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Wheelingite Involved In Energy Center

September 10, 2011
By LINDA COMINS , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

In the "good news" department, we have learned that Dr. Arne Jacobson, who grew up in Wheeling, is co-director of the Schatz Energy Research Center which has moved into a new facility on the campus of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

A graduate of Wheeling Park High School, Jacobson is the son of Pat Jacobson of Wheeling and the late Karl Jacobson.

Jacobson, who also is an associate professor of environmental resources engineering and serves as graduate coordinator of the Energy, Technology and Policy Program at Humboldt State University, said an open house and grand opening ceremony were held recently for the Schatz Energy Research Center's new building. Previously, the center's state-of-the-art alternative energy lab had operated in the old University Annex building for nearly 20 years.

The new $3 million, 6,000-square-foot center includes three laboratories, a machine shop and office space. A published account stated, "Best known for its research on the application of hydrogen fuel, the lab is designed to continue that work along with other explorations of the potential for new energy thinking with local and global applications."

At the opening of the facility, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., described the work at the lab as "a metaphor for what we need to do in this country to get things going, to create jobs, to become more sustainable." He also was quoted commenting, "Right here you have it all: You have education, you have innovation, and you have renewable energy... This is the future."

We hear that the first rehearsal for the new band at Wheeling Jesuit University, conducted by River City Brass Maestro James Gourlay, was a big hit. More than two dozen musicians showed up for the initial practice in Troy Theater on campus Sunday, Aug. 28.

The next rehearsal for the concert band is planned at Troy Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept 12. The pep band's next rehearsal is just before a volleyball game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at McDonough Center. For more information on joining the band, call WJU's student development office at 304-243-2350.

Meanwhile, Wheeling Jesuit University will hold a "concert on the green" at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, in connection with the inauguration of President Richard A. Beyer.

The outdoor show, set to take place in front of Donahue Hall on the Jesuit campus, is open to the public.

Ten years.

In a matter of minutes, life as we knew it in the United States ended. Our innocence, our naivete, our unquestioning sense of security, was destroyed when terrorists turned commercial airplanes into weapons of killing and destruction.

In some ways, the horrors of 9/11 seem to have occurred a lifetime ago. In other ways, though, the tragedy is just as real, and almost as raw, as it was in 2001.

It was such a beautiful September day - the sky was that incredible shade of blue that it can be in September and October; the sun was shining brightly; the temperature was pleasantly warm. The contrast between the natural beauty of the day and the dark, smoky, dusty scene unfolding at the attack sites was incongruous. It seemed impossible, unthinkable, that such carnage, such evil, could occur on such a pretty day. For weeks (and perhaps years) afterward, every time there was a similar sunny, bright blue sky day, many people no doubt held their breath and wondered whether the beautiful day would "betray" us again.

Probably everyone of a certain age remembers exactly where he or she was when they learned of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. My recollection is no different than anyone else's: I had been to the post office that morning and had just walked into the office when I heard the news. It took a while for the news to register - it was unthinkable, unimaginable, unfathomable. As we watched in stunned silence, the Twin Towers collapsed and the news came in of the crashes at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.

Later, I began to think of young people of my acquaintance and of college classmates who lived and worked in New York and Washington, D.C., and the thoughts for their safety brought a heightened fear to my heart. Amazingly, although some friends witnessed the attacks, none was injured or killed.

Hours later, when we learned that the doomed Flight 93 had passed over the Northern Panhandle before crashing in rural western Pennsylvania, another wave of emotion surfaced. It became clear that the ill-fated airliner could have crashed in a highly populated area, our area, in fact, compounding the senseless tragedy.

Today, as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, may we never forget the victims and the heroes who sacrificed their lives on that terrible day. Today belongs to them and to their families and friends.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at:

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