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New Braxton business fills unique need

Braxton County producer is using her unique take on farming to grow her business. You’ll find eucalyptus and gourds growing at Ol Dad’z Greenhouse in Gassaway. Owner Marissa Nichols is excited about her venture and so is West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. The commissioner stopped by the greenhouse on Wednesday.
“Marissa has such innovative concepts,” said Leonhardt. “She’s growing eucalyptus for medicinal and decorative purposes. We don’t know of anyone else in this region doing that.”
Nichols says eucalyptus and gourds were the perfect fit for her five acres.
“We’re in Braxton County; it’s an economic desert. My business is small. That’s why I have to think outside the box. I have to come up with something unique, something different,” explained Nichols.
Currently 50 eucalyptus plants are growing in her greenhouse. In two years time, they’ll be mature and Nichols will be able to extract oils from the leaves. In the meantime, she’s growing gourds. She’s working with a research development company on ways to use the innards of the vegetable. The outside of the plants are turned into pots.
“I fill them full of soil and use them as planters. When you put them in the soil in the garden, they biodegrade, which goes back into the earth which is great for composting,” said Nichols.
Her work bench is covered in plants like lemon balm, mint, nasturtiums, sweet ellisiym, oregano and basil growing in gourd pots. She plans to sell them at local farmers markets.
“My goal is to completely recycle the entire gourd,” explained Nichols. “There’s nothing left over.”
Commissioner Leonhardt said Nichols is on the right track.
“She’s very conscientious. And quite frankly, that’s something we all need to be when it comes to the environment. I applaud her,” said Leonhardt.
Nichols is the recipient of a Rural Rehabilitation Loan. The monies go to growers who have been denied funding through conventional lending institutions but have viable business plans.
“The Rehabilitation Loan has been instrumental in this whole entire project,” said Nichols. “I couldn’t have gotten this far without it.”
As for the future, Nichols says her greenhouse and two garden plots are enough to keep her business growing for the near future.


Sutton house fire leaves
occupants hospitalized

Michael Utt thought he heard the doorbell ring at this 228 S. Stonewall Street home just after 2:00 p.m., Friday, June 7. When he went to investigate he discovered the noise was coming from a smoke detector and smoke coming from the roof of his residences. The owner made a hasty retreat into the burning structure to help is disabled wife get out. With the assistance of three persons who happened to be in the area, the couple was able to escape the inferno, but not without substaining burns. They were taken to Braxton County Memorial by Braxton Emergency Ambulances Services and treated for what was believed to be non-life threating injuries. They were later transferred to Cabell-Huntington Burn Center for additional care. No additional information concerning their condition has been released.


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Commission approves bid for new Courthouse roof

Several individuals brought matters before the Braxton County Commission at their regular meeting last Friday, June 7. Assessor Edie Tichner and Michael Gioulis consultant, presented the Commission with the lone bid they had received for a new roof on the Courthouse. President George Skidmore opened the bid and requested that Tichner, who had prepared the grant application and Gioulis review the components of the bid to see if they were adequate. The Commission proceeded with their regular meeting agenda until the pair returned with their recommendation. Gioulis stated that everything was in order with the bid from Alpha Construction of Summerville. He outlined the projected costs of the roof and related repairs before recommending the Commission accept the bid. A motion Lisa Godwin made it official. The repairs will be almost entirely paid for through grant funds.


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Lipps, Stillwell headed to
prison, others have day in court

Several Braxton County Circuit Court hearings have recently been completed by the Honorable Judge Richard A. Facemire. The state’s cases were presented by Braxton County Prosecuting Attorney Jasmine R.H. Morton.


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