The former West Virginia Penitentiary tour season will open on Tuesday, and this past week I had the opportunity to view the new gift shop and museum located at the entrance to the tours.
The tours, gift shop and museum are operated by the Moundsville Economic Development Council, which leases the old prison facility.
Members of the MEDC staff, headed by Director Suzanne Park, have been busy during the past few months making changes to the gift shop/museum which included removing two walls to make the area a single room. That allows a better means of display whether it is clothing items or prison memorabilia.
"We try to determine the best use of our time while we are closed (December through March), and this year we focused on creating a larger, shopper friendly/retail space. We also decided to make our museum area more of an educational and informational room, and in combining the two rooms, we feel that visitors will benefit.''
Park stated. "From West Virginia Penitentiary T-shirts to books on the history of Moundsville and the prison, plus jewelry, tote bags, hats and more, we want area folks and visitors to be able to find gifts for anyone. Come for a tour, or just to shop."
Park pointed out some of the new items available for viewing in the museum have been donated to the museum by family members of former correctional officers, and there are administrative documents which were discovered recently.
"Old Sparky" the electric chair is now displayed more prominently, elevated in a cage, and with a "person" wearing an orange prison jump suit.
As to day tours, during April and May, the hours will be 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Beginning in June the tours will be available seven days a week.
Also, opening for the season on Tuesday will be the Marx Toy Museum and Johnny and Shar's Big Dipper, both of which were closed during the winter.
The hours of the Marx Toy Museum, located at 915 Second St., Moundsville, are 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
In addition to ice cream and other foods, the Big Dipper, located on Tenth Street, Moundsville, has a display of amusement park and carnival items which have been collected for many years by John and Sharon Yeater.
Grand Vue Park will be holding a clean-up from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday. It will begin at the Red Barn. The clean-up is in conjunction with West Virginia's Make It Shine Statewide Clean-Up.
The public is invited to participate in the clean-up, with gloves, water and trash bags provided.
Following the clean-up, members of the Grand Vue Disc Golf will host a general membership meeting beginning at noon at the Golf Shop. This meeting is open to any community member who plays disc golf at the Grand Vue courses.
Beginning tomorrow the park office will be accepting reservations for zip line participation. At this time of year park officials need two days advance notice for a group of six or more, so as to schedule employees to oversee the zip line's operation.
Also, on Monday the Par 3 golf will officially open, which means those playing will be required to pay a fee.
Monday will be first day for new smoking regulations in Marshall County, this being the result of recent action taken by the Marshall County Board of Health.
New areas to be covered include parks, playgrounds, swimming pool, fairs, festivals, and other outside venues open to the public.
Campuses of medical officers will become smoke-free as well.
The regulations will also include outside dining areas of covered businesses and a 15-foot perimeter at all entrances, exists and ventilation systems. And indoor coverage will be expanded to include hotel/motel rooms.
Covered under the medical offices is the Marshall County Health Department and thus disappearing from the front entrance to that building will be containers where smokers could dispose of their cigarettes prior to entering the building. Areas that are not covered under the smoke-free regulations include bars, limited video lottery rooms, bingo, tobacco stores, private homes and personal vehicles (provided they are not on medical campuses).
The penalty section of the regulations has changed to include misdemeanor charges to individuals in violations of the regulation, in addition to owners, operators and managers of covered businesses.
A Court Avenue neighbor of the Journal and Green Tab has moved. The Public Defenders Office is moving from one building which was originally a bank - the former Marshall County Bank - to another bank building, the former Mercantile Bank Building. The new Public Defenders Office at 509 Seventh St., was most recently that of attorney Fred Gardner.
The public defenders office plans to be operational by Monday.
The public defender corporation has been located in Marshall County since the mid-1980's and was one of first two public defender offices in the state.
The talk around the courthouse is that the building which the public defenders office and an attorney's office was located, has been sold to a Wheeling attorney firm, however, as of Friday morning no transfer of the property had been recorded in the county clerk's office.
A "Night At the Races" event will be held from 4-10 p.m. on Saturday at the American Legion Post at 800 First St., Moundsville.
The cost will be $15 per person which includes a steak dinner.
There will be a cost to have a "horse" in a race. The winning horse will be determined by a video race.