Look Out For New ‘Lovescapes’

As the season of hearts and flowers approaches, the Ohio Valley Young Preservationists group has launched the second annual “All We Need is Love” initiative in the Friendly City.

Bekah Karelis, a member of the organization and coordinator of the project, said, “In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we will ‘lovescape’ downtown Wheeling with hearts and handmade decorations.”

She explained that the initiative, taking place from Saturday, Feb. 8, to Sunday, Feb. 23, is “an effort to draw attention to some of Wheeling’s most historic and intriguing buildings.”

Several groups are joining the Young Preservationists for this campaign. Students, businesses, organizations and individuals are “adopting” different buildings by making decorations, decorating their designated buildings and removing the decorations. “Groups can add the history of the property, display their group’s logo or add a short statement about why they chose a certain building and why they believe it is important to preserve the historical integrity of downtown Wheeling,” Karelis said.

Participants gathered at the Wheeling Artisan Center Wednesday evening, Jan. 29, to make heart-shaped and love-inspired decorations. The “love-scapers” will decorate their adopted buildings next weekend and remove the decorations from the buildings during the weekend of Feb. 22-23.

The Ohio Valley Young Preservationists are asking owners of Wheeling’s “most historic and intriguing” buildings for permission to decorate their buildings for the project.

For more information on the initiative, call Karelis at 304-232-3087.

Does this “lovescape” work? Well, last year, during the first “All We Need is Love” event, Wheeling native Glenn Elliott saw and decided to purchase and renovate the Professional Building, one of the “lovescaped” downtown properties that was on the market. Will someone show similar “love” for a downtown structure this Valentine’s Day?

Continuing on the “heart” theme, will the Honky Tonk Sweethearts become America’s next musical sweethearts?

The local singing group – composed of area residents Laurie Labishak, Joylene Riggle, Lois Scott and Nikki Fleming – auditioned in Indianapolis last weekend for the upcoming season of the NBC competition, “America’s Got Talent.” A published report stated that more than 5,000 acts registered to be part of the two days of auditions at the Indiana Convention Center.

According to the show’s website, Indianapolis was one of 11 cities where auditions were being conducted for the ninth season of “America’s Got Talent.” In addition to Indianapolis, tryouts for the talent show have been held in Miami, Atlanta, New York City, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Greensboro, N.C., and Providence, R.I. The last round of auditions will take place in Los Angeles Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 8-9.

The Honky Tonk Sweethearts and the other entrants are slated to be notified by end of February as to whether they will advance to the next round of competition for this summer’s televised show.

We have learned that Kathryn S. Herpel, a well-known artist and former glass designer for Hazel Atlas Corp. in Wheeling, died at age 98 in Pittsburgh Friday, Jan. 24.

Herpel was the subject of a Life cover feature in the Sunday News-Register in February 2012 after she donated vintage Hazel Atlas glass that she designed and original company catalogs to the historic collection owned by the Alumni Association of West Virginia Northern Community College.

The company catalogs included the actual designs for pieces in the alumni group’s collection.

Herpel, who was known to friends as “Kay,” graduated from what is now Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in industrial design in 1938. She was then employed by Hazel Atlas Corp. and moved to Wheeling, where she became an important member of the company’s design department. Herpel worked for the company through the l950s, then was employed by the glass manufacturers that purchased Hazel Atlas molds and took over the operation of its glass plants.

The entire Hazel Atlas collection, including the items donated by Herpel, can be viewed at the Ohio County Public Library in downtown Wheeling. The glassware is on display in the former Wheeling Room, located on the library’s lower level, adjacent to the auditorium.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer.net