News for October 23, 1999
City official cleared of assault charge
by James Fisher
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
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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
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,"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."'
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Copyright © Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999