Boys’ Contact Sports
Banned In Schools
by Ova Protective
WVSSAC has announced, effective Apr. 1, that boys’ sports
in high school will be banned.
Football, wrestling, basket-ball and baseball are
considered contact sports and are considered too dangerous for student athletes.
The committee has declared that girls’ sports will remain
intact, since it is “just girls.”
As a result of its
new ruling, athletic directors have con-firmed that there will be new
alternatives to sports’ rosters.
Young men that have played football in the past can now
enjoy flag football. Coaches expect there to be fewer injuries and less
Basketball athletes can join teams and play H-O-R-S-E.
Coaches predict there will be less personal fouls now.
Taking the place of baseball will be T-ball. Coaches are
ecstatic that their pitchers won’t have “rubber arms.”
Finally, grapplers can become a member of thumb-wrestling
So, boys, fear not, alternative activities will be
As you become older, you won’t be complaining that your
knee aches from an old football injury, have shin splints from running on the
court, pulled shoulder muscle from throwing a baseball, or have a cauliflower
Remember, always be a good sport!
Ohio Treasure Hunters
Locate Ancient Artifacts
Four treasure hunters from Athens, Ohio, came to Calhoun
County in early March for a weekend of walking along old roadways in the
Arnoldsburg area that were abandoned when new highways came through. Since the
roads were originally mud, they figured there should be valuable coins lost by
travelers to be found.
They came equipped with old maps of the county and the
latest in metal-detector technology, capable of reaching deep into the ground to
detect even the smallest of coins.
When they began searching, they had only gotten a few
hundred feet before they unearthed two Indian head pennies and what appeared to
be a coin of coal mine scrip from a New River mine. They soon detected something
“The detectors were sounding over an area about five foot
wide by 10 foot long,” said a spokesman for the group. “We had no idea what it
was, but we were determined to find out, even if it took the whole weekend to
dig it up.”
They sent two of the group to procure a small backhoe. That
made folks curious, and word spread quickly. When the treasure hunters returned
with the backhoe, they were leading a parade of cars and trucks full of
The crowd of speculators gathered on the hill beside the
old road and the guessing game began. Some thought the buried object might be an
old wagon that had belonged to a traveling tinker who had went missing in 1852.
The wagon was reputed to be filled with silver and gold. The treasure hunters,
who by this time were discouraged from the lack of
progress, overheard the rumors from the crowd and redoubled their efforts.
As night fell, some of the onlookers moved their vehicles
in position to shine their headlights on the excavation site so that work could
By dawn’s early light, just as the backhoe was reaching the
limit of its reach, a shout went up from the crowd as the machine struck
As men carefully shoveled dirt aside, they were surprised
to find casket-shaped oil-soaked wooden crates, four of them laying in a tight
group, side by side and end to end. They were ready to give up the dig as a lost
cause and fill the dirt back on the graves when one of them passed his metal
detector over the caskets. “If there are skeletons in there, they are made of
iron,” said one treasure hunter. “I say we open one up just to see what’s in
Tire tools and crowbars were quickly passed from the pick
up trucks of the ever-present onlookers. One box was opened. Inside were one
dozen perfectly preserved Virginia Manufactory first model muskets that had been
made by the Richmond Armory with machinery salvaged from Harper’s Ferry at the
beginning of the Civil War.
Each box contained the same thing. Evidently, the arms had
been meant for Confederate Rebels who were operating in the area during the war,
but had been hidden and lost to time.
Each musket is valued at over $8,000, but the finders plan
to keep one each and donate the rest of the muskets to a local museum.
by Judge Roy Bean
In an ongoing effort to reduce county bills for prisoner stays at regional
jails, Calhoun, Gilmer and Wirt counties have decided to pool efforts, and
prisoners, into Tri-County Work Camp and Rehabilitation Center.
State representatives from across the country are looking into tent jails as
a permanent solution for overcrowded county jails across America.
Cost of housing a prisoner is over $24,000 per year. Housing them in tent
jails would reduce the costs by 90 percent. The tents and sleeping cots are Army
surplus and can be obtained by state and county agencies at little or no cost.
It is an idea worth exploring, if safeguards can ensure the tent facilities
are secure and the inmates are treated humanely.
Tent jails are not new. In Phoenix, Ariz., sheriff Joe Arpiao constructed a
tent jail in the early 1990s, which housed 500 inmates. We can and must
construct such a jail if we are to keep citizens safe and cut the cost of law
Inmates serving time in the Arizona tents have already had their day in court
and have been found guilty of the crime they were accused and sentenced to serve
a given amount of time by an Arizona court. Some will try to convince the public
that tent jails are not legal. This is simply not true.
Persons convicted of committing a crime against society’s law owe a debt to
that society. Such debt should include providing service to the community,
whether it is spreading gravel on back roads or other tasks they can legally be
held to complete.
County commissioners are working with state legislators to open a temporary
tent facility in the next few months to address both the growing jail population
and inmate work projects in the three counties.
The idea is for each county to outline the work projects that prisoners can
perform and then the tented and fenced jail can be moved to a new area as
projects are completed.
Residents in all the affected counties who are concerned that the prisoners
may escape from the facility or job sites have voiced security issues.
“That will not be a problem,” said proposed chief of security Mark E. deSade,
“All prisoners will wear special collars similar to the ones used to train dogs
to stay in their own yards. If a prisoner steps five feet from his designated
area, the collar will shock them continuously until they return to the ‘safe
zone.’ No one can manage to make it twenty feet out because the shock will
increase and incapacitate them. In test ‘runs’ carried out in tent prisons in
Arizona, no prisoner wanted to get shocked twice. The collars seem to tame them
Another advantage to the collars is a reduced guard to prisoner ratio of
1/100. Each guard is provided with a button they can press which will administer
a shock to an unruly prisoner. The severity of the shock is controlled by the
amount of time the button is pressed. Each use of the button is recorded by a
central computer to insure that inmates will not be subject to mistreatment.
Jail officials and county commissioners who pay the bills for county lockups
will be keeping a close watch as the program unfolds. The success of the project
could change jail operations across the state.
Commissioners believe a bare bones, no-frills jail would help reduce
recidivism among the small percentage of jail regulars who see incarceration as
a way of getting three meals a day, air conditioning, and television privileges.
Jail beds don’t come cheap, and if tents can offer counties an inexpensive
way to handle population spikes, they would help keep many lockups in compliance
with jail standards.
Detention costs are a big portion of any county’s budget. Benefits to
taxpayers, from innovative ways of keeping jail costs down and managing the
inmate population, could be monumental.
Lightning Strike Leaves
Students Locked In School
by Mast R. Locke
A malfunctioning electronic lockdown system at Calhoun
Middle/High School forced all students
and staff to stay after school on Tuesday--until Wednesday evening.
A nearby lightning strike apparently caused a short-circuit
in new electronic door locks, fusing all the doors in the “lock-down” position
until help could be brought in from the company that installed the system.
Staff and students said that the extended stay at the
school had a few tense moments, but the situation had allowed the teachers and
students to get to know each other better.
“We played games like Jeopardy that tested the students’
knowledge in different areas and we now have a better understanding of what they
know and what we need to work on,” said one teacher.
“It was just like, you know, a big sleep over,” said
sophomore student Ima Teen, “I just wish we could have used the telephone and
The company that installed the equipment, Joe Locksmith of
Akron, dispatched an emergency crew, but it was delayed for six hours after
locking the keys in their truck at a rest stop.
When the emergency crew arrived at the school around
midnight, it was discovered that the doors could not be unlocked simply by using
an override command, as all the locks and doorframes had been welded together by
the surge of electricity from the lightning. A call went out for cutting torches
and local volunteer fire departments also brought hydraulic “jaws of life” to
the school in an attempt to force them open.
The rescue was further delayed when word came that state
officials were sending a team to assess the situation. Since the team had to
procure an X-ray machine for the locks, it did not arrive until noon on
Anxious parents greeted students when they were able to
leave the school at 6:12 p.m., after the front doors were removed with cutting
Laboratory testing found that the unique alloy of aluminum,
steel, titanium and magnesium was a perfect material for the job, unless exposed
to electrical arcing above 50,000 volts. That caused the metals to fuse into a
mass that even acetylene torches had trouble cutting through.
Since the military uses the same alloy in tanks, submarines
and airplanes, a memo was sent to all military posts in thunderstorm-prone areas
to ensure that personnel vacate any equipment made with this alloy during stormy
by Phat Chance
In a surprise move, a local power company has made known
that it plans to build a 400 megawatt electrical power generating plant in
Calhoun County that will use natural gas drawn from wells. It will employ
approximately 150 people when it is finished in 2015.
The plant will be constructed across the river from Cabot
Station, about a quarter mile from the PATH
line, and will tie into an existing natural gas pipeline.
Proposed power plant
“There is more than enough natural gas produced from
existing wells in Calhoun County right now to fuel a plant of this size, and
continued drilling promises more fuel for expansion in the future,” said a
spokesman for the power company. “Right now, most of that natural gas is piped
out of the county and only employs the workers needed to maintain the wells and
the pipe lines.
“Since many of those pipelines have been in use for years,
they will soon need to be replaced. We propose to route the new pipe lines to
our state-of-the-art natural gas power generating facility to lead West
Virginia’s leap into the future of clean electrical generation, as well as
provide employment for the people of Calhoun County.
power line will still follow the same route as before, but the main difference
will be that clean power from our new plant will be transmitted to the entire
northeast quadrant of the country, while greatly reducing the harmful emissions
that could cause global warming.”
cost is $680 million.
by W.P.A. Workman
Will Makedo of Cremo stood before the county commission at
last week’s meeting, and spoke fervently for over an hour about the current
financial crisis and how Calhoun can use the situation to improve things for all
“This ain’t no depression,” he said, “I lived through the
’30s and I can tell you this is a whole different animal. There was jobs to be
had back then. They was government jobs all right, and almost worked you to
death, but they was jobs. So far, I don’t see any jobs coming out of this. I
don’t see any cut-stone walls being built along the roadways or even any new
roads. You might not know it, but we got most our roads built back then through
“We still use them today, and outhouses--we got paid to
build outhouses for folks that needed them. There was work for young and old
alike back in them days, I tell you. All I hear now a days is about all the
layoffs happening and people not having money to pay for their home. I say, lets
build them houses! We can even put in a nice stone-cut wall and a two-holer out
Makedo said that electricity was the devil incarnate.
“I knew what the future held when whole families would quit
working two hours before dark and sit around listening to the radio to escape
the reality of hard times,” he said. “I tell you nothing will ever get done
until the electricity gets shut off. So, when money starts getting tight, don’t
pay the power bill, and once they shut it off you will find yourself with a
whole lot of time on your hands. You will do things for yourself, your family
and your neighbors.”
Commissioners Donate Atlas
To Culture and History Center
by Watt A. Whopper
West Virginia Dept. of Culture and History was delighted
that a book of historic maps had been discovered during recent renovation work
at the Calhoun County courthouse. It was appreciative when the county commission
donated the tome to the state archives. They were overwhelmed when they saw the
size of the book.
The maker of the atlas is unknown, but speculation has it
that it may have been a project with more than one artist. The size and detail
of the maps point out that it was decades in the making.
“We didn’t realize that the maps had been drawn on paper of
that size,” said a spokesperson. “The atlas measures 4’x6’ and weighs close to a
thousand pounds. It contains hand-drawn maps of Calhoun and several surrounding
counties with astounding detail.”
The idea has surfaced among some in the county that the
commissioners may have made the gift of the large atlas to the state in hopes
that the state would help with a grant the commissioners have been working on to
put an elevator in the courthouse in order to retrieve it.
The state sent a truck with a large crane to Grantsville
last week, and, with the assistance of many volunteers, the atlas was carefully
taken through a window opening on the third floor out onto the roof and lowered
to the truck.
After several months of restoration at the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, D.C., the atlas will be returned to Charleston where
it will be studied further and kept safe for future historians.
Thank you for indulging us in our once-a-year fun fest of
If you have an idea for this page next year, please
contact Bill Bailey at 304-354-9373 or email