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Sutton Detachment of State Police includes two new troopers
By Shirley Shuman
Among the staff of the Sutton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police, one finds two troopers in training. Although both graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy in June, the two arrived at the academy from widely diverse areas.
Erica Schoolcraft, who holds the distinction of being the first-ever female state trooper in the local detachment, hails from Clay County. Before entering training to become a state policeman, Schoolcraft graduated from West Virginia Tech with degrees in history and government. She went to Tech on a softball scholarship.
After her college graduation, the young woman worked in administrative transport at the South Central Regional Jail and as a magistrate assistant in Kanawha County. Schoolcraft indicated that these two jobs influenced her to decide to become a state policewoman.
Jason Hensley, a native of the State of Washington, made his way to the Academy in a more roundabout way. Explaining how he ended up in West Virginia, Hensley said, “I joined the military and spent eight years in California. There I met a woman and came to West Virginia to be with her.”
The young man came to Boone County, where he attended Southern Community College to study Civil Engineering. He also worked full time doing security in the coal field for Alpha Natural Resources. Hensley noted that he did not complete his degree at Southern Community College because “the State Police Academy called and said [he] had been accepted.”
Each underwent six months of rigorous training at the Academy, but neither found it beyond his/her endurance level. Schoolcraft called the training “mentally challenging” and “more tiring than anything else.” She said, “They try to give you a taste of what you’ll see out there.”
Along that line, both reported that, as part of their training, they experienced being gassed (with tear gas) and pepper sprayed. Hensley added, ‘in order for us to use it, we need to know what it feels like.” They also noted that trainees “handcuffed each other for practice.” They agreed that all graduates of the Academy are “definitely physically fit” and said it is their duty to remain physically fit throughout their careers.
These two troopers will have finished their three months of training at the end of August. They remain, however, on probation for a year. Each has an officer in charge of his/her training. Once they finish their probationary period, they can, if they wish, request transfers to other areas.
Questioned about the area and the problems, both maintain they like the area and like working with the other members of the local detachment. As for the most prevalent crimes they see, the two agreed on a straightforward response of “Drugs by far.” Other crimes which they see as prominent are domestic violence and sexual abuse of children.
Both like their jobs, agreeing that they “see something different every day.” Schoolcraft does occasionally face some surprise from those with whom she deals. She said the reaction is usually, “Oh, I’ve never seen a female state trooper.” However, instead of being hampered by being a woman in this job, she said, “I feel that sometimes they show more respect” and added “most of the time.”
The success of the two young troopers so far can perhaps best be seen in what one of the senior officers said about them. Corporal Bill Huddleston called the two “outstanding” and said they had “applied great training.” He added, “Their work [reflects] a great credit on them and on the West Virginia State Police.”
Tiffany Davis sentenced to 1 to 5 year in prison, several others have day in court
On August 10, Tiffany Davis along with her attorney, Valentina Wheeler, appeared before Judge Richard A. Facemire in Braxton County Circuit Court for a sentencing order. The state was represented by Braxton County Prosecuting Attorney, Kelly Hamon McLaughlin. Davis’s attorney requested that the defendant be given some type of alternative sentencing. The state also recommended that Davis serve her sentence concurrent with any she is currently serving per the plea agreement.
The court denied the defendant’s motion, finding Davis was in need of correctional treatment in a correctional setting. The court ordered the sentence for her guilty plea regarding the felony offense of possession of a controlled substance in a regional jail, Davis be imprisoned in the state penitentiary for not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years. While there, the court ordered Davis to receive intensive substance abuse rehabilitation. Davis was also ordered to pay court costs.
Davis was given credit for time served while awaiting hearing, of two (2) days at the Central Regional Jail against the maximum term. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections to be transferred to the Central Regional Jail where she will remain pending transfer to the state penitentiary.
On or about August 3, 2015, the court received a letter from the defendant, Derrick Fulks acting pro se. The court filed this letter as Fulks’ second motion for reduction of sentence. The court denied this motion for reduction of sentence concerning Fulks’ conviction on delivery of hydrocodone.
Charles Crockett appeared before the court on July 17, for a revocation on probation petition. The defendant was accompanied by his counsel, Clinton Bischoff and the state was represented by Prosecuting Attorney McLaughlin. The court ordered Crockett’s probation be revoke. Bischoff then moved to readmit Crockett to probation. The State made the motion that the defendant serve thirty (30) days in the Central Regional Jail.
The court ordered that upon conviction of the misdemeanor offense of battery of government official, Crockett would be sentenced to the Central Regional Jail for a period of 12 months. On the charge of battery of emergency medical service personnel, the defendant would be sentenced to the Central Regional Jail for 12 months. Crockett would also serve one (1) year for the domestic assault, second offense charge. The defendant’s sentence would run consecutively for the a total of three (3) years.
However, the court granted Crockett’s motion to be admit to probation and ordered the sentence to be suspended all but thirty (30) days. The defendant was re-admitted to probation for a period of five (5) years from completion of said sentence.
On July 22, Amber Thompson appeared before for a probation revocation order. Thompson was accompanied by her counsel Jonathan Fritto and the state was represented by Braxton County Prosecuting Attorney, Kelly Hamon McLaughlin and Chief Probation Officer, Lucy Cruickshanks.
The State of West Virginia provided clear and convincing evidence that Thompson had violated the terms and conditions of her probation from previous sentencing on October 17, 2011 by testing positive for Oxycodone. The defendant, through her counsel, asked the court to readmit her to probation or home confinement. The state made a motion that the defendant serves sixty (60) days in the Central Regional Jail. The court moved for a brief recess to confer with counsel and probation officer. Upon returning, the court informed the Thompson that she had a lack of understanding and disregard of the court’s orders. The court then ordered Thompson to be sentenced to the State Penitentiary for a period of not less than one (1) year but not more than ten (10) upon on conviction for the felony offense of Grand Larceny and for the Forgery offense, sentenced for a period of not less than one (1) year but not more than ten (10) years confinement in the State Penitentiary.
However, the court granted the defendant’s motion to be admitted to probation and all but 60 days would be suspended. Thompson will be re-admitted to probation for a period five (5) from the completion of sentence.
Emilie Rhodes along with her counsel, Bernard Mauser appeared before the court on July 20, for sentencing order. The Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of Braxton County, Jasmine R. H. Morton represented the state. The defendant’s attorney made a motion for alternative sentencing prior to the hearing. The State stood silent on this motion.
The court ordered that Rhodes be sentenced to the State Penitentiary for a period of not less than one (1) year but not more than three (3) years. However, the court granted the defendant’s motion and ordered the sentence should be suspended and Rhodes would be admitted to probation of five (5) years.
David Tinney, appeared before the court on July 20 along with his attorney, Clint Bischoff for sentencing. Morton again represented the state in this matter. The defendant, through his attorney, requested alternative sentencing. The state remained silent as per the plea agreement in the matter.
The court ordered that upon his conviction of delivery of a controlled substance (Alprazolam), the defendant should be sentenced to the penitentiary for not less than one (1) year but no more than three (3) years. Also, for Tinney’s conviction of attempting to manufacture a controlled substance (Marijuana), he should be sentenced to the penitentiary for not less than one (1) year but no more than three (3) years. The court ordered that the sentences would run consecutively for a total of two (2) to six (6) years in the penitentiary.
The defendant’s motion for alternative sentencing was ordered and Tinney’s sentence would be suspended with the exception of ten (10) days and he would be granted five (5) years’ probation with the first years include home confinement with GPS monitoring.
Anonymous call leads to marijuana
On Friday, August 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm Trooper Schoolcraft and Trooper First Class Huff were advised by an anonymous caller that there were marijuana plants growing on a farm in Napier. Troopers Schoolcraft and Huff arrived at the residence with Senior Trooper G.H. Jones and Braxton County Sheriff Deputy C. Westfall where they located fifteen marijuana plants.
Trooper Huff located a well-traveled path to the residence of Buddy and Jacob Prince. Schoolcraft and Huff found two small marijuana plants growing beside the residence.
While searching the exterior of the structure the officers discovered fifteen more marijuana plants on a hill behind the house. Trooper Huff obtained written consent to search the residence of Buddy Prince and Jacob Prince.
Located in Jacob Prince’s room officers uncovered pills, a pill bottle containing marijuana seeds, blue paper containing marijuana seeds, two packages of seed starter pellets, and three different bags labeled Jack Ripper, Bubble Gum, and Cinderella, commonly designated as types or names of different marijuana strains.
In Buddy Prince’s room a small amount of drying marijuana leaves, seeds, and other contraband were confiscated.
During the interview process the brothers explained how they separate and grow marijuana plants.
The two brothers were arraigned before Braxton County Magistrate David Singleton. They were each lodged in the Central Regional Jail in lieu a $25,000 bond.
Peeking behind the kitchen doors of Braxton eateries
In an effort to keep our readership informed, the Citizens’ News presents another installment of a continuing series which details the findings of the Braxton County Health Department Sanitarian’s inspections. The BCHD officer is responsible for oversight of over 140 establishments that sell and/or prepare food for public consumption.
Violations are grouped under two categories: Critical and Non-critical. Infractions cited on the “Food Establishment Inspection Report” shall be corrected within the time frame specified by the inspector as indicated at the time of inspection. The Citizens’ News believes than an informed public should know what the Health Department finds in these reports.
The following had no violations: Victory Mountain Baptist Campground, Mad Annie’s Tavern, Jeff’s Grocery, Barker’s Grocery, Ruth’s Carryout, Dana’s Delights, Betty Dee Donuts, Deshler French Fries, Deshler Concessions, Deshler’s Concessions Drinking Fountain, R&S Concessions, Shoney’s, Scragglepop Kettle Corn, Deshler Concession Cotton Candy, Creighberhill Corn, Miller’s Concession LLC, Creighberhill Pizza, Lamberts Concession, Myers Amusements, Steak Express, Herbs Sausage, Boardwalk Shaved Ice, and C-S Concessions.
The following received only non-critical violations. Sutton Lake Marina had one violation: grill not clean beneath cooking surface. Bone’s Place had nine violations: inside surface of microwave not clean, surface beneath deep fryer not clean, inside surface of reach-in refrigerator not clean, used wiping cloths stored on the floor and not a proper storage container, bar handwashing sink drain clogged, bottle lids, broken glass, beer cans not properly stored - outside areas, bar side room floor not clean, lobby floor not clean, kitchen floor not clean. Curry’s Convenience Store and Pawn had two violations: walk-in cooler racks not clean, walk-in cooler floor needs cleaned and organized. Go-mart #26 had one violation: walk-in cooler floor needs cleaned in hard to reach areas. Burnsville Docks had one violation: potatoes stored less than 6 inches from floor surface (corrected during inspection). Heater’s Carry-Out had two violations: had dipped ice cream scoop stored in standing water (corrected during inspection), tomatoes stored less than 6 inches from the floor. DZD Supper Club had four violations: inside of surface of reach-in refrigerator not clean, bottom inside surface of reach-in freezer not clean, portions of beer cooler not clean, broken glass light bulb in the dry store room. Vae’s Diner had ten violations: metal rack in prep refrigerator in poor repair-chipping paint, small oven inside surface not cleaned (corrected during inspection), mop sink not clean, inside of preparation refrigerator not clean, top of preparation refrigerator not clean, reach-in refrigerator racks not clean (corrected during inspection), plates and other food equipment stored less than six inches from floor surfaces (repeat observation), floor beneath oven not clean, the back room storage area has multiple boxes piled against wall, floor beneath the grill not clean. Town of Gassaway Community Building had two violations: linoleum not sealed beneath kitchen sink, plaster and paint peeling behind oven and prep table (repeat observation). Zul’s Frozen Lemonade had one violation: chest freezer in poor repair with rust on the inner sidewall. The Pit Stop had one violation: refrigerator not holding at 41 degrees F. Lambert’s Concessions #2 had one violation: floor not clean beneath deep fryer.
No establishments were found with critical violations.
DNR to host Hunter Education Course
The WV Division of Natural Resources will hold a Hunter Education Class in Braxton County at the Mid-State Archers Building, Airport Road, Flatwoods, WV on October 3, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and October 4, 2015 from 1pm to 5pm. Students must attend all hours both days of the 10 hour course and pass a written and hands-on test to be certified.
In 1994 West Virginia passed legislation that requires any person born on or after January 1, 1975 must present proof of certification from an approved Hunter Education course to the license agent to purchase a base hunting license.
The course is open to the public and is free of charge. Students must be 10 years of age by the final day in order to receive permanent certification. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.
Class size is limited to 40 students, so pre-registration is required. If you would like to register, please contact Nancy at the WV DNR District 3 office at 304-924-6211 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.