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Clinch Valley Times
St. Paul , Virginia
October 22, 2015     Clinch Valley Times
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October 22, 2015

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576 EX/C Smalltown Paloers 217 W. Cota Stree~ (~ Shelton WA 98584 C) ;): 'Vol. LVII, No. 43 [ "' 'The time ha3 come,' the walrus said, "to talk of many things.. ' " Thursday, October 22, 2015 Saint Paul, Virginia PRESS 50 cents Prior to the regular Imonthly council meeting, a ipublic hearing was held to ,iconsider. a resolution iauthorizing Mayor Kyle !Fletcher to make a formal ~affer to purchase property iadjacent to the Willis '.Building. Kimberly ..'Christian of the develop- ment group Creative Boutique Hotels, said the property would serve as additional outdoor space. The developer would be •application to dump looking at restoring the sewage into the new waste- oldest building on the prop- erty to enhance the project. During the regular meet- ing, the Council voted unanimously to pass this Resolution. The Town ,Council voted to approve a new Sewage Dumping Plan pre- sented by Public Works Director Earl Carter. This plan would require an water plant. , Each load would be sampled and test- eeL prior to approval. Earl Carter reported that the new screens seem to be improving at filtering the sand and grit from the raw water. There was ongoing discussion about either building a settling basin or new water intake to help with the sand issue. New directional lighting was approved for the swimming pool building. The town has asked ODP to install directional light= ing for the parking lot clos- est to the pool building. Council further approved lights to be placed on top of the building to improve lighting right in front of the building. Council extended the general engineering con- tract for another year, expiring in November, 2016. Mattem & Craig proposed designing a mas- ter plan for wayfinding sig- nage throughout the town. The signage proposal was tabled until next month. An "Ultra Run" event will be held on November 28th at Oxbow Lake and Sugar Hill Loop. The Council voted to support this event by providing tents, heaters, and portable restrooms for the runners. Jennifer Bailey reported the plans for the opening of the new restaurant and brewery. Renovations of the building should begin in the next few weeks, and the opening is planned for Spring, 2016. Ms. Bailey also asked that public park- ing remain open to the pub- lic. She said the downtown area is easily walkable and there are more than 200 parking spaces throughout the downtown area. Vearl Hileman and Kristy Lee addressed the Council about parking concerns. Kristy Lee is owner of the new business located in the Cornerstone building owned by Mr. Hileman. They requested a handicap parking spot be designated for the building. Ms. Lee said they are having issues with renters from the Bailey property, and Mr. Hileman requested that two or three of the parking spaces be designated for the new business. Main Street volunteers making apple butter at Clinch River Farmers Market. Pictured (left to right) are J D Casseli, Louella Jessee, Juanita Kelly. - Photo by Harry Kelly • • • AA-Sundays and Tuesdays: Big Stone Gap, 8 pm, Episcopal Church. Tuesdays: St. Paul, 6:00 pm St. Paul United Methodist Church. Wednesdays: Wise, 8 pm, Trinity United Methodist Church. Fridays: Clintwood, 7:30 pm, Clintwood United Methodist Church. ST. PAUL IDA BOARD-Fourth Mondays, 6 pm, St. Paul Town Hall. ST. PAUL TOWN COUNCIL-Third Mondays, 6 pm, Town Hall. CASTLEWOOD W&SA-The Castlewood Water & Sewage Authority Board of Directors, 6 pm second Mondays. ALZHEIMER'S SUPPORT-First Tuesday, 1 pm, Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens office, Claypool Hill. Free. NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS- Tuesdays and Saturdays, 8 pm Presbyterian Church, Norton. CASTLEWOOD LODGE #231 -Stated meetings will be held the third Saturday of each month. The School of Instruction will be held on fourth Thursdays at 7. ST. PAUL LODGE #343-Second Thursdays, 7:30 pm, Stated Communication; First Thursday, 7 pm School of Instruction. VFW POST #8652, DAV CHAPTER 12- 4th Tuesday, 7 pm, VFW, Riverview, Coebum. NEIGHBORS AID- Thursdays, 9:30 to t2. St. Therese's Neighbors Aid Building, new & used clothing for sale. RUSSELL CO. BOARD OF SUPER- IIBI!Ip!)IIU!ITI!I!IIII. VISORS-First Monday, the J. Fred Matthews tion, call 395-6398. 6 pm, Lebanon. Memorial Library, St. 100TH BIRTH- CLINCHFIELD Paul, are: 9:30am-6pm DAY-Appalachian LODGE #256-Stated Monday; 10:30am-7pmAgency for Senior Communication, 1 stTuesday; Closed Citizensrecognizes Saturdays, 7:30; School Wednesday; 9:30-6 pm personsin Russell, ofInstruction thirdThursday and Friday. Dickenson, Buchanan Thursdays, 7 pm Saturday Closed.and Tazeweil counties R E C O V E R Y Sunday Closed. who are 100 years old GROUP-The Wise D I C K E N S O N- or older. Call Dana County Mental Health B U N D Y- T h e Collins, 1-800-656- Center conducts a Dickenson-Bundy Log 2272, to advise AASC recovery group for sub, House is open weekly of any upcoming 100th stance abusers and fam- Thursdays through birthday. ilies Fridays at 10 am Saturdays, 10-3, andS U P P O R T Call 276-679-0810. Sundays 12-4pm. ~ GROUP-Women sur- ACOA MEETING- SOCIAL SECURI- vivors of sexual assault Adult Children of TY-The Wise Socialare invited to attend Alcoholics meet Security Office is open Clinch Valley Mondays, 7 pm, First Mondays-Fridays from C o m m u n i c a t i o n Baptist Church, 9am-4pm. Phone num- Action, Inc./Family Coeburn. Call 762- bers are 1-800-772- Crisis Services' sup- 0016, 276-395-6588 or 1213 or 276-679-7633. port group meeting 276-679-73"Jl. L I B R A R Y with victims of similar LITTLE LEAGUE- FRIENDS-Friends ofsituations Mondays, The Clinch River Little the J. Fred Matthews 10:30 am-12 noon. For League Board meets at Memorial Library, St. information call Rande 3 pm third Sundays at Paul meet at the Library Hackler, 276-988-5583 Ma Whitenack Little on first Thursdays at 4 or Ranetta Davis, 276- League Field. All inter- pm. 889-8206. ested persons are invit- VFW POST 9864- FREE ADULT ED- ed to attend. VFW Post 9864, Free adult education H.O.P.E. HOUSE- Lebanon, welcomes classes are available in H.O.P.E. House pro- new members. If you Lee, Scott and Wise vides emergency shel- served overseas during counties and the City of ter for victims of any war, write VFWNorton. Daytime and domestic violence in Post 9864, P.O. Box evening classes for Wise, Russell,1419, Lebanon, VA adults who want to Dickenson, Lee, Scott 24266 and send name, improve their basic and Buchanan counties address and phone skills. Instructors also and the City of Norton. number. Transfers wei- assist adults with job- Volunteers needed- comed, related skills including training available. Call HEALTH SER- resume, writing and 1-800-572-2278. VICES-The Wise interviewing. For SENIOR CITI- County Health details, call 1-800-422- ZENS-The Castle-Department, Wise, is 3433 or 276-386-2433. wood Senior Citizensopen from 8am-8pm TRANSPoRTA- meet at 10 am first Thursdays. TION- The Wednesdays at the Clinics will be Appalachian Agency Castlewood Lions Den. offered in family plan- for Senior Citizens pro- Anyone 60 or over is ning, pediatrics, school vides disability trans- invited, and adult physicals, portation services in The Dante Senior WIC, Paps and immu- Buchanan, Dickenson, Citizens meet each n i z a t i o n s . Russell and Tazewell Monday and Tuesday at Appointments are nec- counties to individuals 10 am at the Dante Fire essary for all but immu- with disabilities, Department. Russellnizations. For an"regardless of age. Call County residents 60 or appointment, call 762- 1-888:656-2272. older are invited. 328-8000. G E N E A L O G Y RUSSELL CO. F A C I L I T I E S GROUP-The Russell LIBRARY-Hours at the AVA I L A B L E- T h e County Genealogy Russell Cotmty Public Tacoma Community Group meets 5:30 pm Library, Lebanon, are Center is available for first Thursdays, Russell Tue & Thur 10am-8pm; reunions, birthdays and County Public Library, Wed & Fri 10am- showers. Lebanon. 5:30pm; Sat 10-3pm. All proceeds reha- Group purpose is Closed Sun & Mon. bilitate the Tacoma M AT T H E W SSchool as a Community See CALENDAR, Page 8 LIBRARY-Hours at Center. For informa- Church and church-related activities calendar on page 3 by Jerry Couch This week many of us were dismayed to learn of the massive layoff affect- ing CSX employees who work out of the Erwin, TN railroad yard. The follow- ing is a portion of the com- pany's announcement which appeared on its web- site last Thursday (to read the complete announce- ment go to "The decision, the result of significantly reduced coal traffic through the region, includes closing a locomo- tive service center, project shop and car shop, and eliminating switching operations at the Erwin yard. Approximately 300 CSX contract and manage- ment employees who work at the facilities and in'sup- port roles will be affected. Operations in Erwin primarily ..... ~erved coal trains moving from the Central Appalachian coal fields, and the diminished traffic levels no longer sup- port the activities per- formed there. The combi- nation of low natural gas prices and regulatory action has significantly decreased CSX's coal movements over the past four years, with more than $1 billion in coal revenue declines during that time." St. Paul is a railroad town. Though the Norfolk & Western was the first railroad to be built through St. Paul, the Carolina Clinchfield & Ohio (prede- cessor of CSX) resuscitat- ed the town from a state of near death in 1907. The two railroads have been a factor in the local ecofiomy ever since. For many of us who live in this region, the daily sound of trains practically resonates in our bones. We grew up with that sound. It is part of our lives. As chil- dren, we waved to the friendly engineers,• brake- men, and conductors of passing trains and they waved back. If we leave this area to live in other places, our ears strain to hear the echo of a far-off train whistle on .cold, clear nights. It is the sound of home. Railroaders are a close- knit group. Some employ- ees affected by the layoffs have spent many years working the line which will always be known to most of us simply as "Clinchfield." There are times when railroad jobs are dangerous and there are times when the job is joy- ous - such as the Saturday before Thanksgiving when the annual CSX "Santa Train" makes its annual trip through the mountains. There is not a single thing I can say to make this situation better. Many of us older folks have experi- enced what the CSX employees are experienc- ing. If you have a neighbor or family member who is dealing with this difficult situation, be available to listen to them if they need to talk about what they're feeling. What affects one of us affects all of us. And now to continue last week's story .... Judge W. E. Burns appointed Cyrus H. Smithdeal of Lebanon to act as special commission- er to investigate the Kisers' claims against the South & Western Railraod, assess damages (if any) and report to the court. On April 9, 1908 Smithdeal, along with Clarence Burns, coun- sel for the defense and Henry Routh, counsel for the complainant, met at the Tate Hotel in St. Paul to take depositions (Note: The long-since demolished Tate Hotel was located on Russell Street on the lot adjacent to the present-day Clinch Valley Times office). The first witness to be called was Samuel Blaine Shoemaker of the Mew community. The beautiful home he built in 1900 still stands at the cor- ner of the Mew Road and the When questioned, Shoemaker said "Well, we went and looked at it - we measured over it, and a cal- culation from the condition it is left in, where• the dirt was taken away - that is, the amount of ground they have dug over, outside of the 80 feet [width of the railroad' s right-of-way]. When asked about dam- ages to the Kiser property he had observed, Shoemaker described the parameters of the area from which fill material had been removed. He also described the manner in which the adjacent area was breaking up and start- ing to slide, and the hazard this created for cattle graz- ing nearby. Shoemaker calculated the combined value of the material removed, along with pres- ent and future damages to adjacent property, to be as much as $500. When asked to state the overall value of the Kiser farm, Shoemaker estimated most of it to be worth about $75 per acre and some of it to be worth as much as $200 per acre - specifically, the acreage adjacent to the rail- road. Obviously Sboemaker's estimate sounds high if one considers average land prices of the time, but it was not unreasonable. Then as now, developable land adjacent to highways and railways was more valuable than a rocky hill- side in the middle of nowhere. In 1907 many things still seemed possi-. ble. Small towns were springing up all along the railroad's revitalized route, Other people giving tes- timony as the com- plainant's commissioners or witnesses included Charles E Osborne, G. W. Robinette (who lived across the Clinch River in Wise County), C. C. Gray, H. D. Fraley, G. D. Kiser (son of the complainant, Abraham Kiser), Jeff Kiser (son-in-law of Abraham Kiser), J. D. Ervin, and Samuel Artrip. It is inter- esting to note that when Artrip went to examine the Kiser property, he was accompanied by his neigh- bors Buck Gose, Will Gose, and Adolphus Fraley. Obviously the Kiser vs. South & Westem controversy was getting a lot of attention in the Mew Community. It's likely that every nearby• resident walked down there, took a look, then discussed the matter among themselves. In their depositions, these witnesses and com- missioners generally agreed that Abraham Kiser was entitled to approxi- mately $500 for fill materi- al taken and land damaged by activities of the South & Westem Railroad and its agents. Several witnesses also gave testimony on behalf of the South & Western Railroad. The first was Marvin Eutlser, a partner of Emmet Duff in the Clinch Valley Lumber Company in St. Paul. Next was Ballard Fink, a part- time carpenter, sawyer and the postmaster of Fink, Virginia now known as "Boody." Dr. James N. Greear of St. Paul also tes- tified, During the rail- road's construction, Dr. Greear was employed by the railroad's contractors as physician for its employ- ees. Other witnesses were C. F. Guild and V. E. Kent, both of whom had been employed by the railroad during its construction. It is hardly surprising the South & Western's wit- nesses assigned a much lower value to the Kiser land and the damage that had been done to it. Complainant's attorney Henry Routh questioned these witnesses closely (and sharply) concerning their knowledge of local land values as well as their somewhat obvious bias due to financial involvement with the railroad company. On July 6, 1908, Judge W. C. Bums accepted the commissioner's report and rendered a decision in favor of the complainant, Abraham Kiser. He ordered the South & Western Railroad and its contractor Walton, Witten, & Graham to pay Kiser the sum of $423.00 and to pay all costs associated with the case. In reaching his decision, Judge Burns took into account the bias and lack of practical knowl- edge of several of the rail- road company's witnesses. He also held that Kiser's neighbors we;re more knowledgeable of the impact of the railroad's activities upon the present and future value of the Kiser farm, and that they had no financial stake in the outcome of the case. So...the railroad was built, the siding was built, the Kisers were paid, and everyone went about their daily occupations once more. Soon the South & Westem would be super- seded by the Carolina Clinchfield & Ohio, a name this line would bear for many years. When I read this case I definitely enjoyed the col- orful colloquial speech of the people who gave testi- mony. I wish space had permitted me to include more of it here. What thes"e people said was copied by a stenographer word for word with no attempt to correct anyone's grammar. It is true Appalachian dialect before it became sullied by radio and televi- sion.