Fundraiser benefits Red Cross

Last Saturday evening, the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Actors Guild of Parkersburg and the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Culinary Academy collaborated on a fundraiser to benefit the Red Cross. Chef/instructor Gene Evans at the culinary school, 707 Market St., opened the facility’s kitchen and dining facilities for Red Cross volunteers to prepare and serve a baked spaghetti dinner, working with Evans, for the guests. The Red Cross plans to look at possibly using the culinary center as a food-preparation facility for disaster training, said Sharon Kesselring, local Red Cross official. After the dinner, the participants walked across the street for an 8 p.m. performance of “Dracula” at the Actors Guild theater. The guild donated about 150 seats for the Red Cross benefit. “It was an amazing show,” Kesselring said, noting the “subtle connection” between Dracula and the Red Cross. Many at the Red Cross fundraiser had never attended a show at the Actors Guild before, Kesselring said.

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Mari Sanches of Salvador, Brazil, packed a lot of activities into a recent visit to Parkersburg. Sanches, a foreign exchange student her junior year at Parkersburg High School in 2011, left town this week after spending a few weeks at the home of Walt Auvil and Michele Rusen in Parkersburg. Auvil and Rusen were the host family for Sanches when she attended PHS two years ago. Sanches, an all-state girls soccer player at PHS, attended PHS girls soccer games, watched at Milan Puskar Stadium as the West Virginia University football team upset Oklahoma State, toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland and visited her friend Raemy Conley of Vienna at Marshall University. Sanches also attended soccer training at the University of Tampa, staying with Parkersburg natives Leda (Auvil) and Kevin Eaton of Lithia, Fla. Sanches attends the Universidade Federal da Bahia in Salvador and plays and writes about soccer. “I enjoyed my visit back to Parkersburg,” Sanches told me. “It was awesome.”

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The Parkersburg High School Class of 1968 reunion committee is donating $1,500 for a light board in the PHS auditorium. This continues the class’ efforts to contribute money for academic programs at Parkersburg High School. “We are just a bunch of geeks,” wanting to put money toward academics, said reunion committee chairman Joe Foley. Foley and his wife, Debbie, reunion secretary, have spearheaded every five-year reunion for the Class of 1968 since the 10-year reunion, including the 45th over Labor Day weekend. The $1,500 was raised by a 50/50 drawing and raffle at the September reunion. Myla Kreinik, wife of Class of 1968 graduate Doug Kreinik, contacted PHS officials about the academic needs in helping the reunion committee make its funding decision, Foley said.

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A reception Tuesday afternoon to celebrate Bob Astorg’s 70th birthday also generated supplies and monetary donations for the Humane Society of Parkersburg. Cathy Earnest, office manager at Astorg & Koreski PLLC, came up with the idea to collect items for the animal shelter at the birthday gathering in the United Square building in downtown Parkersburg. Astorg is a managing member of the CPA firm. About 100 people stopped by to wish Astorg a happy birthday. “It was a good cause and a great time,” said Geni Astorg, Bob’s wife.

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I enjoyed having lunch recently with former Parkersburg High School standout athletes Dick McCoy and Joe Handlan Jr. at Panera Bread in Vienna. McCoy, Class of 1960, was a lineman on the state champion football team at PHS in 1958 and the runner-up state champs the following year. McCoy, who retired from GTE in sales and marketing, spends the summers on his farm near Hinton, W.Va., and winters in Dade City, Fla. Handlan, a substitute teacher at Parkersburg High School, was a state wrestling champion at PHS (Class of 1962) and National Wrestling Hall of Fame coach at PHS. They are two great guys.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com