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W.Va. to Virginia county: Come join us. Virginia county: Nah

CHARLESTON — Virginia is for lovers, so West Virginia is reviving a 158-year-old proposal to ask one of its counties on a date.

The answer, apparently, is still no.

The West Virginia Senate adopted a resolution by voice vote Monday to remind residents of Frederick County, Virginia, that the county has a standing invite — from 1862 — to become part of West Virginia. It now goes to the House of Delegates.

The resolution was introduced by Morgan County Republican Charles Trump, whose district borders Frederick County. Trump was born in Winchester, the seat of Frederick, which is Virginia’s northernmost county.

A message left for Frederick County Board of Supervisors chairman at large Chuck DeHaven wasn’t immediately returned Monday. But he told the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Maryland, last week that Frederick County has no interest in becoming part of West Virginia.

Frederick was formed in 1743, and much of it later was carved out to create several other counties. It remains much closer to Richmond, at 136 miles, than West Virginia’s state capitol of Charleston, at 268 miles.

West Virginia, born in 1863 during the Civil War, is the only state to be formed by seceding from a Confederate state. Some Virginia border counties were given the choice to become part of the new state if their residents approved. Berkeley and Jefferson counties gave their nod, siding with the Union. Trump said a vote was never taken in Frederick County, which ended up nearly surrounded on three sides by the northern neighbor.

Monday’s resolution “is simply to remind them, make them aware, that they have an invitation ... that was extended 158 years ago,” Trump said on the Senate floor.

They came from all over. Now they're Americans.

CHARLESTON — Less than 20 minutes after becoming an American citizen, Manuel Antonio Toloza dropped to one knee outside the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse and proposed to his girlfriend, Jenna Nichols.

And she said yes.

Originally from Cuba, Toloza said he’s spent the last five years in the United States, falling in love with its culture. The 19-year-old has spent the last five months working to become a citizen.

Wearing an American flag bow tie on Monday, Toloza said the citizenship process was relatively quick for him. But each of the 49 people at Monday’s naturalization ceremony had their own story to tell.

During the ceremony, Czarina Roseline Wegert, born in Cape Town, South Africa, told the other new citizens and their friends and family about her journey. She was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but came to the United States from Germany.

Wegert, who is black, was forced to flee her home because of the racial apartheid in South Africa. She met her late husband, and they had two children, both of whom were in the audience Monday.

Wegert later returned to South Africa to visit family, but as she was leaving the country, a police officer approached her and told her that black women were being rounded up and sent to prison. She hid in a cabinet on a boat leaving Cape Town. “I became a stowaway,” she said.

“Last night, I cried a good bit of tears,” of happiness and joy, she said.

Naturalization is a 10-step process, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. All naturalized citizens must go through this process, which after applying and being interviewed to determine eligibility, are given tests in English, U.S. history, government and civic principles.

The children of Uchechukwu Ignatius Umeh couldn’t stay still as he got his citizenship certificate from Chief U.S. District Justice Thomas E. Johnston on Monday.

“Daddy! Daddy!” Chichi Umeh, 2, and her older sister, Amarachi, 4, yelled as they ran from the crowd and mobbed their father.

Umeh, 38, has lived in the United States for six years, after immigrating from Nigeria. He said his love for America comes from the comfort of finding a loving wife, Rachel, and fathering two beautiful children. The family now lives in Huntington.

He said that whenever, and wherever, you find peace, then that’s where you stay.

The new Americans, and their countries of origin, are:

Emmanuel Atta Agaba, United Kingdom; Clarissa Mina Andres, Philippines; Abdal Razak Arnaoot, Syria; Robin Arora, India; Shweta Kathuria Arora, India; Thai Hoa Arthur, Germany; Editha Dimailig Bancoro, Philippines; Wilder Fernando Barrera, Venezuela; Hadeel Bawarshi, Syria; Franchesca Maglalang Berry, Philippines;

Adona Jorge Blankenship, Philippines; Ligia Guadalupe Aban Canul, Mexico; Fitsum Garshet Direta, Ethiopia; Ziphokazi Lillian Durr, South Africa; Sarinya Fulton, Thailand; Inoke Kolo Funaki, Tonga; Ai Qiu Chen Hopen, China; Mohammad Aminul Karim, Bangladesh; Vishnupriya Kasireddy, India; Erika Patricia Keeney, Mexico;

Hania Khankan, Syria; Bhavna Rajesh Kumbhani, India; Mavis Effie Kwei-Tagoe, Ghana; Huong Thi Thu Le, Vietnam; Aungrisa Mann, Thailand; Edwiin De Jesus Parra Munoz, Mexico; Fufrun Nahar, Bangladesh; Thai Cao Nguyen, Vietnam; Tracie Truong Nguyen, Vietnam; Kelechukwu Uzoma Okoro, Nigeria;

Nazanin Parirokh, Iran; Nuvia Esperanza Villamizar Pereira, Colombia; Shuguang Qian, China; Mostafa Abdellatif Rawash, Egypt; Victoria Elena Real, Venezuela; Jacqueline Mwende Rector, Kenya; Katarina Krajickova Robinson, Slovakia; Diana Salisbury, Russia; Claudia Lucia Sandoval, Peru; Hanan Nayyef Samo, Iraq;

Delfina Stefania Santos Luna, Guatemala; Jocelyn Canlas Stafford, Philippines; Za Rual Lian Thang, Burma; Manuel Antonio Toloza, Cuba; Uchechukwu Ignatius Umeh, Nigeria; Marina Xusainovna Pyankova Underwood, Russia; Czarina Roseline Wegert, Germany; Shaorong Zhang, China; Yunxuan Zhang, China.

Brenda Lucas: Community news for Tuesday, Jan. 14

Community News

CONCERT: Josh Brown and the Hard Livin’ Legends celebrates the release of a new album, “Thunder and Lightning,” at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at Ashland’s Paramount Arts Center. Guests include Charlie Woods, Deep Hollow and Brock Thompson. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $30.

BABY: Congratulations to Sarah Stark and Brady Gibson on the birth of a baby boy, Isaac Steven. The new arrival on Dec. 10 weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 20 inches long. Mark and Donna Landin of Hurricane’s Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church are proud grandparents.

MUSIC ALIVE: The new year’s Music Alive Concert Series begins at noon Thursday, Jan. 16, at First Presbyterian Church. “Capital Duo” with Duncan Cumming, pianist, and Hilary Cumming from Albany, N.Y., violinist, is featured. Directors are Dale Capehart and Solen Dikener. A delicious lunch is served. Donations are accepted. Parking is available in the back of the church.

INITIATED: Kaila Knecht of Huntington was among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi annually. The Huntington resident was recently initiated into Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at Marshall University.

PHOTOS: A Valentine’s Day photo shoot benefiting Adriuanna Paige Foundation is by appointment only beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at 540 31st St. The shoot costs $15, which includes a one 8- by 10-inch, 2 5- by 7-inch and eight wallet size photos. Call or text April Craft, 304-962-5291.

COUNCIL: James Smith was recently appointed to Chesapeake Village Council, filling the vacancy made by resignation of Richard Stover. A retired Marine, he has been a bailiff in Lawrence County Municipal Court and a Cabell County security officer. Born in Huntington, this is the first time James has held a public office. Paul Hart, who retired two years ago due to a filing error with the board of elections, returned to the council.

MOVIE: “The West Virginia Wednesday” monthly movie is “Feast of the Seven Fishes” at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Floralee Hark Cohen Cinema, formerly Underground Cinema in Charleston. Showings are hosted by West Virginia International Film Festival. Tickets are $9 and $5 students. Contact www.wviff.org.

WALK: Not just any kind of walk … it’s “A Night on Fifth” Superintendent’s Art Walk hosted by Cabell County Schools from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at the schools’ central office, first floor, 2850 5th Ave. The art show features students from Altizer, Guyandotte, Highlawn, Meadows, Milton, Village of Barboursville and Central City Elementary schools and Explorer Academy. Milton Middle School students — Josh Hardesty, Hayden Walden, Gibson Davis and Jessina Stender — provide entertainment. Hors d’oeuvres are prepared and served by Huntington High School Pro Start. Call Marisa Main, academic specialist, 304-528-5340.

BELATED BIRTHDAYS: Natalie Neville, Irene Saxton, Jan. 1; Ashley Kinker, Chris Clark, Kathryn Courtright, Michael Kinneer, Butch McCoy, Mark Stutler, Elizabeth Whitten, Nancy Weider, Gary Baldwin, Parker Smith, Jan. 2; Don Gatewood, Beth Krall, Ashley McCann, Isaac Vance, Jan. 3; Lydia Peterson, Jan. 4; Jackie Alexander, Billie DeLung, Cathy Keeler, Mike Blower, Brandon Cunningham, Sarah Stultz, Jan. 5; Mitzi Wilson, Keith Midkiff, Leigh Shepard, Joseph Boggess, Jan. 6; Seth Bowers, Brittany Bowie, Gene Lewis, Tom Plumley, Fred Harmon, Jarrah Vance, Charles Williams, Mike Wilson, Brock Herrenkohl, Jan. 7; Libby Burdette, Shawn Kelley, Kyleigh Snell, Terri Brookshire, Curtis Ferguson, Jan. 8; Leigh Anna Bennett, Lisa Sheets, Shannon Lawman, Hilda Mynes, T.J. Caldwell, Jan. 9; Lois Brewer, Lori Folio, Bob Sauvageot, Patty Blankenship, Scarlett O’Neal Smith, David Templeton, Logan Hamilton, Jan. 10.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS: Vanessa Bailey, Terri Crowe, Susan Brooks, Rachael Gibson, Christopher Beach celebrates “sweet 16”, Bob Griffis, Marie Scheff, Stacy Godfrey, Halle Phillips, Matt Marks, Tonya Ray, Virgie Ollie, Mark Stover, Mary Baker, Stacy Albers, Brenda Dingess, Sadie Spurgeon, Tiffany Bryan, Patti Nelson, Marie Scheff, Lisa Bannon, Andrea Cooper, Andrew Cooper, Susan Gatewood, Frances Meredith.

CHUCKLE: Laura couldn’t decide whether to go to Salt Lake City or Denver for vacation, so she called the airlines to get prices. “Airfare to Denver is $300,” the cheery salesperson replied. “And what about Salt Lake City?” Laura asked. “We have a really great rate to Salt Lake — $99,” the salesperson added. “But there is a stopover.” “Where?” asked Laura. “In Denver,” the salesperson answered.

OU Southern to host events to honor MLK

IRONTON — Ohio University Southern and its Council on Diversity and Inclusion will honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a special community celebration at the Ironton campus.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Women of the Movement.” The event will take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16.

The celebration event will feature special presentations by Natalie Adams, member of the South Point High School Board of Education; Purba Das, Ph.D., associate professor of communication for Ohio University Southern; and Juli Stephens, field representative for U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson. The evening will also include special musical performances and the announcement of the winners of the annual MLK essay contest. Refreshments will be served immediately following the program.

Robert Pleasant, associate director of Ohio Southern Student Resource Commons, said the celebration is part of the campus’ commitment to honor King’s legacy.

“Diversity is a core institutional value at Ohio University Southern,” Pleasant said in a news release. “These activities help us to focus on Dr. King’s ideals for inclusion and equality.”

The campus also will host a Student Leadership Luncheon to foster an atmosphere of solidarity and to serve as an opportunity for honest conversation within the campus community. The luncheon, which is by reservation, will be Wednesday, Jan. 22.

A free showing of the film, All the Way,” is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 23. The film details the struggle King and President Lyndon B. Johnson faced in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The showing is hosted by Deborah Marinski, Ph.D., in collaboration with her spring semester class, 1960s in the U.S.: A Decade of Controversy. The film will be shown in the Student Resource Commons Success Center and is free to attend and open to the public.

Ohio Southern student organizations also are conducting an MLK Donation Drive through Feb. 28. Non-perishable food items, toiletries and school supplies are being collected across campus for the Bobcats Share Box, a project to help address food insecurity for Ohio Southern students.