SOLUTION: Rails, in the development environment, was reloading the
class for every request coming into the application and therefore
causing the Class variable to be reset. Something I read led me to
believe I could add the following method to my class to cause it not to
be reloaded

    def self.reloadable?
        false
    end

That was false. To keep rails from reloading the class every time you
can change the ..\config\environments\development.rd file. It has a
"config.cache_classes = false" line that you can change to <true>
which will prevent the classes from being reloaded. You are REQUIRED to
stop the WEBrick server though to pick up this change as well as
whenever to want to pick up any recent coding changes. BUT, you can
change this parameter temporarily to test out Class variables that are
expected to store data throughout your session. Don't forget to change
it back to <false> to be back in the default mode which is the
desirable mode for development.