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Pierson named BCHS principal

By Shirley Shuman
Jessica Pierson was recently named principal of Braxton County High School. A graduate of the high school which she now heads, Pierson looks forward to fulfilling the duties of her new position.
“I love Braxton County, and I love Braxton County High School,” the new principal said. “I want to see this school reach its full potential, and I want to change the perception that people have of our school,” she continued.
Pierson noted that she feels strongly that the school has definitely seen positive changes since she came there in October 2015 as assistant principal. “The culture has changed since last October,” she said, “and we’re starting to see pride in their school from both the students and staff.”
Pierson added, “The culture change may be why we’ve seen a truly impressive growth in test scores, especially in English and science as well as higher academic performance.” Here she emphasized that the school is initiating an emphasis on math. Pierson said that there is currently a statewide initiative in math. She also mentioned that each math classroom now has a “stable” instructor—one who will be there for the entire school term and said, “That should help.”
Another area in which Pierson feels growth has occurred is the CTE (Career and Technology Education) classes. “With the simulated workplace practices, we’re seeing students’ being prepared for the work force with skills for entry and certifications for industry,” she said. She continued to describe the simulated workplace. “In Level 3 and 4 classes, students come up with a company idea, develop different roles, and essentially run the class as a business.”
The principal used the Carpentry class as an example. “Those students are building a tiny house on a trailer bed. For their project, two students are in charge of informational technology, and part of their job is to develop a PowerPoint presentation to propose to the Board of Education that they be allowed to build the tiny house,” she explained. She mentioned, too, that the house will be self sustaining off the grid with use of solar power and other techniques.
According to Pierson, other vocational departments will develop the same type of projects. “The kids love this,” she said. “Ninety eight percent of students statewide say they like this type of learning.”
An interesting class which she mentioned during her explanation of workplace practices is one taught by Agriculture instructor Josh Porto. “This is a food science class in which students do just what it sounds like they do: They study the science of food. There is some cooking involved, of course, and we’ve brought back the former home economics kitchen for that. However, the students also analyze the different ingredients and how they work together. It’s really interesting,” she commented.
It should be noted, the principal explained, that the academic programs are not being neglected. In addition to those Honors, Advanced Placement, and Dual Credit courses already being offered, the school has been working to obtain even more high-level academic classes. “We’ve been working with the Southern Regional Education Board to help in that area,” Pierson said.
A graduate of Glenville State College who earned her Master’s degree at Marshall University, Pierson began her career as a special education teacher at Summersville Middle School. From there, she moved to Little Birch Elementary as the principal. Then she came to Braxton County High.
On those rare occasions when she isn’t working, Pierson enjoys kayaking, of which she said, “It’s my favorite thing to do because it’s relaxing,” and playing golf. One of her passions is traveling. “I’ve been to 15 different countries,” she said, and jokingly added, “Actually, I’ve been to more countries than I have to states.”
Although her new job may limit her world traveling, it’s easy to obtain the impression that Jessica Pierson won’t really mind. She is truly eager to see Braxton County High School grow, and she’s positive that it will.

Facemire receives 60 year UMWA pin

On Saturday, October 1, Delegate Michael Caputo of Marion County and Vice President of the International United Mine Workers of America, traveled to Braxton County to present Russell A. Facemire with his 60 year UMWA membership pin. Facemire has been a UMWA dues paying member for over 65 years and worked under ground for 39 years.
House of Delegates member Caputo thanked Facemire for his service to West Virginia and coal mining. He stated it was his honor to present the 60 year pin to Facemire and that he did not have many opportunities to make such presentations to retired miners. Also present for the award was Ms. Belinda Biafore, WV State Democratic Party Chairperson, who presented an award and certificate of appreciation on behalf of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin commending Facemire for his service to the state and the coal mining industry.
A native of Braxton County, Facemire married his childhood sweetheart Carol (Skidmore) Facemire and they have three children, Richard A. Facemire (Circuit Court Judge), David N. Facemire, and John Douglas Facemire.
Russell Facemire said that he was honored and humbled to have these dignitaries travel to Braxton County present these awards to him during the Facemire family reunion.

Facebook aids Deputies in four arrests

What started out as a routine questioning, ended up with the arrest of four individuals on numerous charges. On October 8, Braxton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy CE Westfall was speaking with Samuel Mowery of Gassaway, after being picked up on an outstanding Capias for failure to report to home confinement on joyriding charges. According to the criminal report, the suspect gave the officer permission to use his Facebook account to locate Justin Page Campbell of Sutton, who had allegedly stolen a vehicle earlier that day. A message was sent in the hopes of finding Campbell’s location and the account was left open for law enforcement to use.
Later, Randal Leeray Perry of Burnsville sent a message to Mowery’s Facebook account asking if he needed anything. BCSD Deputy JD Jenkins had reports of this individual selling and making drugs, so he sent a message back to see if he had drugs available. Through the conversation and the officer’s experience with drug buys, Deputy Jenkins was able to determine Perry had meth available and they agreed upon a price. Perry stated in the conversation he would have another individual in a green Ford Ranger meet on Copen Road to deliver the product.
Deputy Jenkins executed a traffic stop on a vehicle matching the description on Bragg Run Road later that evening when he observed it crossing the center line on numerous occasions as he was following. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Daniel McPherson of Burnsville. The officer noted the suspect was very nervous when he made contact with him and asked him if he had anything in his possession. The suspect stated no several times. Deputy Jenkins knew McPherson had a suspended driver’s license and this was his third time being caught for that offense. The officer had also recovered drugs from the suspect in the past so he deployed the K-9 partner “Jade”. The dog gave positive indications on both the driver’s side and passenger side of the vehicle door. Deputy Jenkins search revealed needles, a syringe and snort tubes. After further questioning by the officer, McPherson stated he had a small bag on his person. The officer located the bag containing a white powder substance. The officer weighed and field tested the substance. The substance weighed .9 grams and field tested positive for meth. The amount matches what Perry stated McPherson would deliver.
After the suspect was read his Miranda rights, he stated that he was on his way to meet Mowery on Copen Road to deliver the bag of meth in exchange for money.
Perry has been charged with possession with intent to deliver and conspiracy and was placed on a $20,000 cash only bond set by Braxton County Magistrate Beth Smith. McPherson has been charged with possession with intent to deliver-meth, driving suspended-3rd offense, obstructing an officer, and left of center. His bond was also set by Magistrate Smith and in the amount of $10,000 cash only. He was later charged with conspiracy and placed on a $5000 cash only bond by Braxton County Magistrate David Singleton.
Campbell was accused of stealing a vehicle from Enterprise Drive. The owner of the vehicle stated Campbell had come to the residence and had asked for a ride and the owner refused. The individual allowed the suspect to use the restroom in the home. Later the owner of the vehicle realized the keys were missing and the car was gone. Campbell was the only person who had access to the keys. He is being charged with grand larceny and was placed in the Central Regional Jail on a $10,000 cash only bond by Magistrate Smith.

BCMH welcomes new provider

Braxton County Memorial Hospital is pleased to welcome mid-level provider, Bethany Ratliff, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, to the Braxton Community Health Center. She joins Board Certified Physicians in Family Medicine, Dr. Russell Stewart, Dr. Stephanie Frame, and Dr. William Douglas Given, in addition to Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Erin King, and Jerri Oney, Board Certified Physician Assistant, in providing primary care to patients in the community and surrounding area.Bethany received her Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner from WVU - Charleston in 2001. Prior to this, she worked seven years in Pediatrics. She comments, “After graduation, I was fortunate to work with several exceptional physicians, who fostered comprehensive growth in medical knowledge and ability.” Bethany’s knowledge and experience coincides wonderfully with the Community Health Center’s wellness programs, which focus on each member of the family.
In an effort to provide primary care for children, and protect them from devastating diseases, a Well Child Program is available involving regular immunizations and exams in addition to ‘designated days’ for well child checkups. These services as well as a comprehensive Women’s Health Program are comparable to those provided by pediatricians and health departments. In addition to well checks and a Breast Cervical Cancer Screening Program (BCCSP), Family Planning is offered at the Community Health Center. Along with Dr. Stephanie Frame, Bethany is also qualified to perform DOT Certified Physicals for those whose jobs require traveling through multiple states. Along with the current providers, Bethany will also provide geriatric care to elderly patients.
Prior to joining the BCMH family, Bethany was working some distance away from her home in Braxton County. She says, “I am grateful for the opportunity to care for those in my local community. This alone is fulfilling; yet I am also happy to be close to family, especially my daughter, Elainah.” When asked about hobbies, Bethany said, “I enjoy playing the piano and violin as well as fishing and hunting. However, the most significant personal endeavor has been spiritual growth along with time at our church where I’m involved in several ministries supported by Gassaway Baptist Church.” Braxton County Memorial Hospital and the Community Health Center are pleased to welcome, Bethany Ratliff!

BCHS Dean of Students has
program of rewards

By Shirley Shuman
“I think it’s a good idea to reward students,” J.D. Drake, Dean of Students at Braxton County High School, explained. To do just that, Drake has developed a program which awards one student each month.
Begun last school term, this procedure, which the dean calls the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Program, provides a reward for one student per month. The student is chosen randomly from all BCHS students who qualify. Drake explained that, to qualify for the award, a student “must have no discipline referrals, must have good attendance, and must have passing grades.”
He described how students are chosen. “I have a computer program which randomly selects (the number of) one student from a list of all students in the school. Then I check that individual out for eligibility. So far this school term, Ruby Kniceley and Jace Frame have been the winners.
The award is a gift certificate, “sometimes to Walmart, sometimes to another local business.” Drake remarked, “I did this all last year. I was pleasantly surprised and, truthfully, pretty happy at what I saw. I honestly think this type of reward {for good behavior and good attendance as well as decent grades) has improved discipline.”

Ft. Lee Marine Commander to speak at annual local Veteran’s Day festivities

Central West Virginia Aging Services and American Legion Post # 33 is pleased to announce Lieutenant Colonel Johnny G. Garza, Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment in Ft. Lee Virginia will be the Keynote speaker for the Annual Braxton County Veteran’s Day Reception. The reception will be held on Friday November 11 immediately following the parade at the Braxton County Armory between Gassaway and Sutton.
Lieutenant Colonel Johnny G. Garza enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1990. From December of 1990 until June of 1991 he deployed with the 2nd Force Service Support Group (2D FSSG), II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) in support of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In 1994, he was selected for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant following graduation from the University of Arizona in 1997.
In 1998 he attended The Basic School and was assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina while awaiting training at the Logistics Officers Course. During his assignment with CBIRF, the unit was moved to Indian Head, Maryland in order to support the National Capital Region. In May of 2002, then Captain Garza, was assigned to Headquarters U. S. Marine Corps within the Logistics Plans, Policies, and Strategic Mobility Division (LP), of the Installations and Logistics Department in Arlington, Virginia. During his assignment with LP, he was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as a U.N. Military Observer in 2005.
From July 2005 until May 2006, he attended the Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS) in Quantico, Virginia. He was then assigned to 1st Marine Logistics Group (1st MLG) where he held a variety of billets. In January 2008, then Major Garza, deployed with 1st MLG as the Headquarters and Service Company Commander to Camp Taqaddum, Iraq. Upon return from deployment in Feb 2009, Major Garza served as the Headquarters Company Commander for Combat Logistics Regiment-17 (CLR-17). In August of 2009 he received orders to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton where he served as the head of the Logistics Department.
In May of 2010, Major Garza received orders to the United States Military Training Mission (USMTM) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he served as the Deputy Chief, Marine Forces Division through August 2011. He then returned to Camp Pendleton where he was assigned to Marine Corps Installations West in the G-7 Government and External Affairs Office as the Deputy G-7 Energy.
In March of 2013, he was assigned to U. S. Marine Forces Central Command (Forward) where he served as the G-4 Operations Officer. In July of 2014, he returned to Camp Pendleton to work in I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) G-4 as the Logistics Plans Officer (CENTCOM). In October of 2014, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
Lieutenant Colonel Garza’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal w/two gold stars in lieu of third award, Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/two gold stars, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Lt Colonel Garza is married to the former Betsy Post and the son in law of Vinsen and Evelyn Post of Flower, WV. They, along with their dog, Marco, reside in Midlothian, Virginia.
For more information on the Annual Braxton County Veteran’s Day Parade and Reception, please contact Shelly at (304)765-3668 or sflint@frontier.com.



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