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Madison Oney signs to play softball at GSC

Madison Oney signs her letter of intent to play softball at Glenville State College. Pictured standing (L to R) Assistant Softball Coach Amanda Gum, Jerri Oney, BCHS Athletic Director Lynn Stalnaker, Shane Oney, and Head Softball Coach Jerry Frame.

By Shirley Shuman
Lady Eagles’ catcher Madison Oney, the daughter of Shane and Jerry Oney, recently signed a letter of intent to play softball at Glenville State College.
A four-year varsity catcher for Braxton, Oney said she chose Glenville State because she “meshed well with the new coach, Kristen Tunno, and because the college is close to home.” She will also join another former Braxton graduate and softball player, Charity Ramsey.
Although she isn’t sure just what position she’ll be playing, Oney said that on her official visit to the college, the coach mentioned “catcher/utility player.” The only other position she has played was third base, and that was before she began high school ball.
Last year the soon-to-be Lady Pioneer led the team in home runs. Currently she is hitting “around .600,” she said.
Oney’s softball coach, Jerry Frame, feels she “will do well in college ball.” He continued to explain. “Madison has a very strong work ethic. She’s also quick, she’s strong and hits the ball well. She has a great arm, too,” he said. The coach added, “She also has great parents, and she has matured well.”

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Marjie’s School of Music now open


Marjie Foster’s new School of Music on Elk Street in Gassaway has ample room for teaching several students at the same time.

By Shirley Shuman

Gassaway’s Elk Street now has one fewer empty buildings as Marjorie Foster has opened her School of Music in the building first occupied by Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank and, for many years, Elk Lunch. Foster gives lessons in piano, organ, and voice.
The venue for her music school has lost all vestiges of the Elk Lunch which had, of course, erased most traces of the bank’s occupation. One really attractive remnant of the bank does, however, remain, thanks to Foster’s husband Randy. To begin the renovation of the first floor of the building, Randy Foster tore the existing linoleum off the floor. What he found, and what he managed to save, is the beautiful tile from the bank. Foster removed all traces of the glue from the original flooring and applied a finish which makes it look very much as it must have almost a century ago.
Entering the site of the music school, one first sees a tastefully decorated waiting area which contains chairs, many of Marjie Foster’s personal keepsakes and mementos along with some books. All of this is backed by a folding screen which separates the waiting area from the area Foster uses for her lessons. The entire area has been soundproofed.
Behind the screen is the actual teaching area which houses an organ, two pianos, table and chairs and a few other items. Asked about the table and chairs, Foster explained. “I need the table for my students to do their writing work. I don’t just teach students to play instruments; I also teach a full range of theory,” she said. Continuing, she noted she has 20-plus students but said, “I really don’t count them.”
She also doesn’t count the number of hours she spends giving lessons, but she did say she works Monday through Friday after school, Saturday, and sometimes during weekdays. “I occasionally give lessons to home-schooled students during the day,” she commented. Foster also noted that she does “teach history and background of music primarily because of the home-schooled students.” She added, “Some home-schooling parents treat me as their kids’ music teacher.”
Although Foster’s memory is somewhat vague about her actually beginning music lessons, she knows exactly who taught her music. Her mother, Anita White, later a concert pianist and professor of music, taught music lessons as her daughter was growing up. However, Foster does not remember just when she actually had lessons. “My mother must have given me some formal lessons,” she said, “but I honestly don’t remember having them.”
She added, “I remember during my junior high years I would sit in on her lessons. She also had a curriculum for me. I would practice and then play for me. After she listened, she would tell whether I could go on.” By the time she was 15, Foster said, she “could play anything.” It was then that she obtained a job as church organist at a local church. Also, she even began teaching some of her mother’s younger students.
Foster commented on her mother’s preferences. “Mom was very strict about raising me with classical music,” she noted. “That was good because that’s the most challenging form of music.” She was quick to add, however, “I teach everything. My students have method books for their classical music, but they’re exposed to different types of music. I let the older kids play pop in addition to classical. Music should be fun.”
Going further with the explanation of some of her teaching practices, Foster said, “I’ve learned to take any style of music and make a lesson of it. That’s why I’ve loved {her experiences with] the Landmark because of the different genres.”
In addition to teaching individual students and working on Landmark productions, Foster has been the pianist for Davis Presbyterian Church for 30 years. She also plays for dinners, weddings, and funerals.
Marjorie Foster has not been involved in music the entire time since she began learning from her mother. She explained, “We moved here when I was 17, a senior in high school. I really wasn’t happy with the move, so after I graduated, I left for a few years. During that time I did very little with music. When I returned, however, I did start giving music lessons.”
Continuing, she explained how that stopped. “In 1994, my dad got sick and could no longer run Gassaway Hardware. So Randy and I bought the store. I gave Mom all of my students and gave no more lessons until [her younger son] Brandon went to college in 2005. I took that time off because I was raising my sons.” she said.
Through all of this—teaching music and working with Landmark productions—Foster has one major goal: to touch the youths’ lives with the magic of music. She maintains, “We all have music in us; we just need to awaken it.”
With all the music activities in which she is involved, she carries with her one particular phrase: “We are the music makers, the dreamers of dreams.” She would like to leave that phrase in the mind of every single one of her students.


A facility, built to house a bank, once home to a local tavern, is now the centerpiece of Marjie’s School of Music in downtown Gassaway.


Commission approves new
emergency services equipment

The first order of business at last Friday’s regular meeting of the Braxton County Commission was to hear a request from EMS/9-1-1 Director Mike Baker to purchase equipment for both agencies. Baker told the Commission that a protocol change by the state now required heart monitors on all ambulances. He stated that the cost of a Life-Pack 15 with the various needed accessories would run $36,868.50. He said the Advisory Board had set up a saving account for new equipment and the cost could come from there. Baker was questioned about the new account. He was told that the Board did not have the power to transfer money or establish such an account as under state code it was only an advisory board with all financial structure under the jurisdiction of the Commission. Baker was told that the account would have to be closed.
The Commission also questioned a two year service contract and travel at a cost of $3236. The Commissioner called the representative for Physio Control, the vendor, and discussed the matter with him. It was agreed to deduct the costs, at least temporarily, and to evaluate the maintenance contracts on all the EMS equipment to look for savings. Following the discussion, George Skidmore made a motion to approve the purchase.
Baker also requested $10,695 to purchase additional radios for the 9-1-1 center to be utilized on the WV SIRN network. When questioned about other bids on the radio’s and previously approved equipment, Baker told the Commission that Physio Control and Miller Communications were the vendors the Center worked with regarding this type of equipment and that he did not solicited other bids. Baker told the Commission that 3% of the cell phone fees collected were earmarked for new equipment purchases and he could pay for the new equipment with those funds. Gary Ellyson made a motion to approve the request.
In other action, the Commission approved short form settlements for the following: Steven Lee Childers, Barbara Franklin Cottrill, Margaret V. Ellebrecht, Jerry Floyd, Eula C. Frazer, Sheila Lynn Hamrick, James H. Harris, Betty J. Helmick, Larry James Houghton, Gerald D. Jackson, Gordon E. Jenkins, Glennis Pauline Waldeck, Roland D. Rose, Marcel Mae Williams, and Jeffery L Wyatt.
George Skidmore introduced action to correct erroneous assessments for Steven Tyler Jackson, and Dolly D. Cole.
Gary Ellyson made a motion to approved the consolidation of contiguous tracts of land for tax purposes for Kenneth & Bridgett Haney.
A single purchase order was approved on a motion by George Skidmore. The County Clerk was authorized to purchase recording books from Casto & Harris in the amount of $853.00 plus freight.
Several budget revisions were reviewed and approved as presented.
Gary Ellyson made a motion to allow the president to sign a resolution designating the Braxton County Development Authority as the lead economic development agency for the county.
After a brief discussion, the Commission set a work session for April 21 and 24 for the purpose of reviewing and interviewing applicants for the EMS Director, 9-1-1/OES Director, and Deputy Director including flood plain and mapping & addressing coordinator(s).
Gary Ellyson made a motion to table action on appointing the Sheriff as administrator of the estate of Karen Drake, pending discussion with the Fiduciary Supervisor.
A separate motion by Ellyson granted a request to appoint the Sheriff to oversee the estate of Charles Russell Bender.
The Commission reviewed a request from the Sheriff’s deputies to restore accumulated sick days lost at the end of the calendar year since such steps did not agree with Civil Service policy. Gary Ellyson made a motion to approve the request as presented by the deputies.
On a motion by Commissioner Ellyson, the County Clerk was granted final approval to consolidate voting precincts 1&9, 12&19, 15&15a, 23&26 and 36&45.
The Commission discussed filling a vacancy on Mountain RC & D Board and the Braxton County Development Authority. Separate motions tabled action on the appointments pending additional information.
The Commission accepted the resignation of Scott Ratliff from the Flatwoods Canoe Run PSD Board and requested the clerk send him a letter expressing their appreciation for his public service. Gary Ellyson made a motion to appoint Keith Dancy to a vacancy on the Flatwoods Canoe Run PSD.
Following a review, of county invoices, P-Card vouchers and EMS bills, Gary Ellyson made a motion to approve them as presented with the addition of $160 for training for the acting OES Director. A separate motion authorized Mike Baker to use the County credit card for lodging and other expenses related to the training.
The minutes were read and approved with minor corrections.
Being no further business the meeting was adjourned. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Braxton County Commission will convene on May 1 beginning at 9:00 a.m.
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Braxton Circuit Court action: Given, Stalnaker sent to prison

On March 9, Joe Given made an appearance in Braxton County Circuit Court before the Honorable Richard A. Facemire for sentencing. Counsel David White represented the defendant. Kelly Hamon McLaughlin represented the state. The Court was addressed regarding sentencing in this matter in which Given moved for an alternate sentencing. The State did not object.
Given entered a plea to the felonious offense of sexual assault in the first degree as found in count one of the indictment and sexual assault in the first degree as found in count three of the indictment. Both offenses resulted in imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than five years. These sentences shall run consecutively for a combined sentence of not less than two years nor more than ten years. The Court ordered that Given will be given credit for the 55 days served awaiting disposition in this matter, which includes time spent in diagnosis and classification.
Brittany Jo Stalnaker made an appearance in Circuit Court for the purpose of sentencing. Kelly Hamon McLaughlin represented the State in the matter and Vickie Britner appeared on behalf of the Braxton County Probation Office. Bryan Hinkel acted as Stalnaker’s counsel.
Stalnaker, in person and through counsel, requested some form of alternative sentencing. The defendant was released from the Lakin Correctional Center to attend the drug rehabilitation program at the Crossroads Recovery Home in September, but was discharged due to multiple rule violations. Therefore, Judge Facemire found that Stalnaker’s opportunity there was wasted and denied her motion for alternative sentencing. Upon mature consideration, the Court found the defendant guilty of the felonious offense of Conspiracy to Commit Burglary and sentenced her to the State Penitentiary for no less than one and no more than five years.
On March 20, Crystal Bickford appeared in Court for the purpose of a sentencing hearing. Jasmine R.H. Morton represented the State, while Teresa Monk acted as Bickford’s counsel.
Bickford addressed the Court through her counsel and requested alternative sentencing. Upon mature consideration, the Court ordered that the defendant is guilty of the felonious offense of Conspiracy and is to be sentenced to the State Penitentiary for no less than one and no more than five years. The Court granted the defendant’s motion for probation and ordered that the sentence be suspended. Bickford is admitted to probation for a period of five years with an extensive list of terms and regulations.
Carl Dawson recently appeared in Braxton County Circuit Court for a hearing upon probation revocation. Dawson was represented by counsel David Karickhoff. Braxton County Prosecuting Attorney Kelly Hamon McLaughlin represented the state.
Dawson entered a plea to the felonious offense of conspiracy, and, requested the Court readmit him to probation. The Court granted his motion for alternative sentencing, and ordered that all but sixty days of Dawson’s previous sentence be suspended. It was further ordered that Dawson be placed back on probation for a period of two years, in which he will abide by the terms and provisions of probation as promulgated by the West Virginia Code and such other probationary regulations.
William Lanham appeared before the Court on March 20 for the purpose of a plea hearing. Lanham was represented by counsel David Karickhoff. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jasmine R. H. Morton represented the state.
Lanham plead guilty to the felonious offense of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory. The Court, finding Lanham guilty, moved to delay sentencing in this matter for the purpose of having a pre-sentence investigation report completed. Further orders were made for the state to provide the Court with a copy of the police reports relating to the indictment in this matter.
John Ryan Richardson made appearances in court on February 9 for the purpose of arraignment. Richardson was represented by counsel Timothy Gentilozzi. Kelly Hamon McLaughlin represented the state.
Richardson plead not guilty to two counts of breaking and entering a building other than a dwelling house (felony), one count of conspiracy (felony), one count of destruction of property (felony), two counts of grand larceny (felony) and one count of destruction of property (misdemeanor). The Court received said plea and announced they were ready for trial. The Court ordered that the trial in this case was to be set for April 15, beginning at 9:00 a.m. It was further ordered that Richardson would remain incarcerated pending posting bond during the time leading up to trial.
Ricky Todd Norman appeared in Court February 9 pursuant to the Court setting this date for arraignment. Counsel Clinton Bischoff accompanied Norman. Kelly Hamon McLaughlin represented the state.
Norman entered a plea of not guilty to five counts of sexual assault in the third degree which is a felony. The Court set the trial in the case for April 15, beginning at 9:00 a.m. It was further ordered that the state provide Norman with discovery within seven days of this date. The Court further ordered that Norman shall remain on bond heretofore leading up to the day of the trial.
On February 9, Eric Lee Carpenter appeared in court not in person, nor by counsel, for the purpose of arraignment. Kelly Hamon McLaughlin represented the state.
The Court ordered the Baliff to call of Carpenter three times in which no response was heard. Therefore the Court ordered the clerk of this court to issue a capias and bench warrant for the arrest of Carpenter, with bond being set in the amount of $20,000.00 cash only.
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BCHS Top
Ten Senior Countdown

By: Shirley Shuman
After she earns an undergraduate degree in psychology, Madison Oney—number four in the 2015 graduating class, plans to continue her education to pursue a PhD and become a pediatric psychiatrist.
The daughter of Jerri and Shane Oney gave several reasons for her choice of career. “Psychology class with Mr. [John] Frazier sparked my interest,” she said, adding “It made me want to know why people do what they do. I also spent time last summer shadowing a woman who worked in an autism clinic. That was a rewarding experience.” Asked why she has chosen to become a children’s psychiatrist, Oney replied, “I feel like children are so helpless. They haven’t done much to create problems that affect them.”
A busy young woman all year round, she has spent “many hours of several summers doing mission work with [her] church. She gave an example. “In the summer of 2013, I spent a week in Haiti and helped build a playground for the children of that area,” she said. In school-related activities, Oney was the manager for the football team for three years. She is also a member of the local chapter of the National Honor Society and a four-year letterman on the softball team.
She listed several ways that she enjoys filling her spare time. “I enjoy reading, watching movies, weight lifting, spending time with family, and playing softball,” she said.
“Two teachers have really impacted my life,” Oney reported. “Mrs. [Brenda] Gibson and Mr. Frazier taught me a lot about life. Mrs. Gibson did it subconsciously, though, through how hard she pushed me to work. Mr.Frazier is a wise man and passed a lot of his wisdom down to his students. I will never forget the lessons they taught me.”
Oney’s favorite school memory is also associated with Mrs. Gibson. “My favorite memory would have to be when Mrs. Gibson prayed with our AP11 English class before we went up to take the AP Exam.”
Asked about those whom she wishes to thank, the number four student said, “I would like to thank God most importantly for allowing me to make it this far and blessing me with all I have.” She also emphasized that she wanted to thank her parents “for always encouraging me to do my best but not pushing me too hard.”

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