Herald-Mail team takes bittersweet Brain Games win

April 03, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Brain Games competitors, from left facing camera, Effie Kallas, Angus Martin and David Hammer, discuss a question with, from left, Phil Hale, Adriana Tinto and Annette Hale, during the competition Sunday at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — A team made up of workers at The Herald-Mail Co. came away the winners at the 14th annual Brain Games competition Sunday at Shepherd University, the second year in a row a Herald-Mail team won the event and the fifth win for the team in the history of the event.

Although excited over the win, it was bittersweet because this was the first year that longtime Herald-Mail reporter Marlo Barnhart was not on the team, said team member Bob Fleenor, a five-time “Jeopardy!” champion who works as a Web updater in The Herald-Mail newsroom.

Barnhart, who Fleenor said played on The Herald-Mail team for 10 of the 11 years the company has had one, died Oct. 12.

“She probably would have got the cat question,” Herald-Mail team member and reporter Andrew Schotz said after Sunday’s games.

Players in Sunday’s games were asked to define a Birman, which is a cat. Barnhart was known for her love of cats.

Brain Games, a fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle, is a trivia game divided into four rounds.

There are 25 questions in each round, and each correct answer earns a team a point.

Teams of up to six people have 15 minutes to answer each round of questions.

Twenty-seven teams competed Sunday in the Ram’s Den, up from the 22 who participated last year, said Judy Malone, organizer of the event.

The Herald-Mail team, also made up of Executive Editor Jake Womer, Lifestyle Editor Crystal Schelle, and reporters Richard Belisle and Don Aines, finished with 47 points. The team is known as ‘S’ Words for $400, Alex.

The second-place team was Trivia Splatters, with 46 points, and the third-place team was South Mountaineers, with 45 points.

Brain Games participants talked about how the questions in Sunday’s event were more difficult.

“They were really bizarre this year,” said Maggie Lauria, who was playing on the Flock of Sages team.

Some of the questions and answers from Sunday’s event included:
• Who is the patron saint of snow? Saint Eulalia of Merida
• Quinine is extracted from the bark of what type of tree? Chinchona
• What is a glaive? A sword or spear
• What is a motmot? A tropical American bird

The Flock of Sages was made up of six residents from The Woods Resort, a golf community off W.Va. 9 between Hedgesville and Berkeley Springs, W.Va. After a few rounds of play Sunday, Flock of Sages member Larry Jarrett likened his team’s performance to “Lake Wobegon children, slightly above average.”

Money is raised for Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle through $25 entry fees. Money is also raised through raffles and a book sale, Malone said.

Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle teaches basic literacy skills and offers tutoring at libraries, churches and other locations, said Diane Myers, a member of the organization’s board of directors.

In recent years, volunteers with the organization said they have seen an increasing demand for their services, which they attribute in part to a higher level of reading skills required in today’s jobs.

Myers said the organization is serving a lot of clients who are studying English as a second language.

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