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Reed to Return to Radio April 15, 2003, Tuesday
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Reed to Return to Radio April 15, 2003, Tuesday

BY Fanny Seiler

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. nnn 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. nnn 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. nnn 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. nnn 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. nnn 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. nnn 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. nnn 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.

04/15/2003
Kiss Tells House Leaders There is No Speaker's Race
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Kiss Tells House Leaders There is No Speaker's Race

BY Fanny Seiler

House Speaker Bob Kiss has called a halt to some jockeying for his position that grew out of rumors that he was leaving the House. "I'm speaker for a two-year term," he said last week. "I don't plan to go anywhere." Kiss, D-Raleigh, said he had a meeting with some members of his senior leadership team after two new delegates asked him what to do about the speaker's race. He told them if they were stroking delegates to stop. If he runs for another office next year, Kiss feels an obligation to make a decision by this summer, and announce it. "I am considering some things. I am not thinking about governor." Asked if he was thinking about running for the state Supreme Court - as is being speculated - Kiss sidestepped and said, "I'm giving thought to a number of things." He said he doesn't know if he'll run for re-election to the House. Majority Whip Scott Varner, D-Marshall, and Delegates Richard Browning, D-Wyoming, and Richard Thompson, D-Wayne, reportedly had their sights set on being speaker. "Until he leaves, I'm not interested," Varner said last week. "He's never indicated he's leaving. He's the speaker. I support him until he leaves." If Kiss leaves, Varner is interested in the position. Varner said he's heard that someone is talking with Thompson about running for speaker. Thompson is a lawyer and one of several (Varner included) labor-endorsed delegates. While not a member of the leadership team, Kiss asked Thompson to attend the meeting, too. "The way I look at it, we have a speaker," Thompson said Friday. "That isn't to say I wouldn't be interested" if Kiss left, he added. Thompson said rumors were rampant that Kiss was leaving, and there was general talk about "what if that were to occur. A number of delegates asked me if I would be willing to do it." Thompson said he would. "Right now, it's up in the air. If the situation changes, we'll have to be ready. We'll just have to wait. "I think there will continue to be talk," Thompson said, as long as the rumors continue. Browning was defeated by labor in 1996 after he voted for a labor-opposed workers' compensation reform bill in 1995. He was elected again in 2000. Basically, everyone thought Kiss wasn't going to run for re-election, Browning said. "I told Bob if he chose to come back, I would support him. If he didn't, I was going to run." Browning said he didn't campaign for speaker during the session, and had told Kiss last December he wouldn't. Majority Leader Rick Staton, D-Wyoming, said Kiss told the meeting there isn't a speaker's race. "I agree." Staton was viewed as labor's candidate for a brief period of jockeying in 1999 until the state Supreme Court ruled that Kiss couldn't serve as a justice after his appointment to the bench by then-Gov. Cecil Underwood. Staton said he will seek re-election to the House. If the speaker's position is open then, Staton said it would depend on the situation whether he'd be interested in running for the top job. Those who were in the meeting during the week that budget conferees met included Varner; Browning; Staton; Finance Chairman Harold Michael, D-Hardy; Education Chairman Jerry Mezzatesta, D-Hampshire; Thompson; and Delegate Emily Yeager, D-McDowell, who was campaigning for Thompson. SHORTS - Gov. Bob Wise announced at a fund-raiser that was held for him in Huntington on March 28 that $ 300,000 raised by that event put the overall total for his re-election campaign at more than $ 1 million. The Huntington event was sponsored by businessman Robert Shell, his sons, Robby Shell (president of the family Guyan Machinery business) and Todd Shell, vice president of Guyan Rebuilders. Others attending included: Huntington businessman Marshall Reynolds, owner of Chapman Printing; retired banking executive Mike Perry; Paul Turman II, of Turman Construction in Barboursville; Huntington lawyer Menis Ketchum and his son, Brent Ketchum, also a lawyer; Brent Marsteller, administrator at Cabell Huntington Hospital; Dr. Robert Walker from the Marshall University medical school; Mike Sundall from St. Mary's Hospital; Wylie Stowers, Lincoln County Democratic chairman, and his sons, Greg Stowers, Lincoln County circuit clerk, and Lyle Stowers, second vice chairman of the state Democratic Executive Committee; and former Sen. Lloyd Jackson II, D-Lincoln. Congressman Nick Joe Rahall, D-W.Va., had a fund-raiser for Wise at his home in Beckley on March 24 and reportedly raised about $ 11,000. Rahall called people and invited them to attend. Congressman Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., had a big fund-raiser for Wise in Morgantown on March 17, and Drew Payne, a Republican member of the West Virginia Racing Commission, had a private dinner last month for Wise. Wise traveled to Gilbert on March 27 to cut a ribbon for the opening of Terry Sammons' wife's Morning Side Coffee Shop. Terry Sammons is a prominent Republican who practices law in Mingo County and was appointed by Wise to the Higher Education Policy Commission. nnn Rob Capehart, former secretary of tax and revenue, says he has a moratorium on his campaign fund-raising activities during the war, but went ahead with a reception in Wheeling on March 21, the day after the war started. Capehart is exploring whether to run for governor on the Republican ticket next year. He said the reception at the Wheeling County Club had already been organized, but he stopped making phone calls to get people to attend even before the war started because so many of the people had relatives in the military. Capehart said more than 100 people attended. Steve Cohen, who formerly worked for Wise and is a member of the country club, was Capehart's first contributor for the reception. Capehart said he has raised about $ 20,000 to $ 25,000 so far during his exploratory campaign to pay for his travel expenses and a poll. He would like to raise another $ 25,000 for the exploratory campaign that will determine whether he'll become a candidate for governor. He has been speaking at several Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinners, including dinners in Wetzel, Roane, Mercer and Wood counties. Former Highways Commissioner Sam Beverage, who is also a potential gubernatorial candidate, has attended the dinners, too, Capehart said. Capehart also spoke last month to the Harrison County Republican Club, which was recently started by former Sen. Jay Wolfe, R-Harrison. He spoke in Point Pleasant on March 29 at a meeting of the West Virginia chapter of the Citizens for a Sound Economy, a large national organization, and at a rally for American troops at the Mason County courthouse. Most of Capehart's family lives in Mason County. Other prominent Republicans are on the Lincoln Day circuit, too. Former Gov. Arch A. Moore Jr., was the Jefferson County Lincoln Day speaker on March 28, and is to speak in Clarksburg on April 12. His daughter, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., was the Jackson County dinner speaker on March 29.

04/06/2003
Reader's Forum
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Reader's Forum

Preferred drug list is not acceptable Editor: The Canadian-style health-care and medication program is a prescription for disaster. West Virginia's elderly and poor could be forced to ultimately pay the price through drastic reduction of services and lack of availability of life-saving medications. West Virginia Citizens for a Sound Economy believes this could be one more blow to West Virginia's ailing health-care system. And patients will suffer as a result. This is why the Canadian health-care bureaucracy is wrong. The government sets the prices for prescription drugs and the drug makers are forced to accept those reduced prices or simply not market those drugs to its citizens. Under the governor's proposal, the West Virginia Preferred Drug List system will regulate the medications allowed. The PDL system is flawed. Physicians and patients should have complete access to whatever medications are medically appropriate. Do you want the politicians or your doctor prescribing the medicine you need for cancer and heart attacks? The governor should not stop patients from getting the drugs that they desperately need to prevent a stroke. Much of the Medicaid budget is squandered through political funding contests and the inefficient allocation of resources. Millions are lost each year on unnecessary treatments and emergency room visits. Let's fix this problem first - not ration medications for sick West Virginians. Alice Click Point Pleasant Nursing home law already exists Editor: As CEO of the West Virginia Health Care Association, I am compelled to respond to the recent Gazette editorial on the proposed legislation requiring nursing homes to form family councils and post detailed staff lists for each shift. This legislation is redundant of the current federal regulations, which our state's nursing homes are required to adhere. New federal regulations, effective Jan. 1, 2003, now require staffing information to be posted in each facility and closely mirror the proposed legislation. Resident councils are already required, while family councils are encouraged. Contrary to the statement in the Gazette editorial, we are not "fighting" this proposed regulation. We do not see the need for additional legislative attention be placed on a law that already exists for nursing homes. Other issues, of much greater consequence, are facing our state's frail and elderly. Primarily, will the Legislature find the funding necessary to fill the $ 300 million Medicaid budget shortfall so access and care for the frail and elderly through the program can continue? Our members are very aware of regulations imposed by state and federal governments. These regulations are followed in our facilities. Our profession understands the need to provide quality service and care to our residents and their families. Imposing a law with existing penalties in addition to existing regulation is just not necessary. John Alfano CEO West Virginia Health Care Association Charleston America needs a black president Editor: It's time that African-Americans elected a leader for our people. Currently, no individual can legitimately claim this title. We are disunited as a people and don't have a central source of power to tap into. None of the existing organizations are sufficient. It is therefore proposed that we elect a "President of Black Affairs." Along with managing social and societal problems, a central source of power would also let the world know where we generally stand as a people regarding important issues - and what goals we'll put our muscle behind in order to progress. Granted, there are philosophical differences within the black community. But that's true of America in general. Yet, somehow, presidents still manage to get elected. Our president would be surrounded by officers representing the various issues. The officers would work PRO-actively as well as RE-actively in our favor. The basic funding for general operations would come from our people themselves. We'd consider it another "tax" we must pay. All interested African-Americans can contact me at kba917a@yahoo.com. The ballot can be sent by mail or by e-mail attachment. The ballots will be submitted to various black publications and organizations in hopes of gaining their support for this endeavor. Keith Anderson Bluefield ATV safety begins at home Editor: It is very unfortunate about the ATV deaths throughout West Virginia. However, the cause is not due to the ATV but rather the ignorance and recklessness of the user and/or legal guardian. The vast majority of ATV deaths involve violating manufacturer's riding instructions and warnings. All ATVs are supplied with emblems that clearly state no passengers, set minimum age requirements, and set maximum speed limits. Nearly all ATV accidents involve violating at least one of these rules. I ask, "Where was the parent?" The parent allowing the child to be put in harm's way should be held legally accountable. Regardless of whether the harm is in the form of a vicious dog, a train track, an ATV or a rattlesnake. Who bought the ATV anyway? Few children can afford such toys. Parenting, common sense and taking time to supervise your child start in the home - not at the Capitol. If we try to legislate ignorance, where does it stop? How does a child know not to put his hand into a lawn mower or touch a hot stove? You guessed it - supervision! Greg Combs Point Pleasant Church, state rules inconsistent Editor: Well, here we go again. Am I the only one upset? Am I the only one who sees the inconsistency? Am I the only one who will speak up? I hope not. It started when the Columbia exploded on re-entry and seven valiant astronauts lost their lives. We were told to pray for the victims and their families. Go to your church or synagogue or mosque and offer prayers and comfort. A memorial service was held at NASA in Houston where the comfort of God was requested. A local religious service was held here in Charleston with all the local politicians, including the governor. The seven were honored and the grace of God requested on all us who endured this tragedy. Remember Sept. 11? The same tenor and fervor covered our entire nation. Pray for the victims and their families. But in between those two events, we were told prayer and God and church and spirituality and after-life and divinity were not supposed to be discussed in the public forum. There was even an attempt to remove "one nation under God" from our national pledge of allegiance. In other words, when all is well, please shut up about God and His Son. But when tragedy strikes, then it's politically correct to request his help. Consistent? Not hardly. Steve Fox Charleston War will not solve anything Editor: While watching the president's State of the Union speech, I didn't hear what I thought should have been the main topic. I never heard the name of God mentioned. That should have been the first word mentioned by Mr. Bush, and he should have used that word many times because God has the whole world in his hands. We are a sinful nation. Just stop for a moment and think why we are having fires burning out of control, floods, storms that destroy whole cities, children killing children/parents, their own best friends. And then there is the issue of fairness. We open the doors to people from Europe, Asia, Far East and then what happens: Sept. 11. We round up all immigrants, line them up and question them for hours or days. Then there is a small boat loaded with black people from Haiti seeking a better life in the Great U.S. of A. and what happens? They are forced to jump boat, rounded up and sent back home. Is this great nation a haven for all people that are oppressed? I don't think so. War with Iraq will not solve anything, Mr. Bush. It will cause death to many thousands of innocent people. Be not deceived, for God is not mocked. Whatsoever man soweth so shall he reap. Ferguson B. Meadows Institute We have heroes at home too Editor: At 4:15 a.m. on Feb. 17, ice on the trees pulled limbs down onto the high voltage power lines. At first I thought we were being bombed, with the fire in the sky. Then within seconds, not minutes, the South Hills fire department was here. It was only minutes till AEP was on the scene and cut the high voltage off. Yes, you're right. We didn't have power but we were safe. I called AEP customer service and they said they were trying to do everything they could, and they were a pleasure to talk to. At 11 a.m. it looked like the Army landed with AEP and Asplundph tree service. By 2 p.m. all trees were trimmed and the power was restored. I watched men go up in the air around high voltage lines that I can tell you, with all the ice, I would not have been there without feathers. I know we have troops abroad and I thank God every day for that, but we also have heroes at home. Oh, you say it's their job. Well, try it. I have worked in different countries and our utility bills are cheaper by far. May God bless all our troops abroad and bring them home safely and bless the people that are taking care of us at home. Tommy J. Ritchey Charleston

03/04/2003
Environmental Protection Not About Tree-Huggers
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Environmental Protection Not About Tree-Huggers

BY Molly Ivins

BOY, WE ARE marching backwards on the environment at a truly impressive pace. Between the Senate and the Bush administration, we are advancing to the rear, double time. The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, fuel efficiency standards, toxic waste - this is literally sickening stuff. Last week, the Senate voted 62 to 38 to postpone, yet again, increasing the fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

03/25/2002
Environmental protection not about tree-huggers
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Environmental protection not about tree-huggers

BY Molly Ivins

BOY, WE ARE marching backwards on the environment at a truly impressive pace. Between the Senate and the Bush administration, we are advancing to the rear, double time. The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, fuel efficiency standards, toxic waste - this is literally sickening stuff. Last week, the Senate voted 62 to 38 to postpone, yet again, increasing the fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

03/25/2002