By Alvin Engelke

The Creston auction will be Saturday, September 7, starting at 6 P. M. at the Creston Community Building. Bobby Ray, Wilma and Carol should have a good supply of goodies. Come and visit, tell some stories about how much rain fell where you live, how high the creek got, etc. Some places oil tanks were washed away or flipped over, cattle washed away, etc.

The West Virginia Farm Bureau, along with area county Farm Bureaus will hold a regional picnic on Saturday, September 7, starting at 5 P. M. at the Wirt County 4-H Camp Barbe. The event is open to everyone and meat and table service will be furnished. Those who want to may bring a covered dish. Both Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito and Congressman David McKinley are expected to be present as well as numerous local and state elected officials and candidates will be present. This is one of those all too rare times when one can come and talk with those in office and those who are seeking political office. One can "look 'em in the eyes and ask questions". Also present will be the head honchos of the West Virginia Farm Bureau. Ask Charlie Wilfong why the black buzzards [the ones that first pick your eyes out] were circling around him. See if Bill Aiken can tell tall tales and get Don Michael to tell his favorite political story. The meat, barbecue by a famous cook is reason alone to attend.

Rev. Keith Belt filled his regular appointment at the Burning Springs M. E. Church.

Marie Wiseman, the daughter of the late June & Mabel Menefee was visiting relatives and friends in Burning Springs and attending a family reunion.

Kenneth Belt, who is still confined to the nursing home, indicated he planned to attend the Belt reunion. His nephew wondered if he wouldn't insist on returning to his residence at Industry after the gala event.

The Ground Hog (Mt. Pleasant) homecoming was held at the church situate high on the hill at the head of Pete's Run, a stream named for Revolutionary War soldier Peter McCune. Ann's Run was said to be named for one of his wives. There are many descendants of the McCunes in the area & some of them are the descendants of Paulser McCune for whom Paulser Knob is named.

It had been a number of years since local residents could hear a rotary drilling rig running but for a few days it was like "old times". A Devonian shale well was drilled on Pete's Run drainage not far from the West Fork of the Little Kanawha.

Allen Sheppard and a comely friend were attending to business in Creston.

Cap'n & Mrs. Spock were visiting Steve & Mary Newton & they all went to Gatlinburg and took in Mel's Diner, the Dixie Stampede, the Titanic museum, some rides, and a legal moonshine still. Spock also had a visit with Dr. I. Yankem.

Speaking of stills & corn likker, apparently the federal tax loophole for the ethanol for automotive use is about to expire for there has been an advertising blitz to cover the costs to the taxpayers for the program which lines the coffers of politically potent companies like Archer Daniels Midland. ADM has PR people who make the company sound like a benevolent friend of all that is good rather than one who uses connections to acquire wealth and yet more power & influence. In a real world situation the ethanol for fuel operations could/would stand on their own without taxpayer subsidies. As a point of reference ADM is a powerful force in Illinois politics.

Donna Ferrell has been suffering with dental problems. Other area folks have some sort of respiratory problems and such is said to be also throughout the school systems.

Lots of folks came in for the long holiday weekend and brought their four wheelers. Outside activities had to be mixed in with heavy rain, thunder and lightening as the wet weather continues. Someone noted that the folks around the Yosemite would like to have just a little of our rain. It is now thought that operatives of the Mexican drug cartels started the fire there.

Charles Russell was calling on Ray Gumm, Parris Parsons and brother Euell at the Miletree center.

Bob Gertz was attending to business in Creston early one morning last week.

There was a big to do on the national scene about how the "white folks treated the others." Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, "you cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds." Probably he wouldn't have been allowed to speak in front of his monument.

Chesapeake Energy won a class action suit brought against it over the automatic five year extension in what some landowners thought was a five year lease. The property was leased with a small bonus and low delay rental and a low royalty that allows for all sorts of deductions or a net lease. Judge Stamp in federal court said the leases, which were taken by Great Lakes Energy Partners, were legal.

Mountaineer State Operations, LLC, the outfit that took over the Carl E. Smith oil & gas operations has sent out "updated leases" that say they will pay 1/8 of the well head gas price [now a fiction] "subject to lessor's share of necessary operational costs." A company operating in the area charges $500.00/month for "well tending". This is how one can guarantee that your royalties will go down, way down.

According to Reuters, the British news organization, Chesapeake has doubled the amount of costs the firm is now taking out of royalties on wells drilled on their new leases in Pennsylvania & Ohio. The deductions, set entirely at the discretion of the company are permitted under the company leases used after the Tawney lawsuit. According to the report, Chesapeake upped the percentage taken from the royalties from 5 -10% to 60% or more. One Pennsylvania royalty owner's deduction went from 24% to 85% and for May gas he received $122.08 with $274.70 being deducted. Another Pennsylvania property owner received a Chesapeake royalty check for $45.28 and a statement that over $450.00 was deducted for "expenses". Cabot & Southwestern Energy Co. presently deduct 20% from the royalties they pay. Talisman Energy, a Canadian firm that also has leases in West Virginia is considering taking deductions and Royal Dutch Shell said they have taken deductions for years from 70% of their leases and they plan to do likewise on the 30% of leases they acquired from East Resources (South Penn). As one might say, this is a story with a moral. Read and understand what one signs and have someone who understands contracts read the document. There are numerous suits noting the big boys are not paying for the liquids that are removed from the gas which is, of course, where the money is, as they say. Years ago a famous bank robber was asked, Why do you rob banks?" He replied, "That's where the money is." Nowadays, instead of using six shooters and fast horses for getaways, one uses crafty lawyers and willing accomplices in positions of power.

Some Creston area folks planned a yard sale for Saturday but all they got were raindrops and hecklers who drove by going "quack, quack, quack."

Brandon Ferrell spent the weekend visiting he Ferrell family in Creston.

The price of local Pennsylvania grade crude is $106.35/bbl. with the monthly average for August being $105.5187/bbl. Drip fetched $85.74 with Marcellus & Utica light bringing $102.46 and medium $107.85/bbl.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Hur Herald.

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