network, Frank Jarman, Executive Director for The Clarksburg Mission and Lucinda Curry, a state representative for the 4WV One Stop Centers.
The speakers were informative and the conference ended on a positive note. A statewide collaborate has been formed by representatives of many of these agencies to attend several future meetings to create a statewide information assimilation group.
Information and resource sharing was discussed by all those in attendance. This will mean future services by such social service agencies could be streamlined and delivered without the difficulties than exists at this present time. It will also mean that needy individuals and families will have more resources at hand because of resource sharing between agencies.
Planning for next years meeting has already begun. If an agency wishes to participate and be considered in the collaborative group they should contact Kate Whitteker at 304-565-4426, Frank Jarman at 304-622-2451 or Tammy Gorby at 304- 623-3461, Ext. 3583.
Patriotism, or, Constitutionality? By Jim Chafin
Every government, no matter the form by which it is known by its neighbors, has its share of self proclaimed ‘atriots’ some willing to shed their own blood on behalf of what they perceive as their benefactor. No matter the disparities in the distribution of goods and services, nor the vast gulf that divides rich and poor, all share the commonality of purpose to protect that which provides for their substance. And so it is in the case of our current problems. In essence, patriotism is: devotion to, and active support of, a person, place, thing, or cause; i.e., as in loyalty to the constitutional flag of these United States of America. Patriotism, then, can run the ramparts from freedom loving democracies to despot producing societies. Rogue nations produce a bumper crop of zealots who, perverted though they be, can create mayhem in more docile and civil societies.
On the matter of patriotism in the support of America’ war on terrorism, the reasons sited by various interests vary widely, based on circumstances in which one finds himself at any given time. Most of the rhetoric bandied about in the media has little to do, or exhibits only superficial recognition that patriotism, to be a valid exhibition of support for this nation, MUST BE hard-core supportive of the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. Failure to do that cuts the very heart out of patriotism as a viable expression of support for this nation’ institutions. Since our constitution is the very epitome of man’ expressive faith in the source of all liberties, then lack of support for that precious document would lead one to believe that the rule of law is not important; while at the same time, lend credence to those who say that the ‘ule of man’offers the greatest potential for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Government figures and private citizens alike who would sell the Constitution, or any part thereof, for a mess of porridge in the form of some perceived short term benefit will, ultimately, find themselves under the heel of king tyrant once again. America’ wars have spilled an ocean of blood from those who fought those horrific tragedies, and no one now living should ever forget the lessons associated with September 11, as well as December 7, 1941, the other date of infamy, when war brought unspeakable misery to this nation, because, war is hell!! Being ‘atriotic’doesn’ necessarily mean that one must always agree with what is being done by government or community leaders. War is too important to be decided by political considerations. We should go to war because it is necessary to protect ourselves or our allies, not because it will elect partisan politicians to Congress.
Ray Hanania: “t’ amazing how easy it is for people who have never served in the military to rattle sabers and urge an attack on Iraq…Real courage, these days, is rare. You will find it in the faces of those who stand for principle against the majority opinion…” Hanania continues: “ot all defenders of democracy believe you have the right to free speech or thought. Right wing fanatics on radio and in many columns symbolize the ugly side of democracy…I thought John McCain fought in the Vietnam War to protect democracy, not deny it to those he disagrees with…”
Like the columnist, I thought the democracy I fought for is a democracy that challenges Americans to question people like the President about political and personal motives. And Bush does have both a personal and political agenda. During election time we understand that many politicians take their stands based upon the public opinion polls. There is a moral position in all of this – I oppose Saddam Hussein, however, I do not support going to war because the economy is in a slump; and W. Bush, like his father before him, does not know how to make it better. I cannot support turning our country into a dictatorship that violates the very precepts upon which this great nation was founded.
To Catch a Kiss Legend By Jeanna Dozer
Long time ago, when times were really hard in rural West Virginia, many men had to leave their loved ones and travel long distances to work. Most didn’ have cars, so they walked. And in them days, the only real work was in the mines. It was a very dangerous job, and many men lost their lives in the mines.
So, most men left their homes way before dawn and walked to work so they could be there on time. Some stayed around close, only returned home for a day or two, but most made the journey back every night, not returning home until late in the evening.
There were no telephones back then in most homes, so if anything was to happen, no one knew until someone returned home in the evening. Most wives sent their men out to work not knowing if he would return safely. Most wives stayed home tending their chores and children, keeping a silent prayer on their lips for the safe return of their men. Only in the evening, when they saw their men’ carbide lamps coming up the road, did they sigh a prayer of thanks for their safe return. So was life…
During this time lived a very young couple just starting out. They loved each other very much, sometimes a rare thing when folks usually married because of necessity. But these young people were in love, so much so that they could almost read each others mind. Theirs was a special love…everyone felt they had been in love long before they were ever here, star-crossed lovers from the past, always finding one another in each new life…folks never spoke of such things, at least not in public. Witchery they claimed, see’ how West Virginia is a Bible state.
So their life together began, and the young man wanted to provide for his love, to give her the world. But alas, the only place there was to go was the mines. This troubled his young bride, fearing for her lover’ life. To ease her mind the young man told her that every day before he started home from the mines he would blow her a kiss, across the vast mountains, telling her to be on the front porch just before dusk to catch it. This would let her know he was safe and on his way home. Every morning the young man would leave for work, kissing his love and reminding her to wait for her kiss.
Every evening, just as he said he would, he sent his kiss. At the precise moment the young bride would wait, with her eyes closed and her hands opened before her, as a leaf fell into her waiting palm. Perfectly shaped and always green, didn’ matter – summer, fall, winter, spring – it would be perfect, not a blemish on it. She cherished and kept each one, putting them in her secret place.
One day as the young bride waited on the porch as always, as dusk was falling, and she felt the leaf enter her hand, a very cold wind blew and the leaf flew up, rising above her head, seeming to disappear into the heavens. And in its place was a reddish brown and crumbly leaf with one hole in it lying in her trembling hands. She immediately fell to her knees and wept, until a neighbor who lived above her and worked with her husband came up the road. He found her quiet and still, barely breathing and very cold. He rushed her into her home and laid her on her bed, then ran to his own home to fetch his wife. When they returned they found the young bride pale and unmoving. She spoke just above a whisper, looking at them with empty eyes, asking, “e’ gone, isn’ he?” With his head bowed the neighbor softly said, “es.” She sat up and said, “ must go now.” Then she laid herself back down and calmly left this world. The miner’ wife observed something in the young bride’ hand; opening it she saw the remains of the crumpled leaf.
So the legend goes…to catch a leaf in flight you are catching your lover’ kiss. Young and old alike, whether unknown loves, present loves, or loves that have passed on, when you catch a leaf you know you are loved.
11/04/02: Delk – Roger Dale Rogers, DWR/DUIA 3rd offense,warrant issued.
11/07/02: Delk – Michael Thomas Butcher, II, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and carrying a concealed deadly weapon 2nd offense (10/19), hearing – probable cause found, bound to Grand Jury in the Circuit Court of Clay County.
11/09/02: Delk – Michael E. Haines, DWR/DUIA, arrested, ROB.
11/12/02: Delk – Michael R. Fitzwater, grand larceny, receiving or transferring stolen goods, and burglary (10/18), trial – probable cause found, bound to Circuit Court; Bailey – Thomas Ray Holcomb, retaliation, warrant issued.
10/19/02: Bailey – Kimberly R. Melrath, possession marijuana less 15 gms, appeared 11/01, ROB.
10/27/02: Delk – Teresa Dawn Copen, driving on suspended/revoked and MVI, appeared 11/01, ROB.
10/30/02: Rider – Joshua Allan Thacker, leaving scene of accident, arrested 10/31, ROB.
11/01/02: Slack – Roger Brandon Smith, summons issued for violation of protective order, appeared 11/12, ROB.
11/04/02: Foreman – Terry R. Rogers, DWR/DUIA, appeared, ROB.
11/06/02: Belt – Malena Stone, warrant for battery, arrested 11/11, ROB.
11/07/02: Belt – James Philemon Deal, DUI, arrested, ROB.
11/09/02: Delk – Michael E. Haines, fleeing in a vehicle, arrested, ROB.
11/10/02: Delk – Glen E. Abbott, destruction of property X 3, striking unattended vehicle, striking fixtures along highway X 2, and obstructing, arrested, ROB.
11/12/02: Bailey – Thomas Ray Holcomb, intimidation of witness, warrant issued; Slack – Jenny Loving, unlawful disposal of litter and destruction of property, summons; Slack – Patrick Blankenship, unlawful disposal of litter, summons.
10/30/02: Samantha Adkins – Bank of Gassaway, money due.
11/01/02: Chilton Nichols, Nichols Furniture – Robert S. Foster, Jr., money due; Eric W. Moore, money due; James L. and Charla A. Jones, money due; Samuel D. Nottingham, money due.
11/06/02: Donald J. Neal – Earl Stone, wrongful occupation; Wilson Funeral Home – Sandra L. Ramsey, money due; Darlene Ice, money due.
11/08/02: Walter Schoonover – David Pritt, money due.
Notices issued –
11/04/02: Cunningham Motors, Inc. – Sherry Taylor Adkins, Joyce B. Moore, and Marilyn Taylor; Colene House, House’ Supermarket – Deana Hudnall; IGA – Donna Smith.
11/06/02: Primary Care Systems – Cathy Stutler and Jennifer R. Cutlip.
11/07/02: Clay Supermarket – Jennifer L. Rogers (paid 11/13), Marsha Eagle, Thomas M. Eagle, and Mary Sue Murdock; IGA – Sandra Eagle X 3.
11/12/02: Clay Farm Cooperative – Michael Murphy and Donna Tryon.
10/19/02: State Police – Kimberly R. Melrath, possession marijuana less 15 gms.
10/21/02: State Police – Joseph T. Carmody, speeding; Brandi L. Shafer, speeding.
10/23/02: State Police – Edward L. Adkins, driving on suspended/revoked.
10/27/02: State Police – Matthew Wayne Bush, speeding; Sheriff’ Dept. – Teresa Dawn Copen, driving on suspended/revoked and MVI.
10/28/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Jerry Paul Helms, Jr., failure to maintain control.
10/29/02: State Police – Terry R. Rogers, DWR/DUIA.
11/02/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Ernie Pat Dawson, Sr., failure to maintain control.
11/11/02: Sheriff’ Dept. – Donald D. Dawson, failure to stop (sign); Jack Holcomb, speeding; Justin M. Ramsey, speeding.
MORRIS PLEADS AND MORE
Since the last edition of this newspaper, JD Morris plead guilty to one count of embezzling bank funds from the Clay County Bank. When the allegations of embezzlement first surfaced October 11, many in the county were in disbelief. The long time pillar of the community “ust wouldn’ do that” one senior citizen commented.
Jimmy D. Morris resigned as bank president unofficially April 23, 2002 just before a cease and desist order would be made public by state regulatory agencies.
Many in the community are still confused on what the charges against Morris say, what a guilty plea entails, and the terms of his probation. In an attempt to keep all our readers straight, we went to the source, the US District Court for Southern West Virginia in Charleston and copied the documents in the criminal case 2:02-00230, USA vs Jimmy D Morris.
According to Asst. US Attorney Susan M. Arnold, on October 4th, the US Attorney charged: Clay County Bank was a financial institution located in the Clay WV, the deposits of which were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Defendant Jimmy D Morris was president and chief executive officer of the Clay County Bank; and, From in or about January 1997 and continuing through April 2002, at or near Clay, Clay County, West Virginia, within the Southern District of WV, and elsewhere, defendant Jimmy D. Morris did knowingly and with intent to defraud Clay County Bank, embezzle, abstract, purloin and willfully misapply approximately $171,856.59 of the moneys of such bank.
The above referenced Information document was signed by Ms Arnold October 4, 2002. The Information brief was agreed to by Morris which is an arrangement indicating Morris cooperated with the Feds and would plead guilty to the findings of the court.
During the November 4th hearing held at the Robert C. Byrd Federal Building in Charleston, Morris pled guilty to just one count of embezzlement, the plea was made, and bond was set. In the plea order filed with the court some interesting, albeit sanitized, conflict of interest issues were made public. From the plea order filed November 4, 2002:
At a hearing held November 4, the US appeared by Susan Arnold and the Defendant appeared in person and by counsel, Wayne King, for the purpose of considering the Defendant’ plea to a single count amended information.
The Court inquired of the Defendant, addressing him personally and through counsel, to determine the competence of the Defendant to proceed, and the Court found the Defendant competent.
The Court further inquired of the Defendant’ understanding of his right to require the Government to proceed against him by way of indictment as the alleged criminal violations charged in the information. After having thoroughly explained this right to the Defendant, after having heard the Defendant’ responses to the Court’ questions to him concerning this right, the Court found that the Defendant had made a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to proceed by indictment.
Prior to the Court taking the Defendant’ plea, the US noted the possibility that, if this matter went to trail, Defendant’ counsel, Wayne King, might be a witness. Mr. King expressed that he did not believe this constituted any conflict of interest. The Court inquired of both Mr. King and Mr. Morris whether, knowing this potential conflict, Morris continued to wish King to represent him in all aspects of his plea and sentencing. Morris told the Court he wanted King to be his lawyer. The Court was satisfied and accepted this as a knowing and intelligent waiver on the part of the defendant…….
Mention has been made in other media coverage on the conflict of interest aspects of this case. In Charleston newspaper reports mention was made of bank documents lost during a June 13th fire that destroyed the law office building of Wayne King and Kevin Duffy. During the October 24th County Commission meeting, King commented that he was just waiting for “omeone with assets”to try and link him to the fire. Now back to the Court record.
The Court next inquired as to the Defendant’ plea and the Defendant responded that he intended to plead guilty. The Court explained the statute in which the charge was based and the elements which the Government would have had to prove had the case been tried…. The Court advised the Defendant that he could not withdraw his plea if he was dissatisfied with the sentence imposed.
The Court inquired of the Defendant personally as to whether any threats or promises had been made to him to induce him to plead, whether any predications were made regarding the sentence he may receive, and whether he had any second thoughts about entering a plea of guilty, to which questions the Defendant replied in the negative. The Court inquired personally of the Defendant about acts he did and what intentions his actions were undertaken.
The Court then being satisfied that there existed a legal and factual basis for the plea, provisionally approved the plea agreement….
Accordingly, the Court adjudges and the defendant now stands provisionally convicted of the offense charged in the within single count amended information. The Court scheduled the deposition of this matter for Monday, February 3, 2003 at 10 am in Charleston. Unless other directed, the probation officer is directed not to disclose the probation officer’ sentencing recommendation except to the Court.
The Court found by clear and convincing evidence that the Defendant was not a flight risk or a danger to the community and, hence ordered that the Defendant remain free pending deposition upon his execution of a $10,000.00 personal recognizance bond, subject to the standard conditions of bond.
JD Morris had pled guilty to violation of 18, U.S.C., 656 (embezzlement) as charged. Judge Charles H. Haden II signed the plea November , 2002. Since Morris has no prior criminal record, many anticipate the sentence will be light. In one newspaper account, mention was made that Morris will be required to serve at least one day in jail.
As for penalties for such a crime, back to the court house records signed by Wayne King and Morris November 1, 2002: The maximum penalty to which Mr. Morris will be exposed by virtue of this guilty plea is as follows: a) imprisonment for a period of 30 years, b) a fine of $1,000,000.00 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or twice the gross pecuniary loss resulting from defendant’ conduct, whichever is greater, c) A mandatory special assessment of $100.00 pursuant to U.S.C., d) An order of restitution pursuant to U.S.C… or otherwise set forth in this plea agreement.
Mr. Morris also agreed to several other key items. In the restitution agreement: will make restitution in the amount of $137,252.00 with interest to the Clay County Bank and “othing in this order precludes the Court from ordering Mr. Morris to pay a greater or lesser sum of restitution in accordance of the law. Mr. Morris also pledged to be forthright and truthful with the Court and law enforcement agencies with regard to all inquiries.
So how did we get from nearly $172,000.00 to $137,252.00? The Federal probe goes back just five years. Keep in mind a portion of the Federal court documentation remains sealed and unavailable to the public!
And from the November 1st paperwork this: Unless this agreement becomes void due to a violation of any of its terms by Mr. Morris, nothing contained in any statement or testimony provided by him pursuant to this agreement or any evidence developed there from, will be used against Mr. Morris, directly or indirectly, in any further criminal prosecutions or in determining the applicable guideline range under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Keep in mind that Morris pled to criminal charges and no mention is made of IRS standards for taxes owed the Feds. Morris also agreed to not appealing the Court’ decision on the fine amount.
According to other sources, Morris took the money from customer’ interest bearing accounts and a student loan fund administered by the Clay County Bank. Just before the public became aware of the embezzlement activities Morris returned $172,000.00 to the bank.
From the top of the pile to bottom of the heap, the process of justice is now nearly complete for JD Morris. It appears that about the only thing left are questions. Who, if anyone, helped Morris with the scheme; will others be charged for their part of the illegal activities; which customers had their $ stolen; will the stolen money be returned to the proper coffers; will the once strong bank be able to survive; and….. what penalty will be imposed on Morris? Jail time? No time? All home confinement? How stiff a fine? AW
From Jay Rockefeller
November 14, 2002
Now that the election has passed, I look forward to resuming our email communication on the issues that are important to our state.
I am very honored that my fellow West Virginians have reelected me to the United States Senate. Working for the people of the Mountain State is my passion and I'm very thankful for the opportunity to continue to serve West Virginia. Over the next six years, you can count on me to continue the fight for better jobs, improved education, and quality health care.
While there are many critical issues facing West Virginia, there are several that need to be addressed immediately. For example, I am working to pass legislation that will improve veterans' health care benefits and I'm fighting to protect federal funding for the Children's Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP) that serves over 25,000 young West Virginians.
It is also critical that West Virginia receive emergency funding through an increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which helps fund the Medicaid program. Several states, including our own, are facing severe budget constraints, and I have authored a bill that will provide temporary assistance to help states like ours continue to provide affordable healthcare services to low income citizens.
Another key issue before Congress is the reauthorization of welfare reform. Since 1996, welfare reform has moved hundreds of thousands of citizens from
welfare rolls to work. Now it is time to build on that success by modifying and improving the program so that families have the tools they need to become self-sufficient.
It's also critical in the coming months that we focus our attention on the nation's public education system. Two of the biggest problems facing our schools are crumbling buildings and recruiting and retaining qualified teachers. I've authored two bills to address these concerns. The first would make a federal
investment to modernize our schools. The second would provide financial incentives to teachers who work in rural or low-income schools, and those teachers who receive a national teaching certificate.
And, Congress continues to debate the new Department of Homeland Security. I support the creation of a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security because it would combine more than 22 separate agencies into one, streamlining the work of thousands of people toward one goal: preventing terrorism in America.
However, protecting Americans does not stop at our country's boarders, so we must also continue to focus on eliminating the threat of terrorism abroad. Part of eliminating that threat is assessing the performance of our intelligence agencies. The Intelligence Committee, which I serve on, has been holding hearings on the events surrounding September 11th to determine whether there
were failures in our intelligence gathering system. We expect to release a report on these findings in the next few months.
There is no doubt that we are facing significant challenges in the upcoming weeks and months. I look forward to continuing our fight - together - for a better West Virginia. And, as we face these new challenges, remember, your input is a vital part of my everyday work. -Jay