Make It A Good Spot

There is a place along Interstate 70 in Belmont County that causes me anguish each time I drive past it. No matter how much I want to think of something else, the spot reminds me of Anthony Proviano. He was the 29-year-old medical student who was murdered in 1997 in a desolate field near a cemetery just off that eastbound I-70 location of which I write.

Proviano was on his way home to Pennsylvania from medical school for the Christmas holidays and, for whatever reason, stopped at a local motel and lost his life. It took several days for his body to be found in that field near the motel and for his anguished parents to learn the fate of their son. The case haunted me and others for years until his murderers were caught. The location of his death still gives me pause.

There have been other cases that have crossed our headlines that also stick with me like an unwanted, late night visitor. The sight of an early morning fire that claimed a mother and her children in Warwood will never be erased from memory. Grown men with faces smudged from smoke cried that night. The pictures taken at the family’s funeral will forever record the grief; the location of the fire, never forgotten.

And now a new location, another spot will be known for the violence that occurred there rather than the quiet, tree-lined residential street that it has been for generations. At Locust Avenue and National Road in Wheeling, a 21-year-old man’s fate was sealed last Saturday morning. Wheeling Jesuit University student Kevin Figaniak died after a brutal confrontation with other young men at that location.

This senseless death has deflated a community that errs on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of its children – no matter their age.

The details of this case will come out in court and until then, social media has many people speculating and pointing fingers.

I urge everyone to allow the law to effect justice. That’s what sets our country, our way of life apart from the lawlessness of other lands.

Accusations and more violence will not bring Kevin back to his family and friends.

Police have been working extraordinarily hard on this case and have made two arrests to date. As a member of the Wheeling area community, I thank them for their diligence and tireless efforts. More arrests may be coming as the investigation continues.

The university and the Figaniak family hope to raise funds to erect a memorial in Kevin’s name.

Maybe in doing so it will remind others how sacred life is and how things can change in an instant. If erecting a memorial will make one young student stop and think about his or her actions off and on campus, I applaud the idea.

Until then, National Road and Locust Avenue will be another sore spot for all of us for a little while longer.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at