Capt. R.C. "Heck" Heckert of Parkersburg is enjoying his stay along the Ohio River levee in Marietta this week.
Heckert, accompanied by his wife, Diane, piloted his connected sternwheelers the Dixie and the P.A. Denny (using this boat to steer) from Parkersburg to Marietta on Sunday for the 37th annual Ohio River Sternwheel Festival.
Heckert, who has attended the sternwheel festival for many years, looks forward to seeing his sternwheeler friends from across the country who have plenty of river stories to tell.
And Heckert said he loves to listen to the stories told by down-to-earth people who have traveled on America's rivers for as long as 60 years.
"(The festival) has been a significant part of my life for many years," Heckert said. "It is a successful river event that brings people from everywhere. Our hospitality brings people back.
"The people are like an extended family ... arteries - living and traveling on sternwheelers."
Heckert invites anyone to stop by to see him and Diane from 4-6 p.m. today as they celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. Their sternwheelers are docked down the riverbank from the fountain on Front Street.
Around 30 boats are expected to be docked at the levee during the festival, billed as the largest gathering of sternwheelers in the world.
Heckert plans to participate in the sternwheeler races at 1 p.m. Sunday. He said he has raced about 25 times at the festival and won a first-place plaque a few years ago.
He describes the races, a "parade of pride," as an impressive sight with the sternwheelers traveling 6 or 7 miles per hour.
Parkersburg native Brent Bailey believes "Reflections: Homage to Dunkard Creek," which opened Thursday night at the Parkersburg Art Center, will keep the story alive on the importance of clean water. Bailey is director of the Appalachian Program of The Mountain Institute in Morgantown. The nonprofit institute collaborated with 90 artists to paint a vivid picture of species that once thrived in Dunkard Creek, which flows for 43 miles through Pennsylvania and West Virginia into the Monongahela Watershed, before being wiped out by pollution. Thousands of people have viewed the art exhibit, at nine locations, since last September, said Bailey, a 1973 graduate of Parkersburg High School. The artwork depicts the fish, frogs, mussels and other species killed in Dunkard Creek by pollution three years ago. The exhibit, running through Oct. 5 at the art center, communicates with the public about what happens when water and energy industry collide, said Bailey, a conservationist. Joining Bailey at the opening reception were his parents, Bob and Penelope Bailey of Parkersburg, and his sister, Ann Berry of Morgantown. Brent Bailey said the Parkersburg Art Center was an amazing facility, a "gem" in the city, that is filled with educational space.
Marietta College senior Steven Moore, a national bluegrass banjo champion, performed Sunday at the 16th annual Labor Day weekend pig roast at Larry and Sheryl Holdren's home in Little Hocking. The picnic raised about $3,000 to be split between Warren High School Scholarship Fund and Little Hocking Volunteer Fire Department. Gene Neill of Vincent, a freshman at Marietta College, this year became the first recipient of money from the Warren scholarship fund, which has received $14,000-$15,000 from the pig roast. Neill, the son of Scott and Patty Neill, said he felt fortunate and thankful for the scholarship. Volunteers started cooking the 250-pound pig from the Dailey Farm in Fleming at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and started carving at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, said Larry Holdren. The fundraiser is sponsored by the Holdrens, Gregg and Ann Emrick and Ida Holdren. Tim and Jane Irvine had won Moore's banjo performance at the Marietta College Concert Choir's annual fundraiser and donated it to the holiday event.
Contact Paul LaPann at firstname.lastname@example.org