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Peyton: ‘Hi, Ho, Silver’

In addition to being a sports medicine pioneer, new Wheeling Hall of Fame member Ronald G. Peyton is a veteran newspaper carrier.

Peyton, who now lives in Texas, said he had 150 to 200 customers as a paperboy for the Wheeling News-Register and The Intelligencer. But, noting what set him apart from other carriers, he revealed, “I delivered papers on horseback.”

He rode his horse, Silver, as he took care of his paper route in the Kruger Street and Mil-Acres areas. At the end of the delivery, he treated the horse to an orange Popsicle. Silver began to expect the daily cool treat, and it became an expensive habit, Peyton quippled.

He was inducted June 7 into the hall’s category of Sports and Athletics. A leader in the field of athletic training, Peyton said he also is a member of halls of fame at Duke University and West Virginia University.

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During the Wheeling Hall of Fame banquet held at WesBanco Arena, board chairman Robert DeFrancis lauded the public service of Patricia Pockl, who retired after 19 years as the secretary-treasurer of the Hall of Fame board.

Pockl was unavailable to attend the dinner, so a plaque will be presented to her at a meeting of Wheeling City Council, DeFrancis said.

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Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott congratulated and thanked the Hall of Fame honorees and their families.

“What makes Wheeling so wonderful are the people who comprise it,” he said, adding, “It’s a very exciting time in the city of Wheeling.”

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Authors Valerie Nieman and Kevin Rippin offered an entertaining program of poetry and prose for Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling on Tuesday.

Nieman read three poems from her collection,“Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse,” and selections from her new novel, “To the Bones,” published by West Virginia University Press.

She related that “Leopard Lady” was “many years in the making.” The fictional protagonist of the work is a biracial woman who worked as a dancer, psychic and later as a carnival sideshow performer after she lost her coloring from the skin condition known as vitiligo.

“It (the character’s voice) came to me in a rush and it continued until I finished the book,” Nieman said.

West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman, who introduced the visiting writers, described “To the Bones” as a genre-bending work. Nieman said the novel incorporates elements of mystery, horror and Appalachian tall tale.

Discussing her publisher, Nieman observed that “WVU Press is doing amazing work about Appalachia and beyond,” and said she is “proud to be part of their growth.”

Nieman worked as a journalist in north-central West Virginia for 25 years before launching a career in academia. The author of four novels and three poetry collections, she teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.

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