www.wvgazettemail.com http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: July 30, 2015 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT01/307309970 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT01/307309970 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Crouch, William J. 11 a.m., St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, St. Albans.


Drake, Ronald I. 1 p.m., Richard M. Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.


Graham, Robert 2 p.m., Wilson


Hager, Linda K. 4 p.m., Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.


Hanna, Jerry L. 2 p.m., Waters Funeral Chapel, Summersville.


Hemetek, Gregory A. 2 p.m., Morris Memorial United Methodist Church, Charleston.


Hurd, Mark E. 11 a.m., Oak Hill United Methodist Church, Oak Hill.


Kirk, Opal F. 2 p.m., Dolin Cemetery, Camp Creek.


Neil, Daniel M. II 1 p.m., Pennington Funeral Home, Gauley Bridge.


Nester, Kenny L. 6 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.


Nichols, Eliza L. 1 p.m., St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, St. Albans.


Nida, Gladys N. 1 p.m., Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.


Pendola, Dominick Jr. 1 p.m., Clendenin United Methodist Church, Clendenin.


Reed, Mark L. 1 p.m., Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Charleston.


Richards, James 2 p.m., Stump Funeral Home, Grantsville.


Tincher, Jo A. 11 a.m., Tyler Mountain Funeral Home, Cross Lanes.

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Robin H. Abbott http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309976 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309976 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Robin H. Abbott of Washington, W.Va., passed away July 6, 2015 at Camden Clark Medical Center.

He was born Dec. 7, 1941, a son of the late Buie and Frances Abbott.

Robin retired from G.E. after working over 30 years. He was a member of Gihon Tabernacle, where he was a deacon and taught the adult Bible class.

He is survived by his wife, Martha "Dottie" Abbott; son, Brian Abbott; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brother, Brice of Ohio; and sisters, Mary of Virginia and Mable and Linda of Kanawha County.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Harold Abbott.

The family will have a private celebration of life. Online condolences may be sent at www.leavittfuneralhome.com.

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Lonnie May Adkins http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309983 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309983 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Lonnie May Adkins, 83, of Hamlin, died July 28, 2015. Service will be noon Friday, July 31, at Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin, with visitation beginning one hour prior.

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Rev. Richard C. Baker http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309997 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309997 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Rev. Richard C. Baker, 77, of Campbells Creek, Charleston, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on July 25, 2015.

Preceding him in death were his daughter, Amy Jo Baker; father, Ralph Baker; mother and stepfather, Ruey and Guy Robertson; sister, Betty Jo Baker; and brother, Frank Baker.

Surviving are Edith Baker, his wife of 49 years; daughter, Julie Baker, and granddaughter, Amelia Ford; brothers, Roger Baker of Tennessee and Ron Baker of Illinois; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, William J. and Judith Totten; and several nieces and nephews.

Rev. Baker was a Vietnam veteran, having been in both the Navy and Army for a total of 13 years. He was a retired evangelist from the Church of the Nazarene, serving for 28 years, and was pastor of Campbells Creek Church of the Nazarene from 2005 to 2013. Rev. Baker was a man of prayer, praying daily for all who were part of his family, friends, neighbors and ministry over the years.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Malden.

Service will be 11 a.m. Friday, July 31, at the funeral home with Dr. Mervin Smith officiating. Burial will follow at Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.

In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to Campbells Creek Church of the Nazarene Church to be forwarded to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. This fund provides care and support to people around the world when a tragedy occurs.

We want to especially thank Dr. Rayan Ihle, WVU Pulmonary Care, for her care and compassion during this time of illness.

The online guestbook for Rev. Richard C. Baker can be accessed at www.stevensandgrass.com.

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Mary Lou Bland http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309974 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309974 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Mary Lou Bland, 56, of Ronceverte, died July 28, 2015. Service will be 11 a.m. Friday, July 31, at Morgan Funeral Home, Lewisburg. Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at the funeral home.

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Kathryn Chernenko http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309990 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309990 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Kathryn Smith Chernenko passed away July 28, 2015 in Wellsburg. She was born March 1, 1923 in Rea, Pa., daughter of Joseph and Anna Smith.

She shared 65 years of marriage with the late West Virginia State Senator John G. Chernenko, who died in April.

She was preceded in death by her brothers, William C. Smith of Morgantown and Joseph Smith, who died as a child.

Known to her friends as "Kay," she was an honors graduate of Wellsburg High School and worked as a bookkeeper as a young woman. She later worked as a deputy for the Brooke County Clerk and in the Brooke County Assessor's Office.

Kay was politically active her entire life and had the honor of hosting a tea reception for Future First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy at her home during the 1960 presidential election campaign. Nearly 200 women attended the event, which was highlighted by an unannounced visit by the candidate himself near the end of the day.

With her husband, she attended and participated in many major political events during her lifetime, including inaugural ceremonies in both Washington and Charleston and national Democratic nominating conventions. She and Senator Chernenko also represented the West Virginia State Legislature at two National Legislative Conferences.

In 1978 Governor John D. Rockefeller IV appointed her a member of the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine, a position she held until 2002.

A longtime member of Wellsburg United Methodist Church, and its Altar Guild, she was a founding member of PEO Chapter N, and a member of Laurel Leaf Garden Club, the Wellsburg Junior Women's Club and the Bethany College Parents' Council, among other civic activities.

She was always proud of the accomplishments of Gary, Marc and Janet. She especially enjoyed watching and cheering for Janet during her high school and college tennis careers. She closely followed her grandson, Cullen, as he played for his high school tennis team, and Meredith, who plays on her middle school team.

Kay is survived by her children, Gary C. Chernenko and his wife, Susan V. Chernenko, of Charleston, Marc B. Chernenko and his wife, Judge Joyce Dumbaugh Chernenko, of Wellsburg and Janet Chernenko Mears and her husband, John R. Mears, of Huntington; grandchildren, John Cullen Mears and Meredith Kay Mears of Huntington; as well as several nieces and nephews.

A private family funeral service will be held at Chambers Funeral Home, 1030 Main St., Wellsburg, 304-737-3551, with Pastor Angel Adams officiating. Interment will follow, next to her dear husband, John, at Franklin Cemetery, Wellsburg.

Please add or view condolences at www.chambersandjames.com.

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John Willis Chestnut http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309999 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309999 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 John "Johnny" Willis Chestnut, 80, of Warm Springs, Va., passed away Saturday, July 25, 2015 at his residence.

He was born Oct. 7, 1934 in Warm Springs, the son of the late Wilbur Willis Chestnut and Pauline Bonner Chestnut.

Mr. Chestnut was a retired carpenter employed by Monk Brothers in Charleston. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

He was a Jehovah's Witness and an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing.

He is survived by his wife, Thelma "Polly" Chestnut; five children; several grandchildren; three sisters, Dorothy Lawrence, Helen Keeney and Betty Nunley, all of Charleston, W.Va.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a son, grandson and a sister, Jean Burdette.

A funeral service will be conducted at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at McLaughlin & Young Funeral Home, Hot Springs, Va. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service, from noon to 1 p.m.

A memorial service will be held at a later date in Charleston.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mountain Grove Methodist Church or Hot Springs Rescue Squad.

Arrangements are being handled by McLaughlin & Young Funeral Home.

Online condolences may be made at www.mclaughlinandyoung.com.

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Margaret "Missy" Davis http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309971 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309971 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Margaret "Missy" A. Davis, 54, of Charleston, passed away July 28, 2015 from an extended illness.

She was a former employee of BrickStreet.

Missy was preceded in death by her parents, Edward Davis Jr. and Peggy Davis.

She is survived by brother, Bill Davis and his wife, Glenda; former spouse and best friend, Greg Koontz; special friends, Lisa Mitchell, Lora Randolph and Melanie Thomas; and pets, Rudy, Ellie Mae, Daisey and Gus.

At Missy's request, there will be a private service held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Keller Funeral Home, P.O. Box 268, Dunbar, WV 25064.

Arrangements are in the care of Keller Funeral Home.

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Robert C. Francisco Sr. http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309985 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309985 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Robert C. Francisco Sr., 82, died Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at Ammen Family Cremation and Funeral Care, 1001 S. Hickory St., Melbourne, Fla., 321-724-2222. Share memories and sign the family guestbook at www.afcfcare.com.

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Jack Gliserman http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309981 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/OBIT/307309981 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Jack Gliserman, born Nov. 4, 1958, of Johnson City, Tenn., formerly of Logan, died July 22, 2015. Service for family and close friends will be held in Johnson City, Tenn., on Thursday, July 30.

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Readers Voice: July 30, 2015 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ01/150739980 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ01/150739980 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Trump can't win. Democrats don't like him because he's a rich Republican. The Republicans don't like him because he tells the truth.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said President Obama will not bail Puerto Rico out of their financial problems. He must not understand that a lot of billionaires will lose money if we don't give our tax dollars to Puerto Rico.

Which legislator drafted the bill prohibiting the use of handheld devices while driving? What does he or she think of the fact that the law is simply not being enforced? When was the last time Charleston police ticketed someone for driving while yakking away on his cell phone?

Who in their right mind would allow AEP to connect controls on their air conditioner that cut it off in the worst heat of the day for a savings of $8 a month? They say it would save AEP money. They just got a rate hike that caused my bill to jump 60 percent, NOT the amount they were approved for.

How about not a single person stop at any Sheetz store ever again. Let's teach the ingrates a lesson by closing down their entire company.

Might be out of the question to ask this, but if the man that was killed by the woman in Kanawha County by a woman had ties to other state murders and had in fact been in trouble with the law in 20 states as was reported, would this not be a signal to check him out?

We have six or eight major world powers signed on to the Iran treaty and most everybody in the general area of Iran agree with the treaty except the Republicans. So why would you believe anything they say after all the lying they did to start two wars? And don't forget Reagan who traded arms to Iran illegally.

One thing for sure, all these GOP members of Congress against the Iran peace deal want war, and neither they, or none of their families, will be in the fighting. Can you say "chickenhawks?"

Journalists, political analysts, other candidates, conservatives and liberals are all ganging up on poor Donald Trump. So why is he leading in the polls?

Having been a Manchin supporter for some time, and believing him to be a moderate that puts politics in its proper perspective, I am sorry to read that he is leaning toward supporting the agreement with Iran. What a pity when sanctions were evidently working. Releasing the billions of dollars to Iran will serve no purpose except to further put our own nation, Israel and others in harm's way eventually.

Right-wingers in Congress think they are doing such a good job, doing an austerity job on our United States of America. Potholes are growing, bridges falling down, bass fishing in potholes becoming a new way of life.

President Obama has said he has accomplished about everything he hoped to do during his presidency except gun control. My advice would be, don't give up yet. You still have 17 months to try to save this needless slaughtering of our people.

For months now, a dog on Kanawha Avenue in Charleston has terrorized the neighborhood, running out to attack anyone walking another dog. This irresponsible owner is not only violating the leash law but WV 19-20-20. The dog wears no tags, has had no shots and is allowed to run in an unfenced yard. Why can't something be done?

My suggestion is to rename Stonewall Middle School Booker T. Washington Middle School. Washington was a respected educator who grew up in Malden. Every Kanawha County eighth grader should read his autobiography "Up From Slavery." Booker T. Washington is an inspiration to all young people and all West Virginians.

Well we don't have to worry about the overpopulation of the human race throughout the world anymore. Humans are killing each other left and right, even in the United States. May God have mercy on us. Gun control is an absolute necessity.

The reason the slide at the Yeagar occured was because they clear-cut every single tree that stood on that hill. The root system of those trees are what stabilized and held that hill in place. I do not know why anyone was surprised that the slide happened.

All this worrying about pleasing an invisible being living in the sky reminds me of kids worrying about being good because of Santa Claus. Live your life here, taking care your family and friends, and don't worry about something that may or may not be true. Religion is just a successful way of separating the average man from his money, and it's been working for centuries.

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Vent Line: July 30, 2015 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ01/150739981 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ01/150739981 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 n I would like to know why there is such a stigma against people who collect welfare. These people have worked and probably will work again. But there are others who fraudulently collect Social Security disability and will probably never work again. They pretend to have pain for years and once their disability benefit kicks in they suddenly get better.

n The Charleston Sanitary Board only got a portion of the city's 4 percent cost-of-living increase. We have a great group of men and women who work hard every day and are only trying to make ends meet like everyone else. When is someone in city hall going to step up, do their job and demand answers from Larry Roller and his staff?

n Change Stonewall Jackson to Calypso Lloyd Middle School.

n Thank you so much for the photographs of the poor little animals at the animal shelter that need new homes. This is such a great service. Thank you so much for your help. I hope and pray they all get adopted.

n I live on Roxalana Road in Dunbar. The Division of Highways did a poor job patching our road. There are holes all over the road and they missed half of the holes. We are paying taxes for them to do a bad job. All of the holes need to be patched. I'm fed up with the Division of Highways.

n I'm still missing my black cat in Belle. Her name is Calique and she is five years old. I miss her terribly. She is a family pet.

n I had no intentions of trading in my car and I walked onto the car lot at Enterprise in Patrick Street. I traded in my car and a friend of mine asked me how much my payments are. I didn't ask her about her payments. It is no one's business what I paid for my car.

n Folks you need to give a quick phone call to your elderly family and friends. You just need to ask them if they are OK and if they need anything. You don't have to sign your life away or promise them the moon. Just let them know you care.

n President Obama is a gutless coward. He is a 98-pound weakling. He is a sissy and has no business being president of our great nation. What were the Democrats thinking? Not once, but twice.

n As far as Yeager Airport is concerned, you wouldn't think a pile of dirt could cause so much trouble. Too bad the mound builders didn't leave instructions. Then again, maybe they used alien technology.

n The so-called Rev. Matthew Watts needs to get a life and stop causing problems.

n Has the Iran Nuclear Deal given us peace in our time?

n Four out of the first five games WVU plays are at home. Now how do you pull that off? Of course they play Georgia Southern; never heard of them. Liberty; isn't that a Christian school? And Maryland, who was 7 and 6 last year. Then they are away and then they are back home again. How do they do this? That is why they take on these teams.

n John Kerry is not a U.S. hero of the Vietnam War as is claimed by a Charleston Gazette editorial. His picture, along with Jane Fonda hangs, in the Hanoi War Museum portrayed as a patriot of North Vietnam. He is unfit for command. It lays it all out - what a crummy guy he is.

n I'm an 81-year-old female who is a contentious driver who has never had a ticket and tries to be courteous to other drivers. I think we are in for trouble with the bike lanes. I almost hit a man yesterday and it made me very nervous. I hate to see this happen. Be careful.

n I'd rather have one newspaper. But will we get unbiased news. One television channel doesn't really cover South Charleston. And neither one of them covered anyone but GW when it comes to sports. Every once in a while one of them would cover South Charleston.

n If you will read the Reader's Forum first few paragraphs saying I'm a Democrat but I've voted a lot of Republicans in. We've got too many nuts in the Democrat Party. Including the president.

n So then nothing gets changed and nothing gets fixed. I'm tired of it. I want things straight where my health is concerned. I want all cards on the table - face up. I want my doctor to get the right information.

n I love the new salad at Bob Evans with peach, feta cheese and lettuce. I hope they keep it. Please go order it so they'll keep it. They have good employees, too.

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Gliding into town: Dancing with the Stars tour heads to Charleston http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739982 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739982 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Professional dancer Emma Slater admits she didn’t have a “Plan B” career-wise.

From the time that she was 10, the “Dancing With The Stars” performer has always just danced.

“I saw a demonstration by a local dance school that I just fell in love with, and I begged my mom and dad to take me to the school and they did,” said Slater, who performs with the “Dancing with the Stars: Live! Perfect Ten Tour,” which comes to the Charleston Municipal Auditorium Aug. 5.

Speaking over the phone from a noisy, crowded room while on the road with the show, the dancer said, “From there it went from a hobby to a few competitions to a sport that turned into my career, which is fortunate because I have absolutely no idea what I would do if I wasn’t a dancer.”

Slater joined “Dancing With The Stars” as a troupe dancer in 2012. The next year, for Season 17, she was promoted to pro-dancer and gained her first celebrity partner comedian in Bill Engvall. She’s been competing for viewers’ votes with various celebrity partners ever since, but has yet to get the winning title.

She won't be the only dancer appearing. Season 20 champion Rumer Willis, daughter of celebrities Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, will join Slater and fellow dancers Witney Carson, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Artem Chigvintsev, Keo Motsepe and Peta Murgatroyd. Troupe dancers Alan Bersten, Brittany Cherry, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson are also in the show.

The “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” champion, Melissa Rycroft, will host the tour.

Slater said one of the most unique aspects of the tour is that it allows fans to see their favorite dancers perform in person and see the dancers’ personalities come to life.

“Watching the show you don’t get to see what’s behind the camera. The live tour’s different. It’s far more personable. You actually get to know the dancers by name, meet them and ask questions,” Slater said.

She also emphasized a greater level of energy and liveliness with an in-person dance show, compared to viewing performances from a television or computer screen — not to mention that the all-professional lineup of dancers brings a higher level of skill than the show, which pairs professional dancers with beginner, celebrity dancers.

“What the audience doesn’t really think of is, it’s really different when one professional and a beginner dance together, (as opposed to when) two professionals dance together. There’s a lot more energy.”

Slater recommends that fans of the show go see the live tour.

“Fans should go and see the real professionals and hear about the reality of the show and ask questions and see performances they haven’t seen on television.

“It’s such a phenomenal show. It makes so much sense for there to be a tour of ‘Dancing With The Stars.’”

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"Facing Off" with WV native Jordan Patton http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739983 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739983 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 By Bill Lynch Jordan Patton had trouble paying attention in class.

The Parkersburg native laughed and said, "In high school, I used to sit and draw monsters and things like that instead of doing my actual class work."

Who would have guessed he was training for a career?

A few short years later, the 25-year-old has made a life from a love of spooky stuff. He's also currently appearing on the 9th season of SyFy's popular series, "Face Off," a special effects competition that matches budding makeup and FX artists against each other.

It's not the first time a West Virginian has made the show. Charleston native and former Capital High School teacher R.J. Haddy appeared on the show in 2012 and finished as one of the runners-up.

Patton grew up dreaming up monsters. But it wasn't until his senior year at Parkersburg South High School, when he discovered the world of movie special effects, that he began to learn how to bring those monsters to life.

A few of his artist friends were dabbling in mask-making. Patton watched what they did and then started researching techniques online.

He practiced, he got better. He got very good.

"After I made my first successful full-head latex mask and pulled that thing out of the mold, I was instantly hooked," he said.

Patton did three masks that year, but it was that first one, which Patton described as "a kind of biochemical zombie with a metal respirator fused to his face," that won him a scholarship with the Art Institute in Pittsburgh - and a job.

"One of the judges for the scholarship was the owner of a haunted house in Pittsburgh called The Scare House," Patton explained.

Patton was hired to make masks, do makeup and build props.

At the Art Institute, Patton drifted from mask making and focused more on animatronics, which was more about creating moving models for film and television.

"That's beyond sculpting," he said. "That's getting into circuitry. That's bringing your sculptures to life and having them move around. It's a whole new level."

But he didn't give up on masks or makeup. He still made them for friends at Halloween and designed some for the alt-metal band, Mushroomhead. It was just less of a focus.

"Two years ago, I tried out for a show on SyFy called 'The Jim Henson Creature Shop Challenge,'" the mask maker explained.

"I came very close to getting on that show, but then I got this call in October. The show didn't get renewed."

Instead, television producers thought he ought to try out for "Face Off."

"I was skeptical," Patton said. "In school, I'd been more into props and animatronics instead of the makeup side of things."

They convinced him to at least try. So, he came up with a couple of characters, created masks and made a video for the selection committee.

The tryout process was lengthy and involved, Patton said, but the worst of it seemed to be the paperwork.

At the end, he made the cut and is part of the group that will compete for cash and prizes over the next three months.

While some of his fellow effects masters and mask makers go for the blood and gore, Patton described his style as more comic than scary. His art reflects who he is. He likes horror films and monsters, but he also loves to laugh.

"I'm not exactly the most serious person you'd ever want to meet," he said.

Win or lose, Patton will stay busy.

"I'm going to several horror conventions," he said. "I'm headed to the Horror Hound Weekend Mask Fest in Indiana the second weekend in September. I'm also going to the Son of Monster-palooza in California after that."

Besides the conventions, Patton and a friend are working on a show they hope to get on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim." The characters and the stories will be all theirs.

That's all Patton has ever wanted to do. It was what he wanted to do before he made his first mask, back when he was just a bored kid in an English class drawing monsters on the edges of his notebooks.

"Face Off" is seen Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on SyFy.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5195 or follow @LostHwys on Twitter.

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'Cabaret' star shies away from spotlight http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739984 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739984 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 By Billy Wolfe Steve Brannon doesn't know why a reporter would want to talk to him about his role in the Charleston Light Opera Guild's upcoming production of "Cabaret."

Brannon, who works for a local accounting firm, is a private person. If he isn't working out at the gym, he's probably at home watching movies or writing film reviews that he doesn't publish.

"I don't like attention," he said. "I'd much rather the ensemble be interviewed."

It might sound odd, then, that Brannon will play the part of the flamboyant, over-the-top and even disturbing Master of Ceremonies, the lead character who seduces the audience with naughty banter and titillating innuendo.

"Nowhere else would I ever be the center of attention," he said. "I'm taking a step out of myself."

The character, also called the Emcee, is a metaphor for early 1930s Berlin, which was a place of great freedom and decadence, even though economic hardship reigned and murderous political extremism was taking root.

The Emcee distracts patrons of the seedy Kit Kat Klub, located in the heart of Berlin. As the Nazis rise to power, the debauched and devil-may-care ambiance he nurtures at the club allows patrons to forget the chaos outside.

"He's fascinating and disturbing all in one," Brannon said of his character.

Brannon's interpretation of the Emcee is just one of many, since the musical, which is based on a short story by Christopher Isherwood and features music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, became a Broadway hit in 1966.

The most famous incarnation of the Emcee came from Joel Grey, who originated the role and reprised it in the 1972 motion picture and again in 1987 for the Broadway revival.

Scottish actor Alan Cumming, however, greatly reinterpreted the character in 1993. His version was darker in many ways, more sexual and drug-fueled. Brannon said his interpretation will be closer to Grey, who once described his character as "like a ventriloquist's dummy."

The play has been dogged with controversy since it first debuted. During one scene, the Emcee dances and sings a love song to a gorilla, pleading with the audience to "see her through my eyes." In the original play, the song begins as a whimsical parody of romantic love but abruptly turns dark in the final line when the Emcee sings the words "If you could see her through my eyes, she wouldn't look Jewish at all."

The line was meant to unsettle the audience, and to make showgoers consider how easily many people were lured into anti-semitism in Nazi Germany. Many were outraged by the likening of a Jewish woman to an ape, however, and protests from prominent Jewish leaders led Ebb to change the line to "She wouldn't look like a Meeskite (a Yiddish term for an unattractive woman) at all."

Some productions have brought back the original lyrics. Most famously, Cumming was known for hissing the line in a chilling tone to drive home its insidious nature.

Brannon said the Guild's production will use "meeskite," as most other productions have done.

Aside from playing a part that is radically different from his own personality, Brannon said he found the numerous singing and dancing routines challenging. In particular, he found co-star Trey Harris' singing abilities intimidating.

"I definitely did not want to sing after him," he said.

Auditions were held the first week of June, leaving cast members little time to master their parts.

"It hasn't been a long rehearsal period at all," Brannon said.

He became interested in the part of Emcee after watching a Broadway documentary on PBS.

"I just wanted to watch him and see what was next," he said.

It's not the first time he has stepped out of his comfort zone on stage. He also played the part of the hunky UPS deliveryman in the Guild's production of "Legally Blonde" in 2012.

"When I came on the stage there was funky porn music and women in the audience would scream," he said, shaking his head. "It was the weirdest thing."

The cast for Cabaret also includes Katlin Kouns as 19-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and Harris as Bowles' love interest Cliff Bradshaw, a young American writer.

Rick Fleenor will play Herr Schultz, a fruit vendor and love interest of Bradshaw's landlord, Fraulein Schneider, who will be played by Megan Sydnor.

The show opens Friday and runs weekends through Aug. 9. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.CharlestonLightOperaGuild.org or call 304-343-2287.

Reach writer Billy Wolfe at life@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4830.

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Gazette editorial: New horror of robotic war http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ04/150739985 GZ04 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ04/150739985 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 In the past, multitudes of young American men - including a high proportion of West Virginians - suffered the grotesque slaughter of warfare in many conflicts. The toll of death and maiming has been tragic.

Now, however, war is shifting to robotics - killer drones, cruise missiles, laser targeting, guidance from satellites, etc. There's less need for soldiers on the ground.

Push-button warfare has many advantages: It puts fewer American lives at risk. It allows more pinpoint accuracy to spare civilians. It reduces "friendly fire" casualties of other Americans. It prevents violent revenge attacks upon civilians loosed by agonized U.S. troops.

Push-button war still requires human controllers to push the buttons. But fast-growing artificial intelligence soon will create killer machines that operate on their own, without humans commanding at video screens.

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 world scientists signed an open letter urging governments to halt progress toward self-controlled death instruments.

"Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention," the letter said. "They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria ... . The stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms."

The scientists warned that self-operated weapons may "become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group."

Signers of the open letter include renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, Tesla Motors creator Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and many pages of AI specialists. In the past, Hawking and Musk have issued public warnings that ultra-sophisticated, self-programming, self-repairing computers may develop an ability to create "weapons we cannot understand."

Frankly, we don't know if this scientist letter can halt the stampede toward more efficient killing systems. No government wants to let others gain an advantage. But the warning should be pondered solemnly by thinking people everywhere.

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Marty Chase: Century retirees should make some noise http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ04/150739986 GZ04 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ04/150739986 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 By Marty Chase There's right and wrong in this world, and there's good and evil, but what Century Aluminum and its chief executive officer Mike Bless have done to that company's retirees at the former Ravenswood smelter is both wrong and evil.

At the same time, however, there is no chance whatsoever that the Ravenswood plant will ever reopen. It's closed for good ... forever.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other politicians are wasting their time and taxpayer money trying to reverse the inevitable and sad decision to close what once was one of this state's premier manufacturing facilities, providing many with wages of $50,000 or more annually.

Century chose to keep its West Virginia plant shuttered even in years when aluminum prices soared to record highs. With world prices tanking in a major way, was there any reason at all to believe - or even hope - that the company would reopen a facility closed since February 2009?

That was wishful thinking at best. Yet that's been going on here for the past six years or so.

Tomblin and the other politicians should focus instead on the plight of the company's 752 living retirees, many of whom faced extreme financial hardships when Century reneged on its promises to pay for their health care and other retiree benefits.

Those promises were a major reason many Century workers toiled under grueling and sometimes hazardous conditions at the Ravenswood smelter in Jackson County.

The retirees are receiving pensions from the company. The truth is, that monthly pensions of only $600 to $700 fall far short of what's needed to survive these days, especially in the crucial years before they qualify for Social Security and Medicare.

Put bluntly, many Ravenswood retirees have been forced to choose between food on the table and health care.

"In the big picture, we deserve what we paid for those benefits over the years," Karen Gorrell, who represents the Century retirees, said in a radio interview with WV Metro News. "We're asking for $44 million which is what we should have received.

"As I told Mike Bless, 'We're out of time, Mike.' I'm one of the babies among the retirees and I'm 65. This needs to be done and it needs to be done now," she said.

To blame Ravenswood's demise on President Obama's so-called "War on Coal," as some politicians have done, is absurd.

First of all, the seeds of Ravenswood's destruction were sown many years before Obama even took office, dating back at least to the early 2000s. Industry experts were forecasting the imminent rise of China as the dominant force in the aluminum market as far back as 2001.

Moreover, aluminum has always been by far the most energy-intensive of any of the major metals. To put it simply, automakers like aluminum these days because it's much lighter than steel. That means they can put more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road and meet the Environmental Protection Agency's ever-more stringent gas mileage standards.

But there's a huge trade-off because aluminum consumes far more electricity. Always has, always will.

That means higher energy costs. Inability to reach a favorable power contract, combined with fierce price competition from China, killed the plant.

So, what should the Century retirees do?

If I were advising them, I'd say "raise hell" about your plight until someone finally takes notice and does something about it. Don't count on the 'goodwill' of Century's Mike Bless or meaningless words from politicians such as Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who yaks about how she "hopes" they can get some "help" with receiving their promised health-care benefits.

As a writer who has covered manufacturing for 40 years, I'd say that's a road to nowhere. Look at the remains of the devastated domestic steel industry as a case in point. Examine all the political blather from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (and many others) and ask where Weirton Steel is today. Out of business is the answer.

The Century retirees should stage as big a statewide protest as they possibly can.

Take your case to the numerous 'talking heads' on cable TV and anyone else who might listen.

March into the upcoming Century Aluminum shareholders' September meeting in Chicago and raise hell.

That way, somebody, somewhere might do the "right thing" and cough up the $44 million that's due you.

Marty Chase covered manufacturing, international trade and metals for nearly 40 years for several national publications and served as business editor of the Gazette in 2002-03. Now retired, he lives in New York City and Elkins.

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A&E calendar: July 30–Aug. 1 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739987 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739987 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Thu. 7.30

THE DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS: 7 p.m. Free. Jazzgrass. Bluegrass Kitchen, 1600 Washington St., E. Call 304-346-2871.

SONGWRITERSTAGE: 7:30 p.m. Free. In the round performance with Andrew Adkins, Allan Dale Sizemore, Jody Herndon and Annie Neely. Hosted by T.J. King and Roger Rabalais. Fireside Bar and Lounge, 1604 Washington St. E. Call 304-610-5583.

TAKE THE POWER BACK with HIGH VOLTAGE: 10 p.m. Cover $5. Hosted by Ryan Wright. The Boulevard Tavern, 806 Kanawha Blvd. E. Call 304-205-7951 or visit www.theboulevardtavernwv.com.

PANTRY PARTY: 10 p.m. Free. The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St. Call 304-345-3914 or visit www.emptyglass.com.

SHAG: 7 to 9:45 p.m. Members $4. Non-members $6. Charleston Area Shag Society of West Virginia. 2805 Kanawha Blvd. E. Call 304-722-5719 or visit www.wvshag.com.

APPALACHIAN STRINGBAND FESTIVAL: All day. Adults $15. Seniors and youth $10. Children under 5 free. Traditional and neo traditional string band music, crafts, dance and more. Camp Washington Carver. Clifftop, Fayette County. Call 304-558-0220.

DRAG KARAOKE: 9 p.m. Free. Hosted by local drag performers. The Broadway, 201 Leon Sullivan Way. Call 304-343-2162.

Fri. 7.31

THE COMPANY STORES with A STORY TOLD: 6:30 p.m. Free. Haddad Riverfront Park. 304-348-8000.

RHAPSODY AND LORA AND JOHN: 7 to 10 p.m. Cover $5. Elk River Community Center, 1047 Main St., Elkview. Call 304-965-3722.

SEAN KNISELY: 7:30 p.m. Free. Taylor Books, 226 Capitol St. Call 342-1464 or visit www.taylorbooks.com.

THUMP DADDY: 10 p.m. Cover $5. The Boulevard Tavern, 806 Kanawha Blvd. E. Call 304-205-7951 or visit www.theboulevardtavernwv.com.

SHAYAR AND KROOSHAL FORCE: 10:30 p.m. Cover $7. The Empty Glass Caf�, 410 Elizabeth St. Call 304-345-3914 or visit www.emptyglass.com.

"CABARET": 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20. Broadway classic adapted from the novel "I am A Camera." Charleston Light Opera Guild Theatre, 411 Tennessee Ave. Call 304-342-9312.

"BOXES OF DARKNESS": 8 p.m. Adults $15. Students and seniors $8. CYAC monologue production about hate, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice and sexism. WVSU Capitol Theater, 123 Summers St. Call 304-342-6522.

FRANKIE PAUL: 8 p.m. Admission $10. The Comedy Zone, Holiday Inn, 400 Second Ave., South Charleston. Call 304-414-2386 or visit www.comedyzonecharleston.com

APPALACHIAN STRING BAND FESTIVAL: All day. Adults $15. Seniors and youth $10. Children under 5 free. Traditional and neo traditional string band music, crafts, dance and more. Camp Washington Carver. Clifftop, Fayette County. Call 304-558-0220.

DRAG SHOW: 12:30 and 2:15 a.m. Free. Atmosphere Ultra Lounge, 708 Lee St. E. Call 304-343-3737.

Sat. 8.1

YOUTH, CASSIUS AT BEST, LETTERS, DOWN IN ROUND 3 AND YEARLING: 6 p.m. Cover $5. All Ages Show. The Blue Parrot, 14 Capitol St. Call 304-342-2583.

WEGMAN BROTHERS: 7 p.m. Free. Appalachian Blues originals and acoustic covers. Bluegrass Kitchen, 1600 Washington St., E. Call 304-346-2871.

AMERI-COUNTRY: 7 p.m. Cover $5. Chesapeake Saturday Night Jamboree, Curry Annex Bldg., 12316 MacCorkle Ave., Chesapeake. Call 304-949-6111.

CHERRY RUN: 7 p.m. Adults $5. Children $3. Jerry Run Summer Theater, Rte. 20, 1.5 mi. north Holly River State Park. Cleveland. Call 304-493-6574.

RECYCLE: 7 to 10 p.m. Admission $8. Marmet Recreation Center, 8500 MacCorkle Ave. Call 304-949-9692.

"A TRIBUTE TO LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS": 7 p.m. Tickets $10. Features performances by James Price, a member of Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys, 2015 WVMHOF inductee Russ Hicks, Robert Shafer, John Lilly, Billy Payne, Roger Hicks and the Carpenter Ants. Presented by the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. LaBelle Theater, 311 D St., South Charleton. Call 304-746-5552.

BUCK MATHENY AND CLASSIC COUNTRY: 7 p.m. Cover $6. West Side Jamboree, corner of Tennessee Ave. and Randolph St. Call 304-419-1902.

CIRCA BLUE BLUEGRASS BAND: 7:30 p.m. Adults $15. Seniors $12. Children 12 and under $5. Mountaineer Opry House, Exit I-64, Milton. Call 304-743-5749.

THUMP DADDY: 10 p.m. Cover $5. The Boulevard Tavern, 806 Kanawha Blvd. E. Call 304-205-7951 or visit www.theboulevardtavernwv.com.

THE LONETONES: 10 p.m. Cover $7. The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St. Call 304-345-3914 or visit www.emptyglass.com.

FRANKIE PAUL: 7 and 9 p.m. Admission $10. The Comedy Zone, Holiday Inn, 400 Second Ave., South Charleston. Call 304-414-2386 or visit www.comedyzonecharleston.com

"CABARET": 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20. Broadway classic adapted from the novel "I am A Camera." Charleston Light Opera Guild Theatre, 411 Tennessee Ave. Call 304-342-9312.

"BOXES OF DARKNESS": 8 p.m. Adults $15. Students and seniors $8. CYAC monologue production about hate, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice and sexism. WVSU Capitol Theater, 123 Summers St. Call 304-342-6522.

APPALACHIAN STRING BAND FESTIVAL: All day. Adults $15. Seniors and youth $10. Children under 5 free. Traditional and neo traditional string band music, crafts, dance and more. Camp Washington Carver. Clifftop, Fayette County. Call 304-558-0220.

EAST END BAZAAR: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free. Local arts, crafts and music. 1428 Washington St. E. Call 304-767-9800.

DRAG SHOW: 12:30 a.m. Cover $5. Atmosphere Ultra Lounge, 708 Lee St. E. Call 304-343-3737.

Sun. 8.2

HANNAH ALDRIDGE with MATT WOODS: 10 p.m. Cover $5. The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St. Call 304-345-3914 or visit www.emptyglass.com.

"CABARET": 3 p.m. Tickets $20. Broadway classic adapted from the novel "I am A Camera." Charleston Light Opera Guild Theatre, 411 Tennessee Ave. Call 304-342-9312.

"BOXES OF DARKNESS": 8 p.m. Adults $15. Students and seniors $8. CYAC monologue production about hate, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice and sexism. WVSU Capitol Theater, 123 Summers St. Call 304-342-6522.

APPALACHIAN STRING BAND FESTIVAL: All day. Adults $15. Seniors and youth $10. Children under 5 free. Traditional and neo traditional string band music, crafts, dance and more. Camp Washington Carver. Clifftop, Fayette County. Call 304-558-0220.

Mon. 8.3

OPEN MIC: 10 p.m. Free. The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St. Call 304-345-3914 or visit www.emptyglass.com.

TEAM TRIVIA: 7 p.m. Free. The Monkey Barrel, 214 Leon Sullivan Way. Call 304-343-6969.

Tue. 8.4

BLUE YONDER: 7 p.m. Free. Acoustic honky-tonk. Bluegrass Kitchen, 1600 Washington St., E. Call 304-346-2871.

JAM NIGHT: 7 p.m. Free. The Monkey Barrel, 214 Leon Sullivan Way. Call 304-343-6969.

OPEN MIC: 7 to 11 p.m. Free. Grumpy's Waterfront Grill, 5930 MacCorkle Ave., St. Albans. Call 304-766-880.

KYLE MEADOWS: 9:30 p.m. Free. Tip Jar Tuesday. The Boulevard Tavern, 806 Kanawha Blvd. E. Call 304-205-7951 or visit www.theboulevardtavernwv.com.

SPURGIE HANKINS: 10 p.m. Free. The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St. Call 304-345-3914 or visit www.emptyglass.com.

Wed. 8.5

KING LINDSAY: 10 p.m. Free. The Boulevard Tavern, 806 Kanawha Blvd. E. Call 304-205-7951 or visit www.theboulevardtavernwv.com.

"DANCING WITH THE STARS: LIVE PERFECT 10 TOUR": 8 p.m. Tickets $49.50, $59.50 and $69.50. All-Stars Champion Melissa Rycroft to Headline Tour, Dancing Alongside Witney Carson, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Artem Chigvintsev, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd and Emma Slater. Charleston Municipal Auditorium. Call 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.

Upcoming

KEEP IT SAFE, DOWN IN ROUND 3 AND VOID SPECTRUM: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7. Cover $5. All Ages. Cartref, 5345 Big Tyler Road, Crosslanes. Call 304-395-1002. 

ALMOST QUEEN with FARNSWORTH: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7. Free. Haddad Riverfront Park. 304-348-8000. 

MULTIFEST: 12 p.m. Aug. 8 and 9. Free. Music, dance, food. Haddad Riverfront Park. 

"MOUNTAIN STAGE": 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8. Advance tickets $20 and $10. Featuring Rhiannon Giddens, The SteelDrivers, Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller, Alice Gerard and TBA. Davis and Elkins College, Myles Center for the Arts, 100 Campus Drive. www. mountainstage.org or Call 304-637-1255.

"A TRIBUTE TO BRICKTOP": 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9. Free. Jazz tribute to WV Jazz legend, Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith (Bricktop). Alderson Memorial Bridge, Alderson. Call 304-445-2005. 

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Best bet: W.Va. Hall of Fame Jimmy Dickens tribute http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739988 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739988 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame will host an evening celebrating the life and music of Country Music Hall of Famer and West Virginia Music Hall of Famer, Little Jimmy Dickens.

The tribute will be held 7 p.m. Saturday at the Labelle Theater in South Charleston.

The Raleigh County native, who stood at 4'11," was a permanent member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1949 and was dubbed the "King of the Novelty Song." Some of his hits included, "Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait" and "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose."

The show will feature performances by James Price, a former member of Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys, 2015 West Virginia Music Hall of Fame inductee Russ Hicks as well as Robert Shafer, John Lilly, Billy Payne, Julie Adams, Roger Hicks and The Carpenter Ants.

Admission is $10. For more information, call 304-746-5552.

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Best bet: Blenko Festival of Glass http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739989 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150730/GZ0601/150739989 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Blenko Glass will hold its 8th Annual Festival of Glass Friday through Sunday at the company's factory and visitor center in Milton.

The weekend will include several classes, guided tours, glass blowing demonstrations and giveaways.

Admission is free, but fees apply for the classes.

For more information, call 304-743-9081 or visit www.blenko.com

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