By Bob Weaver

STATE POLICE DISABILITY RETIREMENT - Most of us would like the disability retirement deals obtained by members of the West Virginia State Police.

The Charleston Gazette reports a recent request by retired State Policeman George Douglas Fletcher for a re-classification to partial disability. The request was related to excluding some of his income as non-taxable.

Part of Fletcher's issue is related to being on PEIA, the state's health insurance plan. After retiring on disability from the State Police in 1994 with gross monthly benefits of $3,521, he then went to work for the State Lottery Commission at $34,764 annually, now drawing $77,016 from the State of West Virginia.

Another trooper Jeff Leach, received disability from the State Police in 1993, and has been the Police Chief for the Town of Grafton since 1998, according to the Gazette.

The paper said acting co-secretary Mike Adkins said the standard used to determine whether troopers can receive disability retirement benefits is if they can't do a trooper's job, they can't go out and get another police job.

Sgt. David Garrett of the Spencer Detachment recently retired on "partial disability," but is receiving gross retirement benefits of $3,761 monthly or $45,132 a year.

Clay Hupp, who retired from the State Police in 1999 with disability is now the the Sheriff of Tyler County. He receives a gross monthly benefit of $4,024 a month or $48,288 annually, according to the Gazette.

CHARTER CABLE TROUBLE - West Virginia's largest TV cable provider is in trouble. Charter Cable has received a grand jury subpoena regarding the outfits accounting practices.

Locally, the company is best known for its relatively high rates and poor service, although upgrades and improvements have recently been made.

Charter, with a $17 billion debt burden provides service to 94,000 customers in the Kanawha Valley region, including Calhoun's neighboring counties.

One of the areas of investigation was procedures the company used on disconnecting their customers, but also how Charter accounts for capitalized labor.

The accounting practices seemed to be linked to steps that inflated the firm's reported cash flow and revenue.

The company, the fourth largest cable company in American, denies any problems. SOLDIERS MOVING TOWARD MIDDLE EAST - Several reports in recent days, mostly from parents, indicate more troops are being sent to the Middle East.

Army Reservists with the 251st Ordinance Company in Cross Lanes left Monday for training in Virginia. They have been told they are going to central Asia.

Currently several hundred soldiers are in or being moved toward the Middle East from West Virginia.

STUDENT NUMBERS GOING DOWN, DOWN, DOWN - West Virginia is expected to continue to loose students, an estimated 6,000 over the next several years as the population drops.

Since 1998, schools have lost 20,000 pupils.

The number of teachers will decline under the current formula, and fewer buildings will be needed, according to state schools Superintendent David Stewart.

Stewart said 6,000 teachers will be eligible for retirement by the 2005 school year.

Calhoun had to RIF (Reduction In Force) several teachers and service personnel, including one administrative position at Calhoun Middle/High School, a principal's slot. At the last school board meeting that position appeared to be re-established with the hiring of Bryan Sterns as Assistant Principal.

HAS THE SELECT ECONOMIC PANEL LOST ITS WAY? - Gov. Wise's panel to stimulate economic growth in West Virginia with $200 million allocated by the legislature, may have lost its way.

Projects that have nothing to do with economic development showed up the cut last week.

$15 million for a high school, not economic development.

$15 million for repairs to the Capitol, not economic development.

$1 million for government to purchase land in Hardy County, not economic development.

While these are needy projects, they do not fit the definition.

Many of the 67 projects that made the cut do not meet the economic stimulus goal.

Requests of $1.2 billion were given to the committee.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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