By Ron Gregory
A political columnist’s dream come true. That’s Mingo County.
Where do we begin? A fight in the County Clerk’s office? A mad scramble to field a candidate, any candidate, to run for county commissioner? Law enforcement officials who, after the fight broke out, don’t seem to know where the courthouse is? State officials opposed to letting the Mingo voters choose their own Family Court judge?
Truth is stranger than fiction in Mingo. I couldn’t make this stuff up.
To the fight: Jerome Marcum, a member of the Democrat County Executive Committee, and Mark Curry had heated words in the office of County Clerk “Big Jim” Hatfield. Eventually, one of the combatants ended up with a cut over his eye. Witnesses were there; several saw punches thrown.
In the end, the pair apparently attempted to make up. Marcum is said to have apologized profusely, reminding Curry that the two “grew up together.”
It appeared at presstime that neither boxer intended to press charges. The veil of secrecy that usually descends around Mingo politics was almost immediately lowered. It came moments too late, though.
But it happened, just as the fast-food restaurant fisticuffs happened months ago. Everybody can’t be making these things up, and at least three of those who told me about the recent bout are highly reliable witnesses. No reader here would doubt their word.
But Mingo law enforcement, despite the history of county political “battles,” were oblivious to it all. I called the sheriff’s office to hear that “all the deputies are out and I don’t think they heard anything about it.” Williamson city police, who likely would not be expected to respond anyway, knew nothing of it.
When I called the Williamson State Police detachment, I got a response similar to the one from the sheriff’s office. “I never heard about it, and all the troopers are out,” the lady said.
Nevertheless, it finally became apparent that nobody in law enforcement knew of the altercation; none were interested in hearing about it, despite Mingo County’s checkered reputation; and nobody intended to do anything about it.
At the end of the day, the combatants were still smoothing over the incident, “hoping the newspaper won’t find out about it.” Reality check: We knew about it less than five minutes after it happened.
… The rush to fill the vacant county commission seat was interesting, too. In the end, two candidates emerged: Diann Hannah and Bill Duty. It sets up another Team Mingo versus the world for November. Ah, we will be entertained. Let the attack ads begin.
… The “deadline” for two Logan County officials to resign in keeping with a “plea agreement” ended peacefully Friday. We can only await the next such indictment.
… Interestingly, at the Democrat “West Virginia Is Not For Sale” rally Saturday in Logan, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant recognized Larry Rogers of Boone County as a candidate for House of Delegates but nobody announced the presence of Mingo Delegate Justin Marcum. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin honored most of the elected officials on hand, except Marcum. It was also a bit strange that Tennant mentioned Rogers but ignored Lincoln House candidate Gary McCallister standing next to him.
… In my continuing effort to educate readers, let me point out that George Washington was not the first president of the United States. Marylander John Hanson was. Check an unbiased history of the republic and see if you don’t come to the same conclusion.
… Your comments, story ideas, rumors and news of “hushed-up” brawls are always welcome. We’ll help you keep it “hush-hush.” Use my email or call my cell, 304-533-5185.