SEPTEMBER 20, 2001

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SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
Ivydale LSIC Meets
Clay/Roane and Procious PSD Update


        Sept 11 was an eye opening day for Clay County. The county went silent. The jokes and horse play stopped. Many were reminded of Pearl Harbor, of sitting beside the radio listening to the reports 60 years ago, the fear of what may come next, reminded of what parents and grand parents said of those days gone by, reminded of WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf war. Parents with children in the military grew uneasy.
Over the last few days, this paper asked various locals their thoughts on terrorism, the war effort, and more. The following are the results of the questioning.
         New Asst. Prosecutor Barbara Harmon Schamberger and what she thinks may happen,
A We are in such an unpredictable mode. I have no idea as to specifics... I do believe that once they have fairly conclusive evidence that they can continue to rally the support of the world, the President is likely to send a strike force. I pray that we don=t end up with the same situation that we were in with Vietnam where the French could not defeat the people of Vietnam fighting for their freedom.. Where the Russians could not defeat the Afghanistan people... I am hoping that they will use tactical weapons and effectively obliterate the areas of concentration of support.@
        Can we eliminate terrorism? Ms Schamberger,@ Not entirely. I think we can substantially reduce it.@ Can bin Laden be gotten? AI think he can be gotten over a period of time using highly specialized forces.@
        From bus driver extraordinaire, Dave Mullins, what do you think is going to happen? Mullins,@ We are going after him.@ Do you think we are going after Bin Laden or a whole bunch of them? Dave Mullins,@ We are going to start with Bin Laden and then we are going to expand out and get all of his connections. The people that have ties to him are going to have to pay this time around. We can=t stop with just Bin Laden.@ Is it going to be a messy , bloody affair? Mullins, @Sure it=s going to be messy. ...We can=t stop terrorism completely. But we can curtail it way down, but not completely.@
         And from school administrator Kenneth Tanner, @I think we are going to war. The President has already announced that we are in war. I think it is time we need to support our leaders.....I think we will make strikes in several countries.@ As to the war effort being bloody and costly to American lives, Tanner, @I think it will be more sporadic than the continuous bombing that they did in Iraq and more drawn out... I think that our leaders realize the potential for destruction in this country by terrorists is too great.... When they bombed the USS Cole, not a lot has come of that yet. I think we know who did it but not a lot of action was taken. They tried to get the World Trade Center before. We have to send a message this time. We will never completely wipe out terrorism. But I think we will slow it down and make them much less aggressive.@
        From Ivydale resident and community activist Fred Sampson,@ I am really, really angry about those that have committed this evil act. Not only towards our nation but to the other 14 nations who were in the building. War has been declared by our President. The terms of war have not yet been defined. I am hoping that our war on terrorism is 1000 times stronger than our war on drugs.@ As for the efforts being bloody, again Mr. Sampson,@ Absolutely.@ As for eliminating terrorism, @Absolutely not.@ Fred reminded all that the night the Supreme Court chose George W. Bush as the next President,@I told Liz that because he has Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfield in his staff, that because I consider them to be war mongers, or they were under his Daddy, that we would be in war before the year was out.@
        Fred Sampson=s wife, Elizabeth, also responded to our questions. Ms Sampson,@ We are being lead in two different directions. [One] by the President of the United States and Vice President, we are being led into the path of war. By Colin Powell, we are being led into an effort to have such a strong coalition that any country including Iran and Pakistan would be fools to not turn over the enemy to us.@ Long , bloody efforts? Ms Sampson, @It depends on which wins out. If the President has his way, it will be all long , bloody and messy. If Colin Powell is able to do what he is trying to do, there may be some blood shed but shouldnt be terribly bad. I think we may not stop terrorism entirely but we can certainly cut it down to a slow speed instead of a mad roar.@ Ms Sampson went on to comment that terrorism comes in many forms. Sampson also mentioned concerns over stepped up wire tapping by the government during the war endeavor.
        From independent business man Eddie Johnson, owner of Bartlett Concrete which serves Clay County, are we going to war and what kind of war? Johnson,
@ For sure. I say Iraq is going to be involved big time and Afghanistan.@ After a sigh, Mr. Johnson concurred with many others that this will be a long, messy, and costly to human life war. Eliminate terrorism? A If the politicians would stay out of it and let the military do their job... but the politicians will start putting their two cents in and doing the feel good stuff we are all....@ Mr. Johnson was satisfied with President Bush so far.
         From Clay Middle School, TG Griffith on the issue of the USA going to war,
@ Right now we are going to take care of business but I don=t know whether we will have to go to war or not.@ Griffith hoped for a tactical strike as opposed to a full fledged ground troops assault. As to stopping terrorism,@ You can=t stop terrorism but you can curtail it and do much to help prevent it. But there is no way you can stop it.@ And finally from Mr. Griffith, A We thought maybe the Gulf war might run longer than it did. We might get lucky this time [too].@
For a younger perspective on the looming war, secretary Sarah Anderson felt that the country was headed into war. As to what kind of war, Anderson,
@ It should be an air attack war instead of a ground one. It needs to be quick and soon. But I think the government is going to drag it out.@ As to a great number of casualties of service men and women,@ If we do it by the air, No. Not on our side. If we do it by ground, the chances are Yes.@ Anderson felt that bin Laden could be Agotten@ with air strikes. As for ending terrorism in this country, Ms Anderson agreed with all others interviewed, terrorism can not be completely stopped.
          Prosecutor Jeff Davis felt that there would be some kind of military action but would not call it war.
@I think it will be something short of a declaration of war. I think we will be very fortunate if the whole Middle East is not dragged into this before it=s all over with.@ As to getting bin Laden, Davis, A Maybe eventually... he is very elusive I understand. The English have been trying to end terrorism from the Irish for a 100 years . We may be able to end it on a large scale but not on a small scale... car bombs and those things.@
         Surgical, tactical, carpet bombing methods are all on the minds of Clay County at this time. As of press time, reports are in that our military has ships steaming full speed to the Mid East. Other TV coverage discloses aircraft are already in the air and heading to destinations unknown at this time. The times are tense and the decisions made now will affect the world for eternity. May God be with America.


        Clay County now has some much needed and long overdue help in Prosecutor Jeff Davis
=s office. Queen Shoals resident Barbara Harmon Schamberger was hired by Prosecutor Davis Monday September 17. Schamberger began work Wednesday, September 19.
        The position and funding for the position has been in doubt this summer and has been the subject of much controversy. The financially strapped Clay County Commission refused to fund the part time position after July 1 of this year. After threats of a lawsuit by the Prosecutor, Commissioners Tim Butcher and Jimmy Sams caved in and allowed for $25,000.00 in contract labor expense for the position.
          Ms Schamberger is a Rhodes Scholar and served in Governor Caperton
=s administration as Secretary of Arts and Education, a cabinet level position. More recently she served in WV Auditor Glenn Gainer=s office as legal counsel. Many area residents remember Schamberger as a Democratic candidate for County Commission. In that May primary, incumbent Commissioner Jimmy Sams won by less than 135 votes. That election cycle was buried in controversy when Sams hung a Ten Commandments plaque on the wall of the Courthouse. That action was perceived by many as an election ploy to garner votes. Ms Schamberger was the first woman to run for the Commissioner spot in Clay County history
         Controversy? More recently, funding for the Assistant Prosecutor spot came under scrutiny when Prosecutor Davis used part of the $25,000.00 assistant prosecutor funding for a pay raise for legal assistant Lucy Cruickshanks. County Commissioners Butcher and Sams have refused to give the ‘OK’ for the change in the line item and to date, Ms Cruickshanks has not received an increase in salary to $1833.00 per month.
         According to Mr. Davis, the Assistant Prosecutor is responsible for Magistrate Court duties, juvenile matters, to assist him at Circuit Court, and will work around 20 hours a week. Ms Schamberger commented that the position is temporary.

follow ups

* In last edition, coverage was given to Commissioner Tim Butcher being selected as Democrat of the Year at a meeting where no quorum was present. In addition to Earnie Sirk, Joyce Gibson, Trish Triplett, Garnett Davis, and Harald Fields being at that August 30th meeting, Larry O=Dell was a voter too. Don=t worry, even with Mr. Odell, there still wasn=t enough to have a legal vote.
* As of September 17, still no word on Prosecutor Jeff Davis filing a Writ of Mandamus against the Clay County Commission in an attempt to get Lucy ( Blondealot Hairamuch) Cruickshanks a pay raise.
* As for receiving that apology from Clay Roane PSD Boardster Roy Ellis, it ain
=t happened. Ellis accused this paper of misquoting him during the August PSD meeting. We did not misquote one word! We=re still waiting Mr. Ellis…

  • 1. AARP and other lobbying groups are raising millions of dollars from senior citizens and then renting the donors names and addresses to third parties.
  • 2. The National Institute of Mental Health says about one in every classroom needs help for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • 3. West Virginia has had only one incident of school violence resulting in death.
  • 4. Last year, there were 41,800 fatalities or 1.6 deaths per million miles traveled.
  • 5. Last year, Veterans Affairs spent $2.5 million on pharmaceuticals.
  • 6. In all military branches, the vast majority of those who go AWOL or desert, are in their first four years of service
  • 7. The number of West Virginians under age 18 has dropped by 28 percent over 20 years.
  • 8. Between 1996 and 2000, the state of West Virginia had 93 ATV related fatalities.
  • 9. A study of 2,795 full and part time workers, found that only 43 percent believe employers deserve their loyalty, and only 45 percent feel a strong attachment.
  • 10. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found drivers age 70-74 are twice as likely to die in a vehicle crash as those age 30-59.
  • 11. The US Department of Education projects that by 2008, elementary and secondary school enrollment will jump by 3 percent.
  • 12. Thirty two percent of America’s bridges are currently substandard.
  • 13. A recent report in managed health care market predicted premiums will shoot up nationwide an average of 15 percent next year.
  • 14. The Farmers Almanac has ranked Elkins, West Virginia number 7 for one of the worst weather cities.
  • 15. Moderate drinking may reduce the risk of certain types of stroke and scarring in the brains of elderly people.
  • 16. 1.46 million black men out of a total voting population of 10.4 million have lost their right to vote, due to felony convictions.
  • 17. West Virginia still ranks fourth in child poverty.
  • 18. "You have not converted a man because you have silenced him" John Morley
  • 19. The number of blacks behind bars in West Virginia more than tripled in the last decade.
  • 20. There are in the end three things that last - faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. Corinthians 13.13.

  • SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

  • Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban
    By Robert Scheer
    Published May 22, 2001 in the Los Angeles Times
             Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.
            That's the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that "rogue regime" for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban's estimation, are most human activities, but it's the ban on drugs that catches this administration's attention.
             Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American terror operation from his base in Afghanistan, from which, among other crimes, he launched two bloody attacks on American embassies in Africa in 1998.
            Sadly, the Bush administration is cozying up to the Taliban regime at a time when the United Nations, at U.S. insistence, imposes sanctions on Afghanistan because the Kabul government will not turn over Bin Laden.
             The war on drugs has become our own fanatics' obsession and easily trumps all other concerns. How else could we come to reward the Taliban, who has subjected the female half of the Afghan population to a continual reign of terror in a country once considered enlightened in its treatment of women?
              At no point in modern history have women and girls been more systematically abused than in Afghanistan where, in the name of madness masquerading as Islam, the government in Kabul obliterates their fundamental human rights. Women may not appear in public without being covered from head to toe with the oppressive shroud called the burkha , and they may not leave the house without being accompanied by a male family member. They've not been permitted to attend school or be treated by male doctors, yet women have been banned from practicing medicine or any profession for that
            The lot of males is better if they blindly accept the laws of an extreme religious theocracy that prescribes strict rules governing all behavior, from a ban on shaving to what crops may be grown. It is this last power that has captured the enthusiasm of the Bush White House.
            The Taliban fanatics, economically and diplomatically isolated, are at the breaking point, and so, in return for a pittance of legitimacy and cash from the Bush administration, they have been willing to appear to reverse themselves on the growing of opium. That a totalitarian country can effectively crack down on its farmers is not surprising. But it is grotesque for a U.S. official, James P. Callahan, director of the State Department's Asian anti-drug program, to describe the Taliban's special methods in the language of representative democracy: "The Taliban used a system of consensus-building," Callahan said after a visit with the Taliban, adding that the Taliban justified the ban on drugs "in very religious terms."
    Of course, Callahan also reported, those who didn't obey the theocratic edict would be sent to prison.
    In a country where those who break minor rules are simply beaten on the spot by religious police and others are stoned to death, it's understandable that the government's "religious" argument might be compelling. Even if it means, as Callahan concedes, that most of the farmers who grew the poppies will now confront starvation. That's because the Afghan economy has been ruined by the religious extremism of the Taliban, making the attraction of opium as a previously tolerated quick cash crop overwhelming.
             For that reason, the opium ban will not last unless the U.S. is willing to pour far larger amounts of money into underwriting the Afghan economy.
             As the Drug Enforcement Administration's Steven Casteel admitted, "The bad side of the ban is that it's bringing their country--or certain regions of their country--to economic ruin." Nor did he hold out much hope for Afghan farmers growing other crops such as wheat, which require a vast infrastructure to supply water and fertilizer that no longer exists in that devastated country. There's little doubt that the Taliban will turn once again to the easily taxed cash crop of opium in order to stay in power.
             The Taliban may suddenly be the dream regime of our own drug war zealots, but in the end this alliance will prove a costly failure. Our long sad history of signing up dictators in the war on drugs demonstrates the futility of building a foreign policy on a domestic obsession.

    -Robert Scheer Is a Syndicated Columnist.
    E-mail from Charles Brennan, 18 yrs old
    An open letter to a terrorist:

             Well, you hit the World Trade Center, but you missed America. You hit the Pentagon, but you missed America. You used helpless American bodies, to take out other American bodies, but like a poor marksman, you STILL missed America.
             Why? Because of something you guys will never understand. America isn't about a building or two, not about financial centers, not about military centers, America isn't about a place, America isn't even about a bunch of bodies. America is about an IDEA. An idea, that you can go someplace where you can earn as much as you can figure out how to, live for the most part, like you envisioned living, and pursue happiness. (No guarantees that you'll reach it, but you can sure try!).
             Go ahead and whine your terrorist whine, and chant your terrorist litany: "If you can not see my point, then feel my pain." This concept is alien to Americans. We live in a country where we don't have to see your point. But you're free to have one. We don't have to listen to your speech. But you're free to SAY one. Don't know where you got the strange idea that everyone has to agree with you. We don't agree with each other in this country, almost as a matter of pride. We're a collection of guys that don't agree, called States. We united our individual states to protect ourselves from tyranny in the world. Another idea, we made up on the spot. You CAN make it up as you go, when it's your country.
             You guys seem to be incapable of understanding that we don't live in America, America lives in US! American spirit is what it's called. And killing a few thousand of us, or a few million of us, won't change it. Most of the time, it's a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of Spirit. Until we're crossed in a cowardly manner, then it becomes an entirely different kind of Spirit.
             Wait until you see what we do with that Spirit, this time. Sleep tight if you can. We're coming.
    -Charles Brennan

    BY EBG

             I was shocked and deeply saddened by Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the United States. My heart goes out to all those affected by this terrible tragedy. My heartfelt sympathy and earnest prayers are with you. My hope is that even in this dark time of sorrow and despair, the light and knowledge of the Prince of Peace--Jesus, Who alone has the solution to this and every other calamity faced by the world--will shine and bring solace, hope, comfort, and peace to all who are in such desperate need.

    PEACE IN THE MIDST OF STORM - "I will be with you always, through every difficulty and every hardship.
    No matter how dismal the conditions, I will always be
    there to pull you through". -JESUS
    Afraid of what?
    To feel the Spirit's glad release?
    To pass from pain to perfect peace,
    The strife and strain of life to cease?
    Afraid of that?
    Afraid of what?
    Afraid to see the Savior's face,
    To hear His welcome, and to trace
    The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
    Afraid of that?
    Afraid of what?
    A flash, a crash, a pierced heart?
    Darkness, light, oh Heaven's art.
    A wound of His a counterpart.
    Afraid of that?
    Afraid to enter into Heaven's rest?
    Afraid to serve the Master, blessed
    From service good to service best?
    I love you all! 915 373 4963
    My New Site:
    Editor’s Note: Goode is a missionary serving in Mexico and provides columns to this paper as time allows.

    Kay’s Cooking Corner
    If you’re looking for a tasty dish that’s eye-catching, too, look no more, and you can have it on your table in just minutes...honest!

    Serving Size: 2 cups, Total Servings: 6

    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast,
    cut into 1/2-inch strips
    3/4 cup reduced-fat Italian dressing, divided
    6 medium bell peppers (2 red, 2 green, 2 yellow),
    cut into thin strips
    1 package (10 ounces) fresh spinach,
    washed and trimmed

    1) Place the chicken in an 8-inch square baking dish and add 1/2 cup of the Italian dressing: mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    2) Heat a large grill pan over high heat until hot. Place the chicken in the pan, discarding the marinade,
    and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until no pink
    remains. Remove the chicken from the pan; set aside. Add the peppers to the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
    3) Return the chicken to the pan and cook until heated through. Place the spinach in a large bowl and add the chicken mixture and the remaining 1/4 cup Italian dressing; toss well. Serve immediately.

    Exchanges: 2 Lean Meat...2 Vegetable
    Calories...149...Calories from Fat...27…
    Total Fat...3 g...
    Saturated Fat...1 g...Cholesterol...46 mg…
    Sodium...381 mg...
    Carbohydrate...12 g...Dietary Fiber...4 g…
    Sugars...4 g...Protein...19 g

            I do declare, this southern-grown recipe has summer written all over it. As a finishing touch, serve the still-warm crumble with a scoop of low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt. Lawdy, lawdy, they’ll be lining up for seconds! Enjoy...
    Serving Size: 1/2 cup, Total Servings: 8
    6 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    l cup coarsely crushed cinnamon graham crackers
    3 tablespoons butter, softened

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • 2) Combine the peaches and brown sugar in the baking dish.
    3) In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter. Sprinkle the graham cracker topping over the peaches and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the peaches are hot and bubbly. Serve Warm.

    Exchanges: 2-1/2 Carbohydrate...1 Fat...
    Calories...203...Calories from Fat...49...
    Total Fat...5 g...Saturated Fat...3 g…
    Cholesterol...11 mg...
    Sodium...115 mg...Carbohydrate...39 g…
    Dietary Fiber...2 g
    Sugars...31 g...Protein...1 g...

    Enjoy...until later...Bye

    Dear Editor,
             This letter is in response to Rev. Nathan Wilson's letter appearing in your paper (a Charleston paper) on Saturday, September 15, 2001. I must respectfully disagree with Rev. Wilson's call for "sober restraint." I am a Christian with deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I also believe in community, tolerance, compassion, justice, and the sacredness of human life that "lie at the heart of our religious traditions." However, one must only watch the movie "SGT. York" to fully understand how to balance the spiritual battle between restraint and the decision to fight. In the movie, that was a true story adapted from SGT. Alvin York's diary, SGT York, played by Gary Cooper, struggles with the decision to fight or restrain. His leaders questioned whether he would fight when confronted because he was a conscientious objector at the start of the war. He led an assault and almost single handedly captured 138 German soldiers. For his bravery and commitment to duty, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor. One scene in particular is on point. The major turns to the SGT and out of curiosity asks SGT York what made him decide to fight. SGT York responded that from the way he saw it, those machine gun nests were killing a lot of good human beings and someone needed to stop those machine guns. The major responded by telling SGT York that what he just said was the most amazing thing of all. That he killed and captured Germans to save lives. We are confronted with the same decision Alvin York faced when he decided to stop the machine guns. But, in our case, we are dealing with future terrorist attacks and/or potential nuclear capabilities by one of these "nuts." We are lucky that the terrorism is not worse. We are lucky that the act was not a nuclear weapon. Rev. Wilson stated that the terrorism grows out of "real injustices, inequalities, and exploitations." Well, I and millions of people around the world face "real injustices, inequalities, and exploitations." But, we do the Christian thing and work hard to overcome the injustices and inequalities. Some of us use the injustices and inequalities as an excuse. Fortunately, most men do not decide to hijack a plane and fly into the World Trade Center. These men are taught that the fastest way to heaven is to die as martyr in a Holy war.
            There is nothing holy about war. A Fatwa issued by Bin Laden claimed that suicide hijackers are the supreme saints. Today, I issue my own Fatwa. My Fatwa says that any terrorist killed by a limited nuclear strike sends them
    immediately to their heaven and is the ultimate in martyrdom. Now, we can help them reach the highest level of martyrdom, thus doing them and all civilized society a favor. PS - If you truly believe in global justice, why don't you go to Afghanistan and try to spread the gospel. You will likely be tried, convicted, and hung for spreading christianity. I believe this is the ultimate sin that God despised so much that He used this incident to punish Afghanistan and its leaders, while giving us the resolve to destroy terrorism. Hopefully and prayerfully religious leaders like yourself will not stand in God's way and cause a "sober restraint."
    Hiram C. Lewis IV


            I know you speak only your mind and I respect you for that and having the courage to do that. But I hope you people understand just how lucky you all are to get the service you are getting because up here where I live we pay 21 cents per every assessed $100.00 of property value for a fire/EMT tax. (We run ambulance and fire out of the same stations). I am glad to see they are finally going to go and collect the bills that people owe them by whatever means possible because that my friends is the one reason why they are having financial problems. Without the CCEAA who else will come to your emergencies? They will do one of a handful of things. First they could bring a private ambulance service in which will end up having the same problems collecting money from the citizens who don’t wish to pay. Second the state or county could step in and take over, like it is up here, and tax you out of the wahzoo. However, like I say I don’t live there, but I do have some sort of stake in the county with a few people, as well as understanding how hard it is to get funding as an EMS provider, so this is why I am writing all this. Just please understand that I know people break your stuff up and do other foolish things but when it comes time for me to call 911 because I am having a heart attack I want someone working on me that has not been negatively influenced by small little side comments that really don’t add up to a hill of beans. I know that they will do the best job they can on you no matter what comments you make because that is their job, and when it comes down to it no law suit is worth hard feelings.
    Ryan Keyser
    Jefferson, Frederick County Maryland

    We the parents who signed the petition against school bus driver Cary Salisbury have still got concerns for the safety of our children. On 09/11/01, while on the way to school, a child vomited. The bus driver was asked if he had a bag or something to give the child and he said
    >there ain=t no bags on this bus=. The driver did not offer the child a napkin, paper towel, or anything. The vomit was still on the bus when he picked the children up to take them home that evening.
    On 08/27/01, Widen
    =s representative, Darlene Rogers, talked with Jerry Linkinogger and Link said he was satisfied with the investigation that Larry Legg made concerning bus #9 driver Cary Salisbury. When Link was asked why the parents were not invited to hear what was said, or to see the tapes that Mr. Legg spoke of in his letter, Link replied that they didn=t have to invite the parents.
    Darlene also spoke with Larry Legg and he told her she was on a WITCH HUNT, just out to get Cary. Darlene explained the only thing she was out to get was the safety and well being of the children.
            The parents asked in their petition for a public meeting concerning this situation, and all they got was a letter saying that Larry Legg was satisfied with the investigation.
            What about the satisfaction of the parents? The parents who never got to hear or see this information that Mr. Legg wrote about. Where do the parents come in? Do we, the parents, exist?
    Darlene Rogers

    Ivydale LSIC Meets

    Marge Bragg Clay County West Virginia
    I attended the LSIC meeting at the Ivydale Grade School on September 11, 2001. The superintendent, Jerry Linkinogger, made a presentation to the LSIC to persuade the community of the need to continue/ renew the excess levy. He stated that the four rural grade schools remaining in the county would be closed if the levy did not pass and that he will start proceedings to close at least one school for next year if the levy fails. In response to a question from a staff member he stated that if the levy fails he would look favorably on the school that had the highest percentage of voters favoring the levy. According to him, the levy money is needed to continue the operation of these schools until such time as the SBA approves funding, grants a waiver and 2 consolidated grade schools can be built.
            He made a PowerPoint presentation showing how much the School Board will allegedly save by closing the Ivydale School and told the people in the audience that he will have the savings calculated figure for the same presentation at each of the other schools.
            In response to my question about the accuracy of the savings figures he admitted that they were probably an overestimate but stated that he would be able to save almost all the personnel costs by eliminating the positions of the teachers and support staff at the school. He also showed how the students from Ivydale could be merged into the existing number of classes at Clay Elementary with the addition of only one teacher position, leaving all the other Ivydale positions to be eliminated.
            The superintendent stated that he could not, at this time provide an accounting of how the levy money has been spent over the past 4 years because they do not have those records in any document but that he would make that information available prior to the levy vote. Also, they intend to word the levy as in the past with only minor changes in the amounts allotted to each category.
            When asked if he would put in writing his promise to keep all four grade schools open for at least five years he replied, “ Yes, I am willing to do that, as I have in the past in the levy call.” The levy call does NOT state that the schools will be maintained for the five-year levy period. The levy simply states that levy money will be used “ to provide for... and for the continued operation of the Ivydale, H.E. White, Lizemore and Valley Fork Elementary Schools”
            My feeling at the close of the meeting is that the community is convinced that the only way to keep our schools open is to agree to the levy. They have been convinced that the new school will be built in our immediate area (Big Otter). They believe that we will get land, SBA dollars and a 100% funding of the proposed school. With the focus on keeping the school open for five years the other issues seem to take back burner at this time.

    9-5-01: Delk-Douglas Lee Bottenfield for setting fire to personal property
    9-10-01: McKown-Jerry D. Earwood III for poss. Of controlled substance, probable cause found, case to Circuit Court
    9-17-01: Guthrie-Amanda Lee Hunter for aiding & abetting
    Guthrie-Jason Laduke for aiding and abetting.
    9-1-01: Belt-James D. Jackson for DUI, NPOI, driving on susp./revoked, fleeing form officer in vehicle, ROB, trial set
    9-2-01: Forman-William Lanham for public intox., ROB, obstructing, trial set
    9-5-01: Slack-Faye Hoff for Trespassing, summons sent
    Clay Primary Care-Cathy Stutler for wc x2, warrant issued
    Clay Surpermarket-Bobby K. Weeb agent , c/o Cedar Ridge Construction & Gary L. Stuber for wc, warrant issued
    9-06-01: Belt-Roy J. McDaniels for speeding, ROB, trial set for 10/9
    Slack-Gregory L. Sizemore for obtaining goods under false pretenses, warrant issued.
    9-07-01: Romaona’s Pizzaria-Katherine L. Grose & Warren R. Vines, Jr. for wc warrant issued
    Samples Market-Brandy Nichols & Bobbie Nichols for wc, warrant issued.
    Big Otter Food Market-Katherine Grose for wc warrant issued.
    Bullard’s Exxon-Linda Coper, Andrea L. Graham, Warren J. Vines, Jr, George Sellards all for wc and Andrea J. Marlin for wc x3 warrant issued for all.
    Belt-Barbara Pringle for speeding, ROB, trial set for 10/9
    Guthrie-Gerald Mark Thompson Jr. for NPOI, regis. Violation, no seatbelt, carrying a concealed weapon w/o permit, defective equip. x2, ROB, trial set for 10/16
    9-12-01: Bailey-James Dario Pizza for failure to keep right, driving on susp./revoked, ROB.
    9-13-01: Slack-Darlene Rogers for trespassing, summons sent
    9-14-01: Delk-Daniel Woods for assault, warrant issued
    9-15-01: Belt-David Mansfield for driving on susp./revoked, regis. Violation ROB
    9-16-01: Foreman-Anthony Cummings assault on police officer, ROB
    9-18-01: McKown-Gregory Sizemore for obtaining goods under false pretense, warrant issued
    9-4-01: Franklin R. Robinson-DeWaine Robinson : resp. to retain possession of property
    9-5-01: Vera Vance-Rebecca Ramsey for money due
    9-6-01: Phyllis J. Mullins-Debra Tinnel for money due
    9-10-01: Nottingham’s Store-Loretta Hall for money due
    9-11-01: Julia Holmes-Jr. Gill for ????
    9-14-01: Holcomb’s Auto Repair-Melissa Peck for breach of contract
    Connie Robertson-Debra Tinnel for ????
    9-17-01: Country Short Stop-Charles Stone for breach of contract
    Traffic Citations:
    8-30-01: Sheriff’s-James L. Pawlak for driving on susp/revoked & seat belt violation
    State-Gerald Thompson for NPOI, regis. Violation, seat belt violation, carrying concealed weapon w/o permit & def. Equip x2
    9-1-01: Sheriff’s-Harvey Metheney for speeding & NPOI
    State-Michael Metheney for speeding
    State-Chris Samples poss. Of less than 15gms of marijuana
    9-02-01: State-Timmy Cadle for speeding
    State-Stephen Joseph for speeding
    9-3-01: State-Donna Burdette for seat belt violation & MVI
    State-Derek L. Creamer for speeding
    Sheriff’s-Michael Kendall for driving on susp/revoked & regis violation
    State- Jung Kook for speeding
    Sheriff’s-Thomas McCoy for NPOI
    Sheriff’s-Thurman McCoy for NPOI
    State-Andy Moore seat belt violation & speeding & operator’s
    State-Trenton Morton for seat belt violation
    State-Tracy A. Osborne for seat belt violation
    9-5-01: State-Camilla Newland for seat belt violation
    State-Michael Starcher for NPOI
    State-Mark A. Stone for failure to use signal & seat belt violation
    State-John D. Youch for speeding
    9-6-01: Sheriff’s-Roy McDaniel for speeding
    State-Michael Micklow for NPOI & seat belt violation
    Sheriff’s-Harley Nottingham for speeding
    Sheriff’s-Barbara L. Pringle for speeding
    State-James Stone for operator’s & def. Equip.
    Sheriff’s-Malena Stone for speeding
    9-7-01: State-Samuel Cotts for seat belt & regis. Violation
    State-Loretta King for NPOI
    State-Jeremy Morris for failure to maintain control & NPOI
    Sheriff’s-Gary L. Ramsey for passing on double line
    9-8-01: State-Phillip Summers for failure to maintian control
    9-10-01: State-Jerry Moore for seat belt violation & NPOI
    State-Crissy Neal for seat belt violation & operators
    Sheriff’s-Kenneth Nottingham for NPOI
    State-Joshua Vance for seat belt violation & NPOI
    State-Gloria White for seat belt violaion
    9-11-01: State-William Bevins for seat belt violation
    State-Christopher Cope for operator’s
    Sheriff’s-Anthony Frazier for seatbelt violation
    Sheriff’s-Marvin Hall for operator’s & NPOI
    Sheriff’s-Steven Leftwich for seat belt violation
    State-Zechairah Lightner for seat belt violation & NPOI
    9-12-01: State-Samuel Neal for speeding
    9-16-01: Sheriff’s-Jason B. Samples for being left of center
    9-17-01: State-David Shoults for seat belt violation
    State-Jackie White for seat belt violation
    Sheriff’s-Jeannie S. Wood for NOPI & no child restraint
    Worthless Checks:
    Kings Wrecker-Christine Risden for $40.00
    Country Short Stop-William Stone for $39.91
    Clay Farm Cooperative-Bobby Deems for 33.91

    Clay/Roane and Procious PSD Update

            Lots of stuff going on between these two county water service providers. In addition to the very confusing merger deals, loan financing arrangements, and the continuing efforts to consolidate all PSDs into one mega PSD, there are now employee issues. With that being said, Clay Roane PSD met in regular session Sept 6 and again in special session Sept 16. First the regular meeting
              With PSD Chair TG Cruickshank at the helm and with Boardsters Roy Ellis and Gary Whaling present, the Sept 6 meeting got going just a few minutes late. After clerk Trina Neff read the previous meeting minutes, Gary Whaling brought to the table the recent layoff of field worker Ric Burdette. Whaling reminded everyone that Burdette had asked to be laid off,
    AHe quit.@ Ms Neff said that Burdette had been denied unemployment benefits and she had called the state unemployment office for clarification. According to Neff, the lady there said that Burdette was not really laid off since he had asked for the lay off, that,@ it was of his own free will@. Cruickshank,@ Basically , he quit.@ Whaling continued that Burdette had talked to him at his house before going on vacation and based on what they had learned, the PSD should not sign Burdette=s lay off slip so he could receive unemployment checks. Whaling said he was not trying to be hard nose but,@ right is right and wrong is wrong.@
              Back to old business, and after an inquiry by Mr Cruickshank, Neff informed the Board that Jim Williams ( Wallback) did not have an illegal water tap as had been suspected. WV PSC
    =s Dave Foster did the investigation and found that Williams was hooked up on a well and not the PSD service.
             Randy Samples, an applicant for the Burdette job, was present and gave a brief presentation. PSD agreed to meet with Samples after the regular meeting.
            After a recent water rate increase, the PSD appears to have the extra loot for pay raises. Motion made and passed to give Trina Neff a pay increase of 25 cents per hour. Currently she is paid $7.00 per hour. Additionally, the raise is retroactive to June. Cruickshank,
    A Will the check bounce?@ Laughter.
    On the issue of spending even more money, Mr. Cruickshank encouraged the group to get
    Ageared up@ for when the water moratorium is lifted. Recently the PSD was approved for a $50,000.00 loan. Each meter will cost $75.00. PSD agreed to purchase $36,000.00 in new touch read meters for future expansion plans. Whaling asked if the supplier has a return policy if the water line extension plans don=t materialize. No one had an answer for that question. To reassure, TG Cruickshank commented that the long standing water moratorium will be lifted by the end of September.
    Motion made and passed to accept the recently approved water rate increases for customers. Mention made that water operator Bobby Burdette now has his driver
    =s license back.
    And near the end of the hour long regular meeting, the Clay Roane PSD Board voted themselves a pay raise. TG,
    A We don=t have the money for that.@ Apparently they do. Board members passed the motion and will now receive $75.00 every time they show up for a meeting.
            Gets a little more interesting here readers. Clay Roane PSD held a special meeting at 10 am Sept 16. Regulars, Bill Bragg from Goodwin and Goodwin law firm along with a big black and white dog were present. The dog was pretty. Bragg was there to get papers signed on a $295,000.00 loan that will be used to pay Procious PSD out of debt. The money will come from the WV Infrastructure Council at 0% interest. Boardsters centered on the fact that they do not have to pay back the loan themselves but rather.... here it is folks!!!!!!!.... the $295,000.00 loan will be tacked on to the next project to come along in either Roane or Clay County. Get it? Roane Countians may have to pay back the loot for the Clay County mistake made years ago over in Procious land.
    =s another clinker. According to Mr. Bragg, lenders are very skeptical of this arrangement, Bragg, A RUS doesn=t care for this.@ RUS is another lending agency and according to Bragg, they are concerned that the next homeowner that wants hooked up, will have to bear the $295,000.00 debt. After hearing these concerns, the PSD went ahead and signed the papers to process the loan. If all goes as planned, on September 25, at Northgate Business Park, the final papers will be signed by all parties involved.
             It now appears that if the powers-that-be can twist the arms of the lenders, the loan can be had, the merger between Clay Roane and Procious PSDs can be done, the new regional water plant can be built, and customers of the system can enjoy some of the highest water rates in the state for the next 40 years. Progress!


            County Emergency Ambulance Authority (CCEAA) has been the center of much controversy in the County. Not so long ago, Authority members were yelling and banging the meeting table with their fists. In the last two years, financials of the agency were in the red at years end and required
    Abail out@ loans to keep the doors open.
             The CCEAA met in regular session Sept. 10, 6:00 pm, at the Health Dept building in Clay. Brand new CCEAA Chair Bob Ore made it clear that he was new to all this stuff and,
    @ I know absolutely nothing about the ambulance service but I know it is the most important thing in the county.@ With member Fan King absent and around 10 in the peanut gallery, the meeting got underway.
            The vote was made last time to buy a computer software program for billing of insurance companies. Hanes suggested that, after doing some research, they should buy a portion of the RAM program with a cost of around $3965.00. The entire package would run around $5000.00 Haynes,
    A We really can=t afford it now.@ Director Jackie Pierson suggested that part of the budget digest money could be used for the >puter program. That Budget Digest $20,000.00 grant was to be used along with $20,000.00 in local matching monies to purchase a new ambulance. Pierson had checked with folks in Charleston and felt the money did not have to be used as intended. Motion made to purchase the program. With the new program on order there is still a problem with coming into the 21st century. The existing >puter is not capable of handling the super duper memory hungry program. Motion made and seconded to upgrade the existing unit.
             In an attempt to round up some more money for the emergency service provider, bids are being solicited for a new collection agency. During previous meetings, mention has been made that there is around $268,000.00 in bills that have gone uncollected. Ore ,
    @ How old are these bills?@ Haynes replied that some date back to >97 and >98. Ore=s 800 years of business experience kicked into gear with questions on : how much do you expect to collect?; do we need a collection agency?; and, isn=t it more difficult to collect a debt over one year old? It appeared that Ore knew this Apot of gold@ may be very elusive to capture and to depend on it to keep the doors open may be foolish. Director Pierson said the ads for the collection agency have been in the papers and to date there hasn=t been a response. Ms Haynes said that she had talked to local attorney Kevin Duffy about doing the work but that,@ he acted like he wasn=t interested.@
             Many of the items on the agenda were requested by member Fran King and since she was a
    Ano show@, those items will have to be brought up at a later meeting.
            To date, this month, the CCEAA has billed out $42,118.00 Member Arlie Fulks asked,
    AHow many ambulances are broke down now?@ Lots of laughter.
    Director Jackie Pierson announced that she will retire November 1 and the agency needs to start looking now for her replacement. The CCEAA is responsible for hiring the Director spot. Ads will be placed in various newspapers for the position.
    Get out the hankies folks, about then, member Gene King spoke up with,
    @ maybe we can all work together now... there=s been too much nit pickin= and back stabbing in this small county... It’s been a crying shame..... Let=s get over this childish stuff!!!....We have to take care of our employees..@ You could almost see the crocodile tears .
            Ore asked Director Pierson to summarize the needs of the agency. Pierson, off the top of her head: we need the computer, we need a complete list of where every penny is and invoices for them, and the employees deserve their uniforms.
    Again, discussion turned to the need to raise rates charged for runs made and the need for the Feds to increase the amount they will pay for service in rural areas. Member Larry Cole said those Federal Government increases have been put on hold for months and months.
    The meeting ended after about one hour but... there is something up folks. Ivydale mischief maker Earnie Sirk has attended the last couple of meetings. After this meeting, several gathered, including Sirk, for informal discussions on everything from how nice the weather is to the tea in China. During that time, Sirk made mention twice that the CCEAA should not get too involved with the day to day operation of the ambulance service. This approach, the one Wide Glide uses at Clay Development Corporation meetings where he is Chair, is an idea that Sirk endorses widely. Watch for something here readers in the future.      


             Some Clay County Commission (CCC) meetings get pretty wild. Some are short. And , still others are long, drawn out, detail filled assemblies. County Commission met September 11 at 10:00 am. With all Courthouse employees listening intently to radio coverage of the attack on America in New York and DC, the focus of the meeting was off. If you are looking for an update on the threatened Court battle between Prosecutor Davis and the CCC, it didn=t happen. Commissioner Jimmy Sams presided with Tim Butcher at his side. Mathew Bragg is still away due to serious illness.
    No jokes, no laughter was to be found this eventful morning.
            Before the meeting and in hushed tones was a short discussion up front, on the 911 center in Nicholas County which serves Clay. Something about not enough workers there that live in Clay County. In the mutual agreement with Nicholas County, two of the dispatchers must live in this county.
    There was the usual, paying the bills, approved budget revisions, approve Clerks
    = financial statement and the like. Clint Salyers was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Committee.
    =s time for the CCC to decide who will be Bond Council for the long sought water plant project. CCC opened the advertised bids and selected Goodwin and Goodwin Law firm. Seems the ‘Two Blind Mice’ are wising up. Both insisted that wording in the agreement say that funding for the law firm NOT come from the CCC accounts but rather from the grant and loan $ for the water plant and water line extensions. Sams said the current wording is not really clear and that a verbal agreement, Adon=t get it.@
             As for Roane County receiving new water lines and service before Clay County does, Commissioner Butcher said that he had spoken with Mr. Spark Plug, Jim Weimer of the WV Public Service Commission. Weimer had told Butcher that the reason Roane County was getting water service before Clay was because Roane County is several months
    Aahead of this county@. Butcher, A On paper, we are about two months behind.@
             For those that aren
    =t up on this matter, here goes. Roane County residents are getting in line to receive new water service over there. They intend to get their water from the existing Clay Water Plant and not wait for the new Regional plant to be built. Problem?? Sure is. This county has been told that the existing water plant is so old and over used, no new customers can be added on. Now all of a sudden, according to Roane County officials, the Clay plant has Aexcess@ capacity and they can hook on ahead of long waiting Clayonians.
              Butcher said that he had spoken to several members of Clay Town Council and they too are in support of Clay folks getting water before Roane County does. Paige Willis asked hard nosed questions on
    Ahow did Roane County get ahead of us?@ No good answer was given. Still another in the gallery raised concerns over what would happen if Roane County gets hooked up ahead of us and then the new plant doesn=t get built? Would Roane customers be cut off so Clay could get a drink or would Roane continue to consume our water while we remain thirsty? Again, no good answers were given. Commissioner Butcher commented that the decision on who gets water is up to the Mayor of Clay.
            An update was given on the Procious PSD bankruptcy case and the $295,000.00 settlement to Jackson Contracting of Lincoln County. Butcher explained that if the $295,000.00 is not handed over to the Jackson family by September 30, the whole deal is off and has to be started over again. Butcher called it a
    Adrop dead date.@ Translation: no money on September 30, the water plant and water line extensions are dead in the water so to speak. WVU Extension Agent Steve Zaracki suggested that water service be given to the area where the most economic development could be found.
    With the CNN images of terrorism on the minds of all in attendance, it is amazing that any business could be conducted.


             Clay County Commission formed a new regional public service district in June of this year. The purpose of the group is to organize a Board that will be responsible for operating the water plant that will serve Clay and Roane Counties. Chair for the new group is Keith King. The regional PSD met September 11 for about a half an hour.
             From the meeting: Keith King asked that all existing PSDs in the county hurry up and get their audits completed so as not to slow down chances of getting the water plant built without further delays.
            Commissioner Sams, in attendance, asked about getting new water service for this county now instead of waiting for the new plant to be completed in a couple of years. Mr. King said he had received a letter from Amy Swann from the WV PSC which indicated that several things need to be done before any service can be added in Clay County.
              King commented that much information has to be gathered quickly from the various local PSDs in order for the project to stay on track. King also mentioned that rates for the new plant service have not been set yet and the rates for his PSD ( Clay County PSD) are currently averaging $45 to $50 per month.
              Sams suggested that this new PSD sell the Clay Roane PSD building in Newton,
    A We don=t need all these buildings@. Doyle Tawney was against the idea.
             The next meeting of this group will be at the Courthouse, September 25 at 1:00 pm.


            Clay County=s Board of Education met in regular session Sept. 17 at the Annex office. All members present and around 15 in the peanut gallery to watch the action.
            After national media attention last year over prayers during the Clay High Awards banquet, Board President RB Legg changed the way he opened Board meetings with prayer. Instead of opening the meeting and then asking all to bow their heads and listen to his prayer, Mr Legg would give his prayer and then say it was time to open the meeting. It appears that the change was an attempt to get around the separation clause of church and state in the US Constitution.
            On this 17th, Legg invited,
    @ All that wish to can join me in a word of prayer.@
             As for the meeting, all scripted and planned out ahead of time except for one part. As for the scripted part. Motions to hire were unanimous on: Beverly Nichols from Clay County High School (CCHS) to Clay Middle School (CMS); Rodney Alshire to be Head Boys Basketball Coach at CMS; Rick Willis (husband of CHS Principal Cindy Willis) to be 9th Grade Boys Basketball Coach at CCHS; and, Larry Ramsey to be Head Boys Basketball Coach at CCHS.
            Now the exception. Item 7 on the agenda called for the hiring of Linda McKinney as Asst. Girls Basketball Coach at CCHS. Motion was made... pause.... pause.. Still waiting for a second.. .. pause. Finally member Gene King seconded the motion. Then came the vote. Even listening closely, it was hard to hear, but member Scotty Legg quieted voted
    Anay@ on the McKinney position. Making mountains out of a mole hill are we? You got to remember back in the summer that Ms McKinney submitted a bid for the job and later withdrew the bid after no action was taken by the administration. Seems like a .... Hmmmm.
             Board voted on the call for the upcoming January 19 School Levy Election. Since the call, what the money will be used for, was not read out loud to the public, your guess is as good as any on what the 2.34 million dollars will be used on this time around.
    In other business Board conducted: employed Vernal Taylor as a substitute cook; employed Chad Legg ( Bus Czar Larry Legg=s son) as a substitute teacher; accepted the resignation of Glen Nichols as a bus driver; removed Susan Holcomb=s name from the sub cook list; and, although not needed until October 2002, approved a County Needs Project to be submitted to the SBA ( no discussion was made in public on this paperwork.)        


    Procious PSD met in regular session September 13 at the Procious Water plant. Chair Garrett Samples and Lefty Summers present. The highlights are as follows
    Comments were made that the gasoline bills were way down despite gas prices on the rise.
    As to investigating all the extra payroll dollars spent in March compared to the number of hours the plant operated, Chair Garrett Samples said he had not looked into the matter. Samples asked that Chief operator Jennifer Traub check the records and report back on the discrepancies with the March 2001 figures.
    As to the needed audit of last year
    =s operation, it hasn=t been done. According to the office staff, the yearly audit isn=t usually started until early winter. Samples asked that the CPA be contacted and tell him to rush the work .
    NOTE: on those March payroll costs. When Mr. Samples is finished with March, he should look at July figures which are equally alarming. On several instances in July 2001, log sheets indicate that the one person plant operated much fewer hours than was billed for in payroll.


             Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) held its annual meeting at Clay High School Sunday, September 16 at 2:00 pm. As has been the case at most CAEZ meetings over the last five years, attendance was very light. One fellow commented that there were
    Athree times as many folks at this annual meeting than attended the 2000 event@. In 2000, two from the public showed up for the free food and information. Don=t even ask if a quorum was present to conduct business of the group.
            During the meeting a couple of items surfaced that may be of interest to this paper
    =s nosey readers. Filcon Industries, located on Main Street in Clay is again behind with their CAEZ backed $125,000.00 loan payments. Just two months ago, the CAEZ Board considered suing the company for overdue loan payments.
    Additionally, another CAEZ loan recipient, Wilderness Café. is past due on loan payments.
            CAEZ is applying for more operating monies from the Federal Government. $40 million is up for grabs during this round of funding. That application has to be turned in by the end of this month. Director Jerry Sizemore is responsible for completion of that task.


            Wagner and Valley Gas Companies have asked the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) for rate increases. Both companies serve areas of Clay County and are owned by John Habjan. Excerpts from the WV PSC include the following:
             CASE NO. 01-1085-G-30C WAGNER GAS COMPANY Application to change rates effective November 1, 2001, pursuant to Rule 30-C, General Order No. 183.4, Purchased Gas application
               Wagner has requested a purchased gas increment of $5.160 per Mcf, in substitution for the current purchased gas rate of $3.889 per Mcf, an increase of $1.271 per Mcf, to become effective November 1, 2001. In its application, Wagner submitted information pursuant to Rule 43 and General Order No. 243-G. .... IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Wagner Gas Company give notice to its customers of its requested purchased gas increment of $5.160 per Mcf, by publishing notice thereof one time in a newspaper published and of general circulation in each of the counties where its customers reside.
    Excerpts from the Valley Gas increase rate case are similar, except that, the amount of increase is smaller for Valley customers. Again from the PSC: Valley has requested a purchased gas increment of $5.0173 per Mcf, in substitution for the current purchased gas rate of $4.888 per Mcf, an increase of $0.1293 per Mcf, to become effective November 1, 2001. In its application, Valley submitted information pursuant to Rule 43 and General Order No. 243-G.
             After doing a little ciphering, the Wagner increase comes out to a hefty 77% increase. After posting that info on our web site, a call was received from Mr. Habjan. According to him, our figures are all wrong, that the increase is just pennies for Valley customers and the one for Wagner is only 25% or less not 75% or more. Mr. Habjan went on to mention that the increase was to cover the cost of gas purchased, not for additional operating expense, and he had many uncollected amounts owed him from customers.
              So how could we be so off with our math? We’re not. Wagner customers may soon pay $5.0160/mcf of gas, up from $3.889/mcf. By dividing 3.889 by 5.016, you get a 77% increase. Mr Habjan felt the proper way to figure would be to subtract the 3.889 from 5.016 and then take that number (1.126) to divide with. As with any division problem, the way to check it is with multiplication. 5.016 times .77% of course comes out to the 3.889 that customers are currently paying. After doing the math, this paper stands by its numbers.
               For customers seeking to stop the rate increase comes the final excerpt from the PSC web site: After review of any protests which are filed subsequent to publication, the Commission may, in its discretion, order hearing upon the application or, in the alternative, give final approval to an appropriate purchased gas increment without hearing. Failure to submit affidavits of publication by October 5, 2001, will result in the entry of an Interim Recommended Decision maintaining the current purchased gas increment in effect on and after November 1, 2001.
    Mr. Habjan’s phone call was of course appreciated. Step up to the plate customers or forever hold your peace.