By Steve Novotney
(Editor’s Note: This is the second of two stories profiling the participants scheduled for this week’s “Show of Hands” event.)
They get four minutes. Two-hundred-forty seconds.
They have to be atop their game. They must impress – more so than the other three presenters.
There’s a lot at stake. Sure, the prize is more than $1,000 thanks to “Show of Hands” sponsor Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, but there are also people paying attention. A lot of attention.
Plus, each of the past “Show” winners have made a significant difference within the Wheeling community. The first three events were won by Friendly City Foods, Stages in downtown Wheeling, and Wheeling woodworker D. J. Shalvey.
“Friendly City Foods and its parent company have just entered into partnerships with a few federal government agencies and the city of Wheeling to develop the east and west sides of Wheeling Hill for an apple tree orchard and a teaching farm for local children and adults,” explained ReInvent Wheeling’s Jake Dougherty. “Stages won the second event and immediately did the façade work they explained, and the winner of the third one – D.J. Shalvey – made the improvements on his woodworking shop a few days after winning.
“We had 11 applicants this time and the four the selection committee chose are all great businesses and projects,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a great evening.”
Along with Scrappy Pappy’s Recycling Center and the Wheeling Brewing Company, representatives of the Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival and the Wheeling Junior League’s Janie S. Altmeyer Playground also will be welcomed as presenters during the event. Following each presentation, the business representatives will face four questions from audience members.
Each project or business will be allotted four minutes to explain the effort, and then each will be asked four questions by members of the audience.
A donation of at least $5 is requested from those who choose to attend, and those funds are added to the $1,000 contributed by Orrick to create the prize won by the presenter that received the most votes from those in attendance. The doors are set to open at 5:30 p.m., and local band The New Age Adenas (Eric Wellman, Mary Blake, and Greg Pawlack) will perform before the presentations begin. Quaker Steak & Lube will donate the catering for a fourth consecutive event.
The Multicultural Festival:
The YWCA’s cultural diversity program expanded this festival last July when it moved the event from their Chapline Street location to Wheeling’s Heritage Port and partnered with the Ohio Valley Black Heritage Festival. The Multicultural Festival is scheduled for Sunday, June 28, from 1-9 p.m.
“It is our goal to get all of the cultures we have here in the Upper Ohio Valley together on the same day and at the same place,” said the YWCA’s Rita Gupta. “We wanted to participate in ‘Show Of Hands’ for a chance to add to our live entertainment, and to get the word out more about the festival itself.
“Along with more entertainment, we also are making efforts to add more food and activities than we had last year,” she said. “During the day the live entertainment will be geared toward the children, and then later in the day and in the evening it will be geared toward the adults.”
Gupta explained that she and others have started to reach out to the organizers of the other culturally themed festivals in the area, including the Lebanese, Italian, and Greek events staged in the Friendly City each summer.
“We believe there is a great commitment within our community to celebrate the many different cultures that are present here in this region,” she said. “We also believe it is very important to offer educational activities for the children during the Multicultural Festival so they can see for themselves how this area became what it is today.
“Along with sharing this information with the audience, we will also explain during the ‘Show of Hands’ presentation how individuals and groups of people can get involved with the event,” Gupta added. “This festival isn’t about one group of people. It’s about everybody, and that’s why we would like to see everybody get involved even more this year.”
The Wheeling Junior League’s Janie S. Altmeyer Playground:
This “mega” playground facility was added to the Heritage Port area soon after the facility was completed in 2001, and it has welcomed children and adults from throughout the Upper Ohio Valley and beyond.
According to the Junior League’s website, the organization is “comprised of women dedicated to promoting voluntarism, improving the community, and developing the potential of women. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. Incorporated in 1940, the JLW is one of Wheeling’s most active and vital service organizations. Throughout its history, the JLW has successfully implemented community projects and programs that directly benefit the Upper Ohio Valley and its residents.
“The Junior League of Wheeling is affiliated with the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc., an organization consisting of 293 Junior Leagues throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Great Britain, with a collective membership of more than 155,000 women.”
Officials of the Junior League wish to add life to the playground with a renovation project, and additions will be made, as well.
“Leathers and Associates, the original contractor of the playground, completed an assessment of the current structure. The evaluation revealed that the playground and the wood components are structurally sound; however, the playground is in need of a renovation to take advantage of current materials, “explained Rachel Collins, co-chair of the non-profit organization’s Playground Committee. “The renovation will include replacing each of the wooden planks with all-weather material, adding two new features, and resurfacing the entire playground area. These two new features – a large rocking platform and sensory board – along with the new surfacing will allow children with disabilities greater access to this amazing play structure.
“The new surface will make it easier for all children to play together,” she said. “After the project is completed, the playground will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), therefore increasing its accessibility and inclusiveness. The entire project will extend the life of the playground structure another 15-20 years.”
The project is slated for the spring of 2016, Collins confirmed.