Lady Gaga Fans Agog Over Visit

Fans of Lady Gaga were all agog after recent sightings of the music superstar in Wheeling.

Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, and her parents spent Thanksgiving week in the area, visiting their family in Wheeling after her concert at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Nov. 20. Her mother, the former Cynthia Bissett, grew up in Glen Dale and graduated from John Marshall High School in 1972.

Fans spotted Lady Gaga in a variety of local locations, including the Kroger store on Mount de Chantal Road in Wheeling and Figaretti’s restaurant in Wheeling. Some fans even snapped photos of the performer on their phones. One picture, showing Lady Gaga shopping in the produce department at Kroger, was featured later on the TMZ celebrity website.

In an emotional high point of the concert in Pittsburgh, Lady Gaga dedicated a song to her aunt who lives in Wheeling and to her late grandfather. She also gave shout-outs during the number to her grandmother and her cousins in Wheeling. A number of family members and friends were in the audience for the show.

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When sports author Jim O’Brien returned to Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library on Tuesday, he remarked that Wheeling and Bridgeport were the only places where his family visited when he was growing up in Pittsburgh.

He said they traveled by train to Wheeling because his maternal grandfather worked for the B&O Railroad. O’Brien’s mother, Mary, grew up in Lansing. He said she graduated second in her class at the former St. Joseph’s Academy in Wheeling and later worked for Wilson Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

O’Brien, who now lives in Washington County, Pa., said his house contains 34 drawers of notes from his sportswriting years. He showed the Lunch With Books audience a scrapbook that his late mother compiled. O’Brien said his mother clipped every article he wrote over a 15-year period and pasted them into the album.

He used those clippings from 40-50 years ago as source material for his two newest books, “From A To Z: A Boxing Memoir from Ali to Zivic” and “From the ABA to the NBA, the WNBA to the NCAA.” While re-reading those old articles, he said he could see the scene, hear the voices and remember talking to the athletes whom he had interviewed.

As a sportswriter, he said, “I always went places other writers didn’t go. I was more interested in the stories — learning about who they are, what they’re really like.”

O’Brien, 75, has written 27 books that offer behind-the-scenes stories from the world of sports.

He quipped that the potential title for a future book may be “My Life Has Become One Big U-Turn” because he is starting to become forgetful.

He and his wife, Kathy, have been married 50 years.

He praised her influence on his life, saying, “I would not be where I am without my wife.”

O’Brien offered men four keys to a successful marriage:

— “Always adore her.

— “Do whatever she wants to do.

— “Never ask what anything costs.

“Being a guy, you will screw up. Beg, beg, beg, for forgiveness.”

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Patricia McClure, who coordinates work on the biographies of veterans listed on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial, and seven students from George Washington High School in Charleston will present “Pearl Harbor Remembered: We Were There” at the Culture Center in Charleston at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Pearl Harbor Day program is free and open to the public.

This year marks the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Hawaii.

McClure also will briefly discuss the remaining West Virginia Pearl Harbor survivors. She said it is believed that only four of the West Virginians are still living.

They now reside, respectively, in Lincoln, Greenbrier, Cabell and Mason counties.

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

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