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Parade And Football Game Attract Notice

When West Virginia University officials visited Wheeling Tuesday to outline plans for health care in the area, they also shared random thoughts of parades and football.

Speaking at Wheeling Hospital, WVU President E. Gordon Gee noted that he and the Pride of West Virginia marching band had been in the city last Saturday to participate in the Wheeling 250 parade. He remarked that while the band was marching through the streets of Wheeling, the Mountaineers were on a football field elsewhere.

Gee then promised the audience that WVU intended to build a football team of which the marching band could be proud.

During the parade, as spectators waved and greeted Gee enthusiastically, one woman turned to her fellow parade-watchers and quipped, “I’m not going to tell him what the score is.”

As it turned out, the WVU football team lost by a score of 38-7 on the University of Missouri’s home turf that afternoon.

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Approaching the podium in Wheeling Hospital’s auditorium Tuesday, Albert Wright, CEO of WVU Medicine, remarked that the sight of so many microphones made him feel like a football coach.

Wright drew laughter when he added quickly, “I’m glad I’m not the football coach.”

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice also mentioned the Wheeling 250 parade several times during his appearance Tuesday at Wheeling Hospital.

Justice rode in a 1959 convertible along the parade route. He said several onlookers yelled, “What year is that model?” during the event; he joked that he wasn’t sure if the spectators were asking about the car’s vintage or his age.

During his presentation at the hospital, Justice introduced Wheeling residents Mariah Renigar, 16; Celiah Renigar, 4, and their mother, Leann Renigar, whom he had noticed in a crowd along the parade route. The governor said he had called out to Mariah and offered a compliment for her colorful hair.

He said Leann Renigar later sent an email to the governor’s office offering thanks for his kindness to her daughter. Justice called the family to the stage of the hospital’s auditorium to introduce them to the assembled guests. The girls, in turn, gave colorful drawings to the governor.

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West Virginia Sen. William Ihlenfeld, D-Ohio, and his dog walked the Wheeling 250 parade route.

The beautiful canine was a hit with the crowd. Many observers called out “nice dog!” as the pair made their way through the streets.

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Kudos go to the organizers of the Wheeling 250 parade held in the downtown area last Saturday and the Wheeling 250 interfaith worship service conducted at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church last Sunday. Both events were well-planned and attracted large audiences.

Making an impressive sight and offering excellent performances in the parade were the Army “Old Guard” Fife and Drum Corps, wearing ceremonial uniforms authentic to the era of President George Washington; WVU’s huge marching band, whose lines spread over a couple of blocks; the 249th Army Band from West Virginia and marching bands from West Liberty University and St. Clairsville and Wheeling Park high schools.

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