Mercer Joins Snoopy Ranks

Snoopy’s biggest fan in Wheeling is going to get the chance to keep an inflated version of the cartoon character aloft!

Dr. William Mercer, Ohio County health officer and Wheeling physician, is a huge fan of the popular “Peanuts” character. As many folks know, his private medical office is decorated with all sorts of renditions of the comic strip beagle.

Later this year, Mercer’s greatest dream will come true when he gets the opportunity to be a handler of the helium-filled Snoopy balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York City.

The doctor is well known for combining his love of Snoopy with his interest in public health. Over the years, he has arranged for two larger-than-life statues of the canine to find a home in Wheeling. He uses the “Joe Too Cool to Smoke” Snoopy characters as anti-smoking educational tools.

The original “Joe Too Cool to Smoke” Snoopy resides in the waiting room of Mercer’s office at the Wheeling Clinic. In a partnership launched last year with the Wheeling Nailers, the second figure — retrofitted as “Joe Nailer Too Cool to Smoke” Snoopy — is on display in WesBanco Arena’s main lobby.

The family of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz has given Mercer permission to use the special Snoopy characters for school programs. He is in contact frequently with Jeanne Schulz, the cartoonist’s widow, and keeps her up to date on Snoopy’s adventures in Ohio County.

Speaking at the Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health’s meeting Tuesday, Mercer related that Jeanne Schulz always serves as one of the balloon handlers for Snoopy in Macy’s parade. Mercer said he expressed his desire to become a Snoopy handler. Mrs. Schulz responded to his request and arranged for him to be added to the roster of volunteers for the 2019 event.


Winners have been selected in the best costume contest from the Wheeling 250 celebration’s Twelfth Night Costume Ball, which was held Jan. 5 at Oglebay Park’s Glessner Auditorium.

After the ball was over, online voting was conducted in two categories of costumes: Period Pieces and Famous Faces.

Representatives of the Wheeling 250 committee said the winners in the category of Period Pieces were Laura Mull, Kathleen Wack, Erika Koegler and Raina Burke, who were attired as Stone & Thomas shoppers from the 1960s era.

Placing second in this category were Betsy and David Delk as a 1920s tennis player and golfer. Finishing third was Pete Holloway, who was dressed as a World War II soldier.

Meanwhile, the committee’s vote counters said a tie occurred in the Famous Faces category. The winners were Debi and Greg Smith as a suffragette and French explorer Celeron de Bienville, respectively, and Jennifer and David Croft as Lydia Shepherd and Henry Clay.

Finishing second in this category were Christina Fisanick as Eleanor Steber and Mark Fetty as Lord Dunmore. Rounding out the voting, in third place were Mayor Glenn Elliott and Cassandra Wells as Mr. and Mrs. Henry K. List.


Shepherd University and the West Virginia Library Commission are now accepting short story submissions for the 2019 West Virginia Fiction Competition.

“Any resident of West Virginia or student attending school in the state may submit an original, unpublished work of fiction,” organizers said. “The submission may not have received any other award, recognition or special honor.”

A panel of writers, editors and creative writing instructors will choose finalists. Kentucky writer Crystal Wilkinson, the 2019 Appalachian Heritage writer-in-residence, will select winners from the field of finalists. Winners will be announced on Sept. 26.

The deadline for submissions is May 1. Writers may submit their stories, double-spaced and within a limit of 5,000 words, to Brenda Feltner, Shepherd University, P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV 25443.

Details of the fiction competition are available online at https://www.shepherd.edu/ahwir/west-virginia-fiction-competition. For more information, contact Karen Goff of the West Virginia Library Commission by email at karen.e.goff@wv.gov or Sylvia Shurbutt, from the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities, at SShurbut@shepherd.edu.

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


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)