Local FFA member selected to perform
with National FFA Band
By Shirley Shuman
Braxton County High junior FFA member Hailey Vaughan will perform as a member of the National FFA Band at the 2016 National Convention. Vaughan, the daughter of Charlie and Lisa Vaughan will be playing bass clarinet in the 70-80 member band at the October 19-22 convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Vaughan, who has played bass clarinet for five years, explained how she received this opportunity. The idea to try to earn a spot in the band came last year through the encouragement of her FFA adviser, Josh Porto. She became interested right away.
“I thought it was an intriguing idea,” she said, “because it combined two things I love: FFA and music.”
However, as summer began, she “became immersed in [her] FFA and 4-H projects for the county fair.” Her interest renewed with another contact from her adviser, who reminded her that she had to audition if she “wanted to pursue a position in the FFA national band.” Deciding that she would audition, she began to prepare an audition video. “Considering that I had never compiled an audition video before, I decided to just do my best,” she said.
Vaughan knew from the audition application that there would be “over 1,000” applicants from throughout the United States. She also knew that the band would consist of 70-80 members. Nonetheless, she was willing to try, and she achieved the result she wanted.
Vaughan will report to the convention venue three days before the convention as band members must learn and rehearse the music they will be playing.
The only Braxton County High band member ever to play at the National FFA Convention, Vaughan is also one of only a select few ever to be chosen from the state for this honor.
The National FFA band is sponsored by Dow Agrosciences as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
Gassaway Council holds long meeting;
New Police Chief resigns
A three hour meeting of the Gassaway Town Council produced lots of rhetoric but little action last Thursday, August 18. One of the highlights was the introduction of the Town’s new Police Chief, former Sheriff Howard Carpenter. During the meeting the Chief outlined his first week on the job. However, Carpenter resigned the position Friday morning.
During the lengthy session only two motions were acted upon, both made my Councilman Jim Criner. The first pertained to the financial statement. Council members discussed the lack of detail pertaining to checks written. Recorder Cherri Wilson provided only the number and amount of the check. Members questioned why they had received copies of checks in the past, but not now. The Recorded stated that she would provide the information in whatever form the council preferred. Criner’s motion rejected the approval of the financial statement until council reviewed the more detailed information. Lynn Jeffries seconded the action which received the unanimous approval of the council.
Toward the end of the meeting, Criner made the second motion to limit the spending of the Mayor to $1,000 without the expressed consent of the council. That motion was seconded by Edna Wilson and also passed unanimously.
After the meeting was called to order by the Mayor, several citizens voiced their concerns to their city government. Mickey Skeens asked when the burned out remains of the house next door to him were going to be cleaned up. He stated that it had been years and the dilapidated ruins were devaluing his property. Mayor Ritchie Roach said that the council passing the “maintenance portion” of the state code pertaining to abandon and dilapidated buildings would give the city some authority. He stated that the new ordinance was on the agenda to be addressed later in the meeting.
Glen Hickson spoke about items being stolen from his property and nothing being done about it. Other citizens also expressed their concern.
Much of the meeting was filled with questions from the council which often spurred emotional responses. Recorder and Town Secretary Cherri Wilson was the object of several discussions, including how she was hired, what she was paid, who supervised her overtime and if she could hold the position of Recorder and not live in the city as prescribed by state code. Emotions were high throughout most of those discussions prompting Wilson to leave the meeting at one point. Mayor Roach followed a short time later before he and the Recorder returned for the balance of the meeting.
One of the last matters taken up before the meeting adjourned pertained to the dilapidated building ordinance. When questioned about the portion of the ordinance the Mayor thought needed to be adopted, The Recorded stated that she had presented the council with the state code and they should extract from it the portions they wanted in the new ordinance. Councilman Jim Malick discussed the material at length saying the matter had been under discussion since April and the council members needed to examine the documents and come up with an ordinance that would meet the town’s needs.
The meeting adjourned at 10:03 PM.
Braxton FFA Dairy Cattle Team wins state competition Group earned
right to compete at national convention
By Shirley Shuman
“It was one of the proudest moments I’ve had as a teacher,” Braxton County High FFA adviser Josh Porto declared after four of his students had earned the right to compete at the national FFA convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 19-21.
Braxton’s Dairy Cattle Evaluation team, composed of Emilly Miller, Drina Kearns, Brady Bender, and Katlyn Moss, took first place in the state competition held at Jackson’s Mill on Sunday, August 15. In addition, Miller placed third individually and Kearns finished fifth. The top ten received recognition.
Adviser Porto explained that the competition involved “evaluating different classes of dairy cattle, both mature cows and heifers. The competition began at 9 a.m. and lasted until 4:30 p.m.
Team members explained that they had spent quite some time during the summer to prepare for the competition. Moss, a senior who competed in the same category last year, said, “Last year, we had only two weeks to prepare. This year, we had time to practice over the summer.” She added, “We came in weekly [to practice].”
Moss said that she likes cows and enjoyed judging. She continued to note that she was “really happy” with the win and the opportunity to go to the national convention for even more competition. Asked how she felt going into the state competition, she replied, “In a way I was confident, but I didn’t want to be arrogant.”
Kearns actually became a member of the winning team upon the request of her FFA adviser. “Mr. Porto said that he needed someone for the team, so I agreed to do it,” she said. Kearns had previous practice judging cattle since she had judged the Beef Stockman Contest.
An active 4-H member, Kearns said she was “surprised with the win” because, as individual awards were given out, “a lot of students from other schools placed in the top 10.”
As for the national convention and the competition there, she is “looking forward to it.”
Miller, who, like Moss, is a 4-H member and a repeater on the team, was happy with her third-place individual award although she placed second last year as freshman. She has worked with beef cattle but explained this is “only the second year working with dairy cattle.” She explained that this is also only the second year the local FFA members have worked with dairy cattle. “Other schools have been doing it for years,” she said.
Noting that she “was surprised” that her team won first place, Miller is nonetheless definitely looking forward to the national competition as well as the trip to the national convention.
Bender declared that he “was drafted for the team.” A sophomore, he is in his first year dealing with dairy cattle. He did say, however, that he has worked with beef cattle on the family farm and that they do have some dairy cattle.
This team member did not hesitate to show that he was confident about the Braxton team’s chances of winning. “Going into it (the competition), I thought we had a good chance. The team was well-prepared.” Of course, he, too, looks forward to the national convention and the upcoming competition.
Gassaway woman arrested for shoplifting, trespassing
On August 12, West Virginia State Police TRP J.O. Hensley received a call from the Flatwoods Wal-Mart for an individual, Leslie Ramsey of Gassaway, trespassing. She has previously trespassed on other Wal-Mart properties and was know to the staff. TRP Hensley and TRP E.D. Schoolcraft arrived on scene and met the suspect at the outer doors.
According to the criminal complaint, Trooper Schoolcraft noticed Ramsey was wearing two pair of sunglasses on her head and one pair still had price tags on them. The suspect said she had just forgotten to pay for them.
During the investigation of the suspect’s background, TRP Hensley discovered the defendant had two previous charges of shoplifting from Lewis and Upshur counties. Ramsey allegedly had also previously trespassed at the Flatwoods Wal-Mart, but had fled from Wal-Mart staff on August 6.
Ramsey is being charged with shoplifting-3rd offense, and two counts of trespassing. She is currently incarcerated in the Central Regional Jail on a $10,000 cash only bond set by Magistrate Beth Smith.
County native takes in the
2016 Olympics Games
By Shirley Shuman
Travis Rexroad, a Braxton County native, now living in Los Angeles, recently spent nine days in Rio de Janeiro representing one of his company’s products at the 2016 Olympic Games. During that time, Rexroad interacted with several of the athletes and enjoyed several Olympic events.
His reaction, especially coming from the well-traveled public relations individual that he is, proves the impact of the Olympic experience. “It was amazing,” Rexroad said. “First, it was great to get to go to South America on business, and then, to go to the Olympics on business made it even greater,” he added.
Since the trip was as a representative of KT Tape, a client of Taylor, the public relations firm for which he works, he arrived in Rio two days before the Olympics officially began. KT Tape is one of the sponsors of Team USA. This marked the 17th consecutive year of the Olympic Games that Taylor was on site supporting sponsorship for leading brands.
“My job was to work with the athletes who use KT Tape, to make sure they were camera ready for interviews, and to make the tape available to any athlete who wanted to use it,” Rexroad explained. As such, he had access to the gymnasts along with several others.
In response to a question about the most memorable of his experiences at the Olympic Games, Rexroad at first mentioned one of the American team’s rugby games. After he had thought a bit longer,however, he said, “No, let me change that. I think that watching the beach volleyball team, especially Kerri Walsh Jennings, was even more memorable. She absolutely refused to give up, and they emerged with the bronze.”
Rexroad commented further on his satisfaction with his work. “I love anything sports related. I decided that if you can’t be a professional athlete, the next best thing is to work with them. With this position, I’ve been to the Super Bowl, to professional games in every sport, and now to the Olympic Games.”
Samual Veasey facing burglary
On August 13, West Virginia State Police TRP J.O. Hensley received a call of a burglary in progress on Elk River Road in Gassaway from Braxton County 9-1-1. The officer, along with Braxton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy C.E. Westfall arrived on scene and discovered a male individual, Samual Veasey of Flatwoods, inside the residence.
According to the criminal report, Veasey stated he had “just woke up in that house”. He continued rambling and making statements about drugs and weapons. The officers did recover a machete and knife from the suspect.
The homeowner told TRP Hensley that she had found the suspect lying on her couch when she came home and the back door glass and a window had been broken out.
Veasey was arrested and charged with nighttime burglary and destruction of property. He was arraigned by Braxton County Magistrate Beth Smith and placed in the Central Regional Jail on a $25,000 cash only bond.