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AMT Cast Back On Stage for Another Season

March 8, 2008
By WAYNE SHEETS, Contributing Business Writer

    The American Mountain Theater kicked off its 2008 season a week ago. After last year’s performances, I wondered how the program could be improved. Considering the imagination of the cast, you might guess they have something new and exciting. 

This year’s show, like last year’s, takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride. The song writing talent of Beverly Sexton, coupled with her own singing talent and that of her sister, Susie Heckel-Teter, makes a dynamic duo that is unbeatable.

The energy-charged Jeremiah Franks and his antics are an entertainment treat for young and old alike. If you saw his act last year with the toaster — yes, a regular bread toaster —you’ll get an even bigger laugh out of his new act. He’s a blast.

It’s amazing how well put together Joel Franks’ drums must be — how anything can stand such a beating is beyond me. I think he’s still trying to get rid of some childhood frustration. 

Ishah Marie is as lovely as she is spirited in her dance routines. 

The comedy chatter between Kenny Sexton, the producer — and, as everyone on stage admits, the boss —and Denny Franks is fresh and, at times, adlibbed. Many big-time recording artists — impersonations of course —are making return appearances. Roy Orbison and the Beatles are my favorites. 

Watching Mark Hamrick and Seth Maynard’s fingers dance up and down the necks of their guitars would make the saltiest sailor seasick.  They are good.

Then there’s the granddaddy of them all — Pee Wee Heckel. How proud he must be of such a talented family. We’re just as proud to have them here in Elkins.  If you haven’t seen the show, you’re missing a great evening of entertainment.


The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce will host its quarterly meeting at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday  at the Randolph County Community Arts Center. Guest speaker will be Dr. Brian Nolan, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Lunch will be catered by Graceland Inn. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. All members are encouraged to attend and bring a guest.  Reservations are required and may be made by calling 636-2717. This is an excellent opportunity to acquaint a non-member with the advantages of being a member.


    A group of Tygarts Valley High School biology students entertained Rotarians at the Rotary Club of Elkins’ weekly luncheon on Monday. The students presented a slide show of their nature-study visit to Cayo Costa, Fla. 

During their weeklong visit, the students enjoyed snorkeling, swimming in the surf with dolphins, picnicking and searching for seashells. They also witnessed first hand the many and varied species of non-domesticated water fowl.


    Rotary Club members have tickets available to their “Fun Night Dinner and Dance” at the National Guard Armory from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 4.  Tickets are $100 per couple or single. Why go stag when, for the same price, you and a date can enjoy great dining and dancing as well as have a chance of winning one of the numerous prizes ranging from $100 to $1,000? Get in touch with a Rotarian and get your ticket now. They are going fast.


Here is another fun date to keep in mind. I don’t have much information about it but Ray LaMora told me he has tickets for the Knight’s of Columbus dinner, dance and give-away on April 26 at Orchard Hall. Dinner will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and dancing from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. For $35 per couple, this sounds like a great evening out. Eight lucky people will also win cash prizes totaling about $2,500. Tickets are available by calling 636-0364 or John Sainato at 636-3026. There will be more information on this later.


Dennis Lively, a fairly new resident in our community, joined the group at the Downtown Merchants’ meeting on Tuesday. Lively and his wife, Cheryl, moved to our town from Wheeling last August when Cheryl, a manager at Wal-Mart, was transferred to the Elkins store.

Each has already become involved in the town’s activities. Dennis Lively has established a Web site,, that in his words is like “the Yellow Pages on steroids.” As I understand him, the Web site is like a homepage for businesses in the Elkins area. I visited the site and there is a link to just about everything one can think of. Try it, you’ll like it.

According to Dennis Lively, one of the couple’s goals for 2008 is to open a gift shop somewhere in town. If anyone has a suitable location available, get in touch with him through his Web site and let him know.


The YMCA is planning a gala centennial celebration at 1 p.m. March 22. Several activities are being planned and there is no charge. For more information, call the YMCA at 636-4515.

While we’re talking about the “Y,” let me remind everyone about the great programs it has in its free drop-in youth center. Friday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. is for ninth- through 12th-grade students, and Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.  for fifth- through eighth-graders. Many activities are constantly in progress, including “Rock Band, “Dance, Dance Revolution” and “Guitar Hero” (I’m not familiar with this term but I suspect the kids know what it means.), Sony PlayStation 3, two huge flat-panel televisions, pool, foosball, air hockey and board and card games. A lounge area with TV, DVD and computers is also available. Pizzas are served on Friday evenings, courtesy of Gino’s Pizza.


I’m told that the annual Ramp Festival planners are looking for cooking contestants. If you’re good at cooking those smelly little wild onions and think you have an award-winning recipe, here’s your chance to win $1,500. Who knows, you might have the winning recipe but would never know it unless you take it public.


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