POLYNERVOUSTICKS - Around The Mountain State


By Bob Weaver

LAWYERS RULES - In West Virginia in order to be admitted to the practice of law, you must show you were "never convicted of perjury, false swearing or other infamous offenses, or any felony." The rule, however, does not apply to lawyers who have been convicted of such offenses. They can rebound.

THE FLORIDA RECOUNT - Most Calhouner's and most West Virginian's took the loggerhead "recount" in Florida in stride, still somewhat mystified about Florida laws. So far in West Virginia, when an election is contested, a complete recount is done. The counting boards with dissenting representation are left to the task to emerge with their recount and declare a winner.

In Florida it was not just a matter of recount, but legal authorities, politicians and lawyers fighting for their candidates and interpreting Florida law. Implications that most everyone was crooked. Former President Jimmy Carter said if this situation happened with an election in a foreign country (A group he heads goes in to help countries get a legal and fair election), we would not accept the mess and leave.

CALHOUN COUNTY "APPROVED" SCHOOL SYSTEM - Sixteen of West Virginia's 55 counties need improvement. Wirt County is one of them, receiving conditional status. The report is based on surprise visits to county school systems. Calhoun and its' neighboring counties passed. Lincoln and Mingo Counties are in the non-approved status. Declining enrollment and loss of funds in poor rural counties will continue to become a problem, leading to the failure to deliver curriculum and services. Look for more counties to be "non-approved."

THANK GOD FOR LOUISIANA "Usually at the Bottom" - West Virginia ranks 49th in per capita income and is among the worst with children living in poverty. It may not have cleared the bottom in its' ability to deliver outcomes in public education and workforce preparation. Recent statistics give a negative report, among the worst, regarding college preparation. West Virginia has one of the lowest pre-school participation rates in America.

The AP reported West Virginian's contributed a larger share to funding education than 46 other states in 1997. West Virginia spends a lot of money on public education and ranks 17th in the nation in per pupil expenditure. The problems with education have deep historical roots, with over half of West Virginia kids growing up in very rural areas and one-third of Calhoun's children living in poverty.

CALHOUN STATS GIVEN - According to the WV Bureau of EmploymentPrograms, Calhoun County has a provisional population of 7,982 in 1999 (the actual census will be released soon). Per capita income is $13,454 (54th of the 55 counties).

There are some indications Calhoun County may have gained a few people, the state numbers increasing slightly in other counties. Overall, West Virginia gained .08 percent in Census 2000 to keep its three Congressional seats. North Dakota was the only state with less growth. In the 1990 census so many people left West Virginia there was a 7.6 percent drop. North Carolina, a current place of destination for many West Virginians, showed a 21.4 percent gain. West Virginians mostly move to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Florida and Maryland.

The Census Bureau is predicting West Virginia will show a slight population increase during the next 25 years, but will then become stagnant or dip once again.

CALHOUN'S UNEMPLOYMENT LOOSES RANK TO ROANE - Roane County, suffering the loss of several hundred Kellwood jobs led the state in unemployment with 17.6% in November. Calhoun slipped to second with 15.2 %.

MAGISTRATE'S ON-CALL SYSTEM SUSTAINED - The WV Supreme Court upheld the current on-call system maintained by the state's magistrates. A suit filed several years ago by New Martinsville attorney H. John Rogers resulted in the decision. Rogers contended a magistrate should have been available to process his case, rather than being transported and held in the regional jail on a warrantless charge.

CHARLESTON MAYOR LIKES CONSOLIDATION - Charleston Mayor Jay Goldman, facing increasing budget problems, says "You can't afford to support 55 counties and all these cities." Goldman wants to fold Kanawha County towns into Charleston. Sen. Oshel Craigo, who said he liked people in Calhoun County, but wants to consolidate counties. Craigo says the same goes in merging municipal governments. He also said regional jails have saved cities and counties hundreds of thousands of dollars, proving the value of merger. It would be hard to convince Calhoun of such "savings."

GAZETTE FOCUSES ON CALHOUN DIVORCES - An article in the Sunday Gazette on December 31, 2000 ("Splitsville WV") indicates Calhoun has the highest divorce rate in West Virginia, tying the problem to the economy. The Gazette has been doing a series of articles on West Virginia's 55 counties. The Calhoun story featured a picture of a woman with a diamond ring leaning against a store counter, smoking a cigarette with cans of snuff in the background.

UNDERWOOD'S ROAD BUILDING PROGRAM - The taxpayers of West Virginia were told the federal government would match $550 million in road bonds if they approved the measure at the polls. They did. So far $440 million of the bonds have been sold, leaving $110 million, giving the State of West Virginia a $1 billion dollar debt which will not be paid off until mid-century.

His administration, not unlike Arch Moore's, cut more ribbons and made more announcements about projects that will never be completed. They also spent over $200 million for consultants on such projects. Underwood, with his Democrat cohorts, announced the construction of the the King Coal Highway, among others, none of which can be completed for 500 years under current funding streams. The Little Kanawha Parkway, fortunately or unfortunately, was spared a ribbon cutting.

Charleston politicians told voters the federal match could raise $2-3 billion for construction. It did not happen. The State of West Virginia was already getting its maximum federal match.

From making a political decision to not hold coal companies responsible for their Workman's Compensation taxes to spending down millions of dollars in the state's disaster relief fund just prior to election in a "helpful giveaway," some will surely conclude this is government undeserving of respect. While it is easy to blame Underwood, the blame must be shared with other elected officials, mostly Democrats.

FLU SHOTS AVAILABLE - Flu vaccine is now available from most providers and they are now saying it's not too late to take it. They use to say you should take it by November.

DRUG DEAL - SEALED WITH A KISS - A Charleston woman, during a December visit to the South Central Regional Jail, attempted to pass drugs to an inmate by kissing him. Jail officials had raised suspicions about the 19-year-old woman because she did not speak. She is now facing charges.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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