Byrd Calls Gardeners To Compete

Gardeners, pick up your trowels and get to work!

With the summer growing season in full progress, the South Wheeling Preservation Alliance is making plans for its fourth annual “Golden Trowel” competition for South Wheeling residents and businesses.

Brother John Byrd, a founding organizer of the Preservation Alliance and an avid gardener, said the contest is designed to encourage beautification and pride in the neighborhood.

Three prizes will be awarded in each of these categories: front porch; yard, side yard, whimsical and best-maintained; and weed-free brick sidewalk.

Discussing the competition, Byrd said, “Since its inception, the number of participants has increased each year.”

A business category has been added this year, he said.

Judging will take place from Aug. 15-31. Winners will be announced at the South Wheeling Preservation Alliance’s September meeting.


Dr. Jerra Jenrette hit a home run with the People’s University audience at the Ohio County Public Library Tuesday when she cited the contributions of South Wheeling’s own pro baseball player, Rose Gacioch, during World War II.

Jenrette, a professor of history at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, taught a class, “On the Home Front and Abroad: Women in World War II,” for the ongoing series. During the course of her presentation, she discussed the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was organized because many male major leaguers were fighting in the war.

She noted that Gacioch, who died in 2004, was a leading player in the league. While working in a local factory during the war, Gacioch participated in a tryout for the league at Pulaski Field in South Wheeling. She earned a spot on the team, becoming one of the league’s best players as a right fielder and pitcher for the Rockford Peaches.


The West Virginia Division of Culture and History began using its official new name — West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History– this past week.

Randall Reid-Smith remains as head of the department, although his title has been changed from commissioner to curator. Under the restructuring plan approved by the state Legislature earlier this year, the new department’s curator reports directly to the governor, rather than to a cabinet secretary, whose position was eliminated.


Meanwhile, the department has extended the deadline until Friday for submissions for the 2018 West Virginia Emerging Artists Juried Exhibition.

The exhibit will open Aug. 23 at the Culture Center in Charleston. The department will present three awards for the exhibition.

Some area artists have questioned who qualifies as “emerging.” Without explaining the designation fully, state officials said, “To be eligible to enter the exhibition, artists must be 18 years of age or older and maintain a permanent domicile in West Virginia. Exceptions to this requirement are made for students and military personnel who have West Virginia resident status and a home address in the state.”

Organizers said eligible artists may submit two pieces for the exhibit jurying in painting, print or drawing, mixed media, craft or wall hangings, photography, digital art and sculpture. The pieces must have been created between 2016 and 2018. Digital images, not original pieces, are to be submitted for the jurying process.

For more information about the exhibition guidelines and jurying process, visit online at and click on the Emerging Artist link or contact Cailin Howe by telephone at 304-558-0220, ext. 128, or by email at


On the homefront, Alison Helm, a professor of sculpture and director of the School of Art and Design at West Virginia University, served as the juror for the 2018 edition of “Crosscurrents,” Oglebay Institute’s annual juried multi-media art exhibition. She chose more than 60 pieces for the exhibit.

An opening reception for “Crosscurrents” will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Stifel Fine Arts Center, 1330 National Road, Wheeling. Winners will be announced during a ceremony at approximately 7:15 p.m.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at:


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