By Alvin Engelke

Rev. Keith Belt filled his regular appointment at the Burning Springs M. E. church. His mother is scheduled Thursday for vascular surgery on one of her legs.

The local area received a little snow and a light dose of the ice storm that completely covered certain sections of neighboring counties.

Unbeknown to the local folks who routinely go and dine with Euell Russell, Ray Gumm and other folks at the Miletree center in Spencer there was a nasty intestinal bug going around the nursing home. The local folks batted 50% on acquiring the nasty pest which generated a very rapid weight loss program.

The Calhoun County Farm Bureau had a meeting on January 16th at the fire station in Grantsville. The Calhoun group decided to participate in the program of providing food for the Ronald McDonald houses and discussed the ag & forestry day at the West Virginia legislature. That is scheduled for February 14th. One can take one's Valentine down and watch the legislators down at the Mouth of the Elk. Action starts at 10 A. M. at the well under the golden dome followed by meetings with one's favorite legislators. At 5 in the evening there will be a meeting for all FB folks at the Ramada Inn -Charleston House where State President Charles Wilfong, Don Michaels the legislative liaison and others bring members up to speed and then at 6 there is the famous "Taste of West Virginia" legislative reception there which showcases the best foods grown and prepared in the state. Those legislators who are favorable to rural residents will be there to talk with local residents, hear their concerns, etc. The Wirt County Farm Bureau met January 17 at the fire station in Elizabeth and covered a similar agenda.

Local residents are advised that the last day for filing for the primary election is Saturday, January 28. To quote someone, "Evil men take over when honorable men do nothing". Those who have concerns need to participate.

Local tom cats have been out visiting with the ladies and, of course, there have been blood curdling squalls & some fights among the gentlemen.

Those who are feeding hay note that there is no place that isn't wet or muddy to feed but, on the other side, the mild weather has cut down on hay consumption.

The deer, including some bucks, have been out in force recently as well as numerous squirrels, both grey & fox.

Nancy Engelke reported that the Project Prom show at the Grand Pointe Conference center in Vienna was a wild success Sunday afternoon & that the facility was packed.

Burt Marks has been having both good & bad days but they informed him that if all went well his bowels could be hooked back up to function normally.

Mr. & Mrs. Don Rhodes were attending to business in Elizabeth.

One local resident received a telephone call advising that she had won a $500 Walmart card but to get the card the "lucky winner" had to give the caller their visa or master charge card so that the cost of sending the card ($1.98) could be paid. It was determined that the the calls were scams in an attempt to get credit card numbers to use to steal from folks. Then another fellow received numerous calls from "insurance companies" checking out "his on line requests for health insurance". The only problem was that the birthday was off by about 30 years. As one of the ladies on the phone said, when confronted with the situation that the local resident didn't apply for any insurance or home loans, etc., "Well, at least they got the address and telephone number correct. We get these all the time."

BD (Butch Deere) Oil Gathering announced new rates for hauling brine. For Wirt County the rate is $7/bbl and for Calhoun, Roane & Jackson the fee is $7.50 with the price going up to a high of $9.50 for Upshur County. The DOH was going to use brine to pretreat roadways but, apparently, the salt lobby said, "No, you will be buying our salt, not using free material provided by West Virginians."

The price of natural gas has fallen below the $2.50 mark and, as one producer noted, when the 65 cent "firm transport" surcharge is added by the poor folks at the Rockefeller companies the price will be less than $1/MCF. One of the local oil field workers was talking to an employee of one of the big boys and he asked, "How can you afford to drill $multimillion wells and sell such cheap gas?" The big boy employee said, "Well we are shifting our drilling from the dry areas to where we get "wet gas" and lots of fluids. One of our new wells is making 60bbl of gas liquids/hour." On Friday those 'gas liquids', the one Dominion had mineral owners give to the company, were fetching $85/bbl. So, 60bbl x $85/ hour x 24 hours x 30days/month, etc. One fellow who knows the oil & gas business well noted that Stone Energy has 6 Marcellus wells in Wetzel County and they, together, make 150bbl/hour the constraint being that they are unable to market more gas until Caiman Energy upgrades their cyrogenic unit to remove the rest of the goodies out of the gas after the drip is hauled away from the locations. Caiman hopes to have $1.3 billion in gas prep facilities in the panhandle soon. At present the income/day from the Stone wells from the liquids is calculated @ $226,000.

Cabot announced that they wanted to lease Utica acreage in Wood County and would be willing to pay $130/acre for a five year lease. Based on prices in other states they could then sell the lease and make $24,870/acre plus a big override. Cabot will not lease their minerals unless they are paid a 25% royalty.

Noble Energy, the outfit the made the big deal with CNX (Consolidation Coal) and acquired the local Hope Marcellus leaseholds announced that they were very pleased with their local acquisition and that the deal has already turned out to be better than expected. Noble noted that the Marcellus is the lowest cost [bigtime] U. S. gas pay and is low risk and 87% of the acres they obtained from Consol is HBP (held by production). They allowed as how they had acquired 7.4 trillion cubic feet of gas in both the wet & dry Marcellus and, according to their map, the Creston area is in the wet zone with dry gas being across the line in Calhoun. Presently Noble operates in the Rocky Mountains where they drill 9,000' horizontal well legs, the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of west Africa and in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The price of local Pennsylvania grade crude fell $1.93/bbl Friday to $97.01. According to information provided by a man who works in the petrochemical industry, the gas liquids and crude are carrying the oil and gas business as there is presently a glut of natural gas with the of oversupply being 1.8 billion cubic feet/day over present demand. The price of ethane has risen 40% to 60 3/4 cents/gallon, propane is up 42% to $1.36/gas while butane is now $1.70/gal.

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