Knoblich Scores Award

Wheeling storyteller Rich Knoblich has been honored by his peers in the West Virginia Storytelling Guild.

The group presented its Bob McWhorter Achievement Award to Knoblich recently. The award is actually a clock, which is a rather ironic symbol to represent the timeless art of storytelling.

Guild President Mikalena Zuckett said of Knoblich, “He is the faithful, resourceful funny bone who is an innovative and active guild member.”

Knoblich tells stores at Oglebay Park, where he holds weekly Historic Hilltop tours and shares traditional campfire tales at Wilson Lodge with Judi Tarowsky of St. Clairsville. Last month, he organized a Wheeling Suspension Bridge commemoration in connection with Friends of Wheeling; on that occasion, he prepared a history of the bridge’s collapse and eventual rebuilding.

The veteran storyteller also has been a winner and a judge of the state liars’ contest. He published a collection of his tall tales in a book titled “Talking ’bout the Relatives.” He and Tarowsky are co-founders of the Pricketts Fort and Grand Vue Park storytelling festivals.


West Virginia University President Gordon Gee’s famous wit and his trademark bow tie were on full display Monday when he spoke to journalists attending the WVU Academic Media Day on the Morgantown campus.

Gee made it clear that he is willing to take the blows that may occur during conversations and potentially contentious debates over steps necessary to move the state forward. “I’m like a pinata,” he quipped.


Rather low-key observances of West Virginia Day are planned locally on Wednesday.

The state’s birthplace, West Virginia Independence Hall in downtown Wheeling, is slated to have a “visit” from Abraham Lincoln at noon on Statehood Day. John W. King, who portrays Lincoln, will read the proclamation that admitted West Virginia into the Union as the 35th state in 1863.

Also in celebration of the state’s 155th birthday, visitors to Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville can make vintage-style postcards from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Wheeling-Ohio County Convention and Visitors Bureau is distributing the new Almost Heaven free stickers that have been produced by the West Virginia Tourism Office. The Convention and Visitors Bureau is located on the ground floor of the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center at 14th and Main streets.

The West Virginia Tourism Office also is launching a new social media campaign for the state’s 155th birthday. People who celebrate Statehood Day at a West Virginia destination are being urged to take a photo and post it publicly on social media using the #AlmostHeaven hashtag. Tourism officials said they will send surprise Almost Heaven gift bags to a few randomly selected West Virginia fans.


In another observance for the state’s birthday, West Virginia University Libraries and the West Virginia and Regional History Center in Morgantown will hold a reception at 9 a.m. Wednesday and a panel discussion on the topic, “Justice for All: Law and Lawyers in West Virginia.”

Organizers said this year’s theme honors Steptoe & Johnson’s recent donation of the papers from the law firm’s co-founder, Louis A. Johnson.

After the talks, the West Virginia and Regional History Center will open an exhibit of photographs, artifacts and documents chronicling the history of law in West Virginia.

All of the events are open to the public.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at:


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