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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
November 13, 2008     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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November 13, 2008

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~i,:ii~,: '~,i ~i~ Ki :. ~ ' ' ' ' " " : of Jefferson Farmer's Advocate Jefferson Co. - $1,808,014.63 Bolivar $123,697.13 Charles Town $344,200.72 Harpers Ferry----- $36,352.22 Ranson $349,379.66 Shepherdstown $142,321.40 TOTAL FUNDS DI RIBIITED $2,903,965.76 i i I i i ii ii ii i VOLUME 143, No. 46, Thursday, November 13, 2008 "No government ought to be without censors: and where the press is free, no one ever will." - Thomas Jefferson 20 pages - 50 cents per copy Veteran's Day Ceremonies were observed in Harpers Ferry and Charles Town on Tues- day, November 11. At left, Sgt. Stephanie Poe, USAF JROTC Instructor, speaks on the history of Veteran's Day at a memorial gathering at Harpers Ferry Middle School. Below, left, Mas- ter Sgt. Kevin Berens, USMC-Ret. speaks at the Veterans Memorial at Jefferson Memorial Park. Berens spoke on courage and honor. Below, members of Cub Scout Packs par- ticipate in the parade in Bolivar/Harpers Ferry organized by the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry District Veterans. Bottom right shows members of the Jefferson High School JROTC Honor Guard marching in the Bolivar parade. At top right, the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry District Veterans Color Guard stand at attention at the Charles Town Memorial as the Charles Town Middle School plays the National Anthem. The Jefferson County Commission on Thurs- day debated the formation of a Jefferson Coun- ty Emergency Services Agency. A draft ordinance forming the agency was presented by Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Grove, which had been formulated by she and members of a committee formed for that purpose. The ordinance would eliminate the county's Ambulance Authority in favor of the new organi- zation, and it would, according to the ordinance, create a Joint Emergency Services Board to over- see the management and control of the agency. The Board would consist of eleven members including one member from the County Commis- sion, five citizen members not employed by the Commission or affiliated with an emergency ser- vices or fire protection ~tgency; two members of the emergency medical services community; two representatives from the fire protection services and one additional member from the Fire/EMS community. Also on the board would be the coun- ty's Medical Director who would serve as an ex- officio member with no voting rights. The ordinance further clarified that no more than two of the members may be from the same magisterial district. The Commission has posted the draft docu- ment on the county's website where it is available for the public. Comments will be taken through November 13 and the Commission will then de- cide whether they will officially accept the draft and vote on the ordinance. The formation of the group leads the Com- mission one step closer to establishing fire and ambulance fees which will be charged to county residents for service. The decision was made to charge these fees during the past year's budget discussions when funding for the current fire de- partments and Ambulance Authority came un- der heavy fire. The groups were originally fund- ed for only half of the fiscal year; however, when Commissioners met at the end of the fiscal year in June to revise their upcoming budget, funding was put in place for the agencies. There is no time table set as to when fees will be put in place. # from "ons Commitee Senator Robert C. Byrd an- nounced Friday that he would step down as head of the Sen- ate Appropriations Committee where he has served for the past two decades. Byrd, who turns 91 this month, has be- come frail in recent years and this move has not been met with surprise. According to reports, Byrd has been responsible for gar- nering more than $2.3 billion in spending for West Virginia during this decade. "A new day has dawned in Washington, and that is a good thing. For my part, I be- lieve that it is time for a new day at the top of the Senate Appropriations Committee," Byrd said in a statement. Byrd will be replaced by 84- year-old Senator Daniel In- ouye, (D-Hawaii), who has served in the Senate for the past 45 years. Inouye is said to be "humbled" by his move to the top of the committee. He, like Byrd, has been known to gather federal dollars for his home state. Byrd, who some have pres- sured to leave the coveted chairmanship, said that he made the decision after he felt sure it would not harm West Virginia. "I want to stress that this is a decision I made only after much personal soul-search- ing and after being sure of the Byrd won his initial Senate substantial Democratic pick- campaign in 1958 and though up of seats in the Senate," his in his early years he was a release indicated. "I am now member of the Ku Klux Klan, confident that stepping aside he has since denounced that as chairman will not adversely part of his past and recent- impact my home state of West ly endorsed President-Elect Virginia," he continued. Barack Obama in his success- Byrd, the longest-serving ful campaign as the first Afri- Senator in history, will main- can-American President. tain the mostly ceremonial Byrd said, "I endorsed Pres- role of president pro tempore, ident-elect Obama because In that position, he is third in I believed that we had taken line for the presidency, follow- the wrong course both at home ing the vice president and then and abroad. I am delighted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. with his victory." Senator Robert Byrd spoke at the Jefferson County Courthouse during the Charles Town Renovation project several years ago. More recently he was a guest at the Customs and Border Patrol Center near Harpers Ferry. Local developers have been the first to file suit against the Jefferson County Commission over the passage of a new zon- ing ordinance which went into effect November 1. Jefferson Utilities, Inc Ar- cadia Building Company, WV and others filed suit challeng- ing the approval process of the ordinance as well as several components of the document. While the suit, filed by at- torneys Peter Chakmakian and Richard Gay, alleges that the commission failed to follow the proper procedures in the enactment of the ordinance, Assistant Prosecutor Stepha- nie Grove told Commissioners Thursday that they had fol- lowed procedures to the letter. In question, according to the suit, is whether the ordinance replaces non-traditional zon- ing with traditional zoning. Commissioners, over the past several months, hedged that question but finally answered that the one did replace the other. The suit contends that it does not, but rather that the new ordinance is simply an amendment to the old. If that. is the case, according to the suit, the Commission failed to notify affected individuals by certified mail, a stipulation made clear by the law. The suit also alleges that several components of the or- dinance are illegal or invalid: Among these is the section on historic structures and areas of the county; portions address- ing signage, which the suit says is an "unconstitutional restriction of the right of free speech"; and a section dealing with the Neighborhood Con- servation Mountain District. The suit says the ordinance is not compatible with the Coun- ty's Comprehensive Plan, an- other requirement when draft- ing a new ordinance or amend- ing an old ordinance. Commission Again An ongoing disagreement ready acquired the services of over passwords to county serv- Martinsburg attorney David ers will continue this Thurs- Hammer who filed a motion day as a representative from for a continuance with Steptoe the Office of the State Su- before the commissioners had preme Court will be in atten- even met in their session. dance along with the president Morgan defended her actions of Software Systems, Inc the in the press indicating that as county's computer vendor, in a presiding officer, she felt the ac- discussion over releasing pass- tion to hire Hammer was mer- words to the county's servers ited. Several of her colleagues to a newly-hired Information have disagreed and questions Technician. have arisen over a possible vio- The discussions have been lation of the state's Open Meet- ongoing for several weeks as ingsAct. Commissioners ordered the Morgan attempted to have release of the passwords and Grove state that she had a con- were met with an Order to flict with representation be- Show Cause from Judge Thorn- cause the Prosecutor's Office as Steptoe. The suit order was disagrees with the provision of issued after former Circuit the passwords;however, Grove Clerk Patsy Noland contacted said that as long as mediation officials at the state level in- is the path chos.en, she has no dicating that she did not feel conflict. Grove said that per- coinfortable with the techni- haps at some point a conflict cian having access to confiden- may occur, but currently there tial records, is none. Noland had been vocal on Morgan told her fellow com- the issue as had Prosecutor Mi- missioners, "I want the com- chael Thompson and Sheriff Ed mission to be abundantly clear Boober, all of whom are elected on what Ms. Grove said," per- officials responsible for con/i- haps seeking a justification for dential records stored on the hiring Hammer. servers. Commissioners voted Commissioner Greg Corl- the release of the passwords iss simply replied, "Don't cross and refused to allow Noland that bridge until you get to it." to address them regarding the Regardless of the outcome of discussion several weeks ago. those allegations, Steptoe did Following the Order to Show agree with Grove to allo.w me- Cause, the Commissioners met diation of the issue and that in an emergency session to de- mediation will begin during a termine their legal course of ac- workshop session on Thurs- tion and who their legal coun- day at 1:30 p.m. in the Charles sel would be. The group voted Town Library meeting room. 3-2 to use Stephanie Grove, as- Commissioner Jim Surkamp sistant prosecutor, who is their sought permission for the coun- attorney of record, ty-formed IT committee to be a Commission President Fran- part of the discussion Thurs- ces Morgan had, prior, to the day. The goal of the meeting is meeting and unknown to at to reach agreement on whether least some commissioners, al- or not passwords should be re- leased and whether the whole system is connected and can- The suit has been filed not be separated at the present against all five county corn- time to isolate other elected of- missioners, all members of the ficials records. county's planning commission and former Planning Director TonyRedman who resignedinoctober.An initial hearing on the II]i!!i!l!!]l!!!!l!illI suit is scheduled for December 6 9 8.