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Strings Students Honored

March 7, 2010

Two strings players from Wheeling are among 13 West Virginia high school and college students who have been nominated by the Appalachian Education Initiative for an elite summer music program with the National Symphony Orchestra.

This year's finalists include Wheeling residents Keith Michael, 17, of Wheeling who plays violin and Matthew Turner, 18, who plays viola. Michael is a junior at Wheeling Park High School, while Turner is a senior at Wheeling Park.

The National Symphony Orchestra usually tries to select one student musician from most states to attend the Summer Music Institute.

For the past two years, the Appalachian Education Initiative nominated students, but no one from West Virginia was selected for the program, officials said.

"This year, because the West Virginia Division of Culture and History is hosting the National Symphony Orchestra's American Residency program, we are guaranteed that at least one West Virginia student, possibly more, will be selected to attend the program," said Lou Karas, executive director of the Appalachian Education Initiative.

As the West Virginia affiliate of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network, the Appalachian Education Initiative coordinates the nomination program annually.

Officials said the nominated students will be notified of the final selection by mid-March.

After the death of Alexander Haig, 85, former Army general and U.S. Secretary of State, last month, area residents may have wondered about the status of his younger brother, who served as president of Wheeling College during its early years.

Well, the New York Times quoted the Rev. Frank Haig, S.J., 81, in its obituary for his brother. The Times identified the Jesuit priest as a professor emeritus of physics at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.

Earlier in his academic career, Father Haig taught physics at Wheeling College and served as the school's president from 1966 to 1972.

Charles W. Morris III of Charleston has been named director of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History's museums section, effective Tuesday, March 16.

State officials said that Morris will be responsible for administering the division's museums programs, which include the West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center and its collections, and the agency's other historic sites and museums, including Grave Creek Mound Archaeology Complex in Moundsville and West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling.

Prior to his appointment, Morris served as director of collections and exhibits for the past four years.

He was also director of collections management since 1991.

As director of museums, Morris succeeds Adam Hodges, who left the Division of Culture and History last month to accept a position with the West Virginia University extension service in Fayette County.

Two professional communicators who were fixtures on the Wheeling scene died within days of each other in the past week and a half. Arnold Lazarus and John Wiater both started their careers in journalism with the Wheeling newspapers; later, both went on to found their respective public relations firms in the city.

Lazarus, or "Laz," as he was known to many colleagues, was one of those hard-working guys who continued to keep his finger on the pulse of news in the community, and he kept other journalists on their toes, too. Throughout his life and career, he remained one of Wheeling's strongest "cheerleaders."

Wiater was involved in various civic endeavors, including the W.Va.2-U.S. 250 authority and the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation, on which he was serving at the time of his death. Wiater's professional expertise was an invaluable component of the foundation's Civil War battle flags fund-raising campaign.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at:

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