News for October 23, 1999

City official cleared of assault charge

by James Fisher
Staff Writer
After nearly 21/2 hours of testimony Friday, Harrison County Chief Magistrate Mark Gorby ruled that Clarksburg City Personnel Director James Marino was innocent of misdemeanor assault following an altercation with a Clarksburg Police Department officer in May.
Marino was accused of assaulting Investigator Robert Matheny inside Marino's former office, located inside the police department in May.
The incident resulted from questions Matheny had about the status of his paid administrative leave at the time.
The incident occurred shortly after Matheny had been accused of sexually assaulting a Clarksburg woman. He has since been cleared of all charges.
At the time, Matheny had asked Marino for two weeks of paid leave. The incident happened after Marino, at the direction of acting City Attorney Walter Williams, wrote a letter to Matheny extending the leave by two weeks.
Matheny testified he asked Lt. John Fuscaldo and Capt. Ronald Williams to accompany him to Marino's office to ask about the letter as well as a directive to relinquish his keys to the building.
According to testimony from several officers, the meeting turned heated after Matheny made a remark about Marino's brother, former councilman Frank Marino. Marino testified that the remark made him mad.
"I felt it was a low blow against me and my family," he testified. "I got up from behind the desk. I felt he was trying to be intimidating."
Marino said he was trying to get to Matheny, but testified his intention was not to hit him. "I wanted to show him that he couldn't come into my office and say those things to me," he testified.
Marino refused to comment about the verdict.

Underwood freezes hiring, spending in wake of mine ruling

by Martha Bryson Hodel
CHARLESTON -- Gov. Cecil Underwood ordered a statewide hiring and spending freeze Friday in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that West Virginia has been illegally issuing strip mine permits.
Underwood also has ordered an immediate halt to the development of new strip mines and has told state agencies to prepare for a 10 percent budget cut beginning in January.
The state Tax Department said the ruling could cost the state as much as $100 million this fiscal year, out of an annual budget of $2.6 billion.
The figure could be even higher if the ruling is applied to all types of mining, state tax officials said.
"The impact of this ruling will be ... devastating to state and local budgets," Underwood said.
The state Division of Environmental Protection will conduct a survey next week to determine how many mines would be affected by U.S. District Judge Charles Haden's ruling.
The director of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Kathy Karpan, said the ruling also has the potential to affect mining operations nationwide.
The injunction issued Wednesday by Haden bans the practice of disposing waste rock and dirt in nearby streams, a process known as valley fill.
Mine operators say valley fills are a key part of a mining technique known as mountaintop removal strip mining. The practice allows operators to avoid reclaiming land to its original mountainous contour. Instead they remove rock and dirt above coal seams and place it in nearby streams, leaving a post-mining terrain that is flat or gently rolling.
Although Haden's order specifically exempted other earth-moving projects such as highway construction and land development, Underwood insisted the ruling is much more sweeping because any construction inevitably leads to waste material that must be disposed of off-site.
"It potentially affects all forms of mining (and) the development of other natural resources, as well as the construction of highways and bridges," the governor said.
State regulators have suspended work on 60 pending mining permit applications and ordered mine operators to stop all work that has the effect of enlarging existing valley fills.
"This is a very significant decision, with immediate implications for the coal industry in West Virginia," Karpan said Friday. "Eventually, it will affect coal mining all over the United States.
"It could virtually stop all coal mining -- not just strip mining but underground mining as well," Karpan said. Underground mines also use valley fills to dispose of waste, although the fills are generally smaller. Karpan said her agency has started talking with other agencies that regulate coal mining, including the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and various state regulatory agencies.
West Virginia's congressional delegation also asked the federal regulatory agencies to join in an appeal of Haden's ruling.
In 1998, West Virginia mines produced 181 million tons of coal, more than any other state except Wyoming.
Coal industry employment has steadily declined from 18,165 in 1997 to 14,651 by December 1998.
Although the use of large-scale strip mining techniques is growing in West Virginia, underground mining still dominates the industry in production and employment.
State figures from 1998 show that underground mines produced 126 million tons and strip mines produced 55 million tons. The state had 392 underground and 227 surface mines in 1998.
Ben Greene, president of the West Virginia Mining and Reclamation Association said Haden's ruling affects "the whole width and breadth of the coal industry," from haul roads to loadouts and refuse piles.
"Everybody is wringing their hands and wondering how to fix this," Greene said.
Haden's ruling was the result of a lawsuit prompted by the explosion of mountaintop removal mines.
Although it began as a broad attack on mountaintop removal, the legal action brought by the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy ultimately boiled down to a fight over a specific permit that would have been the largest in state history.
Arch Coal Inc., based in St. Louis, said it was running out of reserves at its Dal-Tex mine in Logan County and needed a new permit to mine an adjacent site. Together, the operations would have covered about 10 square miles.
When Arch Coal was unable to obtain its new permit before it exhausted its already permitted reserves, the company laid off some 400 employees at the Dal-Tex mine.

CableVision continues Salem upgrade work

by Paul Darst
Staff Writer
Cable customers in the Salem area might experience interruptions in their service during the next couple of weeks.
During the past several months, CableVision Communications has been designing and engineering upgrades to the Salem system. Those upgrades should be completed during the next two weeks, and service interruptions are likely, according to the company. CableVision work crews started working on the lines in the Salem area.
In that time, they have constructed a new cable system, which includes the latest equipment, such as fiber optics.
The final stage of the upgrade process includes replacement of service cables for each customer where necessary. In some cases, it might also mean replacement of the wiring inside a customer's home if the existing cable is old or damaged. Equipment is not all that CableVision is upgrading. They also are planning to add new channels, including: Toon Disney, Animal Planet, MSNBC, Speed Vision, Outdoor Life, Headline News and Fox Sports Pittsburgh.
CableVision will start testing the new channels around Nov. 1 and should be completed by Nov. 15. A spokesman for CableVision could not be reached for comment. It is unclear if rates will be affected.

Former Exponent & Telegram reporter earns honor

by Julie R. Cryser
Assistant Managing editor
Troy Graham, a former reporter for the Clarksburg Exponent and Clarksburg Telegram, received a top conservation award from the West Virginia Sierra club Friday night in Morgantown during the club's annual gathering and celebration.
Graham, who reported extensively on the Blackwater Canyon and other environmental issues while a reporter in Clarksburg, was presented with the club's Cranberry Award for Communication in Environmental Issues. Graham, who recently was hired by the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., as a day police reporter, could not attend the ceremony. His father, Richard Graham, accepted the award on his son's behalf.
"I tried to be objective and to cover the issues as straightforward as I possibly could. Environmental issues are extremely important to the people of West Virginia, and I tried to set aside as much time as possible to cover the issues in the state," Graham said from Newport News Friday. "I am honored that the Sierra Club chose me for this honor."
The award has been given to such journalists as Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston Gazette and Jeff Young of West Virginia Public Radio.
Jim Sconyers, a member of the state Sierra Club's executive committee, said Graham's coverage of the Blackwater Canyon issue set him apart from other reporters in the state.
"We developed a close working relationship with Troy over the years since he first came to Clarksburg and when we first began some of our biggest and protracted conservation campaigns," Sconyers said.
"I always knew as soon as I got off the phone he was calling the other side and getting their spin on it right away," he said. "The point is the issue meant enough to him that he tried to cover it."
Environmentalists throughout the state have been fighting to stop logging of the Blackwater Canyon and recently reached an agreement, although the details of the agreement have not been released. It was Graham's coverage of that issue that earned him the Cranberry award.
Sconyers also commended the Clarksburg Exponent for its stance on environmental issues in the state, saying its editorials are often pro-environment.
"Media coverage of environmental events are very, very important to us," he said.
Exponent and Telegram Managing Editor John G. Miller said Graham's coverage was always fair, accurate and objective.
"Troy exemplified good journalism in that he was relentless in his pursuit of the truth and how it affected all parties involved," Miller said. "We are very proud of his accomplishments and want to thank the Sierra Club for its recognition."

Court's KKK ruling in NYC could impact here

by Paul Leakan
A court ruling in New York City that will ban Ku Klux Klan members from wearing masks during the group's planned rally there could bode well for Clarksburg, City Attorney Greg Morgan said.
New York City leaders had sought to curb a Klan rally planned for today by citing a city law that precludes groups from gathering in public places while wearing masks or disguises.
The New York Civil Liberties Union then sued the city on behalf of the Klan, claiming the group had a First Amendment right to wear its traditional masked hoods at the rally.
On Friday, an appeals panel struck down a previous federal judge's ruling on the case, ruling that the Klan can wear hoods and robes but no masks.
Clarksburg's Morgan said the case could have positive implications in Clarksburg, which has a similar law that could come into play during a Klan rally planned for Nov. 6.
"I think that's very positive because it probably would discourage them from making any challenge," Morgan said.
"If the court there (in New York City) thinks it's not a violation of the First Amendment to have an ordinance that prohibits covering faces, then that would probably be persuasive to any of the district courts here.
"That can't be anything but good for the city," he added.
Under Clarksburg's ordinance, anyone who wears a mask during a public gathering or rally could be arrested.
State code also prohibits anyone from wearing a mask or hood to conceal the identity of the person on any "walk, alley, street, road, highway or other thoroughfare dedicated to public use."
  Morgan said the city would still enforce and uphold its ordinance regardless of the ruling in New York City.
"We would never have just looked at that and said, 'Gee whiz,' and involuntarily not enforce our ordinance," he said. "They would have had to seek to have a court to apply that ruling here."
In September, the grand dragon of the Grafton-based Knights of the White Kamellia Ku Klux Klan informed city and county officials that the group plans to rally at the Harrison County Courthouse in Clarksburg from noon to 2 p.m. on Nov. 6.
The group said it wants to hold the rally to "unite the white people of Clarksburg and the North Central West Virginia area that still believe they have a voice in America" and to espouse their First Amendment rights.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.

West Virginia Lutherans, Catholics make amends

by Bob Schwarz
for the Associated press
CHARLESTON -- A scant 482 years since they parted ways, Lutherans and Roman Catholics have patched up their differences and agreed to kiss and make up.
You may recall how in 1517, the monk Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the university church in Wittenburg, Germany. Luther especially objected to the sale of indulgences, by which some priests sold for cash both forgiveness and a speedier route to heaven.
Luther had other quarrels with the church. He challenged the absoluteness of papal authority, and he wondered why Christians had to earn their way to heaven through good works.
How could he, the worrisome Luther wondered, ever do enough good works to be sure he had earned favor with God?
The church excommunicated Luther. In time, his followers became known as Lutherans, who became the dominant branch of Christianity in parts of Germany and in all of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
The split, the biggest since the Roman church and the Eastern church went their separate ways in 1054, opened a door that Christianity hasn't been able to shut. The Church of England soon broke off, and thousands of sects and so-called nondenominational churches have taken their own separate paths since then, each clinging to its own version of God's word.
Luther reintroduced the concept of grace, which had gone somewhat dormant. Sinners no longer had to earn their way into heaven through good works. Nor did they have to appease God through pilgrimages, or through the payment of indulgences, which Germans suspected too often ended up paying for cathedrals in Italy. Through grace, Luther said, salvation became a gift from God for all the faithful.
The concept of grace caught on, and for centuries was the common ground that spanned the Protestant community and marked the divide between Protestant and Catholic.
Now, in the waning decades of the second millennium, the divides are crumbling, not only among Main Street Protestants, but finally between Main Street Protestants and Catholics, too.
And at last, the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church are going to build a bridge when their leaders sign the Joint Declaration on Justification on Oct. 31 in Augsburg, Germany. Augsburg is near Wittenberg, where Luther began it all.
West Virginia Lutherans and Catholics will sign a facsimile document a week earlier at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston. "We're looking at each other with new eyes," says the Rev. Ron Schlak, pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in the East End.
Theologically, Lutherans and Catholics have agreed to respect each others' positions. They have also come to a common understanding that the faithful do good works because of God's grace at work in the faithful.
"We see this as the first huge step, " Schlak said. "Somewhere down the road we hope for full communion. This is just the beginning."
Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese will sign for Catholics and Bishop Ralph Duncan of the West Virginia-Maryland Synod will sign for Lutherans.
The two are already well acquainted. Duncan had been pastoring a Wheeling church when his peers chose him for a term as bishop. Hearing the news, Schmitt phoned Duncan and offered the Catholic cathedral for the ceremony. The Lutherans lacked a Wheeling church large enough to accommodate a big crowd. Schmitt had two.
Catholic and Lutheran clergy in the Charleston area have met several times to discuss how this will all play out at the local level, Schlak says.
The Rev. John McDonnell of St. Agnes (Catholic) Church was especially prominent in the discussions, says Schlack. "Father John has this beautiful way of saying, 'When Catholics sit down at the table together, they feel that someone is missing."'

Clarksburg Publishing Company, P.O. Box 2000, Clarksburg, WV 26302 USA
Copyright © Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999