‘GWTW’ Captures Readers’ Loyalty

And the winner is … “Gone With the Wind.”

Patrons of the Ohio County Public Library selected Margaret Mitchell’s enduring love story of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler as the winner of the Great Wheeling Read.

The Great West Virginia Read and the Great Wheeling Read selections were announced during a reveal party at the library in Wheeling Thursday evening.

Statewide, readers chose “To Kill a Mockingbird” as the Great West Virginia Read. Harper Lee’s classic novel also was the national winner of the Great American Read.

Julia Bachmann, the library’s outreach services specialist, coordinated the local component of the reading event. She announced the winning novels by unveiling two sheet cakes. An image of the book’s cover was depicted in the frosting on one cake, with the other book’s cover was pictured in the second cake’s icing.

The winners were selected from 100 titles nominated nationwide in the PBS-sponsored reading campaign. Reveal parties for the Great American Read and the Great West Virginia Read also were staged Thursday night at the libraries in Moundsville and Wellsburg.

At the Wheeling event, Lou Volpe, a retired English teacher at Wheeling Central Catholic High School, spoke on one of the featured novels, Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” which ranked 72nd in the final tally for the competition. He remarked that it took Ellison seven years to write his opus.

Volpe observed that literature leads to action. He quoted a passage from the book, “On Reading Well,” that suggests “one must read virtuously.”

The longtime teacher also praised the Ohio County Public Library for being a great facility that provides valuable resources to the community.

“We need the Great American Conversation,” Volpe commented, adding, “Books are transformative.”

An opening reception for Wheeling artist Thomas Wharton’s exhibition of paintings at West Liberty University’s Nutting Art Gallery has been rescheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday.

The opening had to be postponed last Wednesday when a major water line break forced the university to close.

Wharton’s exhibition, titled “Courting Wonder,” will remain on display through Nov. 15. The gallery, located in WLU’s Hall of Fine Arts, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free. The reception also is free and open to the public.

On a seasonal note, a team from Tyler Consolidated High School finished third in the annual Pumpkin Drop held last weekend at West Virginia University’s Engineering Sciences Building.

The Tyler students’ pumpkin landed two feet, 5 inches from the target. The team was awarded $25 for its achievement.

Teams from two school in Morgantown finished first and second in the competition.

Organizers said 355 pumpkins survived the drop from the building’s roof. Teams from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas competed in the event.

A shining example of how ordinary people can accomplish great feats, while acting quietly and with unswerving dedication, earned his eternal reward earlier this month.

Albert Lexie, who shined shoes at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for more than three decades, died on Oct. 16 at age 76.

According to hospital officials, Lexie committed his life to raising money for the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. He donated all the tips he earned from his one-man shoeshine business to help ensure that no children from the region go without the care they need. Since he started in 1982, Lexie raised more than $202,000 for the Free Care Fund, officials said.

A Children’s Hospital spokesman related, “Every Tuesday and Thursday for more than three decades, Lexie would make his trip to the hospital by bus, leaving home at 5:50 a.m. and arriving at the hospital around 7:25 a.m. He would then begin his day by picking up his purple shoeshine cart, and set off on his routine — visiting doctors, executives and staff members to shine their shoes.”

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

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