After being fired six months ago as host of the "58 Live" talk show on WCHS radio, Stephen Reed is to return to the airwaves this morning with a call-in show on a competing station. The show will air from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday on WVTS-AM. Reed's talk show will air directly opposite the "Talk Line" program hosted by Hoppy Kercheval on WCHS. Reed used to do that show with Kercheval.
Reed's severance package from the West Virginia Radio Corp., owned by Morgantown businessman John Raese, had a clause that prevented Reed from going to work for a competitor for six months. The six months expired Monday.
Reed, a conservative, says he will talk about local, state and national events, and hopes to generate robust discussions and debate. One of his first guests will be Kanawha County school board member Pete Thaw, who was barred from WCHS after calling fellow board member John Luoni a "son of a bitch" at a board meeting. Thaw was a frequent caller on the WCHS show. Reed noted that some people may object to Thaw's language, but said the first hole on Raese's nine-hole golf course at Morgantown was named "old bastard."
Reed said people who are interested in local, state and national events "will find our show more compelling" and will have to choose between him and Kercheval, whom he said he enjoyed working with at WCHS. "We have different styles," Reed said of him and Kercheval.
WVTS is owned by Bristol Broadcasting, which owns several stations in the Charleston area.
Mason County resident and Republican activist Alice Click has started a West Virginia chapter of the large national group Citizens for a Sound Economy, which she said began fighting this year for certain causes. They include lower taxes, less government, more freedom for West Virginians and help for seniors needing medications. Click said the chapter is going to take its message to one city and one county at a time.
While the group won't endorse political candidates, Click said CSE will put out scorecards to score candidates' philosophies and records on its issues. "We would encourage people to run who have like views," she said. CSE also will be doing key vote alerts on issues it's interested in to encourage legislators to vote a certain away.
CSE opposed Gov. Bob Wise's "Canadian-style price controls on Medicaid drugs," and the national organization provided Canadian First Aid (disaster) kits to legislators, Click said recently. She also turned to the national group for help on model legislation on medical malpractice insurance and Workers' Compensation.
Rob Capehart, who headed up a tax reform study for former Gov. Cecil Underwood and continues to advocate tax reform, spoke at the chapter's first town hall meeting in Point Pleasant on March 29. Capehart is running for governor on the Republican ticket.
Click said if Underwood had been re-elected, he would have had an open mind to the kind of tax structure Capehart proposed. "The national people think he is very much in line with their thinking," she said. "If you give the government more money, they spend more and more money," Click said. CSE is a grass-roots organization, she said.
Click is also active in Concerned Women, a national conservative Republican group, and served for a time as director of its West Virginia chapter. She has been vocal against gambling, and formed her own anti-abortion political action committee to help former Delegate Lisa Smith, R-Putnam, win election to the state Senate. Click expressed admiration for another woman in the Senate, Sen. Sarah Minear, R-Tucker, who is interested in running for governor next year.
Five Division of Highways employees who lost a grievance over their reassignment met for two hours recently with Charleston lawyer Mike Carey about other legal avenues, including a federal political discrimination lawsuit. After the Education and State Employees Grievance Board dismissed their grievance last year on grounds that the proper procedures were followed, they appealed in Wood County Circuit Court, where the case is still pending. Braxton County lawyer Elizabeth Farber is handling that appeal.
The five employees - assistant administrators Carl Antolini, Jim Markle, Paul Reese and Anthony Marascio and District 7 administrator Bob DeVaul - were reassigned when Transportation Secretary Fred VanKirk put engineers in charge of the DOH's 10 districts again. His predecessor, Sam Beverage, had replaced the district engineers with administrators and created assistant administrators' positions in the districts.
Carey is representing Tom Badgett, who was dismissed as assistant highways commissioner, a will-and-pleasure position, when Wise took office in January 2001. Janis Reynolds, the grievance board's administrative law judge, held a hearing on Jan. 14, but more testimony is scheduled for Wednesday before law judge Paul Marteney. Besides a change in judges, a new assistant attorney general will have to be assigned. Assistant Attorney General Barry Koerber, DOH's attorney in the case, has been laid off by the attorney general's office.
Employees in the Division of General Services are told money is tight, but when health and safety manager Paul Pendergast resigned to take a job in Baltimore, his office was enlarged and made into a conference room. The room is beside the office of Deputy Director Jim Burgess, who said he needed a conference room where he could review architect drawings for projects he oversees.
New carpet was installed in the conference room, Burgess' office, the reception room and another area. Burgess said the total cost was about $ 2,500. The conference room was furnished with an old table, he said. The table was refinished and stored in another building for three weeks. One employee worked overtime on the project.
Burgess said he didn't replace Pendergast and saved his salary, which was about $ 50,000. "We've made some major cuts," he said. General Services plans to have a consultant evaluate the cost of utilities and recommend an energy management control system.
Sources say employees at the Division of Workers' Compensation have been told they aren't to release any information, and to do their work or face dismissal irrespective of Civil Service procedures.
State Democratic Chairman Mike Callaghan said he has been contacted by most of the Democratic presidential candidates. Meanwhile, he has hired Steve McElroy to do communications and outreach work at the state Democratic Party's headquarters. McElroy has done political consulting work in prior years.
When Gov. Bob Wise and other state officials were in Daytona Beach, Fla., last February to talk with NASCAR officials about an economic development project, Bray Cary, co-owner of West Virginia Media Holding, hitched a ride back to Charleston with Wise on the state plane. Cary formerly was vice president of broadcasting for NASCAR.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller has helped get a Young Democrats Club started at Hurricane High School, where a Teen Age Republican Club has made a national name for itself. Former Sen. Oshel Craigo, D-Putnam, also reportedly is planning to help the Young Democrats Club.