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Local FFA members and new
advisor active during summer
By Shirley Shuman
Josh Porto, new agriculture education teacher at Braxton County High and members of the local Future Farmers of America chapter have been busy since he began work the first of July.
Soon after starting work , the new FFA adviser took several members to the State FFA Convention at Cedar Lakes in Ripley July 8-11. Porto indicated that, in addition to serving as delegates, students also competed.
Braxton graduate Ashley James competed in the upperclassman creed contest, designed for first year non-freshmen members. In the small-tractor-driving competition, the only Braxton entry placed. Todd Hoover earned second in that event, which entails identifying parts of the tractor and small tools which can be used to repair a tractor, and driving through an obstacle course. Adviser Porto noted here that the contestant is also required, once he or she is on the tractor, to identify safety procedures before starting the obstacle course.
Caleb Long, a BCHS graduate, and Cendal Cowan, a senior and the current president of the local chapter, both received state degrees. Porto explained that, among the requirements for the state degree, members must earn a certain amount of money in their Supervised Agricultural Experience, be active in their local chapter, and complete five activities above chapter level.
In addition, Jordyn Peters and Jennifer Friend received recognition at the State Convention for being American degree recipients. They will receive their degrees at the national convention in Louisville in October. Laura Gerwig and Zoe Ann Bender also received recognition as being recipients of national or state scholarships.
Others acting as delegates from the Braxton chapter were Sarah Westfall, Destiny Richardson, Tasha Patterson, and Hailey Vaughan.
After the state convention, some of the local members began work for a competition in dairy cattle evaluation, which their adviser commented, “Braxton kids hadn’t competed in since the 80s.” In the August 16 event, which took place at Jackson’s Mill, the local chapter saw two successes. Emily Miller placed second in individual competition, and the Braxton team of Miller, Katlynn Moss, Sadie Rader, and Drina Kearns placed fourth. Moss also placed tenth individually.
Porto, a graduate of BCHS and West Virginia University, taught agriculture education at Liberty High School in Clarksburg since earning his degree. About his return to Braxton County High as a member of the faculty, he said, “I’m happy to be back although it’s quite an adjustment from having been a student here to being part of the faculty.”
He added, “I’m very glad I took the opportunity to teach somewhere else before I came home.”
An extremely active member of the Braxton FFA while he was a student here, Porto expects to see those in his chapter just as active. He will be the adviser in collaboration with Charity Dean, the agriculture teacher.
Teen artist decorates LBE gym walls
By Shirley Shuman
When Little Birch Elementary students returned to school this term, they quickly noticed a more colorful gym. On two of the walls are attractive murals depicting their mascot as well as the mascots of the other elementary schools in the county. Braxton County High senior Jordan Jackson spent several days of his summer break to paint the murals.
Jackson said that the idea to paint the murals came from Austin Jackson, the school’s physical education teacher last year. “They contacted me and asked me to do the murals,” the young artist said, “and the physical education teacher wanted me to paint all the mascots on a ‘mascot island.’”
That is exactly what the young man did. One mural depicts the Little Birch mascot, a pirate, pointing outward. The other shows the other mascots. The paintings, each of which is 12 feet wide and nine feet high, were done in satin wall paint.
Prncipal Jessica Pierson called Jackson’s art work “fantastic” and said, “I think it’s great that he shared his talent with Little Birch Elementary students and staff. The students love it. We went from a boring white wall to this great art work done by a teenager.”
Beth Atkins, who has taught at Little Birch since she began teaching, noted that “Little Birch Elementary is a very community oriented school. I am happy when students who went to Little Birch come back to help the school.”
Jackson, a former student at Little Birch Elementary, said he enjoyed doing the paintings and is apparently pleased with the result of his work. He is interested in art and commented that he will pursue art although he is still undecided about college. “I like creating my own stuff,” he said.
The son of Michelle and Jeff Jackson, the artist enjoys “band and almost everything in technology.” Those interested in seeing more of his work can view his online portfolio at Facebook.com/SOVIATHART. About his portfolio, he remarked, “I usually update it regularly with what I’m working on.”
Commission recognizes retired county Medical Examiner
The first action of last Friday’s Braxton County Commission meeting was the presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation of Service to retired Medical Examiner Bob Stalnaker. On behalf of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Commission President Ron Facemire read the certificate recognizing Stalnaker’s long and dedicated career. After receiving the recognition Stalnaker stated, “I was proud to do it for the people,”
Sheriff Eddie Williams was first to address the Commission, He requested permission to change the status of Deputy Jeremy David Jenkins from part-time to full-time. The Sheriff also explained that he had made arrangements to purchase Jenkins’ specially trained drug dog from Jenkins’ previous employer. He added that the funds would come from his home confinement and conceal carry permit funds so no taxpayer funds would not be required. Gary Ellyson made a motion to approve the request with the stipulation that the Prosecuting Attorney prepared a memorandum of understand concerning liability of the dog and what would occur if Jenkins left the county’s employment.
Mike Baker, OES/9-1-1 Director was next to address the Commission. He requested the approval of two additional cameras from Miller Communications in the amount $4,022.27. Permission was granted on a motion by Gary Ellyson.
Baker also requested permission to utilize the free version of NIXEL mast notification system. That request was also approved on a motion by Ellyson.
Braxton EMS Director Sam Mace requested permission to hire Miranda Faye Holcomb and Marisa R. Dunbar as part-time medics at an hourly rate of $13 with no county benefits. He also submitted a request to employee Sawyer Dennison as a part-time CRP/driver at a rate of $8.50 per hour. Mace explained that Dennison was in the process of obtaining EMT certification. All three were approved and will serve a 90 day probationary period.
Mace also requested permission to purchase an additional security cameras and an electronic door entry system for the medical storage room. Both would be purchased from Miller Communication at a cost of $3,507.88. The purchased was authorized on a motion by Gary Ellyson.
Amber Humphrey, Director of the Day Report Center, presented the Commission her month report. She stated that her office had conducted 240 drug screens during the month of July and an additional 147 to date in August. She added that 19 individuals were being monitored on home confinement an 18 additional ones were participating in Day Report Center programs. Three offenders had violated rules and regulations of the DRC and had to be returned to jail. Sheriff Eddie Williams added that the program had saved taxpayers approximately $106,000 in jail fees by utilization alternative sentencing. He also publically thanked the corrections board for their dedication and valued support in making the program successful.
In other action, short form settlements were approved for the following on a motion by George Skidmore: Alice Shaver Behr, Madlyn G. Boggs, Gary Lynn Cogar, Anne c. Colgen, Joanne G. Harrison, James Herbie Henline, Opal Houghton, David Lynn Jack, Jr. William Lee Lake, and Elsie L. Pritt.
It was also Skidmore who introduced a motion to approve the consolidation of contiguous tracts of land for tax purposes for Anthony D and Elva L. Rogers, Kathaleen Barker, and George H. and Judy Mollohan.
The Commission approved the Animal Shelter hosting a “Night at the Races” fund raiser on October 24.
The Commission reviewed a request from the Burnsville Volunteer Fire Department to assist in paying for the demolition of the old fire station which was a safety hazard. Gary Ellyson made a motion to contribute $5,000 from the Coal Re-allocation Fund with the understanding that if ½ of the insurance for the Burnsville Community Center was not paid to the Park and Recreations Board as specified in the BVFD’s lease, it would be deducted from the Fire Department’s allocated funds.
George Skidmore made a motion to release the $5,000 budgeted to the Mountain State Clean Streams organization.
The change in maintenance contact with Software Systems Inc. was approved as presented.
Gary Ellyson made a motion to approve a resolution designation Religious Freedom Week in Braxton County.
A memorandum of understanding with Workforce West Virginia was also approved.
Following a brief discussion Gary Ellyson made a motion to approve the advertisement of bids for septic system improvements at the Animal Shelter as soon as the requirements were received from the Health Department. The action passed over the objection of George Skidmore who stated that he wanted to review the specification before voting.
Following a review, invoices for the county, P-cards and EMS were authorized for payment. A separate motion approved the minutes of the previous Commission meeting with minor corrections.
Being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:34 a.m. The next regular meeting of the Braxton County Commission will get underway at 9:00 a.m. on September 4.
Kitty Adoption Fair
Set for next Saturday
Just One Generation, the Braxton Co. affiliate of PURR WV, is sponsoring a kitty adoption fair to be held Sat. August 29 from 9am- noon at the Kroger’s complex in Gassaway. All of the adoptable animals are very well socialized, and each has been spayed/neutered, wormed, and given age appropriate immunizations. A variety of ages and colors are available, including Emma, the little Munchkin mix kitten pictured here. Sally Stewart, program coordinator, states that adoption not only helps the animals, but gives the organization space and resources to help other felines in need. The cost of adoption is an affordable $30 for one kitten, or $40 for two. For further information, contact Sally Stewart at 304-364-4136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.