Lady Gaga Sets Facebook Record

Pop singing sensation Lady Gaga – whose maternal grandparents, Paul and Ronnie Bissett, reside in Glen Dale – set a Facebook record last week by attaining 10 million “friends.”

The first person to reach the 10-million mark on Facebook, Lady Gaga now has more “friends” on the social networking site than President Barack Obama, officials announced.

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga performed live on NBC’s “Today” show Friday, July 9, with a crowd estimated at 20,000 gathering on the plaza outside the TV studios for the free concert.

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Much has been said and written in the past two weeks about the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., who died Monday, June 28, at age 92.

Another interesting tidbit about the senator was related by writer Stephen Marche in an Op-Ed piece published in the New York Times Friday, July 2. He called Byrd “the greatest Shakespeare-quoter in American political history.”

Marche, who is writing a book about William Shakespeare’s effect on world history, stated, “In 1994 alone, Senator Byrd quoted every last Shakespeare play on the Senate floor at least once. That’s 37 plays.”

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Betty Ireland, former West Virginia secretary of state, is scheduled to open the Brides Against Breast Cancer Nationwide Tour of Gowns in Charleston today, July 11.

Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to granting wishes to men and women battling stage IV breast cancer, is bringing its Brides Against Breast Cancer event to Charleston today and Monday, July 12. The charity wedding gown sale, featuring hundreds of gowns donated by manufacturers, designers, retailers and individuals, helps make wishes come true for metastatic breast cancer patients.

Ireland’s loss of her sister six years ago to breast cancer has brought her closer to causes like Brides Against Breast Cancer, organizers of the event said.

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It’s almost unthinkable to realize that our dear colleague, Times Leader Lifestyles Editor Patricia Graham, is gone. “Tricia” or “Trish,” as she was known to friends and co-workers, was such a vibrant person, so full of life, upbeat, funny, delightful.

But a day after her 43rd birthday, Tricia underwent several hours of emergency open-heart surgery that began Friday, July 2. Sadly, she died on Tuesday, July 6, as a result of complications.

A history of heart disease ran in her family, but one would never know that to see Tricia in action. She was a busy mom, a devoted wife, a caring sister, a loyal friend, a dedicated journalist and a member of community groups and school organizations. She was active – running, walking, participating in 5K events and triathlons. At the time of her death, she was in training to participate again in the Faith in Action Caregivers triathlon. Her triathlon partner planned to compete in that event Saturday, July 10, in honor of Tricia.

What I’ll remember most about Tricia is her sunny countenance. One could always count on Tricia for a smile, a laugh, a joke. Her humor was self-deprecating, as she made light of her hectic life as a mother of four and as a newspaperwoman. She could regale her colleagues with accounts of those sometimes strange encounters that an editor has with members of the public.

As a writer, Tricia was like a modern-day Erma Bombeck, yet she never exploited her adventures for cheap laughs. She had a wry sense of humor and could see the funny or ironic side of most encounters.

My colleague, Life Associate Editor Betsy Bethel, said it best when she noted that an observer could always tell when either she or I were on the phone with Tricia, because the calls were always punctuated by laughter. After discussing the business at hand, Tricia would have a wry observation to offer, and we would erupt with bursts of laughs.

Even when she was bicycling on the grueling triathlon course, Tricia offered a big smile and made joking references to her performance as she passed the street corner where I was stationed as a volunteer. After Tricia completed her first Faith in Action triathlon, I told her that she was my hero – and I meant it.

May happy memories comfort Tricia’s family, friends and colleagues. We will miss her smiling face, her unending optimism, her zest for life.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: