It’s Time! Annual WV Highway Department Screwing

It happens every year. It’s been happening every year since I have lived in these parts.

The Highway Department waits until fall when the brush is already well on the way to dying back, and then spends days out on the road mowing the road sides. We have never determined exactly WHY they wait until mowing is no longer necessary…

Be alert on the main roads! They are running two brush hogs in order to waste even more time and money, and just because you see a “flagman ahead” sign on the road side does not mean that there is actually a flag man. It also means that IF there is any road work being done, you may end up driving as many as four miles before you actually come to the place they are “working”. Usually directly around a blind curve, and long after you have given up on finding them.

And then there is the “grader”. I’ve spent enough time living on back country roads in WV to be quite familiar with the dramatically mistaken idea that a road can be “fixed” by using a grader on it. A grader is usually the machine used in the CONSTRUCTION of NEW roads. It’s the thing that makes the dirt level BEFORE they start putting on the toppings (gravel, tar, pavement).

Well, it must also be the cheapest piece of machinery to own and run, because in WV it has become the “fix-all” for back roads. Unfortunately, over and over again, these grader drivers show up either right before a heavy rain, (or at 8:00am when some folks are still sleeping) or they simply stir up all the loose rocks, gravel, boulders, broken glass, tree branches, or whatever else is there and deposit them in the middle of the road for everyone to navigate around.

Many times, and so far this is still holding true, they totally neglect to clean out the ditch lines, but continue to grade and pile dirt up alongside the road (in the ditch too) until the road is actually LOWER than the ditches, and in some cases lower than the creek. So, what we now have in THIS neck of the woods is a road which will surely become impassable in a month or two. The road, with a couple good healthy rains, will soon become the creek bed. It already resembles one. Even more so now that they “graded” it.

Has anyone noticed how the rivers are filling up with silt and creating more and more flooding each year? Some blame the timber companies, some blame the oil and gas drillers. But those things are small potatoes compared to the destruction created by the highway department with those graders.

They grade a road. They loosen all the rocks and surface dirt. Most of West Virginia is on a hill. It rains. The loose dirt runs downhill, turning to mud, and ending up in the creek. The loose rocks and the boulders the grader driver tried to cover up get even worse once the loose dirt washes off the road. All that loose dirt ends up in the creeks, and is washed into the rivers. Multiply that by EVERY dirt road in West Virginia.

Strange how those who have worked for the highway department for years have no clue how to use their machinery nor how to fix a road. So, let’s have a lesson, shall we? From someone who has NEVER worked for any highway department, but had to spend inordinant amounts of time FIXING what they mess up.

1. Water runs to the lowest point. Always.

2. Ditches are supposed to convey water from one point to another. They are not for growing grass in, nor are they containers for the surplus dirt and rocks the grader stirs up.

3. If you place a wall of dirt alongside both sides of a road, it makes NO PLACE for the water to go except down the road. DUH.

4. The large limestone gravel is meant to be used as a BASE, after the road has been smoothed. Not as the finished product. And large limestone rock rolls out of pot holes and downhill into the lowest place, same as water. Driving up a steep hill on loose limestone rock becomes a challenge, as the rock rolls under your tires. It is NOT suitable for steep hills.

5. The SMALLER gravel is meant to be used as the topping. It fills in the spaces in between the large gravel, and PACKS into place. This makes the road SMOOTHER.

6. Scraping away the road makes the road LOWER. Building the road UP by using the appropriate materials makes the road HIGHER. Making the road HIGHER means the water will drain off better.

7. Cleaning out the ditches will  give the water someplace to go besides down the road, or down someone’s driveway.

8. The soil here is mostly red clay. Red clay gets SLIPPERY when wet. If you scrape ALL the grass off the roadsides, especially the places where the grader has “graded” the road towards the downhill side, there is nothing left there to give vehicles traction enough to hold them on the road during bad road conditions. Scraping away everything but the smooth red clay from the downhill side of a road could cause serious accidents during the winter months.

9. Seeing how the highway department only gets 15 feet right of way from the center on these back roads, a refresher course in using a tape measure would be appropriate, as anything over that would be considered TRESPASSING and PROPERTY DESTRUCTION.

A tape measure would, at this time, reveal a large number of trespassing and destruction of property areas.

Now, we keep hearing about how the WV highway department is strapped for money and had to sell off necessary machinery to get money. And how they can’t even afford to fill all their positions. And how they sometimes have to call back RETIRED workers to get things done. So, WHY is the highway department WASTING money and man-hours, and making the roads WORSE instead of better? Did you pay your taxes so that folks could wreck their cars and be stranded this winter due to bad roads? Gimme a break!!!

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Soul Food – A Review of the Grantsville WV Narcotics Anonymous Cuisine

Much like the connoisseur of fine foods who goes from restaurant to restaurant writing reviews on their service and cuisine for fancy magazines, I find myself in the unique position of sampling the unique fare of various Narcotics Anonymous meetings in the area. This week’s review will cover the Grantsville, West Virginia chapter of NA.

The Grantsville Narcotics Anonymous is a welcome change for the taste-buds, from the stale and vile tasting, court-sponsored, Pagan bashing, Seventh Day Adventist Bible Study in Spencer. In comparison to this greasy-spoon affair, falsely labeled and fraudulently sold as a proper Narcotics Anonymous meeting, the Grantsville meetings are a true culinary delight. The Grantsville NA is a full service establishment of the finest caliber, with a complete buffet of NA delicacies including the fine robust bouquet of Open Discussion, fresh and organic readings from NA approved literature, and the subtle aroma of camaraderie mixed with just a touch of the secret ingredient, group participation. A well rounded menu for all concerned. Calhoununderground gives the Grantsville NA group 4 gold stars AND a thumbs up.

As for the Spencer pseudo-NA, open discussion of the hate-filled religious propaganda films will begin shortly…

Chewed Up and Spit Out – Court Ordered Religion

And this is how we help. Chapter 1

After months to years of hardship and stress, from harassment by police whose goals include violating your privacy and smearing your name in the media, to the nerve wracking trips over and over again to the court to eventually learn what punishment is in store for your particular brand of criminality, you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now perhaps soon you can get on with your life OUTSIDE the “justice” system. But there are still requirements. And these requirements will leave a lasting impression on you.

One would think that when someone has been “bad” by breaking the law, the ultimate goal would be to teach these “criminals” how to live an “acceptable” lifestyle. To give these people the tools they need for success. But, wait, first we must meet our new masters.

To be fair, there are a FEW within the system who are actually attempting to do their rotten job in as painless a manner as possible, considering they are working for the Devil. And for those, we can be plenty thankful! However, while following this path of “legal” must-do, we discover some mighty interesting things. For starters, we find that many times, those who have been given positions of authority over us “criminals” actually have some skeletons in their own closets which might tend to make them even WORSE criminals than WE are. Things that we perhaps are not supposed to know about, but somehow ugly secrets have a way of surfacing. Like a certain well known female probation officer in Roane County who was taken to lawsuit court and found guilty of PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT for slander. Yet she is still there, telling others what to do and how to live their lives. Dolling out rules and regulations like a pro, looking and behaving all the while like someone who ate a warm turd for breakfast. Now, how is one supposed to cultivate RESPECT for someone who by all rights is a bigger criminal than they are?

But that is only a minor thing. What about the recent controversey over a certain well known home confinement officer who was sexually abusing his clients? One begins to wonder just what sort of things all those OTHER law enforcement folks do in the privacy of their own homes when we are not looking. Because once we begin to get an idea of how this thing REALLY works, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to dream up ideas that our legal system could be full of nazis, corruption, and sex perverts… However I was unprepared for what I discovered myself.

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Chapter 2
…….And so, after months, or more likely years, you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your court room/legal system nightmare will soon be a thing of the past. Now all you have to do is be a good little boy or girl for the prescribed amount of time and you are home “free”. Sentencing, meeting the “probation officer” and the “home confinement officer”, doing the final paperwork, paying your $8 a day fee for the pretty bracelet you must wear on your leg so “they” can keep track of you… Strange how they don’t worry too much about what you do the whole time you are out on bail, but soon as the official red tape is done and the gavel comes down, they grab hold of you like you have just committed a huge crime and “house arrest” becomes a reality (if you are lucky)….

Now for the fun part. COURT ORDERED narcotics anonymous meetings once a week for hubby. And for myself a GREAT opportunity to learn something new and perhaps find a story or two…

Upon arriving at the designated NA meeting place, a mottley crew stands impatiently at the front door of a small store-front in Spencer WV, waiting for someone to unlock it so they can go inside. The words “Living Waters Community Outreach” are painted on the window in big letters. Many familiar faces, a few good friends, and some folks never seen before, all looking more or less irritated that they have to be there. The discomfort is so thick you could cut it with a knife. I wonder why everyone looks so forlorn. I’m looking at this as a new adventure of great interest and everyone else looks for all the world like they’d rather bolt and run. I soon found the explanation for this. A head count at the door reveals that ALL these good folks are there due to court order! Every one of them! Later, a poor joke was made by the “group leader” about having a captive audience. I would soon discover just what this actually meant…..

Well, so I am the ONLY non-court ordered person there. Amazing! I am expectant that this could be a very interesting meeting due to the crowd attending, and the individual “running” the meeting is someone I am familiar with. I think that maybe we can all put our heads together and spend this hour a week doing something really constructive. Maybe I can help somehow. I’m stoked.

We were told ahead of time that this was a somewhat religious-oriented group, but that is what I expected and I relish discussion and debate of all things spiritual. Also, having not only seen how these kind of meetings go on TV, but having read the ENTIRE Alcoholics Anonymous basic text, I thought I was pretty hip to how it worked.

But I was in for a real shock.

The group leader stood up and announced that we were going to watch a film which would help us to learn how to find “truth”. Right up my alley, I was all set for a discussion of the concept of truth. But the leader had other things in mind. No one said a word but him. There were no introductions, no conversation of any kind. He hurriedly slid a videotape into the player and turned it on before anything could be said. And here is what we saw.

There was an excited preacher talking about how all the different religions in the world only had little bits of the truth, but how the SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS were the only ones who had the sabbath day right. We were told (disinformation) that the Bible was altered to make PAGANS feel more comfortable with Christianity. It seems in his book PAGANS must be a horrid thing, as the preacher kept spitting out the word over and over again as if he were talking about child molesters rather than nature lovers… (unfortunately, there were several pagans in the group who were not too happy about this…) We were also told SEVERAL times during this sermon that we should not listen to the laws of men, but we should always follow GODS LAWS. I found this very odd considering that nearly everyone there was there directly because of MANS LAWS. Huh.

As the video wore on, some folks started sleeping, some looking out the window, some whispering to each other. I kept thinking sooner or later it would be over and we would have a discussion, and I had a LOT to say about this! But I was wrong. Movie over, punch the clock, sign on the dotted line, and everybody disappeared as fast as they could. They couldn’t wait to get out of there!

What a stupid waste! Not one single thing did I see that related in any way to the reasons why everyone was there. Such an incredible disservice to these people! What if someone DID show up who actually WANTED help? There was nothing offered during the entire meeting that would help anyone! And with gas at about $4 a gallon, what a CRIME to force people to go to something like that just to satisfy “the court”! Court ordered religious propaganda. I couldn’t believe it! I felt like I had somehow stumbled into the WRONG CHURCH. Surely there must be more to it than this. Otherwise the court would simply order everyone to go to church once a week instead of this. So, I decided to reserve judgement as best I could for the time being and go again the next time to see what would happen.

During the week before the next meeting I just happened to run into several of the people I knew who were ordered to attend “NA”. I asked them if it was always like that and I was told it’s always the same kind of thing. Court ordered religious propaganda and nothing more.

Chapter 3

The worm turned in my head. I started studying everything I could find about Narcotics Anonymous. And the more I studied, the more I realized that this was NOT an NA meeting! I got online and searched the NA data bases for the United States, I searched in West Virginia. Nowhere was this particular branch of NA listed.

I formulated a plan. After all, these people had no choice. They had to be there. They were seemingly being victimized and they needed some help. And being court ordered, no one wanted to speak up.

We arrived at our second meeting. A larger crowd than before, and more friends too. Nothing anonymous about this crowd! Most of us knew each other! I attempted to get some discussion going before the “leader” arrived, and folks really WANTED to talk about how the meetings were going, but as soon as the leader showed up, everyone became silent.

We go in and sit down, nobody with anything to say. I decided before things got going I’d check out the literature in the back of the room. Guess what? I could find no NA literature, only religious pamphlets. I won’t say there was NONE, but I could not find any. (Next time I’ll ask for some if I can get a word in edgeways, just to see what happens)

Amazingly enough, we were going to watch another video. As the group leader was explaining about the movie we would watch, but before he could get it turned on, and at that perfect space in time when all talkers must eventually stop to breathe, I interrupted him by raising my hand and saying I had a comment. I REALLY hoped to get at least a few minutes of discussion going before the movie, and seeing how we were given no time to discuss LAST week’s movie, I really at least wanted him to know that his choice of video’s the previous week left something to be desired because it was insulting to those of us who were NOT Seventh Day Adventists. However, he barely would give me a minute to say anything, changed the subject, and hurriedly started the movie.

This time we learned all about the history of religious persecution. We saw a good Christian man burned at the stake due to, guess what, COURT ORDERED RELIGIOUS PROPAGANDA. It’s all about being righteous and standing up for what you believe, even if the law of the land says otherwise. Watching this film and seeing the man burned at the stake, I was reminded, and said so out loud, of what you go thru when you go to court. The result of watching the film seemed to be to make people want to revolt against oppression…

Now my mind is racing. Why are we being shown these films? Does the group leader even realize what he’s doing? Either this is just an especially stupid choice in videos or there is some hidden message here. Follow Gods laws, not man’s, we are told, more than once. People have been burned at the stake for not following the court ordered religious decree, we are told. Our group leader states that these things will begin to happen again soon.

Will we too be burned at the stake? If you are court ordered to attend NA meetings, and you don’t go, you can go straight back to jail for breaking your rules. And even tho there is nothing even remotely resembling a real NA meeting going on here, being strictly religious propaganda only, the result is the same. An entire group of people who have no choice but to sit thru an hour of COURT ORDERED RELIGION once a week, without any opportunity to talk about it or anything else for that matter. NA stands for Narcotics Anonymous, but not once does THAT subject come up. I wonder how all this is supposed to HELP anyone?

Movie over, I tried once again to discuss it, or at least talk about something REAL having to do with the actual REASON for being there, but our leader was in a hurry and did not seem to want to take the time to talk. And again, no one else even tried. They all simply dissappeared as quickly as possible.

None of this makes any sense. At one point I actually find myself wondering if the group leader is somehow trying to set this group up to REVOLT without actually saying it in so many words. Training religious revolutionaries perhaps? Or maybe he has some evil agenda instead. He says things like “this movie is along the same lines as what we have been working on” and I find myself wondering just what he thinks he is working on? He has never actually told the new folks what he IS doing, other than the obvious prostheletising… It would appear that the Spencer NA is actually someone’s own private church.

Yes, I’m probably nuts, but a little comic relief is in order here. It occured to me as I sat there in that uncomfortable room full of unhappy victims that this is what happens in the end to those unfortunate folks who have been victimized by the legal system and by “civilized society” in general. Chewed up and spit out, like so much garbage, praise God. But what happens next when you chew up and spit out something? It goes to the toilet. The NA toilet.

Chapter 4

The toilet. I am told that is the actual Arabic meaning for the term “Al Qaeda”. All these people still being victimized by the system, now being forcefed religion. And not just ANY religion, but a SPECIFIC one. Court ordered. Chewed up and spit out into the toilet. Does that make us the new Al Qaeda? Does “the court” even have a clue what they are ordering? Do they realize that these people are actually being forced to go to church? Do they realize that we are being showed REVOLUTIONARY religious films? And the burning question in my mind is, is it actually even LEGAL to court order religion?

Our “leader” has committed the first big mistake as a salesman. He thinks he is spreading the gospel to a “captive audience”. But in order to sell anyone anything, you DON’T want to TURN PEOPLE OFF. Soon as you do, they stop listening. I think I can safely say that virtually not one of these people would be showing up for this meeting every week if they had a choice in the matter. Now, how does that help anyone? Isn’t NA supposed to help? Rather than give these people something positive, they are being given something to show them just how stupid the entire legal system really is. This type of thing creates exactly the opposite result than the court intended I am sure. I don’t think anger, disrespect, and rebelliousness is exactly what the court had in mind…

I’ll be continuing on this little educational adventure, and I will keep people posted. There is something mighty foul about what is going on here. I’ll print up some NA literature myself and hand it out if necessary. The group members may have to overthrow the leader’s agenda altogether if anyone is to gain anything good from all this. But first they have to find some inner strength in order to stand up and speak their minds. I will do whatever I can to aid in this, because the NA meetings are doing just the opposite, by making these people continue to feel helpless to do anything to help themselves. And that’s just not right.

West Virginia Roads Part 3

It’s getting better! Mud-sledding with your car, anyone? And they call us hillbillies. But I bet all you “city slickers” would have a hard time living like this!

These pics were taken 2-28-08 in Jesse’s Run in Calhoun County WV. This is AFTER the highway department put one load of rock on the road.

Anyone is welcome to post links to other WV Roads photos here. We’ll feature the best of the worst.

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West Virginia Roads Part 2 – Update 2-27-08

Well, our beloved “Governor” is upset over our hillbilly stigma. Imagine that. But with our roads going straight to hell, it seems like that’s just a distraction to things that are of very real importance. He’s all about supporting the Oil and Gas Barons, the Coal Kings, and anything else that takes what we HAVE and gives it to the rich folks, while sweeping the poor folks aside just like so much mountaintop removal fill-dirt.

There has been a lot of controversy lately regarding the Dept. of Highways in WV. The guys at the top publicly saying everything is just fine and dandy, and claiming that only “extra” or “old” equipment is being sold off, but the guys at the bottom of the totem pole see it a bit differently. Anyone not familiar with life in rural WV would think that it’s all just a matter of differing opinions. But NOT SO.

First of all, from the archives, a bit of history on the West Virginia roads, from 30 years ago up to the present.

Well now, here is what the actual PEOPLE who LIVE on these roads are dealing with as of February 27th, 2008.

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To be fair, I will say that these pictures were taken over a week ago and the road in question is now MUCH worse, having been made worse in part by the highway department’s scattering of large crushed limestone rock here and there on top of the mud. As of today (Feb. 27) the car-eating potholes are still growing, as are the high centers. Residents are using their cars as grader blades and rollers. Notice there are no ditches. The ditches have not been cleaned out in years, and so the water just runs down the road. By the time the water makes it to the bottom of the hill, it’s running into people’s driveways and thru their yards and cutting out the shoulders of the road. Most of the culverts are doing nothing at all…

The nice man on the phone from Charleston, after agreeing the roads needed work, said they didn’t have enough equipment. “Down to one backhoe”, he said. “Then again, were having trouble getting rock. The supplier’s not keeping up.” And “They have to travel a long distance to get it here”. And of course the weather conditions are hampering them. They have to work “in between snow storms”, and “all the dirt roads in the county are in the same condition”, so “whenever they can work it into their schedule…”

Well, thank heavens. Because they don’t actually USE backhoes to clean out the ditches anyhow… Of course if you are from Up North you realize that DURING the snow storms is WHEN the road crews are usually WORKING…..
Is it possible that the maintainance of these county roads might just fall into the hands of the people who live on them? Just a thought. We can get the gravel out of the creek. Use the farm tractor to ditch and scrape. Everybody chip in. Hey, it’s something for us deformed hillbillies to do to keep us from eatin’ folks…

Published in: on February 27, 2008 at 8:18 pm  Comments (4)