Teacher bungee jumps in Zambia

J.T. Spivy of Vienna has gone on mission trips to Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico.

A trip he made to Africa this month was filled with thrills and adventure.

Spivy, who teaches eighth-grade English at Edison Middle School, went bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge on a trip to Livingstone, Zambia, and Botswana in Southern Africa Aug. 5-14.

The leap from the bridge spanning the Zambezi River was 364 feet, with stunning Victoria Falls in his view.

It was the first time Spivy had gone bungee jumping. “It was thrilling. I would do it again,” Spivy told me this week.

Spivy said the bungee cord “saved my life” as he went free-falling toward the river. He saw elephants near Victoria Falls.

He also enjoyed a safari in Botswana, helped with the testing of children for a parasite in a clinic and talked to students about a college education. Spivy stayed on a farm during his visit.

People in Zambia are very welcoming to strangers and are thankful that their basic needs are met, he said. Spivy said it was “refreshing” to talk to people who were not complaining about what they didn’t have in life.

Spivy will be playing the role of Dr. John Seward in the Actors Guild of Parkersburg’s production of “Dracula,” which opens Sept. 27.


The third annual “WVU Tailwaggin’ Tailgate Party” raised $67,000 for Parkersburg’s spay and neuter clinic on Aug. 24. This is twice the amount of money raised at the first event put on by the S.P.O.T. (Stopping Pet Overpopulation Together) Committee and $10,000 more than last year, said Karen Katchur, S.P.O.T. Committee chairman. All 300 tickets were sold several days before the fundraiser at Dils Riverfront Park in Vienna. “It was a great success,” Katchur said. The community support and turnout were outstanding, she said. Katchur expects the low-cost spay and neuter clinic near the humane society shelter in Parkersburg to open in mid-October. Proceeds from last Saturday’s tailgate party will enable the clinic to operate for several months without additional money. Katchur hopes the Mountaineer-themed event will continue and benefit the Humane Society of Parkersburg.


Jazz musician David Wells of Vienna is looking forward to expanding next year’s Vienna Jazz Festival after last Saturday’s inaugural event at Fishbone Grill. Wells said about 350 people attended the outdoor concert, featuring Warren Hill of Los Angeles, Julian Vaughn of Kansas City, Chris Geith of Connecticut and Jerry Johnson of Chicago. Next year’s festival, possibly in September, will be called the Vienna Rib and Jazz Fest and will include restaurants and individuals cooking ribs, Wells said. He is looking at having the jazz festival over two nights instead of one long day. Profits from the Aug. 24 festival will be spent to build next year’s event and will not go to Wells’ Chocolate Jazz Foundation, Wells said.


Mother Earth Foods of Parkersburg celebrated its 38th year in business with a customer appreciation cookout, called EarthStock 2013, at Dils Riverfront Park in Vienna on Sunday. As he has done at the previous 30 yearly picnics, owner Dave Hawkins said he wanted to thank his loyal customers by hosting a cookout with free healthy food, live music and prizes. Providing the music were singer/songwriter/guitarist Chelsea Laswell and Dr. Matt Yoak with Hit Parade. Tim Wilson was busy at the picnic grilling his vegetarian pizzas, trout, tuna, flounder and chicken, along with preparing the salads. Hawkins said Mother Earth Foods on 19th Street, founded in 1975, is the oldest and largest independent natural living center in West Virginia. The business has added 18 parking spaces at its new lot across from the store.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com