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Shane Brown appointed to fill
Board of Ed vacancy

The Broad of Education addressed the vacancy created by Jimmy Huffman’s resignation at their most recent meeting on Monday, July 18. Superintendent David Dilley told the board he had three individuals show interest in the vacated position, Kathy Parker, Mike Chapman, and Shane Brown. Bradley Shingler moved and Van Carr seconded the nomination of Brown, who placed third for the Board of Education in the May election, to replace Huffman and serve until the end of the year. The remainder of the unexpired term, thru June 30, 2018 will be up for election on the November ballot with the winner of that contest sworn in the first of January 2017. Brown was approved with a unanimous vote. Brown joined the board on the remainder agenda items.
President Jill Cooper called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm and a non-denominational prayer was given by Vice President David Hoover.
Drew Taylor, a senior at Braxton County High School, signed up on the delegations list to speak to the board regarding the head boys’ basketball coach position and recommend Gary Rexroad for that position. He spoke about being a player under both Rexroad for three years while at the middle school and two years under Josh Lunceford at the high school. Taylor stated that Rexroad had the necessary experience as he was “MVP and All-Conference selection during his high school basketball career.” He spoke of Rexroad’s coaching the middle school boys’ basketball team to a CWVA championship in the last two seasons and only losing four games in those seasons. Taylor told the board that “Rexroad provided a good public example to his players both on and off the court in his dealings, with the public, with students and on social media.” As for his time under Lunceford, Taylor spoke about the “berating” of players and “profanity” used by the assistant coach. He said he had hoped things would change and the Eagles would have a winning season when Ernest Tingler took over the position of assistant last year, but this did not take place.
Under discussions, President Cooper requested that the board perform the Pledge of Allegiance before the meetings and to add to the agenda a specific recognition of students and personnel.
The board approved the following consent agenda items: approval of July 5, 2016 meeting minutes, payment of bills, budget transfers and supplements, transportation requests and reports, treasurer’s report, request to be released from Braxton County Schools to attend Gilmer County Schools, and request to attend school in Braxton County from Nicholas County.
The board approved the following professional resignations: Jamie Oates, Eagles Experience teacher, BCHS, effective July 19, 2016 and Christina Bailey, Principal, BCMS, effective July 18, 2016.
The board approved the following professional employment/reassignments: Amber Lunceford, First/Second grade split teacher, Sutton Elementary, effective beginning of 2016-17 school year; Duane Williams, Elementary Alternative Education Teacher, central office, effective beginning of 2016-17 school year; Christina Bailey, Director of Special Education/Headstart/Preschool, central office, effective July 18, 2016; Susan Evans, substitute teacher, pending certification, effective beginning of 2016-17 school year; and Lisa Brady, Pre-School Special Needs teacher (Itinerant), Davis Elementary, effective beginning of 2016-17 school year,
The board approved the following service employment/reassignments: Anita Miller, cook/cafeteria manager, BCHS Athletics/Band, effective August 1-5, 2016; and Mark Rose, bus operator, BCHS Athletics/Band, effective August 1-5, 2016.
The board approved the following rescission of termination of contract: Michael Cool, Physical Education teacher, Little Birch Elementary.
The board approved the following request to have name added to substitute teacher list: Michael Brady.
The board approved the following removal of names from the substitute service personnel list who did not work 50% of callout for 2015-16 school year: Tina Wolverton, substitute aide/custodian, effective July 19, 2016.
Vice President Hoover asked about the number of individuals left on RIF. Superintendent Dilley stated he believed there were only one service personnel left from the RIF list.
Carr made a motion to enter into executive session for personnel matters and Shingler seconded. The board went into executive session at 6:15 pm and reconvened and 6:48 pm with no decisions made.
The board approved the removal of substitute teachers and principals from substitute list who did not work during the 2015-16 school year.
Under new business, the board approved the following items: fundraisers, first and final reading of Revisions to Policy 4115 Student Attendance, $500 donation from The Spot for the football team and equipment for the team at BCHS, and bread bids for all school for the 2016-17 school year.
Superintendent Dilley spoke about a recent conference in Louisville, KY, High Schools That Work. Several teachers from Braxton County High School along with Superintendent Dilley were in attendance.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 pm with the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, August 2 at 6:00 pm with a work session prior to the meeting beginning at 4:30 pm. Members of the Braxton County community are encouraged to attend regular meetings. Anyone wishing to speak as a delegate or with public concerns may do so by signing in up to 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

Gassaway Library offers programs for children

Melissa Kennedy reads to one of the classes.

By Shirley Shuman

Highly enthusiastic about the library’s various programs for area children, director Beverly Cottrill noted that the Gassaway Library, in addition to having summer programs, offers year-round services for youngsters.
Cottrill explained that these programs are designed “to create an interest in reading” for children through the sixth grade. “The kids love it,” she said, and mentioned one of the rewards she receives from the younger children. “It’s fun to be at the store and have one of the kids walk up to me and say, ‘Hi, library lady.’ That shows me that we’re making an impression.”

Renee Hubbard with the Braxton/Clay Extension Office brought a nutrition program complete with cow to GPL. Some of those participating in the class were (Seated L to R) Claire Duckworth, Piper Winemiller, Cassidy Hall Isaac Payne, Lancy Meadows and Jeremiah Payne. (Standing) Faithy Skeens, Aundred Duckworth Cole Hall and Renee Hubbard.

Something which Cottrill considers important is the way such programs help children to develop. “It’s interesting to see how kids interact with each other and how they grow in confidence,” she said. “After a while, when they come in, they know what they want and where to go. I’ve seen some really shy kids come out of that shyness,” she added.
Among the year-round programs, which are under the direction of retired kindergarten teacher Kathy Pletcher, is the pre-school reading program which takes place on the first and third Friday of each month. Another important part of the year-round services is the home-school program, in which Pletcher works with home-schooled students on Wednesdays.
The third program is offered during the school year. In this one, teachers at Davis Elementary may, at their discretion, take their classes to the library for 30-40 minute reading sessions and to sign out books. As an alternative to visits to the library, Pletcher will go to the classrooms in the school building.
Also, Pletcher, who is a library employee, reads aloud to children up to four years old on alternate Fridays. She mentioned that she has had mothers bring children less than a year old to these readings.
Responsible for the summer program, which has been quite popular this season, Melissa Duckworth and Pletcher—along with several volunteers—have seen an average of 30-40 children each Tuesday. Duckworth, an elementary school teacher, works during the summer with all three of the county’s public libraries as an agent of the Braxton County Board of Education. She explained that one of her purposes is “to distribute books the Board has purchased.” Continuing, Duckworth said, “It’s very important that kids have books in their homes. We hope to use this program to prevent ‘summer slide’ in their reading skills and their interests.”
According to Duckworth, those working with the July program chose two books for each session, and the Board purchased 25 copies of each. That means that each child in the morning session—which includes children from pre-school to third grade, takes home two books every Tuesday through the program. Each book is based on a particular theme, she noted, and the activities each Tuesday reflect that theme.
Pletcher conducts the afternoon session, which involves students from third grade and up. She has used a dinosaur adventure theme for the July program and said that the participants have thoroughly enjoyed it. Among the activities she has incorporated in the adventure was a sharks’ tooth necklace. “One thing we learned here,” she said, “is that colored sharks’ teeth are actually fossils.”
One week the group had a “fossil dig,” which Pletcher described with “It was messy but they had a ball.” The students also made dioramas showing the time of the dinosaurs. These students also receive books. One of the books they received last week was a poetry book.
Both Duckworth and Pletcher extolled those individuals who have volunteered to read and conduct the activities each week. Last Tuesday morning’s volunteer, Melissa Kennedy, read two books to the children and supervised activities and snacks—both regular parts of each session. Students sat enrapt during the reading and took part eagerly in the activities.
Two youngsters, Aven Woods and Kolten Cook, shared their views of the activities. Five-year-old Aven said that her favorite part of the morning was “craft time because it was fun.” The five-year old added that she likes the stories and enjoys getting new books every week.
Kolten, who declared his favorite part of the day is snack time, said he likes to come to the Tuesday program. “We do neat stuff,” he said. He also likes listening to the stories. His aunt, Alice James, pointed out that Kolten has come to the summer reading program since he was less than a year old.

Leah Bush facing numerous charges

Leah Bush of Burnsville was arrested on Monday, July 18 on charges of possession of controlled substance-methamphetamine, possession of controlled substance-marijuana, two counts of obstructing/resisting an officer and child neglect creating the risk of injury.
Braxton County Sheriff Department Deputy C. Westfall received a complaint from Braxton 911, that a female had taken two children away from the father in Braxton Magistrate’s Court “kicking and screaming.” According to the report, he observed a female outside of the Sheriff’s office placing two small children inside a white vehicle. The Officer made contact with Bush. When he tried to inquire what was going on, she became very belligerent and was trying to leave in a hurry. Deputy Westfall and BCSD Deputy J. Jenkins commanded the suspect to stop several times and she refused. When they tried to subdue her she became very combative. After a brief struggle the female was finally placed in hand cuffs.
West Virginia State Police CPL K.W. Huddleston arrived on scene and looked inside Bush’s her purse for ID and located a bag containing a crystal substance believed to be meth, a glass pipe used to smoke meth, and a small jar containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Beside all these items, he located a baby pacifier.
While the officers were interacting with Bush, she was very lethargic and her speech was slurred at times. Based on Deputy Westfall experience, he believed she was under the influence of some type of narcotic.
Bush was arraigned in front of Braxton County Magistrate Beth Smith and placed in the Central Regional Jail on a $10,000 cash only bond.

Belknap charged after incident in Gassaway

Braxton County 911 Center received a complaint of a man with a gun threatening to kill himself on Grasslick Road in Gassaway on July 16, Braxton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy H. Teare was dispatched to the scene. Control advised him, while he was in route, the suspect, Levi Belknap, was unarmed and lying on the floor inside the residence.
According to the incident report, when the officer arrived on scene, he was flagged down by the suspect’s grandfather and was told Belknap was at the house lying on the couch. Deputy Teare along with BCSD Deputy J. Jenkins entered the home made contact with Belknap. The male’s father informed the officers that Belknap was making threats to harm himself.
The officers woke the suspect up and asked what was wrong. Belknap stated he wanted to kill himself. After more conversation with the individual, Deputy Teare could smell alcohol coming from Belknap. He admitted to the officer that he had been drinking, when questioned. Due to his intoxicated condition and mental state, the officers decided to contact the mental hygiene commissioner.
At this time, the officers advised Belknap that he was going to have to come with them and proceeded to walk him out of the residence. Belknap became non-compliant and proceed to assault the officers by kicking them in their legs. He was placed under arrest and advised to stop kicking. Deputy Teare and Deputy Jenkins had to force Belknap into the police cruiser and he continued being violent towards the officers, by head butting and kicking the officers’ legs. Deputy Teare restrained the suspects’ legs. While in route to the office for processing, Belknap became violent again and tried to head but West Virginia State Police TRP E.D. Schoolcraft, who was assisting in the arrest. The officers had to pull over to restrain the suspect.
Belknap was arraigned in front of Braxton County Magistrate Beth Smith and placed on a $7500 cash only bond. He is currently being lodged in the Central Regional Jail.

One area business sees brighter economic future Skidmore’s Auto & Diesel expands to bigger location

Though many see the local economic picture as dismal, at least one Braxton County business is expanding. Skidmore’s Auto & Diesel Repair recently moved their four year old operation to Sutton and nearly doubled the size of their work area. “We have been very blessed,” said owner Ryan Skidmore. “We simply outgrew our Chapel Route location. Our new site in the old Elk Valley Towing facility just below Sutton will allow us to better accommodate our customers and to expand the services we offer.”
Skidmore is not new to the world of vehicle repair. He began his career as a mechanic in 1993 at Elk Valley Dodge. Along his now 20+ year tenure Ryan has earned numerous accreditations particularly in the realm of diesel pickup repair. That experience, coupled with an expanded staff at the 5,000 square foot new location, will allow him to continue his quality, service and fair pricing motto. Skidmore and his staff of four full-time and two part-time vehicle specialists are committed to continuing their high quality of customer service at the new facility.
The existing services including, diesel and gasoline engine diagnostics and repair, transmission and differential repair, tune-ups, brake service and oil changes. “We can do just about anything related to auto and truck repair,” explained Skidmore. “We offer minor and major engine and driveline work as well as routine maintenance.”
The new location at 709 West Main Street, Sutton has allowed Skidmore to expand into tire sales, mounting and balancing, auto detailing and soon to be State Vehicle Inspection center. The newly expanded facility features state of the art equipment including a heavy duty lift for diesel trucks. A secure area for vehicles left on premises overnight is also available.
The new Skidmore’s Auto & Diesel Repair is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call their new number 304-765-5711 for information or an appointment. “We take pride in fixing our customer’s problems the first time,” Skidmore said. Ryan Skidmore and wife Robin invite old and new customers to stop by and check out their new location.

Sutton Dam tours available this Saturday

During the recent devastating flooding, Sutton Lake rose Twenty-Seven Feet during the flood, covering the Campgrounds and Day Use Areas. And still the Elk River rose to heights not seen in 100 years. Have you wondered how that could happened?
On Saturday, July 30, the Corps of Engineers at Sutton Lake will be offering tours of Sutton Dam. Come, see and learn more about how Corps of Engineers lakes are operated during such events and what might have happened without the dam. Tours will be offered from 10 am until 2 pm.
Due to security regulations, all adults must show a government provided photo ID in order to participate in a tour. Cameras, bags, pocket books, and other bulky items are not permitted in the dam, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Tours are only open to US citizens. Groups over 10 may call the project office about a “Special Request Tour” at another time. For more information, please call the Sutton Lake Office at 304-765-2816.



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