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Penitentiary Being Readied for Annual Dungeon of Horrors

More than 10,000 people are expected to come to Moundsville during the next six weekends in conjunction with the annual Dungeon of Horrors, along with the North (Hall) Walk, both held at the former West Virginia Penitentiary.

The events will actually get underway on Tuesday, when a dress rehearsal of the Dungeon of Horrors takes place.

Those participating in the Dungeon of Horrors attraction will be taking part in one of the scariest places behind bars.

They will be experiencing the fright of being locked in a cell, the fear of being lost in a maze, and the terror of an eerie walk through the Dungeon of Horrors.

The Dungeon of Horrors has been around for 20 years at the former West Virginia Penitentiary, while the the North Walk is just in its fourth year.

While the Dungeon of Horrors takes part in mainly the southern part of the former institution, including a baseball area, while the North Walk is through the most northern part of the facility.

Those taking part in the North Walk will enter through the “Wheel,” which for many years was the main entrance — correctional officers and inmates — to the prison. Once inside, a person could go either north or south into the cell areas, or if they went straight ahead they would be where the auditorium used to be, along with the infirmary and inmates work sites.

Getting back to the North Walk, it will take visitors to a section of the former institution where in later years the most hardened inmates were housed. It will be dark in this area, with the only light being that of a flashlight carried by the tour guide.

Tours of the North Walk will begin every 20 minutes, starting at 7 p.m. The tours will take from 45-55 minutes.

Tickets to both attractions are to be obtained online at www.wvpentours.com.

For the first time, there will be a food truck on the premises.

Also, special a attraction will take place this coming Saturday when some 20 vehicles which were once used as funeral hearses will be on the grassy section on the north end of the building. Those touring the faculty that day can view the hearses, as can anyone who happens to be in the vicinity that day. There is a Hearse Club from Pittsburgh whose members have such vehicles.

There is no fee for getting a close up of the hearses which will be on the grounds starting at 1 p.m.

By the way, there will be a dress rehearsal for the Dungeon of Horrors on Tuesday, with the first group to make its way through that area at 8 p.m. There is a $10 fee for this event, with tickets to be purchased at the gate.

Now for the dates and times for the Dungeon of Horrors:

Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26; Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5; Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12; Friday, Oct. 18, Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday, Oct. 20; Friday, Oct. 26, Saturday, Oct. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 28; Thursday, Oct. 31 (Halloween), Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2. The first group each night will be begin at 7 p.m.

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A couple of Halloween-related events will take place on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 at the former West Virginia Penitentiary.

Kids’ Night will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 28, while Family Night will be held on Oct. 29.

Kids’ Night will be held in the Training Center. There will be a $5 fee for children, while adults will be free. Entrance to the event is through the North Wagon Gate (Eighth Street). This event is for children 12 and under. It will be a trick-or-treat event, where children will spend time gathering goodies from several tables, playing games, having their faces painted and taking pictures on a fire truck,.

Family Night is for those children 7-12 years old, with the event known as “Lil Dungeon of Horrors.” It is a scaled-down version of haunted house and designed for younger children who might not be ready for the “full” Dungeon. The cost for this event is $5 per person.

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While on the subject of the former Penitentiary, when I stopped to see Tom Stiles, the executive director of the Moundsville Economic Development Council, a group of individuals from Pittsburgh arrived for a tour of the facility.

They arrived some 40 minutes prior to their scheduled tour, and in the meantime they spent time looking at the gifts pertaining to the penitentiary, including books which provided information on the prison. Of course, one of the main attractions was the electric chair, where several took time to have their pictures taken.

One of the topics which I shared with one of the visitors was that the MEDC had leased the property and that this organization was responsible for not only tours, but that many local events were held there.

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Several local individuals were present this past Thursday to help unveil a sign designating Field No. 2 at Valley Fork Park as Robert “Coach” Montgomery Field.

Councilman Gene Saunders, who like Montgomery is a baseball umpire, recommended to his fellow council members that a field be named in Montgomery’s honor. Saunders said he would like to see other local recognitions for Montgomery.

During the brief program, City Manager Rick Healy told those in attendance that years ago when the city did not have a year-round recreation director, Montgomery had served three years (during the summer months) as the city’s recreation director.

No one could introduce Montgomery without pointing out his 49 years (43 as head coach and six years as assistant coach) at John Marshall High School.

Montgomery’s comments dealt with having lived all his life in Moundsville, and especially his participation in sports, mainly baseball. He spoke of playing on fields from years past, and the fact that during his youth there were baseball games going on in the mornings and evenings during summer months.

Montgomery, who has been a baseball umpire for 58 years, has also been a basketball official for the same length of time.

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The annual Marshall County Fall Dumpster program will be at seven locations in the county, the first beginning in Benwood and McMechen on Oct. 4-5.

Marshall County residents are welcome to use any of the sites.

The dumpsters will be at the following locations from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.:

Oct. 4-5 at the Benwood City Garage in North Benwood, and in McMechen at the former Union High School football field.

Oct. 18-19 in Glen Dale at the City Garage on west Seventh Street, and in Moundsville at the Walking Trail at the entrance to Valley Fork Park.

Oct. 26 in Cameron at the Cameron Elementary School.

Nov. 2 at the Roberts Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, and at Sherrard Middle School/Hilltop Elementary.

There will be no provisions at any of the locations to accept tires, white goods, scrap metal, car parts, fuels, hazardous chemicals/material, or household trash.

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There will also be a E-Recycle from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Oct. 12 in the north parking lot at John Marshall High School.

Accepted will be car and light truck tires (17-inch and smaller), white goods, electronics, computers, air conditioners, humidifiers, dehumidifers.

No televisions will be accepted.

For more information about either the fall dumpsters or the E-Recycle, contact the Marshall County Solid Waste Authority (304-780-9866).

These services are being provided for residential use and not intended for businesses or industry. Those bringing items to any location should be prepared to show proof or Marshall County residency.

The clean-up programs are being sponsored by the MCSWA and the Marshall County Commission.

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The Marshall County Board of Education’s Pride and Progress committee held its first meeting of the current school on Thursday.

Included on the agenda was a construction update by county schools facilities director Michael Price, who informed the committee that the track at Monarch Stadium had been completed earlier in the week.

He also gave a report on the Comprehensive Educational Facility Planning, (CEEP) which included the expected time frame for each undertaking.

There was also a review of Summative Assessment data dealing with different phases of the county schools and students’ involvement.

Superintendent Shelby Haines told the committee members that a major undertaking of staff members involves focusing on policies.

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The annual Grand Vue Park Fall Festival will be held Saturday. The hours are 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

There will be craft and food vendors at the event.

To reserve a craft/vendor location call the park’s main office at 304-845-9810, extension 403.

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Several events will be taking place during the month of October at the Strand Theatre in Moundsville. These include:

There will be weekly sessions of the Children’s Acting Class starting on Oct. 12 through Dec. 7.

The Crandall Creek musical group, along with special guest Short Line Junction, will perform at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12.

A Rocky Horror Picture Show will be held beginning at 9 p.m. on Oct. 26.

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The 4th annual Appalachian Outreach Fall Christmas Bazaar will take place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Oct. 5 at the Moundsville within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.

There will be some 80 vendors, along with door prizes every 30 minutes, a Chinese auction, a 50-50 drawing and instant bingo.

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The Marshall County Commissioners this past Tuesday approved a request from the prosecuting attorney’s office approved the employment of Jodi Reager as an administrative assistance to replace a staff member is moving from the area.

The commissioners were informed that maps used by the 911 departments and other agencies is being upgrade. These maps were first put into use some nine years. The maps are available for general use on the county commissioners website.

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The final Grand Vue Park Outdoor Concert of the year will conclude Saturday adjacent to the Vue Bar and Grill Outdoor Stage.

The performing will be Taylor Jo & the Copper Creek Band, it will be the 11th such outing at GVP.

The starting time will be at 7 p.m.

Overall this summer in addition to GVP, there were musical groups who performed at the Strand Theatre, Riverfront Park, Glen Dale Park, Cameron Baseball Fields, the Marshall County Fair, and on Jefferson Avenue, the total performances being 21.

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October 1 is the last day to make reservations for the 15th annual John Marshall Wall of Fame banquet that will take place at 4 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the Moundsville Country Club.

The event will honor JM graduates Bill Chaikowsky, SSGT. Ryan Hammond (deceased) and Rock Young (deceased).

Reservations may be made by calling Joseph Komorowski the chair of the WOF at 304-845-3403

All proceeds of the banquet will support scholarships for JM seniors.

The event is open to the public.

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At 7 p.m. Thursday at the Grave Creek Mound and Archaeological Complex, there will be a lecture and film titled, “Marietta Through the Eyes of David McCollough: Some Thoughts on the Pioneers.”

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