Braxton County

Braxton County

Legislative Update – by – Delegate Brent Boggs - House Majority Leader - 07.15.13


It was tough late Sunday morning as Collin and Gavin headed back to South Carolina with Jessica.  It was a busy week for them, with Bible School, lots of outdoor activities, and visits with family.  They played no video games all week and they didn’t seem to miss it at all.  I was pleasantly surprised they truly enjoyed some of the things I take for granted:  walking in the woods with the dog, working in the garden, burning a big brush pile, painting, and other tasks that seen ordinary to me.  Getting all of the grand kids together earlier in the week was a real treat for Jean and me last week and the time invested with them is truly time well spent.

While the grand kids were home, a typical working morning at the farm and in the garden turned into a trip to the emergency room for me.  I want to thank emergency room physician, Dr. Chris Conrad and the entire medical staff of Braxton County Memorial Hospital ER for their great care.  While there, a number of injuries much more serious than mine came through the door.  I was both appreciative and in awe of the quality, personal care they provided that day and for everyone, every day.  That is what they do for all of our community – whether it’s a minor injury or life-threatening event.  Our citizens and community are indeed fortunate to have a quality medical facility located here in central West Virginia.  It bolsters our health, economic development potential and employment opportunities for everyone.

Sunday evening necessitated my attending a meeting at the Capitol until late hours.  In my abbreviated column this week, I know our community is reeling from the media reports last week that involved the tragic death of a young child.  While the facts will emerge as the state police continue their investigation, it points out once again that very young, the aged and the disabled population is the most vulnerable among us.  We must do all we can to protect those that are unable to protect themselves.

Please send your inquiries to the Capitol Office at:  Building 1, Room 224-M, Charleston, WV 25305.  Or, call the Capitol office at 304.340.3220; Assistant to the Majority Leader, Jennifer McPherson at 304.340.3942 or fax to 304.340.3213.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my e-mail address is: “” .

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

WV State Police: Braxton Boy Deceased for ‘A Considerable Amount of Time’

A Braxton County mother was jailed and charged with child neglect resulting in death following the loss of her 8-year-old son.

Sgt. Michael Baylous from West Virginia State Police talked about the case on Friday in South Charleston.

West Virginia State Police were called when hospice caregivers were turned away by Valarie Brown, age 38, at the front door of her Sutton home on several occasions.

Her son Levi Burroughs was under the care of hospice because he suffered from Hurler’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes organ damage and eventual death.

Most children afflicted with Hurler’s Syndrome do not live past the age of 10.

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Sgt. Michael Baylous

“Obviously, [hospice] felt there was a need to get in there and provide treatment for this child and they were being denied that access,” explained First Sgt. Michael Baylous with the West Virginia State Police.

When the trooper arrived with a hospice worker on Thursday, Mrs. Brown once again resisted letting anyone into the home, but eventually allowed them inside. They found Levi deceased in a bed, wrapped in a blanket, his body partially decomposed.

Baylous said the child had been dead for “a considerable amount of time.”

“The child was denied care, denied care!  Mrs. Brown did not allow Hospice to come in and provide the proper care and treatment that that child needed.”

Investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy. What they find will be key to determining if Brown is charged with a more serious crime.

Baylous said the treatment of the boy was unconscionable.

“Here’s a child, in his last hours, was in conditions…He wasn’t in a loving and compassionate environment,” stated Baylous. “This child died alone!”

Police said they are familiar with Brown and “her pattern of behavior.” She’s been arrested on more than one occasion for drug related crimes.  Now investigators want to find out what she was doing in the last few days of her son’s life.

“We want to know where Ms. Brown was during that entire time and what she was out doing,” according to Baylous.  “Our investigators will work tirelessly on this.”

Brown also has a 6-year old son. He was last seen at the home this past weekend, but was staying with a grandparent at the time Brown was taken into custody.

She’s being held at the Central Regional Jail on $100,000 bail.

~~  Jennifer Smith ~~

G-otcha™: Young Boy Found Dead in Sutton, Braxton County

Imprisonment Status:  Pre-Trial Felon
Full Name: Brown,  Valarie Lee
Height: 5’  8"
Weight: 125 lbs.
Birth Date: 12.12.1974
Gender: Female
Booking Date: 07.10.2013
Facility: Central Regional Jail
Imprisonment Status: Pre-Trial Felon

Offender Court Order Information

Court Info Number Issuing Agency Location
13F-136 BRAXTON COUNTY - Bail Amount: $100,000.00
A Braxton County woman is charged with child neglect resulting in death after West Virginia State Police said they found the body of her 8-year old son, wrapped in a blanket, in her home.

The discovery was made on Wednesday night, July 10, 2013 when state troopers and those with Hospice went to a Salt Lick Road home.

The home belong to Valarie Brown, age 38, of Sutton, WV.

The reason for them being there was to check on the child who had an undisclosed medical condition.

West Virginia State Troopers said when the boy’s body was found it had started to decompose.

Bail was set at $100,000 for Brown who was being held in the Central Regional Jail in Braxton County.

WV State Police officials said they would talk more about the case on Friday morning.

Kaleh Jewel Westfall

The Gilmer Free Press

Cary and Casey Westfall of Heaters, WV announce the birth of their son, Kaleh Jewel Westfall.

He was born Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital of Weston and is the couple’s second child.

The little boy weighed 7-pounds, 4-ounces.

The mother is the former Cary Claypool.

Maternal grandparents are Vinton and Linda Claypool of Heaters, WV.

Paternal grandparents are Lantie and Myrtle Westfall of Newville.

Bernard K. Seal

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Bernard K. Seal

Age 75 of Exchange, WV passed July 09, 2013 following a sudden illness.

He was born July 29, 1937, the son of the late Kenna B. Seal and Ruth McMillion Seal.

In 1968, he married Velma Friend Seal who survives.

He was preceded in death by both parents and brother, Burton V. Seal and a nephew, Jeffrey Brown.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sisters, Reta Maxine (Lou) Kuritz of Toms River, NJ and Donna Romriell of Exchange, WV as well as one brother, Kenna R. Seal (Paula) of Sutton, WV. Bernard is also survived by nieces, Robin Romriell, Dianna Carr, Rebecca Brock and nephews, Lewis Kuritz and Michael Brown.

Bernard was an underground coal miner shuttle car operator, ending his career as a fire boss for Island Creek Coal Company.

At his request, there will be no services.

Roach Funeral Home in Gassaway is assisting the family.

Charles “Rusty” Bender

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Charles “Rusty” Bender

Age 48, of Trace Run, Gassaway, WV, passed July 07, 2013 at home.

He was born December 25, 1964 in Braxton County, WV a son of the late Charlie and Nina Lea Conrad Bender.

Rusty was a logger and skidder operator and a graduate of Braxton County High School.

He is survived by son, Charles Trenton Hall of Sutton; aunt, Alice Cain of Ohio and several cousins.

Graveside service was 11 AM Thursday, July 11, 2013 at the Conard Cemetery on Little Trace with Pastor Bill Morlan officiating.

In lieu of flowers donations for funeral expenses may be made to Christel Miller, 2081 Little Trace Rd., Exchange, WV 26619.

Arrangements by Richard M. Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

Kroger Donates $32K to Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway

The Gilmer Free Press

Kroger donated $32,000 to the Mountaineer Food Bank Tuesday, which is the largest gift it has given to any organization in its six-state Mid-Atlantic region. 

The donation is part of Kroger’s “Bringing Hope to the Table” program, which raised $3 million this year to support “Feeding America” and its member food banks that operate in communities served by Kroger.

“I extend the gratitude of the Mountaineer Food Bank to Kroger for its generous contribution,“ said Carla Nardella, executive director of the Mountaineer Food Bank. “This donation from Kroger, its employees and customers helps to make our mission of alleviating hunger in West Virginia a reality for the thousands of people we serve in 48 counties in our state.“

The donation will be used to cover part of the food bank’s operating expenses, Nardella said. Joe Antolini, Kroger’s district manager, presented the check to Nardella at the Kroger store in Gassaway on Tuesday.

Kroger operates 36 stores throughout West Virginia. Since its launch in 2006, the “Bringing Hope to the Table” program has generated $24 million in funds and $7 million in food for more than 80 local food banks across the country.

So far, Kroger has donated $118,000 to states in its Mid-Atlantic region, which includes West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

That Dam Race 5K Set for July 20, 2013

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That Dam Race 5k is set for July 20, 2013 at 8:00 AM.

The annual 5k walk and run will be held in Sutton, WV as part of the annual Mountain Lakes Festival.

The course begins under the backdrop of the Sutton Dam at the Downstream Recreation Area.

The first 100 preregistered participants will receive a That Dam Race t-shirt.

Last year, the course record was shattered by runner Samuel Smith with a time of 19:39!

Special guest, Jamie Summerlin, will be on-hand to promote Freedom Run, a book about his experience running across the United States in 100 days. So challenge yourself to run or walk That Dam Race 5k this summer!

To preregister, contact the Braxton County CVB at 304.765.6533 or stop by the office at the Flatwoods Factory Outlet Mall.

Participants can also register online at or download a form at .

Registration will be $25 the day of the race and will start at 7:00 AM at the shelter below the Sutton Dam.

Margie “Kathleen” Sweitzer

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Margie “Kathleen” Sweitzer

Age 89, of 210 Fulton Street, Burnsville, WV, passed away on Monday, July 01, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon, WV following a brief illness.

Kathleen was born in Burnsville, WV on May 31, 1924 a daughter of the late Oliver D McPherson and Audrey (Crutchfeild) McPherson.

She was married to Charles Sweitzer who preceded her in death.

Kathleen was Methodist by faith and was a member of the Burnsville United Methodist Church.

Mrs. Sweitzer loved to watch TV, was an avid shopper, and she loved to travel the world in her younger years with her husband. She also enjoyed spending time with family and friends.

Kathleen is survived by three nephews John Wesley McPherson II of Las Vegas, NV, Joe Davis McPherson of Sutton, WV, and Jeffery Dean McPherson of Houston, TX, one niece Rebecca Jane Smith of Anchorage, AK and several cousins.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by two brothers Joseph B. McPherson, John Wesley McPherson Sr.

A graveside service in memory of Kathleen was held on Saturday, July 06, 2013 at the McPherson Cemetery on Oil Creek Road, Burnsville, WV at 1:00 PM with Reverend James Burrough officiating.

Interment followed services in the McPherson Cemetery.

Stockert-Sizemore Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Margie “Kathleen” Sweitzer.

Phyllis Ann Underwood

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Phyllis Ann Underwood

Age 73, of Gassaway, WV went to be with her Lord and Savior on July 08, 2013 at home after a long illness.

She was born September 07, 1939 in Braxton County, WV a daughter of the late Chaney and Lottie Smarr Frame.

She was a homemaker and an associate insurance agent.

A member of the First Southern Baptist Church, Sutton; Past Matron of Gassaway Order of Eastern Starr #32 and a graduate of Gassaway High School.

She married her high school sweetheart Earl “Bud” Underwood on September 27, 1958.

She was preceded in death by brothers, Earl, Garrett, Delmas, Leonard, Wesley, Frank, Newton, Kyle, Forrest and Glenn; sisters, Juanita Burrows, Ivy White, Gladys Kuhl and Veda Conner.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Earl “Bud” Underwood; daughter, Vicki Carr and husband, Brad of Gassaway; cherished grandsons, Aaron Lemon of Huntington and Brandon Lemon of Gassaway; her great grandchildren that she cherished, Keller Lemon and Maddox Lemon; sisters, Pearl Mace and husaband, Laco of Frametown, Bernice Wilson of Cottageville and Judy Slaughter and husband, Steve of Jessup, MD; brother, Norman Frame and wife, Barbara of Frametown.

Special thank you to Hospice Care of Burnsville and Susan McKenzie.

Service will be 1 PM Friday, July 12, 2013 at the First Southern Baptist Church, Sutton with Pastor Rick Canfield officiating.

Burial will be in the Sugar Creek Cemetery, Gassaway.

Friends may call two hours prior to the service at the Church.

Arrangements by Richard M. Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

James Hobert Frame

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James Hobert Frame

Age 67, of Grasslick, Braxton County, WV, passed July 07, 2013 at home.

He was born December 20, 1945 the son of the late Hobert and Mary Hashman Frame.

He was the body shop foreman for Pletcher Pontiac, Gassaway for many years.

He is survived by wife, Alta Helen Houston Frame; children, Lisa Ann Freeman and husband, Jeff and Rusty Frame and wife, Paula; grandsons, Nolan Freeman, Josh Freeman, Dustin Frame and Justin Frame; great grandchildren, Gracie Freeman and Jackson Freeman.

Friends may call from 11 AM to 2 PM Wednesday, July10, 2013 at Richard M. Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

Burial will follow at the Crooked Fork Baptist Church, Cemetery, Crooked Fork with Rev. Mark Stump officiating.

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