August 07, 2002 News & Features » Cover Story


It's all about them. 

Help Us Choose the Cover

The finalists:

Frances W. Burch, 70, made us laugh with her brief list of reasons to make her a cover girl. "I'm wrinkled," she began. "I wear glasses. I'm not photogenic." A wife, mother and grandmother with a wicked sense of humor, Burch calls herself an "everyday woman" — but also a writer, a rebel and a "wise old crone." She prizes her years, and wants others to do the same.

Many know

Ray Chetti as the owner of Chetti's Cow and Clam Tavern, a rowdy nightspot that was a pioneer in Shockoe Bottom and a popular hangout for its 14 years. But Chetti, 55, has a pile of stories he hasn't yet told. He wants Richmond to know who else he is, and was: an actor, a wrestling coach, a school administrator during integration, an advocate of simplicity, a victim of a knife attack by his dog. Want to know more? Put him on the cover, he says.

Eddie Maz, 38, used to run with a tough crowd in Creighton Court and Blackwell, where he got in trouble with the law and saw his friends fall around him. "I have been shot up and locked up, and I don't know how I have gotten up," he wrote. Now a husband, adoptive father and city electrician, Maz is working toward a new career as a music producer and the CEO of his own label, Fell-o-ny records. A page of publicity, he says, could launch his dream.

If you met

Mary Ellen Olbrisch two years ago, you might not recognize her now. A clinical health psychologist with the Virginia Commonwealth University Organ Transplant Programs, Olbrisch advises transplant candidates how they can improve their health. Yet for years she fought her own disheartening battle with obesity and never won. In December 2000, Olbrisch underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost 115 pounds. "I feel like I have a message," she says — sometimes you have to accept help to succeed.

Bryan Stevenson, 29, drew a crowd when he cruised into Style's parking lot in a 1973 Ford Galaxie 500 covered in fluorescent graffiti. "I love to make people laugh," wrote the engineer and comedian. Even if he does it by injuring himself (sewing machine needle in the finger, Frisbee in the teeth) or going out on a limb (ask him to demonstrate how he won the turkey-calling contest). If he's on the cover, Stevenson says, that might become his best story yet.


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