Mom and Pop Shop With Something for Everyone

By Megan Sperling, Matthew Wolford and Bevin Fletcher

Fishing tackle and fairy lamps? Guns and ice cream?

You can have it all at Mountaineer Gun Sales and Mountaineer Country Ice Cream, where the owners make an eccentric mix work.

“My favorite is still good ole’ fashion Praline pecan,” says owner, Teresa Walsh, when faced with seemingly endless ice cream options.

Hershey’s  ice cream isn’t the only thing served up at the warehouse-sized store, located on Point Marion Road in Morgantown, W.Va.  Teresa, along with her husband and co-owner Mark Walsh, also provide guns, archery and fishing supplies, as well as unique and varied collection of gift items, ranging from mugs to lamps to rocking chairs.

“Our flavor system allows us to do a lot of things,” Teresa said.  Mountaineer Country Ice Cream has 90 possible flavors in soft-serve ice cream.

The Walshes emphasize that their soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes are the “real” thing.

“It’s your fat content that determines whether it’s real or not,” Teresa said.  Unlike places like Dairy Queen, that might have less fat content in the ice cream, Mountaineer Country Ice Cream serves ice cream that has the full fat content and ensures a full flavor.

“For the person that’s health conscious, we have a no fat, no sugar added frozen yogurt and we can make that in 90 flavors too,” Teresa said.  So even those on a diet can enjoy a sweet taste of ice cream.

The Walshes opened Mountaineer Gun Sales shortly after Teresa moved to the Morgantown area.  Prior to that , Teresa was strictly in the sporting goods business.

According to Teresa, it was always her husband’s dream to open an ice cream shop in the area, so they decided to add on to their sporting goods shop.  “I grew up in this area and there never was one [ice cream shop] out here,” Mark said.

Though the shop’s most popular seller right now is ice cream, Teresa said that that’s not always the case throughout the year.

“It’s a combination, because maybe one thing on one side is selling, like right now it’s more of the ice cream and fishing, later on it’s going to be the sporting goods part and deer hunting,” Teresa said.

Trish Corbin, a regular, has been coming to the store for the last three years.

“They’re not hovering over you…They’re nice folks,” Corbin said.  She was picking up a wastebasket for her outdoor themed bathroom, camouflage floor mats for her new truck and a hunting orange t-shirt for her daughter.

“I even brought my little girl, they have live fish back there,” Corbin said, “She likes to look at the fishies.”

Customers like Corbin bring business year-round.

Unlike many places that sell ice cream, the Mountaineer shop is open year-round.  Customers are known to come to the shop looking for Christmas gifts and get some ice cream while they look  around.

Teresa began adding gift items to meet customers’ needs, for example, men who come in looking for anniversary or birthday gifts.

“I added maybe a few Indian things and they [customers] would say, ‘Well, my wife likes angels or dolphins or things,’ so I just expanded it,” Teresa said.

The gift items in the shop are bought from a family-owned business that receives many of the items from abroad, and some from locals.

Though Teresa sees things she likes in the shop, she never gets too attached.

“I get to look at it here,” Teresa said.

With a steady change of inventory, she knows a new shipment of items is just a week away.

Running a store is nothing new for Teresa, who says she’s been doing it her entire life.

“I always played store as a little girl,” Teresa said.  This childhood love and her ex-husband’s interest in muzzleloaders is what sparked the creation of her former business in sporting goods.

Though the Walshes have the Mountaineer Gun Sales section of their shop, they are currently fighting legal issues and working to reacquire their Federal Firearms License.

“We don’t have a license at the moment, but we’re getting ready to appeal it,” Teresa said, “We can sell what we have in stock to West Virginia residents.”

Legal issues have not distracted Teresa from running her business.

“She don’t take no one’s crap,” said employee Raymond Smith, who has worked at Mountaineer Gun Sales for two months.  Previously a customer, Smith often came to the shop to look at the gun selection.

“[Teresa] She is tough, but fair,” Smith said.

“She’s here 12 to 13 hours, seven days a week and I don’t know how she does it,” Mark said, who helps out at the couple’s shop as much as he can.

But Teresa is not alone, there are ten employees who are trained to work on the ice cream or sporting goods parts of the shop.

“So this is pretty much my home. When you’re here 13 hours a day, you go home, sleep and take a shower,” Teresa responded.  The Walshes are very dedicated to their shop.

“I love what I do,” Teresa said, with a huge smile on her face.

“It’s taking a while for people to realize we’re here and breaking their shopping habits,” Teresa said, “People think they have to go to Walmart, got to go to Dick’s, but we want people to realize there’s a mom and pop shop that they can come to and we make sure to make them feel welcome.”

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HyperFest 2012

Livelihood, Future, Dream

By Laura Flood and Isaiah Rosier

Located at the Summit Point Motorsports Park near Charlestown, W.Va., HyperFest is an automotive festival which attracts thousands of race fans and drivers. The 11th annual event, which took place on June 16 and 17, boasted activities including road racing, drift competitions, a 24-hour endurance race, car-decoration contests and drifting ride-alongs.

Three drivers, two professionals and an amateur showcasing his car build, took time out of their action-packed weekends to discuss the HyperFest experience and talk about their own backgrounds.

The Veteran

Name: James Evans

Age: 35

Hometown: Parkton, Md.

Profession: Drift racer

Car: Nissan 350Z

Sponsor: Sikky Manufacturing

To call James Evans an adrenaline junky would be an understatement. Evans is a man who lives to feel the thrill that you can only get from doing extreme sports.  For the past nine years, Evans has been competing as a professional drift racer.

Evans did not start his career in extreme sports with racing; instead, he was a competitive snowboarder getting his adrenaline fix in the icy air. It wasn’t until an accident that Evans started drifting.

“I used to snowboard until I took a bad fall and got beat up pretty bad. That’s how I got into racing,” he said.

Evans went to HyperFest and competed in the Xtreme Drift Circuit race with his Nissan350Z. Evans has attended the event before.

“HyperFest is crazy. It’s definitely one of my favorite events,” Evans said. “It’s getting bigger and bigger each year. There’s probably close to 20,000 people here this year.”

Years of practice and competition have sharpened Evans’ drifting skills to a keen edge. Drift racers deliberately oversteer, losing traction in the rear wheels and causing the vehicle to slide around corners. Many would think total concentration is what a drift racer needs, but according to Evans, that can actually hurt a drifter. Evan believes that losing a little focus can loosen a driver up and allow him to race better.

“You don’t want to be all tensed up. You don’t want to be in overdrive,” he said. “You want to be at around 80 percent.”Like any athlete who has competed professionally, Evans has learned from his mistakes. He has flipped cars, totaling many of them, but that never holds him back from getting behind the wheel.

“[Crashing] is all part of the game,” he said. “When you’re trying hard, you’re going to hit shit.”

Drift racers drive qualifying laps to limit competition. The 16 fastest racers are paired up and go head-to-head on the course. Evans made it to round four of the Xtreme Drift Circuit, placing fourth overall in the competition.

The Prodigy

Name: Devin Cates

Age: 20

Hometown: Fairfax, Va.

Profession: Student/ Road Racer, sophomore economics and music major at James Madison University.

Car: Silver Spec Mazda Miata, (Has raced Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Grand Am, Volkswagen GTI, Ford Mustang)

Sponsors: Finish Line Productions, Cates Engineering, Cutaway Creations

Devin Cates has been driving for five years. And he’s only 20. While other kids skipped school to stay home and play video games, Cates found himself playing hooky throughout high school and college to race.

“It’s definitely tough balancing school and racing,” Cates said. “I tend to miss a lot of classes. Some of my teachers aren’t always happy about it.”

For Cates, racing is in his blood.

“My dad was a big-time racer back in the ‘80s,” Cates said. “He was actually a local champ at the Summit Point track.”

Brian Cates, who, like his son, drives a Miata, has won eight road racing championships since his first competition at the Summit Point Motorsports Park in 1983. He won his first Sports Car Club of America championship in 1988, after several second and third place finishes in the mid-1980s.

Devin Cates acquired his National Automotive Sports Association competition license with High Performance Driving Events in 2006. Soon afterward, he competed in his first road race at the Summit Point Raceway. He attended a SCCA driving school in 2007. In 2008, Cates placed fourth in the NASA regional championships with his Spec Miata and third in the national championships. Cates won several SCCA races in 2009, before taking a break from racing to focus on his studies. The last time he raced, in August 2011, his motor blew.

“Last year wasn’t that great for me,” he said. “We’re just trying to get back into the swing of things with [HyperFest].”

Though Cates has raced several times on the Summit Point Raceway, this year was his first HyperFest experience.

“HyperFest is awesome,” Cates said. “It’s a great gathering of racers and race fans.”

In this year’s competition, Brian and Devin Cates finished 14th and 16th, respectively, in a field of 41 cars in Saturday’s main race. The two suffered car troubles and were unable to finish the race on Sunday.

The Amateur

Name: Elliott Kletter

Age: 20

Hometown: Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.

Profession: Student/ Employee of Hollywood Casino at Charles Town

Car: Volkswagen GTI

Sponsor: None

Elliott Kletter, of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va. stands proud by his finished project. For the past year and a half Kletter had been rebuilding a Volkswagen GTI that he showed off at HyperFest. While he is excited be showing off his hard work at HyperFest, Kletter dreams of something bigger; he dreams of becoming a racer.

“My passion comes into the building, but enjoying what I do comes into the racing,” said Kletter.

Kletter is moving away from being just a car builder and is working towards becoming a competitive racer. This up and comer started racing through the SCCA in the Super Tour Over class and has competed in four races. Kletter finished each race in the top three.

Racing has its own unique world. There are many different types of races that a racer can compete in. Kletter has been focusing his attentions on road races, which can typically run anywhere from three minutes to two hours. However, Kletter has his eyes set on endurance races.

“Endurance races are 24 hours long. You take six-hour shifts,” he said. “I would love to test myself with that kind of a race.”

Kletter, like other racers, enjoys the thrill one experiences going over 100 mph down a racetrack. However, he got into cars not for speed, but simply because he was good at it.

“I just kind of figured if you’re not good a sports you have to be good at something, and I was good at cars,” said Kletter.

Kletter is correct about being good at cars. Not only is he proving himself as a racer, but as a racecar builder. The Volkswagen GTI that he was proudly showing off at HyperFest was the first car he ever built, and the one he will start racing. He has invested $60,000 into the car, which currently has 550 horsepower.

Although he did not compete in HyperFest, it was an important event for this racer to attend. He said that he hopes to acquire a sponsor in order to be able to race full time.

“This kind of lifestyle can get really expensive. You have to build the cars and then travel around to show them or race them,” he said. “That’s a trailer, entry fee, gas, hotels and food. It really stacks up quickly.”

While he still has a long way to go before he becomes pro, Kletter is well on his way. With a strong passion for cars, the sky is the limit for this amateur driver.

HyperFest 2012 

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The Hunt for the Mothman

This page chronicles the quest of a group of journalism students to investigate the mystery behind the mothman in Point Pleasant, W.Va.

Josh Davis, Laura Flood, Dan Matarazzo and Isaiah Rosier

Are You There Mothman?

By Laura Flood

   It is an eerie quiet that fills Main Street. Walking “down town” Point Pleasant W.Va, it feels as if one has just journeyed into a David Lynch film. Signs for the local antique and coffee shops that say “we’re open” fill the empty side walk.

Jerry Kolsterman of Beaver Creeks, Ohio has come to Point Pleasant to find just one thing. It something that he can’t find in any of the antique shops, no, what he is looking for is answers; answers about the mothman.

“I am here looking for the mothman. I mean you have to believe that something is out there, why would there be so many stories if it wasn’t real,” said Kolsterman.

Point Pleasant is home to the mothman folk legend. According to local lore the mothman acts as an omen. The creature made its first appearance in 1966 when a local couple went to the old abandoned World War II TNT bunkers hidden in the woods. The couple reported seeing a creature with red eyes and large wings. News of the mothman was short-lived, but in 1967 the mothman would become infamous.

In 1967, Point Pleasant had one of the nation’s biggest tragedies of the time. The Silver Bridge, that connected West Virginia to Ohio collapsed, killing over 40 people. It was said that the mothman was spotted before the fall.

The creature sparked a national fascination. Newspapers from all over flocked towards the small West Virginia town. In the early 2000s, the mothman would make news again, this time as a feature film starring Richard Gere. Once again the town was swarmed with questions about the existence of the mothman.

Instead of pushing their bizarre history to the side, many locals embraced the legend. The main advocates of the “I believe club” are the storeowners that occupy Main Street.

“Yeah something is there,” said Bob Landrum, a local shop owner. “But 1966 is incorrect for the first sighting. I did research on the topic, and you can do it, too, it was actually in the early 1700s before Ohio was settled.”

For anyone like Kolsterman who is looking for answers about the mysterious creature Landrum is the person to talk to. With his shop in the heart of town, Landrum has become one the main stops for mothman hunters. Landrum’s passion for the legend is made obvious by the paintings on his walls. He can tell you all the history on the topic as well as accounts of the mothman.

“Yeah I have seen it, that’s how I know something is up there. You see seven different Indian tribes used roam that land, and the bunkers were placed on top of an Indian burial ground, said Landrum.

Point Pleasant has a deep history in Indian culture. The Shawnee tribe used the land to harvest corn.

With the old World War II TNT bunkers being part of the military some believe that the military is behind the mothman, and that the government is well aware of what is happening up in the bunkers.

“You see the bunkers were closed to the public, now why would the government do that? They recently opened three, but you better believe they are still up there,” said Landrum. “I have gotten many letters telling me not to go up into those bunkers, many government agents walk through that door telling me to stop.”

Government conspiracy, supernatural mothmen, and an Indian burial ground, attract supernatural hunters.

“I believe in everything, I believe that there is something called monster shock that people experience. You see, when someone sees something strange their bodies and minds going into a state of shock and it is our responsibility to talk them out of that shock,” said Kolsterman

Monster shock or not, Kolsterman was determined to find the mothman. Landrum provided Kolsterman with a hand-drawn map of the old bunkers. With the map in hand, Kolsterman and his friend went into the deep woods of Point Pleasant for the hunt.

The drive to the bunkers is not a long one, but easy to get lost. With every turn Kolsterman was getting one step closer to finding his answers. Finally, he pulled up to the path where the bunkers are located.

“There it is, the green and orange graffiti, he (Landrum) said that would mark the spot,” said Kolsterman.

Finding the bunkers required a small hike down a path that had been overgrown with plant life and swamp on the opposite side. The silence was even more deafening, and the sense of isolation was in the air.

Finally Kolsterman reached the first bunker.

“There it is! Are you ready?”

Photo by Josh Davis
This bunker rests in a wooded area north of Point Pleasant, W.Va.

He excitingly opened the door and walked into the cement dome. Every move made echoed throughout the building. There it was. The mothman. Painted on the wall by some teenagers who had clearly used the bunker for a party.

With no luck in the first bunker, Kolsterman hiked his way to the second. Once again there was no sign of the mothman. Holding out hope Kolsterman continued to go to the third. With opening of the door his excitement disappeared from his face, because sadly there is no moth man.

“He is here, just because we didn’t see him doesn’t mean he isn’t real.”

No one can say for certain if there is or is not a mothman. For those who have seen him, they will die believers; for those who want to believe, they flock towards town; and for those who are skeptical, Point Pleasant worth the trip just to hear the eye witness accounts.

Tragedy on the Silver Bridge

By Isaiah Rosier

Photo by Josh Davis
This memorial commemorates the tragedy of the Silver Bridge Collapse in 1967.

“Those who lost their lives are remembered.”

These words, which commemorate the Silver Bridge collapse, are inscribed in Point Pleasant, W.Va., along with the names of those killed in the disaster.

On December 15, 1967, at about 5 p.m., the town of about 6,000 suffered a tragedy. During rush-hour traffic, the bridge suddenly buckled and collapsed, the result of an eye-bar fracture caused by stress and corrosion.

Thirty-one vehicles fell into the icy waters of the Ohio River. Forty-six people were killed, 19 of whom were from West Virginia, and nine were injured.

“The Silver Bridge collapse was one of the worst in history,” said Allison Rollins, a 21-year-old native of Point Pleasant. “When they talked about the bridge failure in Minnesota on the news, they brought up Point Pleasant.”

The catastrophe took an unnatural twist when residents began to claim that they had spotted the mothman, a great, winged creature, on the top of the bridge just before its collapse.

The mothman had been seen by hundreds of Point Pleasant natives and visitors in the 13 months leading up to the bridge collapse. Some say that the mysterious creature came as a messenger, trying to warn residents of the town of the impending disaster. Others blame the beast for the accident. Still others deny the being’s existence.

Jeremy Pitchford, an Ohio native who works at the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, said that the Silver bridge collapse prompted the bridge creators, General Corp. and American Bridge Co., to reevaluate the integrity of similar bridges to prevent other disasters. The collapse also led to legislation concerning bridge inspection standards.

The original bridge, which was 2,235 feet long, opened to the public in 1928.

The Silver Memorial Bridge was built in 1969 about a mile from the site of the original bridge, and connects Henderson, W.Va. to Gallipolis, Ohio. The original bridge connected Point Pleasant and Kanauga, Ohio. The Kanawha River feeds into the Ohio River at Point Pleasant.

“Point Pleasant is the town where two rivers meet,” said Rollins.

Mothman Fast “Facts”

First seen near Point Pleasant on November 15, 1966, by two couples, Steve and Mary Mallette and Roger and Linda Scarberry.

Seen as a messenger, warning people of impending tragedies.

Supposedly seen before the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967.

Also reportedly seen before the earthquake in San Francisco, the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the twin towers bombing in New York, and the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl.

Its most notable feature is its glowing, red eyes, a common depiction in many reported sightings.

Made famous by the 2002 film, “The Mothman Prophecies,” starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney. The Mothman is also featured in two documentaries: “Eyes of the Mothman” (2011) and “Mothman Country” (2011).

Has boosted Point Pleasant’s economy through tourism and the annual Mothman Festival held each fall. The festival usually brings in about 4,000 or 5,000 people for a weekend. The Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant usually sees about 40 or 50 visitors each day.

Origin theories:

Some think that the mothman can be attributed to the “Curse of Cornstalk.” The Shawnee chief Cornstalk fought in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 and was murdered at Fort Randolph, where the town Point Pleasant was later built.

Some believe that the mothman is a Thunderbird, a mythical creature from Native American legends. The Thunderbird is capable of summoning storm clouds and controlling lightning.

Others believe the mothman was actually a Sandhill Crane, a large North American bird with red plumage around its eyes.

A few even believe that the mothman is some sort of alien entity.

News spread page 1

News spread page 2

Mothman Uncovered


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Life in the “Quiet Zone”

By Matthew Wolford, Megan Sperling and Bevin Fletcher

A platform in the NRAO site in Green Bank, W.Va., is the closest that digital cameras are allowed to get to the world’s largest fully steerable telescope. The Green Bank Telescope sits within a 13,000 square mile “Quiet Zone” regulated by the FCC, and provides many jobs to the surrounding community.

Inside the gates of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, scientists are drawn to the area to conduct research using the world’s largest, fully steerable radio telescope, but outside in the small town of Green Bank, W.Va., people are drawn to a simpler way of life.

Driving South on Route 92 the Green Bank Telescope appears as an immense structure of white among the line of green trees; almost rising out of nowhere.  Rivaling the mountains that surround it, the GBT looks almost alien amongst the wildlife. Even with the shield of pine trees around the telescope, it is still struck by lightning four or five times a year.

The town of Green Bank is located in Pocahontas County, which houses two states forests along with the Monongahela National Forest.  This is part of the reason why the area was chosen for the facility.  Trees help to block out some of the interference caused by radio waves.

Located within the National Radio Quiet Zone, people in Green Bank must forgo technology that many take for granted, such as using cellphones or a remote-controlled garage door openers.

The Federal Communications Commission created the “Quiet Zone” to protect the airwaves around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  This restricted air space also helps to protect GBT from radio interference that could potentially change the results of scientific experiments.

Devices that transmit radio signals are not permitted within the 13,000 square-mile-zone, as any rogue waves can interfere with the telescope. This includes cellphones, wireless Internet and any other devices known to transmit radio waves, though microwaves are allowed.

The official website of the NRAO describes their establishment as a contemporary group of radio telescope facilities that are used by the international scientific community, regardless of their affiliation.  A scientist must send a proposal to the NRAO for use of their telescopes at a designated time.

According to Stephen Royer, a tour guide at NRAO, the GBT has the ability to receive information from 1, 5, or even 10 billion light years away.  The telescope is millions of times more sensitive than television dishes.

Due to this sensitivity, he said that things as simple as weeds growing on electric fences can cause interference with the telescope.

“We create a lot of gadgets ourselves…it’s a long way to Radio Shack,” said Royer.  There are around 100 to 110 employees currently employed at the observatory, most being West Virginians.

Royer said that Pocahontas County has fewer people in it today than it did in the ‘50s, although the NRAO has provided many jobs for the people of Green Bank and the surrounding area.

Most people in the town work for the NRAO Board of Education, or Snow Shoe, a ski resort about 18 miles away, says Mospan.

Driving along Green Bank’s main road one can expect to be met with waves from fellow drivers passing by.  This doesn’t mean that they know you personally; that’s just the way the town is, says Arnold “Arnie” Stewart.

Stewart, who has lived in Green Bank for the last five years, retired there after countless summers spent on his grandparents’ farm during his childhood.  He said that his favorite aspect of Green Bank is the “wide-open spaces and quiet space.”  Another positive aspect, according to Stewart, is that “it’s a cheap place to live” compared to the Chesapeake Bay area where he had been living .

Stewart believes many people are attracted to the small town because of the regulations on radio waves. He said that he knows of seven or eight people living in the area who claim to be radiosensitive.  Such people believe that they have negative side effects from radio wave exposure from things such as cellphone towers.

Stewart says those people feel as if they are being pricked with tiny needles when close to radio waves, some also claim hair loss is a side effect.

According to Stewart, to make up for the absence of cellphones, people in the town use two-way hand radios to communicate.  A license has to be acquired to use these radios and he said over 100 people have licenses, but he only knows of eight people who actively use their radios.

Jane Mospan, one of the two librarians employed at the local library, grew up in Green Bank, but lived in the Washington DC area for many years before returning 30 years ago.  “[Green Bank] is quiet and I like the people,” said Mospan.

“You sneeze here, the whole town hears it,” said Mospan.  The town is very close-knit and is an environment where everyone knows everyone.

Green Bank is a hard town for teenagers and young adults to live in because there are not many part-time jobs available.  Green Bank is not right for everyone though. Stewart said that the winters can be harsh, with the temperature sometimes reaching -10 degrees.

One way the people of Green Bank get through the cold winters is by immersing themselves in art.  Another aspect of the community that Stewart unveiled was their love of art.  Stewart gave a “private tour” of the Green Bank Art Center.

Residents don’t hibernate during Green Bank’s cold winters; they are kept busy with painting, pottery, jewelry making and a number of other artisan trades. The pieces are then sold in a shared artisan co-op.

“We keep busy in the winter,” said Stewart.  He proudly showed his jewelry, made by hand with fresh-water pearls.  The building was filled with paintings, jewelry and pottery made from clay.  Stewart showcased many works by a local artist, Kathryn C. Gillispie, and said that she has a master’s degree in clay and teaches classes for beginners.

Although the observatory’s main function is scientific research, it has also become a resource for members of the surrounding community.

The NRAO provides a daycare facility for the parents who work for the observatory or around the local area, has hosted the high school prom in the basement of the science center and even held a graduation ceremony for a single student; at which the majority of the town attended.

It’s easy to see how the GBT is not only a structure for science, but has also built an entire community around it’s existence.  Although the citizens of Green Bank do not have cellphones, WiFi, or remote control door openers, they have something more.  They have a sense of community that is created by the GBT.


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Travel the world with Amizade Global Service-Learning programs

By Erin Fitzwilliams, Wayne Haviland and Dave Carl

Imagine spending the summer in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

It could be the reality for several West Virginia University students this summer who join a service-learning trip with Amizade.

Amizade Global Service-Learning is a nonprofit organization that has been connecting communities with people from around the world for 18 years, according to Trey Goff, WVU service-learning coordinator.

“You actually see what life is like as a local Brazilian in Brazil, rather than any college student at a city campus anywhere around the world,” Goff said. “I think it’s a more personable view on the world around you rather than just studying abroad and seeing it from a third party. You’re actually talking to people, interacting with the local community and it’s a pretty cool organization.”

This summer, students will travel to Santarem, Brazil, which has a population of about 300,000, and the primary language is Portugese.

Paula Fitzgerald, professor in WVU’s marketing department, will be teaching the courses in Brazil this summer for students earning credit.

Fitzgerald says this trip will offer credits for Intro to Marketing, Social Marketing and International Studies courses. In Brazil, the students will market a social campaign decided by the class, which could include health promotion, sexual health promotion, HIV prevention or nutrition promotion.

Fitzgerald said that in some communities in Brazil, campaigns have made a difference in the lifestyles of the natives in impoverished areas.

“Taking malnutrition from 39 percent to two percent is a huge impact in human welfare,” she said. “We’re making an impact on people’s lives.”

Nathan Darity, Amizade’s Brazil site director, said service trips are designed around each location’s specific needs.

Val Hess, one of Amizade's Site Directors in Brazil, working with a local child. Photo courtesy of Amizade.

“There’s something about spending time learning the culture of where you want to end up and building relationships where you want to end up. It’s indescribably important,” he said.

Darity has served as the site director for Brazil since 2009.

“Because of the fact I’m not Brazilian, I’m surrounding myself with the right team that will integrate me into the community. I’m bringing in as many people as I could,” he said. “I’ve loved Brazil since I was six.”

Fitzgerald said the learning part of the trip will be based around marketing and social campaigns; the service portion of the trip varies in what the community wants. In the past, Fitzgerald said they’ve taught English at the elementary schools.

“Brazilians go to school in the morning or afternoon and we would teach them in the morning and play with them. It was always really fun,” she said.

The students can also help with manual labor for building libraries, clean water systems, or whatever the community needs.

She said it’s also a culturally enriching trip that will allow students to explore Brazil on their own.

“It’s supervision with freedom. Someone would take care of you if you’re sick, or you have to go to get your luggage,” she said. “It’s a balance of support. You can wander off and check things out without someone hovering. That’s what my students experience, but when my daughter went, she found there was someone there when she needed it.”

Applications for the trip will be accepted at the Office of International Programs until April 20. The trip to Brazil is July 21 to August 12, 2012.  It is open to all WVU students and will cost at least $2,000.

Children from the St. Petersfield, Jamaica school pose for the cameras. Amizade Global Serive-Learning visited Jamaica with WVU students during spring break 2012.

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On Eagles Wings

By Amy Wallace, Autumn Lonon, and Josh Marshall

Jacob Allen has severe autism.  For the past three years, Jacob has been going to On Eagles Wings, a non-profit organization that does therapeutic horse riding for those with disabilities.

Jacob Allen riding Blaze during a therapy session at On Eagles Wings.
Photo Courtesy: Karen Allen

Karen Allen, Jacob’s mother, said when Jacob began to get older; he became more rigid and lost range of motion. Since coming to On Eagles Wings, he has become more relaxed and comfortable.

“One of the things we noticed immediately that was great was that after he rode for even twenty minutes his arms started to come down or he would hold on a little bit and he seemed to really relax him…he just continued to feel more and more comfortable,” Allen said.

Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first three years of life and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. Some characteristics of Autism are the lack of social interaction as well as severe restriction in interests and activity involvement, including repetitive type behaviors (DSM-IV, 2000). Horse therapy is shown to help improve motivation for children with autism while giving them a routine oriented therapy session.

Owner and founder Carol Petitto started On Eagles’ Wings in 2007. On Eagles’ Wings does a variety of different therapies. On Eagles Wings website says they have all types of disabilities that can be helped by equine assisted activities.

Petitto says On Eagles Wings volunteers are certified to work with participants from the ages of four and up for therapeutic riding, and approximately two-years-old and up for

Dr. Carol Petitto, Jacob and Blaze before Jacob’s therapy session.
Photo Courtesy: Karen Allen


“The basis of therapeutic riding and hippo [therapy] riding is the fact that the horse’s motion is three dimensional,” Petitto said. “It is front to back, side-to-side, and rotation in a circular motion. That is the exact same motion as the human walk, so in a thirty to forty minute riding lesson you get three to five thousand rotational movements.”

Petitto says that the repetitive rotational movement cannot be found or replicated in any type of physical therapy.

“Someone who doesn’t have the ability to walk can actually improve the muscle tone, muscle memory, central nervous system, the brain can all be trained with that walking motion can actually create the ability to start walking or improve that little mobility someone had with the same cognitive issues,” Petitto said.

The three dimensional gait of the horse helps normalize the sensory-motor systems, which helps the nervous system with the ability to improve cognitive and language responses and it also improves trunk and muscle control, necessary for speech.

Natalie Doerr is a West Virginia University student with multiple sclerosis. Doerr rode a horse at On Eagles Wings as a therapy demonstration.

“It was very relaxing just to be able to ride,” Doerr said. “I can definitely see how going on a regular basis can help people.”

Petitto says the work at On Eagles Wings is very rewarding.

“It changed my life, I went from not really having a strong purpose in my life to being totally positive that what I’m doing is the right thing,” Petitto said. “I wish I could live another hundred years so I could keep doing this.”

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The WVU results…

The WVU results for the Student Government Association’s election for the 2012-2013 school year were announced last night in the Mountainlair.

The announcement resulted in mixed emotions all around, and the Golden Ticket won only one seat on the SGA despite the endorsements from Senator Joe Manchin, former WVU football player Owen Schmitt, and the Daily Athenaeum.

Rashad Bates, presidential candidate of the Golden Ticket, served the SGA as Vice President for the last two years was defeated in this year’s election.

The United Party nearly swept the SGA seats 14-1.  Ryan Campone was the only victorious member of the Golden Ticket coming in thirteenth place.  This is Campone’s third straight SGA term.

Devin Sears of the Golden Ticket was shocked to find the results

“We are very proud of our work,” Sears said.  “There’s nothing else I would have done differently.”

Sears thinks that the elections more about popularity instead of competency for the positions.

The SGA elections received a bit of controversy when the Daily Athenaeum reported missing newspapers of the April 10th edition across from campus.

The theft of newspapers occurred when the Daily Athenaeum published an editorial piece endorsing the Golden Ticket.

In an interview at the U92 radio station on the show Feedback last Wednesday, the United Party said that they did not know who stole the newspapers.

Last year, voter fraud caused the elections to be moved from the online Mix system to voting booths in the Mountainlair.

Statistics in the Daily Athenaeum stated that the voter turnout was 2,681 students out of the possible 27,848 voters.  About 9.6 percent of the students voted in the elections.  The results have not been certified as of the Friday, April 13th issue of the DA.

The United Party shuttled voters to the Mountainlair to the voting booths.  This process is completely legal according to SGA election rules as long as the party is not campaigning a certain distance from the booths.

Sears says that the voting booths are the reason behind the low voter turnout, but has decreased the amount of voter fraud.  Sears also thinks that there needs to be some other way to get students to be more interested in the elections.

“I think that this year, specifically, students just don’t care,” Sears said, “so they’re not going to vote.”

Sears plans on doing more for the university outside of the SGA.

The winners are as follows:

Presient and Vice President:

Zach Redding and Jared Zuccari

Board of Governors:

Bridgette Boyd

Molly Callaghan

Joe Reidy

Christian Guy

Devon Lopez

Abdul Aziz Alshammari

Zac Eichelberger

Andrea Mucino

Jason Cohen

Kylie Sphar

Kartik Motwani

Harrison Wellford

Morgan Riddle

Ryan Campione

Dillan Knox

Athletic Council:

Stephanie Rosnick

Zack Lusher

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